Wednesday, 30 April 2008


These first three images were from last week (the afternoon before I hurt my back) and I had to wait to see our new model at Foxley Studios to get permission to post them. All done in my lovely smooth hard backed sketch book 12 x 8 inches using pen and a little wash and charcoal pencil.

These next three are from this week. She is a great model - only trouble I was a bit late this week having driven up from my daughters and she was doing some early 2 mins poses - yes just two minutes!!!! but Ive posted those she held for 10 tor 20 mins later in the session. Also done in pen with inktense greys/charcoals and a little water and a began to use a touch of inktense red for the middle one but didnt have time to take it any further.

Sunday, 27 April 2008


Been out of action most of the week due to a back problem that is agony to sit at the computer - or anywhere else come to that. Now off to my daughters for a few days (hopefully with painkillers I'll be able to drive and then get out of the car at the other end without a crane!) Its slowly improved so I hope the car journey wont set it all up again. Managed to attend life class on Tuesday before it happened and we had a new lovely young model. Very pleased with my sketches - now taken up a rather nice bound book of soft heavy paper 12 x 8 inches that was a delight to draw in - mainly in water soluble pen. I'll ask her permission next week to post some of them when I get back. I think the problem arrived to give me a break from work - but I didnt like just lazing around for 4 days.

Thought you'd need an image to make this post worthwhile, so dug this one out of my hard drive. Its in my mind as I have decided to put together a book on NORFOLK CHURCHES although St Wendreda in Cambridgeshire was the original inspiration. I painted it as a gift from the stainglass window for a young lady who got married there.

Sunday, 20 April 2008


Well, at last I have finished the oil painting of the mill. I straightened up the verticals, softened the shadow sides of the building, added the windows and supports, highlighted the water flowing out, put more made up detail into the tree area on the left.....
Finally I turned to the bank and all its plant life. I removed the bull rushes I had planned in the early thin blocking in layer, as I didnt like the shapes and colour re-iterating the dark arched windows which were already repeated in the reflections. So I was left with the evening primroses that were in one of the 1906 photos I had been given. To add variety I put into the foreground my interpretation of some yarrow that grows in abundance round here on the riverbanks. A few dark sap greens, ultra and king blues, with stalks of red umber and touches of yellows and reds and I was finished. I feel the bank and the tree on the right give me what I had planned (a reverse 'L') to frame the building and give the feeling of space.
The two archways on the right look strange, but I checked out the photo reference and they are different shapes to each other.

Being close up, the bank plant life is all quite impasto, so I'll have a long wait for the painting to dry before I can take it along to the gallery to see if his client likes it.

Friday, 18 April 2008


quick sketch from the roadside over stone wall showing 2 of the 5 clerestory windows.

New floor tiling in the chancery

St Nicholas statue

Yesterday I went to the framers to collect my 3 oil paintings - very pleased with result - all the same to make united hanging with the frame like a gunmetal grey with hints of dark purple, smooth slightly curved. I then went onto Wells next the Sea to see my contemporary textured floral works hanging in the gallery there. Absolutely delighted as they (all 7) were in the main gallery room hung with my special price cards depicting the raison d'etre for their creation, such as ' ORCHIDS ON NUTMEG - The second in the spice series came from a white orchid plant given to me by an artist friend. Nutmeg inspired the background colours and little touches of lime and apricot break the quiet mood and keep in touch with the culinary theme.' I think it makes the price tag more interesting - dont you?

My images posted above were due to a quick visit to the town parish church of St Nicholas. Cant say the sketch of part of the outside was very good - but then that wall borders the A149 main road!! Pleased with the St Nicholas statue - patron saint of fishermen. The new floor tiling was a delightful design and full of colour and only laid in more recent times. Made a complete change from all the oil painting Ive been doing lately.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


As you can see, Ive been working on the mill oil painting. After adding my own interpretation of the foliage on the bank with bull rushes, irises, evening primroses etc and the right hand tree, I realised the reflections were too complicated especially to the left. So blended them down. I darkened the right hand corner and put another layer on the mill itself. Ive lost some of the shadow tone to the building itself, so will add a darker glaze where appropriate before putting the detail of the windows and roofs. Then I'll have another think session before deciding where to add the lines depicting the slatting on the top half of the building!!

Wish me luck - I think Im getting there. Just noticed it looks as if the mill is toppling over - hope its the poor photography for the post, but if not I'll need to look at the angles of the horizontal lines and the left hand vertical.

Monday, 14 April 2008


Today I had hoped I would be posting photo images from my trip to Felbrigg Hall National Trust property in North Norfolk - but my 1GB Sony stick is playing up. I can see the images in my camera but they wont load onto the harddrive - says the stick cannot be formatted but I used it in south Africa so I dont know why. I'll have to visit again soon and take my sketching equipment with me instead now I know what interested me. In particular were the exceptional large brasses in the church which I understand are 13th century and I also loved the large walled garden with dovecote.
So instead I decided to show you two floral paintings I did for the Society of Floral Painters, which in a roundabout way are the reasons for my trip to Cromer. They were initially accepted but when hung under the glaring spotlights it was seen that the screws for the D rings had penetrated (very slightly) the surface of the frame so had to be rejected. I enjoyed working on them from my garden and had the idea of surrounding the studies with these lozenge shapes to add close up detail of the plants.
Ive had the framed paintings in my lounge ever since (despite the 'mark' which could not be spotted when viewed on the wall) and recently as part of my plan to find new outlets for my work now I have moved to Norfolk, gallery owners visited me who asked me to have some greetings cards made of these two studies for their gallery in Cromer. That was the main reason for my trip to Cromer last Saturday to deliver them, so I took the opportunity to stay with friends overnight to visit Felbrigg on the Sunday morning together just 3 miles from their home. A lovely weekend with suprisingly different aspects and the opportunity to show you some of my more botanical style watercolours.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


I started at above 11.30 this morning by blocking in the sky with King Blue Deep, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium white from the Michael Harding scrumptious oil tubes, creating some moving
clouds. I painted in the trees and shrubs with their reflections with sap green, terre verte, bright green lake, red umber and some of the blue I had in the sky. All quite a thin wash as I dont want these elements to dominate the building.

Then after a lunch break you can see I had fun putting in the first coat of the mill together with warm shadows and reflections.

Then I felt the need to cover all the canvas, so that no white was left showing to mislead the eye with the tones I put on. I know the wall on the left is too bright to start with but theres a long time to go yet and adjustments are to be made along the journey.

This is when I decided I had painted enough for one day and the light was going anyway - and Clive called me for dinner at 6.30. All perfect timing. Wont get back to it again until possibly Friday afternoon for a short time and then I am away over the weekend. I think I am growing to like this one and hope I'll have some time early next week to really get cracking on the texture, detail of the building, the reflections and waterside plants and grasses I will be making up in the foreground.


Cant believe its Wednesday already and I have not added a post since Saturday's workshop. Been busy busy arranging /collecting prints, greetings cards, framing for various galleries and events coming up.

Although I have managed to do the drawing of a large oil of an 'extinct' mill near by (have been given three early 19 hundred's photos to create it from - 2 above) I have as yet not been able to settle down to do the underpainting. Looking at the drawing above I think I might add another tree on the right but its difficult deciding on an interesting composition from two different angled references but I definitely wanted to add the bank and trees on the right. Maybe today's the day as I am home all day apart from walk to the village centre for bits and pieces.

Saturday, 5 April 2008


Our workshop today went well despite the rain outside. We were cosy and warm inside the Salvation Army premises in the village. We started by a little recapping on basic drawing techniques we did the previous month and Don, our only new member, can be seen above working on geometric shapes.

Meanwhile our other members sketched and shaded in graphite my copper kettle and coffeepot, as can be seen above.

After lunch we had an hour and a half working on various watercolour washes to get comfortable with applying paint in layers and tones. For the rest of the afternoon I offered a choice of pen and wash of inkpots I had brought along, with Anita's approval from her recent blog posting. Others chose fruit arrangements (... and we all nibbled the biscuits!!.)

Lots of coffee and tea and a lunch break later we all had lots of fun and certainly worked hard.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Many a time I have been told I should do something with my studies at the life drawing sessions at the Foxley Gallery which I post here on my blog from time to time. When over at Anitas this last weekend I discovered some of them in the boot of my car. I needed a change from sketching in my moleskin little book and thought it would be great fun painting with Anita in her studio. So we decided to use our own life drawing session work (Anita attended a group at Whittlesey until recently) to create acrylic paintings on canvas.
I chose three studies and grouped them as above by going straight in with the brush, but adjusted the size of each figure to suit the composition. Unusually, I kept the paint quite thin and the lovely rough linen (almost like fine sand paper) showed through. I added thin colours one over the other trying to create a modern piece. I added the window and door at the back to give variety to all the curves of the model's body.

Maybe Anita will post her's on her blog soon. Sorry I cant here now I am at home as I have no photo of the unusually bright purple and torquoise work she achieved from her life drawing sketch. It was strange as we seemed to exchange styles as we worked together on our own pieces.