Although I do go on location to paint, much of my time is spent inside the studio so it’s extremely easy to become unfit, not to mention to pile-on the pounds. Consequently, to keep fit and mobile, I like to get out and cycle a few times a week.
To be honest with you, me and physical exercise have never been easy bedfellows, so, to make the whole experience marginally more palatable I have decided to incorporate a bit of painting into the routine.
Obviously, the main aim is to do the exercise, therefore I decided to just paint postcards. These are easy to carry and quick to paint.
They are also a real pleasure to do and, over time, I have built up a small collection of Pilton where I live and the surrounding countryside too.
Above I have produced a video of a typical ‘Bicycle Exercise’ trip and below you will see the results of my labours. I hope you enjoy them.
The paintings on postcards from my bicycle exercise routine
While cycling over to Pylle Village to paint the 15th Century church of Thomas à Becket, I decided to make this the subject of the video for my bicycle postcards.
In this one, I placed my bicycle in the foreground to give it a bit of context.
Next, on the long upward cycle along Platterwell Lane, I came across this Public Footpath stile.
At this time of the year they are well used, thus the foliage becomes flattened by walking boots. I noticed it has become overgrown probably due to the lock-down.
On the bicycle exercise back toward Pilton there are number of lovely cottages along the way.
On rounding the corner there was a deer standing in the road. It sprang into the wood the moment it spied me. A quick sketch and photos for another postcard.
Whilst out I came across these cows behind a ‘No Access’ barrier. It somehow caught the mood of the times, so it became the subject of today’s postcard.
Whilst noting a few ideas down a couple of neighbours cycled by. They were recruited to complete the composition.
A while back I painted several cows lying down in a field and mentioned that a legend says that it would rain soon.
Well, it seems the reason they were lying down was because they were all pregnant. Looking over the gate now I notice a few new editions in the shape of tiny calves. I am told there are more to come.
The ford bridge on Cockmill Lane in Pilton. It is a fine, long glide down the hill to get to it, tempered by the thought that it is a long, hard cycle back up again.
This stream passes right through the village and passes under another ford bridge at the bottom of our lane.
Now the sun has made another appearance after rain all week, I have managed to get out for a bit of cycling. This view is from Cockmill Lane Ford bridge into the stream.
The trees roots are exposed, and they caught the light rather well.
Sunset in Pilton. After work I took walk along the stream that passes through the village. Between the trees I spied A shed and vegetable plot set against the lengthy shadows.
The scene glowed in the evening light so I thought it would make a fine bicycle postcard.
The fern and wild garlic are growing in the shady hedgerows and along the pathways in Pilton.
Another sunny, spring afternoon in lock-down.
Cycling the road to Pylle. I like this road as it’s not too hilly and its easier on the way back too. A really bright spring morning and, oddly, I saw two foxes in the road.
I have never seen a fox here before and to see two in daylight on the road must be very unusual. Again, this is probably due of the lock-down.
They ran when they saw me so it has to be sheep in a field instead.
A ten-mile round trip to Evercreech from Pilton. Along Easton Lane there is a field of sheep with recently born lambs.
Each had a number painted large on their sides. Looked like a sort of sheep bingo was in progress…
There is an old wive’s tale that says when cows lie down in a field it is a sign of rain to come.
Well, there might be something in it as I painted these cows (God knows what type) near the corner of Cockmill Lane and Pylle Road, they were all lying down and this morning it was throwing it down!
On my bicycle exercise, I lumped up to the top of Pennard Hill (exhausting!). During my water break I took a few photos and did a rapid sketch.
Once home, I painted this watercolour postcard in my garden. It shows the village of Pilton with the bones of the Glastonbury Festival Pyramid stage in the mid-ground.
The gate and porch of the church of St Thomas à Becket, Pylle, Somerset.
This is about 1.5 miles from Pilton and is more forgiving on the hills, so is my main bicycle route each day. There is a small lake opposite the church and last week six ducklings floated upon it. Yesterday they were gone. What remained was a rather fat Tawny owl in a stand of trees above.
A steep and very tiring cycle up Shop Lane then onto Higher Westholme Road you get a view across the Vale of Avalon to Glastonbury Tor. The Tor is a bit of a gathering place for those that enjoy the Summer solstice from the old mythologies.
On the road to Pylle from Pilton there is a tractor which appears to be abandoned in a field. I think it must be 18 years old according to the number plate. Its sole use now is simply to prevent access to the field via the farm gate, Rather sad really.
Finally the Lock-Down has been eased a bit and we ventured out to a garden center called Rocky Mountain. Although the garden centre is only a 20 minute drive it felt like going to another country after being at home for so long. I was inspired to paint a group of fine roses. Summer has arrived.
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