Friday, 31 October 2008


Everyone should have the opportunity I have from time to time to spend a few days with Anita at her home and with her wonderful family in the Fens of East Anglia in England. She is the world's greatest blogger and, more to the point, a maestro at sketchbook art. Such an influence I start using my moleskin sketchbook 10 x 8 inches from the minute I walk in the door!!!

All these sketches are from object d'art in her home added to the double spread throughout most of the first day. It was cold and I had just driven 70 miles across country so we worked in doors.

The fighting hares are a small bronze figure on her Victorian black fireplace.
The egg is a wonderfully patterned and coloured wooden egg on display on the sideboard.
The book cover is from her recent project of 27 local village houses which have been printed into a beautiful 38 page 7 x 7 inch soft covered book.
The apples I brought over from the Broads in Norfolk in a plastic colander.
The flowers are made from a potato stamp Anita created while preparing dinner!
Finally, there is one of Harry's guns in the middle.

What a collection. What a family. What a wonderful 3 days.

More to show you from a trip into Ely to deliver work to the Sue Ryder Fund raising event. I have an acrylic workshop tomorrow - so more on Sunday.

To see Anita's blog and wonderful artwork click on the link on the left.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Although it is well into October and autumn leaves have fallen everywhere, I still seem to have lots of colour in the flowers in the garden including these large clumps of soft pink in the front and back gardens. They must be some sort of illium (lilies) but not sure of their full name as they were planted before we moved here last year. The long spiky leaves have fallen onto the floor and the stems stand tall and straight with strong pink large buds turning into six curly petals each stem.

I have sketched a few into my lovely handmade flower book - making number 7 to date - with soft pinky blue background to show the many flowers growing all around.
click to enlarge
I mainly used my Sennelier watercolour tubes but found the Opera Rose in my Winsor & Newton collection was perfect for the soft pink.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

this is my one hundredth post!! - SPREADEAGLE INN PROJECT

I visited my daughter and girls for couple of days this week and then went on to the Spread Eagle Inn where my decorative artwork is on display in the five en suite barn conversions. When I posted details of this project some weeks back I was asked to let you see the paintings in situ, so photographed them today. Surprising how small they look once up on the walls but remember they are behind double beds!! Worthwhile enlarging to see colour schemes working well together.
1 After the Rain in the Old Forge
2 Two Poppy Paintings in the Smithy Suite

3 Sculptured Tulips in The Carriage House Suite
4 White Orchids in the Stable Suite (the touches of soft green leaves match the cushions and lampshades perfectly)

5 The two paintings created for the Cartshed Suite
Arent they lovely rooms? Lori has such wonderful skills in decor and I think she chose the best paintings for each suite from those selected over a long email exchange. She actually chose 8 out of the 14 I then took over to her - number 8 is the Buttercups and Daisies in the lounge area of the Old Forge suite. What a delightful place to stay if you want a country retreat near Swaffham in Norfolk.. .. wonderful food too!! We are planning weekend acrylic workshops for next year as well!!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


I've been working on this acrylic painting on and off over the last week and have this afternoon put the final touches. The flowers are from a painting I created a couple of years ago when a painting friend bought me these rather unusual coloured bronzy orange flowers. I thought the colours went well with the Japanese kimonos and linked with the orange background of the other vase painting.

So here it is -
Click to enlarge

I would usually use gold leaf for the handles but had run out and my local gallery and framers suggested I use Rub and Buff antique gold in a tube used for framing and antiquing. It works a treat and less expensive.

Im not sure how much the painting changed from its original posting over a week ago but I know I made more of the window and trees outside than I did on the first vase painting which had orange brick and tiles. I think the diagonal works really well and I enjoyed adding the soft shadows on the window sill.

So they are ready to take to Ely next week.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


This vase has a Japanese image and flowers all over and is a delight to try to create. It was photo'd on the windowsill with a corner window behind. With the first vase I created a burnt orange background to pick up the fact that as you looked out the window you only saw red brick or tiles. This time there is a blurr of foliage and sky so its a reverse in colours to the first vase I created for the Sue Ryder Exhibition.

I only drew it up Monday and could not wait to get down to the colour and detail. I have photo'd some of today's stages for you. As before, not sure how it will take me.

1 getting the background worked in with the flower shapes
2 close up of the figures I added on top of a layer of thick primer

Then before finishing for the day, I brushed in some lively lilies in the same colour I had used for the Japanese ladies' gowns.

Looks lop sided - hope its the photography and not my artwork!!!! Not always happy using photos but I could never have sat on the staircase in the Palace to paint them!!. .. but my references are not that clear so taking images from various angled photos which in some cases look bronzy and others a pearl like background. Wish me luck??

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


I have been thinking ahead trying to decide what work I shall exhibit for the Christmas Show at Holt Picture Gallery. Flowers have not been that successful there of late so decided I'd conform and join the landscape artists who exhibit there. To give me a good start I've created another view of Hunstanton Beach in acrylic.

Hunstanton Beach No 2

Another acrylic I created some while back from a visit to one of the many little fishing harbours on the north coast of Norfolk. It was a wonderful sight for an artist to see how the fishermen had just dropped such wonderful colour nets together in such a glorious heap!. I took the painting out my store and decided to make some finishing touches by softening the clouds and the far distance. Also softened the blue of the near water. It gives the scene more atmosphere.

Brancaster North Norfolk

Thought I'd post these two today and, as Ive got to the 4th December to deliver, will let you know what else I plan to exhibit as and when.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


Been away a couple of days and now need a subject to post , so have gone back to my handmade sketchbook in which I am painting flowers from my garden. This one was done earlier in September when to my surprise the white poppies in the front garden came out in bloom again and were so heavy with short thin stems that they bent over the stone pathway.

I scanned the two sides of the book to create the effect of the double spread. As usual a click will bring you more detail on either half.

Monday, 6 October 2008


A small group met up on Saturday for our day's workshop on autumn leaves, berries, cones and acorns etc. We had visitors who were leaving the same time I went off to the venue, but after a good fry up breakfast together, I popped up the lane to pick some fresh holly with red berries, hawthorn with berries, blackberries in fruit, oak leaves and acorns in their cups to go with what I had collected in the week.

I left the students to choose their own subject matter from the above collection and things they also brought in from ferns to massive cones, but planned the day around a first pencil tonal sketch of one chosen object. Then again in pen.

After finding how to set the heating system as the morning went on and we began to realise we were well into our Autumn temperatures , we had a lunch break and discussed the afternoon's programme. Each gathered together a number of subjects and formed a composition to create a full watercolour.

Some very successful work and all inspired again after the summer break. We have Christmassy plans for the December workshop but on asking what they would like to do at the next workshop in November, it was unanimously declared they'd like to try their hand at acrylics. I was thrilled. Really looking forward to our day together with this fun medium.

Friday, 3 October 2008


Dont think you'll recognise this acrylic painting from the first two posts. It seems the flowers have taken over!! I decided to use a technique I discovered some years back when I was creating the magic garden series as I felt the delicate flowers originally planned didnt work for me. So, as you can see, they are a lot bolder and using all the colours of my painting palette.

As I cant seem to get this above image enlarged, Ive edited the post and added the following two close ups:

well worth enlarging (which they do) to see how I create the flowers

So its changed radically and I think its become really 'me'. I always let the painting develop as it wants, so to speak.Would appreciate knowing your views. Probably that the vase is not now the centre of focus. .. but I dont mind that.