Jane Eyre series

One of the projects I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time has been to do a series of illustrations for Charlotte Brönte’s  Jane Eyre. I recently re-read it and was amazed at how good it was. It’s a Victorian page-turner! I’m a big fan of the Victorian gothic imagery and the romantic melodrama. Having recently returned from a trip to England, I was also inspired by the moors, the tors and the hedgerows. Here are the illustrations:

Sketches from Devon and Cornwall

Joel and I spent two weeks in the Devon and Cornwall area of England recently. We had excellent weather for plein air sketching. Words can’t describe how inspiring I find the landscape in those parts. Lovely! That’s all I can say. I especially love Dartmoor National Park.

These sketches are available as prints in my Etsy shop.

This is a view of Dittisham, in the south of Devon. We took a tiny “ferry” boat to go over to Greenway from here (Agatha Christie’s summer home). I highly recommend the experience to everyone. It was a beautiful day, ideal for sketching. I was sitting in the churchyard while sketching this.

While in Devon, we stayed in Dartmoor National Park near Dunsford. We sketched this house, name the Olde Court Farm in Dunsford. The owners informed us the house is over 700 years old! That is madness to my Canadian ears. The owners were such lovely people, they served us mint tea (from her garden) and delicious cake while we were sketching! It does not get better than that.

Our AirBnB was across from the Teign River and these old stepping stones (the Old Stables on AirBnB, check it out). We decided to paint them one day. It was very relaxing to wake up to the sounds of running water. You could cross the stones to get to a network of walking paths on the other side.

This was sketched on a drizzly day in Lustleigh, in the Dartmoor Park. I like how much the cottage is leaning (not an exaggeration, I measured). I like what the rain did to the sky and pavement part of the sketch. There is a fantastic tea room next door, The Primrose Tea Room, where I had one of the best afternoon teas of my life.

This is a view from the harbour of Porthoustock in Cornwall. We started drawing this at around 7pm so it was pretty quiet there. Of all my sketches with boats in them, this is the only one that turned out. I’ve since given up drawing boats and put them in the same category as drawing cars, i.e. unpleasant things to draw.

Ah, the Tin Coast in Cornwall. Another great day for sketching. If you’ve watched Poldark like I have (and are mildly obsessed with it) then you will recognize these chimneys. They are all over the coast in this area of Cornwall. This was at the Levant Mine complex, an old tin mine ruin.

 

 

Sketches from Scotland

Joel and I recently returned from spending 3 weeks in Scotland. We saw many castles, mazes, big houses, puffins, weird and awesome landscapes, glens, highlands, rode horses, experienced volatile weather and rain. So. Much. Rain. Which is not at all conducive to outdoor sketching! Prior to our departure Joel and I had said we were going to sketch on this trip like it was our job; every other day. But due to rain, generally cold weather and midges (biting insects) we only managed half a dozen sketches! It was difficult to get a two-hour window without any of the aforementioned things to sit down and sketch.

I love how moody the landscape is in Scotland. I took many reference photos which you might see popping up in my work later on this year.

Here’s what we came up with:

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Doune Castle, where Monty Python & the Holy Grail and scenes from Outlander were filmed. A nice example of a restored 13th-century castle.

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Random house, just outside Pitlochrie.

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Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness. I’d say skip this one if you’re not into ruins crawling with tourists. We were told not to sit on the grass here…which did not please me.

 

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Lovely Tudor building in Peebles, in the Borders.

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The kitchen at Glaschoille House, in the Knoydart Peninsula. We were waiting to go back to the mainland after two days on horseback and had an hour to kill. Midges prevented me from sketching outdoors so here is the one and only indoor plein air sketch!

 

 

 

Provence

Here is a little study of a door in Provence, France. The goal here was to create texture without becoming too painterly, therefore using black and sepia inks in addition to watercolour to try and achieve that.

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More birds

Every now and then (okay, pretty much every year) family members request a piece of art from me. Aren’t they lucky? A quick and easy way for me to that is to paint studies of birds because guess what? I like birds. Here are a few in watercolour and ink:

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Baltimore Oriole

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Pileated Woodpecker

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Common Kingfisher