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, 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.

Monday, 13 July 2015

From Manet To My Kitchen

I love a bunch of gladioli, even when they come from the supermarket, so last week I came home with an armful on my bike, which made cycling quite difficult!
The plan was to put them in a vase on the kitchen table, which is where they ended up eventually, but first I wanted to paint them.
One of my long term projects is to paint a panel in a door leading to my kitchen. I'd been to the Inventing Impressionism exhibition at the National Gallery and saw a door decorated with vibrant flowers painted by Monet. I just had to do the same!   So some time ago I had Alan cut a piece of board the right size, and it's been staring at me in the studio with reproach ever since.
Here was my chance, flowers the right shape, beautiful and just waiting to be painted, I had the panel, I had the time.
I set to work.
Mary Kemp. Gladioli.
This is the beginning.


Thursday, 9 July 2015

Sweltering in the Heat. Peterborough Artists' Open Studios 2015, the Second Weekend!

Last week was unbelievably hot. I'm so glad I had nothing I absolutely had to do at the weekend, no tidying up, no toiling away in a hot studio, just a leisurely time watching the tennis , and flicking through the open studio brochure (sorry, directory ) to decide where we were going to visit.

This time we chose more on geography than anything else , fairly close, but a bit rural.

Again we had grandchildren with us, not the same one's as last week, but the middle son's contingent.

Our first stop was John McGowan's Pingle Print Studio where we were treated to a detailed explanation of the inspiration behind a series of Rotherhithe screen prints and the technology and history of the screen print.
John McGowan's print studio.
(I do like a tidy work space)






Much of  this was new to me, but not to my grandchildren, who apparently had studied screen printing at school, and it was quite common knowledge to them.




We then visited two illustrators Craig Pattrick and Ellie Sandall. Craig's work involves plastercine and photography while Ellie's illustrations hold every little girl's dream, fluffy animals.
Ellie Sandall with Craig Pattrick
at Black Cab Studio.

Next visit was the exotic world of Hilary Dunne richly coloured oil paintings, sometimes using gold leaf (the grandchildren liked that), work inspired by her travels and what I suspect is a life more interesting than mine!

Our final destination, and time for a refreshing drink in the sweltering heat, was the welcoming high ceiling studio of Pete Hayward, an often precise abstract artist. He paints many of the same subjects as I do, but his work could not be more different. I'm not usually a fan of the abstract, but what's not to like in his colourful, life affirming work? I particularly liked his large acrylic canvases. Grandchildren were pretty impressed too.
Pete Hayward with a wall full of colour!

And then home to watch the tennis.
End to a perfect day!

Thank you to all those artists who invited us so generously into their homes.



Monday, 6 July 2015

Blakeney Watercolour. Monday Painting.

I've just been on an inspiring few days to my favourite holiday destination Blakeney on the Norfolk coast. Not that I got much work done...but that's a tale for another day!

I wanted to share with you a watercolour I created last time I was there, and I hope it imparts the peace and beauty of the place. This was the view from Friary Hill, a National trust area full of rabbits and wild flowers.
Mary Kemp.
Misty Morning

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Peterborough Artists' Open Studios, the First Weekend 2015

This year, for the first time in ten years I am not taking part in our local Peterborough Open Studios event.
I would feel sad, but I don't miss the frantic last minute rush to get everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion, and any way this weekend we have three grandchildren to stay.
What an ideal opportunity to introduce them to a bit of culture. Sometimes when you're in the thick of things you don't realise what is going on around you and it was with a much more relaxed open mind that I approached open studios this year, and having children with us helped.

So this is what we saw: