The Artist’s Curse…..

Spent the morning experimenting…..actually just playing, with no particular aims, or thought…

Using the sample paper I got from St.Cuthbert’s Mill at the Patchings Art Festival – a mixture of Saunders Waterford and Bockingford – I put the pigment directly onto the paper before adding water, ink, and in some cases, granulation fluid…with somewhat mixed results…

…perhaps that was to be expected as I definitely wasn’t feeling it …..

Even tried a colour I don’t usually use – Perylene Red – in an effort to get the creative juices flowing….not sure it worked….

Decided to take a closer look at one of the pieces….

…and thought that if I turned it on it’s side….

…I could potentially see honesty seed heads and teasels….so I did the fatal thing, the artist’s curse….and fiddled…

….you would think I would know by now – what can I say, I’m a slow learner …oh well back to playing….oh sorry, I mean experimenting…


Magic in the Water…

Despite living in central England I love the water….I really empathise with this quote by Loren Eiseley – ‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.’ (Although, I hasten to add, I also find magic in the mountains….) Whether it’s the sea, a lake, a river, stream, puddle, rivulet or ripple, there is something about water that draws me to it….

Just over 100yards from where I live is the River Soar and is a favourite place of mine to wander along, to sit awhile….

…to ponder and wonder….to such an extent that I am now reading Tristan Gooley’s book, ‘How To Read Water; Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea’..

Along with the physical properties of water, Gooley intertwines history, anthropology and his own experiences…am finding it fascinating…..

Water also plays a large part in my attempts at art….and I have spent the morning playing with my favourite Daniel Smith watercolours, lots of water, sepia ink and granulation fluid – something I had forgotten I had until Ann Blockley used it in her demo at Patchings Art Festival

I used Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT paper produced by St. Cuthbert’s Mill and Daniel Smith watercolours – Perylene Green, Lunar Blue, Blue Apatite Genuine, Moonglow and my favourite, Rich Gold Green…along with granulation fluid and a black watercolour pencil…and water!

The following three are my favourites – judiciously cropped and framed using Photoshop…

Not sure where this experimentation will lead to, if anywhere, but it’s fun…and, being a person who puts such pressure on myself to produce masterpieces every time I pick up a brush…having fun and enjoying my art is something I should concentrate on….the magic will come, hopefully!!

Watching Paint Dry……

One of those mornings where you are waiting for the telephone engineer….you know the sort…’they will be with you some time between 8.00am and 1.00pm’…. I find it hard to settle when I know that, at some point, I am going to be interrupted …so I decided to make myself some watercolour swatches a la artist Ken Hurd’s tip…a pick up/put down sort of task…

I have seen the square colour charts before but the idea of making swatches of the colours seemed a much easier way to choose colours and see which ones harmonised better…so obvious, makes me wonder why I didn’t think of it earlier…

I  used St.Cuthbert’s Mill  (I just can’t seem to get this link to work)Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT watercolour paper for the swatches, writing the make and shade on the back….

It’s also a useful way of making me see what watercolours I really have….if you are anything like me, you have some favourite shades that you use all the time, and then there the other tubes you bought on a whim and never seem to use for one reason or another…I might actually get round to using some of them now…..

….and guess what, the telephone engineer has just called to say he is running late, and he won’t be with me until later this afternoon……might just go and watch some more paint dry……

Patchings Art Festival….

Yesterday, Friday, saw myself and my other half take a trip to the Patchings Art Festival held at the Patchings Art Centre near Calverton, Nottinghamshire. Despite it being a cloudy, blustery day the marquees were full….

…there was music playing..

…and the sun did eventually make an appearance..

It was interesting wandering around the marquee where the artists had their stands and where some were doing demonstrations…..

Subjective as art is, there was obviously some work I preferred to others…. I particularly liked the approach and mixed media work of Ken Hurd…friendly guy and very generous with his tips and advice…. Claire Botterill was another artist whose work and techniques interested me.  I also watched Laura Boswell demonstrate her Japanese wood block printing… I particularly liked her linocut prints. Couldn’t figure out where I knew her name from until I read that she writes a regular column for the Artists and Illustrators magazine…I did purchase a couple of cards from her…as they say ‘every little helps…’

We also watched the Ann Blockley demonstration in the St. Cuthbert’s Mill ( I can’t seem to get the link to work here… their web address is Marquee…and very enjoyable and interesting it was too!!

There were also other exhibits/demonstrations going on around the ground for the long-suffering, not-so-art orientated partners including some beautiful bonsai trees..

..and glass-blowing..

..and an interesting Landscape Photography talk by RK Photographic

All in all….a good day….and, yes, I spent far too much….


Trials and….blog update

Been busy experimenting and trying out various papers in the hope of producing some work that I am happy with – and will consequently submit to the Surface Gallery in Nottingham for their Postcard Exhibition in January.

I found the 150gm white cartridge paper great if I wanted to use pieces of card to move the watercolour pigment around –

Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsI like khadi paper as it can take quite a lot of water, pigments etc but in this instance it didn’t produce the effect I was after –

Carolyn J Roberts


Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsI then tried Bockingford 10NOT (535gsm) paper produced by St. Cuthbert’s Mill, and with my trusty Jean Haines watercolour brushes came up with these washes –

Carolyn J Roberts

Below are the ones I am most happy with so will probably be submitting these – Carolyn J RobertsWhat do you think?

I have also been practising using my iPad for drawing using Procreate with the following mixed results –

Carolyn J Roberts

Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsI am still getting to grips with all the effects as you can probably tell!

Patchings Arts Festival…blog update

Yesterday saw Peter and I visit the Patchings Art Festival at the Patchings Art Centre, Calverton, Nottinghamshire. Bathed in sunshine, under azure blue skies, the art on show here is of a very different nature to that I studied at Loughborough University. Indeed, and I’m probably going to be a little controversial here, I’m sure some art critics would categorise the art here as being that of the Sunday afternoon hobby painter kind. I, however, have a foot in both camps! Surely anything that stimulates you to take an interest in art, at whatever level, that inspires you to have a go, has got to be a good thing? Most of us began our artistic journey by drawing and painting what we saw around us – we didn’t start out producing sculptures, video work, paintings that have more to do with the materials than the subject, even, dare I say it, audio-visual installations! For some people, the work on show here is what pleases them, for others, it inspires them to go further on their artistic journey – suffice to say, if we all liked the same things, the world would be a very boring place! And if I could paint half as well as some of the talented artists here I would be very happy indeed! Anyway, ‘Debate of the Day’ over with (for now I’m sure!), onto the Festival!

Patchings FestivalThe glorious weather contributed to a great day, strolling around the marquees, eyeing up all the art materials… Got what I considered a bargain from the Two Rivers Paper Mill and met the lovely guys who make the paper – so enthusiastic, brilliant! Bought a squirrel mop head brush from Rosemary & Co that I can’t wait to try – (unfortunately sable was out of my price range!) and some Bockingford watercolour paper from Charlie Downs at the Yew Tree Studios! Also received some free samples of Bockingford paper when we went to the St. Cuthberts Mill Marquee to see a demonstration by Jean Haines – a very talented watercolour artist who paints in a wonderful loose way and very generously shared lots of her tips!

Although we had to pay a nominal fee to see Jean Haines, many of the other artists were doing free demos at their stands and were again, very generous in answering questions and giving tips! It was great to see the work in progress – not sure I would have the nerve! Andrew Geeson, another watercolour artist who paints in a very loose manner, gave a very amusing and informative demo, providing a great insight into how and why he works in this way!

Patchings FestivalPatchings Festival






The extremely warm weather made the marquees very hot at times – no doubt one of the reasons the Pimms stand was doing a roaring trade!! We had taken our own picnic (eaten sitting on the grass in the sunshine!) which was just as well because when we visited the refreshment tent later for a cup of tea, the chiller cabinets were empty – sold out of sandwiches and cold drinks! However, the art, artists, demos and the choir all made for a great atmosphere and a very enjoyable day!

Next week I am visiting the Loughborough University Degree Finals Show which will be very different but just as interesting!