That old chestnut, and some bits and pieces.

Now that we are in the season of fruits etc, every morning for breakfast, I pick ripe juicy figs from our abundant figtree ( running the gauntlet of hornets, who attack if they see anyone stealing “their” fruit.) However, I always manage to get enough for us. Also every morning when walking Megan, I pass by our neighbours who are reaping their annual harvest of chestnuts, a prickly and back-breaking business. I have picked up one or two which have fallen on the track , so that I can paint them later, they are so beautiful and rich in colour , shiny and gleaming with health. I have to be quick because they soon lose their lustre after a day or two. Colette, knowing I like to paint them,  presented me with this gift of  an enormous crown of chestnuts in a bed of leaves.


She had chosen the biggest and most interesting ones for me, some shells with 5 or 6 chestnuts in,  when normally they only hold three.This is such a generous and thoughtfully presented gift, I had to start painting it immediately, before their newness wore off. I am rather busy this week with more mundane things , so I have been darting into the studio at any spare moment I have to hand. My first application of paint:



Next day:IMG_6583

A couple of days later, I think it’s finished, I might fiddle with it , but I am leaving it for now, anyway it’s time to start cooking and eating these beauties! :


A seasonal hazard when walking the dog in the forest is the constant bombardment of acorns and chestnuts raining down around you, when one of those prickly bombs hits you on the head it can be jolly painful, so I now wear a hat to soften any blows, poor Megan though, has to take her chances!

I have done a quick drawing with my new toy , the Wacom tablet, to learn the handling of different tools, it’s not as varied as the ipad Artrage app, but I quite like the feel of drawing with the pen, and it’s quite impressive to see the drawing on a big screen.


A couple more paintings I have been working on, this one got tighter and tighter as I worked, I was concentrating on keeping the colours as subtle as possible, hence the tightness.





Hmm I think I’ll work on that blue shadow again. Here is a colour sketch I did to loosen me up again!



….and 2 details from a couple of interiors I have been working on , they are not completed yet, and I need a break from them as they are not performing well, in fact I may just crop them to these details, or maybe do another painting from them:




I love painting nests, and I found a beautiful feather, possibly from an owl , or maybe a buzzard, so,  I added it to the composition.



Lastly a little corker!! Many happy evenings were spent contributing to this still life!


11 thoughts on “That old chestnut, and some bits and pieces.

  1. Liz, your painting skills are so well honed, yet you have the eye to know when things are getting over-worked. Of course paintings can be wilful or elusive, something you put so charmingly in the phrase, ‘when they are not performing well’. The painting of chestnuts is magnificent. I like it in all three of the images.

    Digital cameras and blogs are such fantastic tools for the artist, because they allow us… and others… to recall each stage of a work. I use the camera all the time these days to keep my eye alert to what’s looking good before I accidentally obliterate it. I photograph in the evening, and check the image in the morning, before I go to the studio, when my eye is rested and my mind clear.

    Your still-life of the white enamelware and china is lovely. I used to enjoy painting white china (you know my love of Winifred Nicholson) though have got out of the habit, plus my painting has gone in a different direction. But looking at yours there, I had a momentary pang of what it felt like to capture domestic beauty with such tenderness. Well done my friend. You get better, something we all aspire to as the years pass.

    • What a lovely thing to say, thanks Clive. It’s still a game of snakes and ladders for me though, and I am sliding down the snakes more often than not! I agree, the camera is an invaluable aid to painting. Against my better judgment I have already fiddled with the chestnut painting , and am hoping and praying I have not ruined it, and it’s here the photo will help me, probably by sending me into a fit of depression!! Thanks for identifying the feather, the buzzard must have been in or above our courtyard, as I found it at the base of the cedar tree.xL

  2. What a lovely gift. I love the painting you made of it. – remember the week I spent drawing at yours. The chestnuts. Inspired me to get working again. – I need another kickstart. – Love A xx

    • Yes I do remember, in fact I was thinking of you whilst I was painting them. Do you also remember the herds of wild boar in our field as well? I have never seen so many before nor since, they seem to be a lot more shy these days, even though I see plenty of evidence of their foraging.

  3. Hi Liz, Wow!  Beautiful work. What a year you are having, and what an output!  I look forward to seeing the chestnuts exhibited when next you are at the Abbey, or wherever, really.  Do not fiddle with it. Without wishing to interrupt the artistic muse – you are clearly on a roll – let me know the next time you are on a break and perhaps we can meet somewhere for gossip and a snack – or just gossip!    The weather’s good isn’t it, and the Autumn is heartbreakingly beautiful.  I hope there are more good days to come. Love to you both and to dear Meggy ….. xx


  4. Just love all these paintings, including the interiors you are dissatisfied with. The chair one reminds me of a Pierre Bonnard or Édouard Vuillard (I can never remember which is which, but I love them both 🙂 It makes me long for my paintbrushes and oil paints, long missed. I’ll look forward to seeing more of your paintings here!

  5. Thanks Judy, of all the Nabis painters I love Vuillard in particular, I love the way he sometimes painted on bits of cardboard, possibly cropping them afterwards. Get those brushes and paints out, (as if you haven’t enough to do !)

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