Stepping back

pastel and ink wash

After the frenetic activity of Open Studios and art-working for Hungerford Summer Festival, it’s good to be just drawing again. It’s so easy to lose the basic skills because of other projects – for me this is where it all starts so I am now visiting life drawing workshops whenever possible, as well as trying to keep my sketchbooks active.

Art in the garden

Jane in the garden; watercolour and inktense art bars

Looking forward to next weekend – putting on a pop-up exhibition of my work as part of an open day at 87 High Street, Hungerford, supporting Noreen’s Kids charity. I’ll be selling cards and prints from my work, plus a few paintings. £2 entry to the open day with music, plants for sale,  face painting, food and more – plus the amazing secret garden to wander through. Saturday 7th July, 10am to 5pm.

A snapshot of summer


A watercolour sketch from my fleeting visit to the Poitou-Charente this summer.  In our part of France, when the fireworks go off on Bastille Night they also mark the close of the summer harvesting for most of the farms around us.  By the time I was there the fields had been laid bare to reveal the characteristic chalky soil, creating a landscape bleached-blonde by the sun.

Sketchbook rose


Just finished another Open Studios Cover2Cover sketchbook – this time the theme was colour, especially opposites. This little sketch however was worked up in my own sketchbook, using a dropper with black acrylic ink and finished with acrylic paint using a 2″ flat brush, which gives lovely swoops and curves as you paint. Naturally it reflects some of the work I had been doing on colour this week though – I love the contrast of pink to green.

So now I have swapped sketchbooks with another artist working on the Cover2Cover project. Next theme: Conceal and Reveal. Interesting.

A room with a view


This should have been a something inspired by Morandi, the given theme of the roving sketchbook in the Cover2Cover initiative (Open Studios2017) currently in my possession. But I have just had a weekend in Lancashire and my visual thoughts are with bare trees and wintry landscapes, not the toned back paintings of pottery. I then thought I could reference Ben Nicholson with a landscape seen through a row of pots, but the view from my window (now just a digital photograph) felt more compelling.

It’s just a sketch – using acrylics and pastels on tinted paper –  but there’s the beginnings of a bigger piece lurking in there. Once Signor Morandi has moved on.



On show this week

old rose

Dropped off three paintings this morning at the Town Hall in Newbury – exhibiting with Newbury Art Group all this week, closing next Sunday. This afternoon visited Sandham Memorial at Burghclere to look at exhibition space for a show next spring as part of Open Studios (Newbury and North Hampshire).



Frugality and dissatisfaction with an old work – I washed off an unsuccessful painting under running water with a stiff nylon washing-up brush in hand. This left the ink lines I had added to the original (in a desperate attempt to rescue a bad job!) so I painted over the whole image with red acrylic while the paper was still wet. When that was dry I painted the image again – actually using up leftovers in my palette rather than wash them away (more frugality).

The scene is a street cafe in Chania, Crete. The under-painting in red not only seals the water colour paper for more acrylics, I think it also adds a vibrancy to the simple shapes of the composition.

Landscape workshop


Yesterday I drove through the stunning, rolling horizons of Wiltshire to attend a workshop about aspects of landscape painting, and spent the day working up a painting of Berkshire. Oh well. It’s not finished – I am still at the foot of very steep learning curve that is called painting – but I think I came away with lessons learned.