Sunday, January 11, 2009

Watercolour Trees and John Blockley

I decided to go a bit colourful and unrealistic with these watercolour trees but I think they look quite nice.

A pen and ink group of very well dressed ladies wearing some rather unusual hats.

I thought you might like to see what I am sketching at the moment. I love peeking into other peoples' sketchbooks. A lot of my sketches never actually make it to finished drawings and sometimes the ones that do are completely unrecognisable from the original sketch. I decided to stick to a gold and magenta colour palette with these. It is a combination that I think looks really good together.

An attempt at a watercolour tree sketch "a la John Blockley".

These gorgeously colourful textile pieces are by the very talented Sherrill Kahn. I love her fabric doll necklaces which have a wonderful graphic and native look to them. Sherrill is another multi-talented craftswoman who paints, weaves, quilts, beads, sews, knits, crochets and draws. Wouldn't it be lovely to do all that, but where does she find the time? I have a couple of her books and they are a delight. You may need to click on the pictures to enlarge them to get the full details.

The images below are the work of the late and much lamented watercolourist John Blockley. I love the way he rendered his trees with a watercolour wash roughly tree shaped and then the branches stroked in. I would have loved to have seen him working. His pictures are full of texture and beautifully subtle colour.

We have had some very cold (for the UK) weather for the past three weeks. Nothing in comparison to the weather some of you are getting of course, but everything is relative isn't it? What we have to put up with in the freezing tootsies department we make up for in the beauty of the countryside. A hoar frost which covers the trees in white crystals is utterly stunning, to my mind anyway. It is almost more beautiful than pristine snow, and we have had quite a few to admire recently. Unfortunately, the downside has been pavements and roads like skating rinks. I had to assist several women in picking up a poor elderly lady who had lost her footing the other day, and she was far from the only one. Makes me wonder whether we should all have shoes with spikes on the soles in winter. There would be far fewer people in A & E departments with fractured limbs. Like everything in life there is an upside and a downside - keeps the balance though!

My artist this week is no longer with us but he has left some wonderful art to remind us that he was here. He is the well known watercolourist John Blockley.When I first started drawing and painting back in 1990ish I found his books on watercolour landscapes a wonderful source of inspiration. A lot of his work is of the Cotswold area of England and I had found someone who also loved trees, if his paintings are anything to go by. His work was his personal view and feelings about a place, rather than a literal representation and he also produced more abstract work. I have only posted images of the more realistic work as I am not really a fan of abstraction in art. I love his pencil sketches and the shapes of his trees. I tried very hard to emulate his style back in the 90's before realising that I had to find my own. I treasure his books that I own though and often browse through them. I wish I had his talent with landscape. Some of his work can be found here at the Manor House Gallery site and elsewhere on the web if you type his name in a search engine.


Old World Primitives said...

Wow, John Blockley's work is amazing! I especially love the first watercolor of his in this post. I need to look up more of his work. Your blue watercolor trees are my favorite this week, and I love your ladies this week too.

Sherrill Kahn's necklaces are truly unique and beautiful - thank you for introducing me to both of these artists.


Cathy said...

Thanks Stephanie. I had forgotten about how good John Blockley was until I found some of his books that I had squirreled away. I would love to own one of his paintings but I think they sell for huge amounts - a print

ArtPropelled said...

Cathy your pen and ink ladies are charming! I would love to know what they are all thinking.

When I started water colours many moons ago the first book I bought was one of John Blockley's. His work is so beautiful. Thanks for reminding me. I love Sherrill Kahn's work too.

Cathy said...

I think they are probably saying "why is everyone looking at our hats" Robyn. I was going to call them "ladies who lunch" but I thought they couldn't go in a restaurant with those hats John Blockley was a great artist. I covet so many of his paintings and love the way he did his trees.

Holly Zemak said...

We are about to into the deep freeze again. Basically a good old fashioned winter consisting of snow,ice and cold. Thanks for the peak into your sketch book, you put alot of detail into them.

Love the ladies and the hats - fun!

Cathy said...

Thanks Holly. I like to have a bit of a laugh with my pictures otherwise life can get too serious.

Gillian said...

Absolutely love your watercolour trees - wonderful colours!

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Gillian.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

I love your watercolor trees. The colors are beautiful.
Your featured artists are/were quite talented. Mr Blockley's works is very nice. What a treat to have some of his books.
I'll have to do some google searching on Sherrill Kahn's work. I had not heard of her and really do like her work.
Sounds like you folks have been getting some nasty weather. It's been unusually cold over here.
I love to look at ice on trees. Very pretty but cold, burrr.

Cathy said...

Thanks Phyllis. We have lost the freezing cold weather temporarily and it is raining cats and dogs as I sit typing this. I am pleased you like my artists. Sherrill Kahn is wonderful with fabric and paint.

Caroline said...

Love your trees Cathy! Funny how many of us cut our teeth on John Blockley!

Cathy said...

Thanks Caroline. So you enjoyed John Blockley too? I just wish I could afford an original.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where we can see john blockley watercolours in the flesh so-to-speak?

and how the hell does he get his textures? I would kill to be able to get textures like these Ive been trying for 10 years

Also it would help if there were dimensions of these works on this blog

Cathy said...

Hi Steve

I think a huge amount of John Blockley's work has been sold to private buyers all over the world. There is not, to my knowledge, a place where his work is displayed to the public. The images I have uploaded are from his book "Country Landscapes In Watercolour" which to my mind is his best book. You can buy this online at various places including Amazon or get it from your local library by request. He describes how he gets the effects on his paintings and shows lots of examples. I have tried to get his sort of texture without success also. He was a master at his art.

You may also like to view some of Michael Morgan's work as he was greatly influenced by John Blockley's art and there are definite similarities in style.

MickS said...

I saw Blockley once, we went into his gallery in Stow to buy a print. I asked him hwo he produced such wonderful work and he took me into a small room at the back of the shop and gave me a quick demo, he was a very quiet unasuming man Whilst I'm a not bad watercolourist, sold all I've ever exhibeted, I can't do that thing with the ink, amazing.

Cathy said...

Hi Mick, I think John was a complete gentleman and very willing to pass on his knowledge to whoever asked. I have several of his books and although I have tried his techniques, I cannot get anywhere close to his talent either. He was and still is immensely popular. When I check my stats his name is always at the top of the list for searches.