Thursday, January 29, 2015

My annual review 2014 - October to December

City fish

Finally here I am with part four of my annual review so you might want to make yourself a cup of tea before you settle down to read it, it's a long one. Pleased to say I'm feeling well again, hurrah!

After 'A brush with the broads' I was quite soon back down to Norfolk to take part in Paint Out Norwich, a selected plein air event involving around 30 artists chosen from an open entry. Again this was another brand new UK plein air event so I was very excited to be taking part. I also had a role to play helping my injured artist friend Mo Teeuw to get around as she was unable to drive at the time and painting from a wheelchair! Luckily the event organisers were fantastic - helpful, enthusiastic and fun. 
I hadn't been to Norwich since I was a child and I didn't remember anything, so I was happy to go to any spot allocated to me. We had four three hour painting sessions in different parts of Norwich over two intensive days. In between times we framed the wet paintings and grabbed a bite to eat, and enjoyed jolly get-togethers in the evening.

Pulls ferry, Norwich
The painting 'City fish' was painted in Norwich market on a very cold morning, and I had lots of interest and chat with passers-by. As soon as I saw the old man with the flat cap I had to draw him in quickly (with the brush). I think he makes the painting really!

Pulls ferry is a much painted local landmark and when I was on my way there somebody told me 'there's a choice of only two views (to paint) there'. Really? There are millions of views everywhere in my opinion, so I set off determined to choose a personal viewpoint for the painting. In the end I settled on this reflection, as I loved the glowing brightness of the distant trees through the archway, and all the leaves littered all over the water and pathway like confetti.

Work to be done,  Elm Hill
First prize winner, Paint Out Norwich
Private collection

Another picturesque corner of Norwich is Elm Hill. I had seen a photo beforehand and was really looking forward to painting there. When I arrived I was surprised and initially disappointed to see the scaffolding covering the left hand side building and crossing the narrow street in front of me. At times the sun broke through the clouds and the plane tree cast wonderful shadows on the yellow building, which I liked very much. Then I decided to paint the scene scaffolding and all, as I do enjoy a chance to show the signs of modern life and plus, can't resist the red (road signs).
The lady in the cafe opposite loved it. She said she'd seen many pretty paintings of it, but that mine captured Elm Hill as it really is - her everyday view. So that was encouraging!

Apparently the judges (the artists Trevor Chamberlain ROI RSMA and Colin Self, and curator Amanda Geitner) loved it too, as my painting of Elm Hill won the £1000 first prize in the first ever Paint Out Norwich!
No I really couldn't believe I was winning another prize - absolutely amazing. 
And I was so happy for my friend Roy Connelly too - see picture below!

With prizewinners Roy Connelly and Chris Daynes ROI
Paint Out Norwich
I drove home in the middle of the night on a complete high and in a bit of a daze! I got home and crawled into bed at 3am. When I got up that morning I had to empty the car and unpack, and then pack for France and reload the car, as we were leaving for a week in France just a few hours later. There are sometimes drawbacks to fitting it all in the way I do!

Another fantastic trip was my time in Venice with artist friends Penny German, Felicity House and Wyllis Heaton. We also met with Ann Justin, Kelly Medford and Louisa Calder. So much fun to have company to paint with and spend the evening with. The extra good news is I don't have to wait too long for my next Venice trip, as I've decided to go again this year. 

The weather was absolutely ideal for painting, no fog or cold for me this time! We did have one day of rain, but there are plenty of places to shelter and continue painting in Venice.

Shadows in Campo S Giovanni e Paolo

The artist Felicity House

I love this one of Felicity working on the steps to a bridge. You can feel the heat in the sunshine, just look at that clear blue sky! People were most amused to see that I was painting the artist painting. I love the wonky shopping trolley too. This could translate well into a studio painting couldn't it?

Painting in Venice

Rising shadows at the Ospedale
Private collection

Some of my paintings from Venice are available to buy direct from my studio. If you'd like to take a look you can find them here.

Washing day, Venice

In usual style I arrived home from Venice in the early hours of the morning for a few hours of sleep before attending my own exhibition preview!
While I'd been away the brilliant folk at Patchings Art Centre had hung the exhibition and it all looked beautiful. I liked to see the title of my exhibition here at the bottom of the stairs, doesn't that look nice?

Opening day of my exhibition

A breath of fresh air exhibition
Patchings art centre
During the exhibition I went in to the gallery for some painting days, a couple of which were portraits from life. Here I am painting my mum for one of the demos. She has her feet raised on a box because she's only little, like me!

Painting my mum in the middle of my exhibition at Patchings

Portrait of my mum

In December I had several trips to London to see the Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. I was exhibiting this painting there, which was painted en plein air in August on the island of Bréhat. 

Evening at the beach, Bréhat
Private collection

Another event in December was the ROI painting event evening at the gallery. My friend the artist Adebanji Alade was one of the sitters. I had a couple of hours on this and am very pleased with it. It was a really fun evening too.

Portrait of the artist
Adebanji Alade

Lastly in December I got really excited about a local subject, the Christmas market in Lincoln. I painted only one piece while there, but I've been working on a series of paintings in the studio. I'm really enjoying making painterly marks and as always, striving to say more with less.

Mulled wine, hot chocolate

Christmas market, mulled wine stall
Private collection

Christmas market at dusk

Christmas market, snow

I hope you've enjoyed the recap of my year. And now it's almost February, amazing! I have got an absolutely packed year happening, and so much to tell you about! Did you have any new year's resolutions? And how's that going? Mine was to draw every day and so far so good! I've kept that up for the whole of January and am feeling very good about it. I can already see how that regular sketch work is impacting on my painting and providing painting inspiration. I'm focussing on figure and portrait drawing because I want to include more people in my paintings, and possibly also because it's a challenge and a good practice, and endlessly fascinating. I will show you some more on the blog soon, but if you're on Twitter or Instagram check out my account as you can see nearly all the January sketches there. All the best ones anyway, there are a few I won't be sharing! ;-)


  1. I'm glad you're feeling much better Haidee-Jo and I hope 2015 proves to be as challenging and exciting as 2014. I've enjoyed following your adventures and progress over the last year and look forward to more.

  2. Great to get a recap of your very busy year. Don't know how you fit it all in. I am sure you will have another successful year and hope to see you at some event.


Thank you for your words!

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