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!