Sunday, 1 January 2017


I wish you all a Happy New Year. 

May it be filled with health and happiness, fun and laughter, and art aplenty!

Mary Kemp.
"Rock Pools" detail

Thursday, 24 November 2016

How to Care for Prints

I'm often asked by my customers how to look after the prints once  they've bought them from me.
Prints are a great way to enjoy art, and cared for properly a print will look just as good decades down the line as it does today.
Advances in technology have meant that inks and paper are much more stable than they used to be.
This doesn't mean that you can mistreat your print any more than you could before, but it does mean that given good conditions it will last longer.
There are four main enemies out there, dust and rogue particles, light, moisture and bad chemicals, and of course the aim is to avoid these.

Care should involve:

  1. Protecting behind glass.
  2. Avoiding direct sunlight.
  3. Not keeping your print in the kitchen or bathroom or any other steamy atmosphere.
  4. Making sure  the surfaces that are in direct contact with your print are acid free.
    Mary Kemp.
    Ginger and White Cat with Lilac
There are many off the shelf frames out there in all different sizes and styles and I for one often use these. They are cheap and you can usually find something to suit your requirements.
Ideally your print should have a mount. This serves to keep it from directly resting on the glass. Attach the print to the top back surface of the mount so it hangs behind the mount, anchoring only the top edge. This way the print won't crinkle as it accommodates changes in moisture and temperature in the atmosphere. The tape you use is important. Don't use sellotape. Framer's tape or even masking tape are better.
Next put the mount in the frame, cleaning the glass well, and seal the back of the frame, with tape so nothing can get in. You'd be surprised how dust and tiny thunder flies can penetrate.
So it's all ready to hang.
Remember the cord on the back, strong nylon cord, tied with a proper knot.
One of the most embarrassing things that happened in our house was a picture falling off the wall in the middle of the night. It hit the burglar alarm box, setting off the alarm and waking up the whole street. We were not popular! It was a lesson painfully learned.
If the diy option is not for you visit a local picture framer. It might not be as cheap but this is the bespoke option, and you will be guided through your choices by an expert.
So diy or bespoke I hope I've given you a few tips about how to care for your prints.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Feeling Wintery.

In the winter the weekend is an oasis in a desert of darkness.
All week you see only work and darkness and given a day off it's time to explode into the light. But it's not really light, it's cold and locked down and when you get out there is a feeling that we've all dashed out to see the weak glow of the sun before it sinks below the horizon and then it's back to feeling cold and wanting to eat cakes and drink hot chocolate.

I've called this "Winter Beach with Figures"
but really I'm looking for another title.
Any ideas?
Leave a message in the comments box.

You can tell I'm feeling a bit wintery (Is that a proper word? Spell checker says No!)
I painted this picture after a cold Sunday afternoon at the seaside. There were a lot of people about despite the awful weather. Sometimes you need to just get out there and take what nature throws at you.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Why I Never Drew My Babies.

Why I never drew my own children when they were babies.
To any mother the reason is obvious. Babies just squirm and cry and scream and feed and need their nappy changing, and you're so exhausted anyway so you don't pick up a pencil let alone a paint brush, and the only thing you want to do is sleep.... At least that was my experience of motherhood.
Mary Kemp.
Sketchbook drawings.

Now I am a grandmother, and the role is less all encompassing. No responsibility but a lot of pleasure.
Mary Kemp
Baby in mother's arms.

At the weekend my latest granddaughter, with parents, came to stay, only a month old, and her first sleeps away from home.
Mary Kemp.
Sketchbook drawings.

To be honest I can't remember my children being so amenable.
But for the first time I got the chance to draw a baby. How can you depict such perfection? I keep harking back to Rembrandt's drawings and know I've got a way to go.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Autumn, 15 Years Ago.

Digging through my files I came across this image.
Mary Kemp.
French Jug
Oil on board
60 x 50 cm

I painted this 15 years ago at least, looking out of the kitchen window towards the studio. I notice that the huge bay tree, that now obscures my view, hasn't grown up yet, and the Virginia Creeper looks a bit sparse compared with today.
There's another thing that is quite different too. My painting style has changed considerably from those days. Then it was very precise. I planned each mark, and used very little texture on the surface. I was aiming for flat and smooth. A painting like this would take me about a month to achieve. I spent a lot of time painting the shadows, quite enjoying it and the changes of colour within them.

But things move on, I don't paint the garden so much, and people creep into my art.

Mary Kemp
Beach Walk
Man and Dog
Oil on canvas panel
30 x 30 cm