Tuesday, 10 December 2013


charcoal and pastel on scored and cut paper
30cm x 40cm

As promised in yesterday's post, here is the piece that I have most recently finished. I'm continuing to work with the idea of mosaic remains and the de-construction and re-construction of my drawings. It's an interesting process and I am getting quicker at making the pieces, so...I believe It's time to go larger!

Monday, 9 December 2013

My new studio!


I've ended up having a much longer break from blogging than I'd planned or expected. You may remember that I moved house? and sorting out the new house has been very time consuming. It had been empty for two years and was in a very poor state so we have been attending to its needs since we moved in! :)...although I have somehow, in between jobs, managed to make a new piece of work which I will post tomorrow!  Today I want to show you my new space. I love my new studio..it's on the second floor of what was once a small brewery. We live in the middle section where there is a three story tower. My studio is on the top floor of that...so I now have a proper ivory tower! (For those who don't know, I used to refer to my last studio as my ivory tower as it was in the attic room). I've seen some glorious sunsets already as I have an east window, a west window and a south window, so plenty of light although my pics don't show that off too well.  
It's great to be posting again!
My best wishes to all! 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Epona - Celtic/Roman Goddess

charcoal on scored and cut paper
30cm x 40cm

It's been over two weeks since my last post as I'm in the throws of moving house and am up to my eyes in packing boxes! But in between juggling time and boxes I've somehow managed to put together another piece for my show! My aim in these recent pieces is to create a series of images that embody the essence of the gods or goddesses but that depicts them in a form that reflects human mortality. This piece portrays Epona. Epona (also known as Rhiannon) was a Celtic goddess whom the Romans adopted as their own. She was the goddess of horses and of fertility.

This might have to be my last post for a while as moving day is next Monday from which time I will be offline and won't be back on until the 12th November :( Will get back to you then :) 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Untitled finished drawing

This is the most successful mosaic drawing that I've made so far. I've experimented with surface texture by using a combination of mosaic pieces and charcoal applied directly onto the paper surface. I'm satisfied and excited by the outcome and can't wait to get on with the next piece which is a good feeling after, if you recall, the disaster of the last one!! 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Preliminary drawing

In my last post which, oh my, I realise now was two weeks back! I showed you a piece that I was experimenting with. Well...in between then and now I have explored all avenues with it. It's been pushed, pulled, chopped up, chopped up again and guess what...it's now been binned!! I don't easily give up on any piece and try to push it through to some sort of conclusion but this time I was definitely beaten...grrrrrr! On the positive side though (and there always is one so they tell me :)) I did learn alot from it...even if it was mostly what doesn't work! The piece above is my next victim. It's another drawing I made earlier. I just thought I'd show you whilst it's in the preliminary stages. I've cut it through the centre as a starting point and will endeavour to work outwards from there...and will needless to say, try not to mess up on this one! It's a slow process so don't expect a progress report too soon, although, I am getting quicker at it...what I really need is a studio assistant to do all the sticking work, hmmm...in my dreams!! 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Work in progress

This piece is my current work in progress. As you can see I still have quite a way to go with it. Now I've overcome some of the initial assemblage issues and devised a method of working, the process is becoming less problematic. I'm using a drawing that I made on a creased and scored surface. The creases and score marks create veins in the paper that become clear when the charcoal is applied and which have an organic appearance. The cutting up and re-constructing process is very much about building the image. I'm experimenting at the moment with different shape and scale pieces. I'm quite excited by this latest piece as it seems to be going in a new direction...we shall have to wait and see!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

My finished frames

Today I've been finishing the frames for two of the pieces going into the show 'Borrowed Blue' at Sam scorer Gallery, Lincoln on Monday. I ordered the frame pieces and accessories from Ashcraft Framing and put them together myself. It was simple and straightforward...brilliant! 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Remnants of a mosaic

This piece is something I've been working on for the past few days and yes...it is finished! The idea behind the piece is to depict not an entire mosaic but the remains of a mosaic. The subject is the Roman god Bacchus (also Dionysus from Greek myth). I was reading about Bacchus' travels through India and came across this quote from the Latin tragedy 'Phaedra' by Seneca, 'Thou Bacchus from thysus-bearing India, with unshorn locks, perpetually young, thou who frightenest tigers with thy vine-clad spear and with a turban bindest thy horned head'. So this is my portrayal of Bacchus from that description. I used a drawing that I made a while back but which came immediately to mind as soon as I read the quote. Not only is the subject conveniently wearing a turban but I feel the character has an androgynous quality that is often associated with Bacchus/Dionysus. This piece is 30cm x 40cm.  

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

'Girl in Blue Jumper'

40cm x 30cm
oil on stretched canvas

I've been working on this piece this afternoon, getting it ready to put in 'Borrowed Blue' at Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln. It's an interesting show to take part in because the requirements for the show are as follows: four pieces in total from each artist - one has to be an older piece, one a new work, one borrowed from someone else and one containing a blue element. I couldn't resist when I was invited to participate! The painting above is my 'blue' piece and the drawing in the painting that you can see on the wall on the right of the girl will be my 'borrowed' piece. It's a charcoal drawing by a friend and artist Rosie Burke. I love the drawing and was delighted when Rosie agreed to hang it in the exhibition!
'Borrowed Blue' 
Sam Scorer Gallery
Drury Lane 
2nd September - 15th September  

All those who can get along to the 'invitation do' on Sunday 8th September 2.00pm - 4.00pm are very welcome. Please come if you can. There will be yummy tubs of ice cream (dairy and non-dairy) and lots of soft drinks too. Should be a fun afternoon! :) 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Work in progress for next year's exhibition

I've been working again on my idea for the exhibition happening next year. The subject in this piece is Venus/Aphrodite. It's just over a third finished. It's a slow process and has taken quite a number of hours already. Making the drawing is pretty quick, it's the cutting up and sticking that's slow as I'm cutting each piece individually...approximately 660 pieces in this work so far!! I like the unevenness of the pieces that results from this method. I'm still not sure where this is taking me but I do enjoy exploring new ideas even if they might send me a little crazy by the end of them!! :O 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

'Market - Saturday Morning' finished

20" x 30"
oil on canvas panel

I think I've pretty much finished this painting now. I'll check again tomorrow incase there's something I've missed.  I've spent three sessions working on it. You could probably carry on forever with a studio painting like this but you have to call a halt at some point and sooner rather than later before it becomes overworked and laboured. Some of the fruit and veg are invented because the boxes that were visible were mostly filled with vegetables in plastic bags and I wanted more colour. That's the magic of being an artist...if you don't much like the reality around you, then you can change it!! 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Saturday Morning Market - next stage

20" x 30"
oil on canvas panel

I managed to get to this stage this afternoon. Nowhere near finished yet with still much to resolve but I thought you might like to see the painting nonetheless. There's a stronger narrative content in this piece with the crowd scene and several characters to focus on, all with their own tale to tell. I'm reasonably happy with it thus far :) 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Saturday Morning Market

20" x 30"
canvas board

I'm taking a different approach for this piece. I've drafted out the composition in charcoal which I don't normally do. I usually go straight in with paint, but the composition was fairly complex and I didn't want to leave too much to chance. Contrasts, both colour and value will be key in this piece in order to separate the abstract shapes and create the distance. I'm looking forward to painting all these different individuals from the man in the foreground reading his shopping list (buying for his dinner party that evening?)...to the woman way in the distance holding a cup of tea. You may recognise the two characters on the far right, the mother and son from a previous painting 'Ice Cream on a Cold Afternoon'.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Drawings from yesterday's life drawing session

2 x A2 
graphite on paper

These are two 20 min drawings from yesterday evening's life drawing session that I attended. I had twice as much time for the last one of the evening and didn't get it finished! I clearly work better under pressure!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

'The Rage of Juno'

60cm x 60cm
Oil and charcoal on board

This piece is part of my on going line of enquiry into Roman culture and myth. I've been working on this painting for the last two days. This morning I wiped it off completely and began again! Drastic I know but, when I'd wiped it off I found I was left with a ghost of the original image with its interesting marks and which made a brilliant surface to work on. I'm experimenting with combining charcoal and paint and the difficulty is controlling the amount of paint to apply, so easy to overdo it which was the reason I wiped it off this morning. This version I'm happier with and feel I'm getting closer to where I want to be.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

'Girl in Blue Jumper'

'Girl in Blue Jumper'
40cm x 30cm
oil on stretched canvas

I gave this painting a burnt orange ground which has given the work a lovely rich glow. I completed the painting in a relatively short time this afternoon and I find that a coloured ground works well when you need to work quickly. If some of the ground colour is left showing through the top layers of paint, it pulls the painting together nicely. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Life Drawing


What a lovely way of spending a Sunday morning...life drawing for three hours! At my own life drawing workshops I'm busy giving tuition and never get time to draw myself. It was very nice to have the time and opportunity to play around with media I haven't used in a long time such as stick and ink, quill pen and ink...I even got out my watercolour box briefly and that hasn't seen the light of day for a very long time! It was great to sit back and let someone else do the organising. So my thanks to Phil Bowman of Gallery at St Martins for inviting me (click on link to go to Phil's gallery website) and extra thanks for spoiling us at the break with the real treat of croissants and coffee! :)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Preparing my frames

I've been painting and waxing frames today ready for some paintings that are going into an exhibition sale soon. Unfortunately you can't see the colours very well in the photograph but three are blueish green and three are greenish blue. I layered three different colours, a warm colour at the base, then layers of blue and green, then rubbed them back a bit and waxed them. Et voila!..they're all ready now to put the paintings in tomorrow :)

Monday, 8 July 2013

Mosaic drawings

I've been exploring ideas relating to Roman culture for an exhibition scheduled for next spring. One line of enquiry I've been making involves mosaics. Some Roman mosaics are fascinating for their exquisite painterly quality but were extremely labour intensive to make. I thought it might be interesting to reverse the process of making and instead of gradually and painstakingly building the image with the components of colour, make the image first, then cut it into the components and finally arrange them in fragment shapes like archaeological finds. I'm not sure where this will take me just yet but I quite like the outcome in this first attempt. An unexpected element of the outcome was that the subject seems to be looking out of the picture from behind a layer of mesh. I'll update you on my progress as and when it happens.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

LAS Summer Show at the Collection Lincoln

The LAS Summer Show is now on at the Collection in Lincoln. It runs from now until 1st September - opening times 10.00am - 4.00pm (last entry 3.45pm). There will be a member of LAS present to chat to each weekend in July and everyday in August. My slot is the afternoon of 19th August, so for those of you who live in the vicinity it would be great to see you there. I have two pieces in the exhibition. They are two of my street scenes which you can see below.  I'm disappointed I missed the Society's opening do but sadly it couldn't be helped :( I can't wait to see the show during this coming week and I'm looking forward to seeing my pieces hanging in their lovely new frames. It's a show well worth seeing and I really hope you will be able to get there.

'High Street Shopping, Saturday Afternoon'
8" x 8"
oil on canvas panel

'In the Rain'
8" x 8"
oil on canvas panel

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Image in Leisure Painter

This image was kindly sent to me today. It shows an article from the Leisure Painter magazine and it features one of my paintings 'Delicious Biscotti' (you might remember it from a previous post). Leisure Painter wrote a piece about the Lincolnshire Artists' Sales website (great site...to visit click here) on which I have several pieces of work. I've had some wonderful feedback from people who have seen 'Delicious Biscotti' in the article and I'm pleased to say I have now sold the painting on the strength of it. Yay! 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

'Man Studying Painting'

 12"x 10"
oil on canvas panel

I re-worked parts of 'Man Studying Painting' today as I didn't feel it was quite there. By strengthening the tonal values and livening up the brushwork, the painting has now taken on a new vitality. Now I'm happy with it :)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


12' x 10"
oil on canvas panel

I enjoyed painting this today. I feel I've been tightening up recently so I gave myself
permission to paint freely and without restraint and to paint what I feel and not necessarily what I see..very liberating and very satisfying to be more expressive again. The lilies were making a statement in themselves as they were huge and the most wonderful cerise pink. I wanted to record them while they were in bloom and at their peek. It was exciting looking at them and I wanted to express that in paint. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

'Man Studying Painting'

'Man Studying Painting'
12" x 10"
oil on board

This painting took me most of the day to complete, only because I seemed to be on a go-slow today! I took my time, enjoyed the paint, stopped for a cup of tea or two, hardly looked at the clock because I knew I had all day...brilliant!  I'm enjoying these gallery paintings, I have one more planned. The subject in this painting is one of my class members and this was just after we had hung the work. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

'Man Studying Drawing'

'Man Studying Drawing'
10" x 12"
oil on board

 One of the first visitors at the exhibition when we opened on Monday, was the man in my painting. He took alot of time going round and studied each piece with great interest and intent. I loved the way he was standing with his foot turned inwards and head tipped to the side at the same angle as the image in the drawing. I decided then and there that he would become my next subject! 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Wow...what a night!

These are some pics at the start of our exhibition do yesterday evening and as you can see we had a great turn out with more people arriving later. Thankyou to everyone who came for making it such a successful evening and a special thankyou to Steve who did a sterling job as bar person on the wine table, making sure everyone had a glass in their hand! There was a real party atmosphere as you can see from the big smiles on our faces! We've had some wonderful and much appreciated feedback and comments about the high standard of work achieved and the quality of the exhibition so many thanks for that too. The exhibition runs until Saturday, do come along if you can.  

Monday, 10 June 2013

Exhibition up and running!

It was hanging day today of my groups' show. I had a great team helping me hang the work and all went very smoothly. So well done and thankyou to everyone. The show looks amazing I'm delighted to say. You can see from the image what a lovely space it is at the library and we've had lots of visitors already. We're now busy preparing for the private view tomorrow!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Exhibition of work!

My groups' show begins on Monday at the Lincoln Central Library in Free School Lane, Lincoln.  For the Sturton group it's their first exhibition ever and I'm very excited for them! We are holding a private view Tuesday 11th June 5.00pm - 6.30pm. Those of you who live in the vicinity are cordially invited to attend and will be very welcome...the more the merrier! There will be approximately 50 paintings and drawings in the show to view plus sketchbooks and loose leaf drawings to look through.  The groups have been working very hard all year and I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labour framed, hanging and looking wonderful in a well-deserved show! 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

'Pot, Brush and Fruit' cont...

'Pot, Brush and Fruit'
12" x 16"
oil on stretched canvas

I chose this ceramic pot to paint because of the complicated pattern. I thought it was going to be a challenge and I wasn't wrong!! When painting a pattern like this it's too easy to become pre-occupied with the intricacies of the pattern and subsequently overwork it.  I knew I had to call it a day when I found myself faffing with detail...always  a good sign to stop! 
Some news...I have a painting appearing in the June issue of Leisure Painter (out 21st June) The painting is part of a feature on the LAS (Lincolnshire Artists' Society) Sales site. The painting is 'Delicious Biscotti'.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

New painting

12" x 16"
oil on stretched canvas

Staying with the mirror and reflections theme, I began a new painting this afternoon on a larger canvas so I can work the objects pretty much life size.  I only had an hour to spend on it but I'm happy with it thus far. I used  my little viewfinder to find the right 'crop' and to help place the composition quickly on canvas. I find using a viewfinder can save alot of time. I painted a ground of pale violet being the complementary colour of yellow, the predominant colour in the composition. I'm also using violet in the shadow areas as it will enhance the yellow and help make it 'zing'. 

Friday, 31 May 2013

'Two Pots and a Mirror'

'Two Pots and a Mirror'
6" x 6"
oil on board

My grandaughter bought me this little pot out of her own pocket money :)
Then she asked me if I would paint it! So here it is, just for her, two pots for the price of one! I like using mirrors for the abstract shapes they can create, but not round ones I've decided...they're very tricky! It's been an interesting exercise exploring once again all the different tones and colours of grey you have to use to achieve white. Half closing the eyes is an invaluable way of identifying values, I can't recommend it enough.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

My entry for an exhibition.

'Looking Back'
50cm x 40cm

I took my entry over today for submission to the open show at Ropewalk Gallery in Barton-on-Humber. This piece, 'Looking Back', is from my 'Modern Woman' series in which the image has been scored into the paper without any preliminary pencil marks. It's a very risky way of working as the image made with the scored marks only becomes clearly visible when charcoal is applied over the surface of the paper. I then work with the resulting image. It's risky but exciting to work in this way as it provides an element of unpredictability and the freedom and opportunity to move right away from the starting point. You can see another piece from the series, 'British Girl in Turkey', if you go to my Facebook page and look at the cover photo at the top of the page. Click here for the link.
Hope you're all having a great bank holiday weekend!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Study in graphite "Statuette of Joan of Arc'

12" x 8"

 'Joan of Arc' is one of my favourite possessions. She's made from parian marble and is beautifully white. I had a lovely afternoon drawing her.  

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

'Tomatoes and Pan'

10" x 12"
oil on board

I painted 'Tomatoes and Pan' this afternoon. It took approximately two and a half hours to complete. I imposed a time limit again and didn't go over it and I'm happy with the result. It's certainly not overworked and that's the way it's going to stay, and to make sure, the things have been put away and the tomatoes will be eaten within an hour! 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Commission of Henry

12" x 16"
oil on stretched canvas

This is 'Henry', the commission I was working on during last week. I'm hoping I've captured him. I only had a photograph to go on. There were no sittings and I've never met Henry so consequently couldn't work from memory either. I'm now awaiting a verdict to see if I'm anywhere close to accurate! Will keep you posted as to the outcome!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

'Pots with Pear in Dish'

10" x 12"
oil on board

I set a strict time limit for this painting. I didn't want to spend too much time on any one part and end up putting in too much information and subsequently tightening up. My time limit was two hours which was easy to set as two hours was the only amount of time I had to work so I couldn't go beyond it even if I wanted to...this seemed a good plan. All went well and I was just giving myself a pat on the back for achieving what I'd set out to do when I realised I'd left out the reflection of the blue and white pot! Duh...! That was yesterday afternoon. Today I painted in the weird and distorted abstract reflection and strengthened some of the values. 
I don't think it's important what objects you paint, the importance lies in the way in which the light falls on them. Sometimes you can suddenly notice something that you've passed many times previously which had stayed invisible until that moment just because the light is falling on it in a different way. Changing light alters our perception of what is around us and provides an opportunity to translate that visual excitement into paint. Sometimes I feel very privileged and lucky being an artist.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

'Alexander' revisited

8" x 8"
oil on board

The last few days I've been busy on a commission in between working on a painting for a future exhibition. This morning I've been varnishing paintings and I've reworked the right eye and eyebrow (on the right as you look at the painting) in 'Alexander'. It's something that's been bugging me for a while so today I decided to put it right and be done with it!   

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Further work on yesterday's painting

10" x 12"
oil on board

I've made some changes to 'Pot, Apple and Very Old Spoon' and I now feel satisfied it's resolved. So this afternoon I'm resisting starting a new painting because I have to figure out which work to submit to some forthcoming exhibitions which means mayhem in my workspace whilst I get it all out and try to decide! 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

'Pot, Apple and Very Old Spoon'

10" x 12"
oil on board

This is my afternoon's work after teaching this morning. The light coming through the window in my studio was just right for a still-life set up on the floor. I'm pleased I've painted this lovely patterned pot at last...it's been waiting its turn in my studio! 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

'Mushroom Study'

6" x 6" 
oil on board

I enjoyed painting this little mushroom study this afternoon. I knew I only had a limited amount of time so I chose a simple subject for a quick study. It does look very 'mushroomy' so I'm happy with it :) I used a warm orange for the ground colour and then worked over with a palette of burnt sienna, yellow ochre, ultramarine and titanium white which were enough colours to mix a range of warm and cool greys - warm greys for the mushrooms and cool greys for the cloth.