Tuesday, 29 December 2009


I have been planning works for proposed shows next year and the first is probably the annual event at GRIMSTON CHURCH NORFOLK. When I first started submitting work here in 2003 it was based on semi-abstract spiritual figure works which I felt was appropriate for a church event, which proved very popular. As the years have gone by I have exhibited other work but found questions were being asked as to why my subject matter had changed. The main reason was lack of time to prepare specific work for Grimston, so finding a few days before and after Christmas I have begun a new series for the 2010 show.

I think I must be linking my church figures and magic garden series, as this first one has people in a spiritual based environment with added plants and flowers. Here is the finished work, created from Liquitex acrylic liquid inks and Finity soft body acrylics on YUPO. Some paint is dragged to create a smooth surface, others added with a brush .

It was great fun developing, and the following image shows how it first moved on from squirted colours dragged down over a 18" x 18" YUPO sheet reds/blues/greens mixing to create quite a dark atmosphere. It reminded me of my THREE WISE MEN in a cave environment I did in 2003 though in warmer colours ........

.... so here I took over the design rather than let it happen and developed areas of colour by adding plants and blooms either side of the pond in the left and right hand side at the front, using my 'printing' technique Here is a close up of the largest figure head and shoulders, very much in the chiaroscuro style of light and dark that is used throughout the painting.
Finally, here is a view of the waterfall leading into the magic pond of the title.

It was great fun getting back to this technique of creating a painting from poured/squirted acrylic paints by just developing what one 'saw' after dragging the colours together. I'm looking forward to number two now.

Saturday, 19 December 2009


While it has been snowing outside, I've been tucked up in my little warm studio having fun using pen, watercolour pencil, liquid acrylic inks, gold spray and finally a little collage work to finish.

It went a bit darker than I really wanted underneath the cross on the left, so
stuck on a cut out bauble from Christmas wrapping paper. 'Cheat, cheat' I hear you say. So inspired me, I added the other two... plus the gold thread they are hanging from.

This is the result, created to wish all my blogger friends
the best of time at Christmas and every good wish for the New Year

Sunday, 13 December 2009


Close up of Max eye area on finished mixed media artwork to give you an idea of how the varied layers I describe below worked out.
A dear friend who lives in Cromer lost one of her beloved dogs this year and as I knew I had taken photos of them over the past few years, I rummaged through my Iomega stand alone hard drive archives to find a suitable photo to inspire me for a Christmas present painting.

These are the colours I chose for all the pigments showing through Max's fur from pinky/purple skin, to raw sienna and soft grey/blue shadows , the blues/purples in the nose and greens and yellow background.

You will see I have entitled the piece MIXED MEDIA MAX and that is revealing how it emerged

from the initial graphite sketch,

dry watercolour pencils,

then wetting tips of the pencils and adding areas of slightly wet pigment.

This is the final mounted piece I have put into a natural creamy wood square frame.

Seems I did not take photos at some of the more specific stages, particularly as I decided to add Liquitex liquid acrylic white fur marks and when dry go in and redefine the colours. Finally I scrubbed (yes really - brave of me don't you think?) all over with dry white watercolour pencil and in places pink or yellow watercolour pencil and darkened the collar. See sample close up at the top for better detail.
I am sure Anne will recognise her own garden chairs with yellow cushions and climbing plants. Only hopes she thinks it looks like Max and is pleased with the surprise.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


You may remember I recently posted about a visit to Luxembourg to see our family and noted that when we were there Karen and I went into the City to the Saturday flower market - plus the usual clothes and vegetable stalls. I promised my daughter in law that I would send her a watercolour of our visit having taken my lovely Lumix camera with me that morning. Here are the results.

My first composition did not please me, as the cathedral with the lovely long spires was half hidden by the trees from the photo I first used. I also was not happy with the number of people I had sketched in ... so this first attempt was abandoned.

This next image shows where I re-drew the composition bringing the cathedral building and spires more to the right and a little larger. I was happier, as it meant the two paths between the trays of flowers lead not only to the back of that open delivery lorry but on and up to the spires.
Here is a close up showing the detail of the trays of flowers in progress and the improvement by leaving out the figures near the centre I had in the first composition. This final image is of the completed watercolour put behind a small double mount, so that it was protected but not too big to post. I must have used at least 4 photos to arrive at the final composition and throughout there was decision making as to how much to leave out!!! - the usual bane of every artists - and the artistic licence of moving things about .

Only hope Karen does not decide to have a look at my blog before Christmas presents are opened!!

Monday, 30 November 2009


Just spent a weekend at our friend's cottage in Wells next the Sea on the north Norfolk coast with Anita. We were so fortunate with the weather despite it being the end of November, with sunshine through until the sun went down at 4 o'clock and no wind. We strolled down to the quay both days for a relaxed lunch and nattered from the time we met up at 11 on Saturday morning until we managed to tear ourselves away from the roaring log fire to go to bed at past 1.30 am!!! Then started all over again Sunday morning until we parted at 6 pm to go back to our own families.

Here's some shots I took to show the mirror like water at the quay and this chirpy little seagull posing for me!
Then on the Sunday we were walking back when we spied these fishermen landing their crab catch of the day as dusk drew in. (waited for ages for the man in the flat cap to get out of the way, but it never happened!!)
I spied amongst the dying foliage these seeds and Chinese lanterns, giving a bright touch to the cottage garden.
It was a delightful weekend for two special friends to spend together, cacooned from the world and for once deciding not to sketch the time away but give every moment to each other.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Earlier this year I was asked to paint a lovely local cottage in acrylic on canvas 36" x 24" and to my embarrassment could not find time until late into summer to start it, but more embarrassing was I never got round to finishing it until Autumn came along as I was so busy with work for events and shows throughout the year. I am happy to say it was delivered to very satisfied clients, who have given me permission to add it to my blog. So....

here is the finished work

Thought you'd enjoy seeing how it progressed from initial stages, so some different images for you to look at

early blocking in stage

It was difficult to get the basic drawing down, as in real life half the house is hidden by a large tree in the flowerbed lane side of the driveway. Took me ages going back and forward to set the various windows in place, as the left hand third was, in fact, a separate cottage at one time and the windows are different shape and sizes to the rest. Even, you may notice, the roof line was slightly lower!! As for the three chimneys they all seemed different.

here is a close up of the left hand cottage showing the longer shaped windows and the left hand flower bed from plants back in the late summer.

Here is the porch area, with the delightful unusual coloured door.

and finally a bit of artistic licence where I have brought the brick post with the numbers of the two cottages forward from the entrance to the drive. I simply had to add the soft pink summer roses that grow in that righthand side flower bed beneath the lounge windows.

What you might spy in the finished image at the top is the added acrylic gel with glass beads to create the feeling of the pebble drive surface.

It was a long job but once drawn in I thoroughly enjoyed the painting from the brickwork to the flower beds, porch and even the windows!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009


I am entering a new open exhibition to be held at the Forum in Norwich early next year entitled MAN AND THE ENVIRONMENT - ELEMENTS for artists who engage with habitat, the environment and nature. I decided to use the two works I created earlier this year regarding water towers and drainage mills under the subject of water and the many ways man is dependant on this element. I needed a third piece to submit and on driving back from Cromer in the north coast 15 miles from home, I spied a field with large orangy-red reels of black hosepiping and stopped the car to investigate. I met a young man working on the irrigation system who told me they were working on the potato fields of Penrose Farm.

From the many photographs I have composed the following acrylic 32" x 12" box canvas.

This is the latest stage .......

still requiring some adjustments to the far end of righthand hedge to stop it looking like a hill rather than a large field going off into the distance. The field needs further work together with the addition of the long black water pipe, a collection of farm buildings on the horizon in the gap I have left in the trees. The pathway where the wheel stands needs a different angle as it comes across to the right hand corner, plus lots of interesting plant/weed detail .

Meanwhile, here are two images of the left and right side of the painting at the earlier first layer stage.

Ill keep you posted when its finished.

Monday, 16 November 2009


Sorry not been adding to my blog much of late, seems life has taken over since our return from Luxembourg with Clive's birthday celebrations both lunching with friends and having family over for the weekend, visit to hospital for my knee problem and a wonderful evening at a Norwich Theatre for the excellent play Pitmen Painters, about a real group of miners from the North East of England (with amazing strong accents!!) in the thirties who took on art appreciation classes and ended up becoming famous painters.

I had not lifted a brush in ages and then one evening felt 'deprived' so while Clive watched a movie on the TV, I brought down my zentangle sketchbook and doodled. Here are the results. Each one was coloured in later in my little upstairs study with smooth, vibrant Acrylic inks. All had been drawn with a size 0.5 Hi TecPoint black pen that was not waterproof, so had to be careful when adding the coloured inks.

Number One did not look much until I added the colour and being transluscent allowed the pen shading and designs to show through.
Number two looks a bit mad!!! Started with the two groups of circles in the middle and worked out. Where the houses came from I've no idea, nor the strange floating canoe shape. Bit if fun though.
Finally, number three was more controlled starting with the basic leaf pattern and worked with the pen into it including lots of areas of cross hatching. Then restricted the number of colours over the top.

I am now working on a new piece for the Elements Exhibition inspired by the irrigation systems in the fields around this area of Norfolk.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


Photo of the main set up of everything from feathers,
cones, berries, leaves, clocks, boxes of jewellery, pearls,
elephant and lady china and cyclamen pot.

This month's workshop was to bring the regulars out of their comfort zone, so I planned the use of not only the technical pens but dip pens in bottles of coloured inks. I set up a large mixed, jumble sale style collection of objects on top of a large box covered with interesting cloth.

Here are some of the views for members to select their main compositions
for the main afternoon piece of art work.

In the morning we practiced using different pen nibs and thickness technical pens. Firstly, dividing a watercolour page of hot press smooth paper into two, then sketching an object of choice with the different pens. One was to be coloured with inks using both brushes and pen nibs creating linear and other marks for texture to bring out specific areas of detail.

Here are some samples:

From their choices, it would seem my love of natural history has passed on to my members, as there were many china statues, broaches, boxes that were not chosen initially.
By the time we had finished a lunch break, I had set up the main centre piece for each member to move around the room and choose a viewpoint selecting around 3 objects for their individual composition. Then came the rub !!! I requested them to place each object onto their watercolour pad by use of coloured ink block areas with no prior drawing or penwork. This way, when pen was added I hoped the work would look more spontaeous and the colours bleeding outside the linear marks.

Here are some works in progress and as yet without a pen mark having been made and note the use of large brushes for the washes:

I did not realise how much the cyclamen pot rose above everything else dominating each piece of work from all angles .. but some chose to add elephants, some had clocks and unfortunately our young teenager's main piece was not photographed as she worked on the lady and round red/gold jewellery box.

Good day together and lots of comments of 'you are making us think'!! and 'how interesting to work so differently from the usual pencil sketch and watercolour layers'. That was the idea!!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009


Luxembourg City Saturday market with cathedral spires behind

The day after returning from my weekend sketching with Anita, Clive and I went off to Luxembourg for a few days to visit our son and family. No sketching I am afraid to show you though, so here are some photos I took. I plan to use this market photo plus a couple of others to create a painting for their Luxembourg house. Two visits to the city, one to have an Italian lunch with our daughter in law in her lunch break and on Saturday a visit to the market.

This is the lovely riverside walk in Remich with all the beautiful Autumn colours.
Clive and I walked down into Remich riverside town for lunch or a drink most days, while our son worked on their house extending the kitchen.

Our eldest grandson pushing his quad after it had broken down.

Richard took me out on Sunday morning before a glorious roast lunch to see the boys on their bikes.

A pair of Disney characters I painted for our eldest grandson when he was born, using fabric from his nursery curtains to frame the figure.

They are now in our youngest grandson's bedroom matching the original curtains.

Then two days after returning went off to my daughters home the other side of Norfolk to look after the girls in their half-term from school, so that she could have a few days break with a friend. The last day was Halloween, so lots of dressing up and trickle treating.

friends came round to dress up with the girls before going off round the village with their eldest sister and boyfriend.

This was one of the mum's dressed as a witch.
They came back with a large bag of sweets each!! Got too hyper could not get to sleep until midnight!!!

When they were getting ready, Lili was attacked by her younger sister dressed as a vampire!!!

Finally here is a shot of the wonderful designed stockings for Halloween.

Today's children are so lucky having such fun things to buy for these occasions.