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Since coming back from France in the Summer I have had about 200 photos of inspirational places and scenes pinned to my studio board. And over these past few weeks I have been wooed to paint again having spent a lot of time more recently concentrating on printing and textile work (just because I wanted to !)

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I have learnt in the last few years of my art practice that even when  I think nothing creative is happening, that in actual fact a lot is percolating away and marinating in the creative juices – almost as if I am thinking things through unconsciously out of the corner of my eye every time I glance at the pin-board and then suddenly it falls into place.

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These photos are a case in point as I suddenly came in one morning and knew I wanted/was drawn/felt ready to get painting. And I was having a YOLO moment and just dug into my acrylic paints and canvas boards that have been waiting for a special moment – which of course never comes ‘cos who knows if it’s special till it’s done?!

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This scene was a lovely textural, patterned valley in the South of France overlooking La Castellet Valley and I have switched it up by approaching the colours like The Fauves would (I’ve written about it before here) and loads of layers of yummy colours.

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After along hiatus in painting activity around here, I have unpacked some lovely new paints and re-discovered my happy place. Inspired by our French holiday I have added some colour and warmth to my otherwise cold studio.

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One way to cope is to wear lots of layers – these dungarees are 27 years old! They started life with me at art college, have decorated every house we’ve ever lived in, have helped create most of my paintings and are still going strong today

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 I took delivery of a new sewing machine which is able to do free-motion machine embroidery – lots of fun ahead adding that to hand-prints and the like.

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And yesterday I allowed myself a moment of celebration when I saw the book I’m in on the shelf in my very own local Waterstones bookshop!

Have a happy week everyone.

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Fresh off the needles for a certain newly 21 year old – her request – ♡

Happy week-ending x

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I get to dream up lots of fun projects for kids and adults alike as part of my job at MAC which in turn challenges me to keep things fresh, re-visit techniques long forgotten or delve in and learn new ones.

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And as a part of my Mixed Media Textiles teaching, I played around with some potato printing which I hadn’t done for as long as I can remember.

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It’s often the simple, childish things that are the most fun to do but can be brought to a new level as an adult.

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One thing I’ve rediscovered is my love of drawing with threads – either by hand or free-machine stitching. It’s just another form of colouring in and mark-making.

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And all of that play has got developed into a one-day course Print, Sew, Make on Dec 15th where you can use simple fabric printing methods and stitch and leave with a drawstring bag if you like.

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This is the longest W>I>P I’ve ever had but finally my African Flower blanket is done (all but the edging).

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Back in 2015 while we were mooching about on holiday,  we passed a knitting shop selling off it’s closing down stock. Too good to pass up. I had already inherited a big bag of the dark and light grey Angora wool so chose a similar weight and fluff to match.

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I got started pretty happily but then fell out of love with the colours and doing the shape. It’s sat gathering dust for quite a while…

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But there’s nothing like the impending clear-up for family coming to stay at Christmas to galvanise a tidy up, sort out, throw away and get done mentality. And so after taking a deep breath and just getting it done…it’s done!

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And now I really love it!

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There is a big gap forming between what I’m doing each day and the speed I get here to show it!

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I’ve been busy lately making fabric butterflies and moths for an upcoming MAC workshop.

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I’m loving the variety of work that teaching Textiles opens up.


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I have loads of photo reference from my trip here last year which has come in really handy.

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I love it when you follow your heart’s inspiration only to find things come together at a later date.

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I couldn’t have known back then how useful the trip to the Oxford Natural History Museum would be and I guess that’s why artist play dates are so important (explanation here)

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And it’s interesting for me to see the marriage of painting and textiles coming about too on this project.

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BTW did you see my new website header sneak in!

At the weekend I crossed off a Bucket List wish when we visited Crosby Beach in Liverpool.

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This is the home of Antony Gormley’s Another Place permanent exhibition. Almost all Gormley’s work focusses on the human figure and its relationship to spaces.

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Here there are 100 cast iron figures set along 3K of beach all looking out to sea, or as the tide comes in, in it too, all in contemplation – Gormley says of it himself ” It is…just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.”

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It was beautiful day and the sky was enormous with spectacular clouds but there was also something spellbinding about inhabiting the beach with these silent, still observers. You couldn’t help looking where they were looking and standing still next to them. Such a simple idea but so connecting.

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The only one who didn’t do any of that was our dog Lottie, who pranced about joyously in the water – I love this picture of her mid-prance!

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Todays calendar page is not wrong!

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After a lovely busy Summer bursting with family affairs, teaching, holidays and other welcome distractions, today is the first day I find myself home alone and able to concentrate.

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So I picked this interesting Hydrangea flower from the garden and got re-acquainted with my paintbrush. It feels good🙂

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We split our recent holiday in France, into two destinations so that we could cover more of the south coast in the time we were there.

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I had heard of Grasse being the perfume capital of France (and read that book years ago!)

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And I also knew that it would be cheaper than any where on the coastline to stay and that it was the home of Fragonard perfumes.

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And I am a big fan of Fragonard packaging so all in all it was the perfect destination.

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I love the styles of illustration and painterly florals that they use.

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And spent a happy time snapping away at all the beautiful displays.

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I’ve got to tell you I saw an assistant throw a beautiful box in the bin, and if I hadn’t had to navigate the convo in French I would have asked for it!

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Being the home of Fragonard, the town of Grasse had several Fragonard shops in it all with beautiful displays.


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So I have come home with oodles of inspiration…oh a bit of perfume too😉

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Hello poor neglected blog! I came back from me hols and got swamped in work and life related doings but I’m determined to get something up now.

Bormes Les Mimosas 2We went to the south of France, Provence, for two lovely sunny weeks.

Cassis 2I have loved France since the first day I began my French lessons at secondary school.

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We didn’t travel abroad as a family back in the olden days when I was a child! so I found it fascinating and exotic.

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I also adored the French teacher and found I loved learning a language and a new culture.

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We’ve not visited France for sometime (having to compromise with two kids) but this year we were young, free and single and prepared to drive 18 hours to get to La Ciotat on the south coast and then later Grasse – along a bit and inland.

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It was as beautiful and interesting as I’d hoped.

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Lots of markets (every night in La Ciotat where we stayed)

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I love to buy fresh food, a new basket, mooch about.

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There are endless lovely villages to explore along the coast and in land  – villages-perchés – the perched villages in hillside settings.

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Soooo many window boxes, door ways, nice views, flowers and plants to photograph – my HB is endlessly patient😉

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And of course there is a wealth of art in the region.

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 Interestingly the big dollar museums like Musée Mattise and Picasso seemed like they’d been cobbled together to draw the tourists in but the Museums of Chagall and Renoir (his last home) were quietly brilliant and charming.

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Chagall has to be seen in the flesh – his work is amazing!

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This is where I’d still like to be – sitting in the shady tranquility with nothing to do! But that’s how all good holidays should leave you.




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