Blossoms & Wildflowers

Its been two weeks since I moved out from Aberystwyth and stepping into my routine of painting. A life of painting, my ultimate dream!

To make the transition from my studies in art to a profitable career, I enrolled in ‘Business Start up week’ at the University. I was surrounded by people of all departments of the University determined to develop their ideas into businesses, and unsurprisingly, I wasn’t the only art student there. It was a really useful week of understanding key aspects of planning, selling products, dealing with people, managing finances and developing strategies for success. Throughout the sessions, I thought about the words of advice and information given and overall, I had a realistic perspective towards making the right moves in my career and planning achievable goals.


Whenever I returned home to Gloucestershire from living in Aberystwyth I was always overwhelmed by the richness of colour and lush textures of the garden and fields. Our apple tree was laden with blossom, only for a very short time, so I took lots of photographs of the beautifully delicate leaves and translucent petals. This was a water-soluble graphite drawing. I’ve come to enjoy the really deep, rich tones I can get out of a water-soluble graphite than a regular graphite (and it’s less prone to smudging).



Naturally, I began a painting from the drawing since I felt the composition was interesting for me. This is still in progress, I am making many more layers of thin paint to describe the curve and fall of the petals.


Our beautiful Jaffa is old enough for walks now, so I take the three labradors for walks together in the fields (this is him above), which are absolutely teeming with wildflowers. I’m overwhelmed and inspired every day. My ‘walking’ sketchbook, which goes with me to document all my walks through the countryside, now has lots of botanical studies of the wildflowers I find. I now have a few books in my collection to identify them.


I’m interested in the randomness of nature with these wildflowers. They make such beautiful compositions, I can sit at the same spot and I find that my line of interest is difficult to pin down because there is so much to absorb! My photographs help me discover how I interpret them in paint.


These pink orchids are stunning, they were photographed in an organic field just down the end of the road from me. So I try not to step on them!


I have two paintings of wildflowers on the go now, this is a detail of my favourite so far that will be on sale tomorrow…hurrah! Yes its been a late night for me as its been an evening of preparing things and loading up the car for the Stroud Valleys Artspace ‘Arty Brum Booty’ tomorrow! It will be the first time I’ve contributed to the SVA, despite being a member for a while, and I’m really excited to meet some fellow art lovers and artists and get some of my work out there. My stall will be laden with lots of artwork from over the past few years and some of my needle felting creations, so I’m looking forward to having an eclectic stall, which should suit the nature of the event.

School of Art Degree Show

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After a lot of final touches to my triptych, measuring, labelling and painting my exhibition walls my works were finally hung! The opening of the degree show on Saturday went very well, there was a good turn out of visitors making a lively atmosphere. I felt my paintings were exhibited in an excellent spot, there was a nice, even, bright light which made my works really stand out. They were also at the end of the room where there was space for visitors to stand back and have time to take in my work.


Given we had three days to paint our exhibitions walls, and three days the next week to label and hang our work I left plenty of time to get all the hanging done. This meant I had time to touch up my paintings in their space, which I felt was very important as the light was considerably brighter in the exhibition rooms. I added some vibrant notes of colour to the areas of detail and shimmer from the light on the wet rocks (particularly in the third panel).


This is me next to my paintings to give you a sense of scale! (I am 5ft 11, and I seem to have hung my paintings at the right height after lots of consideration and time spent with a tape measure).

I decided before hanging that my two other rock pool studies accompanied the triptych better than my fragment paintings. So here they are! They are a nice contrast, since the sand brushed over the rocks and between the cracks revealed warmer colours adjacent to the cool rocks and transparent water. The titles of the works are also important to my vision with the rock pools – the triptych was entitled ‘The Trail of the Hermit Crab’ and either side ‘The Shrimp Pool’ and ‘Amroth Stones.’ The rock pools I encountered for all these works have geographical locations, but I see the creatures, rocks, life and particularity within each pool as their own thriving environment.

Degree show is nearly here!


Selecting work for the degree show is a difficult decision process, particularly as I have quite a choice right now and the work I’ve done is quite varied. My work has developed now from my closely observed objects and I’ve now concentrated on looking into the rockpools, investigating the colours, shapes, light and marks of the pebbles and water. I’ve titled this triptych ‘The Trail of the Hermit Crab’ since I made photographs and preparatory drawings; the marks left by the crabs make lines throughout the rocks. An interesting pattern, they reflect on the theme of walking, which is the concept behind these works.

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I was asked why I divided the panoramic rockpool into a triptych. My thinking is that the rock pools are so busy, so active and varied, that our eyes do not see the whole view at once. Memories, thoughts, interests build up the image. Our brains are not photographic. So here the image is revealed through pieces, some of the rocks are out of focus and loosely described, and as I complete this work (it is still requiring some finishing) I am directing the viewer’s eye to particular details and interactions between shapes and colours.


Here I have two other works of my ‘fragments’ next to the triptych. I am still considering exhibiting them, so I now work with all my pieces together, so that the colours and shapes relate. The challenge of an exhibition is about compositionally leading the viewer’s eye to sustain interest. I admire the two paintings of collections, because they are warmer in colour in comparison to the tryptic, making a nice balance. It also considers the way I retrieve and arrange the objects out of their natural surroundings.


Next week the School of Art is being prepared for exhibiting, which involves painting the walls, arranging the layout of the exhibition and hanging work. The opening will be on the 14th May, 3pm, if you are interested in visiting Aberystwyth’s degree show full details can be found here and on the Facebook page

We warmly welcome all visitors to see all the hard work and diversity of our busy School of Art!


Walking, Collecting, Painting -Preparing for the Degree Show

My degree work so far has allowed me to explore all kinds of subject matter, techniques, mediums and inspiration. Now I am at the end of three years of work, preparing for the degree show is challenging me to hone my skills and artistic voice.


My project has developed from looking at collected objects from walks over the last year, they visualise various environments I encounter, remind me of the places I walk and document the interests I had from the season, weather and my own mood. I began arranging the objects together into compositions, as if to piece together the environment I walked through or to trace the thoughts I felt looking closely at the objects.

Painting is my way of exploring my subject. I try to hone the feeling, texture and weight of the object -from a fragile stick, the smooth pebble, or a rough shell in the palm of my hand.IMG_8909

Throughout painting the found objects, I recollected the joy of looking for limpets, shells and pebbles in the rock pools of Aberystwyth. The transient effects of the surface of the water allowed me to search for the object in paint through the layers of water. The objects naturally left by the tide created their own arrangement that echoed the fleeting moment of their position, which were like the moment of my own footstep in the sand.


At this stage towards the exhibition, I am focussing on my paintings of rock pools and pebbles (below are two currently in progress). Now one month away to the degree show, our catalogue statements are written and we begin the process of selecting work for the catalogue and show.

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