Thursday, 24 March 2011

How much detail?

I started a still life this week-end when I was inspired by a picture of a lovely brass watering can, and thought that some other elements of a painting would give me some lovely reflections. As always flowers would be quite an important part of the finished work, as well as a bit of lace cloth (as an ex- textiles teacher I am always fascinated by bits of fabric!) I pulled out various bits from my china cupboard and raided the fruit bowl, and thoroughly enjoyed putting together and painting the picture you see above.

The question running through my mind whilst I was putting this still life together and executing the painting was what do you put in and what do you leave out! The Hydrangea are complex flower heads and the skill is to know which flowers do you paint in, and how do you deal with the rest of each mop head to still give the impression of a mass of flowers.

Similarly I did not want the lace to be too photo-real. I wanted to be as freely painted as the flowers so that those two elements were a foil for the more sever lines of the jug and watering can.

I included the fruit as they were small enough to give me some reflections in the copper can.

I am pleased with the result, and it looks well in its mount and frame, but it is something that I will keep having a go at, as with lots of flowers, there is often too much to paint it all, and something need to be left for the viewer to imagine or the whole thing quickly loses its impact.

The painting was done on Fabriano Extra White on a block as usual. I am finding, however, that more and more often, the block does not hold the paper flat, because of the amount of water I use to create my backgrounds. So, maybe one of these days, I am going to have to buy sheets and stretch them each time, which I really do not want to be bothering with.

Friday, 18 March 2011


I have been thinking, this week, that I have painted quite a few images just recently, and maybe the time will soon come when I put a second books worth together and have them printed.
My first book came about through a colleague who had put together a beautiful book of the photos taken during a once in a lifetime safari holiday. It was lovely to look at, and a lovely souvenir.
My family live a considerable distance from me, so they are unable to get to my exhibitions, so it seemed like a good way of showing them my best (in my opinion) work. It is also a lovely hands on record of lots of the paintings which are sold - some of which have gone abroad.

I looked at the site she had used and after a few false starts, put together my first book of paintings.

The company I used was ''. I found it reasonably user friendly and being familiar with image manipulation programmes like Adobe Photoshop, any problems were ironed out with a bit of imagination and patience!

It takes you logically through every stage of the process, enabling you to put several images on one page or not, adding text and titles, numbering the pages and creating an index. It even allowed me to place large paintings across a double page spread. The only problem I had was in the editing! It is worth getting someone to proof read the work, as I found that I read what I thought I had written, and not what was  really there.

Blurb also allows you to sell your book from their site and reap the profits!

I was really pleased with the results, and some months later, when invited to a 70th Birthday do, and requiring a gift for someone who seems to have everything, I put together a second book, as an autograph book for the occassion. The front and back covers were two paintings my  friend had bought from me, and inside I wrote a small piece about our friendship and the occassion.
On each of the susequent pages, I put a small version of one of my paintings, leaving space for all her guests to write a few words and sign their name. Everyone was delighted, and I felt that she had a really lovely individual gift. I will certainly think of doing another one, should the occassion arise.

Maybe my next book should include a much wider selection of paintings, not just the florals, as I seem to be doing lots of other stuff at the moment, not least because of the compulsory nature the programme at the group to which I belong.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Adapting the image

With all the pressure on me to get together enough paintings for the summer exhibition, I have been looking at my portfolio to see what I can use.
It seems to me that even though Art is very subjective, and what one likes, the other might hate, there are fashions and trends in Art. We, all of us,develop our style over the years, and some artists make quite radical changes to what they do. Shirley Travena is a good example of this. I saw her demonstrate a couple of times, producing 2 of her classic florals. However she is now very taken with her attempts at painting the landscape, and I am sure she will develop this side of her work. I have changed the style of my work quite a lot over the last few years and some of the work seems quite passe to me and would not fit in with what I am trying to do at the moment.

I have, therefore been having a look at some of my earlier work, with the idea of bringing it a bit more in line with my present painting style. I have recently been painting florals and still lifes with much darker backgrounds so I thought I would add backgrounds to a few to see how it worked.

In my opinion, these paintings are now better for the addition of the darker background, and hopefully they will fit more comfortably with my newer work.
Today I have had a go at a large acrylic canvas in the same way and the painting is sat in the studio drying, and the impact is certainly, for me, much more immediate. See what you think.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


I hope you enjoyed looking at the paintings. I have had loads of grief trying to set up the blogspot, and I am grateful to Peter Ward for his unstinting help and advice (
I will only post a couple of paintings at a time in the hope that eventually the site will pop up in Google, and it should not be too large to open.

I am busy trying to get together a number of paintings for the annual exhibition in Wells in August. This is normally a two-man exhibition, but it looks as if my colleague may not be well enough to take part, so I will need upwards of 85 images!! Thank goodness there were plenty left over form last year. As most of our visitors are tourists this is no big deal.

White Lilies

I painted an abstract landscape at Avon Valley Art Group (which I help organise with 2 fellow painters) this week, but when I brought it home there was a great debate about which way around it it looks best. Unfortunately I cannot show it at the moment as I have a new pc and the scanner is too old to be downloaded into the new system, so I have to get a new one. I prefer to scan rather than take a photo as I find my camera does not always make a good job of the colour rendering. Todays offering therefore is from the collection. Hope you enjoy looking. 

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Cherry Blossom
                                    Apricot Peonies                                        

Pink Hellebores

Pink Ramblers


White Marguerites

White Orchids

Rose Molyneux


Pink Double Anemone Japonica

Apricot Poppies

Black Eyed Susan


Corn Poppies


Apricot Foxgloves


Purple Clematis

Bed Of Tulips

White Anemone Japonica