Derbyshire Days….painting holiday research.





We went to Derbyshire last weekend to do a workshop with the keen painters of Matlock Art Society and to go to the painting holiday venue to have a look round.

When you go into a scenic part of the country such as the Derbyshire peak, you realise what you’re missing in terms of variety of subject matter to paint when you live in a suburban environment as I do! The ivy covered stone walls dividing the fields, the rolling hills, the stone cottages and majestic trees along the roadside…everywhere you look there is texture, variety of form and ready made compositions to render in whatever medium you choose.
On visiting ARKWRIGHTS MILL again, we saw how much the reconstruction had advanced and were amazed at the story told by the information boards dotted around the site. Amazed also at the size of the trout shimmying against the flow in the stream that passes through the site and the size and depth of the waterfall in the old waterwheel housing which used to provide the power to run the textile mill in the 19th century. The mill site is becoming a hub of activity with shops, craft and art studios and museums and a cafe.
We went on to the CANAL QUAY where materials used to be shipped in and out of Cromford. The old building by the canal has been carefully refurbished and now houses a cafe.
With the painting holidays in mind, and my intention to do some pen and wash work, I took some close ups of the craggy cliffs and WALLS in the mill area, covered with lichen, ivies and self seeded Spring flowers.
Before leaving Cromford we walked around the VILLAGE POND, passing by the famous second hand bookshop, Scarthins, and round by the working waterwheel at one end of the pond. The daffodils were out.
Its a little gem is Cromford… sober, modest, quiet but full of fascinating social history and understated beauty.
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Primroses…steps one to five.







Here’s how I tackled the primroses the day before yesterday. I had a good reference photo which I had been lucky enough to capture a week or so ago when the sun was shining. I wasn’t too impressed with the photo until I had a good look and saw the effect of the sun on the petals at the top. That was enough to get me inspired.

You have to wet the paper thoroughly before putting on the first wash and then let the quite strong, thick colours blend in the water on the surface of the paper. You have to have an idea in your head as to which colour is going to go where. I look at the ref. photo through half closed eyes to see the tones more clearly.

Primroses…workshop preparation


I’m doing a workshop with the Matlock Art Society on the 19 March and the subject is Primroses. I always like to freshen up my knowledge of the flower I’m going to be painting and it’s often interesting to see how things have developed since last painting the subject in question.

Primroses are out now, trying their hardest to thrive despite the frosty nights and cold damp days we’ve been having. I took a photo of these as the late afternoon sun was skimming them and making them back lit. It was the light effect I was trying to capture above all else.