Thursday, September 27, 2012

Galley hill and brush prize!

Galley hill allotments

back to the allotments today

Finding your style workshop went really well yesterday, I think everyone left with a clearer idea of where their passions lie and how they can start to move from where they are now towards producing the paintings they want to be making. 
Today I got back to the allotments to finish this painting. It was so much warmer than Tuesday, with no rain or wind. Soon after I started I spotted this really great break in the clouds which I think adds a lot to the piece. I wondered afterwards whether I'd gone too far and overworked it, and I've been unsure of the composition too. 
After a few hours reflection though, I've decided I like it rather a lot! :-)

I'm afraid the photo isn't brilliant again!

Look at this and imagine my excitement - my Pro Arte brush prize arrived yesterday! That's 62 brushes!
I am such a lucky girl :-)

In case you are new to my blog and you are wondering, I won this prize for my painting 'Working from the model' in The Artist/Patchings exhibition this June. You can read about it here :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Galley hill allotments

Work in progress

Stage 1 - I started with a painted line, then on to large masses

Blocking in masses and getting darker

Building up the darks

It was very dark and grey and cold, very windy and at times raining, but was I happy? Oh yes! I have discovered some local allotments and I am thrilled as I've always loved painting allotments. In fact I did a magazine article for the Artists and Illustrators magazine in about 1995 all about painting allotments in oils! In recent years I have found it difficult to gain access to allotments as they have become locked and gated to reduce crime. It's a shame that it's been necessary for councils to do that. 
So I was extremely happy to be here today and can't wait to go back. I didn't quite get finished as I was too desperate to get to a bathroom eventually! I'm also sorry the photos are so poor - I guess it's because there wasn't any light!
Tomorrow is my 'Finding your style' workshop in Fulbeck which will be very interesting - let's hope we can get into the village hall this time!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Assington Mill allotments

Allotments in the rain at Assington Mill

Painting the English longhorn cattle

I had a great day yesterday at the beautiful Assington Mill, an organic farm in Suffolk. If you live anywhere near you must take a look at all the exciting day courses which they offer, and if you don't live near you can consider staying for a few days there in the delightful Mill cottage!  
It was really great to meet online friend the professional artist Roy Connelly, have a look at his blog if you don't already know his stunning landscape work.
In the morning I was able to paint the cattle, they kindly waited in position until I had finished! When I packed away Mabel, they all got up and walked off!
It started raining about 12.30 and didn't stop after that. Luckily though there were barns we could stand in to paint after a delicious home cooked lunch in the farmhouse kitchen. I was thrilled to discover that one end of the large teaching room had huge wooden doors which opened to reveal the allotments! Heaven! Painting in the dry with coffee and toilets constantly available, and a view like that! 
I didn't quite get it finished, as you can probably guess by looking at the foreground and the row of cabbages on the right hand side which looks like a solid clump of blue at the moment but I am pleased with it and think it deserves just a little extra work. Very pleased with the cows too, but I can't manage to get a good photo of it, probably because it's so dark today. 
The two and a half hour drive home in the dark and pouring rain was pretty horrid, but it was worth it for a great day's painting in excellent company and a beautiful setting.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

London panorama

This is my other painting from Wednesday's trip to Greenwich. It's the first time I've ever tried to paint a city panorama, quite challenging! In the foreground is the Olympic equine stadium which I imagine will be dismantled any time now - I wonder how long it will take to remove all these huge structures? I will have to paint this view another day, minus the stadium!
I played around with my abstract again today. It's made me really keen to work more often with watercolours and pastels! I had so much fun.
Tomorrow I'm going on a plein air workshop day in Suffolk with painter Roy Connelly. It's about a two and a half hour drive for me so I'll be getting up very early and coming back late! I'll be able to tell you all about it on Monday!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Corelli antiques

Corelli antiques
Oil on canvas panel 12" x 10"

I finished the painting this morning. I'm quite pleased with how it works with the various light sources and shiny surfaces, and I really enjoyed doing it. Bon weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hemswell antique centre

Work in progress at the antique centre
Today was different and fun! My friend Chris who sells antiques (Corelli antiques) in various venues invited me to paint in one of her units at Hemswell antiques centre. I love busy interior subjects! Quite a challenge with so many objects and the darkness of the room contrasted with the light of the window, so I started with a fairly accurate pen drawing about the same size that the painting would be. Then we went for coffee!
Then painted, then had lunch, then painted some more. I had to stand in the corridor outside looking into the room. I couldn't step back to check progress often as I had a wall and a fire extinguisher behind me!

Mabel in the corridor

Chris' other unit - another great painting!

And look what I came home with ... a vintage cash register! When you open the cash drawer a bell rings, and it is adorable! Paper feeds through a hole in the top so that receipts could be handwritten. I love it, and I'll be bringing it with me to Patchings festival next year!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sketching workshop

Milly aged 7

Milly aged 14

Sketch from Staithes

Today was my drawing and sketching workshop and I would like to say a huge thank you to the fabulous Hare and Hounds pub in Fulbeck for accommodating all eleven of us for the whole day when we found ourselves unexpectedly locked out of the village hall! Please eat at the Hare and Hounds whenever you are passing between Grantham and Lincoln - you will love it! 
Thanks also to Pipa for providing quick poses when we were working on gesture drawing - which was the highlight of the day! We also did a little line and contour drawing, tonal values, notan sketches, upside down drawing and gridding! 
I had a ball yesterday looking through my old sketchbooks, they are such a treasure! Especially lovely to be able to see your children when they were little, there is nothing so tender, so personal, as a drawing.
Tomorrow I am going to be painting antiques... watch this space, as they say! :-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Late summer, North heath lane

Late summer, north heath lane
Oil on panel 24 x 30cms
I can't remember the last time I had a day at home in my studio - and enjoyed it as much as I have today!
With a lot of patient consideration (something I'm working on because it doesn't come naturally!) I finished this one that I painted in the lane on Friday. I'm afraid this photo lets it down because it's played down the warmth - the field on the right is much more of a warm gold than the yellow it looks here. I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out and I don't think I've spoiled it with the extra twiddling!
I've also done some radical work on a commission so I'm in a kind of scary 'it will look a lot worse before it gets better' kind of scenario! And I'm still workshop planning. This Wednesday's drawing workshop will be exciting!
Also I received such a lovely letter from Newark Art Club to thank me for my demonstration last week. It made my day! :-)
Thought you might like to see these too...

The SAA Paint magazine's latest edition with my Oilbar article

Little piece about my Pro Arte award in September's The Artist magazine.
I haven't ordered any of my new brushes yet!
Looking forward to it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday, work in progress...

Work in progress - had to stop not long after this as the light had gone

I really have lots and lots of business/admin/email/workshop writing type work to be getting on with after my lovely August break, so that kept me busy all morning. Then of course Friday afternoon at 2 o clock is coffee time with my friends, and I haven't seen some of them for six weeks. Everything else stops for an hour and a half on Friday afternoons during term time :-)
Then I was able to get out for two to three hours with Mabel, glorious late summer, late afternoon day as you can see! I can't tell you how many times I've walked past this barn and considered painting it. It's good to finally get on to it!
I got quite a lot further with the painting (the barn anyway) than this but couldn't take a good photo and there's one or two touches I want to finish.
I was reading about some fascinating research this morning by Dr Alvaro Pascual-Leone, professor of neurology at Harvard medical school. He found that volunteers who practised piano skills using only their imagination, looking at the keyboard without being able to touch it, gained the same brain pattern improvements as a group that had actually practised the exercises on the piano. I always knew it was a good thing to mentally draw or paint something when you haven't got any materials to hand. In fact, I did quite a lot of that when my children were very young and their needs kept me so busy! :-)

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