The Malthouse: Flora and Fauna Exhibition

It’s nearly here! All my paintings are ready and waiting to be hung next week for my solo show and I have been working on my most challenging scale to date!

After doing my first solo show ‘The Garden’ in December last year I was offered the space of exhibiting in the Malthouse Bar and Kitchen, in Stroud. I felt so honoured as I know some amazing artists have exhibited some stunning work in there before. Because it is such a huge space I also used the opportunity to work on larger canvasses and join them together into triptychs (my studio and my small car size being the only limiting factors) and it has really stretched my technique and ideas to work on such a scale. Above is a photo of me next to the ‘Hydrangea series’ of paintings, in order for you to see how large they are!

The exhibition begins on the 24th April to the 30th June and is open daily according to the Malthouse Bar and Kitchen opening times (10am – 5pm). My private view will be held on Saturday 29th April from 2 – 4pm, and I warmly invite you to come along and see the paintings. My greetings cards will also be available to purchase during the private view.

After working on paintings for ‘The Garden’ exhibition, I felt the need to continue with similar subject matter, but explore the way I responded to my subjects. This has transformed my painting into something more intuitive and almost abstract at times. Here is a snippet of my exhibition notes:

‘I admire the everyday life and the subtle movement in nature. The transformation of a rosebud to its bloom, the shifting light across a leaf or the wilted edge of a flower petal are just some of the aspects I discover and interpret through paint. Each season gives me fresh new material to work with and to inspire me.’

‘The way my eye travels through a subject, or moves around a composition, is also key to these paintings, as there is so much depth and and variety in one view of nature, my eye is often restless with exploring. In these captured moments, by studying closely, nature can be found to express both strength and beauty that is delicate, tender, yet powerful.’

Of course, I included my favourite quote, which I often think about when I am working, as it’s so relevant to what painting should capture: ‘I would like to paint the way a bird sings’ – Claude Monet

Look forward to seeing you on the 29th April – save the date!

The Cotswolds Hare Trail

Here it is folks! I was so delighted to be taking part in this years Cotswold Hare trail, and I had so much fun working on it. This huge 5ft tall hare will be joining many other hares also painted by local artists, schools and groups which will begin a trail around the Cotswolds on the 22nd May. Now the hares have been painted, I am waiting for a sponsor to take up my hare to join up with the trail. Once the trail is ended in September they are auctioned off for their forever homes. Perhaps you’d like one for your garden…

A bit about painting the hare – I designed the hare around the theme of the Cotswold garden. The rambling roses growing up the walls in the summer and the textures and unique colours of Cotswold stone, I felt made a beautiful combination to interpret into the hare. When my sculpture arrived, I also admired the shape and form of the hare, so I wanted the design to compliment the shape.

Different to my usual medium, I painted the hare in acrylic paint. I quite liked the acrylics I used, which were intense in colour and some of the colours had different transparencies, so I had a play in layering up the colours and experimenting with some bold, block colours. I felt the design needed to be bold and dramatic and eye catching. I treated the hare and the surface as if it were a canvas, which was the best approach really! It also needed to be fully weatherproof, so with an exterior gloss paint (I won’t bore with the details!) it is tough and can clearly stand any weather! Above – here it is surviving one of the many snow hits we had from eastern storms. Also looking magnificent…!

Last week, I was proud to see my hare amongst the many others at a special launch event in Northleach. I couldn’t fit all of the hares in one photo there were so many! Not one hare was painted similarly, and all were so unique in their own way, which was amazing to see.

For now, I have waved goodbye to him, and was quite glad to have the space back in my studio, but as soon as I know where he’s off to on the trail I can of course keep you updated!

For more information about the trail visit their website where you can view all of the hare designs and the artists involved. The hares were also featured in the news recently, here’s a clip from BBC Gloucestershire news

January newsletter

Happy new year to all my friends and followers! Christmas went rather quickly for me, after being busy with my solo exhibition in the Lansdown gallery I was glad to have a bit of a break too. The exhibition went really well, I was delighted to meet all the visitors and I gained some very positive feedback about my work. Several paintings have found new homes, which is always exciting, and has given me more momentum to continue my work. Here are some photos from around the gallery:

Between visitors, I made use of the lovely light in the gallery and worked on a little piece.

For some lucky visitors, free guided tours were given by Nero, who gave me company for one of the days!

All the paintings on display were painted from the garden, or nearby in the village or fields. I really enjoyed displaying my work at the end of the year, I felt my studies from plein air, thoughts in my sketchbooks and looser applications of the paint has culminated into a cohesive and strong portfolio of paintings. Most of the visitors enjoyed my paintings of apples and roses, and these were paintings that came from charcoal drawings in my sketchbook, which gave a sense of drama in their tonal composition, but as I have bonded with my limited palette over the last year I have made steps in using colour more intuitively.

This little painting was done whilst in the gallery, from a photo a few years ago when we had fantastic snow. I had no idea we had snow predicted just a couple of weeks later and it was like Christmas had come early for me, I’ve been out in the snow sketching away and taking heaps of photographs for future use!

This was done with watercolour pencils and snow. It was an Isaac Newton moment, as I was sat under a tree and blobs of snow fell onto my drawing, and hence the snow painting emerged. I had brought my paintbrush and a pot of water with my, but the pure snow made an interesting effect!

In time for Christmas, I completed and framed this gorgeous oil painting, which was commissioned just a month before month before Christmas. The morning light was bold, intense and vibrant. Watching an episode of Countryfile a few weeks ago, I was delighted to see Stroud featured in their episode! They described why Stroud was named the ‘Golden Valley’, because of the particular golden light, which attracts many artists to the area. After doing this painting, I could see why I was so attracted to painting Stroud and the surrounding areas, throughout all seasons of the year, on a good day the light is captivating.

After the success of my first solo show, I am delighted to announce that I will be exhibiting (solo!) again at the Malthouse, Stroud, from the 17th April to the 18th June as part of the Stroud Sit Select Festival. The title of my show will be ‘Flora and Fauna’ and expect to see more bigger paintings, and look out for me in their catalogue…watch this space!

The Garden Exhibition – next week!

Just a little reminder blog post that my exhibition is just around the corner…yes, it begins Monday! I am open from Monday 27th – Sunday Dec 3rd from 10am to 4.30pm. I am also open for two evenings, the first being the private view on Monday from 7-9pm, and the second for the Stroud Goodwill evening on Friday 1st Dec 7-9pm. See my earlier post for more info, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Everything is nearly ready…too exciting for words! My greetings cards arrived the other day, in four different designs, and will be available to purchase at my show. Another surprise for the exhibition are my sculptures I have been creating over some time now, exploring woodland settings and creatures in shadow boxes.

As a sneak peek, here’s a detail shot from one of my large paintings on show, titled ‘View from my window.’

Aside from the exhibition, my commitment to the Stroud Valley Artspace life drawing evenings have been great for me to continue my practical drawing skills and observational techniques. Throughout the sessions I use conte crayons on toned paper to evoke a sense of light and depth to the nude model.

Both these drawings are on A3 sized paper, which gives me enough room to explore different marks made by the crayons and to focus on creating a life like drawing under the time constraints. Most of the poses are 15 mins, which puts me on the spot to think quick and to draw accurately. Hopefully after the exhibition I shall experiment with painting the figure, and work these drawings into expressive oil paints, so stay tuned!

Exhibition invitation

Today is the 1st of November, which means it’s 26 days until my opening of my solo show! Here is the leaflet I have been circulating, with all the details. The private view, which you are very welcome to, is on Monday the 27th November from 7-9pm. If you can’t make the private view, don’t worry as I will be there invigilating the show throughout the opening times shown above!

There will be a great range of my recent artworks at the show, all inspired by the garden throughout the seasons. I have long been inspired by artists that study and paint their own gardens, and inspiration is never too far away. Above is a sneak peek of works currently in progress, exploring the shapes and colours of the garden. I’m getting very excited (and a bit nervous!) for the show as the pressure of the show has really made me think about my work and be creative with the project.

Look forward to seeing you there! Until then, I will be madly dashing around my studio with my brushes and paints making sure it will be a beautiful show.

The Travelling Sketchbook

My studio has picked up some momentum throughout August. I’ve been on a few travels, had a few paintings sell online and have made more confident steps with my drawings too.

Just before the summer break I had a go at life drawing with the Stroud Valleys Artspace group. I met a friendly bunch of professional artists that were using the class without a tutor to quietly practice their drawing techniques, experiment with paint and just enjoying being creative. For me, I hadn’t been to a proper life class since University, but I felt encouraged about how quickly I remembered the rules of measuring and focussing on the nature of my medium to express the light and tones of the model. During my degree I found that toned papers were very effective to be used as a mid-tone to begin a drawing. I work by picking out the darkest tone, and the lightest tone and use that as the measured tonal range to express. As you can see in the portrait study, I was interested in how lines were often not needed to depict space, particularly around her right shoulder where it disappears into the background and the light on her nose.

Hands are always the greatest challenge in drawing. I like to keep drawing them as often as I can, getting through lots of bad drawings to train my brain to express what I see and not what I think a hand should look like. My drawing process becomes a way of depicting light and shade on an object, which eventually reveals the form.

I photographed a shot here of my typical pencil case. Before heading out plein air painting, I read a few articles to make the most concise ‘shopping list’ of art materials to take with me. Here is my recommended list of things to take drawing when travelling: A6 Seawhite travel sketchbook, Daler-Rowney Artists sketching tin (as pictured), Art Graf water soluble graphite block, Aquash pen, Range of grade B pencils, Electric eraser, Bulldog clips, Sharpener, Mechanical pencil and Stadtler rubber. I’ve fine tuned my pencil case to this list now, and is convenient for me as it includes a quite concise yet a variety of mediums to get excited by. The Daler-Rowney Set also includes a graphite stick, water soluble graphite, conte pencils, charcoal and chalk.

This was a shot of my sketchbook out and about in the Lake District. Derwent pencils were made from the graphite in these mountains, so it seemed rather fitting to draw my subject with the subject itself! I also drew this with my water soluble block, it handles and responds quite like charcoal, but being water soluble does not smudge or get messy in my book. I recommend this sketchbook too as the paper is quite thick, is does not warp or bubble if I decide to swap to watercolour.

Since I’ve starting doing more drawing work with my collections of natural forms, things found on walks and objects of interest I have a new section of artwork for sale in my Artfinder shop! I now have quite a collection to view and buy online (57 artworks!), you can search by subject and whether the painting is ready to hang. It’s a great gallery to sign up for their newsletters too, and as a featured artist I sometimes get a mention – see their curated collection of luscious landscape paintings! Artfinder also have a daily blog where they share ‘Art of the day’ and so far I’ve had a few mentions, which has led to a few sales..hurrah!

I mostly update my shop every week to fortnight, but if there is something you’ve seen on my website or on Instagram that you like please get in touch! To view my full Artfinder shop visit here:

I like to choose toned papers, and this is a beautiful one that I bought from an interior shop near Ross on Wye, where they sell handmade sketchbooks and loose sheets of toned paper. This is particularly inspired by the new arrivals of autumnal things I’m gathering in the studio! The willow charcoal I used for this drawing feels so delicate and natural, and it’s a pleasure to create such a drawing as it is to study the subject. For my November solo exhibition (save the date! 27th November exhibition opening, on until Dec 3rd) I am playing with certain words and titles to embody a lot of my interests that painting takes me through. A lot of the subject matter will be from the garden, the shapes of the flowers I have studied, but also the way I notice the variety of the colours and shapes of the garden transitioning through the seasons is a focus of my project. So I am thinking the title will relate to words like ‘transitions,’ ‘shifting light’ or ‘in the garden.’ All will be revealed when I start to distribute posters and create an event for my show, so stay tuned!

This is only a work in progress, on a small panel, but I’d like to mention it as my work is developing and becoming more refined. I’ve loved spending lots of time drawing lately, as I find something rather sensitive about some of the lines I have used, or the tonal contrasts (my sketchbook is peppered with thoughts on recent paintings or drawings, around the odd poem or two) so I’m focusing on my paintings to emulate that in some way. So far I’m working on pre-prepared painted grounds, then working in the lights and shadows. (Quite like the portrait pictured at the top). I’ve recently absorbed a lot of Van Gogh paintings through some old books on my shelf, and they are so inspiring for their use of emotion and observation. There is so much joy in beginning a painting and letting the paint be free!

Thank you for reading my blog, and I leave you with some poetic lines drawn in my sketchbook on the way up to Helvellyn in the Lake District. I could perch on that mountain and endlessly think about painting!

Pintar Rapido London

This weekend I went on an adventure to London to join in with the Pintar Rapido painting competition and exhibition. We had all day of Saturday to venture out into the beautiful area of Chelsea to produce a painting! I made the use of google street view beforehand to save time wandering around with heavy art materials, to choose my spot to paint, which was a good way to get my eye into my subject matter. I found Wellington square, which had elegant Georgian architecture and a central garden with a fountain. It felt important for me to squeeze in some green to represent London, as its such a green city (and a little nod to my love of landscape painting!)

It was a great day for me to focus on my subject, with the time pressure, the thought of a competition and an exhibition following was enough for me! It was so encouraging to hear positive comments on my work throughout the day. Unfortunately the heavens opened by late afternoon so my painting assistant was there with the umbrella for the final touches!

After an exhausting day of painting it was exciting to have the exhibition to look forward to! The works were judged by Adebanji Alade and the editors of Artists and Illustrators magazine, with prizes for both the amateur and professional artists. The winners works were absolutely superb and inspiring, and I felt thrilled to have been part of such a great event! Alade encouraged the importance of sketching and painting from life, particularly as he himself is an artist who has won the Pintar prize before and his work is inspired from life. At the beginning of the prize giving, he said that all the artists exhibiting must continue drawing, painting and ‘keeping that paintbrush wet,’ because art must be practised and exercised. I certainly agree with him, if I spend too much time away from my brushes or pencils, I quickly feel frustrated or out of practice!

I’m delighted to have sold my painting of Wellington square during the exhibition, it has given me great encouragement and I’m thrilled that it will be enjoyed and loved in its new home! My Sunday afternoon was throughly uplifted and I strolled through the Victoria and Albert museum soaking up some of John Constable’s oil sketches of clouds and landscapes.