Monday, 23 May 2011


A couple of jobs needed doing today.....finish the small painting on wood I started the other day, and to start something on a 4'x 4' board, destined for Brightlingsea Marina. There is an expanse of hoarding there, needing covering. Local artists have been invited to do their stuff.

All done.

 It was difficult for me to decide what to paint on this large board. Other pictures already in situ are beautifully colourful and wide ranging subject matter. from a Mexican style desert view, bathing beauties and abstract flowers  I wanted to do something of a local theme but really wasn't too sure until I started. I have employed usual techniques using a mix of collage, house paint and acrylic.

 The boat and beach huts in the distance are newsprint and tissue.

 The colours are not showing up too well in the photo. The boat has a good dash of vivid green and yellow

Time flew. It took me about 5 hrs to get to this point. Had to stop as the colours were beginning to muddy up. So I've left it until tomorrow and will tackle it then with a fresh eye.

Hope I'll finish it this week and take it down at the weekend. PS. No prizes for noticing I used my photo of a Maltese tender as a model. The water is not such a vibrant turquoise in Brightlingsea !
I thought THIS was a wkd idea for part of the hoarding !

Thought for the day ! 

(from Buddhist offerings 365)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Busy Busy

Making a start on this Maltese doorway, painted on wood. I probably shouldn't show work until it's finished, but I quite like the ongoing process. The wood makes a lovely surface to work on, really grainy, especially for  a wooden door and stone walls. The colours are subdued like the dusty peeling green paint and sun washed stone. I loved the architecture in Malta and took endless photos of doors and balconies. A constant supply of inspiration. Oh to go back... a flat in Valletta would be just perfect!....dream... 
This small painting (approx 40x60cm) is to add to a couple of others, I hope will be chosen to hang in the Colchester Art Society show, at Layer Marney Tower . The show in July. Three works can be submitted and  all, some or none are selected!  We'll see.
I now have work hanging in The Treble Tile restaurant in West Bergholt, so get along and sample their fab food whilst perusing my paintings!
Great excitements,  Jardine Bistro in Wivenhoe have offered me a slot next year to show my work, in their stunning restaurant. It's such a great space for art work, and they have showcased some amazing artists, so I'm very excited. There is quite a lot of hanging space so I had better start work now !

Southend Festival is running a competition for artists, if you would like to vote for my work (or someone else's ) go to my Facebook page click on the link and 'LIKE' my painting. Thanks.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Willow The Wisp

This week I spent a day with Debbie Hall, a willow artist, having some one to one tuition in how to create willow sculptures.  Well, the basics really, it takes a long time to master the art of weaving willow well. I had first been inspired by Laura Ellen Bacon's work at the basketry exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich. Wow I thought I must learn how to do that. Laura produces amazing, flowing organic shapes from the willow, stunning. Anyway, Debbie was a very patient teacher (and superb willow weaver) and managed to drum in some fundamental techniques in a short space of time.

These are just a few pieces dotted around her garden. More examples of her work can be seen on her website Salix Arts. I particularly like the fish, which were made using very branchy, branches! Parts of the coppiced willow that was too uneven to use in the more structured pieces. 

The willow in buckets of water to keep fresh, has been harvested to be used in 'living' willow structures. Things like garden arbours or 'growing' garden chairs. Normally for basketry and sculpture, the willow is harvested in the winter when the trees are dormant and the sap is not rising. This gives the finished sculpture lastability and it is more supple and easier to work.

So, here are fruits of my labours ! No...don't laugh... the intention was not to make a finished piece, but learn all  I could in the time, using the basics for developing a sculpture. Circles slotted inside each other can be made into globes, many globes can then be  lashed together. The start of  many structures. 

The next basic shape is a sort of a tower. this can be used to give height/length. The shape of it can be altered as you go along. So for example, I could  have given the tower a waist, stuck a globe on the top and already you have the makings of a simple figure. Or horizontally, it could be the start of an animal. All that is need then is to weave more and more withies in to the structure, until the desired effect is reached.

This (above) is a very useful knot for lashing pieces together and also has decorative qualities that can be utilized in the design.  Obviously a great deal more practise is need but I'm very excited about working on this. I went down to our lake this afternoon to cut some withies, just so that I can have something to work on, before I spend a lot of money on buying in bundles of willow! I hope that in the Autumn I will get round to planting up some different varieties for future harvesting. Looks like a long term project!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Grrrrrrr Bloody Grrrrrr

The washing machine has packed up and the last remaining knob on the cooker looks set to curl up it's toes. I walked into my studio, after a couple of weeks, with the intention of completing a painting. I hated the picture immediately. The place was a mess. Hmmmm. I sat and turned the pages of  THIS  to 4th May. Aaaaahhhh !

Sat for a while then painted over the picture with white paint. There is still a ghost of an image, but I feel a lot happier!

In other news. I'm off on a jaunt next month. A solitary retreat to an island. People keep asking me if I will be painting. I don't think I will. I don't want to get bogged down with painting what I see. I want to just be open to ideas........Balancing stones maybe, like THIS

Or This !

It's a start LOL.