At first, I was slightly disappointed that we’d arrived in Uley right at the end of Autumn.
It was stunningly beautiful, but it was a transitory beauty that was already changing quickly into winter. The golden leaves were falling and the trees were a little more bare every day.
It made me sad because we were busy unpacking and although it was inspiring, I knew I wouldn’t get out to paint it until it was mostly gone.
So the walks I’ve been taking in the countryside around the house, pretty much following my feet, have been flavoured with poignancy.
To the manor borne
But no less amazing for that. A couple of weeks ago I was following my feet and came across Owlpen Manor. Privately owned, this amazing place now has holiday cottages in its grounds.
You can’t get very close to it. I can’t think how, since I was following an Ordinance Survey map with the public footpaths clearly marked, but somehow I strayed onto the grounds (ahem) and took a few pictures. Look at this:
Now that makes me want to get my brushes out.
This, the gatehouse, I have in mind to start with since I took this shot from the public lane at the front of the manor grounds. And because it’s beautiful:
I stumbled on the manor after walking through some really lovely countryside – the woods and fields that surround Uley – that I hope to be painting soon.
Owlpen manor has an amazing history. Poets have written of it. It has been an inspiration for the Arts and Crafts movement, and the owners, the Mander family, have an illustrious history of patronising the arts.
The holiday cottages are really quite something. You know what I think? This would be a wonderful place to host a painting holiday.
Some plein air, maybe some sessions on colour and composition, and lovely dinners in the Cyder House restaurant. Sounds pretty nice to me.
What I don’t know yet is whether enough people would be interested in coming to make it viable.
And I don’t know if it will be possible yet, but if you like the sound of a painting holiday in the Cotswolds next summer or autumn, staying at Owlpen Manor for a few days, stick your email address in this form and I’ll keep you updated on progress. I plan to talk to the owners about the viability of painting holidays there soon.
Are you kidding? Of course I want to hear about a painting holiday in Owlpen Manor!
Just when I thought this place couldn’t be any more beautiful, it snowed.
It was like a fairy tale.
“Snow!” I said when I opened the bedroom curtains. “Snow?” shouted our eldest, jumping out of bed and rushing into our bedroom.
Very soon, the boys and I were out in the garden flinging snowballs at each other and building our first snowman in Uley. According to Jasper, he’s called Dave. Dave the snowman.
I managed to get out and take some photos in the morning, but later in the day when the skies cleared and it was obviously going to freeze over, I had to get out to the shops and indulge in some panic buying before the roads became too dangerous.
Our house in the snow.
Uley high street > thinking about throwing another snowball at me probably.
Uley village church. There’s a painting here I think…
Erm, I think I took this because it gave me an idea for a painting.
So here we are, holed up for the next couple of days, more than likely. No school. Thankfully, Internet is unaffected and blissfully fast!
And there’s plenty of time for drawing.
No paintings yet?
I’m afraid not! I do have one in progress on the easel.
But so far, there seems to have been too much for me to do to get out with my brushes and try some plein air. And this latest beautiful face of the south Cotswolds will probably be gone in a day or two.
I doubt I’m practised enough at plein air painting to get much more than some ugly smears done anyway, but still I’m hoping to try.
More on that soon.