Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last award of 2012!! (promise!)

Strange photo - I look like I'm wearing my easel! 

You see, I just can't keep away can I? After telling you I was going to have a week or two away from the blog here I am again! I promised to let you have a few days sleeping off those extra mince pies.
I didn't think there'd be any more news to report this close to the end of the year, I certainly didn't think there'd be any more awards to be talking about in 2012 but... what do I know?!

We've got a BRAND NEW high note to end the year on!!

To my amazement and delight this morning I found out I'd won the Making a Mark Plein air plus award ('for excellence in plein air painting plus a strong commitment to sharing information') !

Thank you to Carol Lee Beckx (Art matters) for nominating me! 

Thank you to Katherine Tyrell for choosing me!

Thank you to all of you who read my blog and give me all your wonderful support, without you I'd be talking to my brushes more than I do already...

Here's the all important link so you can go and have a look for yourself...

but before you go! I just want to say a great big HAPPY NEW YEAR and may 2013 bring us all great happiness... and a teensy bit less rain in Europe...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Making a Mark awards 2012

Galley hill allotments

Galley hill allotments in progress

I hope you're all enjoying your festive break! 

I had a really nice surprise yesterday! My painting 'Galley hill allotments' has been nominated and shortlisted in the Making a Mark annual awards for art bloggers, for best picture of a place shown on an art blog in 2012!

You can have a look at the paintings in all the categories by clicking here...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 review - October to December!

Painting at Sutton-on-sea on my birthday in November!

Pop yourself down in a cosy armchair with a mince pie for the last instalment of my 2012 review!
The beginning of October found me heading back to Sutton-on-sea, London and Belmont tower for painting days, plus a portrait session with two teenagers which I then finished in the studio. I was really busy getting paintings varnished and framed and signed and posted and six of those given to the courier to try their luck at the ROI, the others for clients. I also had a day painting and chatting to the public at Whisby natural world centre which coincided with an exhibition there, and then a weekend art fair in a local village. All that was just the first two weeks of October!

Towards Bohemia promenade, Sutton on sea

Towards Pall Mall
£260 framed

Painting at Whisby natural world centre for The Big Draw

The end of October I was busy writing an article for The Artist magazine, teaching a mystery challenge workshop, having a great time at the Royal Society of Marine Artists preview in London and spending a week with the family on the island. 

October, Guerzido beach

Painting the view over Grantham at Belmont tower, National Trust

An article that I'd written in the summer on painting with Williamsburg handmade oil colours was published in The Artist magazine.

The Artist magazine

Back from Bréhat in early November I gave three demos to art groups including this tea party still life a couple of days before my birthday, and a chocoholic painters anonymous workshop :-)

Birthday tea

I then had the fantastic news that one of my paintings, 'Incoming tide at Hook Head', had been selected for the 125th annual Royal Institute of Oil painters (ROI) exhibition!! When ever I have work selected by the ROI it means the world to me. 

Then after my birthday which I spent painting at Sutton on sea and then celebrating with friends in the evening, it was time to pack my suitcase for Venice. I stayed in an apartment with fellow UK painters David Pilgrim, Valérie Pirlot and Tim King for a week, but many other painters that we know were there at the same time. We had a couple of great get-togethers!
The weather was a mixed bag, involving a lot of fog. I'd never attempted to paint in thick fog before so it was a new experience! On the first morning I was really excited by it, painting in Saint Marks square with the buildings disappearing and people emerging as they came towards you, but by day three I was saying 'noooo.... no more fog now, please!'.
The days were very short so we left the apartment by 7.30 every morning. By 4.00pm it was completely dark!

Painting on Ponte dei Pugni

Santa Maria della Salute, early November morning
£260 framed

Looking towards Campo san Barnaba
£260 framed

Gondolas on the grand canal
£475 framed

Pink sky over Piazzetta
£465 framed

Yellow morning, Piazzetta
£465 framed

Caffè Florian
£465 framed

Inside Caffè Florian with Valérie

Big dinner with fellow PAP's!

Back in England in early December I heard the fantastic news that I'd won The Artist magazine's charity Christmas card competition with a painting called 'Sunset over snowy paddock' that I'd painted when we had snow back in February. The winning painting featured in the magazine's Christmas greeting and £200 was donated to a charity of my choice. I chose the Rainbow Trust for their work with families with terminally ill children. 

Sunset over snowy paddock

It's a small and simple painting, with a nice impressionist feel to it. I remember I had to work like billy-o to get it down quick as the sun dropped behind those trees!

On the 11th December I was back at the Mall galleries in London for the preview of the Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition, another very enjoyable day and a fantastic exhibition. 

Me and Hook Head at the ROI exhibition

Within a week I was at the gallery again for the annual ROI painting evening. They sell tickets to paint from a model and also to come and watch, have a glass of wine and a mince pie. It's a fun event!

Discussing spending my prize with Winsor & Newton!

My painting from the evening

Ok, so all this only happened a couple of days ago and you probably know all about it but there could not have been a better ending to my year than this. My painting won the first prize for the best painting of the evening (by a non-member of the ROI - the members vote!), and my prize is £200 worth of Winsor and Newton art materials which I love, love, love!

It's been an absolutely amazing journey this year! Many thanks for coming along with me, I really hope you've enjoyed reading the review as much as I've enjoyed putting it all together. I'm going to take a week or two away from the blog now to crack on with festivities as well as writing a few magazine articles and making plans for next year. I wish you all a healthy and happy festive season, and I look forward to catching up with you again early in the new year! xx

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 review - July to September!

Oyster sellers at Cancale
Welcome to the third quarter of my year - voyages, workshops and an exhibition... pull up a chair!

Carousel at Saint Malo
£395 framed
The end of June and the beginning of July found me on a painting trip to Brittany with members of the Wapping group and friends, organised by Michael Richardson. We stayed a week in a town I'd never visited before, Douarnenez. The subject matter all around the town was fantastic for me! There were two harbours, a boat museum, bridges - enough to keep me happy for weeks! We even discovered a ship graveyard!
Unfortunately, the rain had certainly travelled with us from England. I think in one form or another we had rain nine days out of ten!
On the way back we stayed in another harbour town in Normandy, Port-en-bessin, and had a day painting in Cancale.

Douarnenez shipwrecks
£395 framed

Ile Tristan

Sunset 1, Douarnenez

Sunset 2, Douarnenez

Salle a manger
£475 framed

The hotel was absolutely beautiful! One rainy afternoon I stayed inside to paint the breakfast room.

Douarnenez triptych

I did my most challenging plein air piece to date, three separate panels making up a triptych. I kept all three on the go at the same time, swapping every fifteen minutes or so. The main challenge I had (apart from time which is always a major factor in plein air painting) was that two of my boards were already undercoated in a cadmium yellow deep whereas the third was starting off life as a fairly light warm grey. This meant that at the painting stage I had to cover nearly the whole surface of the board, whereas usually I would leave lots of patches of the under colour showing through.
I made some really great friends on the trip. Evenings were fun when we could eat together and be sociable after going our separate ways every day.
At the end of the week in Douarnenez we had a pop up exhibition in a room in the hotel. It was amazing to see the work everybody had managed to produce in spite of the weather!
The 'Margarets' (the non painting members of our party - traditionally the wives of the all male Wapping group but on this occasion including a couple of chaps!) award a prize to their favourite piece in the exhibition and I won it jointly with Derek Daniells, for my painting of 'dead boats'!
This was my prize... drum roll please....

A tin of sardines! My Margaret's prize :-)
I love it to this day! Didn't know whether to frame it or eat it but...

Less than a fortnight after returning from the trip I was hanging my exhibition in Nottingham, all 82 paintings! I named the exhibition 'Ma vie en couleurs' after my blog. Those vinyl letters were a nightmare to get off the glass after a week in the sunshine! Looked good though :-)

We had a private view the same evening as the hanging day, and the exhibition was open from the 16th to the 22nd July. I really enjoyed being there every day, you know how I like to chat! I sold thirteen paintings during the exhibition and lots of greetings cards, which I was happy with. Quite a few paintings in the exhibition weren't for sale at the time because I was holding onto them for entry into the ROI or RSMA exhibitions. Four were pre-selected for the Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition during this week but none made it into the show afterwards. 

With barely time to unload my car from the exhibition and fill it with paints and easels, on July 29th I was driving to Ireland for the Art in the Open plein air painting festival. The festival is a huge event based in Wexford in the south east - apparently the 'sunny corner' of Ireland! It's a very well organised and friendly week, with over 130 artists taking part from all over the world. By 5.30 pm on the first day the rain had started. I was pretty used to painting boats in the rain by now!

Soft day at Kilmore Quay
Trawler at Kilmore Quay
You can get good fish and chips in Kilmore Quay - and I did!

A greenhouse makes a great subject, especially when it's pouring with rain outside!

Painting the Russian painter Natalia Dix
at castle Clonegal

We had a really pleasant surprise towards the end of the week. We left Wexford in the bucketing-it-down rain to drive towards a lighthouse at a place called Hook Head. Me and new friend Lori Putnam (from America) didn't hold much hope (or any!) of being able to get any painting done on this bleak day in an exposed, open setting by the sea. 
As we got closer and closer the rain started to ease off and when we arrived at Hook Head we were greeted with sunshine!
It was truly my best day of the trip.

Loved the lunch at that place too! In the afternoon it clouded over but we didn't mind that at all, and the rain held off until we were sprinting across the car park just about to leave.

Gathering clouds at Hook Head

Within two days of being back in the UK from Ireland we were heading off, en famille, to the Ile de Bréhat for the rest of August and sunny days! Hooray! A chance to dry off my painting kit on the beach :-)

Evening bathers, Bréhat

Evening light, plage sauvetage

Summer, Guerzido beach
£395 framed

Agapanthus, Ile nord
£845 framed, unframed size 50 x 50 cms

Back in Lincolnshire in September it was back to school for the children and back to teaching for me with a demo for Newark art club and day workshops in drawing skills, abstracts and finding your style.
I also had an article on painting with Oilbars printed in Paint magazine, and a small piece about the Patchings exhibition prize in The Artist magazine.
I was happy to receive my wonderful brush prize!

Demo - still life with flowers, acrylics

Oil bars article in Paint magazine

Pro Arte prize arrived!

The Artist prizewinners

I had a day painting with the Wapping group at Greenwich in London. It was nice to meet some new faces and catch up with friends. We were actually really lucky with the weather, bright and breezy.

Greenwich observatory

I'm going to finish off this month with painting cows in Suffolk and allotments in Lincolnshire!
Hope you didn't mind the very long post, last chapter tomorrow in the story of my year! If you're out and about with Christmas preparation and parties this weekend, I hope you have a great time!

Assington mill allotments

Painting cattle at Assington mill

Galley hill allotments
£475 framed

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