Saturday 28 December 2013

Trip to Burford

As it was sunny we went with family to Burford, the fields looked frosty and white with striped contours shaping the countryside, way off into the distance. It's such a lovely drive, especially in great sunlight, and surprisingly quiet this morning. Burford is such a pretty little village built on a steep slope with quaint shops and houses on both sides, it's always busy but can get too hectic if you get there later in the morning and the queues of traffic can be a bit of a nightmare as everyone must cross a narrow bridge, so we always try to get there for about 9am and leave before most people arrive.
I popped into the Burford Gallery to see how many of my paintings were left, and there are only four! All the rest have sold! Most of them probably being opened on Christmas morning I suspect, so that was a nice surprise, this was one of those exhibited.

With the New Year being just around the corner I would like to thank you for taking an interest and reading my blog this year and I wish you a joyous 2014.

Hot Chocolate awaits - SOLD

Sunday 1 December 2013

Winter collection at Burford

I painted a collection of paintings earlier this year when we had a wonderful fall of snow back in January. I went out each day, hoping the sun would come out, but each day I painted and the sun remained stubbornly behind thick clouds. I did however manage to paint a lovely little collection of paintings outdoors, in some it is actually snowing and a couple had to be completed back indoors once I had thawed out, I loved the experience though and the results were quite different from any painted indoors.

They went to the framers this summer and are now hanging in the Burford Gallery.

They seem to be very popular because another two sold this week, the gallery asked if I had any more but I had to say no. If it snows again this winter I shall be looking for new subjects. I have to be honest and say.... I hope it does!

Burford Art Gallery, Shilton Road, Burford

Monday 25 November 2013

Water Lilies Workshop

We had such a lovely day on Saturday, the sun was shining and the group that came to paint Water Lilies with me did really well. This workshop was so popular I had to turn people away, so I am sorry for those of you who missed out.

finished painting 11 x 15 inches

Painting watercolour washes might seem simple, but the wetness of the brush and depth of colour are so important to achieve a good result, there was a lot to get through during the day, but we all finished on time, so well done to everyone.
I know many of you are asking about workshops next year.....

I shall add them to my website in April 2014. If you put your email address in the 'follow by email box' to receive blog updates, you will know when I have added them to my site.

This was my last workshop this year, during the next couple of months I catch up on painting, writing and organising as well as enjoying precious family time, I may not blog as much and only if I have something I think you may be interested in, this becomes my artistic hibernation time so I can emerge in the Spring refreshed and invigorated with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Filming for a new DVD

Surrounded by cameras and lights is a really strange place to paint, I try to imagine that one of the many lovely people who come on my workshops is sitting opposite me (this is the camera that glares opposite me) so I end up chatting away to myself as I paint.
It is then the job of my editor 'Mike' to edit out all of my 'chat' and keep in the bits that seem most important.

No matter what the weather, the lights offer a constant bright working area for me, I almost wish I had them all the time! It means that we can work even when its dark outside, and by 4pm when the  light is fading, I don't even notice and just carry on, so we got an incredible amount done.

I cant believe how much we are going to be able to offer on this new DVD, well, its to go with a book which is 142 pages, so there is a lot I wanted to include and of course lots I cant, it was SO hard choosing what I thought you might like to tackle so I ended up  doing 6 projects as well as 2 extra demonstrations.

Its now Mikes job to try and fit it all onto one DVD! Here is a small section of a bigger painting I shall be showing you how I paint -  a taster of what's to come!



Monday 18 November 2013

Basingstoke Demo and new DVD preparation

I had such a lovely morning last Friday with the Basingstoke group, I painted a lovely Italian street scene, then the following day I tutored a workshop for 16. I must say, they did brilliantly.
The street scene was quite complex, but I used multiple layers of watercolour washes to create the impression of light, I also showed how I alter compositions, using one photo of the street view, but changing the figures to have the ones I want in the painting. After all, the likelihood of having that perfect photo is slim. I used some of my sketches to show how I alter the scale of the figures so that the perspective is accurate, then only once all the planning is done, I paint!

I have had a busy two days, preparing for the filming this week of my new DVD. It is to accompany my latest book due to be published in March.
The thing is, it uses various water soluble media, the sort of stuff we all have in our cupboards but are not sure how to use, well once I began planning the DVD I just wanted to include more and more... OK I thought, 8 painting ideas later.... this is going to be a double DVD!
I'm planning to paint children in a variety of techniques, sheep, hens, a cockerel and a horse as well as some sunflowers. You can see why this is going to be a double!

My film maker comes this afternoon to set up the cameras, so I might have to break it gently to him that these next three days are going to be pretty full.
If I get the chance to let you know how its going, I will.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday 12 November 2013

The Art Materials Live show in Birmingham

What a hectic four days we had at the Art Materials Live Show at the NEC, for those of you that are unfamiliar with this show, it's at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, these huge halls are filled with all sorts of shows throughout the year and  this one happened to be art materials.
I was invited by the Artist Publishing Company to demonstrate a variety of mediums and paint 5 paintings on each of the 4 days on their stand, as well as tell people about The Artist and Leisure Painter magazines.

This is Dr Sally Bulgin, editor of The Artist magazine and I, in between demos.

Dr Sally Bulgin and Fiona

Before the show, I prepare more than 20 paintings, my aim being to inspire people to perhaps try an alternative medium to what they are used to, or indeed just come and watch a painting appear on the board.
Some people who come to the show are complete beginners, whilst others are experienced painters, so my challenge is to entertain and inform as well as inspire. Hopefully people also buy either of the magazines (or take out a subscription) which are packed with all sorts of inspiring articles.

My demos this year were using watercolour, acrylics, acrylic inks and pastels and my subjects were boats, beaches, coastal scenes, flowers, sheep and water.
I am delighted to tell you that I have been invited to demonstrate again next year at the Patchings Art Festival in Nottingham in June 2014, once again on behalf of the Artist and Leisure Painter in their marquee. I hope if you missed the NEC you manage to get to Patchings in 2014.

Monday 4 November 2013

A busy few days demonstrating

Well, I have had quite a little tour demonstrating for Art Societies over the last three days  visiting Hemel Hempstead, Cuckield and Bexhill On Sea, a good three hours drive from the Cotswolds, so I stayed in the area for a few days.

Its lovely to meet such enthusiastic painters and to share a few tips and ideas, my first two demos were flowers and I painted a large range of subjects including sunflowers, tulips, roses, stock, anemones, freesias, daisies, hebe's, and buttercups but not all together and both demos were different.

This time I had a couple of new ideas which I tried out for the Bexhill Group. When I say new, no one in the group had ever used this technique before to create the texture I wanted on the pebbly harbour, and as I had not demonstrated it before, I class it as 'new'

My theme was 'Boats and Harbours' and I painted two paintings, one of which was two boats on the mud in Shorham Harbour at low tide. I had never painted it before and chose to use Bockingford watercolour paper as I intended to use some masking fluid, as it always rubs off so beautifully.
This demo took me an hour, it was a bit rushed towards the end as I wanted to get a second painting done too, so I could demonstrate how I 'float' colours which is such a fun technique, but I managed to get both done in the end and thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon!

This week is going to be another busy one as I will be at the NEC demonstrating later this week..... more about that later, I am preparing my demos over the next couple of days.

Monday 28 October 2013

Workshop in Caterham

What a fun day we had on Saturday painting a street scene.
Caterham Art Group
Its a difficult subject, indeed any subject that includes figures can seem quite daunting, especially if you are fairly new to painting, and this group has mixed skill levels from beginner to advanced.

It wasn't just painting a picture though, the finished painting was just part of the day, we covered how to use photos, what to keep in and what to leave out of a composition, choosing what the actual subject is and how we emphasise this.

We covered a lot and I have to say, the group worked really hard all day and as you can see achieved great results. Wendy said at the end 'hooray I painted my first person'

We were also spoiled with some wonderful cake kindly baked by Wendy which was delicious! So you see, the day was painting, eating cake and generally having a good time.
I painted along with the group and this was my finished painting from the day. It was inspired by our recent trip to Italy and this street scene is in the lovely town of Mantova.
If you look at the painting I did of 'The Flower Market' (13 October post) it is the same market that is at the end of this street, indeed I used the same two figures.

I was in Amsterdam for a couple  of days last week and although I did not manage a painting on location this time, I have a few ideas for paintings which I hope to do fairly soon. I am itching to paint a street scene with figures crossing a bridge with reflections, but I have a busy few days ahead, three demonstrations as well as the NEC show to prepare for next week, so my own paintings will have to go on hold for now.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Inspired to paint

I just couldn't wait to get my brushes wet and use my watercolours again this week! Italy was lovely and I was longing to get some of my ideas onto paper.
I have been concentrating on using a limited palette and mixing some sumptuous darks which are wonderful to portray interesting shadow areas within a painting, I wanted granulating pigments that suggested interest and texture without my needing to fiddle about too much and this is the result.
The Flower Market
Its painted on Saunders Waterford High White Cotton rag paper and using DANIEL SMITH watercolour paints.

I love those warm buildings, the ochre's that are so sumptuous in shadow with a hint of purple, and the shaft of sunlight between the buildings. For me, this is a great composition - it wasn't an accident though, it takes a bit of planning to make something appear a coincidence but at the same time balanced. I was once looking at a lovely painting in a Gallery and overheard someone say... "oh but its SO contrived" and I thought..... isn't every painting 'contrived' to some extent, after all, we don't just stumble upon a composition do we?
Just a thought.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Back from Italy

We had a great week in Italy but the weather was very grey. I loved the pastel coloured buildings, the reflections and the wonderful array of subtle colours, we spent a lot of time travelling which was just as well as the damp conditions meant we never felt we were missing out on painting time. We enjoyed one day of sunshine and shadows and the rest was 'atmospheric' (as we arty folk say) which basically means 'overcast and grey'!

I am now planning to do some town scenes with umbrellas and archways, I love painting figures, especially with reflections on wet surfaces, so I fancy using my watercolours and splash about a bit this week, but first I need to catch up with a few things. I cant wait to get out my watercolours though and I promise to show you what I get up to. These were typically the sort of views we enjoyed.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Off to the Italian Lakes

Well, what a treat, a week at the Italian Lakes, I can hardly wait. We are planning to visit Verona, go on a boat trip across Lake Maggiore to Switzerland and Locarno. From there we plan to travel by rail through the mountainous Cento Valli (100 Valleys) countryside, to explore the border town of Domodossola, at the foot of the famous Simplon Pass.
hope to do some of this
While we are there we plan to visit Mantova said to be 'the world's most romantic city' surrounded on three sides by beautiful lakes, and with a skyline of turrets and towers, which sounds fab. It  has ancient cobbled streets and squares, and sounds a magical painting location and finally we will squeeze in Lake Orta and the medieval town of Orta San Giulio, with its narrow streets, wrought-iron balconies. Sounds idyllic!
I'll take my ipad but may not be able to update my blog till we get home.


Tuesday 24 September 2013

The final touches

I bet lurking in a cupboard somewhere you have some water soluble pencils, art sticks or paint someone probably gave to you once they heard you enjoyed painting! You might have had a go with them, been a bit disappointed and promptly put them back in the cupboard again.

If you are one of those people..... and there are lots of you, I know..... then my new book is going to be PERFECT for you!
I am SO EXCITED about this book!

Its all about various water soluble media - any of it - what ever you have, get it out, dust it down and start using it to create some great work. There are a couple of step by steps in the book but it is PACKED FULL of ideas and techniques, nothing waffy just lots of clear information from sketching right through to using collage and most important HOW to use the various media - techniques, and lots of them. I have included lots of finished art works to inspire you with ideas indeed there are over 100 paintings in this book, some didn't make it in there as there just wasn't enough room. It began as a 128 page book but there was just SO much I was LONGING to show you that Search Press have extended it to 142 pages.
I am now putting the finishing touches to my new book due to be published in March 2014 its called.... PAINTING AND DRAWING USING WATER-SOLUBLE MEDIA my name MIGHT fit on the front somewhere!
The deadline is looming but all of the paintings are done there is just the final tweaking, making sure all the images have the right titles on them, the text is all on the right pages etc.

If you buy my book from me it will of course be signed but ALSO I am giving away a special gift with it..... more about this later!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Sheep using fab colours!

Ewe and Me
During the Open Studio so many people asked me to show them how to paint flowers that I ended up doing flower posies rather than actual paintings, however I did manage to complete one more picture, this time of sheep. Its a technique I demonstrate in my new book using water soluble media, great fun because you don't use a paint brush at all, but you do need lots of water!
I know.... it sounds crazy doesn't it, but it works for me.

So the Open Studio is over again till next year, thank you to everyone who visited us. I have barely had time to pause for breath this week!

Yesterday I had such a lovely workshop with 9 chicken painters! We painted chickens in all shapes and sizes, splashing and flicking paint as well as using a brush. Brenda brought everyone a gift of a knitted chicken each.... a gorgeous little hand made chicken. One for everyone, such a kind thing to do - thank you Brenda.
Such lovely people come to my workshops, it was especially nice to paint with Nicole again after about 6 years, neither of us had aged of course! Nicole brought me some scrummy fresh green beans from her allotment, they were 'squeaky' fresh and delicious

Saturday 14 September 2013

All day Demonstration

It was so busy at times that people were unable to get into our marquee and had to wait until some people left. Terry was painting lovely landscape views throughout the day whilst I painted a single painting, it was quite a complex harbour view of a yacht and lots of rigging and took 5 stages. I didn't want it to look photographic I wanted to suggest movement and so I did quite a bit of splashing and flicking colour.  The figures are very important, they add some dramatic colour and tell a story.
I masked quite a large area then flooded in colours, tilted the board and shook it to get the pigment to run, ooh it was lovely watching all that wonderful colour running across the paper. It looked a bit shocking and I am sure some of the people watching thought I must have lost the plot!

Some of the colours flocculated and resulted in stunning turquoise speckles across the entire painting. I thoroughly enjoyed painting it, its a subject I really love.
Tying Off 10 x 14 inches

Wednesday 11 September 2013

First days demo at our Open Studio Event

What a hectic day it has been, with people coming all day which has been lovely. Thank you to everyone who visited us, especially the lovely group from Dunstable who were such a fun group.

Rather than working on lots of demos during the day which is what I tend to do at a show, at this Open Studio event I have been building up just one painting and working flat, soaking 200lb Bockingford paper, tilting it, flicking on paint and allowing layers to dry before adding more.
Visitors have managed to come and go throughout the day and some were very keen to see the final painting but were not able to come back, so I promised to take a photo and show you.

After masking off the lightest sections of the painting I then used DANIEL SMITH colours, working very wet, allowing the pigments to separate and create some fab effects. This mid stage looks very strange and needs a confident approach when dropping an splashing on the darks! Of course I know where its all going and what I plan to do next which I explain as I go along so hopefully the people watching get a feel for how its going to look when its finished.

There were two more stages after this before it was finished, and this is it.

I wanted to achieve a glorious sunlit scene and I am really happy with it.

Monday 9 September 2013

Open Studio Event is almost upon us

The marquee is up and the ground floor has been transformed this weekend. If you had seen it on Saturday morning you might have wondered if we were moving house! The place was covered in all sorts, paintings of various shapes and sizes, art materials, a box of Terry's jigsaw puzzles of the village, watercolour paper, books and brushes of all shapes and sizes.
It seemed like total chaos but it will all come together and look wonderful by Wednesday morning. I still had time to put on my pinny (that's what we call an apron in the NE of England) bake a red pepper with chili and goats cheese tart and a cheesecake on Saturday morning (Terry's favourite)

Sunday morning and I was listening to 'The Archers' on the Radio (for those of you outside of the UK this is a long running soap about country folk in the fictitious village of Ambridge.... somewhere near us here in the UK) and sorting out a few paintings, when a man in a Scottish kilt (a tartan skirt) appeared in my garden tapping on the glass door. It was not a sight I had expected and indeed once over the shock, it soon transpired that this was our first arrival for the Open Studio Event! Hooray.... although a week early. (you couldn't make this up)

this is the entrance
The Tourist Information centre (also here in Victoria Street, but around the corner) are bracing themselves for lost painters looking for our event. You might think that we should put posters up in the village, well on the face of it, that sounds like a good idea, we did it once and I vowed never again. Bourton on the Water is a bit of a visitor attraction, and the 'year of the posters' we attracted all sorts of curious people, one woman brought her two children into our front room, sat them on my carpet with cans of coke and crisps for a picnic! Can you imagine?
Then we had a group led by a lady who obviously thought it was a great opportunity to tell her friends what the property was like 30 years ago so she did a guided tour around us, like we didn't exist!
This year there will be yellow bunting over the door and a sign saying Fiona Peart and Terry Harrison, please don't expect it to say OPEN STUDIO or it will be OPEN to every man and his dog.
We hope to see lots of artists, would-be painters and people we have met over the years, you are all welcome..... but please don't bring a picnic!
For details of timings etc please look at the NEWS page on my website where you can also print a map of where to find us in the village, or pop into the Tourist Information centre.... they are expecting you!

Thursday 22 August 2013

Football in the River

A normal morning
Its a Bank Holiday coming up this weekend so the village will be heaving with people, especially as on Monday we have 'football in the river'
This sounds weird I know, but its such a fun event and those standing anywhere near the edge get drenched! Two local teams play a match with a fair amount of cheating taking place as well as some antics I am sure.
This is what the village looks like in the morning before the visitors arrive.

This is what it looks like when people visit us. We love it though, its the most fun village to live in, lots going on, especially during the summer but beautifully quiet too.

So all those people lining the river will inevitably get wet, people stand on the bridges thinking they will be safe there, but I know from experience they wont!
So if you fancy a drenching, 3pm on Monday is your chance!

This weekend we also put up our little marquee in the back garden in preparation for our Open Studio event in September. Its always quite a challenge as the poles and panels are laid out ready to assemble and then there is the annual memory test of which bit goes where.... always a challenge! The family come and help though, so the girls can watch whilst the guys build (I nearly used a different word then which could have got me into trouble!)
Information about the Open Studio is on my website News Page if you would like to visit us.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Lots of watercolour textures

I have been totally inspired creating very textural paintings these last few days. I have been pushing the boat out (if you pardon the pun) with some very experimental ideas,  I've been building up watercolour layers, and using complimentary colour washes with strong colour on top to achieve the effects I'm looking for. Tilting the wet surface is proving an exciting stage as well as quite dramatic, and I now have 3 paintings I am happy with, all of which I shall add to my website Gallery shortly. They are all figurative and inspired by a trip to Cuba some time back.

We are never past learning new techniques, I love it when I discover something exciting - well I say discover, I haven't invented it.... I've just discovered it for myself. Others will of course have 'discovered similar things' in the past, but it will be new to me and therefor I get all excited about it and want to share it with you!

This little painting of Venice was one of my experimental pieces, I love the textures, those little islands of colour are such fun! I like the way this technique says 'painting' and not 'photo' so many publications these days seem to concentrate on paintings that look like photographs which for me, no matter how clever they are, don't seem to have any soul.
At present I am steering more towards abstract shapes and patterns than realism, although I still like to see what the subject is.

This one will be for sale at my Open Studio in September. Come and visit, you can have a close up look at the new things I am working on.

Monday 12 August 2013

Painting Flowers workshop

We had such a fun day  painting in Wyck Rissington yesterday. I had a lovely small group, just six lucky people had almost individual tuition for the day and to be honest, its what beginners really benefit from.

Why is there such a fear of watercolour running in all directions when it only goes where we put it!

Once everyone had relaxed into it, and let the watercolour escape a bit, we really started painting. It wasn't until lunch time that we began an actual painting, but everyone finished and I was delighted with their fabulous results in just one day.

This is what we did.

Friday 2 August 2013

Step by Step photography

with Edd my editor
My last four days have been spent in a photographic studio at Search Press in Tunbridge Wells. I arrived with a car full of boxes packed full of art materials and two port folios. One had all of the finished paintings (over 100 of them) needed for my next book and the other the planned step by step projects.
My lovely Editor Edd, directs the whole process brilliantly and Paul (the wonderful photographer) spends his days going up and down ladders under the hot lights. As I paint, each of the painting processes are photographed while Edd writes down what I have used and what I have just done. Every so often there is a FLASH as the camera takes another shot. We always take far more photos than we need so that the best ones are finally chosen for the book.
It can be quite a challenge because as the paint is wet and flowing perfectly across the paper, that's when the shot is needed, but of course its also the exact moment when I like to drop in another colour, but no! hold on, FLASH, drop in now, FLASH another shot, more paint, or another colour then another FLASH. Then relax, watch the paint move and at that perfect moment a final shot is taken.

So the next time you are flicking through a step by step project, do imagine how it all happens!

Once all of the paintings are complete, the shoot is not over. Its now time for all of the materials used in the book to be photographed. This might seem like a simple job, but believe me, its an art. Juan arrives with his design skills and a wealth of experience then the cameras are all adjusted, milk crates are moved into position (yes, milk crates, the photographers MUST HAVE item apparently) white boards are positioned and then, the materials are painstakingly arranged into stylish compositions. They are works of art in their own right.
Paul, Edd and Juan

You might think a pile of art materials appear thrown together, but no, they are all individually placed, their size, colour and shape is very much taken into account. the image is viewed on a monitor and the items tweaked till the perfect shot is achieved.
It took almost an entire day for these materials because there are so many of them.
For a week before the shoot I was placing items on a table in my studio, checking lists and worrying that something would be forgotten.
This is going to be a lovely book I am sure, so much work has gone into it, I do hope you enjoy it.

On Wednesday evening when Terry and I were in the town, we noticed the local Art Society seemed open and a group of painters were busy working away, so as we have both given demonstrations for the Tunbridge Wells Society in the past, we thought we would call in.
What a lovely group, tea and home made buns were immediately offered and we ended up sitting with them and chatting. The art world is such a small and friendly one.

Sunday 28 July 2013

A hectic July

This month seems to have just flown by! I have been working on my next book (due to be published in March 2014) the 4 day photo shoot begins this  Monday, so my blog has suffered I am afraid. I have still been doing other things too -
I had a lovely workshop last Monday in Wales and we painted loose tulips, lovely wet washes, letting the paint run - it was great fun but people do seem to worry about letting the watercolour just go!

This week-end was also the opening of the Patchings exhibition at the Patchings Art centre in Calverton near Nottingham.
Terry kindly drove over there with our 12 paintings and this is one of the six I am showing.
My paintings are all 'coastal themed' The exhibition is between Saturday 27 July to Sunday 29 September. Do pop along if you can make it, there is a wonderful little café there as well as paintings by a number of Search Press authors.

Monday 8 July 2013

Sea side painting demo

On Friday evening I went to Bedford to paint a 2 hour acrylic demo for the Bedford Art Society. They had asked for a demo which included lots of figures, so as we are in the middle of a warm spell, I thought a beach scene would be nice, so this is what I painted for them. Its on canvas and is 16 x 20 inches
It has been the most wonderful week end for sunshine, the village has been packed with visitors, picnicking and enjoying the river Windrush. Children with their fishing nets hoping to catch tiddlers are wonderful subjects to sketch,  often the people I sketch in the village are the ones I add in my beach scenes, its easy to sit with a pad and pencil and watch the world go by.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Working in my studio

This has been such a hectic week, I haven't managed to even think about my blog never mind write it. I had so many lovely visitors to my Open Studio, many from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Denmark, a few people from the UK dropped by too!

This photo is of the garden outside my studio, all the flowers are out and it is always a pleasure having this little view.

Today I was helping at a fund raising event in the village and although I now feel like putting my feet up, I thought you might have been wondering if I had stopped painting! Or gone into a summer hibernation.

I am now working on my next book to be published in March 2014, I will be concentrating on this for the rest of this month apart from a few demos and a very exciting trip to Wimbledon planned. I am hoping for sunshine so I can people watch and collect ideas for people paintings.
This is the latest painting I am working on. Not a good photo but you get the idea.


Monday 10 June 2013

Back home after Patchings

I had a great 4 days at the Patchings Art show and met so many talented artists.
It was so nice to chat to Ken Howard again, the last time we painted together was in Greece for a week last year. Ann Blockley lives so close to me that we are meeting up soon which will be good. I met Haidee-Jo Summers after tweeting all year which was lovely, and managed to catch up with Peter Barker again, I try and use my short breaks in the demo schedule to dash around and say hello to other artists but never get the chance to see as many as I would like.

The demos went very well with a full marquee each day. We were also blessed with a good deal of sunshine and NO rain - wonderful! Chas did a wonderful job organising it all and I have been invited to return next year and demonstrate again for the Artist and Leisure Painter magazine in their marquee.

happy crowds

I did 5 demos each day, each took approx. 30 minutes, here are three of them
me demonstrating
first demo in watercolour
another using watercolour and acrylics
another using watercolour and pastel.


Monday 3 June 2013

Preparing for the Patchings Art Show

Reflections  at Whitby
I have been planning my demos for the Patchings Art show 6th - 9th June.

This is probably the nicest show of the year that I do, there is always a great atmosphere, a band, lots of keen painters and so much for everyone to see. Of course, I am in a marquee (The Artist Publishing marquee Number 11) most of the time so I don't get to see it all, but on the set up day, I try to rush about and say hello to all the artists I have met here over the years.
This year my demos have been inspired by my trip to Cornwall in May, so I have drawn 20 paintings which I will complete over the 4 days. Yes 20, that is not a typo! I have about half an hour for each one, so they need to be fast and fairly simple. Bearing in mind that there may be 100 people all crammed into the marquee, the people at the back need to see something interesting as well as the people on the front row, so its no good fiddling about with a Rigger brush!  I also need to use a variety of mediums, supplied by Daler, so I will be using, watercolours, acrylic ink, various acrylics and pastels (although not all at the same time)

This is one of the paintings I shall be using as a reference for one of my demos.  (its the only one I will be doing which is not from Cornwall) I might tackle it in watercolour or inks, it just depends on what I feel like doing on the day.

My demo times are 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm so do come and say hello if you can.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Painting in Cornwall

Our 5 day trip to Cornwall had been planned for while and despite the weather, which wasn't great, it was great to switch off, paint and visit places.

We began in Mousehole, arriving in the evening, the weather forecast looked a bit gloomy for the following day so when I woke up at 6am to bright sunshine, that was it, we were off and painting by 6.30 This is often the best time of day, which it proved to be.

I was so excited to start painting and chose too much really, I spent a little too long on it and was starting to fiddle. I stopped looking at the general view and began to notice the details. What I wanted to convey was the reflection on the wet sand, I just loved it and although I first placed the board on its side (its just a small 8 x 10inch board) covered it in a warm ochre, then whilst I got my eye in, and thought more about it, changed my mind and painted it portrait format instead. I was fairly happy with my first effort, but determined to simplify things next time.

The weather changed dramatically after this though, this blue sky disappeared. The clouds rolled in and my next subject was the gap in the harbour. I kept this one much more simple, there were steps, other boats and all sorts of stuff which I left out. I like this one because it is so simple, its all about 'the gap' you hardly notice St Michael's mount in the distance, but if I had painted it standing just slightly more to the left, the whole composition would have changed, the boats filled the gap and the painting would have become totally different.

We set off to Sennen Cove, what a fabulous little place it is, with its tiny harbour and fishing boats and although I would have loved to paint there, we needed to get to Fowey and there is only so much you can do each day.

Fowey was wonderful, and our room overlooked the harbour which was pretty special. The car parks are about a mile away though and as our painting gear was all in the car it wasn't easy to quickly set up our paints. We used it as a base and went out each day.
This was my next painting, it was a stunning cove and after some very wet blustery weather the sun came out and glistened on the water. It didn't come out for long though so there was a mad dash for the camera and I took a photo when the sun did come out. It was very useful to have this to check the lighting once the painting was underway, and the tiny screen means you can just see bold shapes which is ideal.
It was a real fun painting with a lot of flicking and splashing. Great because it didn't matter as the paint just wet into the grass.

This was my final painting and in many ways my favourite. This is Crackinton Haven, we almost didn't go there as it was raining so much. We got soaked as we walked on the beach, but it was so secluded and stunningly beautiful. We stayed and had a coffee in the little cafe to try and dry out then suddenly the skies brightened, the rain stopped and this is the result. The rain seemed to bring out all of the colours in the rocks. Its painted fairly quickly and I nearly didn't put the little figure in it, but suddenly, there he was, walking into my picture and he looked so tiny I thought it gave great scale to my painting.
I came back from Cornwall all enthused with lots of painting ideas. Its now time to catch up on other things though, so the moral of this trip is to get out there, no matter what the weather, paint when you can and don't leave till tomorrow what you can paint today, for who knows what tomorrow will bring!
In our case, 10 miles from home the suspension went on the car, thank goodness it happened when it did, that was SO lucky!