Uphill Church; pastel 14×10″

Sometimes I find it difficult to decide whether to do a picture in pastels or oils. The only way round that is to do two separate pictures.

I have been in need of fresh subject matter for quite a while now and recent trips away have allowed me to collect it. This view is one that I used to know well, but have not had the opportunity to revisit the locality for some years, especially not in walking-mode.

I did paint a different view of this building many years ago; a little oil on a small board. I really can’t recall how long ago, but I’d say at least thirty years. This time the angle is different and the facilities of a new walking/cycling path have also provided some nice wild flowers and grasses to include.

This one is on PastelMat. The old 11th-century Somerset church (dating from around 1080) of St Nicholas sits in the background, overlooking wide, flat plains that stretch out towards the River Axe and then to the coast. The view looks back at it over the tops of wildflower banks along the footpath. It is mid-summer, with everything humming and buzzing among the grasses.

I am not feeling the need to paint this again, in oils. It does more or less all I want, in pastels. PastelMat tends to impart a rather soft-focus look if pastel is applied lightly. It is a surface well-suited to pastel-pencil and the hatching techniques, plus other harder pastel-sticks that leave firmer lines.

I’m currently working a new pastel on Sennelier card, which is a little coarser and allowing a more incremental build-up of colours. That won’t be finished just yet. I’m also looking at some flowers that have snapped off in the recent strong winds; they are now rescued and in a vase, awaiting a decision.

Finally: good news about the previous posting, Blue Glass with Flowers; it has sold. Must admit I’m really pleased with this one, it was rather hard-won as a painting, having gone through a complete re-start on a new sheet and….the yellow flowers went limp before I’d finished.

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