Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous and healthy New Year. The painting shown here is one of my Christmas Candle series, which was last featured on my Christmas card quite a few years ago. So, I thought that it was time for a return visit, to convey my good wishes to you all.
I’ll be back with more from my artist’s blog in the New Year, with new sketches, paintings and tuition articles. Meanwhile, Happy Painting to all artists wherever they are!
Usually the autumn finds me hard at work teaching groups of watercolour students. Indeed, I have been doing that, but not on a regular weekly basis as before. Early this year I made the decision to retire from teaching weekly groups, to allow more time for painting, walking and travel. These days I tutor more occasional groups, usually here at the studio.
With a bit of free time available, Margaret and I decided to head down to South Africa in early November, for three weeks of game watching and walking. A great country and I hope that the recent passing of Nelson Mandella will not cause any difficulties there. We were certainly made very welcome by people of all different races, during our stay in Kwazulu Natal.
If you’re expecting to see paintings of the rhino, elephant and giraffe that we saw, you’ll have to be patient as they are still in my head, not on the paper. I took a lot of photographs though. There was certainly plenty of wildlife to be seen, although no lion or leopard regrettably. There was no opportunity to sketch on the game drives, as we were in a group, but when we got to the Drakensberg Mountains, I managed to do a few quick sketches in ink. Here’s one, and you can see why the Drakensbergs are so called – the Dragon’s Mountains, with peaks like sharp teeth. Some great walking, but steep, phew!
The Wash, our local piece of water, has been in the news lately with extensive flooding in some areas. Luckily, the Stephen Martyn Studio remained high and dry, although in 1953 the water reached to within a few yards of where our house now stands. A disturbing thought as the tidal surge was supposed to be bigger than ’53! However, the sea remained well over a mile away, thankfully.
Thinking of the Wash reminded me of this painting, which was actually the last one to be framed before my Christmas Open Studio. It shows a view of which I am very fond, with Holme-next-the-sea church and the Wash beyond. It has a high point of view, which can be obtained from the eastern end of Green Bank Road, which runs from the top end of Ringstead village east towards Thornham. It’s a green road and overlooks the fields leading to the sea. Maybe 100 feet or so above sea level, it counts as a big hill in this part of the world!