This blog is moving!
At last I have discovered a way to have my website and blog all in one place.
So from now on all new blog posts will be on my new website.
I'm still writing about the same sort of things, and you can still find the old posts on this page.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 All Wrapped Up.

Well that's it!
2015 is nearly over, all wrapped up and put away.
How was it for you?
Did 2015 deliver? Was the past year a success or a failure, or as for most of us a bit of both?
I thought I would share with you my 2015, both painting wise and personally.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Story in a Painting.

I like a painting with a story. It's satisfying to see a great picture but it's even more interesting to discover that there's a story behind it.

For me the best ones are when you don't really know what's going on, and you have to make up the narrative for yourself.

Mary Kemp
Chance Encounter
SOLD
I see a lot of things happening on the beach, people seem less conscious of being watched. One September morning I observed these two men walking on the water's edge , looking at the sea as it gently flowed in and out, quite oblivious to the women walking towards them. She stopped when she reached them, they made as if to step out of her way, and then she talked to them, before carrying on, smiling.
I don't know what was said. It is a mystery to me and will always remain so.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

What I Would Like For Christmas 2015.


After a lot of thought I have decided what I would really like for Christmas. (Family please take note!)

The thing I'd most like for Christmas is a brush that doesn't need washing. One that I could use  time and time again with the previous colours  never muddying the current colour. I suppose it would have to be a brush that immediately sheds paint when you want it to and always retains an elegant responsive shape and doesn't needed charging with the colour  when you're using it.
Could it replace all these brushes???

It would have the smoothness of the finest Kolinsky sable brush and the sturdiness of a properly dressed, finest quality hog brush with superior firmness and flagged ends for control and blending.

With such a brush no cleaning would be involved, no smelly turps, no swirly water that needs changing every ten minutes, and no rags or bits of kitchen paper.

Of course this wonderful brush has not been invented yet, but I live in a family with a rich engineering and scientific background so I have high hopes!

Otherwise a cd of The Beatles Sergeant Pepper album to listen to while I paint will do very nicely, thank you.






Monday, 7 December 2015

Painting on the Easel

I am not ashamed to admit I am struggling a bit with this painting.
The idea is as clear as a bell in my head as to what I want to achieve but it's just not working.
The painting is of the four children standing, looking at me, still and watchful, and the more I add to it, the worse it gets, so that lovely still enigmatic quality is swiftly being lost.
I think tomorrow I shall have to start again. I'm just getting mired in the detail now.
But meanwhile here are some snippets which are ok in themselves.



Monday, 23 November 2015

Brother and Sister. New Painting

For my open studio event this weekend I have been rushing to complete several new paintings.
I'm hoping they will be dry by the time Saturday comes around!
They may have to come up to the house as it's a bit chilly in the studio!
Mary Kemp
Brother and Sister.
Oil on canvas panel.
30 x 30 cm

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Christmas Open Studio

I must be mad! No I must be really mad.
To give myself a rest this year I thought I would swerve the annual open studio, spend time enjoying the sunshine and perhaps take in a few fellow artists' venues. And very enjoyable and relaxing it was too.
So why have I decided to host an open studio event next week?
See my facebook page for more details.


Well to be honest I missed it, all the boring bits, the planning, framing , labeling, printing. I missed all that, but most of all I missed the buzz of sharing my work and showing people round my studio.
So there you have it. I am a lost cause.
And it just so happens tonight there is the AGM of the Peterborough Artists Open Studios with plans for 2016. So off I will go to plunge into it all once again.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Monday Painting. A Watercolour!

At the moment I'm having a phase of watercolour activity, and quite enjoying it, even though I'm throwing away more than I save. The problem with watercolour is that you can't correct your mistakes. Oils are much more forgiving.
Mary Kemp. Watercolour. 11.5" x 8.5"
Sunset
I was very patient with this evening scene, and let the paint dry between layers and in the end was not displeased with the result. I wanted the effect of night settling over the harbour.

Friday, 13 November 2015

What is a Giclee Print?

I sell my art through several online sites, some of which accept prints and some who don't.
Through Etsy I market cheap and cheerful prints , using photographs I have taken myself and my own printer, albeit a super duper Epson, using archival inks and paper. These are a bit more expensive than the run of the mill, but again I am pleased with the results.

My prints as seen
on Etsy
I have paid for my work to be professionally photographed and printed and I am pretty pleased with the results of that too. The big advantage of having this done is that the paintings can be reproduced to a much larger size.

But it got me thinking. My printer Steve calls his reproductions giclee prints. What is the difference between his prints and mine, apart from the size.

I looked on Wikipedia and this is what I found :

"Giclee: The name was originally coined in 1991 by print maker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. the name originally applied to fine art prints created on IRIS printers in a process invented in the late 1980s, but since has come to mean any inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries and print shops to suggest high quality printing but since it is an unregulated word it has no associated warrant of quality"

So what this tells me is
1. A giclee print is one made on an inkjet printer.
2. Quality depends on these things:
a, How well the photo or scan of the image was taken
b, The specifications of the inkjet printer
c, The quality of the paper
d, The specifications of the ink

And while we're on the subject the prints that I produce are reproduction prints , because they are reproductions of my paintings.
Lino cuts, digital art and screen prints, to name just a few, are completely different art forms and as such are each unique pieces of art which is reflected in the price.

Thank you for reading this. It's clarified things in my mind if nothing else!
Leave me a comment below in the box . I'd love to hear from you.






Monday, 9 November 2015

Monday Painting. "We Cannot Tell You."

Sometimes a painting takes a long time to get to where it should be. I painted it one way and then another, and now I'm fairly content with this one. (Not that I'm ever totally satisfied)

Mary Kemp. "We Cannot Tell You"
Oil on canvas board 40 x 40 cm.

I had the idea of painting these two girls deep in conversation for quite a while. They were excluding everybody else and obviously didn't want to share their thoughts with the younger girl.
I have found that if you sit on the beach you can observe so many interesting little scenarios because people think it doesn't matter because no one knows you at the seaside. But of course everything that we do does matter.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Sky Landscape Artist of the Year and the Great British Throw Down. Television Heaven!

Sometimes the television serves up some wonderful programmes, and this week we've had a double helping of arts related delight.
I had only just got into Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year 2015 when along came The Great British Pottery Throwdown.

What I'm thinking of Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year. I'm loosely a landscape artist myself so this has been of great interest to me. I like the format, stick the artists out in the cold and wet and let them get on with it. I thought it might favour the plein air brigade but a printer and a delicate watercolourist have both done well so far. Whilst it's called landscape artist of the year it seems more  a case of stately home artist of the year, which I suppose is fair as the National Trust is providing the venues. 

I find it interesting to see how other people work, and particularly discovering that they're not afraid to use all the tools available in this digital age. A few were overwhelmed by the tasks and others attacked it with vim and vigour and an awful lot of colour. 

In each episode the organisers invited someone with a strong link to the venue to choose one of the paintings to keep. It's been noticeable that they've chosen the most representational of the pieces. The judges on the other hand had no such concerns!

I'm not sure I will agree with the judges when they get to their winners, but it's an entertaining and mildly instructive programme and I like it.

The Great British Pottery Throw Down is a delight of entertainment in the same way as the Bake Off is. It's produced by the same production team and  follows a very similar format, but with a time span of days, not hours. 

I love pots, I buy pots, so it was an enjoyable bonus to see them being made. My potter friends were particularly pleased to having light shone onto their skills. And if there's one thing I took away from this programme it's how strong your hands have to be. All that kneading and manipulating large chunks of clay. 

It's been the first episode this week, but we're settled in for a nice run and I shall be watching and cheering to the end.


Monday, 2 November 2015

In Praise of Instagram

I really enjoy Instagram.
I consume more than I post, but when I come to look at it I do post a lot too.
I love looking through all the beautiful images that come up on my phone, an antedote to the desperate calls to action that comes with facebook and other social media. All I have to do is look and enjoy and more and more images come up for my delight.
Everything is packaged in a square self contained unit. People usually keep commentary to a minimum if at all and the filters make the pictures seem of another world, foreign, not quite real.
If you haven't used instagram do give it a go. All you have to do is type in a word e.g. roses and a wondrous array of images pops up before your very eyes. Or you can look at the instagam feed of one of your favourite people. Here's a screen shot of my gallery.


Thursday, 29 October 2015

I'd Rather be Painting!

This week has got a bit out of control, as I knew it would. I always plan to spend a huge chunk of time painting, but I've had paintings and prints to prepare for two galleries and one exhibition ( well exhibition is rather a grand word for it, it's a room full of paintings in the anteroom at Stamford Art Centre , but it's a good venue and lots of people get to see the work) so my week this far has been spent labeling and framing.

Mary Kemp
Border Collie in a Snowy Orchard
30 x 30 oil on canvas panel

Mary Kemp
Border Collie Under a Red Sky
30 x 30 oil on canvas panel
I always think it won't take long to get work ready, after all I've painted the pictures, a frantic few weeks with winter elated themes,yet it seems to take an age to get everything documented, labeled, framed, ready to hang, and wrapped up safely, almost as long as the painting does. I exaggerate!

It's all done now. It's half term this week so there's other things to do.

But before I think of that I must put some more work on Artfinder because they have a 15% discount this weekend.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

My KEBAartmate. Stretching Paper for Watercolour.

Has any one else used a KEBAartmate?
Every so often I have a watercolour phase. I think I'm entering one now. There's two boat paintings that I've completed and the third one is on it's way, delayed for the next few days while I get work ready for some up and coming shows.
For the first two paintings I used a conventional paper stretching method, essentially gumstrip sticking down wet paper.
Look what I found. A KEBAartmate!
But then I realised somewhere in a corner of the studio lurked a  very handy device for stretching paper, a KEBAartmate. So after a quick forage I came up with this piece of kit bought several years ago, and like all good gadgets abandoned at the back of a cupboard.

How the KEBAartmate works.

Basically it's a piece of equipment that clamps the paper tight whilst it's drying. You paint with the paper gripped in it's frame.
When the bolts are undone the frame opens out.
This is how the paper is clamped.
Of course as with everything there are pros and cons.
In it's favour:
No need for gum strip.
If you get it right the result is reliable.
Fairly simple to use.
Takes no longer that traditional methods.
Nice to have a board/boards totally for watercolour.
Against:
The biggest disadvantage is that you are restricted to the specific size of the boards. ( In my kit there are two boards)
The allen key for tightening up the bolts is very loosable.
Takes up quite bit of space, and like lego you don't want to loose any of the bits!
However:
It is a lovely thing to use. It feels nice in the hand and has a neatness and compactness about it that is very pleasing.
I'm glad I bought it but it is by no means a piece of essential kit.

Have you used one? What did you think of it? A comment in the box below is always welcome!





Monday, 19 October 2015

Hot Off the Easel!

It suddenly occurred to me that winter is almost upon us and that dreaded/glorious season, Christmas, is looming large.
And to hurry on that feeling of wintery seasonality Dawn at Art in the Heart in Peterborough has been asking for work for an upcoming exhibition that will go on til after Christmas.
So I thought my Monday painting slot should feature one of my latest paintings that will be in the show.
Mary Kemp.
Border Collie in the Snow,
Under a Lilac Sky.
Oil on canvas panel
30 x 30 cm
A lot of my work is seaside based, and that to many people only means one thing, summer.
Because this is a Christmas show I thought I would paint a snowy picture or two. I couldn't quite get my head around snowfall  at the seaside. That may come later. But snow and trees feels more within my experience and somehow Grace the border collie has to be in there as well.

Exhibition opens with a big Christmas shopping launch on Monday 2nd November.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Green and the Landscape Artist.

There's a certain snobbery about buying green paint.
"Oh I never buy green paint. I mix my own. It gives a much more true to life colour."
(Like I never buy puff pastry, I make my own. Even Mary Berry buys ready made puff pastry)
Green Paint.
And like Mary Berry why make something if there's a much better manufactured product?

Our perception of true colours in nature is anyway now so skewed that we have difficulty remembering what is real and what is not.  We see so many photographs on a day to day basis.
When did you last spend 24 hrs without seeing a manufactured image of some sort, a photo, book, magazine, an image on a phone or computer screen, the tv or even a proper painting?

Occasionally we see the real countryside which quite often is mucky brown and not green at all!

So here is a list of useful green paints.
You've probably come across most of them before.
Sap green, great for countyside.
Phtalo green, lurid.
Viridian, not so lurid!
Terre Verte, sort of sludgy.
Hooker's green, bright countryside.
Chromium green oxide, a serious, dead colour.

And to finish I feel I must show you one of my paintings where I reveled in a generous application of  sap green.
Mary Kemp. Monsal Head. Derbyshire.


Monday, 12 October 2015

Monday Painting. Thunderous Skies

If you painted a different sky every day you would always have a different picture. No two skies are the same, and that is what makes them such a delight!
The ones I like to see best are clear blue skies with a wisp or two of cloud, but the ones that make the most exciting pictures are those that occur when the weather's a bit dodgy.
Here is such a one.

Mary Kemp.
Thunderous Sky.
Oil on board 30 x 30 cm
Available
The colours I used were 
titanium white
cobalt blue
burnt sienna
raw sienna
Cadmium yellow
venetian red 
ultramarine violet
 Hope you like it!


Friday, 9 October 2015

Welland Valley Art Society Autumn Exhibition 2015. What I Thought of It!

I feel a bit embarrassed for writing about this exhibition, and you will see why shortly.

But I like to put down a few words about all of the Welland Valley Art Society's exhibitions because I am part of the society and want us to do well, and the artwork interests me a lot.

Stamford Arts Centre
is host to the
Welland Valley Art Society's
Autumn 2015 Exhibition


There's many artists in the society whose work I admire immensely. We are not a cutting edge sort of exhibiting group but I like to think the standard is high, and there is a great deal of support and interest from the Stamford community, with people looking round the show and displaying real interest in what they see.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Look What I've Found.

In the depths of my computer I found this. File/old computer/New Work 2011.
Mary Kemp. Man and Boy.
Oil on box canvas 30 x 30 cm.

I know I have the original somewhere although I might have painted over it.
I quite like this, even if it's not very commercial. The man is my son in a tatty old fleece running after one of his sons heading out to sea.
For me there are several interesting things about this painting. Firstly it's a moment in time, long gone. The boy is so much bigger now, and they wouldn't be alone. The dog would have got in on the act. And secondly I quite like the coloured ground I've used, looks orange, and the way the blue stands out and the figures spring to life because of it. Lately I've been using a paler ground. Perhaps it's time to go darker.
There's also a nice feeling of movement about it, but I do think the figures need to be anchored to the ground more.
Perhaps if I find it I'll fix it, put in shadows as well as reflections.
Now then, I wonder what else is in that file.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Watercolour Painting Recipe Using Dr Ph.Martin's Hydrus Watercolour.

All of a sudden I've had the urge to paint with watercolour. It comes over me every so often although my first love is oil paints.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Watercolour Painting. Boats in the Harbour.

I painted this watercolour a couple of years ago. It has since found a new home in the USA, and I was pleased that someone liked it as much as I did.
Mary Kemp. Boats in the Harbour.
10" x 10" watercolour.

I loved the form and rich colour of the boats when I saw them safely moored up.
It's of Blakeney harbour in Norfolk, a place I've drawn and painted many times.
Last time I was there I had a very interesting conversation with a mother with her toddler (you get to talk to a lot of people when you sketch outside) about how the habour was run. Apparently it's a very rare beast, a free harbour and any one can moor their boat there and not pay anything. This is a little creek that fills up fast when the tide comes in. The marshes are to the right full of birds swooping above the water and crying to each other. It's a peaceful place to be.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

My Epson Stylus Photo PX73OWD Printer!!!

Have I written about my Epson Stylus Photo PX730WD printer before?
IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY.
Don't get me wrong, it produces lovely prints, real top quality classy prints, probably at an exorbitant price if I could only work out cost per print.
But the ...thing has a mind of it's own.
My Beautiful Bicycle.
Lovely print. Great reproduction.

It's always been a bit funny about printing stuff via wi fi. Of course there's no connecting cable from the computer so if it's on an off wi fi day it's via a flash drive, and that's fine for images but a word document doesn't register at all.
However one of the advantages of  using the flash drive is that I can print sheets of different images where as from the computer that doesn't seem possible.
And I have spent an awful lot of today trying to print a packing slip and it has made me very cross! In the end I used my husband's computer.
Oh this digital life!!! Will I ever master it?
And would you believe, the next time I went to print with it it worked perfectly. Grrr!!!!!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Painting on the Easel. An Update.

This painting has been on the easel for a long time.
Oil painting in progress.
Mary Kemp.
Well not really on the easel, more hanging around the studio. I've been trying to resolve the right hand area of the composition because I felt it needed to be empty but not in a nothing sort of way.
After a bit of work on it yesterday I looked at it this morning and it felt complete.
The inspiration for this painting was a photo I came across of the great Barbara Hepworth at the beginning of her career caught looking out to sea.
The pose spoke of that excitement when all is possible, the world and life is laid out before you just for the taking and you are poised to dive in.
So I persuaded my granddaughter to model for me. She is fast growing and quicker than we know will be at that exciting time of her life.
I think I've finished it now. 
I wonder if this painting will still be around when she's my age.
Here's the link to the first post I made of this painting.
Now all I need is a title.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Different Seed. John Lincoln and Stuart Goodacre.

I have known John Lincoln and Stuart Goodacre for a long time and always been interested in the work they produce. So I was pleased to see that they were showcasing some of their recent paintings in an exhibition at Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding, in the Geest Gallery.
Here is the lovely poster they produced, though I had to stalk Stuart's facebook page to get it!
"A Different Seed"
John Lincoln and Stuart Goodacre
Geest Gallery, Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding
5th September to 26th September 2015
They are two very different artists but somehow similar, both quite abstract in their approach to painting, but very precise and contained.

If I had to describe John Lincoln's paintings in this exhibition I would say they're very cellular, like botanical drawings but with more substance, a bit pop art. I hope he doesn't mind me saying that. I liked them very much, even though I was left with the feeling there was something going on I didn't quite understand.
Paintings by John Lincoln 

I couldn't find any website for Stuart Goodacre but I wouldn't mind seeing one. His paintings are bright and full of interesting patterns and colour juxtapositions. Again I was left with the feeling I didn't know what was going on. I was particularly puzzled by one piece called "it is not right". On closer examination it had NO HA HA DRET written into the design.  
I was also greatly intrigued by three black wall mounted 3D artworks called Black 2, made from a shiny plastic substance. Reminded me of entrails. It leaves me with the old chestnut should you be able to explain art in words or let the visual experience take over?
Paintings by Stuart Goodacre

Yes , in this case, I could have done with a bit more written explanation from both artists, just a few words to help me along. But having said that it was a thoroughly enjoyable exhibition with a lot of food for thought.

Please visit. It's quite small  but well worth seeing. On until 26th October.
I couldn't help adding this snap.
Beautiful begonias under the magnolia at Ayscoughfee Hall!


Monday, 14 September 2015

Beach Huts. Oil Painting in Progress.

This rather larger painting than usual is the oil painting I have on my easel at the moment. It's been germinating away in my mind for a long time, beach huts on the coast in line, isolated in a floaty sort of way because life on the beach is isolated, not of the real world.
Beach Huts. Oil painting in progress!
100 x 50 cm

I drew the outline carefully, trying to keep all the uprights upright and the perspective in the proper direction! Yes of course I used a ruler. I drew with a water soluble pencil in a dull Delft blue.
My palette is rather restricted
Titanium white
Cerulean blue
Cobalt blue
Ultramarine violet
Buff titanium
Naples yellow
Raw umber
and raw sienna and cadmium yellow to make a pale cream with the white.
There's still a way to go but I aim to finish it this week and will post it on my facebook page.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

What Do You Listen To in the Studio?

Well, what do you listen to when tucked away in your studio, or sat at the kitchen table paint brush in hand?
Since I've fixed the studio's cd player (I wiped the little lens thing and cleaned it of all that dust) my listening experience has expanded. I've been quite happy with the radio, sort of, but since my trusty cd player has been up and running there's no stopping me!
What I'm working on at the moment.
Untitled!
I find listening to the radio or music helps

Monday, 7 September 2015

Twilight. The Power of Blue.

I can't seem to get away from blue. It haunts my dreams, takes up lodgings in my wardrobe and influences so many aspects of my life. 
I even married a man with blue eyes!
Mary Kemp.
Tranquility
Oil on canvas panel.
30 x 30 cm
They say that each colour has an emotional significance and a quick trip round the internet tells me that blue symbolizes trust and loyalty, peace and heaven, wisdom, confidence and also points to good technology.
I just like blue because it reminds me of the sea and sky and a lovely dress I bought when I was 18. It was the colour of delphiniums and I have a piece of it sewn into a quilt.
p.s. An awful lot of my paintings are blue. Click here.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Monday Painting. Three Figures on a Sea Wall

I painted this picture with a lot of vigour!
Sometimes the subject shouts out at you and there it is, the colour jumps into your mind and the forms are ready and waiting. This was such a painting.
Mary Kemp. Three Figures on a Sea Wall.
Oil on canvas 50 x 70 cm
Three of my family languidly waiting, what for I'm not sure.
I think the key to the punchy colour is the red background.
At the moment this painting is on show at the gallery of Art in the Heart in Peterborough.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Holiday Snaps!

Oh my goodness!

We went on holiday and I did no drawing whatsoever. I took all my kit, well sketchbook and pencils, but some how there was just so much else to do I didn't put pen to paper except to write a couple of post cards.

Glorious windswept Northumberland was our destination and we visited castles and vast stretches of beach with sunshine and bursts of torrential rain, so I ate well and slept well and enjoyed my family , but neglected my art.

The camera got used quite a bit, but mainly for holiday snaps.

One thing we did do on the art front and which I thought I ought to write about for this blog was visit a couple of exhibitions.

The first was at the Lady Waterford Hall in the village of Ford.
Lady Waterford was a sort of Renaissance lady in the Victorian era, a philanthropist and gifted artist who painted the hall with powerful pre-Raphaelite murals many depicting village children. Her drawings are exquisite and here is one of them, executed from memory.

I can only observe and wonder.
Children Crossing the Street
Lady Louisa Waterford
1889
My family quite enjoyed this exhibition, but wouldn't have gone in if not for me.

The next exhibition we came upon was completely different, nothing historical about that!

Called Generation AIR by Spacecadets it was set in the Gymnasium Gallery of the  Barracks within Berwick city walls.
Generation AIR by Spacecadets.
(The frondy thing kept inflating and deflating)
A joyous fun filled installation full of colour and appealing to the child in us all.

We spent some time there , and my husband sat and watched peoples reactions as they came in. Some were captivated but a few turned their noses up in no uncertain terms! You can't please every one.

So that was a snippet of my holiday and now I am ready to face the rest of the year!

Monday, 24 August 2015

My Beautiful Bicycle, an Oil Painting.

I don't drive , being a sensible person, so quite often I get around by bicycle.
Notwithstanding all that murderous traffic (they're all out to get you, you know) it is the most wonderful way to travel a shortish distance. The wind in your hair, the rain on your face!

I've had this bike a few years now and a  while ago I decided to make it the subject of an oil painting.

My Beautiful Bicycle (Available)

A bicycle needs to be celebrated. It's an integral part of life, like a table or chair, not at all like a car which has so much attached to it by way of prestige or money. My bike is comfortable and a useful tool.

There are a few challenges with cycle paintings, all those wheels and spokes and accuracy. You don't want to paint it side on because that just looks boring , but to paint from the front or back presents a few problems of perspective and scale.

Here I have shown my cycle propped up against the wall by the place I work at one day a week. There are cherry trees to the right of the picture which drop  petals and dappled shade all over it. I come back from lunch and this is the sight I am greeted with and it uplifts my soul.

So I painted this oil painting in praise of my beautiful bicycle.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Urban Sketchers Peterborough. A Day in the Sun.

An ideal day for sketching with the Urban Sketchers of Peterborough, perhaps a bit too ideal!
The sun was shining, the birds were singing and my trusty bike had the tyres pumped up and sketching kit loaded.

As I never stop boasting I have my sketching kit finely honed,
a pencil case full of pens and pencils,
and two spiral bound sketchbooks. (If weight was an issue it could be one.)
Also in my rucksack was a hat with brim,
sun glasses,
mobile phone camera 
and bottle of water.

An extra luxury this time was a small camping stool, but I didn't need it as there were plenty of spare chairs.

We meet every second Sunday of the month and our base is The Green Backyard in Peterborough a vibrant community garden nestled among towering flats, Victorian cottages and the main line to London.
The Green Backyard. Peterborough
It was an enjoyable meeting even though there were not a lot of us, holiday season being at it's height. Even before we got started we had to partake of Sara's mum's chocolate cake.
Then it was down to work, dispersing into the site to draw. 
There are so many things, detail of plants and flowers, the allotments and greenhouses, a caravan that seems to grow out of the ground.  And there's the wider environment too, the big picture, which is the task I set myself.

Mary Kemp. Sketch of the Green Backyard
In my drawing I wanted to show the contrast between the surrounding buildings of the monolith of  the flats, the ghostly new building under construction, the Victorian cottages, and the wild environment underneath of ethereal willows and chunks of bog oak. (The allotments and greenhouses are to the right.)

This is the link to the Urban Sketchers Peterborough facebook page. Please take a look, and perhaps join us next time.


Monday, 10 August 2015

Stumped For a Title! Again.

Title to be decided!
60 x 70 cm , oil on stretched canvas
I love a painting with a good title, but unfortunately I'm often a bit stumped when it comes to naming my own masterpieces.

Thank goodness for facebook. 
I just asked the question and I've had loads of lovely answers.
Here are just a few of my faves:
"Hi, Come and Join Us!"
"Posers" there's someone who knows my family!
"Blowing Away the Cobwebs"
"Fresh Air and Family"
"Help We're Trapped!" I never thought of that.
"Here Comes The Rain Again". Pessimist.
and lots of family and fun and reflections.

 And if you've got any ideas I'd love to hear them because this painting is just one of a whole series of paintings born out of my obsession with the coast.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Talent Myth.

I don't think I'm old but there are definitely a few things I wish I'd known when I was younger.
And one of the most important surrounds :
The talent myth:

Monday, 3 August 2015

Blue Mood. Walberswick.

This painting is quite unusual for me.
Blue Mood. Walberwick.
Mary Kemp.
Oil on board. 30 x 30 cm.
Generally I like to pack as much as I possibly can into a picture, covering a lot of the surface with detail and colour changes. But for this piece I wanted calm and peace. I wanted you to be drawn to the black building in the distance like I am although the foreground was littered with boats.
It took quite a few layers of paint to achieve these colours, and I have to say I reveled in their richness. Sometimes paint can be quite self indulgent.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Quick Tip For Artists. Get More Painting Time!

Get more painting time.

Sounds so easy, yet so hard to do.

Electronic gadget-free zone. (Mostly..)
Write a list of things to do and put painting at the top of your list.

OK, that's a bit simplistic. Life crowds in.
The dishes need washing, the cat needs feeding, the kids need feeding! and then your phone buzzes.
But the only way to make sure you have the time to paint is make sure that's your priority.
If it's an activity you do after everything else is done  you'll give it neither time nor energy.
I hold my hands up to the fact that I struggle with time management, and I do spend an awful lot of time flicking through my phone when I should be painting. There are definitely days when I lack focus, but I know that the days when I have a list, get up early and start painting straight away, leaving electronic gadgets outside the studio, are the days when I get most done.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Sea and Sky

A lot of pictures that I paint are square, but sometimes a subject really can't be contained in such a constrained format, and this sky is one of them.

Mary Kemp. Sea and Sky. 100 x 50 cm. Available
In East Anglia it's all about skies. When you get to the coast it's just a continuation of the landscape. You can sure spend a lot of time looking upwards , observing an ever changing panorama!

Here the pink of the sky was particularly important. When painting I blocked in the clouds over a ground of Venetian red and ultramarine violet, and built up the layers using French ultramarine, cerulean blue, Venetian red and yellow ochre. It's all about the colours! The pink is Venetian red, a little of which goes a long way! For the white I used titanium white with a hint of raw Sienna and cadmium yellow.

Written down it all sounds very simple , but somehow it took me ages.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Wednesday Afternoon.

For the first time in ages I have just come up with a complete blank about what to write in my blog.
Usually I have a bank of subjects queuing up to be heard but today........nothing.
In the studio I've arrived at the final strokes of two paintings and I suspect that has something to do with it.
Summer is upon us too, the weather is heavy, it might rain and holidays beckon.

I am working on a series of paintings of previous holidays and I quite like this one. I think!


I have to keep standing  well back into the framing workshop to land a better look. One way of getting a bit of exercise!

See you next week full of vim and vigour and loads of great ideas!


Monday, 20 July 2015

I Dreamt I Was In Walberswick. Funny How Your Mind Plays Tricks.

A few years ago we intrepid sketchers went to Walberwick, a jolly painting trip when we stayed in Southwold. The weather was fine and we did a lot of sketching. At least I thought I did.

I Dreamt I Was in Walberswick. Available.
I've painted many pictures from that excursion and here is one I painted recently.

 I must admit I relied on several photos to get the boats right, but because I can see the scene and feel the atmosphere so clearly in my head, even after all this time I thought I must have done more drawing.

All I could find after searching through my sketchbooks was this pair of drawings.
I used several different sketchbooks for that trip, trying to cover every eventuality, and all I can think is there's a different size and shape sketchbook somewhere in a dark corner of my studio with a landscape shaped drawing of the boats and a black house in the distance.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

6 Reasons To Love Small Paintings

Drizzly day, remembered
after a walk on Monday
from Willowbrook Farm,
to Castor Hanglands.
5" x 7"


I love a small painting. They fill me with joy, complete within themselves but giving a hint of treasures to be found elsewhere.

A tiny painting is like a haiku, much said in few words.






Six More Reasons to Love Small  Paintings;
Mary Kemp.
Seascape.
5" x 7"
Oil on board


  1. Slips effortlessly into your home.
  2. Entry level for collecting.
  3. You can move it around without making major changes.
  4. Ideal for a gift. "I'd just like a teeny painting for my birthday". "A little something I bought you because you're my best friend."
  5. Easy to post.
  6. Satisfying to hold in your hand, pick up, put down, look at and cherish.


And here's some more small paintings!
Mary Kemp. Cliffs on the East Coast

Mary Kemp.Poppies Under a Blue Sky

Mary Kemp
Boat Painting
6" x 6" (15 x 15 cm)
on gessoed board.
And if you like these check out my Etsy store for even more.