Thursday, 26 March 2015

Inventing Impressionism, 203rd Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and Lachlan Goudie.

This is the story of my day out in London yesterday.
I was the  holder of a a cheap off-peak travel card and full of plans!

First stop, and my main reason for going was the Inventing Impressionism exhibition at the National Gallery.

Here was an exhibition showing many of the Impressionist paintings collected by Paul Durand-Ruel, featuring, among others, a lot of Monet, especially a magnificent quartet of Poplar trees, brightly coloured, dappled lit portraits by Renoir , and a hauntingly beautiful, subtle painting of Woman at Her Toilette by Berthe Morisot.
 Each painting was skillfully lit, the walls were dark and every work stood out jewel like. All in all a most wonderful exhibition.
My favorite was a simple painting by Renoir of a girl sitting on the grass with sunshine playing on the skirt of her dress.

The only thing that spoilt this big hitting show for me was the amount of other people jostling for position to see the paintings. It was heaving, and not helped by the fact that many of those who chose to take the audio guide with them seemed to stop all of a sudden and stare around them. I just want to elbow everyone out the way. 
Is there such a thing as gallery rage?

Next the 203rd Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours at the Mall Galleries.

A much more calm affair even though there were a lot of people. A different audience altogether. Possibly it felt less crowded because the light level was high and most of the work was in a big airy room. There was such a variety of styles, from traditional work by Kevin Hughes and Pauline Fazackerley ) to some wonderful narrative painting ( Rosie Sepple) and then some mysterious sepia paintings of view from a train London to St Petersburg by Tana West.

Inside the Mall Galleries.

It was an exhibition I enjoyed very much. It might even take me away from my beloved oil paints to wrestle with watercolours again.

Next. Lunch in the cafe at the Mall Galleries.

Finally Lachlan Goudie and Tim Benson New Work at the Mall Galleries.

Tim Benson's work showed his connections with Lucien Freud. I have to admit it was a bit raw for me.

The highlight of my day was meeting the lovely Lachlan Goudie, one of the judges on the Big Painting Challenge
His paintings were in another part of the Mall Galleries and he was there to talk to us punters before a tour of his paintings and an opening reception later on.  He was an absolutely charming man, discussed painting in general, the Big Painting Challenge in particular, even asked about my painting life, but blow me he wouldn't give away the winner of Sunday's final! 
His paintings are strong and purposeful and many, particularly his flowers, deceptively simple. Not girly enough for me but they certainly pack a punch.

I walked to the underground on cloud nine. On the tube a man offered me his seat, and on the train journey home I sat next to a girl who's ticket wasn't valid. I don't know if she got caught.

P.S. I took a selfie of me and Lachlan, but if you want to see it you'll have to go to my facebook page,




Monday, 23 March 2015

Why We All Need An Inspiration Wall.

There's a corner of my studio where I stick up pictures that take my fancy. They are images torn from magazines and catalogues, as well as the occasional photo or drawing.  I like to change it regularly because after a time you stop seeing things and that particular line or colour that looked so appealing last week looses it's meaning.
My current inspiration wall,
with a strong showing of Catto Gallery catalogues!
And why do I need an inspiration wall?

  • It takes me out of a narrow mind set.
  • It fills my brain with good colour combinations .
  • If I choose right there's good drawing to see.
  • It gives me something to compare my own work with.    ( Not sure if that's good or bad)

I'm pretty eclectic about what I stick up, but a beautifully detailed piece with strong colours gets me every time.
If I were a  designer I'd call it a mood board, but mine's not about mood it's an inspiration wall, keeps me nurtured visually.
But.. does it make me paint better?  Is this just another delaying tactic?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

5 Really Useful Tips For Oil Painters!

Forgive me if you know these 5 tips already. In fact I'm sure you  do. To tell you the truth it's  possible  I'm writing purely for my own benefit, because I keep forgetting to implement my own wise words all the time. But here they are any way.


  1. Always wash your brushes after each session. Wipe with a rag soaked in spirit, then wash with soap and water.
  2. Never assume a painting is dry..that way leads to paint on your best frock.
  3. Another use for baby oil! Rubbed into your hands it lifts the paint off a treat.
  4. Fix an underlying pencil drawing with spray fixative to prevent the graphite leaching into the oil paint.
  5. Cover unused paint on your palette with cling film overnight.
These are my 5 favourite tips.
What are yours?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Border Collie Set Free. Another Painting Recipe.

As an artist there are some subjects that you feel compelled to paint over and over again.

It's different for each person, but for me it's the lively body of Grace the border collie, much loved family pet and walker of long walks.
Available from my website 

I've painted her a lot at the seaside, in fact I've got a new work on the easel at the moment approaching the halfway stage. But for this painting  I want to depict her in her everyday habitat, a bright green field in rural Cambridgeshire. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit with with the bright green, given the weather that's over us at the moment, but this is where she lives and walks, the English countryside.

Here is how

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Prue Pye , Peterborough Artist.

A lot of us artists attend life classes, grit our teeth, get on with it and know it's good for our drawing and observational skills, then hide the results in a drawer and they never see the light of day again.

Artist Prue Pye is not like that. Life drawing is her passion and she does it very well. She celebrates the drawing of the human form, focusing on the physicality of multiple poses in each piece.

Prue Pye
This month Prue has an exhibition entitled Aspects and Perceptions at Peterborough City Art Gallery.  ( I've put a link in here for the art gallery, but it is definitely lacking in information!)

The exhibition runs from the 6th to the 29th of March and is free to see.

Here are some of my favourite pieces.

Prue Pye. The You in Me.

Prue Pye. Through the Ages

Prue Pye. Turning Point.

I like Prue's use of a very restricted palette, charcoal, white chalk and a lovely sanguine colour to add warmth. This makes her work very distinctive, as does her use of multiple poses in each picture.

Thank you Prue for a great body of work ( there's a pun in there somewhere ) and I urge people of Peterborough to visit.

You have until March 29th ! 

Monday, 9 March 2015

Display Options for Paintings.

I was going to title  this post hanging options but thought better of it!
So settled on display options for paintings.
For my birthday we took a trip to IKEA (We know how to enjoy ourselves!)
Apart from buying a lovely trolley for my studio and eating Swedish meatballs we looked at the picture frames which were so cheap my picture framer husband felt quite depressed..
But IKEA is nothing if not varied and one of the other wonderful things we saw was a picture shelf, and now I've looked it up and it's called a picture ledge.

I did a little drawing of it. and can't believe what a wonderful idea it is!

You can put all your pictures on it, move them around, and for my unframed paintings on canvas panel it seems the ideal solution.

This is the set up we use at home, called a hanging system, purchased from Great Art at great expense.


 I like it quite a lot, but it's fiddly and takes time to get right. It's main advantage is that you don't have to hammer nails in the wall each time you change pictures.

But I'm seriously thinking of a ledge or two.
Am I sure my husband will take kindly to replacing all this wonderful hanging system? I don't think so!

Monday, 2 March 2015

French Jug. Oil Painting.

It's amazing what things find their way into paintings! The whole world is fair game for artists.

I bought the jug in this painting at an antique's fair, and since it's been with me it's been around a lot.
It just feels right in your hand , but it's not the sort of jug you'd pour a drink from, it's made from enameled metal, so it does duty in the garden.

This is the scene from my kitchen window early one autumn morning. I was supposed to be doing the washing up. See my studio in the background, calling me!

Available from Rippingham Art