Wednesday, 31 December 2008


As the main images wont enlarge, Ive added these small clopseups from each of the zentangles.

Ive been reading about these abstract penwork images all over different blogs and decided it was time I had a go (apart from one tatty one I tried last time I was at Anitas). So yesterday I decided to share the warm cosy sitting room with my husband during the afternoon and simply let the pen flow. I was hooked - went to bed with my moleskin and a set of pens and started another one - when the village church clock struck 2 am I had finished two more!!!!

This is number one I created in the sitting room with sepia pens of different thicknesses. I started with curvy shapes and filled them in one by one.

Number two was created in bed and where the shape of the horn, viking boat or whatever it looks like to you, came from I have no idea... but it speaks of growth to me.

Number three took me on to 2 am in the morning with a sore wrist and thumb. .. but this time I deliberately started with the five petal shapes and moved on from that. This is my favourite as its less heavy. Its strange as you can change focus and see different shapes appearing. Looks like the world is cracked but there is a safety net around it and there is still clean fresh growth sustained by a small pot of soil. Some of those shapes at the bottom look like patterned enormous prawns!!! Great fun.


Friday, 26 December 2008


Took the girls for a walk up the lane, through the allotments to the park with swings and slides, etc whilst the rest of the family and friends were only just stirring. There are many an area of chickens, ducks and turkeys there throughout the year and we were surprised to find this magnificent specimen still roaming around in his lovely big fenced off space. Maybe he has become a family pet and they didnt have the heart to prepare him for Christmas Dinner!
Isnt he handsome. Must sketch him some day. Everyone has collapsed in the sitting room watching Mary Poppins, so I popped up to my study to add these photos before starting our evening meal.

Thanks for all your lovely Christmas posts and greetings. Its been wonderful being part of art blogger at Christmas for the first time.

Monday, 22 December 2008


Sandra came to tea and looked round at my numerous hanging works around the home. She was amused to find three nude figures of herself in my bathroom, as I met Sandra when I was attending life drawing and she was the model! She introduced herself to Clive, my husband, with ' you might not recognize me now as I have my clothes on today'!!
Here is the painting created from three sketches which Sandra could hardly recognise as I altered her size in each pose for the composition and she has now lost a stone in weight!! (you may have seen this painting before as I posted it in April just after it was created)

Sandra has just finished her project as co-designer for the Christmas Show at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich 'Merlin and the Cave of Dreams' and is currently working on a series of Norwich paintings ready for an exhibition in Rouen with the Norwich 20 Group.

Todays project was to look at how one creates a blog - so she can't wait to get home and try.

Saturday, 20 December 2008


This afternoon I prepared a Christmas greetings to all my blog visitors using gel pens and water colours in my moleskin sketchbook. The angels are copies of two glass figures I have decorating my fireplace at this time of the year .

as there has been a problem with enlarging the original image I have edited this post and added the garland as two separate pages and hopefully they will enlarge.

Wishing you all happiness at Christmas and throughout the coming Year. ...
and thank you for all your encouragement and support throughout 2008.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Usually during the winter I make plans and experiment for the new year to come. Whilst at the Holt show recently I spied a new DVD by a local Norfolk artist (Brian Ryder) I have admired for many years and even attended one of his abstract courses when he brought out his book BEYOND REALISM. I could not get home quickly enough to play it and Clive made me a pot of tea, I put my feet up and had a glorious 2 hours watching him work plein air in oils along the Norfolk north coast.

As I presume he is sharing his techniques with his fans, I decided to get out a panoramic style canvas and cover it in a mix of poly filler, gesso and a touch of pinkish acrylic just as he casually mentioned in the DVD. I remember asking him at the course how he felt about other artists 'stealing' his ideas, and his reply was great ....' those who are professional will not wish to and amateurs wont be able to' - Where does that leave me????? Anyway, its the only bit I propose to copy from him.
I have a need to create a number of works along the River Bure by our local riverside pub THE RISING SUN for next Easter, so thought it could be my winter project - albeit from my photos, ie today I walked around (got my feet soaked on the common) with my camera for some unusual shots without boats but inundated with birds as. joy of joys, its been a lovely sunny winters day.
Here's how the first one is going from a photo I took in the summer:
This is the very early stage of adding thinned oil white and cream shapes to the polyfilla/gesso base.
(afraid due to the angle of the photo the canvas perspective distorts the buildings and you dont get the effect of a wide format) This is to show you how I am working on these cold days - not downstairs in my stone floor fully windowed area where my studio easel resides, but upstairs in my study with my lovely warm radiator full blast. Ive covered my two tiered desk with an old orange curtain, and sit comfortably with the canvas propped up on the ledge and equipment all around me. As you can tell, I dont copy my photos slavishly.

Sunday, 14 December 2008


You may remember I had a beautiful sketchbook made for me to record flowers from my garden and it turned out that once a month seemed to be the order of the day - so for December I noticed there was ivy- two types - holly and periwinkle which was in bloom and rambling around the pole and area where we keep the dustbins!!!!

As usual you can enlarge by clicking.
This is the double spread, which looks a bit muddled, but it grew as I worked on each plant piece and finally added some penwork to fill the gaps!! The bottom two coloured variegated ivy looks a bit heavy but I think that was the use of naples yellow for the creamy inner areas. Think I should have picked a bigger piece of this to improve the composition, but there we go.
Here is the spread split into pages for more detail:
left hand page showing the colours I used - mostly Winsor and Newton or Senellier.
This is the right hand page of the spread and as there were two types of ivy, I decided to do the more common one in pen only behind the colour.
So that ends my monthly efforts for 2008 and I look forward to the snowdrops to start next year's entries.

Sunday, 7 December 2008


click to enlarge
Thinking of something completely new for the regular group to create in December, I decided to purchase various shaped blank cards with apertures for artwork, so that they not only learn to work in miniature and reduce the subject matter, but create special Christmas cards. Our local gallery (Swallowtail Coltishall) has a vast selection of craft materials as well as art supplies, so I was able to purchase square, rectangular and cameo aperture blank cards with envelopes.
I took along a ponsietta in my round pot I used for the demonstration the other weekend (previous post) , a selection of ribbons, stars, glass and ceramic angel figures, a ceramic snowman, some fancy candles and lots of baubles etc together with cones, holly and ivy. Our small group (depleted due to local winter bug) had the fun of choosing what they wanted to do and prepared thumbnail sketches to decide which shaped card would be more suitable for each chosen subject.
Here are some of the results:

A bit of light hearted fun for the last workshop of the year.

Thursday, 4 December 2008


Now we are in December I am thinking of all you mums dashing about ferrying various children to rehearsals of pantos and plays, attending parties, extra shopping, wrapping, keeping secrets and the myriad things we do extra at Christmas time in a family. .. that we all really really love doing.

So I thought you would like a lesson in RELAXATION - from one of our lovely cats.

This one is part rag doll, very lazy and laid back and quite beautiful with fluffy coat and she is called PETAL. . named by our daughter when she purchased her for me as a birthday present some 6 years ago. Her coat is darker than it should be with this breed, as it is dark chocolate underneath but turned black as mummy had a fling with the black tom living on the farm next door!!

Petal sleeping on my bed one cold winter's afternoon recently.

Strangley our other cat was always destined to be named FLEUR - she is a Burmese Blue and I'll post some photos of her one day. . but she is the active one and hard to get a similar pose!!!