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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.
Winterbourne is part of the Birmingham University campus.
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.
It’s one of those magical places that has held onto the history of the past and simultaneously successfully embraced the future.
And my colourful work has ushered Spring in a little earlier than Mother Nature (it’s trying to snow today)
Exhibition hanging takes patience and stamina (good step-ladder muscles!)
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.
It was fun to set the scene.
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
Happy New Year all.
Fingers crossed for weeks 2, 3, 4 ..!
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 !)
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.
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?!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Todays calendar page is not wrong!
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.
So I picked this interesting Hydrangea flower from the garden and got re-acquainted with my paintbrush. It feels good 🙂
Where does the time go? The Summer seems to be hurtling past and these past few weeks have been really busy and are only set to get busier with children’s classes to run at MAC and a lovely holiday to look forward to.
So I’m prompted to finish some work I’ve started inspired by my travels earlier in the year and edit and store all my many Amsterdam photos.
These shots come from the Rijksmuseum which is one of the most beautifully set out buildings for art that I’ve been in.
The layout, the wall colour, the space…it all set the pictures off to their very best.
It had a few ‘rock-star’ pieces like these Vermeer’s (below) which are truly lovely and made all the more so by being quite small in reality; intricately painted and full of emotion.
There were also some other sweet, candid, real-life scenes from painters I’d not heard of.
They appeal to me for their subject matter – a little like walking past an open door and catching sight of a life being lived in a snapshot moment.
Other paintings appealed for their colour palate – sorry it’s blurry but the colours are gorgeous.
Others caught my attention because of their sense of history – this one is a beautiful composition and the notes on the plaque explained that a family being painted playing music was symbolic of their harmonious life together.
Finally, when in The Netherlands you’ve got to love a Dutch countryside scene.
There are 3 main galleries the guide books suggest you visit.
The Van Gogh museum is a must-see – however long queues outside, big crowds inside, one or two ‘famous’ pieces of his but then bulked out by works by his contemporaries, made the expense of it feel a little bit like it was a money spinner exhibition.
The Stedeliijk museum of Modern Art was alright! Not a massive fan.
The Rijksmuseum was my stand out favourite.
(PS To those people who asked me about this, sorry it took me so long to write about it – you’ve probably had your trips by now and discovered for yourselves!)
This pavilion is the oldest building in the Alhambra.
During the period of my life when I was busy bringing up toddlers but still had a heart to paint (which wasn’t happening) I saw an artist tackle a similar scene and it was so inspiring it stayed with me.
Her name is Jean Martin and I think this is the painting I saw propped up on a gallery floor waiting to be framed.
I had to work hard to take inspiration without copying or loosing my own authenticity – I chose to turn up the colours as The Fauves would have.
I made a pilgrimage to London earlier in the week to see the Painting the Modern Garden exhibition at the Royal Academy.
Although Monet and Renoir are the A-listers attracting attention for this exhibition, the scope of it is wider and it introduced me to some artists I’d not heard of before like Sorolla.
The theme of the exhibition was the modern garden in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century and the relationship between developments in horticulture and the response to it by developing art movements.
You can’t take photo’s inside but these are my favourite stand-out pieces.
Lot’s of the artists themselves developed gardens of their own to paint (Monet’s being the most famous.) They laughed at Pissarro calling him a market gardener as he preferred the working garden but this was my favourite painting from the whole show – this colour repro doesn’t do the lime and turquoise justice though.
I wrote my A level dissertation on Tissot so it felt like a circle in time to see this beautiful painting in the flesh.
Hope you enjoyed it vicariously – happy Easter weekend.
Thanks for all the comments and likes on the last piece – I made a Flip-a-gram over on Instagram if you fancy a look head over (link at the side).
I have a thing for rooftops – love the patchwork look to them.
I also really love the process of painting overlapping geometric shapes and breaking them up with the swipe of a paintbrush to depict a tree.
It was hard to find colour in this scene and after I’d painted it quite brightly I decided to give this a chalky white wash.
I can see a pattern repeat crying out to be made from some of these little sections.
Thanks for visiting today x