Friday, 30 April 2010


At long last I have found time to get on with my oil painting of the West Norfolk Artists Workshop at St Nicholas Chapel in Kings Lynn to make a pair with the Rehearsal I painted earlier. I have used the same colours as before but created the piece much lighter.

Blocking in stage:

This next image is where I got to yesterday and, as you can see, I still have the painting on the right hand panel to create and straighten up the nude painting. It turned out to be one of my dear friend Sandra's acrylic paintings of Becketts Chapel in Wymondham. Amusingly, she has offered to come over and paint it again into my painting for me!!
(Sandra's website address:
nearly finished: Thought you'd like to see the pair together I photo'd a few days ago, as they were propped up side by side in my little studio room. As you can see, very different lighting. I am really enjoying adding figures to my work after many years.
Rehearsel and Workshop side by side:

Don't forget to enlarge images for detail.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Don't forget to
enlarge images.
14 members of the Sutton Bridge art group attended this workshop in Lincolnshire last Wednesday, before I moved on to stay with friends. Arriving after a very easy journey with hardly any traffic, the first thing I asked was for the tables to be set up as above, so that everyone could face inwards to the 4 or 5 different still life subjects I setup in the middle. These covered
my good old copper pots with oranges and my tall African family statue;
grapes and china plate and bowl;
brown ceramic fruit bowl with pineapple and white and terracotta tea towel;
blue vase with yellow daffodils ;
dried flower arrangement of hydrangea heads, artichokes, my wooden snowdrops and large peonies all in a chunky creamy and brown country vase and my bronze cat.
All had draped cloths of varying colours and patterns as backdrops.
I also took along a few paintings to demonstrate the various techniques from sculpting with modelling paste, use of crackleglaze for some candles, blending soft colours, splattering, glazes of thin layers, and applications of heavy duty, normal consistency pigment through to acrylic inks and finally the use of gutta silk paints to add decorative elements.
After discussing the various acrylics and mediums available on the market over a cup of coffee, we then quickly moved onto the methods of applying acrylic paint. We started with thin washes overlaying dried paint to see how glazes work to create luminosity and the method of mixing paint on the canvas to keep the colours pure. Moved on to applying thick paint with knife in large areas and then mosaic broken lines of various colours or tones to achieve an impressionist effect.
Before lunch break, we had covered
masking with card, torn paper and masking tape;
spattering with toothbrushes;
flicking a loaded brush;
all wet on wet and wet on dry to see the different effects.
Finally I gave away my secret of 'printing' colour shapes after applying paint to pieces of watercolour paper.
Everyone had the chance to try various mediums from flow enhancer, sand, beads, etc and my gutta silk paints for gold or silver highlights. We discussed crackleglaze and tried using modelling paste.
During the last few moments of the morning everyone prepared a stretched canvas with gesso coloured and applied as they chose. A very busy morning, getting us all ready for a 'masterpiece' using chosen techniques in the afternoon.
Amazingly, quite a number chose to work with modelling paste and one lady did a close up of a daffodil simply using this technique for the petal shapes and placing colour afterwards. Two other ladies asked if they might use my 'sculptured poppies' painting as inspiration to use modelling paste and the impressionist mosaic style of applying acrylic paint.

modelling paste close up daffodil and sculptured poppies in progress

photo of one of the still life subjects with acrylic painting in progress , paint having been applied very thickly on gessoed smooth background.

This lady was very clever in creating the artichokes and teasel by placing modelling paste with a knife in small marks to create the various shapes that made up the individual dried heads.

Two other works created in the afternoon are posted below. Unfortunately, I did not get round to everyone with the camera as they finished their main work, such a pity as there were some really different interesting pieces such as the African family statue, where the artist had added beads, seeds and silk gutta in gold to create their costume jewellery.

this gentleman used varied washes for his background on top of white gesso (the white area would turn into a lace tablecloth by the end)
and another gentleman started to block in after placing composition with brush and diluted acrylic
All in all a very happy, funfilled and successful day - of that I am assured as I have been asked to visit them again for another workshop. Sorry if it has turned out to be rather a long post - hope you manage to drag yourself through all the text to the images at the end.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Here is the last garden sketch I did when relaxing after my op. I added the catkins from the front garden to balance the spread. Afraid I took photos rather than scan (don't know why!!) and you can see my shadow on the left.
.. and some close up photos for more detail.

Had a very busy time since Easter and now off in the morning to take an acrylic workshop in Lincolnshire. Happily it is not far from where I lived in the Fens so will be spending evening and staying with friends. Some of the Thursday evening art group I used to run will be coming over to spend the evening together. Really looking forward to it.
On the way back I am delivering work for Sandra and me to the Grimston St Botolph's church for their Spring time annual show. .. so the car will be loaded!!!
On return hopefully will find more time to comment on all your lovely blog postings.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Completed Magic Garden Series No: VIII - Garden Pond
16" x 16" box canvas acrylic

Just had four lovely days of Anita's company here in the Broads of Norfolk. We had two whole days out visiting wonderful local beauty spots sketching and lunching out together in the sunshine. Her work is wonderful and made my so called sketches look so poor I am not even going to post them to you!!!! Do go over to see what she achieved with her Alphonse Sketchbook with scenes from my home and plein air work at Horning and Reepham in her 'visit to Joannie's sketchbook' at .

On Sunday we stayed at home sorting, planning and chatting and I asked Anita for her opinion on three of my magic garden series for a summer show, which some children visiting an exhibition last year called THE LUMPY PAINTINGS because of their many layers of thick paint!! One I had never really liked so never exhibited and after a really helpful critique, went to my little studio room and made many adjustments. Below are two stages of the changes after checking some iris reference photos taken at my friend's garden pond when I realised I had originally painted cultivated garden blooms that would not grow by water:

Decided the left looked unbalanced so added a further yellow iris slightly duller in the shaded corner:

The final adjustment can be seen in the finished piece at the top, which came about by me having coffee in the sunroom this morning with Clive and noticing the pale blue sky dropping right down between the trunks of the trees in the corner of the garden. I feel the uneven line of the blue pond I have now created between the reeds and blooms and the added stronger final yellow layer to the irises really adds to the character of the work. Do you approve Anita?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Just finished a very busy Easter Weekend, with this pen and ink and watercolour washes workshop on the Saturday.

The morning started with everyone practicing different marks with both dip pen and bottles of ink and the use of technical pens of various thickness. Then moved onto using brushes dipped in the ink and diluted with water. The first subject was the pot of ink and box in front of each artists. Here are two studies of members' morning work putting all the previous practice together.

This following page of work shows pen work on the left and brush only on right.

Later in the day everyone chose a particular subject from the variety of things I had brought in. They either worked with pen followed by water colour washes, or bravely tackled their chosen subject with shapes of water colour washes first and when dry added pen marks for the detail. Here are some results.

Here are some samples of work from our new members, who have very bravely been 'thrown in the deep end' and came up swimming really well.

... and finally, here is one of our younger member's working on an illustration for a children's book all about a llama. I hope I have not given any secrets away.

A great day had by all and an hour after getting home my family arrived!! When they left, Elisha (my youngest grand daughter aged 9) stayed for an extra few days and we had lots of fun together.