Monday, 29 September 2008


I worked on the acrylic vase painting yesterday afternoon. Enjoyed using thin glazes on the vase to bring out the tonal detail on the china by mixing the main colours ie the Amsterdam Naphthol red light and Finity Ultramarine and Quin violet. Then added the delightful bluey purples to the flowers and the birds on the vase. The blue round the neck is too strong at the moment but long way to go yet - keep layering Joannie. Little hints of yellow you can just see are the base for what will be gold leaf.


Before finishing that session I added the blues to the first layer of white gesso flowers. Not sure if I will add green leaves - dont really want to add a new colour to my palette.. they might have to end up various tones of blue mixes.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Having finished the building paintings both in acrylic and watercolour for the fundraising event for Sue Ryder, my next painting from the day I spent at the Old Palace has begun - of course from photos - some of mine and some the fundraising manager kindly sent me. The vases are on window sills going up the staircase to the long gallery where the exhibition is going to be held in November.

I have used block canvases size 12 x 24 inches to get the shape for the tall vases and here is the first layer of the vase which is actually white and blue with gold touches. The flowers were silk but I hope to give a 'real' effect in the end. I decided to use some of the strong warm colour from the building paintings to tie my entries together and I felt the orangy colour background would bring out the blues in the vase. Will probably do the reverse in the orangy brown other vase when I get round to it to create a pair.

I drew the vase shape with a blue watercolour pencil and then filled in the shape with a painting knife and thick gesso white paint to get it to stand out from the background. Before it dried I cut into it with the bird, flower and leaf shapes with a masking tool. I then started to create the feeling of the window frame.

Not sure where it will go from here but Im looking forward to my next session of fun.

Friday, 26 September 2008


It was such a lovely sunny afternoon I went into the garden to add colour to my sketch. I know I have labelled the images 'geraniums' but in fact they belong to the pelargonium family. Poor scanning Im afraid so that the left hand page doesnt match quite exactly to the righthand page, but I can assure you in the sketchbook they continue across the fold.
I used the Daniel Smith palette Anita kindly squeezed out for me and added blue for sky although its quite faint on the righthand page in the scanning. I suppose I did this mainly to try to create a different style than previous pages. So that was number 5 in the handmade sketchbook. I expect I will move into autumn leaves soon.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


After a summer break we returned to Foxley Gallery for our Tuesday life drawing sessions with Claire. I took along a beautifully eggshell covered Daler Rowney 150 gsm sketchbook 10 x 9 inches with wonderful smooth paper and a set of 6 graphitint pencils, water brush and sepia pens. They turned out quite gentle - so I think theres need to enlarge each image to see better detail.
Have created this post before dinner (Clive's cooking tonight) as I shall be away for a couple of days delivering the work to the country inn for their converted barn accommodation. Tell you what she finally chooses for the five suites when I get back.

Monday, 22 September 2008


As it was Sunday I decided it was 'my day' so went into the garden in the afternoon (again you say) and sat by the hydrangea:

As the blooms were drying and fading - though that really is the wrong word as they were getting stronger in colour and losing all their delicate pink - I decided to depict them that way in my handmade sketchbook of flowers. This time I used my 36 pans of St Petersburg watercolours as they are so strong - voila !

Kari Gibson reminded me in a recent comment that these wonderful large blooms dry beautifully for winter flower arrangements. Two minds but with a single thought - here is my jug from one of the kitchen windows that also holds dried teazle and wooden carved snowdrops I purchased at a gallery on the East coast of Norfolk recently.
.. oh yes, I thought it might be 'artistic' to photo the jug with the painting.

I am already working on number five - pensketch started of a pot of geraniums I brought in from the garden to the sunroom to work on last night. Watch this space ....

Sunday, 21 September 2008


Yesterday was a bright dry day for our sketch afternoon but not so sunny as Friday, which was just as well as my secluded garden is a veritable suntrap. Six members of the workshop group arrived laden with bags of equipment, but ended up choosing one of the 8 seats I had strategically placed around the garden for good views of little areas of delight and settled down to sketch much smaller works of art.

Maggie moved a seat to look down on the sunken garden area where the pond and archway reside and sketched 3 delightful studies from the same vantage point:
Maggies studies

Brian made a beeline to the stone bench by the hydrangea to get a good view of the stone water feature with the children and umbrella. I didnt turn the spray on that comes up over the umbrella and down over the children into the water in case it splashed Philippa who sat nearby to sketch a double spread of the pond and beer barrel with the very tall fuchsias:

Brians sketch and Philippas pen and wash

Anne sat over by the greenhouse to view the white stone birdbath I have used as a carrier for a flower pot with pelagoniums and created a couple of pencil sketches:
Annes pencil sketch

John sat up on the decking in front of the raised summer house and worked on the round feature in the middle of the lawn, after first tackling the archway across the other side of the garden from his raised vantage point. After moving, Margaret decided to work on the steps and ballustrade of the summerhouse with flower pot on the corner (afraid the light pencil sketch did not photo well):

All the images posted were taken at the early stages and Im afraid I got so involved as the afternoon went on I forgot to photo the finished pieces.

A very busy afternoon, with lovely fruit scones with cream and strawberry jam baked and provided by dear Maggie, plus a traditional pot of tea with china cups and saucers, biscuits and sponge sandwich cake. We all enjoyed that break and a chance to look at each others work.

I never had time to add the colour to my hydrangea sketch but maybe today!!??

Friday, 19 September 2008


Tomorrow afternoon I am expecting 6 of the regular members of the monthly workshop to join me for the afternoon to sketch or paint in my garden. Its been a glorious day today and is promised for tomorrow as well - so lucky. .. so I thought Id have a little dabble in the garden on my own today and take advantage of this sunshine we have hardly seen this summer in England . Tutor must always practice what she expects her students to achieve!!!!

So I played with the large hydrangea bush thats been in bloom all summer and selected three blooms and sketched them in my beautiful hand made sketchbook in readiness for adding colour tomorrow 'cos I might be busy with my visitors and it could be a little demonstration of how not to be precious when adding colour!!
The second piece, which proved quite difficult for the angle I chose eventually had the sun blazing right into my eyes, was a graphite and sepia pen sketch of the figures in my water feature, which when turned on has water pouring over the top of the umbrella down over the figures. Afraid the little girls face turned out too grown up and the umbrella looks too small!!! Well, we have to show our mistakes as well as our successes dont we??
Just noticed my visitor counter !! and cant believe I am nearly up to 2000 visits since I opened my blog in January this year. Thank you all for your support.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


If you go back to beginning of the month you will see I posted my acrylic painting of The Old Palace Ely. I had plans to do a further version for the November exhibition and sketched the building and some of the area to the right but this time as if it was viewed through the leaves of the 17th Century Plane tree in the garden. In fact that is how I sat all day in the cool shade while painting the acrylic work.
Pen sketch of building
At home I created the sketch in pen and only recently put colour to the page. Heres the pen sketch of the building section slightly different view than the acrylic - most of the right with the leaves, wall and quiet tones for the cathedral building behind were hardly sketched out but created with the brush and colour initially so nothing really to show you at this stage.
The finished piece.
I used the Daniel Smith paints Anita kindly gave me squeezed into a plastic lidded palette painted on new watercolour paper called Clairefontaine, which you can paint on either side with different texture. I bought it from SAA (Society of All Artists in Nottingham). The painting measures 16 x 12 inches and is in a double 4 inch mount with plain wood frame.
Not sure the large tree on the right works well behind the hanging leaves - but its the best I can remember and find out from a photo taken.

My third piece for the exhibition will be of three pots I fell in love with on the stairwell going up to the Long Gallery where the exhibition will hang. Not sure what medium yet - but will be working from photos Im afraid.

Sunday, 14 September 2008


Thought you might like to see the final result of the acrylic pair I was working on for the barn conversion project . Both much darker to go with the strong plum almost black cushions in the suite - hope my memory is accurate with this.
Click on images to enlarge
I added to the right hand painting the feeling of light through the lampshade touching edges of the flower motif, lamp base and cushion edges with the aid of a lemon glaze. I darkened the area of the glimpse of windowpanes in the top left to make it look like night, so there was a reason for the lamp being lit. I feel it makes the whole piece of work more narrative.

As regards the one on the left, I darkened some of the background to allow the flower motifs to stand out more and adjusted shape sizes to create more cushions and a feeling of curtains and small windowpanes to help with the theme for the pair as they will be hanging side by side behind the twin beds .

At last I am satisfied with them both, particularly the light I have been able to incorporate in this last layer of paint ..... and feel they work well together.

Thursday, 11 September 2008


A lovely country pub recently converted barns alongside their premises for accommodation and I have been asked to provide artwork for the 5 suites. They were able to choose work I already have to fit in with the various decor colour schemes for the majority of the suites but I needed to
create new work for the fifth as the decor was in the colour of plums and purples. When I visited I decided to quickly sketch out designs within the suite from the patterns on the cushions and the shape of the lampshade and base and the back of the twin beds. I thought a pair of canvas acrylics sized 14 x 36 inches to hang behind the two headboards would be interesting. I created them both with Finity acrylics in lots of layers and texture, cutting back to lower layers for some of the patterns and added a pearl finish in areas and some shiny silk paints for the motifs .
The first images show the complete design and a close up of the silver in the bedhead, the squiggly patterns and McIntosh floral motif in the cushions .
The second piece depicts the shape of the lampshade and base as well as the patterns in the cushions.
I still have to do some tweeking, paint the sides of the canvases to match and varnish them both.
Hope she likes my ideas and colours when I deliver them all next week.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


On the Saturday whilst at Anitas we decided to drive to Rutland about an hour away to visit the Barnsdale Gardens, home of Gardeners World BBC2 tv programmes. It comprises 37 small gardens over 8 acres and it took us another hour strolling round trying to decide where to paint and sketch for the day. After a well deserved early lunch break in the tea rooms gardens in lovely sunshine, we went our separate ways.

My first effort was a quick sketch in watercolour paper of the ladies enjoying an outdoor lunch in the sunshine planning yet another trip somewhere together once they got their diaries sorted out!! When I got home I put in the colour from memory and then stuck the small watercolour into my moleskin sketchbook.

My main day's watercolour painting was very comfortable on a bench with wide arms that acted as a table for my watercolours, pot and pens. It faced a beautiful collection of pastel coloured flowering shrubs and trees spreading round a lovely curve of lawn. I had a lot of visitors and kindly comments, although most of the time it looked like a dabble of abstract colour, as I decided to simply place the colour shapes in and finish with some penwork.

After another break for cold drink as it was very warm and sunny most of the day, we settled nearer to each other , either side of a greenhouse. I bravely sketched it from start in pen - and as you can see have yet to add colour. Afraid the deckchair is a bit wonky - very difficult!!!
Thats the end of my sketches during my 5 days with Anita and I think I must get on with some acrylic decorative canvas work I have to deliver on 25th Sept. . .so bye for now.

Friday, 5 September 2008


First let me tell you how busy I have been this morning editing my blog by going through the posts and consolidating labels and then - clever me - I added the list of label links to my 'home page'. Ive been a blogger since January this year and learning all the time what you can do with it.
Corner of Anita's studio with our acrylic efforts en plain aire at the Old Palace Ely, both of which need a little more work - oh! yes and my lovely little automatic Astra I go everywhere in parked up outside.

Anyway this post is about my lovely visit to Anita's last week, as well as three consecutive days out painting(already posted the Ely and Peter Scott Lighthouse trips - yet to scan what I did at the wonderful Barnstable Gardens in Rutland) we were mad enough to sketch late into the night at Anita's lovely Fenland home. So here are a couple of my efforts from my moleskin sketchbook!!!!

1 2

1 Another corner in the studio
2 The charming fireplace with figures and ornate mirror in the lounge

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


The following day after our visit to Ely we went to Peter Scott's Lighthouse, where as a suprise we found there was a small exhibition of some of his wild life paintings and drawings. After a tour of the downstairs of the lighthouse with the lovely owner lady who had lived there for 25 years, I went outside down by the pond and took some photos.

Then we went down across the encircling pathway to sketch the lighthouse high above the pond. When I got home I sketched the line of birds from one of the photos, as we did not have time whilst there as Anita had to get back to St Matthews in Sutton Bridge to collect some work she had exhibited there.
Its well worth enlarging the image as both pieces seem very light in the above despite changing not only resolution but saturation and contrast before scanning and posting.... but this could be because both were sketched in my moleskin book which doesnt seem to take watercolours well despite using Anita's Daniel Smith watercolours - she kindly presented me with a palette of squeezed colours to try. Thanks pal loved them .

Monday, 1 September 2008


Anita was invited by the Sue Ryder Organisation to take part in a special painting day at THE OLD PALACE ELY and arranged for me to go with her. If you want to know more take a look at Anita's blog via the link on the right.
This was my choice on such a beautiful day to work in the garden keeping cool under the 17th century London plane tree. As you can see from the contrasts in the photo, there was a problem looking out onto the brightly lit building and towering cathedral backdrop.
This was the first layer of planning the composition and dealing with the dreaded perspective!! I worked on canvas in acrylics. Afraid my photography is a bit lopsided.... too big to scan.
Apart from occasional tea breaks supplied by the lovely Hayley of the Sue Ryder Organisation and a tour of the Palace plus numerous chats with Anita working just a few yards from me - it took most of the day to get to the next stage before packing up and heading off to a well deserved lovely meal at the local Italian restaurant. Took hundreds of photos both in and outside. This final image is the completed painting which I worked on at home this afternoon for an hour or so finishing off the detail and tidying up some of the perspective of the windows and roof.