Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Portrait of the artist's mother






Meet my sweet little Mum! On Saturday I painted her portrait in the middle of my exhibition in the Barn gallery at Patchings art centre. We had such a lovely day and so many friends came to watch the painting take shape. It was a lovely atmosphere, thanks to everyone who came and to the brilliant team at Patchings as always. We had a really great day.
Although I've sketched her over the years I think the last painting I did of my mum was the one below, painted when I was still a student 22 years ago!
I am really enjoying the quick portraits that I've been able to do this year, I hope to get some more done this winter so let me know if you'd be interested in sitting for me.







Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Early morning, Santa Maria della Salute

Early morning, Santa Maria della Salute
Oils 24 x 30 cms

It's nice to recall while watching the rain lashing down outside my cosy studio today that this time last week I was painting in beautiful Venice. I was really pleased with this one, painted on the Accademia bridge very early on Friday morning as the sun was rising.
It's such a difficult time to paint as the sun moves so quickly, and as it gets higher into the sky it brings more definition into everything you can see. If you start trying to keep up with this before you know it you're attempting to paint all the tiny windows and doors that you can see, and the buildings get darker as well as more clearly defined.
I really wanted to stick to my initial impression of the softness and muted greys of the buildings, the warm orange from the sky reflected into the sea and the relative darkness of the boats against the water.
I'm happy that I stopped as soon as I felt I'd 'said it'.


Painting in situ

I was also happy that I'd captured the difficult transition between the cool areas of water and the hot orange reflected light, and that I'd done so with a brevity of marks and colour.


Wyllis Heaton at work
It was a real pleasure to be painting alongside friends from the US and UK on that morning, and then to go off for a chocolate croissant and cappuccino afterwards. :-)


Penny German, Felicity House, Louisa Calder, Kelly Medford and Ann Justin


Spectacular San Marco light display
This time last week this amazing spectacle of light greeted me at San Marco, shortly before a rainbow appeared in an arc right over the top of the campanile.





Sunday, October 5, 2014

Back from Venice to my show opening

Back from Venice haul

At my new solo exhibition


What a jet set lifestyle this week! From Norfolk to Venice, from Venice to home at 3.30 am yesterday, to the opening of my brand new exhibition at 11.00 am after a couple of hours of sleep. I felt absolutely brilliant though and had a thoroughly nice day at Patchings, thank you to everybody who managed to come to the opening day and to all the team at Patchings who did such a brilliant job hanging the exhibition and taking care of everything. Today I've had a lovely family day and tomorrow I'm raring to get back to work.

One thing I want to do tomorrow is take a look at the fourteen paintings that I managed to bring back from Venice with me, here's a sneak peek as I managed to get them out of the suitcase this morning. I'll show you better photos of them as I get them.

And don't worry there's still plenty of time to see my exhibition as it's open until the 23rd of November. I shall be there next on Saturday 11th October from 11.00 am and I'll be painting a portrait in the gallery.

I will then be painting a portrait for the Kirby Bellars group of artists on Monday 13th, attending the Royal Society of Marine Artists preview on Tuesday 14th, and a RSMA workshop on Wednesday 15th and running a workshop at Patchings on the 16th. Before the end of October I must also finish and frame my ROI entries, take part in a two day plein air event in Norwich and have a week in France with the family so no worries about October being boring...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Last night in Venice








Today is our last day in Venice already! I need to get back to the UK in time for my exhibition opening at Patchings art centre at 11.00 am on Saturday 4th, hope you can join me there for a drink and a mooch around my latest work. I have 51 paintings in the exhibition and the Patchings team have been busy hanging all of those for me while I've been here painting so I can't wait to see it.
As you can see I've had some lovely company on this trip with other artists from the UK and US gathered together. In this photo you can see Kelly Medford, Felicity House, then me, Penny German, Louisa Calder, Wyllis Heaton and Ann Kelly. The extra chair at the table was for our dear Mo Teeuw, who was unable to join us after breaking her ankle last month.
This little 10" x 8" painting was a quick one of the Ospedale at the end of the day as the sun was going down and the shadows were racing up the front of the building.
The drawing is definitely a bit off, but time was of the essence and I had to concentrate on capturing the mood of the daylight turning to evening.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Painting in Venice



Fantastic to be back in Venice, it's such a magical place to paint. I've noticed something strange about the tourists though... they seem obsessed with taking 'selfies'! Many hundreds of people here are walking around with their phones on the end of long sticks taking snap after snap, pose after pose. It's quite disconcerting when you see so many people at it, but at least they aren't as interested in the 'artist painting in Venice' shots so that's eased off.
Rain yesterday, but there are plenty of spots to stand and paint from, and today the sun is shining so I need to get out there and take a look around. Maybe somebody will be hanging up their laundry...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Boathouse at Hickling Staithe

Boathouse at Hickling Staithe

What a great week I'm having! From one set of waterways to another, I travelled from Norfolk to Venice on Sunday to paint with friends.
Before leaving the Norfolk broads I painted and framed two paintings that I left behind for the Monday evening exhibition. This is one of them, a boathouse at Hickling Staithe which I really enjoyed. I was delighted to learn last night that my painting won the third prize in the event, a gorgeous £200 brush bouquet from Rosemary brushes! And my other painting sold too so it was really lovely to hear that news after a gorgeous meal in Venice and a busy day walking and painting.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gathered in the shade

Gathered in the shade, West Moor
Oils 22" x 24"
I'm in a bit of a hurry so can't stop long. I'm off to paint for a couple of days in Norfolk and then five days in Venice and so I'm in the process of throwing anything that I might conceivably need in either place into the back of my car as we speak. I'll do my best to send you little 'visual postcards' from both places.
You'll be pleased and relieved to hear that all 51 paintings for my next big exhibition are finished, framed, signed and delivered to Patchings - and Imo, I couldn't have done it without you moving in to my studio to paint those 30 odd frames so THANK YOU!! We got there!!
This is one of my larger paintings for the exhibition, and a studio painting. You may recognise the subject from a watercolour I did in my sketchbook earlier in the summer.
But now, I must grab a suitcase and some clothes if I'm going to make it to Norfolk before midnight!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Drying in a sea breeze

Drying in a sea breeze
Oils 12" x 16"

Here's a lovely calm painting for you from this summer in France. It's one of the many new paintings I'm framing up this week for my new exhibition
There are frames all over my studio and my lovely friend Imogen has been here all day painting them for me while I try to get a few paintings finished off and signed. 

I've managed to write a newsletter at last - I discovered that it's really easy to do through my website, although it has no frills and I can't add pictures so it's not a permanent solution. It is however a terrific way to give you a brief overview each month about what I'm busy with so if you'd like to be added to the list just send me your email address and I'll pop you on.

Another new discovery is how to add a 'store item' to my website so at the moment you can buy my lovely 2015 calendar direct from there using your Paypal account or credit card and this is just the start... I will be adding some paintings and cards but not yet... large show to get ready!
Take a look at my 'store item'!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

BIG news!!

Walking through buttercups, Harpur hill
Oils 26" x 28"
Buxton Spa Prize Winner
SOLD

With our certificates!
Rob Wilson (3rd prize), me and then Keith Wilkinson (2nd prize)
Thanks to Bertolutti Dora for photo

I am absolutely delighted to announce that I am the first prize winner of the Buxton Spa prize 2014, the inaugural plein air painting competition held in this beautiful and vibrant Derbyshire town. The prizes were announced at the exhibition preview and prizegiving evening on Thursday and I haven't had a chance to blog until now or for it to sink in really!

The judging panel consisted of the eminent artists Harold Riley and Ken Howard OBE RA, Viscountess Cobham the Chairman of VisitEngland and the Art Fund Prize, Ros Westwood the Derbyshire Museums Manager, Anne-Lise Fraser the Programme Cordinator at Leek School of Art and Louise Potter local businesswoman and Manager of the Literary Festival a long standing supporter of cultural initiatives in Buxton and Trevor Osborne who is leading the project to restore Buxton Crescent and an active supporter of the arts.

I painted this large work en plein air on Harpur Hill in Buxton, which was my allocated spot for the competition. I don't often get a chance to paint a wide ranging vista and of course the light changed fantastically throughout the day but I really enjoyed the whole process and was pleased with the freshness of the result. I also felt that it was a landmark work for me and fortunately I've had a few of those lately. It's hard to explain but it's sort of a feeling that something in the painting is showing me the way forward for my work, ahead of it's time almost or a turning point.

Of course I didn't know that the judges would love it as much as I did! The eminent artist Harold Riley spoke about painting being about love and honesty, and then said that my work showed emotion and captured the spirit of the Derbyshire peak district. 

I am still a little stunned by the events of the evening! My prize is £5000 and my painting has also sold. After the prize giving some photographs were taken and then we the prize winners were given a sumptuous dinner at the Old Hall hotel with the judges and organisers. It was the most exciting night, thank goodness I had booked a room for myself in the beautiful place next door, No 6 The Square, as I was in no fit state to drive two hours home afterwards. Too shaky! 

The exhibition of all the works created for the competition in the summer of 2014 can now be seen at  the Green Man gallery situated at Hardwick Hall in Buxton, and will remain on show until October 12th. I am going back to see the exhibition soon as there are so many gorgeous paintings and I didn't get a chance to view them with all the people there and all the activity going on during the preview.


With my painting and red dot!
Now before anyone mentions, no I didn't realise I was co-ordinating my dress with the painting and of course I didn't know I would be having my photo taken at all! A lot of the Facebook comments are loving the dress and saying that I look like a buttercup myself :-)


With judge artist Harold Riley on the stage
Thanks to Bertolutti Dora for photo


The painting in progress on Harpur Hill in July


Detail from painting


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pep talk!

September issue The Artist magazine

I forgot to tell you about a little article I'd written for The Artist magazine about 'Staying motivated'. I think we all need a little pep talk from time to time don't we? Sometimes you might get despondent about not being selected for an exhibition or disappointing sales or turnout but I urge you not to stay in that frame of mind for long, but believe in yourself and let it spur you on to achieve greater things! These things are just a test of your determination and strength so you know what the song says ... when the going gets tough the tough get going!
This is in the September issue which is also the magazine that features my 'Sails up' on the cover - woohoo! It's pretty much impossible to find in shops now because they've sold out, but you can still buy a copy if you'd like one by clicking here.

In the October issue (which magazine subscribers will be receiving any day now and will be in UK shops soon) I have an article giving a little advice about working from photographs. It talks about pitfalls to look out for, planning for success and my methods for combing the use of photographs together with plein air studies to produce new work in the studio.


October issue The Artist magazine
Painting from photographs


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