Painting Inoils

Iain Vellacott's painting blog

Tag: Iain Vellacott

The Tour de France Arrives Tomorrow

Everyone is buzzing with excitement here in Revel as the massive operation that supports the Tour de France is currently rolling into town to set up everything that goes with one of the world’s greatest sporting events.

This is an oil painting that I have just finished of the last time that the Tour came to our town in 2013 when they cycled down from Lac de Saint Ferreol and past my friend Nicholas’ shop on the Commerce roundabout.

Tour de France Revel by Iain Vellacott

Tomorrow’s finish is going to be even more exciting as the riders will come into Revel from Castelnaudary and then (after passing through this roundabout but going other way to my painting!) head up the steep and long 2km hill to the lake before making a fast and winding descent back down with a final flat 3km to the finishing line in the town.

With the possibility of rain showing on the meteo this could be one of the most challenging and exciting final 10kms of this year’s race.

I have picked myself a spot just up the hill from the roundabout from where, once they have passed, I am planning on dashing round to the finish on the other side of town before they arrive.

Hoping for another Brit victory to help fend off some of the ribbing I have been getting about the football, Brexit, etc!



Back to Winchester

I am back in Winchester again for this year’s Winchester Day on Saturday with a series of new paintings of the College that I have done over the last year.


Just hoping for a little sun like there was in this scene of boys crossing Kingsgate Street going back to their boarding houses.

I have posted my full exhibition on my website at

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.



Winchester Match 2015

I have an exhibition of my paintings at next week’s Winchester Match – on Saturday 20th June 2015 in a marquee in front of Science School.

This is a game of Winchester Football (or “Winkies” as it is known to Wykehamists) – a cross between soccer and rugby played between two nets and a tightly tied rope that runs all the way down each side of the “canvas”.

Back Home to Revel

Madam Maury is putting on an exhibition of my paintings of Revel in her wonderful antiques shop on the market square starting this weekend.





Cricket Painting

I was delighted to exhibit my paintings of Winchester College at the recent Winchester Match.  The one day exhibition was a great success.



Here my mother (my greatest marketer!) waits to pounce on some unsuspecting Old Wykehamist!


Winchester College on Canvas Exhibition Brochure

The brochure for my forthcoming exhibition at Winchester College is now out and has resulted in the number of pre-sales moving into double figures.


The paintings can be seen on my website at – click on the Win Coll tab at the top.

Le soleil arrive à Revel – enfin!

I have taken a quick time-out from painting Winchester College to celebrate the arrival of the sun here in Revel, which has been conspicuous by its absence recently.Image

New Paintings for Madam Maury’s Christmas Window





La Mesure

To Frame or not to Frame

Nowadays I normally feel that my paintings are generally better hung unframed so as to avoid the light and atmosphere that is the main focus of most of my pictures being constrained by a physical border.
However, as part of my current joint exhibition, the Barnes Riverside Gallery has kindly put some of their fabulous frames on a couple of my paintings – and I have to say that I think that they really work!
The exhibition runs until 14th December.

London Exhibition 18th November – 14th December

Beach Painting 2

And following the sketches this is the final painting – 92 by 65cm painted on a light mauve ground.

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.

Exhibition: Galerie Roger Betti, Toulouse

The exhibition is at 9 rue Fermat (near St Etienne) until mid-July.

Le Cafe des Artistes, Toulouse

This is my latest painting for my forthcoming exhibition at Galerie Roger Betti in Toulouse (rue de Fermat – just round the corner from Cathedral St Etienne) which is due to run from 7th June to 12th July.

Le Cafe des Artistes is a wonderful cafe/bar on place de la Daurade overlooking the Garonne and is frequented by many of the artists from the nearby école supérieure des beaux-arts.

Sunflower Painting

On the way to the market

Castres vs Northampton Heineken Cup

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 –

Prussian Geese

I am in the process of changing a number of colours on my palette and have added Prussian Blue, a strong staining colour that Sorolla used to great effect in many of his beach scenes.

This painting, which is called “Geese with Attitude”, uses quite a bit of Prussian Blue in the cool shadows.

PS I notice that several search queries which are coming to this post are for “Sorolla’s Geese with Attitude”. Whilst I am obviously most flattered by this I must make clear that this is a painting that I did rather than Sorolla – his would have been 10 times better …… and 100 times more expensive! Apologies for any misunderstanding. Iain

Riverside Gallery Barnes

I am delighted to have been asked to exhibit at the Riverside Gallery in Barnes, London.

The gallery enjoys a wonderful position on the mini-roundabout by the Thames at the end of Barnes High Street and has some great artists including Rod Pearce, Tony Merrick, Colin Orchard, Gillian Furlong and Valerie Davide.

I happened to drive past the gallery a few weeks ago and was so taken by the paintings in the window that I felt that I had to stop to take a better look.

And I was so taken by the gallery and its fabulous manager, Kat, that I had no hesitation in accepting their kind invitation to exhibit with them.


Toulouse Exhibition 2011

I am delighted to have been asked to put on a one-man exhibition in June and early July 2011 at Galerie Roger Betti in the Saint Etienne district of central Toulouse.

Although not all the oil paintings will be of the city, I am intending to include quite a few – and I have just finished this one of a lunchtime restaurant in Place Saint Georges.

Royal Ascot Painting

This is a bit stronger than my usual approach in terms of colours and contrast but I wanted to capture this wonderful natural composition and the atmosphere of Royal Ascot which I attended for my first time last month.

The working title of the 100cm by 50cm painting is “Shooting Sticks”.

As I write this I can hear the fireworks going off in Revel in celebration of tomorrow’s arrival of the Tour de France – I am just praying for some sun!

Tour de France Revel Painting

Everyone here in Revel is getting very excited as this Saturday’s Stage 13 of the Tour de France finishes here – and then Stage 14 starts from here on Sunday morning!

This is not only a great honour for this small market town (population about 9,000) but also a major boost to the “Bio Valley Lauragais” project which designates Revel as the centre of an area focusing on biological and natural food products.

And with 50,000 visitors expected it should be quite a weekend!

You can see more details of Revel on the Tour’s official web site here and there is a short video showing the market square (which features in many of my paintings) here

I am delighted to have been invited to sit in the VIP stand adjacent to the finish from where I am hoping to take photos on which to base a large painting of this historic event.

I also have an exhibition of paintings of Revel in Madam Maury’s fabulous antiques shop in the market square, including the above painting of some cyclists I spotted a couple of weeks ago.

My only worry is how Contador is going to carry a large painting on his bike, particularly with the tricky Pyrenees sections ahead!

Early Morning Market

The Golden Arches, Revel

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

The Art of French Boules

I have just completed this painting of an evening game of Pétanque in the Avenue Charles de Gaulle here in Revel.

Pétanque is a form of boules in which the player whose boule lies furthest from the cochonnet (literally “piglet”) throws next.

Pétanque is apparently played by 17 million people in France.


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.

Family Paintings

I have posted below a couple of new paintings – the first is a further painting of my nephew playing in the waves in the early evening light of Brittany; the second my two youngest boys trying to make a fire when we were camping in the Cotswolds last year.

I love early evening light – one of my favourite paintings is John Singer Sergent’s “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” which I went to see at the Tate when I was last in London.

Winchester Paintings

Following the success of my recent “Winchester College On Canvas” exhibition I have decided to make this a continuing project and will be posting new paintings on my web site ( as I complete them.

This is a new painting of Kingsgate Street that I have just finished.

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!

On Canvas and now on the Web

I have just posted the full collection of paintings for my forthcoming “Winchester College On Canvas” exhibition on my web site at

After over a year’s work it feels strange to be taking the pictures down from our walls as I get ready to drive back to England tomorrow.

I just hope that the people that (hopefully) buy the pictures will enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed painting them.

“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

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

Kingsgate Street, Winchester


It has been such fun painting the street where I grew up – it has hardly changed since my parents moved there almost 50 years ago.

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