Saturday, 29 December 2012

Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days

I have just signed up for the Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge!! Am I mad? No,I just need some motivation! My studio is out of bounds for a few days while my new floor insulation is being laid, hopefully I can best use this time to organise myself for the challenge! 
Now I know I won't be able to paint EVERY day so there will be days when I will have to do 2 or more paintings! Obviously they will be small, maybe VERY small! There are no penalties for not doing 30 paintings within the time scale but it would be nice if I could.

These old working boots were the subject of the first small oil painting I completed in 2012 and started me on a wonderful adventure. Having been exclusively a pastel artist for the past 7 years, after a hiccup or two, I am loving the complete change in medium and subjects!

I have since bought myself gouache paints and received a set of acrylic inks for Christmas! I had done a few little sketches with my gouache which I will post soon. I look forward to a new year of new and exciting challenges, which I promise to share over the next 12 months - but I'd best see my 30 paintings challenge through first!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to one and all! After all the cooking and eating I actually managed to get down into my studio today! I got my pastels and oils out! I thought I'd try the same subject, in pastel first, then try it again in oil. Neither were particularly successful but I will keep working on them, though not for a week or so.
My dear better half is putting down underfloor insulation so I spent the latter part of this afternoon moving as much stuff on to my work surfaces so he can get access to at least two-thirds of the floor! Then I will move everything over to the other side!!So I have a grand excuse to NOT paint but I will be sketching as much as possible! Honestly!!!
I received new acrylic inks for Christmas, I'm looking forward to experimenting with them!!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Daily Painting

It has been an age since I blogged - life has been busy and my energy levels have not been as high as I'd like! I am finding it difficult to photograph my little oils without getting some glare from the oils themselves! I use a quick dry medium which gives the paintings a really nice sheen but it is this sheen that is causing the problem! I take my photos from the same shady spot in the garden but the results aren't consistent these days. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
I have been busy with commissions, pastel dog portrait and children's portraits. It has been a long time since I did a painting for myself! When will I get back to Daily Painting? The nasturtiums were a late summer subject - I still have a little red one flowering under the hedge!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Winter Fair

I spent today at the Winter Fair in Castle Douglas. I didn't sell as much as hoped but have 3 commissions in the book and some more names for my classes. All in all I enjoyed the experience. This was my first "Fair" event. It was well organised by Leah Halliday from Dumfries My table was located by a wall for my boarding with an electrical point. I arrived too early - story of my life - I hate to be late!!! I was set up in no time - surprisingly it took longer to take down!
The cakes, teas and coffees were situated straight across the room from me - yummee!! There were a variety of vintage stalls, food stalls and of course, crafts of every shape and form!
There were loads of people, at one point you could hardly move - difficult for folks to see the stalls though! At 2pm we had some live music - The choir Leah belongs to gave us their best, especially a rendition of Adele's "Breathless" - they were wonderful.
I had intended to wear "vintage" but I was so cold in the morning that I'm afraid my dress stayed in the car! The sun was beating in the windows of the hall but with the doors open for the punters, it was decidedly chilly at times!
The stall on one side was Ivy Rose Vintage www.facebook.comIvyRoseVintage, their stuff went like a train from the moment the doors opened and Morag MacPherson's Textiles on my other side was also very busy. Ivy Rose are two ladies from Edinburgh who do this as a hobby - they and Morag were great company. The stallholders were all very friendly and welcoming!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Winter Fair Castle Douglas

Things are hotting up! The poster for the up and coming fair I am showing in, arrived earlier this evening. I have my set up to work out and still a bit of framing to get done. I have lists coming out of my ears. I am looking forward to it though. Any innovative ideas for presenting small framed paintings in an attractive way? 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Painting, sketching, walking at Pittenweem

My husband and I have just spent a wonderful week on the Fife Coast in the little fishing/artist's haven of Pittenweem. We rented a little cottage which was a real home from home.
The weather was so good, wall to wall sunshine, we could hardly believe our luck! We walked with our little cocker spaniel, Millie, till our legs nearly dropped off. Then we went back to the cottage and ate and ate..... All that fresh sea air! The dog is the only one of us thinner after this great little holiday!
I did a bit of sketching - trying out my new gouache paints, I love the pinks and mauves I am mixing. I used it like watercolour initially, then I decided to use the white in my mixes - I found it an unsettling experience and so far I'm not too keen on the results!
The silhouette of the buildings along the coastline, down to the rocks and out to sea are so beautiful, each little village along the coastal walk different but the same, each little cottage with it's red roof, the whitewashed walls alongside the warm sandstone walls of townhouses. Higglety, pigglety alleyways and closes meandering down to the harbour, and HUGE skies! Panoramic sunsets!!
I am working on some little pieces from my sketches, I'll post them as soon as I can.
I am happy to be home - but not!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Life Sketches

Our life models are doing us proud again this term! It is a joy to draw them! They all have such busy lives, we are blessed they can fit us into their weekly schedules.

I am still using my water soluable pen but now with some black watercolour as my paper is very absorbant. It's just cheap sugar paper. My 5 minute sketches are still being done in my sketchbook. I will post some of them in October
I love life drawing so much - all our group are passion about it, no wonder we have a waiting list!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sweet Pea Painting

I feel I have been neglecting my blog of late - so much going on, classes, painting and life drawing as well as my other jobs!

This is my latest new small painting, I loved the entire process, creating this  little oil - Tina one of my students brought along the last of her sweet peas. I plonked them in the little vase just as they were, no arranging. The vase was a charity shop find - 30pence! 
I am taking part in the Xmas Vintage Fair in Castle Douglas on the 3rd November. I will have a stand of my small paintings. Sweet Peas, will be for sale at £85, including a wide solid wood frame, painted in one of Farrow and Ball's gorgeous muted shades. 
I hope to find a 1950s outfit I can wear on the day - so anyone out there got a vintage 1950s dress or skirt? Size 12 - though the sizes will be all different, I'm sure!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Garden Sketches

Our Custom House Art Group are gathering sketches together to hopefully produce some pleasing work of the gardens in the High Street. I think working as a group takes away all fear of working in a public space! We spent a lovely afternoon painting and sketching in Broughton House garden (EA Hornel's former home) last month. The garden was full of tourists, who I happily talked to and even showed my sketchbook! Who'd have thought it? Remember my first blog in May, when I sketched "out" for the first time in the Cotswolds?

This little watercolour and ink sketch shows the window of Hornel's studio and the blue agapanthus blowing in the breeze.

This potting shed sketch was done in another part of the High St. Pauline and I headed out one damp morning. We had great fun even though we were pretty damp ourselves by the lunchtime!!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Life Drawing Time Again

 My life drawing is a bit rusty but I enjoyed it so much this week! My 2 paintings were accepted into the Dumfries Fine Art Exhibition and.... my Pink Lace Cap Hydrangea painting, I showed in a previous post, SOLD on the preview evening!!! It's lovely to sell but to go during the preview feels great! 
I have been hard at work today completing another flower themed oil painting and trying to set up the studio for my second class this week. My husband came down with a cup of coffee and to keep me company - he fell asleep, this painting milarky must be soooo boring!!!!!!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Teacher's Apple

I took my first class today! I stressed - a lot - beforehand but it went swimmingly, after I stopped dropping the still life items! I have 4 students, more than enough in my little studio, they are lovely.
Life drawing started back this week too. Wednesday evening was so good, relaxing almost. Kat her usual wonderful self, such a good model. Thursday evening had it's moments,I will say no more - Jif, you were great!
This trio of apples and the checkered cloth was a trial - painting wet in wet isn't easy, light blue meeting dark blue, criss cross - what shade of blue is it now? I loved painting the apples, the cloth, less so!
Dumfries Fine Art Society Exhibition preview evening tonight, looking forward to it - tomorrow morning - let me sleep till 8pm, please!!!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Pink Lace Cap Hydrangea oil painting on board

This little 8" square oil on board is my second Hydrangea painting. I enjoyed every aspect of the "doing" of this work and I LOVE the challenge of painting glass to look like glass!
I have a huge lace cap bush in my garden, it is taking over!The stems are in a tinted glass tumbler I bought from a local charity shop. I have been on the lookout for more coloured glass items but nothing so far.
I have sent this piece to the Dumfries Fine Art Summer Exhibition, hoping it will please the jurors enough to get in.
I also sent along a large figurative piece, which I love, unframed. It was rejected as unframed canvases can only be considered if they are BOX canvases! I feel so stupid for not reading the rules and regs!! Lesson learnt!!

My painting "Purple Hydrangea" sold the other day!!! Every piece I show on my posts, is for sale, unless stated otherwise.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Beach Daddy

The weather was glorious today, I went along to my first Thai Chi class (forgive me if my spelling is wrong) this morning. It was wonderful! During the relaxation at the end, I was almost nodding off to sleep!! I can't believe I will ever be able to remember the moves, I was watching our instructor intently! When she changed direction and I couldn't see her, I was all over the place! 
I collected my new studio shelving units from the joiners at lunchtime and gave them a coat of paint as soon as I got them out of the car (2 journeys and I slid them out using a folded tarpaulin I had placed in the boot before they went in.) The worktops were delivered while I was at Thai Chi. My nearest and dearest has promised to put them in place on Sunday. That'll give me a few days to tidy up ready for my new classes.
The painting "Beach Daddy" shows a very clever Dad, who said he would stay and watch the bags, while the other adults and all the kids headed out for a paddle and swim - he settled down with his book within minutes! I enjoyed getting the chance to use some bright colours!

Friday, 24 August 2012

More cherries

I know - more cherries! I can't help myself!! I so enjoyed painting this one! They have now all been either eaten, or thrown out because they were mushy. I have a bag of pears in the fridge.....

I am having a couple of cupboards made for my studio, I'm waiting patiently (not), the place is a mess! I struck lucky yesterday, as I parked my car near one of our local charity shops. Someone had left 4 great looking, well upholstered, office chairs on the doorstep! I hadn't time to wait for the shop to open, so thought I'd missed my chance! One of the ladies who runs the place was out early, shopping. She also saw the chairs dumped there and afraid they were going get wet, she duly opened up the shop to drag them inside!! I jumped in to help but also managed to buy 2 for my studio for the grand total of £8! Bargain!!! They are very comfortable too!!! For once I was in the right place at the right time!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Cherry Ripe, Ripe for Painting!

I love painting cherries - lots of people do, but usually they like eating them too! Not me!! My better half gets that pleasure!
I sold a little cherry oil painting during the Art Trail at the begining of the month but could have sold it a few times over. One lady asked me to paint one especially for her. I was worried I wouldn't be able to buy cherries at this time of year! What decade am I living in? I still think of fruit and vegetables being grown in their seasons! My dear friend popped into the supermarket and bought me a nice little packet of cherries, complete with the very important stalks!
I hope all you cherry lovers out there enjoy my new 6" square oil! I so enjoyed painting it!!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Purple Hydrangea oil painting on board

It's been a while since I've posted! Today I had a photoshoot with Wendy and her 2 lovely kids - the photos were great, though not a lot I can use for portraits. I will do a few sketches from the ones I like and see what "Mum" says.
As I was leaving she gave me a few stems of her beautiful Hydrangea bush. I couldn't wait to get home and start painting! I had a few jobs to do first but after lunch I toddled off to the studio with my jar of flowers! I used MDF board 8inch square and my water based oils.
I sold a few of my small still life paintings during the Art and Craft Trail, which was gratifying. It's all very well painting away and thoroughly enjoying the subject but we artists all like our work to have appeal to a wider audience, other than just ourselves and the dog!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Day 3 and Day 4 Art and Craft Trail

Well, it's all over, we are all exhausted but exhilarated too! I sold another 4 paintings, the girls lots more jewellery and our potter had very little to take back home!

The kids were a joy, their parents and grandparents enjoyed the art and their cream teas! We were so lucky with the weather, Scotland being Scotland, we were prepared for the worst! We even fed the drivers on the free bus dropping off and picking up our visitors!

The whole experience was like having a 4 day party in the garden! Well, it WAS a 4 day party!

I have been approached by a few people about art lessons, so I am preparing for them as I write this blog, even though I haven't moved a thing in the garden or studio back where it stays!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Day 2 Art and Craft Trail

Day 2 of our Art and Craft Trail and the sun shone on us again!!! You must realise that for Scotland that is one big deal!! We had a bit of thunder rolling around in the afternoon but then headed off in another direction!
We had more great familes visiting, lots of children doing the workshops - we have been so impressed with their artistic abilities! The little boy in the white jacket made a fabulous beach stone model yesterday and brought all his family with him today to make a stunning driftwood creation! Some kids chose to make lanterns but the beach art was more popular!
Lesley and Becky's jewellery has been selling like hotcakes both days. Up till today I had sold only cards but today 2 paintings were snapped up much to my delight!!! Our potter has had steady sales too!
We all agree it is lovely to have the footfall, meeting lots of new people - I especially enjoy to see visitors returning from last year - sales are an added bonus!
Our cream tea numbers were down, I gave the remaining scones to my neighbours to enjoy! We must be getting used to the buzz and hard work - we are not so bone weary tonight!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Day 1 Art and Craft Trail

The trail is now underway! Day 1 completed! My first job of the day was baking a huge batch of scones for serving with our cream teas! To say I was stressing a little is perhaps an understatement! Lesley ( my daughter) and Becky, my jewellery makers, went round town displaying posters and placing markers and arrows to our venue ( my studio in our garden).
My dear friend Lorna came along to help, she is a born saleswoman!
The sun shone on us, we couldn't believe it! People piled in, perusing the paintings, jewellery and ceramics and buying a little along the way! We met a lot of lovely people.
Our lantern and beach art workshops went down well too. With only one scone left at the end of the day, the cream teas were a roaring success! I enjoyed that last scone with raspberry jam and a cup of tea this evening!
The girls are fast asleep and I am nodding off during this blog - so goodnight - I'll keep you posted on the following 3 days

Monday, 16 July 2012

Feeling the Pressure

I have been in the throws of making my own frames! Out of the 10 I put together only 2 fell apart! I must have scrimped with the glue on those ones! I've been doing my still life oils, trying to stretch myself, adding more crockery, flowers etc and wonder if perhaps I'm trying to run before I can walk! It has been difficult! On Sunday I set about painting an 8" square canvas. I am happy with the finished article, a little cream jug with cherries.  Our Art and Craft Trail takes place the first weekend in August. We have a fundraising event during that time - artists are given a canvas square and asked to paint whatever they choose, they return the canvases, which are put on sale for £10 each. We can't sign them, we just put our name on the back. They sold like hotcakes last year, no wonder - at that price!

I am opening my studio again this year for the Trail and am trying to get the garden in order, as well as painting and making frames. I have been relatively calm up till this point but can feel the pressure closing in on me! It's not conducive to good painting! I will have to CHILL!!!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Sketching at last

It is over a month since my break in the Cotswolds and I finally found the courage to go out sketching locally -I am very self conscious or have been up till now! Our little cocker spaniel came along on the last lovely day we had the other week. I left the house at 8.30am with my flask of coffee and packed lunch, meaning business! We headed for Balcary near Auchencairn. I decided to take the inland route, just incase the dog went too near the cliffs. Then I read a sign saying "cows and feeding calves, can be aggressive," so we took another direction! Millie bounded through the fields, having a whale of a time. I stopped to sketch some lovely foxgloves. Many years ago I used to wear the flowerheads on the ends of my fingers and pretend they were my pink painted nails! I had been told by my Mother not to touch them, as they were poisonous. Obviously I didn't listen, I was only 6 or 7 yrs old.

I had just completed my little sketch when a couple appeared behind me, they told me where to carry on with the walk and went on their way. Unfortunately they had disturbed a large herd of bulls, cows and calves! They managed to get over the hill and out of sight, Millie and I weren't so lucky! We were stuck in our field with the choice of either stay where we were or go back down to the car! I settled down to do another sketch while Millie snuffled about looking for mice and suchlike. It felt so liberating and I couldn't believe that I was, without thinking about it, only putting down a tiny bit of the vista before me! Previously I had the big problem of feeling there was so much "landscape", where would I begin! 

On Monday at Rockcliffe I attended a charity workshop to raise money for the Macmillan Nurses. Frances and David's garden was utterly gorgeous! I sneaked away to a little corner and managed to put down another little sketch in my book.

I am hooked! Now when I want to go out sketching, the rain won't stop!!!!! Sod's law!!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

No rest this Sunday

It has been a busy day - this moring I took photos of all my small paintings for my website - I do that out of doors in a shady spot. Owing to the fact we haven't had a great deal of sun here lately, I knew I could get this tedious job safely completed with an hour! The weather has been horrendous, rain, more rain and then more rain!!! Nearly forgot about the wind, it was like Autumn!
I took my bar stool out of the studio and put the painting on the seat, resting against the chairback, as straight as I could get it. My camera was on it's tripod and I had it set to click on timer delay! Great, all set - five, four, three, two, one - click goes the camera - BLOW goes my painting right on it's front - I had many photos of the back of the chair, which I duly deleted! So it took a little longer than anticipated!
This afternoon I headed down to the local church hall with my homebaking to help with the coffee/tea afternoon raising funds for our local Arts and Crafts Trail. We worked in conjunction with Scottish Open Gardens, once everyone had viewed the gardens, they then headed to us for refreshments! It was pretty hectic but great fun.
Since coming home I have spent my time updating my website with the photos I took this morning- I have been trying to do this for months! It's done  - fab-u-lous!

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Outdoor Life

My lovely friend Annie from Boulder sent me a beautiful gift of a pochade box! See the photo - isn't it just gorgeous? I have filled it all ready for use! The rain has been hammering down all day, no let up and the forecast isn't looking too good either! I am baking tomorrow - we have an open garden event in town on Sunday, we will be serving teas  - all in aid of our Arts and Crafts Trail fund! I hope for everyone's sake that the rain has stopped by then!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Life Drawing

Yesterday was spent life drawing for 6 hours! Exhausting but exhilerating! This was the first all day workshop I'd organised. Since March 2011 I've ran 2 evenings a week, in blocks of 6-8 weeks. No tutoring, the artist just get stuck in! We have a great band of models - we are really lucky in this little rural part of South Scotland
I tried producing larger pieces of work yesterday but found it really difficult - I am too used to my sketchbook and water soluble pens!

The top sketch was done yesterday in 2 minutes, the middle is from our last evening session in May, a 20 mins pose. The bottom sketch took 30 mins

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Brian and I are into day 4 of our little holiday in the Cotswolds, the weather has been glorious and today I did a little watercolour painting! Then later in the afternoon, I did a couple of quick pen sketches of some cows, who kept blooming moving! This is a HUGE deal, as- one, I'm not a watercolourist and - two, I don't do painting in public, I'm a studio painter! I thoroughly enjoyed myself today but being anonymous down in this neck of the woods makes all the difference! Do you think if I paint twice a day, every day while I am here by the time I get home, I won't care who sees me out and about locally? We will see!