Firstly, many thanks for everyone’s super kind and considerate messages of support about my mum. She was taken into hospital last week where she’ll be looked after for the next few weeks at least. Depending on the progress she makes, she may return home. Alternatively, mum will need to go into a more managed and supervised care facility. The good thing is that, in her current condition, she’s in the best possible place to care for her needs. Thanks again for all of your support – it really is much appreciated at a very trying time!

The day before I made my dash north to be with my mum I was in the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. My visit was primarily to see ‘Brink’, an exhibition of works selected by Brighton local, Green MP and all-round fabulous person, Caroline Lucas: 

The exhibition is a wonderfully eclectic mix and, on a personal note, I was delighted to see so many watercolours on display.  That said, the painting that I really connected with and spent the most time admiring was an oil painting:

Knight, Charles; Ditchling Beacon, East Sussex

This is a view of Ditchling Beacon by Charles Knight (1901-1990). The painting is in the gallery’s permanent collection and I have seen it many times before but I never tire of looking at it.

I can’t deny that I have it in mind to do a watercolour based on this painting. I also like the idea of trying to locate the precise spot point that this view can be seen from and to paint there.

While at the gallery I was browsing through some books in the Towner’s reference library and came across a monochrome photograph in a book about the artist John Virtue, who has a strong connection with The Towner. The context of the image in the book was to illustrate the point in Virtue’s development when he began to focus on monochromatic views. I somewhat absent-mindedly took a photo of image thinking that I might paint it one day. The sketch below is based on that photo and was done in-between hospital visits.

While I quite enjoyed the mental relief of painting rather than fretting about my mum – I didn’t feel that the sketch did either me or the subject material justice!

When I returned to Brighton, I did another version of this painting.

Lane, early morning

I was much much happier with this version which I think is much more evocative with more colour, life and movement to it. I was also especially pleased with the puddle in the foreground that I’d purposefully omitted on the first sketch because I wasn’t quite sure how to paint it!

After the trials and tribulations of last week, it felt good to lose myself in a painting, and all the moreso for it to be one that I’m happy with!

While pulling this post together, I also came across this wonderfully stimulating and insightful conversation between John Virtue and art historian and broadcaster Andrew Graham Dixon filmed at the Towner Gallery back in 2015 to accompany his major exhibition there, The Sea. It’s not what I’d call a riveting watch, but it’s a good listen!

14 thoughts on “Watercolour painting of a lane, early morning

  1. I may be talking out of the top of my hat but I’ve looked at a map and there’s water at Westmeston Place; looking south from there you should be able to see that orientation. (I haven’t actually got a clue but I just thought I’d get you started on your search.) It’s a jolly nice painting, by the way – as is yours, of course, though I’d like to see a few more clues to the wetness of the puddle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Water. At Westmeston Place? I just scampered off to Google maps and while I found Westmeston Place (which despite being a supposed local, I’ve never heard of before) – aside from the odd private swimming pool, I couldn’t find any expanse of water? I will try to have a look again as it’s got me quite excited! Thanks for your shrewd detective work!

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      1. How was I to know it was an old swimming pool? Oops. Well maybe it was just waiting to be cleaned up a bit that day… But there’s definitely a blue blob on my map next to Lewes Road – several of them in fact; they may not be at Westmeston Place (listed building) itself but they’re not far away. Get on your bike and have a look.

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      2. Okay, got it, Pond Farm! I think I’ve got a rough idea about where that is, though will probably go by car! Damn those hedgerows though, can’t get a decent view through any of them!

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      3. Sorry to be a bore but this is the website of the occupants of Pond Farm and look at the background of the first picture. More trees but it’s not far off and we’re not even at the “pond”. I’ll stop looking now. Promise.

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  2. Apparently no other comments yet? Having been a big boater before I got too old, BEACON means a navigation sign to me. Apparently it has a different meaning for you Brits? Educate me please! No wonder I like your beach scenes with boats! I see no signs of any ‘beacon’ here but the scene is pleasant.
    I came down with one of the flu varieties recently and because I am now 89 and very susceptible to such things, my doctor insisted I cancel my anticipated 2 week trip to Florida, a son and a daughter and visits with my life drawing teacher from when my husband and I lived in Florida, AND my yacht broker. I guess it beats pneumonia! The girl who cleans for me has also been sick so I’m now having to turn ‘char girl’! Not a job I’m well suited for! However, I’ve been getting to do quite a bit of painting! Some disappointing per usual, but enjoying it none the less. I wish I could share MY paintings with you!
    I’m about to redo a watercolor I did of the pond (without the bridge) at Givereny from a photo I took when there. I thought it great when I did it, but now see how it should be changed, so started on that project today.
    I have a wonderful doctor here in St Louis. He wants to learn watercolor and I have offered to give his some FREE classes but he hesitates, saying ‘I’m too busy’. I pray he comes around! I’ve never taught aside from having been a Docent at my big art museum for 18 years which certainly IS a form of teaching! I have a theory re teaching watercolor I’d love to test!

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    1. Hi Margery – beacon means navigation here too, but it’s also found in lots of place names that denote a hill suitable for a beacon. Ditchling Beacon is one of the highest hills in this area. Thanks Margery, great that you’re getting to do lots of painting!

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  3. So glad you’re happy that your Mum is more settled and safe now. I do like your paintings, both of them.
    I also love that oil painting and wonder if you’ve ever had a go at it?
    Happy painting.
    Carole

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carole and many thanks for this. I haven’t had a go at that oil painting but it’s on my list! I just need to spend some more time thinking about whether I try to do a direct copy but just in watercolour, or to try something slightly different with it. It’s a nice one to ponder over!

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