Thursday, 21 July 2016

Sometimes Drawing is Hard.

I've been away for a few days, on the east coast, lapping up the sea air and the sunshine.
I took my drawing kit, and this time added some pastel crayons and black paper.
This is some of what I drew.
There are occasions, quite a few, when things don't turn out as you would wish them. I had such high hopes of the pastel on black paper. It's worked in the past, but it proved just too ethereal and in the breezy conditions I smudged a lot of it.


It took me a few sessions to get settled and decide perhaps the pastel wasn't the one for this trip.
I tried pen and coloured pencils
on this drawing of Friary Hill
a scene I've drawn quite often before.
Then it was drawing with a pencil.
I post these drawings not because I think they're brilliant because quite frankly they're not, but because I wanted to show you when it's not going too well!


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

So What Did I Learn at Art School?

Back in the day I spent a year at art school in Salisbury, my only formal art training.
It was a year of excitement and discovery played out in an atmosphere of eternal youth and love and peace.
I remember floaty dresses and sandwich spread sandwiches, Stonehenge, and driving through the Wiltshire countryside without a care in the world.

So what did I actually learn?
Mary Kemp. Stonehenge.


  • Drawing accurately is not everything, but it is VERY USEFUL.
  • Watercolour is not fashionable.
  • Real artists splash paint around a lot and don't wash.
  • The only true vocation is to be an artist.
  • Money does not matter as long as you have enough to buy materials.
  • There's a lot of ways of being an artist, the wackier the better!
  • It's cool to look the part.
  • Colour theory.
  • Composition theory and the golden square.
  • A Kit-Kat is the most perfect snack for elevenses.
And what didn't I learn? Which is more to the point as I've since spent an awful lot of time discovering these things.

  • How to package, market and sell my art.
  • That you've got to work hard and consistently.
  • It's a job, albeit the best job in the world.
This was a great year and I shall never forget it. I wish I had recorded it in some form. I can't even find my sketchbooks, but I know I drew a lot in green ink because Wiltshire is so green.
It was a good kick start to the art bit, and I'd like to heartily thank all my teachers, but we all needed to learn so much more on the business front.
Now the word is art schools have changed and business features much more prominently, but drawing has almost dropped off the radar.
Will a happy balance ever be achieved? I somehow doubt it.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Peterborough Artists Open Studios 2016. Gardeners Delight.

Last weekend I had a second bite at Peterborough Artists Open Studios. Took my camera with me this time! And saw some fantastic gardens as well as some great art!
We visited three venues:

Pauline Wheatley
The first was the home of  Pauline Wheatley,  in Whittlesey, who hosts the only venue for open studios in this small market town close to Peterborough. Pauline is a prolific watercolourist with a joy for the medium. With her was Jan Ward jeweller of delicate silver earrings and pendants. We were made very welcome, as we have been eveywhere, and enjoyed a sunny garden.


Serious garden envy!
Next we hot footed it back to Peterborough. We'd only left ourselves a few hours so wanted to make the most of it.
Linda Dalton and Judy Horman are two artists with an enthusiasm for art. Linda paints a variety of subjects, experimenting as she goes. Judy is very fond of blue and the sea. She was even wearing a matching top!
Linda Dalton,
and Judy Horman
(in top matching her paintings!)

Yet again we were made very welcome and gave in to tea and tennis cake this time. The garden was scrumptious and I dallied round the roses and marveled how healthy every single plant looked.





Jean Edwards with her painting
and Helen Franks.
Not much time left! So on to my good friend Jean Edwards, who has Helen Franks exhibiting with her.
Once more serious garden envy. The weather was garden party weather. Ideal for Open Studios.
Jean paints in watercolour, always pushing the boundaries a bit more. Her work has a delicacy about it. I particularly like her trees and subtle use of colour. Helen's work complemented Jean's well. Her paintings were more figurative.
For a third time we were made very welcome, and offered more tea and cake. Had to refuse.
All in all a most pleasurable afternoon.
Thank you everyone.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Peterborough Artists' Open Studios 2016 Steps Up a Gear!

The open studio movement has been alive and well in Peterborough for over 15 years.
Intrepid, sociable artists have flung open their doors to the general public through out the city and beyond during 3 weekends in the summer.

For the past two years

Friday, 24 June 2016

Every Artist Needs an Inspiration Wall.

Sometimes inspiration walks with you all the way, hand in hand, and guides you through the day. More often than not it deserts you and crosses the road.
We all know you can't just sit in the studio and wait for an idea to hit you in the face. You've got to have a multitude of  projects up your sleeve.
And then again it's nice to be surrounded by lots of little somethings that nudge your elbow along the way.
I have an inspiration wall. My eyes rest upon it when I'm dithering over which paintbrush to use. ( I have 184 brushes by the way) On this wall I put postcards, scraps torn from the newspaper, any old drawing, pages from catalogues.
You get the picture!

This is the picture I'm looking at most at the moment. It's a portrait of Florence by Harold Knight. So beautifully and sensitively rendered, part of the story that was woven around Alfred Munnings.
I look at the colours and how the foliage dances in the light. I know my skills don't match such expertise, and it should make me feel a bit depressed, but it doesn't.
I shall keep on trying.