Spoiler alert - I won Enterprinsing woman in business! But here's what happened at SWBOYA 2019
There are some brushes I always reach for no matter how many hundreds of brushes sit on my worktop. There are some colours I always reach for the matter how many hundreds of tubes of paint there are and there are some canvases that I always seem to be ordering. So here are my top 10 materials that I use every single day.
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. - this artist loves them all!
Whenever I’m asked "So what kind of art is it that you do" I always say “Beautiful oil paintings inspired by nature”. That has been my raison d'être since becoming an artist.
Last week I sat in a garden and painted the pond.
The thing is it was Monet’s Garden and it was his waterlily Pond
I'm very lucky in that I very rarely suffer from artists' block.
But for some it can be paralysing.
Here are my tops tips to keep your creativity on point.
Do you wish you knew how to navigate your way into the art world?
I've got Seven reasons why you should to come to an art fair.
By popular demand! Here's more time lapse work for me.
This particular piece will be entered into a competition later in the year. I'll give you details nearer the time.
This piece is inspired by some beautiful pictures from my husband, when he met some Orang-utans in the jungle in Sumatra.
How to make new year resolutions you can really stick to.
A friend of mine has just posted on Facebook that they "have their accountant's hat on" doing their books for the year and she feels like her head is about to explode!
Doing the books is probably my least favourite job each month, but at least it means that my accounts are up to date and my tax return will be sent jolly soon, rather than waiting 'til the last minute!
It's true. I'd rather be painting.
I think sometimes, when I proudly tell people I'm an artist, they have grand romantic schemes that artists sit around in cafes, drinking wine, and discussing philosophy, politics and art all day. Then suddenly the muse will strike and they will head back to the leaky garrett and create the next masterpiece ready for the salon to judge in the next season! Perhaps the modern English reality isn't that artists are sitting about in those cafes all day, but I'm still fairly convinced that lots of my friends think my life consists of getting up late, faffing about all day, taking the dog for a walk in the evening, seeing a beautiful sunset and heading back to the studio and magically painting it.
The reality simply isn't the same. And I'm not complaining one bit. My artistic life is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy it but it's definitely hard work. There is a big difference between sauntering along a country lane considering the beauty of the sky whilst the dog sniffs around in the hedge, Compared to lugging your easel and painting equipment about, then setting up for a day of en plein air painting.
Concentration is required to really analyse the landscape around you. Sketch after sketch, considering light, colour and composition. The sketches produced on those en plein air days will help you in the studio the next day, the next week or even next year.
Most recently I've completed a commission for a couple of beautiful white park cattle (I'll blog about that in more detail next week). The starting point for the commission was visiting the farm to see the cows in all their glory and getting some reference photos and sketches.
I don't mind admitting that I came home covered in mud....only it wasn't just mud.
I'll leave that there I think.
A couple of weeks ago I was blogging about art fairs. Whilst they have, thus far, been very successful for me this year, they are hard graft. Loading, unloading, standing up for three days selling your wares, doesn't fit into the romantic/starving artist myth.
But hey, a girl's gotta eat and if I paint it, I have to sell it too.
The business of running a business is interesting, varied and exciting.
It definitely doesn't involve swanning about in a Parisienne cafe...more's the pity!
In fact, I'm just about to log in to a webinar about effective online marketing...it'll probably tell me to write to blog!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about the art fairs coming up this spring. Well here I am at the first of this year's.
Yesterday things were all a buzz as artists from across the country arrived at Farleigh Road farm shop where this year's Bath Art fair is being held.
Seasoned regulars and brand new emerging artists alike unloaded their cars and vans and started to set up their stand yesterday.
It's always really exciting to see how other artists present their work. And as a visitor be amazed at the striking variety of art on offer here this weekend.
Last night's private view. Sometimes artists feel a Private view is just an excuse for people to wonder about chatting and drinking wine! I rather enjoy a private view; visitors were really engaged with the art. I had so many lovely conversations with people. One visitor to my stand "this is tremendously exciting, I've never been to a private view before".There was a really lovely friendly atmosphere here yesterday evening and I am really looking forward to the whole weekend.
If you have never dared to venture into an art fair then this weekend is your chance. Bath Art Fair is situated in Farleigh Road just off the A36 between Frame and Bath. It's easy to find, as there are plenty of signs including AA signs. Put BA2 7NG in your Sat nav. When you get here there is free parking -which explains why the fair is not being held right in the centre of Bath! You get to browse around our marquee and see over 50 of Britain's leading artists showcasing their work. There is no obligation to buy, you get to chat to the artists and find out their inspiration for their work. You'll be tempted I'm sure. There's even a charity stand for Dorothy house where artists have donated small pieces and previously loved works from their collection to charity. You could pick up a quality piece for a real bargain!
You can stay for as long as you want, stop and have a nice cuppa and slice of homemade cake in the cafe.
The wonderful thing about an art fair of this kind is that there is no need to feel intimidated. The artwork ranges in price and most artists have some more affordable pieces, or limited edition prints that present real value for money. Equally if you are looking for that perfect piece to set off your favourite room in your house there are some larger, beautifully finished pieces ready for you to take home. There really is something for everyone.
So I really hope to see you at some point this weekend.
Opening times are:
Friday 7th April 11am to 7pm
Saturday 8th April 10am to 6pm
Sunday 9th April 10am to 5pm
I have always adored going to galleries and having a nice mooch about. All through my student days I haunted the National and the Tate, sketchbook in hand, for hours on end. Galleries, whilst attracting huge numbers of visitors, are so vast that you can still find a moment of peace and calm right in the centre of the hustle and bustle of London
During my many years as a teacher, I took students to a variety of galleries including the Uffizzi in Florence and the Dali museum in Figueras. During these trips I always wanted to encourage a life long love of art. I wanted to develop the confidence required to draw in public without worrying, and a feeling that the galleries of the world belong to us all. They aren't just for the elites and the show-offs. But beautiful artwork can be enjoyed by everyone.
So on Wednesday, I decided to give myself a birthday treat and I went to the Michelangelo & Sebastiano exhibition at the National gallery.
With some trepidation and heart full of excitement I went in.
To be frank I got a bit emotional about it all. Michelangelo has that effect on me. Always has.
The initial impact was "Wow".
I'm lucky enough to have seen the vast majority is of Michaelangelo's work in Italy and beyond but there are still some serious gems in this exhibition.
The exhibition itself explores the relationship between heavyweight Michaelangelo and the lesser known Venetian Sebastiano.
There are a whole series of letters between Sebastiano and Michaelangelo - it is very interesting to see the references to the papacy and indeed to Michaelangelo's arch rival Raphael. At first it might seem that Michaelangelo's collaboration with Sebastiano is almost entirely about rivalling Rapheal. One of Sebastiano's letters even references Rapheal's death - "My dearest compare, I believe you have heard poor Rapheal of Urbino has died, something that you must soon be very sorry about, may God forgive him".
Forgive him for what? The story goes that Raphael died, aged 37 from sexual exhaustion! Though this has yet to be fully proven. However his death did provide Michaelangelo with an opportunity to pursue further commissions from the papacy and to recommend his friend Sebastiano.
Unlike Michelangelo, Sebastiano was an oil painter. I believe that his luminescence and beautiful use of colour had been hugely influenced by Michaelangelo's frescoes.
One room largely focused on the Pieta (literally meaning 'pity' and referring to Mary holding Christ's dead body) there is a cast of Michaelangelo's Pieta. Whilst it's not quite the same as seeing the original, you simply can't get close to the original in St Peter's (Rome) so being up close and personal to this cast is great. It was a super opportunity to really see how it's been constructed.
At the opposite end of the Pieta room is Sebastiano's Pieta - a huge oil painting, as Mary looks up to the heavens lamenting the death of her son. What is really interesting is that the back of Sebastiano's Pieta is also visible. And you can see the sketches that both artists drew on the back of the wooden panel. This suggests that perhaps Michaelangelo had allowed Sebastiano to share his studio for a time. The sketches also show the start of some figures later appear on Michaelangelo's Sistine ceiling.
Throughout the exhibition there are many drawings from both artists. Some you may have already seen in the British Museum but there are others from Frankfurt, from Washington, and several from the Queen's own collection.
They are exquisite, delicate, beautiful and I spent much of my time studying them.
My "weak at the knees moment" was the room with the Risen Christ. One statue is an original by Michelangelo which he abandoned due to finding a black vein on Christ's face. I rather liked the black marble vein. It added to the drama. I sat and drew this for some time. The other Statue in this room is a cast of a second risen Christ created by Michelangelo, the juxtaposition of the two statues is extraordinary; one pose is contrapposto like Michelangelo's David the other dynamic. It's interesting to look at both of them; make your own mind up as to which is the better.
As if all this isn't enough, there is a huge 3D recreation of the Borgherini chapel, executed by Sebastiano with some preliminary drawings by Michelangelo. It is, quite simply, breath taking.
By the end of the exhibition I felt it had raised a few questions for me.
It appears at first sight that Sebastiano had learnt great deal from Michaelangelo. He learned about light, colour, successful rendering of twisted figures. Yet Michaelangelo seems to have learnt a lot less from Sebastiano, most notably he didn't learn to oil paint. Was this that Michaelangelo stubbornly did not want to learn how to oil paint? I won't spoil the end of their story, nor the end of the exhibition, but you'll leave with some interesting ideas about the answer!
The exhibition continues until 25th June and I can heartily recommend the visit.
Beautiful limited edition prints, ready mounted.
I often sell limited edition prints directly from my website. Sometimes people have already seen the original painting at an exhibition in Salisbury or at one of the art fairs I attend, and have decided to have a print of it. Other times they have simply seen my website and can't resist buying a print. It is a lot less scary to buy a print from a website than buying original art as the prints are significantly cheaper than originals, and they are also usually smaller!
My prints are sold with the mounts and backing board included. This means that the print is shipped to you flat. It also means the print is nicely protected. And in addition is much cheaper for you to frame it. I tend to get my prints made to fit standard size mounts, which also makes things a little cheaper for my customers.
I begin by making sure my work surface is completely clean. This might sound obvious but as an oil painter there are often wet paintings in the studio, so by far the simplest way of making sure I have a clean surface is to get some clean white mounting board as my surface to work on that way I can ensure that aren't any stray splatters of wet paint that would ruin the print. I also make sure I have all the things I need to hand, masking tape, craft knife scissors and glue.
My mounts, backing boards and cellphone wraps are prepared by my framers.
My prints are printed onto beautiful museum quality watercolour paper, and arrive from the printers wrapped in archival paper. I remove the print from the paper, sign it, number it and then it is ready to be mounted. I turn the print over and attach it to the inside window mount with masking tape. Masking tape is used because it is strong enough to hold the print in place but it is also easy to remove with out ruining the print itself. Next I apply a dab of glue to each corner of the inside of the window mount. This is to keep the backing board firmly in place. The glue does not touch the back of the print at any point to ensure that you are able to remount it at a later date if you want to without damaging the print itself. The backing board however does keep the print in good condition and can be used again if you buy a frame that fits the mount.
When I post my prints they are also placed in a sandwich of bubble wrap and between two sheets of thicker cardboard before being wrapped in brown paper and sent to my customer. To bigger the print the thicker the sandwich has to be!
I am looking into getting larger prints created of my work which would come with a white border but without a mount. And would be shipped in a cardboard tube. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this.. Would you prefer an un-mounted print posted to you rolled up? Or do you prefer the ones that are already in a mount for you? I'd be interested to know.
Thus far this method has work as all of my customers have always been happy with them arriving in perfect condition.
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