Wild, windswept wonderings…..

Growing up in flat Lincolnshire and living in landlocked Leicestershire, I find myself fascinated by the windswept, stunted and gnarled trees on the hill tops in west Wales. Shaped by the winds, they grow, twisted, bending but not broken…

Using indian ink and charcoal, I have attempted to capture their spirit, producing several studies….

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Wondering how to develop these studies… had this one printed up as a card…

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Question is, shall I have some of the others printed as cards…..?

 

Transitioning daboodles…….

Recent travels have seen me back home to Leicestershire, to Wales and to Scotland for some R &R ….just need to visit Northern Ireland and I will have the full set!

Although the weather was changeable in Scotland we still managed to get out and about, visiting the Falkirk Wheel, the fabulous Kelpies as well as a wonderful drive through Glen Coe – an area we would love to explore further!

Falkirk WheelKelpiesGlen CoeI have also continued, albeit it in fits and starts, to doodle in my sketchbook, or is that dabble…..or could they be classed as daboodles…..(thank you SW for this new term!)

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Confidence is returning as far as working in my sketchbook – the problem arises when I have to translate these daboodles into ‘proper’ worked up pieces……. Please forward any advice on a postcard….

 

Long time no see…….

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To say it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything is perhaps an understatement!! For reasons I don’t want to dwell on, the latter half of 2015 and early part of this year, was a difficult time and thoughts of art, drawing and painting were not foremost in my mind.

However, time is a great healer and life goes on……and I have tentatively started to paint again, albeit only in a sketchbook.

I have been spending a lot of time in West Wales, in a tiny village called New Quay, Ceredigion. Quiet during the winter, the population swells during the summer months with holidaymakers drawn here by the sandy beaches, rocky coves, spectacular coastal walks as well as the hills, valleys and verdant lanes to walk along.

 

New Quay, CeredigionMisty morning in New Quay

Rock pools, Cei BachSunset, Cei BachI have been drawn to a small beach, Cei Bach, that looks out across Cardigan Bay, along the coast to Aberaeron and Aberystwyth. It has the most fabulous sunsets!!

Travels through Wales have also taken me through Snowdonia and the wonderful mountain landscapes. All this super scenery provided me with some much needed encouragement to pick up my pencils, charcoal and paintbrushes……

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Ridges

Even managed to dig out the watercolours – Daniel Smith – gorgeous, surprisingly thick paints! I do seem to have a thing for the edges; coastal views – the line between sea and land, hill tops,…..

Wet DaysLooking to the hillsDreaming of sunsets

There is also a fabulous ridge of windswept trees…that I tried to capture using charcoal and ink…..

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which I had printed as a card, along with a couple of other doodles….

Cards

My final image for this post is a watercolour – Sunset at Cei Bach…..a beautiful place to sit…….

Sunset at Cei Bach

So that’s just a brief update….I promise not to leave it so long next time!!

Peaks & Patchings…blog update

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It’s been a glorious weekend although the heatwave was tempered in the Peak District by a cool edge to the wind. This did not spoil our enjoyment; Derbyshire was clothed in luscious greens, billowing cow parsley, glades of wild garlic and hillsides of yellow flowering gorse. Add to this the sound of lambs, birds, the wonderment of watching a kestrel’s mastery of the very blustery conditions and you have a perfect day….with the addition of some very tasty provisions from a local farm shop!

imageimageimageimageEventually tearing ourselves away, we made our way to Gallerytop in Rowsley. Here, it was great to see the work of Chris Prout, an artist who’s work I have admired for a long time – and at last I got to see some ‘in the flesh’! Although my artistic skills are not in Chris’s league, we do have something in common – a love of Derbyshire & Wales! The work on display here came in a variety of sizes, from small squares, providing the viewer with tantalising glimpes of the Derbyshire countryside, hidden corners, overlooked areas, rich in layers, to a large scale sweeping vista lush with paint, awash with layers and textures – Derbyshire on a canvas! Some paintings had a muted palette, whilst others had richer colours, flecks, hints… There is a real sense of energy & passion in his work – wonderful!

I also liked the work of John Paul Cooke – his abstract works, rich in form, tone & texture, capture the spirit of the Peaks in all their various moods – from early morning mists, to mellow Autumn days. I loved his use of muted palettes! Richard Barrett’s work also captured my eye – the energy, layers & marks provide the viewer with a feel for the rich & varied tapestry that is Derbyshire!

Sunday saw us take a trip to the Patchings Festival at the Patchings Art Centre at Calverton, Nottingham. With slightly less wind, it was a gloriously sunny day. Crowds of people were treated to a veritable feast of artists, artists’ materials, demonstrations & a band to boot! It was really hard not to be like a child in a sweet shop in the materials tent….

I watched a mixed media demonstration by artist Robert Dutton. Based in Yorkshire, Robert’s work is very expressive, with strong marks and brush strokes – resolving to capture the ‘moment’ & the wonder & strength that is Yorkshire! A very enjoyable demonstration saw him start to portray the magnificent Malham Cove. With a variety of mediums & marks, tones & highlights his passion for painting, & the subject, really shone through – as did his encouragement for us all to be bold, let go & loosen up! You really emerged from the marquee itching to pick up your charcoal, pastel, paint…

In the artists’ tent was Carole Baker – I have been very fortunate to attend a couple of her workshops! She uses bold colours & textures to create evocative landscapes & is another very passionate artist who is generous with her tips & encouragement!

Sad to say I misssed Jean Haines, a watercolour artist, who’s work I also love! Her enthusiasm for watercolour really comes across in her work, books, dvds…. Vibrant colours, beautiful washes, great marks & her energy really brings the subjects to life! Maybe I will see you next year!

Also at the Festival were more craft based artists as well as photographers! I particularly liked the work of wildlife photographer Des Ong. The patience required to capture some of his images must be enormous! Again Des was another artist generous with his time, tips & stories – loved to hear how he got the 3 wild boar all in a row!

And just in case you tagged along as the non-artistic partner, along with the band, there was a marquee demonstration the Art of Bonsai – who knew there was so much to it & the price of some the trees… There was also a display of birds of prey – so beautiful!

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imageimageAnd a gorilla to boot…

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All in all, a very enjoyable day – definitely a date for next year’s calendar!

Experimenting & Loosening Up…blog update

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As someone who hardly lifted a paint brush during my time at uni, and even prior to that, wasn’t exactly known for painting, I have recently been spending my time attempting to get to grips with the medium. Even though it has a reputation for being difficult, I have chosen to work in watercolours – glutton and punishment spring to mind! I haven’t had any formal lessons in watercolour – I’m very much ‘going with the flow’! I’m sure watercolour purists would be horrified, and I’m probably breaking every rule in the book – but you know what they say about rules….

Using this medium, along with lots of water, has also provided me with an opportunity to ‘loosen up’ Sometimes I have a tendency to work ‘very tightly’, as in an earlier piece I did called ‘Bowed But Not Broken’ –

Bowed But Not BrokenI want my paintings to be more expressive, more about the paint and the marks – abstracted in a way, although still with a nod to the landscapes I love.

Initially I experimented in my sketchbook – the good old Seawhite!

imageimageimageimageI used Winsor & Newton Professional watercolours along with some Daniel Smith colours – both very good, worth paying that bit extra for! Eventually I could put it off no longer – I had to experiment on ‘proper’ paper! Although the saying is that a good workman should never blame his tools, I think this is definitely a case of ‘the better the paper, the better the result’! I therefore treated myself to a selection of watercolour papers from Jackson’s Art Supplies – highly recommended for their easy to use website and prompt service!

It’s been really interesting learning what the various papers can take! First off I tried Fabriano Artistico Extra White HOT press 140lb. Lovely smooth paper, the paint, along with a fair bit of water moved beautifully over the surface. Here, I should admit to not stretching the paper beforehand…I know, I know – rules… As well as using paint brushes, and here I’m admitting to a bit of hero-worshipping – I use Jean Haines Watercolour brushes (again, worth every penny!) I also use sticks, wooden coffee stirrers & old/unwanted plastic store cards. On this paper I was able to swirl and push the paint around very easily without damaging the surface.

imageimageAlthough the paper withstood quite a lot of water, it did buckle a little – perhaps a reminder to stretch it prior to use. However, I see they do the same paper in 300lb so I might order some of that next!

Next I tried the Bockingford NOT 250lb paper – an altogether different surface! This paper withstood a LOT of water but I found I couldn’t use the plastic card to move the paint around so much as I damaged the slightly rougher texture of the surface. Instead I used my brush along with a wooden stirrer (used very lightly) as well as tilting and turning the paper to create runs.

imageimageimageI was impressed with both papers and would be hard pressed to choose a favourite! Not so my choice of colours, I seem to have a thing for Payne’s Grey, Indigo, Raw Umber and Yellow Ochre – reminding me as they do of the North Norfolk coast in winter, and the autumnal fenland fields of my childhood.

I have yet to try the Arches Aquarelle 400lb sheet or the Two Rivers 300lb – mainly due to my lack of confidence in my ability and the cost… When I do pluck up the courage I will let you know how I get on!

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Opening Night – Inspired by Nature…blog update

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Well Thursday 30th April saw the Private View of ‘Inspired by Nature’ at Blue Owl Art, Grantham. Lincs. For ages it just seemed like a date on the calendar but last night saw the materialisation of everyone’s hard work!  The exhibition features the work of nine artists in a variety of mediums, sizes and all importantly prices! And even though the exhibition was themed ‘Inspired by Nature’ – this too, saw a wide variety of responses to the subject.

imageMy work sat alongside that of photographer Peter Roberts, artists Mary Jane Alexander, Jackie Berridge, Jackie Cheetham, Daniel Goodchild, Kate, Robotham and Sue Rowland, and jeweller Sheila Kerr.

imageMary Jane Alexander’s work depicts both landscape and still life in oils. Large and small, the work is rich in colour and texture and possesses a movement, almost rhythmical in nature, that draws your eye around the paintings. I particularly liked The Cherry Orchard and the one of the Downs (the name eludes me for which I sincerely apologise).

imageimageAlongside Mary Jane’s figurative work sat Daniel Goodchild‘s more abstract landscapes. Daniel explores the materiality of the paint, thickly applied (is the term ‘impasto’?) layering marks and textures to produce an abstracted response to the landscape. Standing back from the work, one got an overall feel for the topography and form, but the work drew you closer to explore the textures and colours, to see the detail in each of the marks – luxurious and opulent were the words that came to mind to describe the richness of the oils.

imageimageSue Rowland has a passion for textiles and surface patterns and where better to look for inpiration than the landscape. From her prints and textile piece, you can see she has an eye for the details of the flora and fauna of the natural world – the little things that often get overlooked. The wall hanging was rich in detail as well as colour and textures. My own sewing skills are negligible, so I was hugely impressed with the work and stitching in this piece. Again and again, you were drawn back to the work because you had suddenly spotted another gem – a leaf, a flower, an egg…

imageimageKate Robotham and I studied Fine Art at Loughborough University together so it was great to catch up and hear all the news!

Kate’s work aims to capture some of the mystery of the world around us, encouraging us to investigate further and to take pleasure in our sometimes mundane surroundings. Using composition and texture, her works are rich in colour (I think she has a penchant for blue..) and although two of her pieces in this exhibition were large scale, you were still drawn to take a closer look – just as Kate wants you to do at your own environment….

imageSitting amongst the figurative and abstract works was Jackie Berridge‘s pieces. From a distance they appear naive, childlike even.. but when you investigated further you saw they portrayed a darker side…. Set within imaginary landscapes (inspired by Italianate gardens and English arboretums) which include anthromorphic figures – animal heads set atop human bodies, the work explores relationships both good and bad. Unsettling is the word here…..

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Now for some apologies…..

 

Apologies to Peter Roberts – I haven’t got any images of your work – but as you know I think your landscapes are wonderful – loving the Seaton Carew sunrise and the Beacon Hill Snowy Rocks (not that I am at all biased…)

Apologies also to Sheila Kerr as I haven’t got any images of her jewellery (my photos didn’t turn out well – I’m blaming my Ipad, glass cabinet and spotlights.. nothing at all to do with the Prosecco!) However, she produces the most beautiful pieces of jewellery; bracelets, necklaces, rings… Well worth a look! (Get saving P – got my eye on a bangle…)

Finally apologies to Jackie Cheetham – no images of your work (second glass of Prosecco and lots of talking…) Jackie works in oils and is experimenting with colour and this shone through in her works on display; Magpie – black and white, and another one of daffodils, vibrant and rich in colour!

Also taking place last night was a performance by Lincoln based artists GAST. Take Heed was a piece concerned with the invention/development of the game of tennis – well the gallery is set within Grantham Tennis Club! Everyday is a school day so they say and I certainly learnt a thing or two about the game. Did you know that the scoring system originated from the winning player taking an egg from a basket at the side of the court. The wiiner was therefore the player who had all the eggs in his basket  The french word for egg is l’oeuf which got anglicised to ‘love’….

These artists must be very fit because they ran around for the whole evening…

imageimageI heard lots of positive comments about my own work and the exhibition in general which is always good! Many thanks Jette and Belinda for all your support and hard work. Now if I could just sell some pieces….

 

An Inspirational First…blog update

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Inspiration for an artist comes from all walks of life, all corners of the globe… Like all artists, I have my favourite places, particular interests and a whole host of artists who inspire me! From JMW Turner’s use of colour, Edgar Degas’ draughtsmanship, Maya Lin’s topographical installations and Monika Grzymala’s tape ‘drawings’ – plus a whole host in between! Social media has also revealed many more artists whose work I love and admire – one of the good things about the internet & Twitter!

Working at home can be quite lonely at times, so for me, social media is a way of keeping in contact with the world, seeing what’s happening both near and far. I also use Twitter to promote my work, tweeting images of my latest efforts – good or bad! I have been very lucky in that the feedback I have received thus far has been very positive and any criticisms have been of the constructive kind!

However, and this is where the ‘First’ comes in, never before had I thought anyone would be inspired by me – until this week. I received a lovely tweet from an art teacher who liked my charcoal sketches – so much so that she was going to show them to her Yr 12s as inspiration!

imageimageShe then very kindly tweeted some images of the work the students had done – go to @potterkatiehook to have a look!

Shortly after that another kind lady tweeted how my sketchbook watercolours had inspired her to get her sketchbook out and start sketching! That same week a gentleman tweeted how inspiring he found my watercolours! Now I don’t profess in anyway to belong to that elite band of artists I quoted above – but in my own little way, if I can inspire someone else to have a go then that’s great!

Talking of my charcoal/watercolour sketches – I have been working really hard at loosening up. Sometimes, in my drawing, I can get very tight, worry too much about the detail rather than concentrating on the mood and emotion. In an effort to combat this I have a great time experimenting with moving watercolour paint around on different paper surfaces including Fabriano Artistico and Bockingford, trying to portray the mood of the elements. Here are some of my efforts!!

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageAm I succeeding in creating mood and atmosphere in my landscapes? Not sure, what do you think? One thing is certain, I am really enjoying using the Daniel Smith watercolours and wonderful papers!

And finally…just a reminder that the Private Viewing of Inspired by Nature at Blue Owl Art is this Thursday 30th April 7 – 9pm. Would be great to see some of you there!!

Fragile Lands II

Quick, quick, slow…..blog update

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It’s been a quiet few weeks for me recently, spending time with family and managing to fit in a holiday to Herefordshire, the Wye Valley and the Brecon Beacons – fabulous scenery, great walks – if you watched the BBC’s Secret Places last week you would get a flavour of the area – wonderful!

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I also had a little trip to Aberaeron in Wales – what a lovely place! Beautiful harbour, pastel painted houses and the sea……… Lovely seafood risotto at The Harbourmaster……………..

imageimageimageimageThat was the slow part! Time now seems to be quickening and the exhibition is looming large! Inspired by Nature at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire has its Private View on Thursday 30th April 7 – 9pm and the exhibition then runs from Friday 1st May to 31st August.

It is the usual flurry of activity getting everything ready to drop off at the gallery next week – it is also the time when the angst kicks in!  You see the list of exhibiting artists and wonder ‘What am I doing…?’ Wish you could buy confidence….

Anyhow, enough of the wallowing – the Private View looks like being a fab evening. There is a performance piece ‘Take Heed’ by Lincoln based artists Dale Fearnley and Laura Mahony. Sheila Kerr willl be exhibiting her ‘Crest of a Wave’ jewellery – I love her work! And alongside me, Mary-Jane Alexander, Jackie Berridge, Jackie Cheetham, Peter Roberts, Kate Robotham, Daniel Goodchild and Sue Rowland will be exhibiting their work inspired by the world around us. It will be fascinating to see how each artist interprets the subject – in a variety of mediums including oils, mixed media and photography.

I will keep you updated as to how the evening went….. Meanwhile, here’s a reminder of some of the pieces I will be exhibiting!

Fragile Lands IIFragile Lands IIIFragile Lands VFragile Lands VIIFragile Lands VI(Apologies for the blue tinge to some of the photos – the light was fading…)

(I hope I managed to get all the links correct – if not – my sincere apologies…)

Pleased to announce…blog update

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I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in the ‘Inspired by Nature’ exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire. Running from 30 April – 31 August, the exhibition is for work that has been, like it says in the title, inspired by nature!

Fragile Lands II will be exhibiting a new body of work, which I have called ‘Fragile Lands’: it consists of eight pieces inspired by my love and affinity for the landscape – The Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Moors, the North Norfolk coast and beyond….

Fragile Lands IIGrowing up in rural Lincolnshire I came to love and respect the landscape in all its many guises, whatever the season.  As a child, time seemed to stretch on forever, and although the countryside altered with the farming calendar, the bones of the landscape appeared infinite. Fast forward to the present and we are aware, more than ever, of the earth’s fragility. The mixed media work I will be exhibiting looks to capture this juxtaposition of permanence and vulnerability: the contour lines of the landscape contrasting with the delicacy of the tissue paper and soft ink and watercolour washes.

Fragile Lands IIIThe work is intended to be impressionistic, abstract even, rather than representational: it is my response to the landscapes I love and the issues it faces.

Fragile Lands IVFragile Lands VI am thrilled to be exhibiting at Blue Owl Art again – it’s a great gallery, has a great selection of contemporary craftwork as well, along with an on-site cafe serving delicious food – what more could you want?!

Fragile Lands VIThe Preview Night is 30 April from 7 – 9pm – do pop along if you can, would be great to see you there!!

Fragile Lands VIIFragile Lands VIII

Guilty as charged…blog update

Earlier this week I committed a cardinal sin – unhappy with my first few ‘daubs’ in my new sketchbook, I tore the pages out……….

I had been looking forward to working in my new square Seawhite sketchbook after filling the previous one to the brim and more –

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and looking back through it I really felt it was what a sketchbook should be, a record of my sketches, experiments, memories, ephemera, texts, poems etc.

Starting my new book shouldn’t have been an issue then; there it was, open, white pages just begging to be filled…

imageand what do I do? Splosh away, thinking I’m going to create something marvellous, produce (in my eyes) rubbish and subsequently tear the pages out – I really should know better!

imageCross with myself , I made coffee, browsed social media and tweeted about my new sketchbook and ‘white paper syndrome’. Within minutes I received tweets of encouragement and tips from some very kind artists about how they get started! Elaine Phipps in particular has been very generous with her comments, tips and encouragement, along with Mari French and Louisa Crispin – thank you ladies, and to everyone who takes the time to ‘chat’ with me over social media!

So, re-charged, I made another start – sticking in tissue paper and using up old ink and paints – one of Elaine’s tips!

imageimageimageimageNo pressure, just doodles – but what do you know, I’ve broken that duck…

What do you do to get over ‘white paper syndrome’? I’d love to hear from you!

And what do you know, when I framed up one of the pages I tore out…….I quite liked it……

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