Away from the coast, Southern Spain is a land of mountains and white towns. The light is dramatic and harsh.
Nearly every year we go to Ronda, in the mountains of Andalucía, to see my good friend Jane. We have been friends since we were eight years old at a prep school called Arden Hurst in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire. Jane and her husband Pete moved to Ronda over twenty years ago to set up and their holiday villa business. With their clear vision and work ethic, their company Real Ronda is now the foremost holiday villa company in southern Spain. I was so delighted that they chose to use one of my Ronda paintings on their website.
This year we could only make a flying visit, but despite this I managed a full day painting. Their house is in an amazing position with views down the valley looking towards Seville. The whitewashed walls of the villa framed by dramatic umbrella pines, which hover like menacing clouds overhead.
When I paint outside from life, I work incredibly fast. Sometimes it works out and sometimes not. I find that when painting in the field, probably not unsurprisingly, my brushstrokes have more energy. One of my biggest failings is to fiddle with the paintings once I get home and the result can end up looking overworked. This time I have decided to use the two paintings as starting points for future works. This follows a discussion I had when painting with a fellow artist Lucy Powell. Lucy has trained with the highly respected teacher, Robin Child and kindly shared some of his wisdom with me. Where I want to get to is to paint a feeling rather than just a place. So in this blog I am showing my starting point with my two recent paintings painted at the home of my friend Jane in Ronda.