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  1. Cuckmere Haven

    On the beautifully sunny day of 27/08/16 we had a family trip to this wonderful and unique spot and I made some quick sketches…
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    In the late morning before the inevitable tourist rush we walked along the western footpath to the Coastguard Cottages to visit the craft fair taking place there. Whilst there I couldn’t resist this quick take on the stunning Seven Sisters, sitting in the sun on the back step of the nearest cottage – owned by the Mutter family, who created the fair in order to try to help save the cottages from the ravages of the sea.


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    After lunch in the Cuckmere Inn, the view east from the car park across the winding river flats towards the rowing club and visitor centre was idyllic.

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    Turning to face south from the same position in the car park the gaze was drawn down the channel towards the river mouth and the lofty chink of white cliff rising above it. The Coastguard Cottages are just out of shot to the right on the opposite side of the bay.

  2. (Quick) Holiday People

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    Whilst we sat having a cool beer on the terrace of the restaurant at La Résidence du Lac – a campsite just over the road from Val de Vie – when I noticed a lone young woman sketching away furiously in a scrapbook. I couldn’t resist doing a doodle of her while I drank. 26/08/16

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    Sitting on the grass at Châteaulong, listening to music before the fireworks with friends, I made this quick sketch of part of the group which attempts to capture the atmosphere of the occasion. Wine, snacks and conversation. Note the dog, Missy, in the middle of the group, also taking part. 07/08/16

  3. Vendée Places (2016)

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    After an exhausting hour on a pedalo on Lac d’Apremont we cooled off on the plage (of the lake) watching the bathers and people relaxing. The scene under the trees reminded me of one of the famous impressionist scenes and I felt inspired to capture it. 28/07/16

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    The next day was cooler with an overcast sky and I took a bike ride further up the lake near Maché. The lake seemed to glow with a cool light and my eyes were drawn to the greenhouses in the distance where there is a small shop where you can buy the produce – if you can find it open…29/07/16

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    The Fête de la Caille at Maché. We had a great repas of spatchcocked quails, salad, chips/mogettes, quail eggs, melon and wine/cider in fantastic atmosphere. The French family sitting on the same table/bench as us were great fun: the two older men were in a joking mood and included us in their ribald conversation, especially when the dance troop came on stage and it became evident that the girls were topless! 31/07/16

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    A hot day on the beach at Normandelière. It got very crowded by early afternoon. 01/08/16

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    A journey to the south of the Vendée into the Marais Poitevin took us to the Abbaye de Maillezais, a destination we had been meaning to get to for some years. After one of those exquisitely French lunches on the dappled terrace of the Auberge just across the road we watched another typically well-done spectacle in the abbey grounds where a public animation unfolded telling the story of the early Abbey, including the time when François Rabelais was assistant there to the Abbé. It was very hot, and I sat in a little semi-shade to quickly catch the glory of the dramatic ruins. Later, in the book shop I discovered a brilliant little book on the Abbey and its history, written in English and illustrated by his marvellous drawings by Edwin Apps who settled there in the late ’70s – a little treasure of a find. 03/08/16

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    One of our local restaurants in Apremont, La Vieux de la Vieille (named after a 1960s film of that name made in and around the town). We had a marvellous Moules avec Camembert there. 04/08/16

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    A ‘marché nocturne’ – evening street market and communal repas, called Festival des Artes et des Gôuts – in our nearest large town, Aizenay. We didn’t  have a meal, though we salivated over the steaks being barbecued which were sending plumes of enticing smoke across the marquees and the street stalls. But I did buy some aged sheeps cheese (tasting of earthy toffee and caramel!), rose garlic and shallots. We sat by the fountain to listen to the live music and ate some churros and drank some wine. 06/08/16

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    A shot across the moat at the Château Feudal in Commequiers, during their Medieval Festival earlier in the day. Before I knew it I got caught up in the mass parade which assembled by the bank from which I drew the picture. 06/08/16

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    Four paintings from the Fête du Lac at Châteaulong (La Chapelle-Hermier) showing scenes as the late afternoon led in to night. We had another great communal repas here (Jambon Vendéen, cool Breton cider), watched the band (Holy Moly Crap – honest) and then the spectacular feu d’artifice. 07/08/16

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    Two drawings of the same scene, a couple of hours apart. Beach barbecue with friends at Les Granges plage, Bretignolles. By nightfall the wind coming across the beach was quite chilly. 10/08/16

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    Two views of the aqua park at O’Gliss Park, made on one of the brightest, hottest days I’ve known: no shade and over 8 hours of exposure, it was a real task both to see (not helped by the chemicals in the water) and keep protected. The pictures reflect the child-like buzz of the place – so many rides/flumes/rapids/pools etc, but also such long, long queues. 12/08/16

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    Moules-Frites evening at Château d’Apremont. Great moules, music from the band and communal atmosphere. Questionable blue-coloured aperitif, though! 13/08/16

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    Our last Sunday for this summer holiday and it was blistering – temperatures hit 40 degrees and over – and everyone was spaced out. I managed to walk just outside the campsite in Maché with my faithful bottle of pastis and lemonade and found a shady nook to capture this view of the village’s war memorial. 14/08/16

     

  4. Camping Val de Vie (2016)

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    Our corner on the first day. Quick view without the tents/tourers etc. 25/07/16

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    Les Trois Amigos under the abri. A good singalong. 25/07/16

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    Shady side of the caravan. 26/07/16

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    Hedges viewed from our plot. 27/07/16

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    Pétanque courts. 30/07/16

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    Entrance to the campsite. I was trying to emulate a sort of ink and watercolour style here. I sat across the road on some rough ground and gained several strange looks from passers-by! 03/08/16

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    Two quick views: the main facilities block on site and a little hidden garden and pool behind the old statics. 05/08/16

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    Relaxing in the sun, I looked up to see these garments drying. Made a cute domestic scene, I thought. 06/08/16

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    It was a balmy evening, so we sat under the abri and chatted. 08/08/16

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    Two quick ‘pencil’ sketches made obstensibly as templates for more fully-worked ‘paintings’, but I rather liked them as they were, so here they are ‘unfinished’ as it were. 10/08/16

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    A hazy view of our corner, reflecting both the oppressive heat and the scorched nature of the terrain. 13/08/16

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    Crushed slippers 06/08/16

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    Citronella lamp. 11/08/16

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    A glass of cold Cidre de Breton, so nice, so needed. 14/08/16

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    Black plastic chair in the sun. 16/08/16

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    Long shadows on the dry ground in the late afternoon of our final day on site for this summer. 16/08/16

  5. Old Tasters 7 : Santenay 1er Cru 2002 Grand Clos Rousseau, Jean-Claude Boisset

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    Simply one of the best Pinots, from the exemplary hands of winemaker Gregory Patriat. Now 14 years old and just beginning to mature into a striking wine.

    Vibrant light mauve, rustic brick red in colour with a deep bramble fruit and earthy mushroomy nose. The entry is soft with light notes of raspberry, pepper, violets and spices. The palate is sustained, although there are signs that a few more years might knit the finish, which is just on the dry side, into the fruit a little more, allowing more mellow tertiary flavours to come through. A delightful wine showing real breeding. Just right for post-prandial sipping on a hot summer’s evening out on the terrace by candlelight…

  6. Gwyneth Herbert

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    At the Late Lounge, Rye Jazz Festival. Shortly after we were interviewed on BBC South East News as part of the Festival (30 seconds of fame, eh?).
    28/08/15

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    A fantastically intimate gig on her home turf at the Kino-Teatr, St Leonards: beautiful songs, great rapport (she called me ‘Beguiling I’ after one of her songs!); comfy leather armchairs and relaxing glasses of Tempranillo.
    13/05/16

  7. Hastings950

    A series of scenes, using the Bayeux Tapestry as inspiration, to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings this year.

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    A modern vista of the towns of Hastings and St Leonards using a combination of components from the actual tapestry to paint a scene which celebrates them both in an apt setting for this anniversary year.
    19/05/16

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    Harold, Duke of Wessex.
    21/06/16

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    Crowned, Harold II of England.
    26/06/16

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    Harold is struck by an arrow and cut down on the battlefield.
    12/07/16

  8. Early Calligraphate

    A series of works based loosely around the art of calligraphy as may be found in a fictional land where everything, whether natural or man-made, celebrates different modes of writing/scripts. Indeed, the very stuff of matter in this imagined province emanates from the stroke of a pen, reed or quill or results from the deft flow of brush.

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    Gate of the Kufic Deity at one of the entrances to the Calligraphate.
    27/04/16

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    The cutter, Jeli Dewani de Hachem, off the eastern coast of the Calligraphate.
    30/04/16

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    Brush trees in the Far Eastern mountains.
    30/04/16

    Three manuscripts from the Central Library:

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    Line tracing of William Morris’ Kelmscott Press edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
    29/05/16

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    Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry’s view of Chateau de Saumur. If you approach it right you can gain much the same view (sans bucolic vegetation) today from the town’s car park.
    24/05/16

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    The arrest of Christ, Book of Kells.
    27/05/16

    And some ancient scripts written on clay tablets, from the Calligraphic Museum:

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    31/05/16

  9. Gardenalia

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    Magnolia at bud-burst.
    25/03/16

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    Fennel new growth.
    12/04/16

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    Bluebells.
    12/04/16

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    Whitebells/snowdrops.
    17/04/16

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    A heavily copiced pear tree, netted with ivy, just before new spring growth.
    17/04/16

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    Rusting old brazier in the undergrowth.
    21/04/16

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    Testing a new app. (ProCreate) on my birthday (!) through an unfamiliar oil-paint line sketch of rear garden, raised beds and lean-to greenhouse. Kind of like the effect which could have great potential and utility, once mastered.
    07/04/16

  10. Pier views

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    Evening view of Hastings Old Town from the new pier on the eve of its official opening.
    20/05/16

    A cool twilight moment listening to the Hastings Big Choir rehearsing their set for the morning.

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    Hazy view west of the St Leonards and Marine Court shoreline.
    24/06/16

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    View inland from upper deck.
    24/06/16

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    Low tide.
    19/06/16