_Out of the Blue the BBC called me to do an Interview with Michael Prortillo, as the TV program Great British Railway Journeys was coming to town. They wanted someone to talk about the Artist Francis Damby who Lived here in the 19th century at the end of this life. As I didn't Know too much about this Artist, I did a google, But a Fellow artist friend of mine Ray Balkwill did, in fact he had the council erect a plaque in Dambys honer, So Ray was the man for the job.
The Beeb and Micheal Portillo wanted local other local artists to interview so me Ray and Marcia Rowles all set up on the recreation ground for them to film, I had an hour and a half to get something half decent done to go on national TV, no pressure then!! :-) Luckily, it was ok and I had got the painting to a presentable stage before the cameras turned up.
Micheal Portillo was very charming and put us all at ease, I cant remember what he asked me now, but I hope my answers were not to garbled!
The episode of Great British Railway Journeys will be screened January 14th at 6:30 BBC 2, to view the program click the link above.
My Finished painting from the day, Which they filmed me painting,
So may well be on National TV.
"Low tide on the Estuary"
10 x 12 ins
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After a long break from plein air painting, I had the opportunity to get back in the saddle, the next day was meant to be the end of winter! So I packed my kit the night before ready to go hunting as early as I could.
After dropping off Jackson at school, I got the train in to the city and arrived in Exeter at 10 am.
I decided to take a look at how the cathedral looked in the morning light.
On my way I turned down Gandy St and "Wow" It wasn't going to get any better than this! contre- jour heaven! (painting in to the light)
The sun was coming down right in the middle of the street and every one walking had a halo of sun light around them, and the street was shining gold.
This wasn't going to last long.... I worked on the main shapes, shadows, and the light on the street. I realised I was not going to finish this painting today, as everything had changed far to much to continue, So I would bring it back and finish it another day.
After a warm up and some lunch, I headed down to the quay to see how things were looking this time of year, and it looked great!
I walked around most of it looking for a subject that I could finish before my train left, as I was looking down on the quay from Colleton crescent, I saw the new pub Samuel Jones was finished and it had the light on it and looked fabulous, I had found my painting!
I zoomed in and included part of the bridge, which I want to paint some time soon too.
This was a delight, the sun came out for the whole time I was painting, which warmed me up and lit my subject beautify, which is always helpful.
Everything felt good and I got to take home a finished plein air painting home, result!
I caught the train in time and as I write this with the sun setting over the estuary, it really did feel like the end of winter. Paintings of Exeter Gallery
The main things I needed to get on with were the Cathedral and a few more people, which I had been looking forward to. The Cathedral window was a challenge, as I didn't want to paint all the detail, but instead wanted a simplified version as it wasn't the main focus of the painting, the market stalls and people were.
As time was now an issue, I needed to concentrate, but as I am in the middle of a very busy place I do get attention and people wanting to chat to me, one man full of Christmas spirits chatted for about 15 minutes, and a lovely young art student gave me this sketch book to look through, but it all worked out fine, as this made me stay a bit later and I got to see all the lights come on so I could add them in.
It would have been lovely to have the Christmas tree all lit up in, which was just out of my painting on the right, so that will be one for next year. view this painting in the gallery
The painting, Half way through -
On the way up on the train I had the thought to check out the lights in Gandy st as the last time I was there they hadn't been on.
I knew the lights would come on at about 3 ish now so I had plenty of time to scout for other places and subjects. I went back to Gandy st and decided to set up at the other end this time, outside the Phoenix art collage and the beautiful RAMM building as I liked all the colours and the lights in the Moko shop.
I got back from my scout only to find about a thousand six year old's waiting to go to an exhibition just where i was going to pitch up! They took about 15 minutes to clear, so had a little think about how I on earth I was going to paint all this.
I started the painting at about one, so I had time to get the composition and drawing sorted, all the time trying to keep it all a bit darker to make the lights shine when they came on.There were lot's of art students walking past so I was expecting some critique, but all I spoke to were very nice.
Big cars, Vans and buses all had quite a bit of trouble getting in and out of the Phoenix Collage which inconveniently blocked my view for a few minutes at a time, so I ended up being a Traffic helper too.
I forgot my camera phone today (duh) so I didn't get any pic's of me painting it, apologizes. - Mark
Thursday 27th November
I got to the Cathedral green in the afternoon as I wanted to check out the Christmas markets lights but it was a tricky place to set up my rig, in the end i loved the look of the shop Orvis which had its lights on, the tea on the green and Martins lane in the background which made some interesting light and dark abstract shapes.
I had been painting for about 30 mins when it started pouring down, I tilted my panel forward so it didn't get so wet which can help, a little rain is fine, I really like all those reflections! but it kept coming down, and in the end I couldn't get the paint to stick on my panel anymore, or though it does create some interesting effects with the paint, But I had to give it up for now, and went home early.
The next day I got there at about 3 pm, it was a similar light, so I set to work, I wanted to leave in as much of the rainy effects as I could, but did have to change a few things
It was getting darker and darker and the lights were getting lighter and brighter so I went with it and was pleased I did, its not usually something I would do.
When I came too, I realized what the time was, 4 30!!? I had to pick up my little boy from after school club at 5 30! so I had a sprint to the train station and was in luck, a train in 10 mins!
Back to gallery post
"Gandy st, coming up to Christmas" 12 x 10 ins oil on panel
I have long admired the great city paintings, with wonderful architecture, the people mulling around going about there business, and cafe scenes in beautiful sunny locations, But I had never tried to paint them. As the best paintings for me, are the one's done from directly in front of the motif, that's where I need to be.
It's a bit scary to start with, as every ones an art critic and the painting process doesn't look to pretty at some of the stages of painting, also as I am human, I cock some up to! It is exciting though, because I don't even know whats going to happen, and how it will turn out.
This painting in Gandy st had a spell where I was really fighting to pull things together, but I kept my cool and kept working at it, and I think this one turned out how I would have hoped, I really enjoy the two men talking in the door way of the vaults and also, and surprisingly to me the little still life on the table of Bill's in the right hand bottom corner.
"The Cliffs at Budleigh"