Friday, 17 March 2017

No Painting

I've not picked up a paintbrush for months, and now it's becoming harder to get back into. I must force myself to paint soon as I have work to complete and the RHS project must be restarted. I have been so busy making journals and now have completed nearly 20. I have sold 2 aswell so very pleased with that.
  I have also made a page on my website for the books so now you can see them altogether.

But must paint soon!!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Christmas Greetings to all...
I've not been painting much recently but here's a catch up on things I've been up to...
I have completed a couple of oils.

Here's Sidney the Pheasant, oil on board

Elan Valley- view from the meadow. Oil on canvas
I've made a few little books - concertina artist books and hard back journals also. I've added stuff that I've collected over the years to the journal; pamphlets, postcards, greetings cards I've received and also nature stamps.
It has writing paper, sketchbook paper in but also a few vintage nature prints.

Concertina artist book; autumn/winter theme

A Naturalists Journal, hard back book

Happy holidays to everyone and here's to a bright and creative 2017!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Island Paradise

For many years now I have been meaning to visit Skomer, one of the islands off of the beautiful Pembrokeshire coastline. It is a national nature reserve and one of the most important breeding sites of sea birds in Europe,with the largest breeding population of Manx Shearwaters in the world. You have to be on the island at night to see them though as they hide all day in their burrows safe underground. 
I attempted to get onto the island about 3 years ago but we got there too late to board the boat and so could only have a boat ride around the island. There is a limit to the number of people allowed onto the island each day, a good thing of course. This time we left home at 5am as its a 2 hour drive away and we got there eagerly early to get our tickets. 

We got onto Skomer at 10am and set out to explore the rugged island in the spring sunshine. On the northern side the bluebells were so impressive, just a hazy wash of warm blue in all directions. I've never seen so many before. Then further on, the burrows of the seabirds pitted the ground and the starry sea campion grew in such profusion all around the little holes. At The Wick was a large Puffin colony, there were a few there posing for us. They are such beautiful, entertaining characters and so small. It felt like a privilege to be able to be there to watch, photo and sketch them. 

On the cliffs Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills are busy building nests in the crevices of  these ancient rocks. If you are lucky you may see the rarer Choughs but not this time for me.

 This island also has an interesting history with archaeological evidence suggesting that there was an Iron Age farming community of up to 200 people here.
I highly recommend a visit to Skomer for all nature lovers. I had such a wonderful time that I am already planning a longer stay on the islands.

Thrift along the cliff tops

I've now added a couple of puffin doodles, the left one is painted with Derwent Inktense blocks which I used with a paintbrush. The right hand one is in watercolours.

Other news with me is that I have found a new love for painting in oils. I have just completed 2 bird oil paintings and am planning to do a puffin inspired by my trip to Skomer.

Merlin Falcon
Little Owl
I have also completed the Oak Woods 2 painting , a very large 71 cms x 49 cms. I counted 70 individual species on it! But some are depicted more than once through the seasons, in different growth stages.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Plants and Pollinators exhibition

The Plants and pollinators exhibition in Blossoms gallery, Aberystwyth is on now for 4 weeks. There are some really fascinating sculptures of enlarged pollen grains and deconstructed flowers which all makes for a different and interesting show.
 Here are a few photos from the exhibition.

Deconstructed bluebell and Dandelion

These amazing insects and sculptures are painted and made by Tereska Shepherd, the gallery owner.

The fascinating pollen grain sculptures

My moth painting is on an easel in the window.

Here are 2 more of my paintings, the foxgloves and bee and the bee orchid.

Upstairs in the Eco gallery is the exhibition 'Made with Love and Rubbish' with amazing work by Sue Clow and Ruby Roberts. All pieces are hand crafted from recycled rubbish, very thought provoking and colourful too.
If you'd like to check out Blossoms gallery, here's their website.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Arch - Y Bwa

Now the new year is in full swing and health wise I am feeling much better, it's time to catch up. It has been very hard lately trying to keep inspired, when feeling terrible. The weather has also been bad, constant rain, so not good to go out with a sketchbook. Such a shame we've had no snow, just rain. But I still have work from the October journal at Cymystwyth Arch so I will post some now. 

Cladonia Lichen Studies
Autumn Sketchbook studies from near Cwmystwyth Arch; Bilberry, Sycamore Leaf with tar spot, Amethyst Deceiver and some Polystichum moss.
A study of the Arch in Daniel Smiths watercolours- mainly Moonglow, Green apatite and serpentine; I really love the Primatek range for landscape studies
The Arch- Y Bwa was built by Thomas Johnes of the Hafod Estate in 1810. 
I love this place so much, it has an aura about it and a good place to sketch. But unfortunately on my last visit I was sad to see that a lot of trees had been felled and the place looked a bit like a bombsite. Two huge conifers that were growing near to the arch were felled; this upset me most of all as they hosted a great diversity of fungi in autumn. I understand that a lot of larches have to be felled as the Phytophthora ramorum disease takes hold in this area but these trees were not larches, (I think Spruces), but I'm sure (hope) there's good reason for it. Anyway, it will all grow back in time into native heath and woodland. 
Larch woodlands are beautiful and a favourite of mine. These delicate trees allow light to penetrate under the canopy and so other plants flourish beneath them, unlike some other conifers plantations, which create dense dark woods.They are deciduous, so in Autumn they scatter russet needles and leave a carpet of glowing colour. Very sad to see so many being felled due to the disease in this area.

I've made a few more mini concertina books and have them for sale on my Etsy shop, a link is in the right hand column.

I hope to start painting soon, it's been a few weeks with no painting so I think I've had enough of a break, well OK, artist block!

Keep inspired and happy painting.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Joys of Journaling

Going out in nature with a sketchbook or journal  is such a brilliant pastime. I cannot recommend it enough. The act of spending time, observing your subject rather than just taking a quick photograph and moving on, is extremely rewarding. Feeling the spirit of the place, the wind and sun (but not much of this lately here in Wales), hearing the birdsong; it all evokes emotions and hopefully you pass this on into your sketch. 

Bridge and waterfall at the Hafod Estate.

You can see my rucksack here which has everything I need (almost) from graphite sticks, watercolour pencils and pans with a water-brush, gouache and ink pens, aswell as various types of paper and books.

This scene was drawn using graphite, pencils, pen and white gouache on a slightly tinted paper to make the white water stand out more.

This is a view of the snaking river Ystwyth on the Ladies walk at the Hafod Estate,
 just roughly drawn in colour pencils.

 This I did back in October, of Devils Bridge - Pontarfynach. The left one was painted in watercolour and pen in situ but I later redid this one at home as I felt I'd overdone the pen!! But maybe the second one is too pale. I think I need more practise on my watercolour stonework!

Here's the completed journal page.

As well as making a journal, I've made two little concertina books and added prints of my paintings,
 a leaf one and a fungi one.

I want to spread the joy of journaling in my area so I am doing a nature journal workshop at Denmark Farm on the 20th of March 2016 and another at the Elan Valley Centre on the 8th of May. 
If there is enough interest, after the workshops, I want to hold free journaling events where groups can meet up and draw outdoors for a day. Great to keep up interest and discipline with sketching and meet like-minded people.

Other good news is that I have 5 paintings hanging in Oriel Flodau - Blossoms Gallery,  in Aberystwyth. I am very pleased with how they look. The new gallery is a great place, run by lovely people with lots of amazingly talented artists and diverse crafts for sale. If you're in the area have a look in.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Autumn Updates

Just a quick update on the blog for a catch up.
At the National Botanic garden of Wales there will be another fungi event day on Sunday the 11th of October. I will be there this year with a stand showing paintings and doing a watercolour demonstration. The day is full of fungi events like forays, food, lots of different types of art and woodcarving to name a few things. I visited the event last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The weather was fantastic so I hope it will be this year too for the forays. 

I've been working on all sorts of fungi (and lichen) art, like these mushroom mosaics, which are quite abstract. They are in watercolours but I have also done a couple on canvas using gouache and acrylic.
 I've been out foraying and filling my mushroom journal to show at the festival aswell.

I also have a workshop at Denmark Farm on the 18th of October which will be inspired by fungi and autumn.
Happy foraying!