Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I am so excited. I'm going to take part in the 2007 Oxfordshire Visual Arts Festival (aka Artweeks).

In May / June 2007, Oxfordshire artists from all disciplines will be opening up their homes and studios to the public. This is Oxfordshire's biggest visual arts festival and I've found a venue to show my work as my studio is on the small side.

I should say the venue found me. I guess you could call it serendipity. Nadin makes and sells very original jewellery. A chance meeting and an exchange of emails later, we are going to share a venue and show my paintings in colours that compliment her vibrant peices.

To give you a taster (I haven't finished my paintings yet so you'll have to wait to see my contributions) have a look at these (one of my favourites is the cuff, but click on the images to take a closer look).

If you're interested in any of the works she has for sale you can reach her at jewelleryandbeyond@hotmail.co.uk

Meantime I've been stepping up a gear in the studio and I'll soon have some new work to share with you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Something new I learned this week

I have this habit....not sure whether its healthy or not....of collecting stones from beaches I've visited. Or fir cones from forests and leaf skeletons from parks. These little memorabilia are gradually filling up 'my' (as opposed to the rest of the household's) drawer in the hallway and beginning to spill out onto the top of fireplaces and ledges and my studio.

My favourites are beach stones. I have collected several big heavy intricately embedded with quartz stones from South Wales which serve as great doorstops. And some smaller ones. Much smaller as I had to carry them back in my already overloaded suitcase from France. These are from Cannes. For some reason I feel compelled to keep piling them up like little shrines. It set me thinking.

The other day I decided to use a well known search engine to find out what piles of stones can mean.

I came across this....(by Robert Glenn)

An obos is a Japanese term for a pile of rocks, one on top of another. The obos merely says, "I was here." Being an unusual configuration, it is obviously from the hand of man. Further, if it is knocked down or desecrated, it is easily rebuilt. There can be one at the bottom of the garden or in a private corner of a public park.

Obos is a destination, a sanctuary, a shrine and a focal point that reminds us that we work with our hands. We are builders and what we build is sacred. Obos may appear inconsequential and be unnoticed by casual passersby. It's a private tribute to something higher, something we might be striving for but find difficult to attain. Approach obos with a relaxed, curious mind. It can help with answers to questions not consciously asked. Obos gives pause, a contemplative thought or a new direction, a respite from clutter, a rededication to our struggle and an affirmation of the value of our personal effort. Obos is the carrier of a golden secret. Obos is like art itself. Obos is a joy to build.

I want to get out there and build more obos!!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Done in 60 seconds...

Here is the red poppy. It's 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

This canvas is a recently completed commission and I took photos throughout all the stages of painting. There are about 60 in all.

I have stitched them all together to make a short animated film of the poppy coming together.

This is an ongoing learning process...I think I need to take more photos during the stages, and I need to work on keeping the same angles and lighting. Trouble is, you get carried away with the painting and I kept forgetting about taking pictures and not moving the easel. That said, the animation has worked quite well. I'll be animating another canvas very soon......

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New 2007, a teapot and a tray.....

Well thats it then. December over with.

The whirlwind of nativity plays, carol concerts, mince pies, mulled wine and packed out stressed out supermarket shopping has come to an end. I quite enjoy the hustle and bustle of christmas but I'm always glad of relative quiet (literally and figuratively) in January when it comes around. And I'm looking forward to getting back into my studio now the children have gone back to school and life is normal again.

I got some ceramics paints for christmas (amongst other things) and spent a busy fun afternoon decorating mugs and teapots with the kids. These paints are great. They go on really easily and all you do is let the paint dry for 24 hours then bake your painted item in the oven for half an hour. Here is my first attempt. Its totally different to painting on canvas and I have to admit a lot of fun! Hmm...thought I might have a go with a plain white dinner service next and use my poppy designs...

And while we're on the subject of kitchenalia (is that a word?) I was given this lovely old wooden tray to keep my brushes in. I suspect this wasn't its original purpose, but I'm stumped as to what it might have been originally used for.....???

Any suggestions welcomed but meanwhile its just perfect for keeping my brushes in order and it has that lovely old patina and solid feel to it. Thank you G.....

I have an exciting painting year ahead of me, I've treated myself to a new filbert from Shillbrooks of Witney, and have downloaded the application form for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

All in all a busy day and I daresay plenty more where that came from.