When work and play are one and the same…

small portrait 3

As a part time artist with not enough hours in the week, a holiday weekend is a chance to grab some luxury/necessary time in the studio! The weeks go by all too quickly and I can never get any where near as much work as I would like to in those oh-so-precious studio days so a 3 day weekend is a self indulgent appointment with myself to just play with no aims or goals apart from to relax and have fun painting.

small portrait 1

I finished 4 small portraits (7 x 5 inches) and loved painting every single one of them. No other inspiration other than my imagination and a few images just to work on the shadows and highlights. They are acrylics and marks all pencil and will be given away as gifts.

small portrait 2

I am thinking however that as well as being studies for future paintings they might be worth framing up to have as smaller works at a couple of art shows I have coming up. What do you think?


I also want to introduce you to our new rescue cat – Millie who is one years old and an absolute sweetheart. She has only been with us a week and has settled in so well (although her and our other cat Munro are having a few teething problems getting to know each other but I am hoping they will settle down eventually). Another blackie she is almost identical to Munro but smaller. When the rescue centre told us that black cats are hardest to rehome (I don’t know why!) and that she had been there almost half her life then we knew she was the one for us.  I am chuffed to bits that she seems to love sleeping in the studio when I am working! Something that Munro has never done. I think the fleecy blanket and hot water bottle might have something  to do with it.

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(ad)Venturing into oils.

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After thinking about venturing into oils for ever such a long time.. and thinking.. and thinking, I finally got out those tubes of paint that have been hiding away in my studio for ever and a day and got to it. I have worked in just about every media you can buy in an art supplies catalogue but for some reason have always been fearful of trying out oil painting – the ‘fat over lean’ rule confusing me, the endless oil mediums available and the worry of ruining work by not understanding the fundamentals, scaring me off. Sometimes it feel like you need a degree in chemistry to understand the rules of creating art!

But then sometimes you just have to jump in at the deep end and learn by your mistakes – appreciating the process without worrying about the result and so that is how I eventually came to begin last week. I have been reading a few art books lately on materials and techniques but really I know that it is only by getting the brushes and paints out that I will  learn. So above and below are my first and second attempts in oil paints. I have so much to learn! I am finding the technique for laying down the paint is very different from acrylics (I usually work in acrylics, inks, pencils and oil sticks) and it is taking a bit of getting used to.

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With these 2 studies (first a self portrait, second from an inspiration image) I have really just been trying to make a start, to see how the oils work, how to lay down the marks and get a feel for the paint but I am looking forward to learning so much more and finding my own way with them, pushing them to create my own style as I have done with other media. I have a long way to go and this is just the beginning but I am excited to at last be trying them out. Lets see where they take me!

Getting to the easel…

Getting to the easel...

… is half the battle.

This is a lesson I need to learn and re-learn and make a poster of to hang on my studio wall.

With only one full studio day during the week now and a few weekends of out and about busy’ness I have been feeling a bit under pressure to ‘come up with the goods’ on that one day. So last Thursday, as I was sitting at my desk feeling a bit tired and sorry for myself, procrastinating and willing myself to begin working, 3pm came alot quicker than I could have imagined. Giving myself a swift kick and finally getting up to my easel determined to just put paint to paper no matter how it turned out I soon found myself enjoying just playing with the materials and lost in the process.

So yet again I ask myself ‘Why could I not have done this at 9am!?’ I would have had many more hours in the studio and enjoyed it a lot more. But again, I try to take note and learn the lesson. Sitting moping gets me no-where. Standing up at the easel and just putting brush to board, starts the process – and no matter what comes out, it is worth it.

So now to make a reminder to myself to hang on that studio wall!

What motivates and encourages you? What tricks do you use to get yourself out of those times when you feel less than inspired?

I would love to know!

The above piece is just one of the peices I finished in those few short hours – mixed media on paper.

All framed up ……..

All framed up ........

As an artist, the icing on the cake in terms of creating work, for me is seeing a piece that you have put your heart and soul into, all beautifully framed.

This is my first work on board to be framed (all previous work has been on paper) and I just love how it has turned out, the warmth of the frame bringing out the warmth and texture of the painting, the black beading adding to the dramatic and haunting atmosphere.

A few years ago I would have been heading to ‘that’ swedish store (love it for furniture!) to buy a ready-made frame which was chosen more by size and cost rather than what would do my work justice. But I have learned a lot over the years and value my own work a lot more – so the extra expense is worth every penny to finish a piece off in the best possible way.

Don’t scrimp on framing!

The After the Monet exhibition is still on at the Coningsby Gallery but not for much longer – the last day is this Saturday the 9th March so if you are in London and would like to see a diverse and exciting exhibition of emerging artists then this is a good one to see. We are planning to exhibit again in the future so if you would like to be kept updated then you can also click that ‘Like’ button on our facebook page.

I was so disappointed not to make the preview especially as 2 of the judges from the show made an appearance!