Friday, 27 March 2009


This is the red door leading from the riverside tables to the bar and restaurant of the Rising Sun pub in Coltishall. There have been hanging baskets all through the winter but now they display gorgeous pansies and daffodils in full bloom. There is always the red bowl of water outside for anyone bringing a dog.

In the end, this second little 7 x 7 ins watercolour was painted on Hahnemuhle Quatrro watercolour paper. I used mostly Winsor and Newton tube paints: cobalt and prussian blues, permanent rose and scarlet lake reds, Winsor yellow and raw sienna and burnt umber. You can see my photo I used to guide me in my previous post.

Nearly ready now for the whole exhibition - I have prepared my 'for sale' notices and arranged with a kind local gentleman who attends my workshops to do the hanging for me (mirror plates and lots of drilling!). My local gallery Swallowtail will be framing the two little watercolours and laminating the notices . Unfortunately the large postcards I had printed of the oil painting of the panoramic view of the pub via the internet are not satisfactory. Could easily be the jpg image I used on their website, but its turned out colour saturated making the buildings and roofs bright pink and quite dark to one side from sky through trees to the common. I have'nt much time to sort out another printer.

Once hung ready for Easter, I shall then be able to concentrate on more contemporary work I have to do for other shows.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


When I was at The Rising Sun the other week, there was some lovely winter sunshine coming through one of the windows overlooking the river and I decided to use the idea for a pair of small 7 x 7 ins paintings to be mounted in 2.5 ins mount and framed for my show. This is the watercolour I started, before I added the colour for the poinsettia red leaves. Then I decided to use this as a practice run, and instead create it again on YUPO , as I felt this ground would give me the light I wanted to achieve.

As you will see, I think I made the right decision for the right reasons. Still have to add the window catches, benches and flower bed outside the window, then lift little bits of paint back to white to create the myriad of white birds that arrive alongside the river throughout the winter.

I've decided to use the theme of 'red' for this pair to be hung together. For the second one I will paint the red door that leads into the bar and restaurant from the riverside eating area. Should not take me long this week as it is only 7 x 7 ins and you can be brave when working on YUPO!!> Here is a photo taken this morning. I will probably make more of the flowers in the hanging baskets and possibly go higher to get the pub sign on the wall into the painting.
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


two separate images so should be able to enlarge them

Now we are in the middle of March, I realise I never posted my February entry in my garden sketchbook. On the left is a photo of some of the little irises I planted last year that came out at the same time as the daffodils. On the right I did a larger close up watercolour with a minimum amount of penwork afterwards of a single bloom to make a double spread in my book.

Today is bright and sunny and I have been up to a little village called Trunch, where they organise many musical and arty events to raise money for their St Botolph's church roof. Later in the year they are having an art exhibition together with a sculpture trail, so I drove up there this morning to sketch and take photos in the rectory garden and inside the church. I will probably prepare some pen and wash from these. .. but I have plenty of time thank goodness to think about that at a later date, seeing how my Spring art events are piling up. Will try to find time later in the week (??) to post part of the font I sketched and sections of the pulpit.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


I'm still working on local river/pub scenes for the Easter opening and this is number three of the larger pieces. I decided this time to use acrylics and its on stretched canvas 20 x 16 ins to be framed to match another acrylic the same size.
I decided to thin the paint with acrylic matt gel medium as it helps the paint to flow and leaves a soft finish, almost oil like. Here's me working on the first layer of blocking in colour
on a pinkish coloured gesso base:
Then I took a photo as I developed the
more natural colours and textures.
Finally I finished the painting last night after working a little most days this week, detailing the trees, boathouses, the boats, their windows and reflections, adding a few people, the flags, and deciding to make the sky recess more near the horizon.
enlarge to see figures and riverside posts, etc.
I'm really quite pleased with it and realise now why so many artists stick to the same subject as you learn with every painting. Have'nt painted so many boats in years!!
Next plan is a couple of small pen and wash of the eating area of the pub - from looking out the window of the bar passed a ponsietta on the window sill and another of the colourful umbrellas at the outside tables or possibly the red door against the white stone wall with hanging baskets either side.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


As Clive was watching some international football matches on the TV tonight, I decided to join him in the comfort of our lounge and create a zentangle after such a long time. Using the Stabilo fineliner pens was a gamble as they are very thin and I wondered if my thumb would be able to grip them. As you don't hold a pen for artwork the same way as writing which I find very difficulty, it worked. Just a few colours blue, red, purple and green did wonders with layering. It simply developed from the central block and four elipses. It was great fun having no plan and just doodling. Strangely enough from working on my lap its my neck that aches now!!!!! It hasn't exactly worked out symmetric, but I don't think it really matters.... and the base looks a bit small to hold such a large 'globe' or 'whatever it is'.

Before the football I had John Myatt on with his series of portraits of well known people. This week it was David Bailey the photographer, who seemed a great character. It was created in the style of Alberto Giacometti and very interesting. If you have not heard of John Myatt, he was an art forger who fooled the artworld and went to prison and is now selling copied masters legitimately.
By the way, all 4 British teams won tonight and are through to the next round.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


This month the plan was creating work without drawing first, which I think my members found a bit scary! - so spent the morning getting familiar with what our different brushes can do for us, from fat round, medium flat, a fine rigger and a mop.

When they seemed to be getting on well with help from my demos I had created, I handed everyone a feather to paint straight with the brush. I do admire everyone - they just got on and did it! Here are some results

Then we had a short lunch break, as everyone seemed to want to get on to the major piece of the day. I had brought along some interesting shaped and coloured figures, plus of course some flowers, and let them chooose which they wanted to do. Some lovely results with the brush, the images in some cases at the early wash stages and one of our gentlemen creating a backdrop for his African family.
here are the figures I brought along and work in varying stages

One lady chose the tulips (afraid the daffodils were still tightly in bud). This is an early stage of her washes.

... and we had a new young lady join us who astounded me with her ability with the pencil at the age of 14. Here is her study of geometric shapes and realising how capable she is suggested in the afternoon she join the others to draw the African Family. I'm really looking forward to encouraging her development.

The day whizzed passed and we even forgot to break for afternoon cakes and tea!!!!! Delighted to hear comments that they felt they had learned a lot taking them out of their comfort zone of always sketching first .. and discovered what their different brushes were for!!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


You may remember some posts ago I mentioned the plan to create a body of work for the local riverside pub THE RISING SUN. Here is the second oil painting I am glad to say I have now completed. Thought you might like to see the different stages.

stage 1 - blocking in on warm underbase
stage 2 -creating colours and reflections
stage 3 - adding Eqyptian Geese
Completed after adding tone, treeline and detail
Just as a reminder here is a photo in my artroom of the two oil paintings together. The square is 16 inches and the landscape 24 x 12 inches, both painted with Michael Harding lovely pliable oil paints on box canvases.
Had a meeting with Sally today and we have agreed to have the work hanging for Easter Weekend, so I have quite a lot to do by then. Don't expect too much blog activity please!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


The Norman Keep , a stunning galleried space where we saw enormous leathal weapons, bright shiny armour, tapestries, depiction of a goal and lots more . If we had time it would have been worth joining the tour with a very knowledgeable guide. well worth enlarging for detail

Anita came to spend a long weekend with us and on Saturday I took her via the park and ride service into the city to see the exhibitions on at the Norwich Castle Museum. First of all we looked at the special exhibition of pieces by Moore, Hepworth and Nicholson, where we were not allowed to use our cameras. Still not able to stand and sketch with my bad thumb. The exhibition unfolds the development of sculpture in the 1930s as their holidays to the North Norfolk coast inspired them by the natural forms on the beach and the landscape.

Then there were visits to the other galleries within the building with paintings of the Norwich School of Artists, modern art, decorative arts. Plenty of English history too from the amazing Norman Keep, Egyptian mummies, Anglo Saxons and Vikings and Queen Boudicea.

What a long and exhilarating day with a break for a lovely lunch. Here are some photos for you to enjoy

THE BABES IN THE WOOD a beautiful marble full size piece that took your breath away by John Bell a Victorian Norfolk sculptor

Earthenware tile design by William de Morgan in the 1880's

A 13 gallon teapot thought to have been made for the London Great Exhibition in 1850. The designs depict the growing, picking, fermenting and shipping of the tea from China.
In the Decorative Arts gallery were a collection of historical dresses and this crinoline fashion from the 1850's for an unmarried lady caught my eye. Imagine all the hoops and layers beneath in the summer???
Sorry no paintings, but I hope a very interesting assortment.

Monday, 2 March 2009


One of my favourite art bloggers is Margaret Storer-Roche ( and she kindly offers her blog visitors from time to time the chance to win a piece of her artwork. Every Monday she creates a cactus painting and I have WON one in her last draw. Lucky, lucky me.
It was as if by magic, it arrived all the way from Arizona to my home in East Anglia England on the very day our mutual friend Anita ( came for the weekend from her lovely Fenland home near Cambridge.
I didn't only get the cactus postcard but a bevy of other delights from a covering card with a beautiful organic pen and wash drawing, a delightful organic cactus shapes mandella (or zentangle - not sure which to call it) her business card and a delightful little pen drawing of a crossed zip opening.

So let us unzip Margaret's work

Thank you so very very much Margaret and for the lovely words on the various artworks you sent me. I am honoured to have these in my artroom - with the cactus card on display alongside a green slipper postcard Anita gave me some while back.