Around the house

Old boatyard

The boatyard painting hanging in my brother's apartment

The old boatyard painting hanging in my brother’s apartment

As I have said in the description of this painting in my Portfolio (see under Marine Art), it was painted as a birthday present for my brother who lives in north-east France. The bright Caribbean-style colours I usually use were not appropriate for his apartment so I muted my palette to tone in with the surroundings and chose a subject that would be both restful and right. As I live on a small island, the old boatyard with the sea in the background seemed to fit the bill.

I’m afraid I was rather rude about a painting that used to hang in the same position: it was very dark – blacks with a touch of burning red – and I found it jarred with the rest of the room and I was quite surprised that my brother and his wife liked it. Anyhow, I promised to paint one to replace it, which I did and managed to get it to him (rolled in my suitcase with no damage at all) in time for his birthday. All he had to do was to re-stretch it and hang it – and the result is shown here. And the old boatyard is also a constant reminder of Antigua, which he continues to visit regularly.

I liked the finished article and I think my brother and his wife did too: they were the ones who would have to live with it. So I am pleased with my efforts, which have inspired me to paint other subjects than the old boatyard (or even perhaps repeat it) using the same rather muted but pleasant tones.

48×60″  122x183cm

Acrylic on canvas

A complete makeover

This gaming table has just undergone a complete makeover!

Designed by the late, great, Amos Morrill, it was built for a couple with a house here in Antigua in 2006. You can see that it is an ingenious design: the top is actually a lid –  turn it over, and it becomes a chess board; remove the lid completely and the table becomes a backgammon board.

Green table top

Green table top

I had already done a mural in the house (since painted over) and Amos asked me to paint the table in tones of green. Thus the table top was a complicated pattern of tropical leaves and fruit with a tiny butterfly, lizard and frog almost hidden in the foliage. The rest was painted in various tones of green with a “sponge” background effect in the game areas.

The decor of the house had recently undergone a complete makeover and the table (like the mural) no longer looked good in its new surroundings. The table also needed a complete makeover and the owner suggested re-painting it in tones of blue. The design I did for the top took into account the fabrics used for the furniture and the owner agreed.

Green chess board

Green chess board

Green backgammon board

Green backgammon board

Blue table top

Blue table top

Blue chess board

Blue chess board

These  “before” and “after” images show a complete change of style as well as color. The new design is in harmony with the rest of the decor

and blends in well. The only thing(s) still needing to be changed are the chairs used round the table – they are a beautiful dark green with green-pink

Blue backgammon board

Blue backgammon board

fabric cushions. They went well with the green version of the table but now look completely out of place and unfortunately cannot be painted to match the table. But the owner has great taste and I am sure she will find some suitable substitutes quickly!

By |January 8th, 2015|Around the house|2 Comments|

Caribbean Mural in Bristol, UK

Preparatory watercolor sketch of the Caribbean mural

Preparatory watercolor sketch of the Caribbean mural

Caribbean Mural

My friends Anji and Rick had wanted a Caribbean mural for their apartment for some time. Frequent visitors to Antigua in the Caribbean and owners of several of my paintings (see blog on Anthuriums), they learned I would be in Bristol in July 2014. Would I be able to paint their mural during that period? They sent me photos of their sitting room, where they wanted the Caribbean mural, and I painted a watercolor incorporating their furniture and the mural which I emailed them for their approval. The theme and colors were loosely based on a watercolor of palm trees by a sea shore that they had bought from me last time we met in Antigua. They were happy with my proposal and we were all set to go! Their sitting room was put together by Anji, who designed much of the furniture herself. The mixture of textures and colors produced a beautiful harmony which I didn’t want to overwhelm with the mural: the idea was for it to blend into the background. The sofa itself is already a work of art in its own right!

A work in progress

A work in progress

I used a large spirit level for the various sea horizons and a step ladder for the sections of the wall slightly out of my reach. I was delighted to discover that the paint used on the walls was perfectly amenable to my signature drips. The acrylic paint was heavy body Liquitex diluted with water to give a pastel effect but highlighted with accents of brighter color.

Part of the mural with the door open

Part of the Caribbean mural with the door open

Part of the mural behind the sofa & hidden by the open door

Part of the Caribbean mural behind the sofa & hidden by the open door. Note that the two formerly  noticeable wall control switches are now disguised as part of a palm tree!

The rest of the mural showing the sun-like clock and the banana palm on the far wall by the window

The rest of the Caribbean mural showing the beautiful  sun-like clock and the banana palm on the far wall by the window.

I think we were all pleased with the results. And it was really good to catch up with Anji & Rick again.

Banana palm: note the lizard on one of the leaves!

Banana palm close up: note the lizard on one of the leaves!

Caribbean mural with the door closed and Anji's gorgeous sofa!

Caribbean mural with the door closed and Anji’s gorgeous sofa before putting the rest of the furniture back.

By |August 21st, 2014|Around the house|0 Comments|

Black Mouth Cur & Vizsla

Dee & Ed's kitchen window with the Black Mouth Cur & Visla triptych!

Dee & Ed’s kitchen window with the Black Mouth Cur & Vizsla triptych!

Black Mouth Cur & Visla

Scout is definitely a Black Mouth Cur; Fiver, one of a litter of 16 Black Mouth Curs, was the only pup with no black mouth or underbelly. The breeder said that a grandparent was a Vizsla, which is probably why she seems more Vizsla-like than Black Mouth Cur. None of which really matters as the owners, Dee & Ed, adore both dogs. They recently bought a house in San Rafael, California and Dee sent me a photo of her kitchen window. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have one of your 6×8″ acrylic on wood paintings here? Preferably blue to match the fence outside?” she asked.  Somehow I was attracted to 3 photos she had posted of her two dogs and thought they would make a great little triptych rather than just the one. Also, the colors I would use would blend in better with the kitchen itself rather than the outside fence.  Two of the actual photos themselves were not good, so I took the best bits of them and together with the one of the two of them with their backs to the viewer, made them into the triptych I had in mind. The photo here of their kitchen shows them hung. We were all happy with the results! Dee & Ed are great friends: we first met them here in Antigua when they rented our apartment nearly 10 years ago, and Ed came sailing with us in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. The next time he sailed with us, we asked him to prepare the crew’s food. He is a brilliant chef by profession (currently working at Perry’s Inverness Grocery at West Marin). Dee is also a dab hand in the kitchen but spends most of her time running and managing Angel Island and other outlets belonging to the same company. They love Antigua and if & when I make it to San Rafael, I am to paint a mural on the blue fence to remind them of the beautiful island!  We look forward to their next visit here in Antigua… and to sampling more of Ed’s delicious food!

Visla (Black Mouth Cur?) Fiver

Vizsla (Black Mouth Cur?) Fiver

Scout & Fiver

Scout & Fiver

Black Mouth Cur Scout

Black Mouth Cur Scout

By |August 20th, 2014|Around the house|0 Comments|

A little bit of Tuscany in Bristol, England.

Mural - Tuscan themeMural seen from above 2My best friend in Bristol has a lovely apartment in Royal York Crescent, Clifton (where so many scenes from Jane Austen scripts are filmed). This beautiful Regency terrace is built on two levels: the upper level, pedestrian only, is accessed by steps or slopes at either end; the lower level is on the road, where the entrance to my friend’s apartment is. Hers is known as a “garden flat” and can be viewed both from the door below, through the grill, or much more clearly from above, looking down though the railings next to the entrance to the apartment above her, on the pedestrian level.

Garbage can 3Garbage can 2The main alcove wall of her garden was white and bare and uninteresting, so to brighten it up, I painted a Tuscan mural on it (we also thought her garbage can was very ugly so I gave it a bright, floral treatment). The mural (and garbage can!) is clearly visible to pedestrians above and it attracts a lot of attention from passers by, who even stop and take photographs. Once it was included as a clue in a treasure hunt, much to the amusement of my friend, who saw many viewers making a hurried note before dashing off to the next destination!

By |November 27th, 2013|Around the house|0 Comments|

Anthuriums

Anthuriums

Anthuriums.
Arches acid-free deckled paper
22.5×30” 57x76cm, 300lb 650gm

Grainy, solid organic wood chosen for the frame

Grainy, solid organic wood chosen for the frame

Anji and Rick bought one of my large, deckle-edged watercolours of Anthuriums on one of their frequent visits to Antigua. They took it back with them to their apartment in England, and Anji explains the framing process:

“Our home is situated on the water’s edge in a harbour, south-facing, with an amazing amount of light. Highlighting colour and  the essential elements of the Caribbean was very important. The accent wall is lime green, which brings out beautifully the less obvious centre of Gilly’s beautiful watercolour. The mount proved more difficult. I wanted to complement the picture but also the texture of the heavy (650gm 300lb) Arches paper it is on. Traditional cardboard matting did not do it justice and I could not source the right colour. Frustrated but not beaten, the idea of using raw silk came into my mind. The resulting combination of the three different but complemenatry textures was perfect: the weave of the green raw silk, the grain of the dark solid organic wood frame, setting off the rough finish of the paper and the colours of the painted image.

The textured weave of the raw silk

The textured weave of the raw silk

We feel we have honoured Gilly’s watercolour in the way it deserves. We live and love it every day.”

Anthuriums, in the home

Anthuriums, in the home

By |October 10th, 2013|Around the house|0 Comments|

Antiguan Art in Los Angeles

Tall palms

Tall palms.
Acrylic on canvas
24×48″ 61x122cm

Tall Palms, at Norah's

Tall Palms, at Norah’s
Acrylic on canvas
24×48″ 61x122cm

Antiguan art was on Norah’s mind when she last visited Antigua. Norah bought ten of my paintings for her colourful house in Los Angeles, where the decor and the Antiguan art are in perfect harmony, as is shown in the examples here. The larger canvasses were removed from their stretchers, rolled up and inserted in small, protective mailing tubes for travelling. Everything fitted perfectly into Norah’s suitcase and she enjoyed choosing the frames for them upon her arrival home.

 

Humming birds & hibiscus, at Norah's

Humming birds & hibiscus
Watercolour/Arches
24×18″ 61×45.7cm,140lb/200gm

Humming birds & hibiscus

Humming birds & hibiscus
Watercolour/Arches
24×18″ 61×45.7cm, 140lb/200gm

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat watching the sun go down

Cat watching the sun go down
Acrylic on canvas panel
11×14″ 28×35.6cm

Cat on red chair

Cat on red chair
Acrylic on canvas
24×36″ 61×91.4cm

 

By |September 29th, 2013|Around the house|0 Comments|
Contact Gilly