Painting Inoils

Iain Vellacott's painting blog

Tag: artist

Humans of Toulouse

I feel very honoured to have been included in the “Humans of Toulouse” project, which you can read here.

And do try to have a look at some of the other stories of far more inspirational and deserving people, all told with great journalistic dexterity and some fabulous photography.




Revel Christmas Exhibition

I am delighted that Madame Maury has kindly asked me to exhibit my paintings of Revel in her fabulous antiques shop over Christmas.

Madame Maury’s shop is at the bottom of this arcade on the right.

PS You may be interested to know that I have finally updated my web site at

London Exhibition 18th November – 14th December

Beach Paintings

Following my recent trip to Valencia and the beaches around Javea where Sorolla painted, I have been doing some sketches for a new beach painting of my own.

Both of the above sketches have been done on poor quality board – the first is on a mauve ground (ultra plus cad red medium), the second on a yellow ochre/violet ground.

I am currently working the sketches up into a larger painting.

Place du Capitole, Toulouse

I have spent quite a bit of time in Toulouse over the past year as I prepare for my exhibition at Galerie Roger Betti in the city in June/July.

One of Toulouse’s best kept secrets is the fabulous 19th century paintings that hang in “La Salle des Illustres” on the first floor of the Capitole building – there are no signs (or at least none that I could understand!) and the place was totally empty when I last went.

Revisiting the Meet

I don’t usually “revisit” paintings but I did a painting of a Hunt Meet about 18 months ago that has been bothering me ever since.

Last week I finally plucked up the courage to change a number of aspects of the original, including putting more colour into the picture and changing what I felt was a far too sombre sky.

Here is the earlier picture –


Pete Brown at Messum’s

And talking about exhibitions, Peter Brown also has one on at Messum’s at the moment.

I first met Pete over 5 years ago when I was walking over Hungerford Bridge in London and he was just starting a painting looking down into Northumberland Avenue.

Pete not only has incredible talent (surely an RA in-waiting) but he keeps challenging himself with new and often difficult subjects – to set up one’s canvas on a London street and paint totally from life is impressive enough but he can also find light and atmosphere in the rain and even at night.

To me, what is great about this exhibition is the way that, having thought he couldn’t get much better, there seems to be even more atmosphere, sparkle and fun in his new work.

Pete’s exhibition, which is at Messum’s in Cork Street, Mayfair until 23rd October, can be seen here

Aldo at the Catto

My good friend Aldo Balding, one of the UK’s leading figurative and portrait painters, currently has an exhibition at London’s Catto Gallery of some of his stunning pictures.

The exhibition, which is open until 15th October, can be viewed here

I met Aldo on a plane traveling back to the UK about 5 years ago when we discovered that we lived only about 15km from each other here in South West France.

Since then Aldo has given me a significant amount of help and guidance with my painting (he is a really great teacher) and I continue to be in awe of his mastery of his art and the power of his work.

A couple of weeks ago Aldo and I spent an afternoon painting a lock-keeper’s house on the Canal du Midi. Despite the wind (which almost blew my easel into the canal) Aldo still managed to produce a fabulous painting, as below.

The Golden Arches, Revel

But apparently we are getting a real MacDonalds soon – how France is changing!


I have just finished this new painting of a “hot” (similar to a rugby scrum) in a game of Winchester Football.

I have painted this one quite large (4ft by 2ft) as I wanted to focus in on the energy and atmosphere of the 16-person hot.

Where Now?

I am now back in France after a very enjoyable 2 week trip to the UK for my Winchester College on Canvas exhibition.

The final tally was 28 sales with a further half dozen requests for further paintings, which I am really pleased with.

I was particularly thrilled that many boys in the school took an active interest in the exhibition – and I even ended up giving a number of talks to classes.

It feels a bit odd now to be sitting in my studio surrounded by bare walls an wondering what to paint next.

On the way to the Channel Tunnel I heard on the radio that it was Cheltenham this week and I very nearly turned around as I would love to paint a major horse racing festival – and seeing the sunshine there yesterday I clearly should have done!

“Pete the Street”‘s Shorts

I was flattered to receive a note from Peter Brown NEAC this morning in response to the exhibition catalogue I sent him a couple of days ago –

“Got your catalogue yesterday. Fantastic stuff! Love the Rugby and Cricket, Lunchtime… I’d love to be able to capture the action like you have – brilliant! You must be really pleased. I’ll eat my shorts if they’re not all gone by the first day if not already.”

Pete is one of my painting idols – I love the light and energy of his townscapes and am constantly in awe of his ability to set his easel up on a street corner and capture not just the architecture and perspective but also the light and whole atmosphere of a scene.

He mainly sells his work through Messums, one of London’s top galleries based on Cork Street, and, not surprisingly, his annual shows are often sell-outs.

You can see more of his work here – and hopefully you will be able to see his shorts on him!

And you can find more details of Pete’s new book on his paintings of Bath here

The Age of Enlightenment

After Chapel

Winchester College On Canvas

5 weeks to go until I head back to the UK with a car full of paintings for my Winchester College On Canvas exhibition in early March.

The brochure has now been finalised and my father has done a brilliant job preparing address labels for the mail-out in mid-February (if anyone wants me to send them a copy please email me at

At Winchester the “pitch” on which one plays Winchester Football (or “Winkies” as it is apparently now called) is called a canvas – and one plays “on canvas”.

A canvas is eighty yards long by twenty seven yards wide (recalling the fact that the game was originally played in a road) and on either side there is taut netting to a height of about 4m and a rope strung between posts.

“I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly” – Joaquin Sorolla

Having been doing all this research for my new Sorolla web site ( one of the things that keeps going around in my head is his statement “I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly”.

So for my latest paintings in my Winchester College series I really went for – painting both faster and larger (80cm square) than I have for some time.

I have included a section on Sorolla quotes on the web site which you can view here

New Sorolla Web Site

Barcas Varadas en la playa 1915

I have just finished writing a new web site on my favourite artist, Joaquin Sorolla –

It has been a fascinating exercise researching Sorolla’s life and his approach to painting, including, for example, the colours that he used and some of his direct thoughts and observations (taken from the US press reports of 1909).

I particularly wanted to include good-sized versions of some of my favourite paintings – I hate only being able to look at small thumbnails when part of Sorolla’s impact is the scale and grandeur of the works.

The site is not intended to be a definitive guide but rather a brief introduction to this great artist in the hope that it might provide a gateway through which others might come to know and love his fabulous paintings.

I have also set up a SorollaArt Twitter at http// to provide more day-to-day information about Sorolla – news, exhibitions, auction sales, etc

PS Thanks to Nick Simmons, my favourite American watercolour artist, for his comment below which I have put on Twitter – slightly abbreviated to fit the 140 character quota.

Le Prix du Foie Gras


I was pleased to learn today that I won the Prix de la Office de Tourisme – a hamper of Foie Gras and other regional delicacies – at this year’s Soreze Salon for this picture of Jesus entering Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the weekend’s prize-giving as I was dancing the night away at a truly incredible 50th birthday party of a great friend over near Cannes – it’s a tough life!

Channel 4 Nude of the Day

Iain Vellacott Life Drawing 1

I sat down to have my lunch yesterday, flicked on my new TV and found myself watching Channel 4’s new Life Class programme.

What a great idea! Beats Countdown!

Sadly, the artist that was presenting the programme was pretty useless but the model was good and the programme seemed to give enough time for people to draw from the model – albeit that a TV image obviously misses many of the subtleties of light and form.

I started attending life classes when I lived in London 20 years ago and ever since then have tried to join a class wherever I have been living.

In Revel we have a class most Mondays, starting with short 5 minute poses and then extending the time out to about 20 minutes for the longer poses.

I always draw in charcoal on large pieces of paper (50 x 65cm) and love to work the charcoal around with my fingers and then lift off areas of light with a putty rubber.

I put a lot of concentration and energy into my work and at the end of 3 hours I am exhausted.


I would strongly urge any artist to try to find a local Life Class – I know it can seem quite a daunting prospect for some people but once you have got through a few sessions you will start to relax and your skills of drawing and observation will improve significantly.

And if you want to have a go before that why not turn of Channel 4 at lunchtime and get drawing!

Incidentally, more details of the programme can be found on Channel 4’s web site here

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