Chris Fothergill’s BLOG

Recent commissions, urban sketching and creative projects

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The Joys of Outdoor Painting

Hills Near Gretton, Winchcombe, Glos. It was a bright, brisk March morning first thing, and the sun streaming through the kitchen window lured me out to paint ‘en plein air’ as they say. I packed the thermos and paints, and headed for Hailes Abbey – somewhere local,... read more

Tuesday evening, back at Farmhouse

…After the last entry, still spitting with rain, manage to draw very quick perspective of the Via delle Occhi (in sketchbook) and finish off in the car. Houses and all very similar to plate in EH, but neater and tidier, and a tree to the left, which helps the... read more

5 Plaza d’Espana

The first day had been a great success by my standards. My first painting was not a disaster, and I had two other drawings under my belt, which I liked, and could later paint from, in the studio. Giddy with my success I hopped out of bed the following morning, and... read more

Use of masking fluid in watercolour

I’ve started a painting this week in my ‘classic’ watercolour style! By that I suppose I mean that the painting is carefully composed, with a preliminary pencil sketch (not shown here) to work out tonal values, composition and atmosphere. I love this... read more

Painting Water and Bridges

This is an unusual subject for me – a bridge on Exmoor, (but do you know which one?) It’s a famous one, and very old. I was commissioned to paint this as a birthday present for someone. I used burnt sienna as a base wash behind much of it which gives it the reddish... read more

Friday 21 May Orvieto

Promising morning, and wind my way across country to Orvieto, but on reaching the outskirts a moment’s inattention causes me to be swept on the toll paying Autostrada from Rome to Florence! After 23 kilometres of drumming my fingers on the steering wheel I come off at... read more

Let it Snow!

Arlington Row, Bibury in the snow. I love painting snow, it’s so rewarding and pretty! But only from the comfort and warmth of my studio. Actually I did stand and do an drawing of the Bibury picture on the spot, but half an hour is enough. I have tried painting in the... read more

Plantec Distribution Warehouse

OK so it’s a factory! But it’s a commission from a company who wanted a couple of paintings of their holding centres for a new showroom/lobby. So how to make a painting from an unpromising photograph? I enjoyed depicting the smartness of the building front to the... read more

The High and Queens College, Oxford

It’s usually sunny in my paintings, but here there are people with umbrellas, and the mood is restrained and a little damp! I found a line drawing of this view in a drawer, which I drew many years ago, and realised that I never actually turned it into a painting. I... read more

Van Gogh’s Boots

Where better to start ‘Travels with my Art’ than with Van Gogh’s boots? I know from experience how weary his feet must have been when he’d finished a day’s painting ‘en plein air’. The picture here shows a copy I made of Van... read more

Sunday 23 May Return to Todi

Writing this back at Perugia Farmhouse in early evening, sitting on a chair in bright sunshine overlooking a magnificent hilltop view across Perugia and the hills. Awoke this morning to a clear blue sky, and a warmth that was to last the day. I decided to return to... read more

Painting of Assisi

I’ve been meaning to produce a painting from a sketch of Assisi I did in May. But where to start? The photo I took at the time was very flat and colourless as it was raining most of the day! However the view was lovely and in my minds eye I could see it in early... read more

1 Seville

Apart from the flights I didn’t book anything in advance. It seemed a far more romantic notion to just arrive in Andalucia; me with a backpack, and a whole new world to be discovered. Inevitably, reality turns out to be a little more bracing than the sunny... read more

San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

I finished painting this watercolour today; there’s a bit more fiddling about with the gondolas in the foreground, but it’s finished in the sense that it’s now best left alone! Am I pleased with it? As much as I ever am with a painting. It’s... read more

2 La Giralda

I slept like a baby. I don’t know why people use that expression to describe deep, refreshing and uninterrupted slumber; my experience of babies calls to mind continual waking in the night accompanied by crying, chewing of blankets and uncontrolled pooing.... read more

Wednesday 19 May Assisi / Spello

Rise early, and out at 7.30 (check out of farmhouse) and head for Assisi. Easy drive, and park in probably the most expensive farmhouse in Assisi. Then an expensive coffee and pastry sets the tone for the day. Still, the farmhouse cost less than expected as it was... read more

Sketch of the Week

Old folk sitting on a bench in Cirencester today! I took a surreptitious photo but was spotted by the old chap with glasses. The two ladies on the right were having a good old chat while waiting for the bus. And why not? I painted this first just with a brush, and... read more

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