Monday, 28 July 2014

Seduced by Acrylic Paint.

There I go again! I've been seduced by acrylics for the umpteenth time.
It happens every so often. I think "Why am  I using oils colours?

  • They're messy.
  • They're expensive
  • And they take forever to dry".
So off I go and paint something using acrylic paint.

Here's my latest picture. 
Mary Kemp.Boats in Galicia.
Acrylic on board 40 x 30 cm.
I was attracted to the bright day
and the strong colours,
so typical of Spain.


Of course I like the colours, which were bright and bold, but I struggle to get the paint to lie as I want it to. It feels sticky, and the surface seems to me to be lacklustre, and although I have difficulty telling the difference between other people's oils and their acrylics , with my own the difference is obvious. I feel I can express myself better with oils.


  • Acrylics are hasty to dry and blend clumsily on the canvas.
  • They stick to your equipment.
  • They're not as classy as oils.
And yet.....

  • This picture took less time to complete, giving it more immediacy.
  • I can layer colours without needing to wait 2 days.
So on balance?
Speed and immediacy for acrylics.
Time to craft your painting, and  the indefineable charm of oil paints.

No contest.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

14 Things I Bought at Peterborough Artists Open Studios 2014.

One of the delights of opening up your studio for just one weekend  out of three of our Peterborough  open studios event  is that you have time to visit other artists.

We set aside last Saturday to do just that and what a lovely, enjoyable time we had of it!

Of course you never get round  as many as you think you will but we still manage three venues.

This is who we visited on our jaunt out and here is the haul I came home with.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Weekend of Open Studios.

I open up my home to the discerning art appreciating public, and what do my visitors come to see ?

Only my garden and the three cats!  Oh well. I love them too , and my visitors did take time to look at the artwork and even take home a painting or two.

Bertie the cat.
I'm rather proud of the hosta in the background !
There are three phases to an open studio event.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Recipe for a Successful Painting Trip.

For the past few years I've enjoyed an annual painting trip with a group of  friends, some, it has to be said, more interested in art than others !
Taking photos after a sociable evening meal,
catching the light on the cliffs before the sun goes down.
Whilst the idea of the trip is to do some sketching and gather material for future work it always feels more like a holiday than serious work.
But I invariably come home with loads of ideas and not an inconsiderable amount of sketches. The weather dictates the number of photos to drawings as we're not a hardy bunch! and most of our sketches have been done in a comfortable spot out of the wind.

This latest expedition got me thinking about the things that make a successful painting trip and I've come up with a few ideas...

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Painting the Sea.

I'm always experimenting when painting the sea. It has so many different guises, so many different moods that I'm at a loss as to how to depict it. Sometimes it's as much about how you feel as how it looks.
Here are just a few snippets from some of my paintings, with a bit of explanation.

Purple ground with cobalt blue and cerulean blue
 loosely brushed over. The foam is titanium white
with a touch of raw sienna and cadmium yellow,
very thickly applied.

Dark grey ground with cobalt blue and cerulean
blue scraped on. White, raw sienna and cadmium yellow
dabbed on.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Countdown to Open Studios.Three Last Minute Things To Do Before Throwing Open Your Doors.

Oh gosh , oh gracious, oh goodness, how time flies and it's almost time to welcome the public and a few good friends into my studio.

House Through The Trees on a Stormy Day is a picture I'm varnishing in preparation for open studios.  
There's loads of little jobs  to be done and I'm in a panic because the list seems to be growing and growing each time I think about it, and really I'm not sure if my work is worth looking at anyway and of course I HAVE TO CLEAN THE HOUSE !

If you've ever opened your home up for the joyous event that is Open Studios you will know what I mean. 

So I'm going to share with you three last minute things that worked in previous years for me.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

This Artist's Weekly Schedule. A Lifestyle Audit.

I have to 'fess up straight away that this blog is a crib of something I saw on a post by Lisa Call a textile artist who asked "what do you do all week?"
Mary Kemp. Cat and Flowers.

Well what do I do all week? I sometimes wonder!
Have you ever thought what you do all week?
Lisa put us all to shame and set out a nice little timetable to illustrate  how she spent her time.
After reading it I felt it was now time to write down in black and white  (and pink, and purple, and green and turquoise) what really happens in my week.
Unfortunately this schedule rarely works out as planned and isn't an ideal schedule anyway.
I've never written it down before but had it loosely floating around my brain.
I found the exercise quite sobering and something I thoroughly recommend.

Mary's schedule.
In case you can't read my writing here's the code.
Pink is painting time. Usually morning, the best time for me.
Purple is my other job.As you can see it takes up two whole days and leaves me knocked out in the evenings. I like it a lot (most of the time) but really I'd sooner be painting.
Green is domestic duties. The least said about that the better !
Turquoise is admin. and marketing, writing my blog, connecting with the art world. Thank goodness for the internet. Real life interactions alter my schedule and often take priority.
Sunday is my day of rest where I try not to do anything. I find if I paint all through the weekend I just feel a bit lack lustre on Monday.
After all this I suppose I must draw some conclusions.
Two days of work eats up an awful lot of painting time.
Shame about the domestics.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.