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, 25 February 2016

Yarmouth to Barmouth!

Last year my husband took me along on a road trip from Yarmouth in East Anglia to Barmouth on the Welsh coast.

This pan UK trip was organised by the Citroen Car Club to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic Citroen D series car. It involved a group of us driving, almost in convoy, from coast to coast, seeing sunrise in Great Yarmouth and sunset in Barmouth.

The day was accompanied by a lot of jollity, and despite
the abundance of technical talk I had a really great time.

We celebrated with a very convivial dinner that night, and next morning woke to a beautiful clear morning.  Our hotel overlooked the bay and you could see boats bobbing about on the water.
Before breakfast, full Welsh, egg, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushroom and fried bread (my particular favourite) I grabbed sketch book and camera and headed down into the town.
Mary Kemp
"Barmouth Discovered"
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 cms
Available on my website

And this is how I saw Barmouth on that wonderful morning.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

How I Paint

I love reading accounts of how other artists work. It shines a light into their art.
We all have our own personal way of creating, our own little idiosyncrasies, so I thought I would share with you the processes I use. To you who paint it will seem very everyday, but if you don't paint I hope you enjoy this little peek inside my practice!
Mary Kemp.
"Taking Photos"
Oil on canvas panel.
40 x 30 cm.
Available from my website.
My work starts on site, mainly around the east coast of Norfolk. I record what I see by drawing and making notes, and also make full use of the camera on my phone.
Back in the studio I contemplate what I've collected and loosely plan my composition. It's useful at this point to indicate on the canvas where the main components of the composition are going.
As soon as possible I get started on the painting, down to the nitty-gritty. I use artist's quality oil paints and a proprietary medium because this gives the greatest versatility, from very thick application of paint to delicate transparent glazes. I usually have several works on the go at once because oil paintings need time to dry between layers.

One of the most common questions any artists gets asked is  "How long does a painting take?" And it's such a hard question to answer! Some take a long time, endless revisions, and some almost happen by themselves. I call those "Just like that!" paintings. But sadly they are few and far between.

Monday, 15 February 2016


At long last this painting has moved from the "almost there" shelf, to the"I think it might be finished, I'll just look at it for a few days" shelf.
Mary Kemp.
"Summer Memories"
Oil on canvas.
30 x 30 cm

In my studio there are an awful lot of paintings at that stage , and this one still needs a title although for the time being I'm calling it "Summer Memories".

I rather like the loose way this composition has emerged. I feel I've captured the casual feeling of the day.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Why I Visit the Spring Fair at the NEC

Yesterday we visited the Spring Fair at the NEC.

I suppose I ought to tell you what the Spring Fair is in case you haven't come across it before. It's a huge retail trade show with suppliers of almost everything you would want to sell in your shop. Gifts, and homeware and jewellery, to name but a small slice.

We've been each year since my husband took over a small picture framing business, and the chap we bought the business from said the Spring Fair was the place to go to see your suppliers and to discover what is going on in the picture framing world.


Monday, 8 February 2016

Summer Memories.

I've had in mind to paint this picture since last summer, but was searching for a way of telling the story of grandad watching the children as they clambered on the rocks. I was going to put the girl's brother and sister in, but in the end I kept it to two figures.
Mary Kemp.
Beachcombers at Hunstanton.
Stage one.

Mary Kemp
Beachcombers at Hunstanton.
Not finished yet. I'll post it when it's done!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Mood Paintings

I thought a lot about this piece. I want to talk about painting and mood, and whether the mood of the artist, and the mood of the subject are intertwined.
Of course no one really knows about the inner emotional state of the artist when she's painting a picture, unless it's written down, and mood and feeling can change over the creation of a work, especially if it's very complex.
Mary Kemp"Tranquility"Oil on canvas panel. 12" x 12"
Was I feeling tranquil at the time? 
But there's no denying that when you look at certain paintings you get a distinct feeling for the disposition of the artist.

My fondest feelings go out to the artist Beryl Cook. In her lifetime she injected such a surge of gaiety into art that it left the establishment reeling. You only have to ask people to name a modern day artist and it's not the great and the lovies of the art world, but Beryl Cook's name that springs to mind. Go to the website. It's a joy!

So if Beryl Cook wins the prize for the most cheery artist  I think Egon Schiele wins the prize for the most tortured artist. The biography of his short life, he died of influenza at 28, reads of someone grasping at every bit of life he could possibly get but was obviously never satisfied. Even his paintings of sunflowers have a dried, tortured starved look about them.

His work and life is so different to that of Claude Monet whose art speaks of abundant rural life and being settled. Did you know that he became so wealthy in later life that when the owner of his favourite stand of poplars wanted to cut them down he bought the land himself, leaving them to live and be painted another day. I'm sure that sort of comfortable life feeds into his art.

Is it a conscious decision to paint as you feel? Do many artists put that into words. We're very encouraged these days to talk about our art. Everyone needs a back story. I know a fellow artist who says "I like painting trees, that's it. No reason." No inner turmoil. But not very interesting. Her trees are lovely, non challenging and sell well. She's a nice person too!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Lindisfarne Painting in Progress

A painting in progress. "Lindisfarne Experienced".
Sometimes you struggle with a painting. The idea of it is so clear in your head yet the execution is as tricky as eating a bowl of soup with a knife.
Mary Kemp
Lindisfarne Experienced.
Oil on canvas panel. 30 x 30 cm
This painting has gone back and forth like a bouncing ball. Colours have changed! I've painted out a second figure, and the tonal balance has come and gone like colours swirling in the mist.