NORTH TO SCOTLAND

All Images © John Lovett 2018

Following our workshop in the South of England, Dianne and I hired a car and set off north to Scotland via Wales and the East coast of England. We set off in fine, sunny weather, but part way through Wales things turned damp and cool, gradually deteriorating to wet and cold as we headed North into Scotland. This change in the weather made walking unpleasant, but the dramatic skies, fog and wet landscape sure made for some great photographs.

© John Lovett 2018
Exmoor Ponies
© John Lovett 2018
Young Exmoor Pony
© John Lovett 2018
North West across the water.
© John Lovett 2018
Bottom of the hill – Robin Hood’s Bay
© John Lovett 2018
Whitby Abbey
© John Lovett 2018
Forgotten Hull – Boddin Point
© John Lovett 2018
Bayside Cottage
© John Lovett 2018
Boddin Point Fisherman’s Hut
© John Lovett 2018
Stonehaven Sunrise
© John Lovett 2018
Across the Moorings – Stonehaven
© John Lovett 2018
Along The Shorehead Road – Stonehaven
© John Lovett 2018
Dunnottar Castle
© John Lovett 2018
Last Drinks – Lovat Arms Hotel – Beauly
© John Lovett 2018
Blanket Clouds© John Lovett 2018
Winding down the mountain
© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 Eilean Donan Castle

© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018
Eilean Donan Castle
© John Lovett 2018
Eilean Donan Castle
© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018
Small holes in the sky
© John Lovett 2018
Clearing
© John Lovett 2018

WARWICK CASTLE

The history of Warwick Castle stretches back over 1000 years. It has been restored and repaired over that time and today is in fine shape. Ongoing maintenance is funded solely by ticket sales, helped by an impressive range of entertainment. These photos are from the daily reenactment of the War of the Roses held on a field outside the castle wall. © John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018

 

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TANQUE VERDE RANCH

Just outside Tucson, Arizona, is the Sonoran Desert. Tanque Verde Ranch is situated in the desert and joins the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The ranch was our venue for an enjoyable 5 day painting workshop organised by MISA.

Tanque Verde Ranch was a large cattle property in the early days, but now runs around 200 horses for visitors to explore the many desert riding trails.


Old, now abandoned, homestead.


Original Homestead


One of the ranches horse wranglers


Desert riders – heading for the blueberry pancake breakfast overlooking the mountains


Desert Bunny


Wagon from the wild wild west


Cowboy singer at a dinner under the cottonwoods – only sang cowboy songs.

Javelinas.


Wrangler with his horse


Outside the wranglers Quarters.


Horse yards


I love these American cowboy saddles.


Used horseshoes


Black and White, Red and Brown

Big old French Percheron


Wranglers Ropes


Tired and dusty


Desert Bathtub


Across the desert to the mountains

Saguaro Cactus

© John Lovett 2018
Sticks from the dead Saguaro cactus used for building.

© John Lovett 2018
Cactus Flower

© John Lovett 2018
Humming Bird

© John Lovett 2018Desert House Finch

© John Lovett 2018
Gambel’s Quail

© John Lovett 2018
Happy Horses

© John Lovett 2018
Tanque Verde Ranch accomodation

CAMBODIA

 

After a great workshop in Vietnam, Dianne and I flew over to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see the Angkor temples and waterside villages on  Tonle Sap lake. The Cambodian people are happy and friendly. The country is 97% Buddhist and many of the children, from poorer families, go into the monasteries to take pressure off the families. 

We met Pau, who entered a monastery at eight years of age and is now in his early twenties. He enjoys the discipline of the monastery. He speaks good English and is studying education. His goal is to open a village school to improve the chances for young people to work and study.

© John Lovett 2017
Monastery accommodation is austere and simple.

© John Lovett 2017
Pau, happy with his life as a Monk.

© John Lovett 2017
Detail of intricate stone carving from Angkor Wat

© John Lovett 2017

Angkor Wat Temple

© John Lovett 2017

Stone gable carving Angkor Wat

© John Lovett 2017

Ta Phrom Temple – slowly being eaten by the jungle.

© John Lovett 2017

 

Thom Bayon Temple features large carved stone heads of Buddha and beautiful, intricate relief carvings of daily life back in the 11th and 12th centuries.

© John Lovett 2017

© John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017  © John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with boredom

© John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with confusion

© John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with enlightenment.

 

© John Lovett 2017

Siem Reap petrol tanker – powered by a mechanical plough.

© John Lovett 2017

Fire pot vendor powered by a small motor scooter

© John Lovett 2017

Mattress vendor- powered by a small motorbike

 

© John Lovett 2017

With the luxury of a small truck, there is nothing you can’t carry.

 

From Siem Reap we travelled by tuk tuk down to Kampong Phluk – a village of stilt houses, some colorful, some old and thatched, built in the Tonle Sap Lake. It’s a fascinating village – life is lived entirely on the water. Kids grow up in boats and soon become skilled fishermen.

© John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017© John Lovett 2017© John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017   © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017

HIGH COUNTRY

Sometimes things just fall into place. Soon after agreeing to a workshop with the ASOC in Canberra, I received an email inviting me to a Canberra High School reunion – 5 days before the workshop.

Catching up with school friends from 45 years ago was amazing. Appearances had changed but personalities were just as they were way back then.

After the workshop and reunion we headed over the mountains west of Canberra and down to the high country and Kosciuszko National Park

 

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Driving down the New England Highway there are some very prosperous towns and others in slow decline. Back when these towns were established, being a days ride from the next town guaranteed their future. Today they are quickly passed through and forgotten. Here are the remnants of a few of them.

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Coolah Tops is a great National Park with sweeping views across the Liverpool Plains. I have never seen the country so green and cant believe the government would consider allowing a coal mine in, what must be some of the worlds best agricultural land.

snow8678 snow8689 snow8692 snow8702 snow8752 Falls near Sofala

snow8821This guy thought sticking his head under a rock made him invisible.

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We left Canberra and headed out through Brindabella to join the top end of the Long Plain Road. We were told the road was closed in winter due to snow, then re opened each October.

We drove in to find a locked gate leading to the National Park. As we were about to drive back a farmer, whose property the road runs through, turned up. After chatting for a while we were about to head off and drive the long way around when he kindly offered to unlock the gate and let us through.

Twenty kilometres down the track we were stopped by a fallen tree. Not being able to go back through the locked gate and unable to move the tree, our only option was to somehow get over it.

We built long ramps of logs and rocks to give us plenty of clearance. Unfortunately, as we descended the ramp the right hand front wheel sunk into the soft ground, hanging us up on the log. After four hours of jacking, packing and digging, all we managed to do was sink deeper into the soft ground.

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It was getting dark when we gave up digging so we spent an uncomfortable night camped at thirty degrees.

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The ground was too soft for us to lift the heavy truck so, in the morning, we contacted the National Park Office by satellite phone and explained our situation. They were fantastic and had a ranger up there with a chainsaw within a couple of hours.

As it turned out, National Parks were sending a tractor up to clear any fallen trees later that day. If only we had known. We could have saved 4 hours of hard work and camped on level ground! cutlogsnow9082 Coolamine Homestead was built in the late 1800’s when they used to run horses and cattle in the high country.

Today the cattle have all but disappeared but wild brumbies are breeding up.

snow9112 snow9116 snow9132 I spotted this mare laying on the ground way off in the bush above the plains. When I walked up I discovered she had died giving birth. Her head was resting on a log and her eyes were still open, looking out across the plains.

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The Kosciuszko High country is stark and beautiful, and the weather always unpredictable. Overnight temperatures were below freezing and, in spite of the sun, seven or eight degrees was as warm as the days would get – and this was late spring!

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SAN GIMIGNANO

After a great week in Cinque Terre we wound our way up over the mountains and on to Lucca to do some painting, then it was off to San Gimignano for the rest of the workshop. We painted in the the old town and also in the hill town of Volterra. We also managed a day trip to Florence to see the city and the Uffizi Gallery.  dsc00172 We had good weather most of the time in San Gimignano, which was great for painting. The couple of wet days made the town look amazing with reflections, umbrellas and spectacular skies.

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dsc00179The proprietor of the “Best Gelato shop in the world” describes, with passion, the  greatness of his product to a barrage of cameras

dsc00175Savage market guard dog.

316Ai Weiwei’s Exhibition in Florence

317Street Juggler – Florence

318_1Piaggio’s resting – Florence

319Man talks to dog – Florence

dsc00219Countryside around Volterra

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dsc00244 Clouds Gathering – Volterra

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The last day of the workshop we were treated to a typical Tuscan feast – plenty of Beer, Wine and Food and lots of stories of the adventures from the past two weeks.

© John Lovett 2016

Certificates were presented…

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…and, of course, selfies taken to remember what was a great workshop.

CINQUE TERRE

A week in Cinque Terre is a great introduction to an Italian workshop. Great food and wine, beautiful scenery and friendly people. We spent our days moving between the villages painting and sketching. Villa Adriana, where we stayed for the week, provided excellent meals – although Antipasto, Pasta, Main and Dessert were more than most of us could handle!

308Wine Delevery – Manarola

309Manarola – buildings by the sea

310Amanda – Watching Chickens

dsc00029Painting in Riomaggiore

© John Lovett 2016

What I thought was an ideal place to paint in Riomaggiore turned out to be the only place wide enough for delivery vans to turn around, so lots of juggling easels in between washes.

ital7820 Old Town – Monterosso

© John Lovett 2016Monterosso – Small truck pees on sidewalk.

© John Lovett 2016Fishing Boats – Monterosso

ital7875Manarola – from the water

ital7996Very Italian – National Park sign advising against stilettos for the walk between Monterosso and Vernazza.

© John Lovett 2016Cliffs near Monterosso

ital7922 Early Morning Vernazza

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Blue Umbrellas – Vernazza

ital7945 Vernazza before sunrise.

ital7976Between Vernazza and Monterosso someone has set up a feeding bay and shelter for stray cats. This guy hung around behind a mesh fence for a pat and a handful of dry cat food.

306Small bridge on path between Vernazza and Monterosso

ital8002Old Town – Monterosso