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I made the most of the recent sunny weather to do some messy dye projects in the garden.

This is some Shibori fun- the Japanese method of clamping and twisting fabric prior to dying.

It is so simple but effective but in the past it hasn’t always delivered the results hoped for until this time when the sun rendered me more patient than usual!

I’m planning some projects of things to make and stitch with these beautiful fabrics if I can bear to cut into them.

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On Saturday I had the pleasure to be back in Nottingham with the Spotted Dog Art Group.

They rose magnificently to the challenge of abstracting landscapes through colour and brushwork.


As you can see here from the landscape inspiration, use of colour and being able to see things differently were the keys to success.

And it didn’t matter what kind of landscape scene it was (above is industrial, below coastal) the artists successfully abstracted through colour changes and seeing in shapes.

Everyone kept their own artistic signature whilst all having the same input and ideas on how to start and develop their work into the non-representative and this is what I find endlessly fascinating and exciting about teaching and working alongside other artists.

I count myself lucky when work is such a pleasure – if I lived near Nottingham, I’d join in a heartbeat.

Until next year…

Just back from a few days away in Portugal – Lisbon and Sintra.

Here’s Lisbon looking moody (read that as bad weather) My umbrella, gloves and hat were the best things I packed.


When in Portugal you must partake of the Pastel de nata – a Portuguese egg tart pastry that it’s famous for.

And of course there are old and new tiled buildings everywhere.

Heaven for the pattern lover here!

This was my favourite tile and that’s no men feat because I probably photographed 50 plus!

And of course one must ride on and also photograph the ubiquitous old yellow tram.

We also went out to Sintra (an hour away from Lisbon) a lovely rich, old town bursting with old palaces and old mansions with beautiful gardens to explore. The stand-out place being this: The Pena Palace.

There are more (and different) photos over on my Instagram account  here if you enjoyed.

 

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 Protea_© Claire_Leggett

A little painting inspired by the beautiful South African Protea via my local Marks and Spencers!

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This week I hung an exhibition of my work at the Coach House Gallery which is at Winterbourne Botanical Gardens, Birmingham.

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Winterbourne is part of the Birmingham University campus.

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It’s an Edwardian Arts and Crafts house built for the family of John Nettlefold in 1903.

It’s last owner bequeathed it to the University where it became the Botanical Gardens in 1944.

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It’s one of those magical places that has held onto the history of the past and simultaneously successfully embraced the future.

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And my colourful work has ushered Spring in a little earlier than Mother Nature (it’s trying to snow today)

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Exhibition hanging takes patience and stamina (good step-ladder muscles!)

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One of the most fun things to do was fill the glass exhibition case.

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I have laid out sketchbooks, pattern design swatches, an old paint palette, some tubes of paint, brushes, pencils and design work that shows how I use my original paintings digitally.

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It was fun to set the scene.

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And now I’m happily heading off to a restful weekend – there’s a G & T with my name on it!

***

Exhibition is up until 12th March




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 I’m so very ready for Spring now and there’s nothing like painting from holiday photos to banish the grey, wet days away. This one is from the south of France last year and is inspired by the Fauvists use of hot and cold, bright, bright colours.

Happy New Year all.

End of week 1 of a shiny new year and I’ve kept my new year resolution to paint something everyday please click link to see the Flipagram.

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Fingers crossed for weeks 2, 3, 4 ..!

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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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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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