Monday, 30 August 2010


I am preparing work for the NOVASTRAND II INSPIRATIONS SHOW Sandra and I are curating at the Belfry Art Centre in September. My theme is based on interior public houses that came about because I needed work to show that would interest any men visitors to my Open Studio weekends, being that most of my work was based on floral and gardens. All participants are offering items for display that inspired their works being exhibited based on their own theme. To date we have such diverse subjects as windows, circles, halloween, city landmarks, surfers , strand (shoreline), the seaside town of Cromer and cows!!!

The one I am showing you now was based on this earlier rather abstracted work which I always thought was not finished. Its never been exhibited and I had called it

On working on it, the painting became more realistic and I changed its name to

On showing it to Sandra, she wondered if I could turn the strange original shape over the shoulder into a tea towel - voila

I have two others ready for the show I will post another day and there was one I had called THE SPANISH BAR I sold at Wells Next the Sea last year. Maybe I'll do some more based on Coltishall pubs, particularly the one that exhibits my local scene paintings for sale.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


During my weekend at Anita's we discussed our trip to Italy next May and decided we needed to get more comfortable about sketching plein air their wonderful ancient architecture, so had the brainwave of putting on THE POWER OF ART a BBC art series. With modern technology we chose a few scenes during Simon Schama's travels to still and sketch from in the comfort of Anita's lovely soft green sofas.

Here are three efforts that very late but fun time evening:

Dome in Florence
double spread in Sennelier watercolours

St Peter's Rome
in Sennelier watercolours

Went a bit wrong with the St Peter's full colour when I added three arches of a bridge at the bottom. Just did not like them so heavily drawn in ink. So guess what? - I stuck a piece of selected colour paper from Anita's card supplies and wrote on the top. !! There's always an answer!!

Corner of St Peter's Rome
borrowing Anita's sepia water soluble ink pen

If we keep doing this over the next 6 months. maybe we will feel comfortable sketching in the streets amongst all the tourists!!

Monday, 23 August 2010


On Thursday last I had a phone call from Anita asking if I was busy at the weekend. Within minutes we had arranged for me to travel across Friday lunch time to her home (70 miles from me), join Anita on her trip to Five Mile Inn near Ely on the Saturday to meet fellow blogger Sue ( and pay a visit to the Haddenham Gallery on the way so I could see her work including a series of National Trust property sketches. Even in these austere times she has already sold four works.

Friday evening we put on Power of Art (Simon Schama BBC art series) to sketch Italian architecture in preparation for our trip next May. Technology is so great nowadays that we stopped a shot of The Dome of the St Maria Cathedral in Florence, then St Peters in Rome and did a few sketches. I'll post these later in the week. It was great practice but need plenty more before contemplating doing it plein air.
On meeting Sue at the Pub/restaurant Saturday morning, we went inside for teas and coffees to chat and get to know each other. Then before we knew it, it was lunch time. My first sketch was done viewing through the window as lunchers came and went on the riverside terrace. His companions disappeared before I got round to them spilling over onto the left hand page to make a double spread.

After lunch, we went down by the river and the sun came out although it was still windy. Here is my riverside effort using graphitint pencils and waterbrush - plus leaning over and 'pinching' a few watercolours from Sue's box when I needed more colour blocks. Don't laugh at my cows!! Certainly shows my love of plants judging from the only decent thing in it being the tree trunk!!
Finally, after a cooked supper at Anita's home I decided to paint her glorious pink roses. Here's my double spread.

Its great being part of Anita's family weekend and after a quiet Sunday with a trip to nearby Benwick riverside, I returned home in the evening before the rain set in - but it was dark most of the way. Thanks Anita.

Friday, 13 August 2010


Have been planning my trio for the Reflections show. After chosing images from a trip to Mundsley beach with the girls (grand children) when I photo'd them playing as well as the surfers, I started one in watercolour. It just looked rather bland, so used it as my draft and decided to get out my new Lana Vanguard similar to YUPO and work in acrylic inks.

Here is the result of number one of a lonely surfer walking along the beach. It was great fun to do and I feel the result is quite interesting particularly as I used salt in the foreground sand area.

Here are some close ups where you can see the effect of acrylic inks on this shiny plastic surface.

Took this photo before I added more white foam around the bottom of the wooden posts.

Here you can see where the course sea salt granules and ground salt were scattered.
I think I shall be happy with this technique for the three pieces. Probably will decide on the one of the girls skipping towards the shoreline, both of them with both their feet off the ground and I can strengthen the reflected images in the wet sand.

Number three yet to be decided upon between a life guard putting out wonderful coloured flags to tell the surfers the condition of the sea and a couple which looks like a dad and son carrying their surf boards down to the sea.

I'll keep you posted. haa haa!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Been catching up at home since returning from 3 wonderful days at Wells next the Sea at Sandra's cottage, coinciding with the week long carnival. Sandra, our host, had to pop off two mornings to invigilate at the local art exhibition and we both went over to Kings Lynn on the Saturday afternoon, leaving Anita happily sketching around the quayside and cottage garden.

Here you can see how beautifully Sandra has revamped her cottage in lovely soft blues and creams. We sat round the fireplace from time to time just chatting together before and after visiting the carnival musical evening events. We had fun singing along with an amazingly good live Beatles sound alike band and even had a temporary tattoo each from a little teddy bear, stars and (of course for me) a group of three flowers. Here is the comfy sofa .......

Got up fairly early for me and spent time in the garden sketching. All the fruit trees were laden with quince, damsons, apples and pears. Here's a little group of apples sketched whilst eating my breakfast of croissant with real butter and Wensleydale cheese and cranberries and cup of coffee .....

.... and here's something that grabbed me from the first day - the contrast between the colourful boats stored at the bottom of the garden seen through the black wrought iron gate.....

Planned to sketch little objects in the garden in a double spread, but only managed this stone chimey pot acting as a plinth for a bowl of found very round stones placed in front of another apple tree on the other side of the brick pathway that divides the garden and runs right up to the cottage door.

Really pleased how much I sketched despite our various outings. Down to serious stuff now, preparing three water colour works for the NOVA Sherringham event in October under the theme of Reflections.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


Sorry, not visited your blogs of late - have been so so busy with art and family. Now have my brother and wife staying with us for a week and today after visiting our village pub by the river for a carvery lunch, the men watched the (recorded) grand prix and Gaynor and I sat in the sun room. Ha, Ha - wherever is the sun nowadays.
Gaynor was knitting for friends new baby so I got out my pastel set and began to sketch the flower arrangement that includes some of our pink hydrangeas from the garden. Gaynor says it took hour and a half from start to finish. Quite gentle and a most enjoyable time, especially as I have not painted for ages.
As I have posted this floral pastel, thought I would add the early stages (as far as I got) of another pastel sketch. This time of a section of my garden when my ladies came for our summer garden sketch day together. Nowhere near finished of course.
Ron and Gaynor are going home on Thursday and then I go off to Sandra's cottage by the sea for a sketching weekend together. Hopefully will have something worthwile to post when I get back.