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


  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful diary of your year.

  2. I love this one, since in this post you cover the time when we met and painted together in France. What a wonderful trip that was! I was so impressed with your dedication as well as your painting (and I still am!). It is great to see those memories brought to life in your paintings. And in this post I particularly like the Greenwich Observatory painting, the backlit trees and clouds, and the lovely simple foreground. What an inspiration you are!


Thank you for your words!

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