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, 28 May 2015

Do You Remember the First Painting You Sold?

I've sold paintings to dozens of art lovers, but I still remember the first picture that someone actually paid me money for !

It was an oil painting of two ladies with impossibly small waists in Edwardian costume.
The parents of a school friend bought it. I was in the third year of senior school, and for my birthday my parents had given me a sturdy artist's box of oil paints and a wooden easel. Believe it or not I still have them.

Things have moved on a lot since that first sale.

But it gave me a taste of what was possible, despite my parents saying "Artists are two a penny. Get a proper job and marry a rich man. Treat art as a hobby."

Still serviceable after all these years! 
But we never listen to our parents , do we?

What was the first painting that you sold? Does it have any similarity to your work now?

My style has changed a lot since those early days. I've worked hard selling in craft markets, galleries, open studio events, in fact in any exhibition space I could find.

As an artist you have to put in the hours to develop  your way of working. After years of factual art I feel I need to say a bit more, about atmosphere and the gut feeling behind what I want to communicate.

This leads to going over to the dark side.

Something I thought I would never do.
I've always regarded abstract art as a bit of a cop out, for those who couldn't draw, but I now realise there's a lot you can't say with an accurate drawing and so my new collection of paintings explores the subjects I love in a more abstract way.
I'm working in my studio quite hard, and soon a whole new body of work will explode into the light!

Meanwhile, leave me a comment on the first painting you sold.

Friday, 22 May 2015

I've Had a Week Away From Painting.

Early morning studio.
I've had a week away from painting.

The occasion that happily diverted me was my husband's birthday involving a hectic weekend of family and friends, and good food and wine, so it's taken a while to get back into a normal routine.

 When I did get back to working I realised I had to prepare paintings for a small exhibition at Browne's Hospital in Stamford, Lincolnshire, an historical building in the centre of the town. I've now put up some boat oil paintings there, traditional subject for a traditional space.
I just had to show you
this picture of a door
at Browne's Hospital. 

As with all exhibitions it's the labeling and listing that gets me. This is not art I tell myself. But it has to be done if you want anyone to see your creations. So knuckle down girl!

It was with a great deal of relief that I got back to the studio yesterday morning, dressed in painting smock and ready for anything.

All was waiting for me, brushes, paints, palette knives and of course canvas and board.

I put the painting on the easel, squeezed out cobalt blue, cerulean blue, naples yellow, titanium white, raw sienna and cadmium yellow onto my palette, picked up a nice worn bristle brush.............................


Monday, 18 May 2015

Monday Painting.

I like to post a picture of one of my works on a Monday. In many ways it reminds me of what it's all about.
So her is this Monday's painting.

Mary Kemp. Oil Painting.
Three Sunflower Heads.
Some paintings you're quite proud of , and this is one of them. Painting on a very smooth gessoe board I managed to get a huge amount of detail into it. I observed carefully, loving the pattern of the sunflower seeds as they curved round the heads, and drew even more carefully. The next thing to do was add colour in a restrained kind of way. 
I sold it some time ago, and wish I'd taken a better photograph.
It went to a serious collector and hangs in a room full of greater art than mine.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

6 of the Best Locations to Paint

Oh my goodness! There are so many places out there you could set up an easel or sit down with a sketchbook it's hard sometimes to decide where you should be.

So here are six of my best locations

Monday, 11 May 2015

Kinvara Castle, an Atmospheric Painting.

When I paint a picture I want to describe not only what I see but how I feel and the atmosphere of the subject.

After all you can get a photo from the good old internet of practically anywhere! 

I've painted a lot of factual pictures and some of them I'm quite proud of,  and yet ........

Kinvara Castle. Available on Etsy
This picture came about after a trip to Ireland. I was blown away by the wildness of the landscape, how green it was and the enormity of the skies.

I fell in love with the Sky Road in Connemara, what a lovely name for a road ! I also fell in love with Kinvara Castle, home of warring chieftains.

 I took loads of photos but they all turned out pale green and brown .Not at all what I saw!
I did manage  a few drawings, which  helps to lodge a scene in your brain, even if you return to paint it months later.

I haven't painted the Sky Road yet. I need an enormous canvas and I don't know if I'm ready for that.

But here is the stark castle at Kinvara, with feeling.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Peterborough City Art Gallery. Two Exhibitions. "Lines in the Landscape" and "Decorative Shadows".

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the private views of two separate exhibitions at Peterborough City Art Gallery .
Like a lot of us artists I enjoy a good preview. Catching up with old friends and partaking of some free wine and nibbles is only part of it.
Viewing other artists work is essential if you want to keep on developing, and giving support to fellow artists is what makes the world go round.

These two exhibitions were very different, Nisha Keshav photography exhibition "Lines in a Landscape", and Jeni Cairns metal work , but so much more, "Decorative Shadows."

First Jeni Cairns: "Decorative Shadows"

 Jeni Cairnsa bit of a polymath with a wide range of skills, just one being garden design where she won a gold medal at RHS Hampton Court last year.
Jeni Cairns "Temple Arch"
Steel Powder Coated
This exhibition concentrated on her metal work, metal cut out in industrial style but like lace, strong yet delicate at the same time. 
Huge oil drum lids adorned the gallery walls casting intricate shadows but my favourite was this beautiful arch, which incidentally would look at home in my garden .

A smiling Jeni Cairns under
"Temple Arch"
I also liked very much a swathe  of rusting metal, proud and strong on the white gallery wall. ( Would it fit into my suburban home?)

Jeni Cairns "Earth and Sky"
Galvanised metal and rust.

Then Nisha Keshav: "Lines in the Landscape"

Nisha was winner of Peterborough's Open Arts competition last year. (We painters were a bit put out that a photographer won, not a painter, but that's by the by) 
A camera shy Nisha Keshav
with her digital photograph
"Green Leaves and Silver Lines"
Her photographs of the Fens are stunning and evocative, reproduced on a large scale they smack you between the eyes.
My favourite was "Green and Black Gold" the Fens as I know them.
If I have a criticism to make, and it's not about the well presented exhibition , it's that Nisha was difficult to find on-line, but if you click on her name above you'll get to her current website.

Two very different exhibitions , but both very enjoyable. Do visit. Jeni's is in til June 7th 2015, Nisha's 8th July 2015.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Obsession With Boats. The End of the Line.

Over the past few years I've had a bit of an on going obsession with boats. Possibly it was more of a challenge, to draw and paint the damn things accurately! They have such wonderful lines and curves and I marvel how a man made thing can look so organic and graceful.

It's been quite a mountain to climb, drawing a boat accurately, and between you and me I haven't always achieved it, but hope I've been able to convey the beauty of this magnificent subject at least once or twice.

Row Boat, a small painting listed on Etsy
in an End of the Line Sale !
A part of my art revolves around the seaside and this was a piece of it, see the sea, paint a boat. I've got sketch books full of boats.

But to tell the truth I've come to the end, not of the seaside, but of boats. That's not to say I won't be seduced by them again but right now that's it.

Subjects find you in ripples, wafting in and out of your consciousness over the months and years. Some stay with you for ever and are recurring themes.  For me figures and the sea, landscapes and trees. Other things float in and out, animals, clothes, flowers and even food. Buildings don't get much of a look in although I do like the occasional interior. 

When I do a bit of introspection I see that what I paint is the life around me. Of course I choose what I want to see and I'd be the first to admit it's quite a comfortable vision. I've left all the angst behind me and the unmade beds are quickly tidied up.

So if I'm not going to paint any more boats what am I to paint?
The seaside, with figures and sparkling sunshine.
Fields of poppies, yellow fields.
My garden and bunting draped in the trees.
Grace the border collie, and Bertie and Ginger the cats.

But whatever it is I'll be sharing it on this blog.
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