Friday, October 31, 2014

Autumn at Pull's ferry

Autumn at Pulls ferry

My final painting from the Paint Out Norwich sessions was to paint at Pulls ferry, which was very convenient as it's just near the Hostry where the exhibition was being hung as we painted. Again this is a pretty little area which I'm sure is often depicted in paint. In fact, one of the other artists told me at lunchtime that there are only two views here. So, I wanted to do something a bit different. As was becoming usual me and Mo arrived here late. But at least we did get lunch this day.
And I'm happy I found a slightly different view when I focussed on the reflection in the water. I loved the stillness giving a crisp clear reflection and the autumn leaves scattered on the water like confetti.
It also amused me to hear all the spectators saying I was painting upside down - which actually I wasn't, but I can see why they would think that.
Luckily, the hanging team got it on the nail the right way up.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

City fish

City fish
14" x 18"

Work in progress

This was my first painting of the four sessions at the Paint Out Norwich event. It was a really chilly morning but dry, and I was happy in my woolly hat and fingerless gloves. I'd chosen my viewpoint when I'd had a quick recce the afternoon before which was a really good job, as it happens! Me and Mo were caught up in lots of traffic on the drive in to Norwich that morning, and by the time we'd parked up and got our canvasses stamped and down to the market place and set up (in my case fetching a nourishing breakfast cappuccino on my way to my painting spot) there was only about two and a quarter hours left of the three hour session.
I don't mind a bit of time pressure, you know! In fact I had a great morning and really enjoyed painting this, and the banter with the passers by and the workers from the fish stall. It was quite a complicated subject because of the variety of natural and artificial lighting, and polished reflections. I did my best to simplify what I was seeing. The customer with the flat cap appeared quite early on and I'm really pleased that I managed to note him down quickly, and I think that he has a pleasing sense of weight and character about him.
If you can get to Norwich the exhibition continues at the Hostry only until Saturday, and is well worth a visit. In total there are 110 paintings there all created during the two day event, including this one and my three others.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Huge excitement, Paint Out Norwich

Work in progress, Elm Hill

Work to be done, Elm Hill
Oils 16" x 20"
And breathe... it's all been a bit of a whirlwind week so here's a bit of an explanation...

On Tuesday the selected artists for the first Paint Out Norwich event met together with the organisers and volunteers, which is when I last spoke with you (enjoying the chips and sweatshirts!).
On Wednesday morning I painted in Norwich market, it was heaps of fun but the constant chatting with onlookers meant the three hours passed quickly... at lunchtime I just had time to get the painting framed up and ready for the afternoon session and missed out on lunch. In the afternoon I painted here on Elm Hill, again, within the three hour time frame. This was a pretty big canvas for plein air, at 16" x 20". When I arrived I was surprised to see the scaffolding and the road closed signs. There was also a white van and a slightly bashed blue car parked right in front of the lovely yellow house. At first the sun was out and the plane tree was casting wonderful shadows across the building's facade. Well, you know I love a challenge so I had to give it a go... roadworks and all!
The blue car left after around twenty minutes, so I had to try to paint over it and ignore the fact that it was there, although you can still see the ghost of it. Somebody leant a bike up against Stamp corner so that went in. The sun went away but I'd already placed the shadows early on. The foreground was always in the shade and constant (apart from all the vehicles coming and turning!). The lady in the craft shop came outside and said she wasn't happy about me being there but no, she didn't want me to move 'as I had already started'. I was heartened by visitors who enjoyed what I was doing, especially the lady from the Britons Arms coffee shop who was delighted that I was including the scaffolding rather than painting a typical 'picture postcard' view of Elm Hill. 
At 4.30 my time was up and after cleaning up it was time to head back to the Maddermarket theatre to get this one signed back in and framed. Ended up having a lovely dinner in a big group before driving with Mo back to the cottage and getting up early to do it all again on Thursday.
Thursday morning found me and Mo painting at the Roman Catholic cathedral, back to the Maddermarket for a quick soup lunch and then on to Pulls ferry for our last painting session of the event. 
When we returned with our final paintings the exhibition had mostly been hung at the Hostry, with the hanging team waiting for the last paintings of the event to arrive. We left them to it and went for a bite to eat nearby. Had a quick change from my painting clothes when we got back to the Cathedral, and it was nearly 7 o clock and people were arriving for the evening auction. I think you're starting to forgive me for not having time to blog?!
After an hour or so of chatting it was time for the auction, which included one painting from each artist. It was pretty exciting but a bit nervewracking too! I will definitely come prepared to bid next year.
And after all of that it was soon time for the prizegiving, and I was absolutely amazed and over the moon to be awarded the first prize of £1000 with my painting of the Elm Hill roadworks!!!  
Then all those photos to be taken while I was in a state of shock... then driving back for two and a half hours in the middle of the night... still in a state of happy shock!

The prizewinners
Chris Daynes, me, Roy Connelly

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On the road again!

It's been a busy and fun couple of weeks including the Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition preview at the Mall Galleries which is always one of my favourite days out! This is a demo painting from last week at Kirby Bellars Group of Artists, an extremely enjoyable evening. Thanks very much to Ray for being a super model. I will be painting another portrait demo at Patchings art centre on the 9th November, I do hope you can join me there.

And now I have arrived in Norwich for the first Paint Out Norwich event. Twenty eight artists are here to take part and you can read all about it on the website at
I think the photo below was taken by Helen, it makes me laugh because I look very relaxed and as though I have completely settled in! We had just been spoiled with our Paint Out Norwich sweatshirts and plates of tasty chips though :-)
Today, lots of chatting, and tomorrow we start the work. In the morning (22nd October) I'll be painting at Norwich market from 9.00 until 12.00 so do please come and say hello if you can get here. In the afternoon I will be painting on Elm Hill. Artists will be delivering wet paintings to the Maddermarket theatre throughout the event. 
And I will try to blog pictures tomorrow!

With Gerald Green, Janet Poole, Roy Connelly, Mo Teeuw & Richard Bond

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Portrait of the artist's mother

Meet my sweet little Mum! On Saturday I painted her portrait in the middle of my exhibition in the Barn gallery at Patchings art centre. We had such a lovely day and so many friends came to watch the painting take shape. It was a lovely atmosphere, thanks to everyone who came and to the brilliant team at Patchings as always. We had a really great day.
Although I've sketched her over the years I think the last painting I did of my mum was the one below, painted when I was still a student 22 years ago!
I am really enjoying the quick portraits that I've been able to do this year, I hope to get some more done this winter so let me know if you'd be interested in sitting for me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Early morning, Santa Maria della Salute

Early morning, Santa Maria della Salute
Oils 24 x 30 cms

It's nice to recall while watching the rain lashing down outside my cosy studio today that this time last week I was painting in beautiful Venice. I was really pleased with this one, painted on the Accademia bridge very early on Friday morning as the sun was rising.
It's such a difficult time to paint as the sun moves so quickly, and as it gets higher into the sky it brings more definition into everything you can see. If you start trying to keep up with this before you know it you're attempting to paint all the tiny windows and doors that you can see, and the buildings get darker as well as more clearly defined.
I really wanted to stick to my initial impression of the softness and muted greys of the buildings, the warm orange from the sky reflected into the sea and the relative darkness of the boats against the water.
I'm happy that I stopped as soon as I felt I'd 'said it'.

Painting in situ

I was also happy that I'd captured the difficult transition between the cool areas of water and the hot orange reflected light, and that I'd done so with a brevity of marks and colour.

Wyllis Heaton at work
It was a real pleasure to be painting alongside friends from the US and UK on that morning, and then to go off for a chocolate croissant and cappuccino afterwards. :-)

Penny German, Felicity House, Louisa Calder, Kelly Medford and Ann Justin

Spectacular San Marco light display
This time last week this amazing spectacle of light greeted me at San Marco, shortly before a rainbow appeared in an arc right over the top of the campanile.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Back from Venice to my show opening

Back from Venice haul

At my new solo exhibition

What a jet set lifestyle this week! From Norfolk to Venice, from Venice to home at 3.30 am yesterday, to the opening of my brand new exhibition at 11.00 am after a couple of hours of sleep. I felt absolutely brilliant though and had a thoroughly nice day at Patchings, thank you to everybody who managed to come to the opening day and to all the team at Patchings who did such a brilliant job hanging the exhibition and taking care of everything. Today I've had a lovely family day and tomorrow I'm raring to get back to work.

One thing I want to do tomorrow is take a look at the fourteen paintings that I managed to bring back from Venice with me, here's a sneak peek as I managed to get them out of the suitcase this morning. I'll show you better photos of them as I get them.

And don't worry there's still plenty of time to see my exhibition as it's open until the 23rd of November. I shall be there next on Saturday 11th October from 11.00 am and I'll be painting a portrait in the gallery.

I will then be painting a portrait for the Kirby Bellars group of artists on Monday 13th, attending the Royal Society of Marine Artists preview on Tuesday 14th, and a RSMA workshop on Wednesday 15th and running a workshop at Patchings on the 16th. Before the end of October I must also finish and frame my ROI entries, take part in a two day plein air event in Norwich and have a week in France with the family so no worries about October being boring...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Last night in Venice

Today is our last day in Venice already! I need to get back to the UK in time for my exhibition opening at Patchings art centre at 11.00 am on Saturday 4th, hope you can join me there for a drink and a mooch around my latest work. I have 51 paintings in the exhibition and the Patchings team have been busy hanging all of those for me while I've been here painting so I can't wait to see it.
As you can see I've had some lovely company on this trip with other artists from the UK and US gathered together. In this photo you can see Kelly Medford, Felicity House, then me, Penny German, Louisa Calder, Wyllis Heaton and Ann Kelly. The extra chair at the table was for our dear Mo Teeuw, who was unable to join us after breaking her ankle last month.
This little 10" x 8" painting was a quick one of the Ospedale at the end of the day as the sun was going down and the shadows were racing up the front of the building.
The drawing is definitely a bit off, but time was of the essence and I had to concentrate on capturing the mood of the daylight turning to evening.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Painting in Venice

Fantastic to be back in Venice, it's such a magical place to paint. I've noticed something strange about the tourists though... they seem obsessed with taking 'selfies'! Many hundreds of people here are walking around with their phones on the end of long sticks taking snap after snap, pose after pose. It's quite disconcerting when you see so many people at it, but at least they aren't as interested in the 'artist painting in Venice' shots so that's eased off.
Rain yesterday, but there are plenty of spots to stand and paint from, and today the sun is shining so I need to get out there and take a look around. Maybe somebody will be hanging up their laundry...
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