Here are my two entries for the Buxton Spa Prize. This is an annual Plein Air competition held in the delightful spa town of Buxton, Derbyshire, England. With a first prize of £5,000 it attracts entries from many notable artists, both national and local. Each artist is required to paint at least one work. The first one must be of a location that the artist is given by the organisers. If there is a second painting then the artist can choose. I did two, my allocated location was St John's Church, Buxton. This is the parish church for Buxton. It was built around 200 years ago in an Italianate style - very unusual for this chilly part of the East Midlands! I struggled with getting an attractive angle on this, but am pleased with the final result, which I think gives a mysterious feeling. It was like this when I painted my final piece, it was a grey day with the slight promise of some sun glowing through the church tower.
When I was last at the exhibition this painting had yet to achieve a little red dot, so if you are interested in purchasing it, assuming it does not sell in the next two weeks, please contact me. It is priced at US$ 600 and measures 30 x 20 " and comes in a very tasteful cream and silver frame.
My other entry is the first painting below. This is painted outside one of the charming Buxton tearooms - too genteel really to call it a cafe - Very lovely sandwiches, cups of tea and cakes are served, mainly inside. But on an initial trip to Buxton to reccy for the second painting, a Buxton location of my choice, I had my dog, a Standard Schnauzer called Roxy with me, so we could not have our late lunch inside. We sat outside and then next to us three people sat down to High Tea with their dog, a Mini Schnau. I could not resist doing a quick charcoal sketch of them and that became the basis for this second Plein Air painting! I came back another day and painted the archway and the Old Hall Hotel Building, seen in the distance and then added the people from my sketch back at the studio. This painting is called 'High Tea in the Square, Buxton'.
And, the 'High Tea' painting has SOLD within half an hour of the Exhibition opening! Great News!
Both paintings were painted with a palette knife. The church was a knife painting from start to finish, as I forgot to bring any brushes when I went to paint it at the location. The 'High Tea' painting was underpainted with brushes to make sure I had all the perspective and details of the figures correct. Then overpainted totally with knives - which makes the colours really glow!
Entering the Buxton Spa Prize was great fun. A good challenge. I think I will do it again next year! If any readers are in or near Buxton I can recommend the exhibition, which has a very varied and interesting display of work, and is on for the rest of this month at the Green Man Gallery, Buxton.