Opening Night – Inspired by Nature…blog update

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…..


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

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… update

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!


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

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

Developing Inspiration?…blog update

Although social media comes in for a fair amount of criticism (and in some cases I feel it is entirely justified!) there is a positive side to it as well. Without it I wouldn’t have discovered all the amazing artists that I have, picked up lots of tips from artists who generously share their techniques, methods and general advice for us mere mortals trying to find our way, or learn about so many opportunites and exhibitions. It was only through social media that I learnt about the International Postcard Exhibition at the Surface Gallery, Nottingham. I submitted three ‘postcards’ for display

Carolyn J Robertsimageand whilst they might not win any awards or even sell, being part of an exhibition all helps with making connections and getting your name ‘out there’.

It was also on social media that I spotted an invite to contribute to an installation – part of the ‘Drop Me A Line’ exhibition by Michael Fairfax and Louise Baker at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Devon. Having seen examples, again on Twitter, as well as having a ‘bit of a thing for lines’ as anyone who was at uni with me will testify, I thought I would submit some work. My sketches of the Peak District and of the ‘cliffs’ along the Norfolk coast concentrating on the ‘anti-clines’ were my inspiration!

imageCarolyn J Roberts




Carolyn J Robertsimage




And here are the ones I submitted –

imageimageimageimageI like the strength of the line in the landscape – whilst also acknowledging the transient nature of the world around us. I had been playing around with this idea for a while, but felt like I needed more inspiration as I wasn’t totally sure about the direction I was going until, luck would have it, I watched ‘Countryfile’ on Sunday night, all about the bard of Scotland, Robbie Burns. It was the piece involving landscape photographer Colin Prior and his quote from Burns’ poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’ –

‘But pleasures are like poppies, spread,

You sieze the flower, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow falls in the river,

A moment white – then melts forever,

Or like the borealis race,

That flit ere you can point their place,

Or like the rainbow’s lovely form,

Evanishing amid the storm,

Nae man can tether time or tide’


that really captured, in words, what I was trying to portray.

So, suitably inspired, I am now trying to develop these pieces further –

imageimageimageSo far I have used Bockingford Paper, indian ink and watercolour pencil in an attempt to show the contour lines and anticlines, but with the addition of tissue paper and washes to portray the transient nature of the landscape. I can see these developing into larger pieces….

Might even submit these to Blue Owl Art, Grantham, for their ‘Inpired by Nature’ exhibition – 30 April-31 August 2015 -will see how they evolve…