31 July 2012
Today was a rather ambling around day in more ways than one. First, I found the laundrette in Windermere to do my laundry. Then the post office where I mailed some packages home. Then I drove up to the charming little town of Ambleside, where I did a watercolor sketch of the Old Bridge House. Just two tiny rooms, one on top of the other, perched on a bridge over the creek, I'm not sure anyone ever actually lived in it, but it sure is charming!
Yesterday, I painted Tarn Hows on my afternoon walk around the lake.
I also did a lot of quick sketches while visiting Hilltop. Just a collection of things that caught my eye, things I wanted to remember.
There was a tiny watercolor, maybe 8 x 10 inches at the largest, probably smaller on one of the walls in an upstairs room. How I'd love to have a print of it. The brushwork in that little watercolor was just amazing! And the light it captured was wonderful! I was a good girl and didn't dig out my camera per the request for no photos in the house, but Oh! How desperately I wanted one of that painting! I also loved the quilt on her bed. Thankfully there was a postcard of that!
Some of the sketches are just rough pencil impressions of things I saw. Not precise by any means, just a way for me to remember, like the metal horse-shoe type pieces on the bottom of the clogs!
A very quick study of the front room's fireplace wall. It's a bit out of proportion, but again, it's just an impression more than anything. There is a terrific book, still in print about her house:At Home with Beatrix Potter: The Creator of Peter Rabbit It has wonderful photos and commentary of the house.
When I went to Wray Castle a few days ago, I sat and painted the view from the cafe window at the castle. Then a day or two later, I got to drive right up near these peaks on the way to Wrynose and Hardknott passes.
While waiting to go into dinner, I sketched this lovely scene in Beeley and then finished it later on.
I posted some of this before, but I went back and added to the page.
While I'd love to paint everywhere I visit, there often simply isn't time. Or it's raining. Or too many people, or sometimes, there is no place to sit. Occasionally, I'll do a pencil sketch and then take a photo, and finish the painting later, as I did of the Beeley scene. Once in a great while, I'll go back and do a sketch from a photo, like I did with these of Tintagel ~ but that doesn't happen very often. I find I really like to get my own impression down, and photos, much as I like them, always result in a different perspective.
But enough of painting ~ here are a few photos from my day!
Here is a photo of the old bridge house in Ambleside. I like the way they built the stairs outside of the room to save interior space!
There are gorgeous views all over Ambleside! This scene is just across the street from the Old Bridge House.
The main reason I went to Ambleside was to visit the Armitt Library and see their collection Beatrix Potter's naturalist watercolors, especially her fungi paintings! These for the most part were much larger than the little book illustration, but the brushwork in them was ever so find and detailed. If you look at the large size of this on Flickr (just click on the photo) you can see the super teensy brush strokes on the stems of these mushrooms. Amazing!
If you are wondering why I'm such a big Beatrix Potter fan, it is in part because I taught myself to paint in watercolors by copying her illustrations as a girl! But looking at these intricate watercolors in person, I realize what a very long way I have to go and how much more there is to learn still! She was a true master of the medium.
And I love her whimsy too ~ like these illustrations from her painting book for children and the wonderful instructions to go with!
30 July 2012
Along the path, I came across this strange looking tree trunk. As I got closer, I realized that it was filled with coins! There were many tree stumps and logs along the path with similar treatment!
The foxgloves were glorious!
There is a small green peninsula in the lake that is covered with a soft carpet of short grass and moss. It was such a fairytale kind of spot! Just lovely!
At the end of the hike as I came around the end of Tarn Hows, the clouds lifted off of the peaks and I got this lovely glimpse of the Langdale Peaks in the distance!
What a lovely, perfect day!
29 July 2012
No matter how you look at it, Chatsworth is one imposing building/estate/garden/etc. It's hard to imagine just one family living here (though really, countless people did and do live here, just to keep the place functioning).
Throughout the grounds, there are statues from across the centuries. I enjoyed these playful hounds in the courtyard as you prepare to enter!
The entry hall is grand and imposing. All extremely ornate.
How do you being to describe such a sight? Words fail me.
Throughout the house, one of the things I loved the most, was the quality of the wood carving. From these beautiful twisting pillars with their garlands of flowers and the beautiful paneling... (and note the beautiful velvet dress worn by the Duchess of Devonshire at the Queen's Coronation)
to the exquisitely delicate and intricate carving in the chapel...
And the life-like birds on the panels in an adjacent room, which is all of a hunting theme, hence the "dead" birds. Beautiful and amazing to see such wood carving.
So many of the rooms were over the top, such as this Plate Room with its collection of oriental porcelain hung in columns on the high walls. For myself, I found the "State Rooms" to be dark, uncomfortable and a little too much for my simple tastes. Amazing to see? Yes, but who would want to spend much time in those rooms? Really?
I found the house hard to get comfortable with. The grand scale of everything puts it out of reach somehow. I also found much of the interior to be very dark ~ not just because of the conservation efforts, but there was so much dark wood paneling, especially in the formal State Rooms. I couldn't wait to get out of them after a while, as I found myself craving light! It was much better in the guest bedrooms with their lighter walls, but the sheer quantity of ornamentation also got to be somewhat overwhelming for me.
I did love the long hallways hung with artwork ~ so many amazing paintings to see! And didn't Mr. Darcy walk down one of these hallways?
Beautiful crystal chandeliers in the hallways.
Gorgeous tapestry rugs on the bedroom floors.
Amazing handpainted wallpaper on one of the guest bedroom walls.
Everywhere you looked, there was another beautiful piece of artwork, such as this massive painting by John Singer Sargent.
The dining room was enormous. Somehow this room seems so much more friendly than most of the other public rooms here.
My favorite thing to see here in the house at Chatsworth was the statuary, in particular, this lovely piece which is delicate and beautiful and an amazing tribute to the skill of the sculptor.
But this sleeping lion captured my heart as well!
So, here I am, at the end of the day, a little footsore, overwhelmed with all I had seen, and grateful that I will eventually go back to a small home and ever so glad that I don't have to be responsible for taking care of this enormous place and all of its beautiful, if over the top, stuff! It was fun to see, but I'm so glad to live a simpler life!