Sometimes It’s The Little Things…

It’s funny the things that can catch your eye….on our recent trip to Wales we took in the majesty of Snowdonia as well as the beauty of Anglesey, even if it was a little damp…

…but closer to our temporary home, overlooking the Menai Straits, it was the patterns in the mud flats at low tide along with the red marker buoys that took my interest…

…drawing inspired by…

…not sure if this will develop into anything but I am looking forward to investigating this area in the future…


Small Victories….

Another day, another attempt at  Jean Haines ‘no pressure’ washes… and as before, all the pigments used are by Daniel Smith, apart from the Cadmium Yellow…


The LH wash is Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Cadmium Yellow and lots of water, resulting in the normally stubborn yellow almost disappearing. The RH wash is Perylene Red and Cascade Green with subtle clingfilm effects. I love the Cascade Green, but (and maybe this is my application…) I seem to get muddy effects from it under the clingfilm…..

The middle wash is Carbazole Violet and Quinacridone Sienna with…..salt…

image….and here is my small victory for the day…I’ve actually managed to get some half decent effects…woo hoo!!

From there, I practised some exercises from Jean’s book ‘Paint Yourself Calm’…as it has been a rather damp start here in Wales, I thought I would recall warmer days with no pressure landscapes and a loose poppy (yes, that’s what they are supposed to be!!) wash….imageimageimage

imageI am finding that Jean’s way of working up to more serious pieces is beginning to work for me…I know that my first washes are not going to be masterpieces, so immediately I don’t get anxious if things go awry…

From there, I returned to the rose wash that I am slowly building up….


The colours are darker in reality…. but I am reasonably satisfied with this… if only I had painted it on heavier paper – (it says it is Archival Quality Extra Heavy Weight Cold Press Paper 180lb) the edges have curled and there is slight buckling with the amount of water I used. However, as this was supposed to be just a study, I shouldn’t be too disappointed…

I even have another effort on the go….

imageso we will see how this progresses….



Peaks & Patchings…blog update

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!


imageimageAnd a gorilla to boot…


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

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…)