CORNWALL & THE COTSWOLDS

What a treat to have two weeks painting in Cornwall and The Cotswolds. Beautiful little villages, quaint stone buildings, historic old fishing ports and, amazingly, fantastic weather!

© John Lovett 2018 Rowing Boats – Stratford_Upon_Avon

© John Lovett 2018 Arden Hotel

© John Lovett 2018 Early morning – Cotswold country side

© John Lovett 2018 Painting in a meadow – Stow-on-the-Wold

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018 Hobbit door – Stow on the Wold

© John Lovett 2018 Cotswolds – thatched roofs and stone walls

© John Lovett 2018 Horse trail through the woods

© John Lovett 2018Castle Combe

© John Lovett 2018 Painting at Dartmouth Harbour

© John Lovett 2018 Dartmouth

© John Lovett 2018 Dartmouth as the tide goes out.

© John Lovett 2018 Ploughed fields and hedges

© John Lovett 2018 Painting on the jetty at Polperro

© John Lovett 2018 Polperro Harbour

© John Lovett 2018 Fishing boats – Polperro

© John Lovett 2018 Mevagissey Harbour

© John Lovett 2018This beautiful old fishing boat was to be our painting subject, but the thought of being scrutinised by 20 painters was too much. She sailed off just as we were about to start!

© John Lovett 2018 Clouds over Mevegissey

© John Lovett 2018 Small boats ferrying visitors to St Michael’s Mount at high tide.

© John Lovett 2018 St Michael’s Mount

© John Lovett 2018 Painting from the Hoe, Plymouth – From here, Sir Francis Drake watched the Spanish Armada drift past the mouth of the harbour as he finished his game of bowls.

© John Lovett 2018Dining in Plymouth

© John Lovett 2018 Plymouth moped

© John Lovett 2018Plymouth Prawn

LONDON B&W

What a lot of fun to wander around the city of London with a little, inconspicuous camera…

© John Lovett 2018

 

© John Lovett 2018

 

Big Red Bus

© John Lovett 2018

 

© John Lovett 2018

 

 

 

© John Lovett 2018

 

© John Lovett 2018

 

© John Lovett 2018

 

© John Lovett 2018

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Brompton Cemetery

© John Lovett 2018

 

Victoria and Albert Museum

© John Lovett 2018

 

Royal Albert Hall

© John Lovett 2018

 

The Royal Box RAH

© John Lovett 2018

 

Lunch at the Hop Pole

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018

 

 

Earl’s Court Station

© John Lovett 2018

 

Tate Modern

© John Lovett 2018

 

Small patch of sun – St. Paul’s Cathedral

© John Lovett 2018

 

Boats on the Thames

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018

MONTANA WEST

Following our workshop in Calgary, we drove back into the USA to cross the Rockies in Montana. Driving through Glacier National Park on Going to the Sun Road is one of the most spectacular drives. We plodded our way slowly, stopping every chance we got to take in the view and do some walks.

© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018

The weather closed in as we reached the top of the mountains, but the rain, snow and fog sure added a wildness to the spectacular atmosphere of the mountains.

© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018

Driving out of Glacier National Park, we headed west across Montana. The country flattens out and is dotted with small ranches.

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018

Mobile road block occupying 100% of the bitumen.

© John Lovett 2018

We met this guy and his wife, who live in the woods at the foot of Glacier Nat. Park. Their dog chases away bears.

© John Lovett 2018

Kootenai Falls where The Revenant was shot. © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018

Crossing Idaho and into Washington the landscape turns to rolling hills of wheat and canola farms.

© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018

We reached an interesting little town called Hunters in Washington State. It looked like nothing much had changed there since the 1950’s. From here we turned North, drove back up into Canada and the Okanagan Valley for another workshop in the town of Kelowna.

© John Lovett 2018© John Lovett 2018© John Lovett 2018© John Lovett 2018

ON TO TOMBSTONE

After the workshop at Tanque Verde Ranch, we picked up a hire car in Tucson and headed over to Tombstone. The old town is still pretty well intact, but relies heavily on tourism, so has a bit of a theme park air about it. Lots of cowboys, bar girls and guns, but the old historic locations are all well preserved and very interesting.

From Tombstone we drove out to a few old ghost towns and abandoned mining towns in the region. We discovered some great old buildings in various stages of decay.

© John Lovett 2018
Rain across the prairies between Tucson and Tombstone

© John Lovett 2018
Main street Tombstone

© John Lovett 2018

Cowboys on the boardwalk

© John Lovett 2018
Stage coach into town

© John Lovett 2018
Stage coach out of town.

© John Lovett 2018
Some local beer and wine in the Crystal Palace, followed by a mighty meal and a band that didn’t play cowboy songs – well not many anyway!

© John Lovett 2018
Beautiful old Hotel on mainstreet.

© John Lovett 2018
Well preserved backstreet cottage.

© John Lovett 2018
Not so well preserved facade from more recent times.

© John Lovett 2018
Slowly crumbling cottage in the old mining town of Gleeson.

© John Lovett 2018One of the last surviving cottages in Gleeson.

© John Lovett 2018
Once a thriving business – now part of Gleeson’s collection of decaying buildings.

© John Lovett 2018
Remains of the old Gleeson Jail – no wardens, no prisoners but plenty of patriotic flags.

© John Lovett 2018Well preserved store in the old town of Pearce

© John Lovett 2018

More – of I don’t know what?

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.