Monday, 27 December 2010

Bison over my Kitchen Sink!

Maybe I'd over-indulged on festive fare, but the other evening as I stood by the kitchen sink I could make out the shape of a bison in the iced-over window behind the roller-blind!

Like prehistoric cave paintings, there were other animals too ...

Today they are all gone.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

More Midwinter Middlesbrough - Sylvan Season's Greetings!

Here is more celebration of the beautiful landscape around Middlesbrough. Some of you mentioned that you would like me to show more images of this area - and as it is one of my favourite painting places, I'm very happy indeed to do so!

Every year I like to produce new Season's Greetings cards to send to friends, and this year I painted the above design. It features the landscape just south of Middlesbrough, looking toward the Cleveland Hills. This is one of my favourite views, with the fields and copses stretching into the distance, and the phenomenal skies one so often sees over this lovely place.

I painted the scene yesterday, on A4 size blue-grey Ingres paper. Firstly I used black waterproof drawing ink, and then I added the white highlights with gouache paint. This is a combination I often use for painting sylvan and garden imagery, as I find it ideal for communicating atmosphere.

I used the above rendering of the image, with an orange layer over the moon, as a temporary Header on this blog yesterday, to celebrate the unique combination of Winter Solstice, Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse!

Season's Greetings to you all! I wish you a lovely holiday and a wonderful year ahead, full of beauty and love and light.

Ingrid Sylvestre

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Light in Midwinter Middlesbrough

I love Middlesbrough. Not only is it set in some of the most outstandingly beautiful landscapes in the UK, the town itself is a pleasure to visit. I look forward to the walk from the station with it's wonderful architectural surroundings, and one of my favourite routes is past the spacious town hall square on the way to Teesside University.

The above photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, very early one morning when the snows had just begun. It was my first view of this year's tree. As I passed, the sun suddenly came out from behind the looming snow-clouds, shining directly through the star that crowns the tree.

It was a moment of such beauty and hope. May this town and inhabitants, it's industry and excellent inspirational University prosper!

The tree yesterday, lit by the town lights and the waxing moon.


This post is part of OOTS (Out on the Streets), a meme of monthly blog posts featuring public planting aspects of our streets, initiated by Veg Plotting. Do visit her blog, from where you can also visit the other OOTS blog posts.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Food for the Artist's Palate!

On these freezing winter nights we particularly enjoy our food - in large quantities! And I like to introduce a sense of whimsical artistry into it's preparation ...

A few years ago I came across these wonderful palette-shaped plates. How could I resist buying them?!

Here the culinary artist's materials are assembled. Pasta is bubbling. Rashers of delicious smokey bacon are sizzling in another pan, while onions, celery, red peppers and banana are chopped. A spoonful of curry powder adds to the colour spectrum on the palette. My favourite Yeo Valley Greek Style Organic joghurt is waiting ...

All the vegetables are thrown with a flourish into the pan and sauteed with the bacon, then the banana to thicken it up towards the end. Arrange the mixture on the palette, garnish with the joghurt ...

Food for the Artist's Palate - on a Palette Plate! Ingrid Sylvestre North East artist
From palette to palate! Yum ...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Oak Tree painting in progress

A friend just sent me a photo of one of my favourite trees - a majestic old oak tree next to a wonderful Wood. I was immediately inspired to paint it again!

This time I felt moved to paint it at night, in the snow. I have many special memories of this scene, with the oak standing strong, spreading it's branches against the night sky, as the Wood sighs in the breeze beyond. Ivy grows up it's mighty trunk, making intricate criss-cross patterns in the covering of snow.

I'm using mixed media, (oil pastel and watercolour), on very heavy textured watercolour paper. Impulsive with this painting, I didn't stretch the paper first, which doesn't matter as it is so thick! Wanting to continue quickly I draped the painting over the back of two chairs in front of the radiator to dry.

(I'm still working on the previous painting of the Cleveland Hills - I like to let a painting 'stand' for a few days, while I meditate on it to decide what final work needs to be done - otherwise it can be tempting to 'overwork' it!)

Ingrid Sylvestre

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Apples of gold under silvery snow

We have had much snow here, and I was curious to see how the little tree with the apples of gold was faring. ( See post 'Autumn ends with apples of gold'). Camera in waterproof wrap, I set off through the night blizzard.

The scene was transformed from russets and golds to silver, mauve and deep blue! And though it's branches were bowed under the weight of the snow, the tree still seemed to shine with an inner light. The snow stopped falling and all was still.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Painting in Progress!

Here's the promised update on the blank piece of paper! This is how the painting looks today. There is still quite a lot of work to be done on it, particularly in the distant Cleveland Hills, and the foreground and trees details.

The above photo shows the painting yesterday. I usually work the sky first, particularly with watercolour, which is the medium I'm using here. Sometimes I draw the composition in with pencil first, but with this painting I started immediately with the paint.

My aim is to express the exhilaration and sense of wonder the landscape stirs in me, and to celebrate this special place with it's dramatic skies and unique atmosphere.

You can view further paintings of this beautiful area of North East England landscape at my Grey Towers Art site.

North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre, Grey Towers paintings, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, Cleveland.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Blank Canvas - (or in this case, paper)!

Unlike many of my fellow-artist-friends, I LOVE a blank canvas or sheet of paper!

It's that excitement and anticipation of making the first mark, which may be premeditated after many sketches, or just joyous spontaneity.

This piece of work will be based on the landscape around Grey Towers which featured in my blogpost of November 12th. I'll be posting as it develops ...

North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre, Durham North East England UK. English Landscape Painter, English Landscape Painting, English Romantic Landscape Paintings, Fine Art commissions paintings for sale.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Autumn ends with apples of gold

Has today been the end of our Autumn? A chilly dawn revealed frost, and all around the country people have been saying that Winter is here. But what a glorious finale to the season!

Under cloudless skies, the woods shimmered with the last of the leaves and a profusion of berries.

Secretive paths seemed to beckon, leading beyond screens of twigs to the heart of the woods.

Autumn ends with apples of gold Ingrid Sylvestre North East artist Durham artist UK artist Northeast art for sale
And there I found a beautiful tree, celebrating Autumn with apples of gold.
Influenced by the love of English Romantic Landscape Paintings and the English Romantic Landscape!
North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre Durham artist North East art for sale

Ingrid Sylvestre

Friday, 12 November 2010

Wild Winds and Dancing Light

Wild Winds and Dancing Light over the Cleveland Hills from Grey Towers Ingrid Sylvestre North East Artist Landscape Painter Romantic English Landscape Paintings Durham Artist North East UK
The gale force winds and lashing rain early on Thursday morning may not have seemed ideal conditions for a walk, but what exhilaration and inspiration lay ahead!

Edge of Poole Wood Grey Towers Ingrid Sylvestre North East Artist Landscape Painter Romantic English Landscape Paintings Durham Artist North East UK
This wonderful walk begins down Grey Towers Farm Lane, where emerging into wide fields, one sees the distinctive edge of Poole Wood with it's curved trees. Today it is topped with grey scudding clourds and seems both dark and luminous.

Photo of Grey Towers Ingrid Sylvestre North East Artist Landscape Painter Romantic English Landscape Paintings Durham Artist North East UK
Further along, a rainbow rises above the historic Grey Towers mansion.

The track curves round the edge of Jubilee Plantation, where the wind flurries bring rich scents of ploughed earth.

Storm clouds gather over the distant Cleveland Hills, and the young crops shimmer bright green.

A sudden mellowing of the light, and a farm leads the eye between autumn trees.

Ahead, the cottages of Old Nunthorpe village nestle snugly, as clouds race across the ever-changing sky.

A very special walk.

Friday, 29 October 2010

A magical tree - and a new joghurt experience!

Stepping off the train at Middlesbrough last week, I gloried in the early morning
sunshine. It was one of those days when everything feels magical, and your heart sings!

When I passed this car park at the University of Teesside, I had to stop and dig out my camera. The light around the edge of the hedge and plants was so compelling. Then I caught sight of a little tree ...

I don't know what species it is, but bejewelled in light, it had the appearance of a transcendent sylvan being!


On a completely different note, something else which has been making me exuberantly happy all week is the wonderful Yeo Valley advert. Pure genius and great fun too! You can view it on their Yeotube channel!!

It's very unusual for me to make a purchase as a result of a TV advert, but I just had to try some Yeo Valley joghurt ... Oh, exquisite yumminess!! I bought two big pots, a Greek style probiotic joghurt, and a vanilla. Unless I'm very self-disciplined, they'll both be finished by this evening! Yeo, Yeo!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Revisiting blogland - and a very special place!

Cleveland Hills from Grey Towers Ingrid Sylvestre North East artist

Hello again, Blogland!

I'm amazed that it is nearly a year since my last post. Suddenly lots of unexpected but welcome creative projects and work cropped up, and I decided to stop blogging completely for a while. Blogging is a bit like eating chocolate for me - either all or nothing!

Circular Garden Poole Wood Grey Towers Ingrid Sylvestre
It has been an amazing year, and one of the best aspects has been re-visiting a very special place. I spoke about it in a post last Autumn, and this year I've been able to spend a lot of time appreciating it's wonderful environment while working on creative projects.
One's vision can go from glorious panoramic views of the Cleveland Hills to winding paths through the woods, leading to a secret circular garden surrounded by tall hedges ...

Poole Lake Grey Towers North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre
A tranquil lake hidden in the woods ...

Grey Towers Farm Lane North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre
A sylvan lane leading to harvest fields and skies of splendour ...

Old Nunthorpe North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre
Pastoral views to a cosy village ...

Cloudscapes over Grey Towers North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre
Stunning cloud-scapes over the historic mansion, Grey Towers ...

Sunset skies Cleveland Hills North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre
Serene skies at dusk, bordered by the long line of Cleveland Hills ...

Sunset Grey Towers Ingrid Sylvestre North East artist
Otherworldly sunsets over harvest fields ...

Ingrid Sylvestre

North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre, English landscape painter, Fine Art paintings for sale, commissions, Grey Towers paintings, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, Cleveland.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Behind a Curtain of Icicles

When I opened the curtains of one of the upstairs rooms to look at the snow tonight, the enchanting sight of an outside curtain of huge icicles amazed me. In the orangey-yellow glow of a street light, the scene looked fantastical.

I experimented with the colours a little here to try and express the atmosphere ...

The otherwordly outside seems accentuated by the everyday items indoors, such as the Ikea vases and the clothes-dryer!

I was fascinated by the way the pattern on the net curtain somehow blended in with the condensation on the glass, and the icicles beyond.

The last photo has not been adjusted at all. I could gaze for hours at the jewel-like droplets glistening in the light, and seeing shapes and shadows in this magical-mundane occurrence!

Friday, 1 January 2010

TFE's New Year Celebration of Lights

Today I'm taking part in TFE's New Year Celebration of Lights by lighting a candle in honour of persons who have especially influenced my life, and who are no longer on this earth.
Firstly I'm celebrating my beloved boxer - (her blogger name shall be Gudrun!) - who lightened my life for several years. I had to draw her while she was asleep, as animals do not like to be stared at! She often snoozed with her tongue hanging out, which amused us.
The perfect sketching companion, she would sit patiently while I drew or gazed at favourite places in the landscape. These pictures are from a journal in which I made very swift memory drawings of walks and found it helpful as an artist to include myself in the drawings occasionally. Looking at the pictures now very powerfully reminds me of those days, and the special bond which exists between oneself and one's dog.

The second lighting of the candle is to Finnish artist and author Tove Jansson. As a child I absolutely adored her illustrated Moomintroll books, (I still do!), and believe they have had a strong influence on my creative imagination, and the way I perceive nature.
Last year my boyfriend bought me two volumes of her Moomin comic strip originally published in the London Evening News in the 1950's. They are as whimsical and enchanting as her children's books. She had great artistic integrity and refused to allow her work to be used in ways which detracted from it's essence. She is also an inspiration as someone who steadfastly followed her dreams and used her creative talent all her life.

Ingrid Sylvestre