St Cross Artworks

The Hospital of St Cross has been on my Winchester to-do list for many years. It’s one of the longest standing historical sites in the area, positioned to the South of the city and surrounded by the water meadows. I always thought a depiction of it’s main tower would make a lovely atmospheric Christmas card. Indeed many people have already photographed and painted it… but I wanted to give it a go with my style. We’ve walked past it so many times because of how visible it us from St Catherine’s Hill (one of our favourite viewpoints). So I have quite the collection of photos from various different times of the year, with vague ideas of about the composition I might eventually create.

Then I had a lovely message FROM St Cross, enquiring after my Christmas decorations and the possibility of creating something for their shop. That focused the mind a bit! I paid them a visit and they very kindly showed me around the site. It is a remarkable place. We ended up discussing options on a calendar using my existing Winchester catalogue but with some St Cross focused additions. That was all the excuse I needed to attempt both a Winter and Summer scene… knowing that I already had those vague ideas to dip back into. First up, another big landscape! Having already worked on this sweeping canvas featuring St Catherine’s Hill and Hockley Viaduct I was in the mood for further grand landscapes. I pieced together the sketch below using my photographs of the buildings, aerial footage and online maps. It’s certainly not an accurate scene but hopefully one that captures the essence of the place. The second scene was compositionally a lot more straightforward; using the photos I had taken onsite and recreated from a single viewpoint in the grounds. The tricky part was transforming the season (my reference images were of late Spring/early Summer). You can see some of that within the sketch, as the leafy tree line beyond the grounds needed to be stripped back to bare branches. I could have just done another green season study but I knew this angle could work really nicely for some festive designs. These two new paintings are now set within a calendar design which I should get back from the printers shortly. I’m also going to try and find time to make a sample for a Christmas Tree Ornament. Watch this space!

Where would you send an artist to be inspired? What location should I paint next? leave me a suggestion or comment here!

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