"Stormy day" - unframed, watercolour on paper, 17cm x 12cm, for sale £95 including UK postage and insurance.
Today I've decided to join the artist's support pledge. This is a scheme to help artists at this very difficult time. The idea is that all participating artists post up work under £200 for sale. When they reach £1000 in sales they then buy another artist's work and are supporting each other. I've decided to join in selling pure watercolour pieces inspired by the coastal landscape here and also still life from inside the house. I will also donate a percentage of the proceeds to charities such as "Crisis" to help people who are in extremely difficult circumstances. As I am no sports woman and can't stand running this is the best way that I can donate. I will put up a new picture each day. DM me if you would like to purchase anything.
We have our first stormy day today and I can't remember the last time that it rained apart from it was way before lockdown. It's quite a nice change, though I can say that knowing that the sunshine is set to return tomorrow.
Day 21 already
Today I'm posting a picture of an old painting "Beautiful flowers I", which was done about 10 years ago. I've found the work I'm doing at the moment is more abstract than recent paintings and I'm more concerned with the interaction of shapes and colour. Though I haven't managed to paint anything at all today.
This week, in the studio I've been listening to a band called "Oh Wonder" and the album has the fabulous title
I love that and it's so very true.
The music is courtesy of Sam who knows I like new tunes to listen to in the studio. He also sent me a book of poetry by Jericho Brown, called The Tradition, which is clever modern work. The novel I'm reading is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo - highly recommended (also bought by Sam.)
More clapping tonight - I'm just off to the supermarket where Joe works and apparently everyone claps for the staff in there for too.
Today we were supposed to fly to Pisa and then stay in Lucca, Tuscany for five days. Instead we walked to Keyhaven, saw the Swans flying over head and some Egrets on the river bank. This is one of my favourite places around here and I'm very grateful that it's literally on the doorstep. I never get bored of walking there but it would have been very nice to have dropped off somewhere for a coffee on the way back.
I have been reading the catalogue of Picasso and Paper, the wonderful exhibition at the Royal Academy, London. I hadn't realised that the blue period paintings were inspired by his friend who took his own life. I have a small book "Picasso (Blue and Rose Periods), which is from a series of Collins Fontana Pocket Library of Great Art books. My Mum gave me this one along with three or four others when I was about sixteen. She had bought them in London in 1959 for around 5 shillings each. I remember pouring over them when I was a girl and I was particularly taken with Picasso's Blue and Rose period, Paul Klee and Degas. Each book has pages that fold out and show large details of the paintings. Klee was always my favourite and still is today. In 2002 there was a an Exhibition of Paul Klee's work "The Nature of Creation" at the Hayward Gallery in London. This was the first time I'd seen a large body of Klee's work and the show made a huge impression on me. I was surprised to see that most of his work is quite small, often only 21 x 31 cm or less. I had always imagined them to be so much larger and even though they are small they were still extremely powerful without being in your face as some art can be. I had always thought that a great work of art was extremely large - a prejudice that I still haven't got over. Many of these gems I had seen in my Mum's pocket book and there was my favourite, "Motif from Hammamet", a fantastic watercolour painted in 1914 and only 12.5 x 9.6cm. There is no other artist remotely like Klee and his work is so pure and authentic. This is his appeal to me - the thing that I strive for - authenticity.
"Look up at the stars not to your feet, be curious"
I've been clearing out some areas of my studio, particularly old notes I'd made for the Colour book that I wrote last year and bad paintings that had gone wrong and can't ever be saved. I came across this quote and remember that I'd thought it would have been good in the Colour book as this book is about being creative with colour and expanding your colour horizons. When I'm busy things get parked all over the place and are rarely put away somewhere where they can be found again. I'm aiming to sort things out more clearly while we can't go out. The novelty of this project will probably wear off very quickly.
Last night I had a great dream. John Mayer played a gig in our house - how great is that. I got everyone to stamp their feet so that he'd come on for an encore. I love all different styles of music but if I had to choose only one musician, hands down it would be John Mayer. I never become bored of his music. I've seen him play twice at the O2 in London. Last time he had pared down the show and concentrated on the music. It was absolutely fantastic.
I also read an article protesting about some people who are posting their opinion that this is a great opportunity to learn a new skill - veering towards being highly critical that if you don't come out of lockdown having learnt Mandarin, Cordon Bleu cookery, reached grade 3 in piano, learnt how to service your own car or run a half marathon(or preferably a full marathon) then you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
This is hardly motivational or understanding of how different everyone is from each other. I expect some people find it hard just to cook their lunch never mind go for a walk as well or learn even three words of Mandarin.
The temperature of the wind today is a bitter northerly, quite a shock after all the warm weather we've had recently. This morning I spent a very unusual amount of time cleaning and washing. I decided to wash all the beautiful glass pieces that are on display in the kitchen, which includes hand blown coloured glasses and candlesticks made in Ireland. This is an extremely unusual activity for me but I felt marginally pleased at the sparkling results. As I did this I was reminded of my other Nana, Lilian Collins, whose house was far more than spotless. She cleaned her huge brass collection once a week and I likened her kitchen to a laboratory as here every surface was gleaming and there was never anything out on display. The kettle was simmering on the stove all day long just incase anyone called in.
After the mammoth cleaning spree I was able to settle to some painting and finished the picture shown here. I had been waiting for many weeks to resolve this piece. Other than that I struggled with several other paintings and had to leave them alone until another day. Later on I read a very interesting piece about the artist Helen Frankenthaler, who has been a big influence on my work. She was an important female American, Abstract Expressionist artist who pushed painting into new places. I have responded to her painting as it speaks to me in a way that I understand. She focused on the relationship between colour and space - something that has always interested me. I have read very little about her until today as I have preferred just to look at her paintings. The article is called "How to be an Artist" and her first piece of advice is to experiment. When I'm teaching, the main piece of advice I give to students is to experiment. She advocated trying different mediums and worked with printmaking, tapestry, set design and ceramics, but remained primarily a painter. Lastly she advises "Let mistakes lead to invention". She believed that the mistakes she made in a painting could usually be "redeemed" and that she could "retrieve" the painting. This way of working is very familiar to me where often I feel I have lost a painting only to work into it and give it a new lease of life.
Happy Easter, it will have been an unusual Easter for most of us this year. On our daily walk the churches were deserted but we did see an elaborate Easter egg display in a garden along the road where we live. The eggs were hanging on each box tree in the front garden - fantastic.
I feel as if I've succumbed to a very slow pace. Prior to the lockdown I was so so busy with work. The books on my shelf remind me of the huge amount of hard work I've done during the past year, particularly on the book "Colour Demystified". This is due to be published in January 2021 but I won't be surprised if the date changes now. I was lucky enough to go to Tunbridge Wells at the end of January this year for the photoshoot, where I painted several projects to be included in the book. I loved being part of a team and we worked so well together. My instinctive way of working had to be reigned in and presented in a more organised fashion. Whereas, my usual "studio" style ends up with palettes, mixes, pots, brushes and paintings covering every available surface - including the floor, until there's no space left or the brushes need to be cleaned so things have to be tidied up.
White tree is the painting for today - to me she looks like she's making a wish and today that wish is that anyone who is reading this is ok and all the people that matter to you are ok too. Our current situation is a great leveller.
I've decided to put on a "posh" blouse for dinner as not only is it Sunday but it's Easter Sunday and it's good to make an effort. Today I've walked 5 miles and done some Yoga and Pilates. I've noticed that I don't feel as good in myself if I don't go for a good walk each day.
See you tomorrow.
Today I started to think about the blog as a kind of portrait of myself and what's important to me. So I thought I'd include some watercolour sketches from my sketchbook where I've painted people from life - usually at the beach. And in doing this just realise that I can't paint figures at the beach for the foreseeable time.
So many things that I've taken for granted aren't available now. We bought the Saturday Times today and I went through the weekend section eager to read the Bird watch column and see the bird illustration, it's not there and I felt sad. My friend, Peter Brown, a wonderful wood engraver, normally illustrates this column with a fabulous bird each week.
But then there's the garden. Thank goodness for the garden. I must say this at least ten times a day. I feel very lucky as I love the garden here. It's the best garden I've ever had - what perfect timing is that. There were many good plants already here when we moved in almost three years ago. Plants that I had dreamt of having in my garden - two large wisterias, three peonies, lupins, old fashioned lavender, roses, pulsatilla, ferns galore, passionflower, a large acanthus, apple trees, three well established acers and many varieties of cranesbill. Some of these plants I have had to leave in previous gardens when I've moved and felt a pang of loss but they've all returned to me, almost threefold! And I've added stipa gigantia, giant cardoons, various astrantia, more lupins, anemones, hellebores, climbing roses, five clematis, yews in pots, agapanthus, various euphorbias and many other plants that I don't remember now. It's such a blessing to have all of this to look after and enjoy. Each day every plant is inspected and cared for more than they ever were before.
Happy Easter and enjoy the sunshine.
Today it's a double entry as I spent all day relaxing in the garden yesterday as it was my birthday and didn't get round to writing the blog.
I'd planned to talk about Archibald Knox, a well known artist from the Isle of Man who designed for Liberty's in London in his unique British Art Nouveau style. He is regarded as being a prominent influence in the Arts and Crafts movement. His Celtic designs and calligraphy are world famous and iconic in the Isle of Man.
Knox was born on the 9th April 1864 in Cronkbourne Village very near to where I lived as a child. I wanted to mention him because we share the same birthday but also because he has been a great influence on my work as an artist. When I was a young girl I would regularly visit the Manx Museum and look at his watercolour paintings. The abstract quality of his work fascinated me and I relate to the strong Celtic feel of the work.
My Great Aunt, Emily Bregazzi was taught art by Knox during the early 20th century. Great Aunt Emily also taught me some oil painting when I was about nine and I still have the Manx landscapes that I painted then. Around this age, most Saturdays I was taken out into the Manx countryside with my Nana, and two Great Aunts Edith and Emily. We would park the car and look at the view for quite a long time. All of these early experiences have stayed with me to this day. I just love to sit and look at the view and a lot of the time I love to paint.
I've noticed that the colours I've been using since lockdown are much brighter and colourful than most of my previous palettes. I don't know what to put this down to but I'm feeling very happy to be drawn to a more colourful palette. When some of them are finished and ready to go, I'll post them on the Blog.
Today the painting I'm showing is "Great Toller, Summer", which has a message about friendship in it. This piece is currently in a virtual Exhibition at the Hatch Gallery in Christchurch, Dorset. Great Toller is in rural Dorset and is such a beautiful and inspiring landscape and is near a place that the Bournemouth Arts Club had an Exhibition I was in during the summer of 2018.
It's the centenary of the Bournemouth Arts Club this year and we were all set to have an Exhibition at the wonderful Russell Cotes Gallery in Bournemouth, which, like so many things has had to be postponed until next year due to the current circumstances. However, it's very good to have things like this to look forward to rather than being cancelled altogether.
ISOLATION ARTIST BLOG - DAY 12
As it's the Pink Moon tonight I thought I'd post this painting "Wildflower Dreamers". Last year a card company in Paris contacted me to ask if they could pay to use this image for one of their cards. Just before lockdown they sent me my royalties and royalty statement and I was delighted that they had sold a lots of cards, including 15,000 e cards. It's brilliant that so many people will have received the image. I think this picture is quite poignant for this time, as right now we don't know what our futures hold and everything we are used to has stopped for the moment.
Today I worked in the studio and I think I completed a painting called "Pink Moon", it will be revisited tomorrow with a fresh eye. Today I noticed that most of my paintings have a horizon giving the viewer the opportunity to look beyond. When I'm out walking and see the real horizon each day I find it very grounding and it brings things down to size.
And now I'm looking forward to seeing the real pink Moon tonight.