The countdown has started – only a handful of working days before the start of this year’s Open Studios on 3rd May and there is still lots to do.
I am very pleased to be exhibiting again as part of the Rock, Paper, Scissors collective. You can find us at Studio 67 in Hungerford (details in the Open Studios programme).
You will also be able to see my work at the Open Studios flagship exhibition at Greenham Business Park throughout May, open daily 11am-5pm (8pm on Thursdays) and in TheCurve at Hungerford Hub & Library which is showcasing some of the Hungerford artists involved in OpenStudios (open Friday 3rd May, 12-4pm, Saturday 4th May 10-4pm and Sunday 5th May, 10-2pm).
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 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.
Getting ready for an exhibition this weekend in East Shefford. I have three pieces in this showcase of local artists being held at St Thomas’s Church, Saturday 15 July, 10-6pm. There is also an Open Garden and concert in the evening – proceeds to the church fund.
A commissioned painting for someone who also has a love of rocks and pebbles. It was inspired by a visit to Portland Bill some time ago and this is one of a series on the same theme. The first was purely a study, a drawing exercise using graphite and coloured pencil. This version is more detailed yet also more spontaneous in its treatment, using both wet and dry media (plus a little bit of chemistry) to get where I wanted it to be.
I have an expanding collection of pastels as I experiment with this brilliant medium. I’ve always been a bit wary of them but put to use alongside watercolours, in no particular sequence, and the possibilities are endless.
My latest acquisition is a set of Koh-I-Noor soft pastels which are luscious. I have them because one of my art buddies (we meet every Tuesday afternoon in Hungerford Library for tea and wisdom) was throwing them out.
This painting has been worked on top of an old watercolour which I hated and washed off. Some of the marks still remain which adds texture and another dimension to the image. I started the drawing process with a water soluble crayon while the paper was still wet to produced a soft, ethereal profile on which to start working. It’s all experimentation and a little accidental but sometimes you end up just where you thought you should be.
I can see the sunshine in this. It was made in my sketchbook some time before the darkness and cold arrived, when there were real shadows surrounding objects sitting on a table. One of many (seemingly endless) exercises in the early stages of OCA Watercolour 1 – this one working with warm colours. There are messier ones in this series; the painting with grey and brown tones had a particularly bad ending.
However this one was made off-piste, away from proscriptive exercises, just for the pleasure of painting, after I had worked out a lot of issues surrounding a begonia and some citrus fruit. Wax resist and masking fluid also feature.
Another time, another place. For a time I lived in the Vienne in central France. The landscape and architecture of that area is quite uninspiring to the casual eye. But the longer you are there the more you see and come to appreciate. If you are travelling south this is where you start to see stone ‘longeres’, the long farmhouses built from the stone hewn from the ground. The hole left behind often became the cellar beneath the house. The hills on which these houses sit gently undulate towards the horizon, like the folds on a bedspread, until they meet the huge sky that typifies that region.
This autumn I went on my first ever sketchcrawl. A collection of OCA students gathered on London’s Southbank for sketching and painting as inspiration struck us. Most people focused on the Houses of Parliament (too many straight lines for me) but right where we landed, a guy was blacking-up ready for his performance as a living statue. His interaction with the audience, and their reaction was ace. This drawing was made from my sketches. Graphic pen and watercolour (painted with my favourite 1/4″ flat brush).
Watercolour sketch, working out depths and tone. Its messy and badly done but I can see some interesting stuff coming though. (I know what you are saying at the back; pity she didn’t use proper watercolour paper. Yes, well, it’s just a bit of messing around but I take your point.)
Abandoned shoes on the quay at Warsash – my new favourite place. I saw more than one pair missing their owner after a boat had been loaded on to the trailer! Pressed charcoal and watercolour. Just a sketch.
Off-piste – a bit of a mess around with a wax crayon (borrowed) and a 3/4″ brush (also borrowed) at art group yesterday – meanwhile stuck in the middle of all those exercises for OCA Watercolour Practice – where will they lead? Will I actually be able to produce a coherent painting using watercolour at the end of it ?
(ps the view is of Marcay, near Chinon in France – I was working from a photograph taken in sunshine and warm air, neither of which were present, sadly, when I finally put wash to paper. Sigh.)