Medieval Gym – Watercolour and ink – 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)
“The steady rumbling of the water wheel, turning, turning, turning, working to the beat of the race. The straining of the machine, the thump against the punch bag, the sacks of flour and the groaning, panting and sweating of the work out. Gym day, Thursday is here again. “
The idea came from images I saw of old watermills, simple representations that looked fun to play with. I liked the idea that the waterwheel could also be used as a piece of gym equipment, endlessly driving people on.
The mill machine
So the Medieval gym was filled with a punch bag, exercise bike, medicine ball, wall ladders, pommel horse and a climbing rope. The locker cabinet is based around the Ikea cupboards. The idea is that the gym equipment somehow looks like the wheels and cogs of the mill, so in truth you’d get a work out there whether you went for exercise or as part of your job.
I decided to make the watermill a natural partner with the windmill painting by using the same deep Prussian Blue sky. The dark blues in the watermill are countered by bright orange, browns and yellows to give the picture some colourful visual points.
The style of the water comes from the way traditional stained glass artists would paint water and is one I’d used previously in the painting of Positano
The Gothic Library – watercolor and ink, 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)
“The Gothic Library, a mysterious, musty, place of books, tomes and manuscripts. Here, squirreled away are ancient texts, dark secrets and damning admissions. More revealing stories are recorded on the shelves of the cellar below the house. Locked away in heavy chests, behind iron bound doors, lit by the flickering light of a candle.”
Painting the library
This watercolor painting features a barrel arched basement with a set of steps leading up to the library. The sides are decorated with leafy foliage, reminiscent of earlier Byzantine works, and the background continues the gold leaf effect theme.
The Liatorp bookcase is lined with heavily bound, stylised, 14th century books, one, open and abandoned lies on the Stockholm coffee table. Against the wall is an Arklestrop, half moon table with a lamp and a flat woven rug on the floor.
Putting IKEA furniture in a Medieval Gothic setting is a fun way of examining the way the masters of the age would have handled painting modern furniture. Much of the Swedish designer’s products have straight, simple lines, ideally lending themselves to being recreated in a different way.
Next up, the washroom!
Gothic Kitchen Corner – watercolor and ink, 21 cm x 29 cm (For Sale)
The Gothic Kitchen has all the mod-cons necessary for today’s life but drawn in a 14th century style. The stove and work surface/ sink are completely flat but given depth through the use of shape and colour. The fridge is drawn at a crazy angle, typical of the time and has a very bulky feel to it, again the perspective is deliberately drawn as if for the High Gothic period.
The floor level is raised at an unrealistic angle but the accurate depiction of perspective in the tiles adds dimension to the room. It features a cooker hood in the manner of Medieval kitchen’s but then has a modern electric light fitting hanging from the ceiling. The cooker is also modern, white, clean and has an old style pot boiling on top of what looks like a wooden fire.
The building, having all the elements of a 14th century house wouldn’t look out of place with a seated Madonna and an angel inside. The background as is often shown in religious panels of the time, is painted in gold acrylic, giving it a reverential feel.
Isola Polvese – watercolor and ink, 52 cm x 21 cm (Sold)
Here’s the finished watercolor of the third island on Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, Italy. The picture captures the lusciousness of the place, covered in oak woodlands and olive groves. Dotted around the island are a collection of buildings,a cafe bar by the dock, a ruined castle and an abandoned monastery. The island also has its own oil press where they produce their olive oil.
Castiglione del Lago
As it’s perpetually shaded, even on a hot day, it’s a cool place to walk around. The island is now an unspoilt nature reserve with thousands of birds flocking to its shores each year to take advantage of the lovely natural habitat.
The painting is part of a threesome, with the Isola Maggiore and a study of the town of Castiglione del Lago completing the set. Lined up together you get an idea of the large expanse of water that makes up Lake Trasimeno and the wooded hills that surround it. However, most of all, you can feel the tranquility of the water as it laps along the shoreline and the serenity that can be found all over the islands.
Posted in landscape, Painting, watercolour
Tagged art, castle, island, Italy, lake, landscape, monastery, original, painting, watercolor, watercolour
ENEL Cover Monte Santa Maria Tiberina – Watercolour and ink 58 x 54cm (For Sale)
I was recently asked, by the Circolo di Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, to take part in a project to decorate the utility meter doors scattered throughout the ancient town. The remit said that it needed to fit the panel, be relevant to the medieval town and take into account the lock on the door.
Designing door covers
In total thirteen artists were asked to join the group and one Sunday a couple of weeks ago we all met up to choose our doors. Mine is the ENEL cover at the top of the stone stairs leading to the Palazzo and the main piazza.
Naturally I decided that I’d do a landscape of the area but I needed to disguise the black plastic door lock. I thought the best way to do this was to give the painting a harvest theme and hide the lock inside a strange, black, fantastical plant. Continuing the Fruita di Bosco the scene with a nectarine and more flowers in a vase, the meaning behind the books remains a mystery.
Urban art project
The access panel is quite large, some 58 x 54 cm and I felt that a landscape just plonked in the middle of the street would seem strange. So I included a terracotta tile window sill, on which the books, vase and nectarine stand, giving the impression you are looking through a window or archway.
View of Monte
The town is drawn from the same angle at which you look at the panel, so it has the effect of creating a world within a world. A fairground hall or mirrors, with infinite repeated views of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina stretching off into the distance.
The paintings will be printed onto film and the doors covered and hopefully remain in place for a couple of years. If you are interested in seeing them they will be ready for the town’s festa, which runs on the 8,9 and 10th October.
I hope to see you there. 🙂
Posted in landscape, Painting, Project
Tagged ENEL, Italy, landscape, Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, painting, project, public art, streetart, Umbria, watercolor, watercolour
Le Mont Saint Michel Watercolour and ink 28 x 45 cm (For Sale)
The ancient rocky outcrop at the mouth of the river Couesnon has had occupants going back a millennia. Situated some 600 metres off the coast, near the village of Avranches, its 14 metre tidal range made it a highly defensible site.
Mont Saint Michel, Britany
A monastery was first established here in the 8th century but down the years, Mont Saint Michel has been used as a castle and also prison as well. Victor Hugo was amongst its many political prisoners kept here.
This image of the towering abbey is based around a painting by the Limbourg brothers around the start of the 15th century. Le Mont Saint Michel featured in the lovely Gothic International manuscript Les tres riches heures du Duc de Berry. The original book measured only 29.4 x 21 cm and can be seen in the Musee Conde in Chantilly.
Posted in Painting, watercolour
Tagged art, France, historic, illustration, ink, Limbourg brothers, painting, romantic, watercolor, watercolour
Orvieto – The wine of the Popes
Orvieto is a fabulous place, sitting on a volcanic plug jutting out of the earth. The angle featured here shows the sight from the northwest, up in the hills beyond the town walls where the views are spectacular.
Map of Orvieto
There are a number of towers, steeples and domes littering the skyline but the crowning glory has to be the marble striped cathedral, which dominates the horizon. With the Luca Signorelli frescoes inside this place is well worth a visit.
Although it’s the middle of summer now, we are experiencing some pretty spectacular stormy skies. So I decided that the painting should echo the weather of the day and have gone for a brilliant pink, purple and orange combination. You’ve never lived if you haven’t seen a colourblind person’s stormy sky, grey day indeed.
I thought it would be fun to really play around with the colours in the cliff face. At times, when shaded, it has a steely blue look but when the sun strikes it, there are all manner of reds, oranges and yellows. Then I decided to work my way around the colour wheel from one to the other, filling in the centre with some green trees.
The hills around Orvieto are populated with olive groves and vineyards, all contributing to the town’s famous pale, yellow wine and peppery oil, which was once favoured by Rome’s popes and princes.
Posted in landscape, Painting, watercolour
Tagged art, duomo, Italy, Orvieto, painting, Signorelli, Umbria, watercolor, watercolour, wine