Friday, 6 July 2018

July 2018 Newsletter

Summer is in full swing here in the UK with glorious sunny days all week long.

I started July by taking a week off to explore Cornwall and visit some of it's most beautiful coastlines including St Ives and Falmouth. With a new sketch book at the ready I am hoping to find inspiration for new landscape paintings ready for 2019. St Ives was particularly amazing with dramatic skies blowing in off the Atlantic and the cliff tops covered in summer haze.
Falmouth Harbour
Having returned, my focus is now on a new painting for the Emsworth Artists Exhibition. I will be exhibiting Winter Storm and hopefully a new piece inspired by the Cornish coast. With the hot weather continuing for at least the next week progress has been good with drying times speeding up quite nicely.
Winter Storm, 2018
In a quiet moment I've been looking at the work of Eric Ravilious, in particular his wood engravings.
I am tempted to put the paint brushes down and start carving at some wood blocks but as I have yet to finish a certain puffin reduction linocut I have to be self disciplined and hold back. The sketch book is filling with a few ideas though so maybe once the painting is complete I shall get carving.

Wood engraving by Eric Ravilious

Making Books by London Centre for Book Arts
Finally I have treated myself to a book about books! Having dabbled in book binding in the past I thought I would combine my new found printing skills with handmade notebooks for my Etsy Shop.
Possibly there might be a wood engraving/book binding combination on the horizon.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

June 2018 Newsletter

May seems to have flown by and before I knew it we were well into June so time for a quick update on new paintings. With plants and flowers blooming in the countryside there has been an overload of material to work with. Although I am keeping the majority of new paintings under wraps until the work is a little more developed I can give you a sneaky peak of what is sitting in my studio.

Detail of still life underpainting

Detail of still life underpainting
 Collecting and arranging natural objects has been a major part of setting still life's up. The tricky aspect of putting together a composition that I am happy with has been quite time consuming and with more ambitious collections evolving the challenges are becoming more and more complex.

Floral Collections

Floral Arrangement 
 A foraging trip to Brighton beach was due this weekend but ended up in a tour of places of interest starting with the Lanes and ended up at the Brighton Pavilion so another beach trip will have to be scheduled for another time.

Brighton Pavillion

Sunday, 6 May 2018

May Newsletter 2018

Thank you to all those that made their way to my show on the Emsworth Arts Trail. Thankfully the second weekend was beautiful and sunny and made it a relaxing and enjoyable event. As well as my faithful regulars it was great to see some new faces making the trek to see some art.

Inspired by National Garden Week I have been developing new paintings by making some drawings and planning out composition. Next time you see this image there should be a bit of colour.

Finally congratulations to my daughter who successfully completed her illustrated book Paula Brown's New Suit by Sylvia Plath. Visit to see a quick flick through the pages and like it.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Emsworth Arts Trail 2018

The Emsworth Arts Trail kicks off tomorrow morning with local artists opening their studio doors around the town. With a wet weekend forecast, my show will be tucked in the studio for the first Saturday and Sunday with (hopefully) a sunny bank holiday the following weekend where I can drag out the gazebo and hang some extra work for everyone to see.

A selection of reproduction cards with new hand printed cards

Paintings hung ready for the Arts Trail 2018
This year I will have some paintings and prints at reduced prices as I need to make space for new works. I have also added some hand printed cards to my stock. I was very pleased with these 'Octopus' cards that I created from Linocut. I love the black on cream design that always looks so smart. Over the next few days I will be posting this in my Etsy shop.

Hand printed 'Octopus' cards

I am very excited to start new botanical/still life paintings with photos and studies already underway. New subjects and a new palette is like a breath of fresh air and a welcome change to painting landscapes. The natural forms of the flowers are really beautiful and interesting as well as the many combinations of colours.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

One Week To Go.....

Would you believe there is one week before this years Arts Trail kicks off. 
Nearly all the work is done with a few prints to get ready and the long and painful task of emptying out my studio has begun.

'Cloud Formations' Series
If you've been following my Instagram you may have noticed that I couldn't resist and have managed to squeeze in at least one small study of a pomegranate. Loved working with different colours of pinks and reds that normally I have very little use for in the landscape paintings. I don't think it will be long before I embark on a few more studies in preparation for some larger paintings that I have already made notes for. 


There will be a few stormy landscapes in this years arts trail inspired by some very blustery visits to Cornwall this year, along with wintery scenes of snowy fields and small botanical studies. 

Stormy Weather
Over the next few days I will be looking to hang the work and make some hand printed cards. All we need is some sunny weather and this years Arts Trail will get off to a great start.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

April 2018 Newsletter

Spring has sprung and April is hotting up, well a liitle bit, so I thought I would give an update on what I have coming up this month.

I am currently finishing off paintings for this years Emsworth Arts Trail and starting to organise how I will exhibit them in my studio. It takes me a week to lift and shift my cupboards and tools to make way for wall space and lighting, but eventually it will become an exhibition space.
Arts Trail 2017 in the sunshine

'Cloud Formations', 2018
'Cloud Formations' is a series of nine paintings recording dramatic skies that form at sunset along the coast of West Sussex and Hampshire. These will be hung along side landscapes inspired by visits to Cornwall and storms that hit the south coast this winter.

'Orchids', 2018
To celebrate the start of Spring I have been focusing on botanical art, painting a selection of flowers on to MDF. Mary Delany has been an influence in the triptych 'Orchids'  that I will be exhibited during this years Arts Trail with other studies planned.

The art of Alonsa Guevara has introduced to me the idea not only of fruit and vegetables, but also a complete change in palette. The idea of painting with bright colours is a very exciting proposition and I am looking forward to exploring new compositions over the next year.

Alonsa Guevara, Fruit Portraits Installation 2014- 2017
But I'm getting ahead of myself..... before I even think of embarking on new work I will be finishing the 30 very wet paintings ready for the Arts Trail launch on the 28th April. Over the next few weeks  I will be posting the finished results on my blog, Facebook and Instagram hopefully with some success.

'Cloud Formations', series of nine paintings, 2018

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

First Day of Spring

With the first day of spring upon us I have been looking back at previous botanical works from last years Arts Trail. 

'Snowdrops', Reduction Linocut

This Reduction Linocut of Snowdrops proved very popular last year and with the trail fast approaching for 2018 I have been painting new botanical subjects.


 'Orchids' has been an observational painting in Oils. Influenced by Mary Delany it has been refreshing to paint architectural flowers on a black background. I am now looking forward to tackling new botanical studies, and with landscape paintings also taking shape ready for the end of April there is plenty to think about.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

When Ideas Crash and Burn

Sometimes things just don't go to plan and today has been one of those days. Before Christmas I had an idea of printing cards with a nautical theme to sell in my Etsy shop so I sketched out some designs and chose two that I thought could be fun to produce.
I deliberately designed them so they would use three plates to add a splash of colour. OK, so I had never tried this before but that's never stopped me. 

Ship in a Bottle

Under the Sea
I split the layers and drew them on to tracing paper, colouring in the sections so I could see which to cut out. All was looking good. 

Three layers
I transferred the images onto vinyl lino because I knew I could get a refined cut and, although it was hard to see where I was going on occasions, for the most part I was happy with the plates. I then spent the next few weeks cutting away all the fiddly bits (and there were a lot) and did some quick test prints half way through in black with positive results.
Christmas and family commitments bought everything to a temporary halt, then January was spent finishing the lino. At last I would get to do a test print with three coloured layers.

Layer 1 in pale blue
Layer 1 went down in a pale blue. The print was clean and the line up on the paper was good so I quickly printed off a few more so I had some wriggle room to adjust the print if I needed to, after all spares are always useful.

Layer 2 in mid blue
I didn't want to wait as it had taken me so long to get this far so I simply added more blue to my mix and printed straight onto wet. I liked the colours and the print was clean. I printed off  the rest and got to work on the black.

Layers lined up
It is at this point that my heart sank. Possibly it is because I like a refined look to my work (I am very particular) but this looked like an all out disaster. Weeks of work, hours of labour and valuable time wasted when I could have been so much more productive flashed before me.

Layer 3 in black
For me this simply doesn't cut it and will have to go in the rejection pile. The lines are far too chunky making it look almost child like. The black flattened out the mid range blue so there are huge areas of flat colour and the fun element which I still think lives in the original sketches has died somewhere in the process.

The finished card

I guess you don't know until you try but this has been one very frustrating test piece. On reflection I have to work with the lino rather than force the image to be successful no matter what. All is not lost as I have other ideas in the pipe line but this has taken up too much time to start another test print straight away. The Arts Trail deadline is starting to loom on my calendar so paintings are now my priority. At least I am on safer ground for the next few weeks!