Those of you who have read my sporadic blogs over the years will know that September is one of my favourite times of year. There is a slight bite to the wind on my morning walks and the smell of change in the air. After a very busy summer, Cornwall will begin to return to normality, with empty car parks and wild windswept beaches. I have avoided the crowds this summer and mostly stayed within a 20-mile radius of home, but with the arrival of autumn I will venture out again for long walks with Jess and Pea on the north coast and visits to Mousehole and Penzance.
The last few months have been some of the busiest I can remember in the studio. A massive thank you to everyone who has bought books, cards and prints and all the commissions.
The new edition of A Brush With The Coast has very nearly sold out - I have about 100 copies left of the full-colour book, and 200 of the paperback. If you were thinking of buying one as a gift for Christmas, or for yourself, don’t leave it too late. A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review for my books on my website - it’s much appreciated.
Looking forward to the next few months I am going update my website with a new set of cards, a new range of prints and a small collection of brand new paintings. I am also hoping to produce a new range of Christmas cards if time allows.
And next year? I am having a show at Red Rag Gallery in Bath with 15 paintings, and my postponed show at The Old Coastguard in Mousehole will be going ahead in July.
For the time being I am working on a collection of winter themed paintings for Red Rag Gallery's winter show:
I hope you are all well and bearing up ok. Let's hope this new month brings good news and good luck for us all.
The last two months have been both extraordinary and mundane. An artist's life is fairly solitary at the best of times and when I am in the studio working it's easy to forget what is going on in the world. Thank goodness I have a garden, the dogs and a husband I love, we are existing in a bubble and are content for now. I ventured out this morning to get the dogs some food and couldn’t stop smiling when I met the owner of the pet shop - it made me realise how long it has been since I’ve talked to someone other than my husband face-to-face, albeit 2m apart.
Work is keeping me occupied and I’ve had a number of very enjoyable commissions. I received word this morning that my exhibition at The Old Coastguard hotel has been postponed until next year, which is a real shame, but not unexpected. With the summer months ahead of me and no exhibition I will concentrate on various projects: I’m working on an illustrated alphabet and a series of small paintings for an online show at the end of the summer.
I've also been playing around with more animations, including this one celebrating the wonderful NHS.
Take care everyone and keep safe,
I hope you have all had a superb Christmas and New Year. After a house full over Christmas and a couple of days doing nothing much but walking with Peanut and Jess, reading and catching up on Netflix shows, I am raring to go.
Lots is happening this year but the two big events are the Open Studios at the end of May and an exhibition with my old chum Gemma Pearce at my favourite hotel, The Old Coastguard in Mousehole, at the beginning of July. I will let you know nearer the time the dates for both.
I am embracing social media and have started making videos of my working process which are available to watch whenever you like on YouTube and Instagram. I’m going to show how I work from beginning to end, and discuss my methods in more detail as the months go on. Click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Alongside the working videos I’ve started exploring the joys of stop motion animation. I have a feeling the characters in my paintings have always wanted to be able to move, and now I’m setting them free! When I first made one of my seagulls blink, using stop motion animation, it was a revelation and now I’m hooked!
I am tentatively planning on making my children's book Plop! into an animation this year using the weekends to work on it, but we will see…
Watercolour cutouts for stop motion animations
Recently I’ve been concentrating on this little 12 x 12” painting of a quirky shop overlooking Mousehole harbour. It is one of twenty paintings that I am going to be working on over the winter for a show next summer. I’ve given myself plenty of time to paint the show and this forward planning its reaping rewards. Unlike some artists I do not do well under pressure, I flourish when I have buckets of time to think and plan and carefully work out each painting. The theme for the exhibition is the coast between Mousehole and Marazion, with the magnificent St Michael's Mount as a constant focal point. I am looking forward to painting the Mount, as I have done many times before. An added bonus of the exhibition is that my oldest friend is also taking part. She and I have never, in all the years we’ve known each other, exhibited together and I’m really looking forward to seeing our work side by side.
Happy Spring everyone. I’m sorry for my long absence. I’ve been moving house, albeit only a few feet into my garden! It’s very odd to be able to look over my old house with its new occupants. I now have a brand new studio with a view over tree tops. When I open the door in the morning I’m hit by the smell of linseed oil and white spirit, an aroma that takes me back to my college years.
I’ve decided to return to my first love, oil paint. I grew up using oils but it’s been a long time since I’ve had to wash my brushes at the end of the day with copious amounts of soap and turps. That smell. It reminds me of my grandmother's studio, a proper studio, with rags and pots of brushes and drying paintings stacked against the wall. There is something magical about oil paint, all the history, the buttery feel of it, the shine on the canvas. I feel as if I’ve come home.
In other news, I’m having a show with my two sisters, Sophie and Bess, at the end of the month. It’s very exciting to be showing next to two such talented gals. The show is at The Mulberry Tree Gallery in Swanage, our home town. No doubt the weekend of the private view will include long walks, swims and the odd pint with old friends.
One more thing, I’ve spent the last year or so revising my first book A Brush with the Coast, I’ve made it into a smaller format, so easier to pop in a rucksack, and added more images and text. I'm absolutely thrilled with it. Hopefully it will be available to buy within the next month.
Happy summer to you all! What a fantastic few weeks it’s been. I must admit it’s difficult to work in the studio when it is so lovely outside but my husband and I (and the dogs of course) have been going for a swim most evenings. It’s such a great way to end the day and it cools off the dogs.
I have in fact been working really hard and as you will see there are lots of new things on my website. I have also finished four new paintings for The Mulberry Tree Gallery in Swanage, and I am currently working on another four for Fowey River Gallery.
I sold out of my book A Brush With The Coast a while ago, and now A Brush With Anglesey has also sold out. I’ve been wondering for a while if I should reprint A Brush With The Coast and after lots of emails and enquiries from Waterstones – as well as galleries – I have decided to do it. Now I’ve made the decision I am very excited about it. I am taking the opportunity to add more images and tweak the writing. Also I’m going to make it smaller (the same as the Anglesey book) so it’s easier to handle. It won’t be ready until Christmas but I’m sure it will be worth the wait!
I hope you all like the new work.
Here we are once again; my favourite time of year. Already I am itching to light my first fire, but today the weather has taken a turn for the better so I will have to wait.
I have had a very good summer which ended in a nearly sell-out show in Fowey. The private view was a lovely evening with just one small blip: while I was merrily downing my third glass of wine I was discreetly informed that I had forgotten to sign one of the paintings. Strangely, this is not uncommon and for some reason I often leave one or two paintings unsigned per show. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it had sold, and the couple who had bought it needed to take it home so I was required to sign it there and then. As a rule I don’t carry paints and brushes around with me and so, roping in a few guests, asked the local artists (who were taking advantage of the free wine) if any of them could run home and get a brush and some paint. Signing is a tricky business at the best of times but with three glasses of wine and a small audience it was fairly nerve wracking. However with a brand new brush and tube of black paint – which I watered down with white wine – I managed to perform the task without making a complete fool of myself, and even earned a round of applause!
Now the show is over I can concentrate on other things. I hinted in my last post that I was going to embark on a new project and that is exactly what I have done! I am in the throes of writing and illustrating my first ever children's book. I am relishing the challenge and it's been just the thing after months and months of painting. As soon as I can I am going to do a separate blog all about the book and how I have gone about creating it. There's so much more to it than I ever imagined when I first set out on this project.
Until then, here are some very early sketches, a few more developed sketches and some teasers of images from the new book.
Hopefully it will be ready for Christmas and I will keep you all informed.
Ah, September... my favourite time of year. Cornwall has finally quietened down after one of the busiest summers I can remember. I've just returned home from a week-long trip to Anglesey in Pam the camper van (my summer holiday), which we tied in with the private view of my exhibition at Janet Bell Gallery in Beaumaris; a wonderful evening, with sushi and plenty of prosecco. My husband and I had optimistically packed snorkels and swimming costumes for our trip, but strong winds and rain ruined any thoughts of frolicking in the sea!
Now it's time to crack on with some serious painting. I can't resist doing another painting a day exhibition; this year it will be in celebration of dogs. So, thirty paintings - one a day for the whole of November! Then I'm going to paint some new work for my website, really exploring my love of rock pools and the seashore. I have had a break from doing large exhibitions, but in August of next year I am going to have a show at the Fowey River Gallery concentrating on Cornwall's coastline, which will take me seven months to paint. So it looks like a busy year ahead! Here are a few of my new paintings, available to buy from either Fowey River Gallery or Janet Bell Gallery.
I'm very excited to announce Sixteen Days Of Summer - my latest "painting a day" project. From 16th October I'll be putting a new painting in my shop at 9am each morning, for sixteen days. The paintings - acrylic on canvas, either 5"x7" or 6"x6", with lovely bespoke frames - will cost £425 each. Here's a sneak preview of the first day's painting...
I have had the most amazing response to the book and now I'm in the middle of hanging the paintings from the book for the Open Studios. There are acrylics, watercolours and drawings - some framed, some mounted - and every single image from the book is available.
I'll be opening up my home from 11am to 5pm on both weekends of the Open Studios (23rd/24th and 30th/31st May.)
If you can't make it in person and there is a picture you want then you can drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). In some ways you can use the book as a catalogue.
The first ten people to come in person to the Open Studios and buy a copy of my book will get a free sketch from the book (randomly chosen by me!). I look forward to seeing everyone that can make it.