Recently I spent a week in Morocco, painting in Marrakech and at the Kasbah du Toubkal in the High Atlas mountains. We visited and sketched in the Bahia Palace, the Jardin Secret, Musee de la Palmeraore, the Majorelle gardens and the garden of Yves St Laurent. The colours were incredible and I am really looking forward to developing all these ideas into paintings.
This has been a year of travelling. I spent a month in Galicia Northern Spain, recording the landscape and visiting Santiago de Compostella. Santiago is a magical place, full of pilgrims joyous to have completed their journey.
Spanish Gardens 1, 2 and 3.
Inspired by my travels from my 2018 Spanish Dreams Collection.
Available to buy here.
Sometimes a painting happens very quickly and is very clear and pure. Others take much more work and have longer and more complicated journeys to their completion. Another way of looking at them is that they have many lives, several incarnations. These other lives lie underneath the finished painting, layers sometimes partially visible and integrated into the new work.
Most painters would agree that we often don't know where a painting is going. The process of creation is mysterious with a life and direction of its own. Driven towards perfection, I sometimes work a painting too much and destroy its delicate balance. When this happens I have no other choice but to drive forward into new territory, to take risks, to destroy what was cherished, in the hope that something new might be born from the destruction.
When people look at a finished work they would be surprised to know how many stories lie underneath. These stories are part of the paintings journey. Destruction is a necessary part of creation.
Details from The Lilac Tree - a work in progress...
I am always amazed by the talent in the room when I run Painting Courses and this recent Still Life Course was no exception. It is always particularly magical how complete beginners manage to find their creative voices and produce work which surprises in its quality. Also great to see how more experienced artists make their own personal leaps and further develop their style, often becoming more expansive and experimental.
We consider composition, tone, colour and a range of painterly techniques including layering, washes, printing and scratching out. We also look at how different brushes can be used to make different types of mark making.
See upcoming courses on the Workshops Page.
All images are students work
I had one of my best Sundays painting with Mixed media artist Shirley Vauvelle. The temperature which soared to a mighty 28 degrees didn't distract us too much from the exquisite blonde curves of the Yorkshire Wolds in July. The haystacks are already made up into tantalising squares and rolls.
I want to describe the heat in the scene even though it is all a white cream apart from the dark green trees and also the sense of dramatic curvaceous space and white gold beauty, hallmarks of the gentle Yorkshire Wolds. A bit of red in the yellow mixed with white is beginning to get there. Still working on them today. Watch this space…
Antidote to English Winter, a Still Life painting course I ran in February, really was a colourful antidote to the February chill. We explored colour, composition and texture, using arranged still life as a starting point. The resulting work was both exciting and organised. I think it is as useful for students to have a tighter frame within which to work as it is to have complete free reign. This workshop managed to combine both.
To find out more about my upcoming courses, click here.
I just got back from a sailing holiday in Lanzarote and although I have finally decided that sailing is not really me, I was actually entranced by Lanzarote.
For an artist, Lanzarote is a very visually exciting space. The very starkness and the black volcanic rock, sets off everything else which is not volcanic rock. The racing, puffy, ever changing cloudscape, the white buildings, the green sculptural cacti. The place is like a big gallery of blank spaces where everything that is in it has space to breath.
I am looking forward to producing a collection of Lanzarote paintings and am also applying for an Artist residency there next year. This has also shown me the new direction of my work which is to record very different landscapes in very different looking countries.
Really enjoyed painting this commission of Rosedale. Commissions are a great opportunity to hone painterly skills. In some ways I really liked the simplicity of the early stages but it had to be taken further and the brief was lots of warm colour.
The finished result glows- Just like Rosedale in the evening sun.