Saturday, 28 December 2013

Jan Painting and Drawing Lessons

The lull between Xmas and New Year, a time to prepare for the coming months

I have my posters all ready to hand out for the next session  of painting and drawing classes. We will now meet in Greyfriars House, giving us more space!
Anyone interested in coming along, just email or give me a call!

Monday, 16 December 2013

January 2014 Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge

I am planning to take part in another 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge this January! I AM mad but honestly it is very rewarding! One thing I don't want to repeat this January, is not knowing from day to day what my subjects will be! The early morning panic - what shall I paint - help.......ahhh..... lunchtime - what shall I paint - help.......I have to start painting!!!!! That's the pressure point!
So, instead of inwardly shouting "help" at that point, I'd love your help - NOW!! PLEASE!!!! Send me suggestions that I could do a series of, maybe 3 or 4 variations or different colour variations of the same subject, anything that comes into your head.... obviously your suggestions need to include items I can get my hands on!
I have been suffering alot of shoulder and upper back pain over the last few months - which began in earnest whilst I was hard at work painting for the Whitehouse Gallery Xmas Exhibition. I presumed that my osteoporosis was worsening - I am delighted to say it has not, in fact, my bone density has improved! So much so, I am now just borderline!!!! So the pain is purely muscular and needs physio and pilates, no medication!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Male Model Two Life Drawing

This male model could only model for us for one evening, as he had hurt his foot. I don't think he was exactly delighted to see the sarong, coolie hat and parasol our artist brought along but he looked great! 

I hope he can come back to model for us in the new year!

Monday, 2 December 2013

New Session Painting and Drawing Classes

My drawing and painting classes recommence on January 31st to April 4th 2014. Fridays 10-1pm, being held at Greyfriars House, Kirkcudbright. A ten week block costing £100
Email for registration -
I am now working on Xmas commissions - hope I get finished in time!!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Female Model 1 Life Drawing

This lady is such a character and will try anything for us, so wearing high heels and nothing else, didn't phase her at all.
I love the way she holds her head as she poses and try to get the head done first. As I said in a previous post, the variety of props has been interesting! I took a fit of the giggles when the tennis racquet was brandished by our model! She took no offence but said if she had had a ball, it might have came in my direction!
This lady of "a certain  age" is so vivacious, she does her own modelling slots and when one of the other models can't make it for any reason, she always helps us out! You may notice a little tail on one of the sketches..... Tony was in charge of the poses that evening and requested, "think mermaid" which I duly did, hence the tail! Great fun....

Monday, 25 November 2013

Male Model One - Life Drawing

I have found this last block of life drawing sessions, have become my favourite so far. Nearly all the artists have been posing the models - bringing along props for them to use, sit on or wear. My next few posts will consist of collages made from my sketches, model by model.
This particular model is of Eastern European descent which is very obvious in his facial features - though as you can see I haven't managed to catch that, this time round. He has been modelling with us since the beginnings of our group, almost 3 years ago.
I use a good quality cartridge paper and water soluble pen or pencil - I found the blue pencil last Wednesday and thought I would try it out that evening - not keen, I think I will leave it at home from now on!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Oil Painting Workshop Review

What a great group of artists attended my one day oil painting workshop yesterday! Three were Life Drawing Group devotees plus three new faces!I set up the hall on Friday evening - it was like moving house! I had to write a HUGE list, then tick off as I loaded the car. It only took an hour to set up - at least 3 times that to gather everything together and get the car ready!
I supplied everything, they just had to turn up! Then the hard work began! We were using Winsor and Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oils with their Quick Drying Medium, painting small still life pieces! Commencing with a simple subject in the morning, the lad and lassies chose from a selection of still life items I had brought along.
We had a warming lunch, interspersed with stories and laughter. The mood was more serious in the afternoon, deep in concentration, most having started a second piece. Colour mixing with a limited palette was new to all but they were keen to learn as much as they could. I really appreciated everyone's help, clearing up at the end of the day. See the gang above. I couldn't have asked for a nicer bunch!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Exhibition Going Well

I seemed to have neglecting my blog of late, sorry to all my followers. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day and even when there is, I don't have any energy left.......
Only 2 more weeks of life drawing sessions, I love it, but it is something else to think about.
Along with 8 other artists I attended a Kevan McGinty workshop on Saturday. Kevan works very freely and in acrylics - the very opposite from the way I work. I had NEVER painted in acrylic in my life till that day! All I used them for was tinting my gesso for my oil panels!
We used them like watercolours, we dripped them on, we ladled on gesso, we washed over that. We cling filmed, scraped back.... after feeling completely lost in the morning - as well as covering my face and specs in spatters of bright green paint, I began to really enjoy myself. Kevan is such a nice man, he made the day very special!

Today I sold another painting at the Whitehouse Gallery's in their "Little Wonders" exhibition - that makes four pieces sold in total, so far. The exhibition closes in early Jan, so get yourself along and see all the paintings, sculpture, jewerelly, ceramics, glassware, woodwork, and so much more! This is the work I sold today.
This coming Saturday, I have my own workshop "Oil Painting in a Day" so am using every spare minute to get my self organised as well as working on portrait commissions. Xmas is going to creep up on me again, at the last minute, like it does every year lately!
Anyone interested in attending my future workshops, send me an email through my website or a message on Facebook

Friday, 8 November 2013

One Day Workshop 23rd November

I have a one day workshop on Sat 23rd November 10-4pm - Oil Painting in a Day - £50, all materials supplied. Being held in Ringford Village Hall, just off the A75. Tea, coffee, biscuits and lunch all provided - spaces still available

This little painting sold at the Whitehouse Gallery this week - "Crabby Apples"
Go to their website, click on "paintings" then on "Margaret S Milligan" and see what is on show in the gallery

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Successful First Day!

After running to the loo umpteen times before going down to the gallery for my opening, I realised I was early - as usual! I went into a local dress shop and chatted for 10 mins so I wouldn't walk into the gallery early - I still ended up the first one there!!
Lots of friends came along, it was so lovely that they came to see my work - the champagne and chocolates might have helped too!!
I sold TWO paintings, I am thrilled to bits!
This is one of the works sold - go to my facebook page to see the other - please like my page if you haven't already!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Little Wonders Exhibition Opening Sat 2nd Nov

I am so excited and a little nervous! My first showing in the Whitehouse Gallery, Kirkcudbright!!! Please come along, lots to see -  there will be a large range of craftmakers and artists' work on display and for sale! There will be yummy chocolates and champagne too, just to add to the experience! Tomorrow SAT 2nd NOV from 11am!!!
Here is a little preview!

Saturday, 19 October 2013


We came back today from a week down in the Cotswolds, spending the time with our daughter and our wonderful wee grandson! B has been working very hard and I was needing scraped from the ceiling getting ready for  2 exhibitions, we both were in need of the break. The cottage was gorgeous and Oliver a joy!
I knew I was stressed before we headed off but didn't realise just how much!- I took a medicine bottle for my tummy and anti inflamatory cream and painkillers for my shoulders! I didn't use them once! My shoulders had been aching from so much painting!
I could do with a course on meditation and chuck the medication!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Hidden High St

From the heart of the Cotswolds I write this blog - I wish I could lift this cottage and plonk it on top of my house and move in!
Unfortunately there is a lot of glare in my photo of my High St Tulips.

These glass floats are from the High St too - I love outdoor still life! These 2 paintings are on show and for sale at the Hidden High St Exhibition at the Tolooth, Kirkcudbright

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Custom House Art Group Exhibition

At the Tolbooth Art Centre, starting Wednesday 16th October. Mike Quirk, Margaret S Milligan, Pauline Lawton, Liz Dagg, Oriol Milligan and Pauline Saul - we have met at Custom House in the High St, Kirkcudbright for 5 years and this is our first joint venture.
Come along - we are all very different artists!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Mother and Baby Life Drawing

This young lady modelled for us whilst expecting her baby and promised to come along once she had had the baby!
I used the new water soluble medium nibbed pen on good quality cartridge paper. Not my usual style but I enjoyed making the marks - we had to work fast as the baby kept moving, as you may imagine!

The final pose Ros and her daughter settled down, the heat of the room and a feed made the little one sleepy so I managed to get something down that perhaps reads as being a little more peaceful than the fast and furious previous sketches of the evening. Such an enjoyable session, we felt very privileged!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Life Drawing Kat

This is just the greatest model, she is so intuative. She knows how to position her body to give us the best drawing experiences. she takes it so seriously and we all love her to bits!

I am loving life drawing this session as I no longer have to come up with the poses! Some of the other artists are taking turns!
There is such a lot of work involved organising the two life drawing blocks of 10 sessions as well as the ongoing work involved each week. On top of getting organised for 2 upcoming exhibitions, it has been particularly hard work this time!  BUT I love, love, love life drawing, especially with models like this. 
The pose below is my favourite so far. Who knew wrapping the end of a length of fabric round your head and trailing around your body could look so fantastic? Kat did! Thank you goes to Isobel for all her work with Kat coming up with all these poses too!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Watercolour Workshop with Victor

Things have been pretty hectic lately and still are, really, but today was my day off from all the stresses and strains - a one day workshop with watercolourist Victor Henderson 
Victor doesn't draw anything out, he goes straight to the paper with his watercolours, sumptuous hues, letting them bleed and flow. He adds many different things, salt, alcohol, soft and oil pastels, inks and more. Making marks with not only his favourite hakes and mop brushes but whatever comes to hand, including his fingernails - still attached to his hand I may add!
His witty repartee just made the day even more enjoyable - if you are in an art group in the UK - book this artist! He supplied all the materials for the day! Considering I don't paint in watercolour normally, this was just fantastic! We held the workshop in Ringford Hall. Just before leaving for the day, Victor donated a large painting to Ringford's forthcoming fundraising event,for a cancer charity! What a gem!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Still Life Demo - Final

As I began to work on the nastrutium, I realised the shape of the cup wasn't right

It would appear I had moved, so my viewpoint was very different! I shall have to put tape down after this!  So I had to reshape the cup and my shadows

Finally, I crisped up the petals and shadows of the nastrutium, adjusted the other shadows a little and added wee flicks of red here and there to bring the painting all together

Still Life Demo Part Two

I decided to work on the brambles, as you know they are made up of little balls of fruit juice so I had to try and made some the little highlights and tones, not too many, just a suggestion. I also felt the bottom right of the composition needed something so threw in an extra bramble - it might not stay....we will see

I toned down the markings on the brambles, they were just a bit too much

I began to work on the nastrurtium head, oranges are very difficult to mix and decided to add an extra colour to my limited palette - cadmium red light

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Still Life Demo Part 1

Earlier today I finished off 3 paintings I started for the Whitehouse Gallery, which feels great... getting there, slowly. This piece is just something I decided to show you step by step. I started this late on in the day, once the other 3 were completed.
I quickly sketched in my still life subjects with a watery grey oil mix - I know it looks like a long necked skinny tortoise who's lost his back legs! This was done on my 6" square board. It is just a simple guide.
Can I use the old phrase? Do you know what it is yet? I usually paint one part of my paintings almost completely before moving to the next but this time I covered a fair bit of the entire painting quite quickly. 
I love painting glass so that was the part I concentrated on at this point. Previously putting down the shadows also helps to get the tone right for the rest of the painting. I made a dark mix for the brambles using ultramarine, alizarin crimson and a touch of cadmium yellow light. To get it even darker, I added a tiny amount of phthalo (blue)

Part two - to follow!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Strictly Judging!

Last Sunday I went along to Gracefield Arts Centre to spend the afternoon judging the paintings entered into Dumfries and Galloway Fine Arts Summer Exhibition. There were 5 of us on the panel, Keith Brown, Clare Melinski (of Harry Potter bookcover designer fame), Nick Bass, John Threfald and me!

It was my first time and I was nervous! We had a yummy lunch then were seated in a row and given our number cards 1-4, unfortunately no 7 - I would love to have had the opportunity to say SEV-EN like good old Len on Strictly! 
Go to to see us in action - I am the one in the pink!! Don't we all look serious!

I am not posting my paintings at the minute as they are all for exhibitions, the few that I have done. I am feeling really under pressure these days. It's not about producing work, it's about producing good work. Wish me luck! Hope you like my photo of Oliver and his Nonni!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Simply the Best!

My other half agreed to be a guinea pig today - I was testing my teaching skills on him!
He hated art at school because he couldn't draw and in those days you didn't make it to the painting stage if you hadn't drawn it first!
We started off with a charcoal drawing - the subject being a single apple. I had to keep reminding him to look at the subject, but I feel he did really well. B kept smudging the drawing with his knuckles and was getting a bit frustrated so I decided to get onto the painting part!! I mixed a few colours on the palette for him. After that he drew his apple, placing it off centre, with a watery mix, on his small board. He was so good at laying the paint on with the brush. He just got on with it and seemed to be enjoying himself ( he would never admit it, just humouring me, he would say). 
In no time at all, he was done. I asked if he'd like to sign it - to which he replied "I'm not quite finished" - so funny!
Well done, my dear - you're a star!!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Bluesy Thursday!

What a day I have had! Initially I could hardly drag myself out of bed but once I'd showered, I was fine. Today was to be a whole painting day but I still had some boxes of stuff to put back into the studio after the art trail. I took down a plastic box full of spotlamps, forgot my keys, back up to the house for the keys! I got started and so did the rain - completely chucking it down! Twenty minutes later I realised that I'd left the box of lights out in the rain! They are ruined!
At 10am I came up to the house for a coffee, opened the mail and found some "******" had spent over £200 on my credit card! I felt like I'd been slapped! What a horrible feeling! I will be so scared to buy online now! I was a bit unsettled after that, really. B came home for lunch and I burnt the scrambled eggs!
I am desperately trying to get a load of paintings done for my two upcoming exhibitions and did manage to get some work done today. I have one almost done and another half way through.
Hopefully tomorrow will be sunnier all round.............

Monday, 12 August 2013

Beginners' Drawing and Painting Classes

Always wanted to learn how to paint or draw? Live in the Dumfries and Galloway area? My classes start on Friday Sep 20th  - a 10 week block at the cost of £100. Each class lasts 3 hours. You work at your own pace, there is no pressure, only pleasure! Contact me for more details, my email is

Monday, 5 August 2013

Day 4 Art and Craft Trail

What a weekend - we have had a busy day today and now feeling so so tired!

Apologies to any kiddies who didn't get their photos taken! It was an interesting day, lots of new faces but also people returning to buy after visiting earlier in the weekend. 
My foot was very painful all day but I felt more relaxed than I've felt all weekend. We even managed to down cream teas this morning in one sitting! Lesley made broccili and stilton soup for lunch - yummy! We ate in relays so there was always someone on duty to tend to our trailers.
Baby Oliver was a wee gem - we had no helpers today but we coped! 
The girls sold loads of items and got an few orders. I sold 3 more paintings which is just fantastic! I have a commissions to paint a visitor's  car. Glad I put up a couple of car paintings in the studio.
Thank you Lesley, Becky and Sadie for making this such a successful trail! See you next year!!!
Left to right, Sadie, Margaret, Becky, Lesley - Exhibitors of Venue 69

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Day 3 Art and Craft Trail

I had a lie in this morning, till 7am and must say, I felt refreshed! I baked my scones after breakfast. We tidied up and headed to our monthly carboot sale for half an hour before we opened for the Trail.
My grandson, Oliver got a new sunhat - cute or what? Sadie had opened up the studio by the time we got home - she brought lunch for us all too - yummy! It was a really sociable day for me, sitting talking to friends and strangers alike who came along to see our work. The weather was glorious. B was in charge of the baby in the morning with my son and daughter in law coming along to take charge after lunch. Father in law came along for his cream tea - quite a family gathering!
I bought a special right angled ruler at the carboot plus an enameled coffee pot for my still lifes. It's hard to look at stuff (other people's rubbish) whilst in charge of a baby buggy!
Apologies to the kiddies we didn't take photos of today!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Day 2 - Art and Craft Trail

Too tired to cook last night, we got a takeaway - bad move! I spent half the night suffering from heartburn! Consequently, I woke up tired and grumpy! The sun was shining - lovely to see, but the wind was so strong that our "collage" gazebo lifted completely over the table etc inside and was heading for next door when B saw it from the kitchen window! We now have it tied down in all directions and pray it will last till Monday is over! This didn't help my mood unfortunately and on top of everything else, I am ashamed to say, I went into meltdown!
Sadie took me down to sit in the sun, outside the studio and relax, showing me how to make patchwork triangles! We have had another lovely day, I sold another painting and the girls did really well too!
I love seeing the kids' collages, they are all so different. It was lovely to see young Fraser here again - he is a very talented wee boy - he has become a violinist in the last year, a prizewinning one too! One young lady plans to run her own magazine when she grows up and going by her collage design, she might just do it!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Day 1 - Art and Craft Trail 2013

I set my alarm for 5am - I like peace and quiet in the morning and with scones to make and my hair to blow dry (love the result but hate the time it takes), I dragged myself out of bed!
The rain was lashing against the windows, the bunting over the front gates was being thrashed by the strong winds - that's it, I thought, the day is going to be a blooming disaster - let's just cancel the whole thing! I was going to ring Irene, my dear friend who was coming over from Lockerbie to help, and just tell her to stay at home and put her feet up!
Just look at my ladies having their cream teas just after 11am, basking in sunshine!!! Who would have believed the day would change? I had my first sale about the same time too!
Unfortunately, we didn't photograph all the kids and their collages but here are the ones we did get! What a marvelous bunch creative children!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

All set for first day of Kirkcudbright Arts and Craft Trail tomorrow Aug 2nd - come visit us at Venue 69

At long last the studio is all ready for the Trail! It has seemed much harder this year - having had a sore foot for nearly 3 weeks hasn't helped! Pain drains you of your energy supply!

The only person who hasn't got all her jobs done is me! I still have pricing to do and lots of little jobs so will get up early. We are happy with how everything looks, just hope the weather isn't too bad so the kids can make their collages and everyone can enjoy a cream tea and of course, have lots of visitors!! 
A happy and successful 10th Kirkcudbright Arts and Craft Trail to everyone taking part and everyone visiting!!!! Use the FREE bus to get to all the outlying venues, including ours NUMBER 69!!!!!!