Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Just a little bit of funtime playing on Monday in the sunroom combining all my thoughts on the coming Easter weekend, except the most important reason for us celebrating.!!
I just don't seem to be able to settle down to a 'proper' painting yet, although I am fit and well and knee only slightly swollen with occasional twinge. I'm walking better than I have for over a year and my back doesn't ache any more. I even drove down the hill to the village yesterday for some fresh veg. Have a pen and wash workshop on Saturday, then my family arriving in the evening. Fortunately Clive has 'volunteered' to cook the main course for dinner.
So accept my best wishes to you all for a wonderful Easter time and enjoy my little fun card!

Thursday, 25 March 2010


As promised, here are some more pages from my garden sketchbook of spring flowers making their annual arrival. For this little group of purple crocus opening in the morning sun I used quite a free composition with pen followed by watercolour washes. A little bit of splattering finished it off...... and here's how it looks as a double spread in the sketchbook with a few notes and colour swatches.

In the same flower bed were some snowdrops still out in bloom alongside both yellow and purple crocus. I again tackled the main sketch with random pen marks, followed up by watercolour washes and spontaneous marks to bring it together. Then decided to have fun on the double spread by putting the golden crocus inside a border of stylized snowdrops to the left of the main study.

Seems being laid up at home for a few days during the first of the Spring sunshine has proved quite useful to get my garden sketchbook going again. I noticed a group of little violets yesterday against the stone wall, alongside a violet flower pot with pale lemon daffodils. Think it will make a lovely little study over the weekend.

Monday, 22 March 2010


Last Wednesday I had a minor op on my knee to remove a floating piece of cartilage about the size of a little finger!! No wonder I had been in trouble over the past year!! Yesterday, I started to get bored but did not feel up to tackling my St Nics second oil painting that only has its first block layer.

So I hopped into the garden to find there were crocus mixed up with snowdrops, my little irises and a gorgeous warm coloured hellabore in full bloom. Did not fancy staying out, so had to photo them to get myself settled down in the sunroom with Clive's help and open up my lovely garden sketchbook. This was supposed to be visited on a monthly basis, but this is the first entry this year. I have managed three pieces though during yesterday and this afternoon.

Today I am showing you my hellabores, compiled from 4 different photos. Below is the double spread detailing the White Knights watercolours I used. I chose this set, as I knew I had lots of varying warm colours and would need to add lots of layers to develop the rich strong tone. Just in case it does not enlarge, might mention I added what they call Ruby as an after thought layer to bring out the richness of the petals. Needless to say, I used masking fluid to save the seeds as I made my washes. Turned out quite botanical this study as I took my time over the shapes drawn with a light lavender watercolour pencil, then added layer upon layer of colour.

Tomorrow I'll post my more complex but sponatenous pen sketch with added washes and splashes of the crocuses and snowdrops growing side by side - a most unusual occurrence because of the lateness of the snowdrops this year due to all the snow we have had.

Friday, 19 March 2010


You may remember when Anita visited me back in the winter time, we played with acrylic inks and on the third day, I believe, I eventually created a rather more controlled piece - a yellow and mauve iris study from a photo I had taken in the garden last summer.

I decided I wanted to use this style for submitting work to the Art Circle summer exhibition at Norwich Cathedral, so planned to create a second iris. I scanned through my photos taken at a friend's garden a few years back when all her specialised iris plants were in full bloom and chose this patterned one - and here it is again on 16" square Hahnemuhle Quattro 140 lbs matt watercolour paper, one of my favourite blocks for flowers whether watercolour, acrylic or ink
Finished piece -

Here is an early stage when I decided to add the blues into the top background.

and as a reminder here are the two pieces together both framed in boxed silver with double cream mounts.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


You may remember back in February I posted two images of paintings I had created whilst staying at Anitas when we were playing with interactive acrylics and acrylic inks. One of them was about marshes in the north of Norfolk with birds.

I liked this painting so much that I decided to make a pair to enter into the Eastern Open this year and here is the result. This time I added far more birds flying over and this time much darker and added the inevitable reeds that grow around our marshes and fenland of East Anglia.

Enlarge to see detail

Not only to remind you of the first painting under this title Flying over the Marshes, but to see them together, I took a photo of them as a pair. They are 20" x 8" canvases with both interative and ink acrylics.
Sandra kindly delivered them for me to our local collection point and now one must wait to see if the very august selection committee think anything of them. The panel consists of Artists & Aspire Project Leader, Head of Quality at Liverpool School of Art and Design and Senior Curator of Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I hope I will be lucky a third time having been accepted in 2006 ands 2007. Tried last year with my flowers from my travels in Amsterdam and South Africa, but realise now they were not suitable for this event. I find that one of the hardest things to work out - what is right for which venue.

Friday, 12 March 2010


Snowdrop walk at Walsingham

Great Yarmouth, a thriving east coast town of Norfolk, recently refurbished its library gallery and Seachange Arts have invited Norfolk and Waveney artists to submit work for an open exhibition under the theme RENEWAL.

I needed a third piece to go with my Cyclamen Glen acrylic and Dandelion Time canvas. Having noted that snowdrop time had come around again, I was lead to the wonderful display at Walsingham, the small North Norfolk village reknowned for its annual pilgrimage. Above is the finished framed acrylic painting showing part of the snowdrop walk measuring 22" x 18". I was pleased with the limited palette and impressionist ground cover and it all seemed to work well together right from the start.

For your interest, I also show images of two stages of the painting.

We were asked to explain how our work represents the exhibition theme of RENEWAL, and here is my response - as ever taking me back to my natural history studies.

  • 'All these plants painted herald the renewal of life year on year from the cyclamen in the woodland glen, the snowdrops fighting up through the cold winter earth, to the dandelion seed with its cleverly structured parachute to be carried away by the wind to grow anew far from its parent plant. '

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Our first workshop of the year took place on Saturday when we worked with watercolour pencils. The morning was taken up with practicing the many diverse methods of using this media from dry contour work, to drawing into wet paper, scrapping pigment from the tip of the pencil, cross hatching, blending, lifting to create highlights, etc. Each member attending selected an object from the many objects I had collected and brought in from a mixed supply of fresh fruit, to small ceramic figures, pots, feathers, jugs, cones and on and on as seen in this photo.

Here is some early work by my regulars showing contour drawing, wetting the pigment after applying to dry paper, wetting tip of pencil for strong marks, lifting out colour and scrapping pigment from the tip of the pencil onto wet paper.

We had four new members to the group and some of their morning practicing work is shown below: The first two images show work by two young teenagers who joined us with undoubted artistic talents wishing to develop their skills.
The strawberries and apples were painted by new members who would normally go through my basic drawing skills before embarking on colour work and under the circumstances very courageously tried these rather complex techniques.
Finally, I am proud to say that one of my teenage regulars is embarking on an illustrative project for a children's storybook and found watercolour pencils really interesting to develop her characters.
The day flew by with our usual breaks for drinks and biscuits (am) and cakes (pm) with everyone really surprised to find how this overlooked cinderella media is so versatile.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


A sample page from my little artbook with reference to one of the societies I belonged
to and some of the work I sold through their very successful exhibitions.

Well, at long last I have completed my latest project that has kept me so busy. Its a little soft covered 36 page book showing some 70 images of paintings I have exhibited and sold since 2000 - thus the title. Two pages that really worked well were of my sketchbooks, with three samples from my garden floral sketchbook and three from my trip to South Africa.

The book is available on - the link is alongside above my profile - if any one would like to purchase and have a record of my efforts over these ten years. Below is the contents page to give you an idea of the range covered and my art connections here in England. Many of the images would have been posted over the past two years of blogging, but you might find the text alongside of interest.

Below is the page detailing very briefly my studies and contact details, with a little painting I did when I arrived in the Fenland region of East Anglia, England in 2000.
(although I have removed my address details for this blog entry).

Please don't feel obliged to purchase, just thought you'd like to know about it. Hopefully they will all enlarge with that magical click! Just in case there is a problem due to quantity of content, I have uploaded them the largest available. If you want to see more pages you can preview some of the book at the blurb website - under Public Books click on the book cover and then on Preview.