Mud Pies – Rosie, William and Joseph Battye as children

Mud Pies – Rosie, William and Stephen Battye

When I first moved to Dewsbury, I painted several canvases from subjects from on Park Road. Here the children playing so happily will now be in their 40’s of course. Sadly I sold this at Holmfirth Art Fair, as the children’s father, the late Stephen Battye chose not to purchase it, as he had recently commissioned another portrait of his children. He did however, purchase another of my paintings at the time. I offered to buy it back many years ago, but the couple who then owned it refused to sell it, though it has subsequently been sold on at auction at much less than its original value, so if anyone knows who currently owns it , I would love to know! It encapsulates all the natural fun of simple child’s play as I watched them making their mud pies of the garden wall at the Gothic House, as it was then known!

How a painting begins… midsummer in Greece!

Its scorching hot, in the middle of the day in Greece, but have found a shady spot underneath a fig tree in a secluded corner of Galaxidi. The easel is up and the painting sketched out in charcoal directly onto the 80 x 60 cm canvas, underpainted in cerulean blue oils. Semi-squishy fallen figs get stuck on my sandals, but at least I found a subject quickly and have made a start. Its my last full day in Greece so need to work fast!

Charcoal sketch for an oil painting. Light and shade creates fascinating patterns on the ground beneath an olive and a mandarin orange tree.
Photo of the scene taken at the start.
Easel set up in a shady spot
Paints laid out neatly
The first few brushstokes indicating the most exciting areas of light and colour. This is contrary to how I usually work, building up from one section to the next, but am too excited to see it begin to take shape.
Its coming on slowly…

Oil painting in Samos, Greece, by Ask

I love Greece, and all her people, but most of all love the old ways of life, and the old traditions. As I used to live in the north of Greece, in Thessaloniki, I read and write and speak fluent Greek, so its easy to feel Greek too!

This painting though was initially captured as a photo on my phone, as it was my last day in Samos, and was actually on my way to the airport, but had diverted on the spur of the moment, to take one last look at Manolates and to try to track down the lady I had heard wove traditional rag rugs on a handloom. I was standing outside her little shop while she package up my parcel, when I spotted this delightful old man walking up the hill, using a walking stick, so quickly positioned myself to get the ideal shot on my phone, as he approached the blue doors but without covering the view of another man casually sitting in front of that same door. Success!

It was several months later though when I finally got round to turning that initial idea into an oil painting.

Greek oil painting by Elaine Ask
Oil on canvas 41x61cm. Finished Oil painting by Ask in Μανωλάτες Samos, Greece.

It starts though by underpainting the canvas in diluted blue oil paint, then sketching out the image in charcoal.

Greek painting as it is sketched out in charcoal
First Ask sketches the subject in charcoal on a blue underpainted canvas
Oil painting in Greece by Ask
Oil painting in the making by Elaine Ask, in Manolates – Μανωλάτες – Samos, Greece. 2020

Then gradually adding the main features of the people in the painting

Oil painting by ASK , nearly finished
Oil on Canvas by Ask, as the oil painting nears completion

Its for sale at £850, though I now prefer to keep all my work!

Contact Elaine Ask on +_447990867058 to arrange the purchase or buy it and pay online on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ElaineAskArtist

Samos – Oil Painting by Ask: Misty mountains, sunlit house, and three short-sleeved black shirts.

Its mid October on the Greek island of Samos. From the terrace above my little Airbnb house in Palaio Karlovasi, the views are perfect in every direction for painting.

The mountains opposite have a dreamy layer of mist floating below the peaks. Below that olive trees grow in red earth, and to the right a whole forest flourishes. Its the next level below that, that really catches my eye. A glowing white, red roofed house has three black short-sleeved shirts paraded like flags below the balcony. A large church building, Aghios Isidoros, hides the rest of the foreground from view. I make the church of lesser importance, and bring the house with the washing line much closer, as that is really my main subject.

Today the sky is flecked with clouds looking like horizontal brushstrokes, so that is where I start after sketching out the main outlines.

View as the camera sees it, later in the day.

The painting in situe on my easel

Now you see the view through my eyes!