Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Drying in a sea breeze

Drying in a sea breeze
Oils 12" x 16"

Here's a lovely calm painting for you from this summer in France. It's one of the many new paintings I'm framing up this week for my new exhibition
There are frames all over my studio and my lovely friend Imogen has been here all day painting them for me while I try to get a few paintings finished off and signed. 

I've managed to write a newsletter at last - I discovered that it's really easy to do through my website, although it has no frills and I can't add pictures so it's not a permanent solution. It is however a terrific way to give you a brief overview each month about what I'm busy with so if you'd like to be added to the list just send me your email address and I'll pop you on.

Another new discovery is how to add a 'store item' to my website so at the moment you can buy my lovely 2015 calendar direct from there using your Paypal account or credit card and this is just the start... I will be adding some paintings and cards but not yet... large show to get ready!
Take a look at my 'store item'!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

BIG news!!

Walking through buttercups, Harpur hill
Oils 26" x 28"
Buxton Spa Prize Winner

With our certificates!
Rob Wilson (3rd prize), me and then Keith Wilkinson (2nd prize)
Thanks to Bertolutti Dora for photo

I am absolutely delighted to announce that I am the first prize winner of the Buxton Spa prize 2014, the inaugural plein air painting competition held in this beautiful and vibrant Derbyshire town. The prizes were announced at the exhibition preview and prizegiving evening on Thursday and I haven't had a chance to blog until now or for it to sink in really!

The judging panel consisted of the eminent artists Harold Riley and Ken Howard OBE RA, Viscountess Cobham the Chairman of VisitEngland and the Art Fund Prize, Ros Westwood the Derbyshire Museums Manager, Anne-Lise Fraser the Programme Cordinator at Leek School of Art and Louise Potter local businesswoman and Manager of the Literary Festival a long standing supporter of cultural initiatives in Buxton and Trevor Osborne who is leading the project to restore Buxton Crescent and an active supporter of the arts.

I painted this large work en plein air on Harpur Hill in Buxton, which was my allocated spot for the competition. I don't often get a chance to paint a wide ranging vista and of course the light changed fantastically throughout the day but I really enjoyed the whole process and was pleased with the freshness of the result. I also felt that it was a landmark work for me and fortunately I've had a few of those lately. It's hard to explain but it's sort of a feeling that something in the painting is showing me the way forward for my work, ahead of it's time almost or a turning point.

Of course I didn't know that the judges would love it as much as I did! The eminent artist Harold Riley spoke about painting being about love and honesty, and then said that my work showed emotion and captured the spirit of the Derbyshire peak district. 

I am still a little stunned by the events of the evening! My prize is £5000 and my painting has also sold. After the prize giving some photographs were taken and then we the prize winners were given a sumptuous dinner at the Old Hall hotel with the judges and organisers. It was the most exciting night, thank goodness I had booked a room for myself in the beautiful place next door, No 6 The Square, as I was in no fit state to drive two hours home afterwards. Too shaky! 

The exhibition of all the works created for the competition in the summer of 2014 can now be seen at  the Green Man gallery situated at Hardwick Hall in Buxton, and will remain on show until October 12th. I am going back to see the exhibition soon as there are so many gorgeous paintings and I didn't get a chance to view them with all the people there and all the activity going on during the preview.

With my painting and red dot!
Now before anyone mentions, no I didn't realise I was co-ordinating my dress with the painting and of course I didn't know I would be having my photo taken at all! A lot of the Facebook comments are loving the dress and saying that I look like a buttercup myself :-)

With judge artist Harold Riley on the stage
Thanks to Bertolutti Dora for photo

The painting in progress on Harpur Hill in July

Detail from painting

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pep talk!

September issue The Artist magazine

I forgot to tell you about a little article I'd written for The Artist magazine about 'Staying motivated'. I think we all need a little pep talk from time to time don't we? Sometimes you might get despondent about not being selected for an exhibition or disappointing sales or turnout but I urge you not to stay in that frame of mind for long, but believe in yourself and let it spur you on to achieve greater things! These things are just a test of your determination and strength so you know what the song says ... when the going gets tough the tough get going!
This is in the September issue which is also the magazine that features my 'Sails up' on the cover - woohoo! It's pretty much impossible to find in shops now because they've sold out, but you can still buy a copy if you'd like one by clicking here.

In the October issue (which magazine subscribers will be receiving any day now and will be in UK shops soon) I have an article giving a little advice about working from photographs. It talks about pitfalls to look out for, planning for success and my methods for combing the use of photographs together with plein air studies to produce new work in the studio.

October issue The Artist magazine
Painting from photographs

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Explaining my absence...

Tall ships at Falmouth docks
Oils 12" x 16" unframed 16" x 20" framed

I should have sent you a postcard, I know... but I've been a busy girl dashing about all over the place again. I've had the pleasure of five days of painting in Cornwall, mostly at Falmouth where tall ships from around the world were moored for the first time since 2008, for the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta. 
What a fantastic carnival atmosphere there was! There were thousands and thousands of people there and it was pretty hard to find a spot to paint at times. It can be pretty overwhelming in such a crowded place, but once you've staked your spot by setting up your easel and start working you can pretty well block the rest out and you become sort of a part of the scenery.
For the last month or so I've been taking advantage of the fine weather and taking canvasses out with me to paint, rather than panels or boards. I've absolutely loved painting on the soft yielding surface of canvas. It's always been my preferred choice for the studio but takes a little bit more effort to carry outside and isn't ideal on a windy day.
My favourite size to use outside has been 12" x 16" and sometimes 14" x 18" and I will be exhibiting my latest paintings from France and Cornwall at Patchings art centre near Nottingham, where my very 
next solo exhibition will open on October 4th.
Yes it's very soon and yes I'm very busy finishing and framing, signing and varnishing right now!


If you can't wait til then to get your hands on one of my tall ships paintings and claim it for yourself then you might like to take a look at the Harbour Gallery as Mark already has three hanging up on the walls, all framed up and looking beautiful, including this one.

Squeezing in wherever I could get a view!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Exhibition news RSMA!

Early morning, penny nab £650
Oils 8" x 16"

The long stretch of summer £850
Oils 12" x 16"

I've just had the happy news that two of my paintings have been accepted into this year's Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition. The exhibition will take place at the Mall galleries London from October 15th to 26th. This year the RSMA are celebrating 75 years of exhibiting so it should be a fantastic event if you can make it along. Have a look at their website for more details, and when the show is online with the Mall galleries I will let you know. I hope I will see you there!

Meanwhile if you visit London this summer you can see six of my paintings in the summer exhibition at the Russell gallery in Putney. The exhibition closes on September 12th.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A summer stroll



A summer stroll
Oils 12" x 16"

Previously on the island I hadn't turned my attention (painting wise) to the mellow stone walls that meander all across the island surrounding the gardens and of course making up the majority of the houses. Much of the stonework is very old, and consists of huge granite blocks. This year I see for the first time what I've been missing, this mellow pink and golden stone makes for a fantastic subject particularly in the sunshine.
What caught my eye on this little lane was the profusion of daisies which shone in the sunlight, and those rustic terracotta tiles on the little scruffy roof. It was one of those gorgeous blue sky and fluffy clouds days, and the horse and rider a lucky addition. This painting really describes quite aptly what it's like to stroll around this island that they call 'the flowering rock', a peaceful haven free of traffic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More summer sketches

Guerzido beach

People on the beach

Milly on her iPhone 

Fancy another peek inside my sketchbook? I've been so relaxed here and enjoying splitting my time between painting, sketching, family time and doing not very much at all. I can't believe we only have a few more days on the island.
Could August be six weeks long in future? Is that too much to ask?
When I get back to England I have a few days painting in Cornwall to look forward to, so let's hope we can eek that sunshine out a little bit longer...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Around the island


Around the island
Oils. 12" x 16"

More boats, calm waters and a clear sky. I'm quite pleased with the variety of craft that I managed to get down in this painting, looking towards the mainland from the southern coast of the island. Bréhat is an archipelago consisting of two islands connected together by a small bridge, surrounded by many smaller islands. To sail around here you really need to know the whereabouts of all the islands and rocky outcrops. At low tide it starts to look like a lunar landscape around here, so I always check the tide times before deciding where and when to paint.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tous ce qui flotte

Tous ce qui flotte
Oils 8" x 16"

It was the annual Bréhat regatta and the poster proclaimed that the gathering was for all that can float - tous ce qui flotte. I am so delighted to have been there to paint and I wish every day in summer was a regatta day. The sails provide colour even when the sky is overcast.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting for the tide

Waiting for the tide
Oils 10" x 12"

A plein air painting from a few days ago. I was standing on a high rock looking towards the sailing club while these dinghies were being prepared to go to sea as the tide was coming in. There was a lot of activity and movement so what I've ended up with is an amalgamation of various sails, which weren't all in those places at the same time. I had to keep an eye on the tide too, as my rock would have become surrounded by water at some point. Luckily I was gone by then, having a cold drink at the cafe overlooking the beach.
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