Sunday 28 April 2013

I saw a brief glimpse of sunshine this morning and decided to head off for a rural scene. I don't paint many traditional landscapes, probably because I don't find landscapes necessarily inspiring to paint! I know, gasp! what a statement to make, but by landscape I mean, fields, trees, a bit of distance, your traditional scene. I would rather paint something more interesting, perhaps strong contrasts, interesting shapes and I realise they too are in those landscape subjects but I just don't seem to see them. I can appreciate a good landscape painting, but when confronted by the outdoors scene I seem to just sigh and move on.
Today however, its going to be different I thought. I limited myself to a small 8 x 10 inch board which I had covered in a light orange wash, a few acrylics a stay wet palette, a folding easel, and a couple of brushes and off I went.
Its surprising how cold it is today! and windy!
Cows near Northleach 8 x 10 inches

Once I got there I thought, well, the orange will brighten the whole thing up. I chose the orange base because its very 'Cotswolds' but when I set off I fancied doing some cows.

The whole thing took less than an hour and before I knew it I was back at home putting the kettle on. Its a scene just outside Northleach, totally rural and very traditional.

There was a lovely reflection in a puddle that I rather liked and the moving targets were a challenge, I was determined once I had placed them not to fiddle, so the one in the middle looks a bit odd, but it did!

Friday 26 April 2013

Harbour Views article

I have just received the June issue of Leisure Painter and my article on Harbour views using Daniel Smith paints is in it. I compare the different ways we look at subjects and include a step by step if you fancy trying some flicking and splashing of paint!
Preparing to set sail - watercolour

There is also a two page advert for the Patchings festival which will be later in June, I cant believe it has come around so quickly! I will be demonstrating in the Artist Publishing marquee again for the 4 days, its free to come and watch where I will paint 20 paintings during the show, all of which I need to plan.... Ive got a few ideas and will let you know a bit nearer the time.

I am off to Sudeley Castle later this morning. Katherine Parr is buried there and there are tales of an elegant lady in a long green gown seen roaming the gardens, how exciting! The royal history and intrigue is fascinating, I shall take some photos and let you know how my day goes. Its sunny here at the moment so I might manage a quick painting... in the gardens

Monday 22 April 2013

Goodbye S Korea

I must say a big thank you to everyone who made my week in S Korea such a success.

So much happens behind the scenes that we don't necessarily always see, from the the preparation that goes into organising all this down to the clearing up at the end of each day and my water pots being magically changed throughout the day.
The team worked so hard, we all did, but the week was a great success.

Thank you to you all!

Now that I am back I have managed to add some images and some sore text about the trip, do have a look at the previous pages.
if you would like to leave a comment that would be great too!

Our flight back was all in day light and we had a wonderful view of the Thames as we flew over London. The marathon had happened previously during the day and the weather had been great.

By the time I rummaged about in my bag for my camera the best of the views had passed but I did take this shot out of the window.


Saturday 20 April 2013


It was such a busy one that I didn't have the chance to tell you about my day yesterday.

We painted a busy street scene, learnt about perspective and how to place figures within our paintings. This is not an easy subject and this group did really well.

In the afternoon we then used stroke work techniques to paint Iris flowers.
Everyone had one of my Pyramid brushes, and they did particularly well, we learnt about double loading and I have to say, they were impressive.

I had an early start today as I did some filming for a DVD here and began filming at 8am. The DVD is to help beginners to use watercolours in a very wet way, allowing those sumptuous colours to touch and run, letting the paint work for us. The DVD will not be available in Europe, just in Korea.

It was my last teaching day today, it was a fab group, lots of fun. Some students came from as far as 3 hours away to do the workshop. We did a harbour scene in the morning and learnt how to painting figures and reflections.

This afternoon we created lots of texture in our buddlea pictures. This was such a fun day as quite a lot of the students spoke English and each time I said how to do something a big group called out OK.

Thank you to all the lovely Korean students who worked so hard, smiled so much and were such fun. Each day was a joy to teach and I know many of you are following my blog, so a big thank you to you all!

I must just tell you about my experiences with eating noodles last night though.
I think I have managed the chop sticks this time pretty well, but eating noodle soup with chop sticks was hilarious. At first I thought they were all pulling my leg, but no, we had soup with chop sticks, everyone seemed to be managing quite well, the technique seemed to rely on the fact that the noodles just kept going and going, I began to think there was just one long noodle in my bowl! Each time I got a roll of noodle on my chop stick, I would lift it to my mouth and it would slip off the end. John began to find this very funny, then, I just seemed to manage to do it when Terry jogged me with his elbow and the whole lot plopped back into the bowl. John had to take off his glasses he was laughing so much.
The meal was delicious, But I might take a rain check on the noodle soup next time though!

I fly home tomorrow and hope to return again soon.

Thursday 18 April 2013

Third teaching day in S Korea

Project book
My third day teaching today, we have tackled so many different techniques so far, but each student will have 6 A3 practise books with two paintings in each as well as 6 step by step projects books to take back home with them to work from, before attending the next course. There are also a series of video clips which they use to learn from, they get a pass code to access them and can upload their own projects for moderation. It's a brilliant on line teaching set up.
I have devised this course and have been invited to devise 12 more projects later this year.

These are quite large as you can see, and they look wonderful.
All of the techniques covered in the course have been filmed so that the students can go on line and watch them again to help them practise. Its quite a challenge as all of the film clips have to have subtitles in Korean.

Many of the  students can understand some English, so that my translator is being tested with his interpretations! I go round the group to help and although John comes with me, many have a really good grasp of English. It puts us Brits to shame really.
At lunch time we all go to a local restaurant where there is a daily menu, a selection of small dishes and rice which we eat with chop sticks as well as a soup (usually spicy) Obviously not chop sticks for that!
Then back to work in the afternoon with another project.

This evening we ate Japanese food, sushi and some scrummy fish dishes with wasabi, hot as anything! And delicious.

More tales from an artist visiting Korea tomorrow (or Saturday depending on my schedule)

Tuesday 16 April 2013

First teaching day in S Korea

almost ready to begin
My first day teaching here in S Korea, and a class of around 60 lovely art tutors all keen to learn some new techniques were eager to begin. It was all new to me, teaching a group who perhaps did not understand much English, but I needn't have worried as it all went very well.
The first morning

We completed two paintings during the day as well as practising new brush techniques, the painting techniques here in Korea are very different from ours, so although these tutors are very accomplished there was lots to show them. Wet in wet was totally new as well as using masking fluid. They loved the way the paper was protected and it was like magic when we rubbed off the masking fluid at the end.

Our 1st painting done!

It is such a pleasure to teach a sea of smiling faces, they make it all so much fun for me.

My translator, John, has a tricky job, because he doesn't paint, so painting terms and names are not easy for him to translate, this proved to be quite a challenge but he was brilliant.

At the end of the day I said to John, "you did a brilliant job" to which he replied, grinning ... "you dont know that" He was right of course, he could have been saying anything!

It really makes me think of how to say things using fewer words as well as keeping explanations simple. Another thing to take into consideration is the time 'lost' during the day for the translations. 

In the afternoon we tackled a slightly simpler painting but these techniques were again different from what the students had previously done, so I think they did extremely well. Everyone succeeded and it was smiles all round.
Our 2nd painting completed

At the end of each day we had a presentation and each student received a certificate, it was a lovely to see such success. This lovely student is typical of their delight.

This was not the end of the day though, we still had the photos after which the team went out for a group meal.
By now the jet lag was setting in and I needed to recharge the batteries for the next day.

It's due to be 20c and sunny tomorrow, a nice change and a glimpse of the summer to come.

Monday 15 April 2013

Only one small hiccup

My day of preparing went pretty well, just the one hiccup really. The easel was set up, palette in place with the cameras all in position, sound checks done, it had all gone pretty smoothly till I decided to change my water pot. I had done my colour mixing screen tests, had a little paint and the bucket of clean water was pretty grubby, so of course it's always good to start the day with clean water isn't it?
Now I should just mention that we are 9 floors up here. I should also say that I can't read any of the signs. Carrying a full bucket I was shown onto the balcony where there was one sink, so I poured the dirty water into it (as you would)  it proceeded to pour all over the balcony floor, some of it did actually go down a small drain in the corner, but only after soaking most of the balcony!
workshop venue

Hardly flinching I filled it up with clean water ready for the morning.
As we were leaving the room to come back to the hotel we noticed someone taping a sign onto a nearby cupboard, Terry said.... I bet it says " Don't use the sink"

Sunday 14 April 2013

Arrived in S Korea

Arrived in Anyang City here in S Korea to a beautiful sunny spring day. It is just a 15 minute drive into the capital, Seoul from here.

Tomorrow is a preparation day for the 5 days of teaching, so the cameras need to be set up, the easel placed and all my art stuff in the right place and ready to go on Tuesday morning. 10 different paintings to paint during the week so it will be a busy day tomorrow.

Of course I am now wide awake when I need to go to sleep!

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Preparing for my teaching trip to S Korea

The flight to S Korea is this Saturday evening and I keep looking at the news for any updates. We live in such a safe place here in the UK that it is hard to imagine how these current tensions affect others abroad. Our hosts in S Korea dont seem too concerned and my workshops are pretty full next week with over 240 bookings over the 5 days. Terry is coming with me of course, which makes it so much easier. We have a translator called John (thats not his real name) who is wonderful, he will be translating my teaching as I demonstrate, so I need to remember to talk in short sentances and not get carried away. (Terry will be amazed if I manage)

a previous class in 2012
This is one of the 5 classes last year. These lovely students are all tutors, so the standard is very high, this means we can tackle two subjects daily with a certificate presentation at the end of each day.
I am hoping to be able to blog while I am there and show you some pictures each day, if not, I shall tell you all about it when I return on 22nd April.
I am looking forward to seeing our wonderful hosts again, eating the fabulous food and meeting more lovely S Korean people.

Friday 5 April 2013

Fairford Demonstration

Yesterday evening I demonstrated in the beautiful village of Fairford, the theme was a coastal one including figures and using watercolour. This is a lovely group who are doing a workshop with me next month, so this demo was intended to  inspire them to tackle something which includes people.
I completed two paintings, this one on the board was done using the same techniques as the two photos stuck to my board, of paintings done last autumn (which are sold). The painting completed after the break used a floating technique at sunset.

I know lots of people find this a bit daunting, but oh! what fun it can be. Years ago when I was at school I used to do the posters to advertise our annual 'house play' I would do anything possible to avoid the need to add people on the poster. I thought people were too tricky and never imagined ever painting them. Teachers are so important to inspire youngsters, and in those days my teachers were strict and art was not considered important so it took me till I was in my late 20's before I painted a figure.
Its funny how these  things can affect us for so long. Now people are one of my favourite subjects!

Thursday 4 April 2013

Varnishing day

When the weather is miserable and the light is poor I have a 'doing day' where I get on with all those mundane jobs that we all have to do. They can only be put off for so long. So today was a Varnishing day.
This is my work area, usually its a bit more untidy, but I had a little sort out (good job you can't see under the table)