My parents live near Stroud in the Cotswolds. The best thing about the Cotswolds, like South Wales, is the hills. It provides many higgle piggedly vistas and views. Their house is part of a modern estate in the village of Bussage at the top of a very steep hill.
I enjoy exploring the donkey tracks behind the houses. The village of Eastcombe is a 10 minute walk from their house. This is 4×4 territory, especially in winter when the steep lane are unpassable for regular car and quite treachorous for walkers too.
The other side of Bussage runs into the top (and flatter) end of Chalford. Chalford Hill and Chalford have an extraordinary number of paths (28 km within the parish as a whole), winding up the steep hillsides. They allowed workers to quickly reach the mills in the valley – a majority of the paths leading straight down. They also enabled goods to be transported up and down the hill by donkey. They were used until the 1930s to deliver bread, coal and other household items to people’s doorsteps (Jennie being the name of one of the donkeys). In fact, many front doors can still only be accessed by a winding network of ‘donkey paths’. In those times Chalford was known as ‘Neddyshire’ which derives its name from the use of donkeys.
There was a modern version of this donkey delivery that ran for 5 years from 2008 to 2013. Sadly it seems to have stopped now. The donkey delivery service was run by to Anna Usbourne and her four and eight-year-olds, Chester and Teddy. They did run the Chalford Community Store’s weekly delivery service. You can watch a video about it here. If they had ranged as far away as Bussage (one and a half miles aay up a very steep hill), I know for a fact that my mother would have been ordering her groceries from the Chalford Village shop so she could have got a visit from Chester and Teddy the donkeys! Here’s a film about them delivering the groceries in the snow in 2011.
The Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan, who starred in Fifty Shades of Grey and The Fall, also lives in Chalford near Stroud and my mother says he’s been spotted in the local tiny Tescos Express with Eddie Redmayne. He has to shop somewhere. Anyway, sad to say that I have never seen either of them in there!
There’s a track that leads down the hill from my parents’ house to the Ram pub. You can also drive to it as there is a single track road to it. In the field beyond the pub there lives a black horse and a donkey. I don’t think the donkey there was ever a delivery donkey.
I got to walk on frozen snow earlier in the week. I had to travel all the way to the Cotswolds to find it. There had been a foot of snow the week before but it had almost all gone. Almost. There were remnants left in the cold corners of the fields where the low winter sun’s rays did not directly warm them. It even rained a few times when I was there but these remnants did not melt. It was too cold. So, I got to experience a small thrill as my boots crunched on the ice. It was fleeting but fun.
Delighted to say I have just SOLD “Spring Coloured Woods” via Artfinder.
Now off to live with “The Bridge to Parkmill” in Lancashire – will we see an Ilston Cwm triptych adorning a wall of a home in Lancashire?
“This is the last of the summer wine of a substantial series of oil paintings of a woodland area in Gower Pensinsula between Ilston and Parkmill, which the locals call Cannisland Woods.
It is amazingly beautiful at any time of the year but the light is rarely better than in Winter when it is glassy clear and this helps create a riot of colours and hues in this most dank time, in the mulched leave-layered ground, in the trickling everchanging brook of the Killy Willy, in the distant haze behind the barren trees and in the wonderfully green-mossy trees and shiney, slippery brown barks of the twisted trees by the Killy Willy.
This is another “refractionist” (expressionist) style painting which is similar to Sapling Wood and Rainbow Wood in it’s sweeping streaks of colour but much more grand in it’s ambition and luxuriant in i’ts detail.
This will probably be the last of this series of paintings for some time so enjoy.”
Delighted to say I have just SOLD this oil painting “Spring Coloured Wood” one day after uploading onto my various online galleries! The artlover will be buying this lovely painting via my “Part Payment” scheme.
If you would like to spread the costs of paying for one of my paintings too please click on this link to find out more details of how to pay for my paintings over a period of months via part payment – the first payment secures the painting for you!
Large limited edition mounted prints are available here
This is an oil painting of the Table Mountain in Mid Wales. I painted this because I loved the colours of blues, turquoise and purple which blend pleasingly with the blue-greens and terracottas of the trees and land.
Nature unearths such lovely rich colours and casts them wide in lovely complementary chromatic patchworks.
I would say this painting is inspired like so many of my mid-Wales landscapes by one of my favourite painters, Robert Bevan, whose landscapes have influenced how I paint this type of hilly upland landscape as opposed to the landscape I paint of Gower Peninsula which is usually in my own unique refractionist style which in itself influenced by expressionism.
I love the idea that colour expresses emotion, transports and alleviates the self and a creates an emotional response to a place depicted in a painting. Ideally I like to transport the viewer to the place so that the viewer somehow feels they are there or have been there in some sense. That is somehow familiar to them. In this painting I hoped to transport one to soft lazy warmnesss of summer in the fields of Mid Wales. The velvety feel of the Table Mountain helps heighten this feeling of softness. The warm summer breeze can often give this sense of snoozy softness and I hope some of this is conveyed in this painting with the manicure trees like hairdryed Bouffants and the dusty dryness of the terracotta.
“Down by Killy Willy” – A return to the scene of much of my recent inspirations for painting landscapes.
I just love how the light is caught and moulded around the tree trunks by the bright silver sunlight, bleaching out the barren, branched trees.
I love how the warm jacket of greeny moss blends and is balanced by the muddy browns under the water surface, visible through the dark shards of tree shadow falling on the still water.
It is so pleasingly rustic and complementary in it’s colours as sometimes nature only can be.
The name Killy Willy refers to name given ;locally for this brook or pill, by the local people around Ilston in the Gower Peninsuala, near Swansea, in South West Wales.
Every weekend my husband and I explore and almost mine the beauty of Gower peninsula with its amazing variety of beaches, woods, hills and valleys for inspiration for my next paintings. Increasingly I have used this peninsula to keep my artistic juices flowing. It is almost as if we are harvesting the beauty of Gower in some way and using it to create art before sharing this bounty with art lovers throughout the world.
Different paintings of Gower adorn walls in the homes of art lovers on various continents. Our weekend walks are not just for our aesthetic enrichment but for others too it would seem. What a joy to share the beauty of this stunning peninsula designated Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Beauty.
“I love painting snow, whether brillant midday sun, blue-tinged, snow or pinky sunset snow. I love how blues and pinks hover above the snowy white. I love the snow’s power to transform, to turn a plain town into a lovely town, and a lovely town in something quite majestic.
You can still buy this as a limited edition mounted print direct from me here
In “Crick in the Snow, the lovely village of Crickhowell is transformed into a picture-postcard beauty by the snow and the dramatic background of the snow glistering hills. I live by the sea where the salty sea erodes most heavy snow drifts. Thus I have to travel inland to the Welsh Valleys and beyond to find my snow laden landscapes.
In this painting I love the intricacy of the hedge rows climbing up the hills, the lacy threads of winter hedges, the patterns and the line and shapes. It has a “brueghelian” Christmas feel. All that is missing is the sleighing children, and swirling skates. I love the warm colours of the houses in the foreground contrasting with the cold blues in the distance countryside. The habitable back-lit with the inhabitable.
This heightens the feeling of Christmas, all wrapped up in each other’s shops and homes, and lives; reassuringly, comfortably, necessarily away from the icy outside, the outer reaches, around this human fire of company. This is a painting of a winter community as well as winter community more generally.”