Monday, November 26, 2012

Grand canal, slightly hazy

View of the Salute from the Accademia bridge

Finally the fog has lifted, after two days. I had a better day today, yesterday I was flagging and uninspired by the flat light conditions.
This is my first of three today, the Salute painted from the Accademia bridge. I do think it's a great view if you're lucky enough to see the sun rise. We've been getting up super early every day but the sun has eluded us so far.
I'll be able to show you all the other paintings when I get home later in the week, I hope they travel well!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Venice in the fog!

The morning's work on the ground, St Marks square 
The basilica appearing and disappearing the whole time!
The sun never made it through the fog today! This photo is of St Marks square when we arrived at about 7.45 this morning! These are my three various stages of fog paintings! I did another this afternoon in a different campo. The fog came and went in varying degrees but never lifted altogether!
It was pretty cold too!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Venice love!

Early morning light, Santa Maria della Salute

There's no other light like it, is there? It really is great to be here and the weather has been lovely today. This is my first painting of four today.
Within thirty minutes of starting this the sun came up and the whole scene changed completely. For a while I tried to continue with the original impression fixed in mind but realised I had to stop at this point.
This afternoon I stood in the shade painting gondolas moored in the foreground and the buildings on the other side of the grand canal in brilliant sunlight.
Then another facing across the canal to a terracotta building which was half in sun, half in shadow with fabulous terracotta reflections in the water.
My last painting of the day was a nocturne, I don't think it was terribly successful. In fact, I'm sure that when I see it in the daylight tomorrow I'm going to be horrified!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Piazzetta, Venice

It's so lovely to be back in Venice! Magical! We arrived yesterday early evening and today was our first day painting.
This is an oil that I did this morning, 10" x 14". The sky was just breathtaking! I also love the pink glass in the lamps. Everything is conducive to being painted here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Christmas news!

Sunset over snowy paddock
I have some good news to share, my friends! Do you remember this painting that I showed you a couple of days ago? I told you that I'm having Christmas cards made of it, which I am, but there's more news now!
I entered it into The Artist magazine's charity Christmas card competition and ... it won!!
That means it will be published as the winner in the magazine in January, be an electronic greetings card for the magazine and best of all, they will donate £200 to the charity of my choice.
I have chosen The Rainbow Trust, a charity that provides emotional and practical support to families who have a child with life threatening or terminal illness.

All that standing around in the snow painting now seems more worthwhile than ever!

I'd like to donate further funds to the charity, so I am going to give 10% of the purchase price of every card sold. That's 20 pence for each card as the cards sell at £2.00 each.

If you would like to buy any please let me know, and I will charge only a small amount to cover postage.

The cards measure 144 x 144 mm and are blank inside with a little piece about the competition and the charity on the back of the card. You could even send them as thank you cards in January!

Don't forget to email me to enter the festive prize giveaway! Click here for details!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Autumn trees and cows

Autumn trees and cows

I completed this painting from the cow sketch. It's a shape I am enjoying very much currently! It's 8" x 16".
I haven't got a very good photo of it yet, but wanted to show you it while I crack on with packing for Venice. Equipment and paints and boards first... then we'd better see if there's any room for clothes!

Remember to email me to let me know you'd like to be in the draw for my festive giveaway - and you need to tell me which of the two paintings featured yesterday you'd like to win most. Good luck!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

BIG Festive giveaway!

King of Christmas
Oils on canvas panel 30 x 24 cms

Sheep in melting snow
Oils on canvas panel 18 x 24 cms

I don't know about you but I am starting to feel a bit festive (I think it's all the birthday excitement yesterday to be honest with you!), and I am thinking it would be nice to share some joy with my very special blog subscribers.
Therefore, this year's December festive giveaway is going to be bigger and better than last year's!

There will be not one but five prizes! (gasp!)

Two winners will receive an original painting - the paintings up for grabs are shown here. There's 'King of Christmas', a festive still life, and 'Sheep in melting snow' which was painted plein air at Belmont tower near Grantham.

There will be a third prize of my new little book full of 2012 paintings and inspirational quotes.

Then, there will be two runners up prizes. Each of those will win a small bundle of greetings cards.

The grand draw will take place on the 19th December, and entering the draw is so easy to do!

First, you must be an email subscriber to my blog. If you receive my blog updates via email, you already are. *

Second, you must send me an email saying something along the lines of 'hello. My name is.... and I would like to win the festive giveaway! My favourite painting of the two is.... '

And that's it! It's so easy to put yourself in the draw!

You can email me directly when you receive this blog post just by clicking 'reply'. Or, send an email to


* If you are not yet a subscriber the process is simple.
 Go to on your computer.
Type your email address into the box which says 'Enter your email address here for my paintings in your inbox'. 
A pop up will appear with strange looking letters, you need to type those into the little box given to prove that you're not a robot but an intelligent human being.
You will almost immediately receive an email so check your inbox.
To confirm your subscription you must click on the link in that email, and then you're all set!
(If you don't receive an email, have a look in your spam or trash folder because sometime it mistakenly finds itself in there!)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Very happy birthday!

I've had a great day painting at Sutton-on-sea, christening my new Open Box M palette, and now we're going out to celebrate (and warm up!) with friends! Thank you for all the kind birthday wishes! xx

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vintage British tea party

Vintage British tea party
Acrylics on linen canvas 12" x 16"
This is the painting from yesterday, I do think I will have it made into a birthday card. I never pre-plan the painting that I'm going to do when I turn up to an art group to do a demo, any more than bringing the subject along. In this case I had a selection of cakes and china and other bits and pieces, sometimes it's flowers, or a portrait of somebody from the audience... or something else. This way every group gets a different experience and a one off painting unique to their afternoon or evening. It's very important to me that the people attending get to see the whole process, from inspiration and the blank canvas through to finished painting. Sometimes a two hour session minus twenty minute tea break is a bit too much of a stretch for finished, so we end on almost finished! Yesterday I had three hours fifteen minutes from entering the building to everything back in the car, so it felt positively leisurely! Demos and workshops are the only times I use acrylics now, I never get them out in the studio because I love my oils SO MUCH! (sorry for shouting!)

I've been to the printers today to organise my Christmas cards, and I've been asking about producing a 2014 calendar. Now I will need to find and paint the twelve seasonal images required!

Would you like a preview of my little book? There are 100 pages so although it's small (7" x 7") it packs a lot of inspiration! It's available to buy from Blurb, or email me directly.
Take a look at little book...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fondant fancies and battenburg

Halfway through demo

I had a really enjoyable afternoon giving a demonstration to a lovely group of people!
The subject was a still life on a cakes and tea party theme, very fitting as it happens because it's my birthday this week. I put a couple of paper flags and some birthday cake candles, and a birthday card with a beautiful painting by Pamela Kay in the set up as well as old fashioned party cake favourites!
This photo was taken halfway through the session. You can see the still life, the painting on the easel and my acrylic paints on a disposable paper palette pad.
It was dark when I got home, so I will photograph the finished painting to show you in the daylight tomorrow. I think it will make a good birthday card design!
We had some lovely autumnal walks at the weekend, and I sketched these cows on Saturday when I collected my paintings from the Whisby natural world centre.
I'm going to try a studio painting based on the sketch.
I'm really back in the swing of drawing every day now which is great, even if only ten or fifteen minutes. It's a good discipline to have, brilliant exercise for seeing, hand-eye coordination practise and... you get an interesting array of sketchbooks to delight, inspire and intrigue you for years to come. What could be better than that?
By the way, has anyone seen the photos of flooded Venice... and can anyone lend me a snorkel for next week...?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Christmas cards and great news!

Sunset over snowy paddock

I'm just having some Christmas cards printed with this one on, blank inside for your own message, it's a bit last minute really! If you'd like any just let me know and I can post some out to you :-)

I had some fantastic news yesterday, I've had a painting accepted into the Royal Institute of Oil Painters annual exhibition! I'm so extra happy about it as it's the first time I've had a painting accepted there since I was a young artist (under the age of 35!). The exhibition runs from the 12th December to the 23rd December at the Mall galleries, London.
It was my painting 'Incoming tide, Hook head' that I painted in July in Ireland, that was accepted. I can't wait for the Private view :-)

Incoming tide, Hook Head
Oils on canvas 12" x 16"

Do you remember I told you recently that I'd designed a little book of my 2012 paintings? It's only small, 7" x 7", but it is rather sweet. I've matched up my paintings with my favourite inspirational quotes. 
Click here if you'd like to see a preview of the book :-)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Knees, fingers and toes!

Detail from Camille aged 14, work in progress

Here we are again back in England after a lovely break on Bréhat.  Yesterday I gave my studio a good clean and tidy ready for today (it's not just me that messes it up - it's the three cats too). I've got a busy few weeks coming up with demos and workshops but then I'll be off to Venice painting for a week, which I'm very much looking forward to. If the hotel wifi works, I'll be able to keep you updated with daily Venice paintings!
Today I've been painting my other portrait commission, but I can't show you that yet.
This is a painting of my daughter Milly that I started this summer in our Bréhat house. It has many similarities with my current commission as both have the subject of the portrait reading, with their feet up on a sofa, a predominantly blue palette, and my view is standing looking down on them.
My favourite part of this painting is the knees showing through the holes in the jeans :-)

Some autumn sunshine today in tidy studio :-)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Towards l'Arcouest, sunset

This is the painting I was doing on Tuesday evening at Guerzido beach. The sky was fascinating and it was a race to try to capture it!
I'm not sure how successful I was but it was a good exercise. It's hard to remember how the sky actually was that evening now that I only have the painting to look at!
Travelling again all day tomorrow ...
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