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Back in September time I contacted a new-to-me gallery which is quite local in Henley-in-Arden called Torquil Pottery and The Gallery Upstairs.

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It is one of those quaint little Warwickshire villages with old red brick buildings and some Tudor black and whites.

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It’s always a bit nerve-racking doing a portfolio viewing for the first time and as all the pieces I took were framed it was quite a feat of packing and unpacking!

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The ladies who run this gallery are both artists themselves and run the gallery and host exhibitions showcasing other potters, painters and jewelers.

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I was delighted that they ear-marked nine pieces for this years winter show, which have now been delivered and are ready for the private view tomorrow.

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If you’re in the area come and say hello – and there’s a nice pub nearby too 😉

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July 2013

Inspired by my own gardening, reading The Adorable Plot and the mini painting class I took with Jenny Muncaster, I spent an afternoon capturing some of my own garden.

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sweet peas, hollyhocks, marigolds, sweet williams and nepeta

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I’m not a big fan of acrylic paints because of the waxy feel and the irreversible nature of them once dry but I am determined to to try and see why other people favour them so I keep having a go from time to time.

July 2013

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purple sprouting broccoli with lovely acid yellow flowers

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I liked Jenny’s technique based approach and so I flicked, masked and dropped water to create textured effects and used painted papers to collage. It is such a fun way to work and makes me think that my normal approach to painting a still life might be a tad serious.

July 2013

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pea canes dripping with pods

I like these for feeling I associate with the creation of them.

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This is the last piece that I created fresh from reading Lilla Rodgers I Just Like to Make Things, in which she exhorts artists to:
be instinctive, don’t copy, adapt or second guess buyers – create what you would buy,
apply great design, drawing and colour,
hone your style and don’t be a copycat,
and make every square inch high quality, beautiful artwork.
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In other words, be free, be yourself – how liberating!

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By the end of reading the book I felt like it had been like meeting a charismatic, enthusiastic, warm person at a dinner party and wishing she was your friend and inspiration for ever so that you could keep her input and creative encouragement in your life.

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Green Magpies © Claire Leggett

 The book has clarified some of my thinking, sparked ideas and replenished my creative drive. My takeaways: smile, breathe, go slowly, try to enjoy every stage from beginner to over worked professional and turn up to work everyday and make beautiful art. Oh and that there are NO short cuts!

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In the Lilla Rodgers book that I talked about in my last post, I read about her theory that for every person on the planet there are 50 birds and that those 50 birds = 50 meaningful events that may take place in your life.
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Most importantly you will probably only be able to name those 50 events when you are nearer the end of life and you look back to weigh the importance or strategic significance of things that have occured. Life will have mountains and valleys which can only be seen once the path has been walked.
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I think this resonated with me and got me thinking about birds.
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Lilla also talks a lot about staying creativley inspired, having fun and giving it 100% because she says that people buy art looking for an engaging moment, a connection; that they buy your joyful moment.
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In her experience the busiest artists are having the most fun. Well that spurred me on to having fun and being busy at it.
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I haven’t collaged and played without a plan for along time and it was good to jump off the merry-go-round to do so.
Marsh Wrens © Claire Leggett

Marsh Wrens © Claire Leggett

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I read Lilla Rodgers book recently. Initially I’d held out because one can only take so much self-help!

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I’ve done my share of online courses (really super-great and mediocre) and been easily susceptical to reading artist’s blogs and then buying in to the need to purchases their ebook or paperback.

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Usually these purchases are the result of my search to find out How To Do It. i.e. how to be a success, sell some work, make some money. Some.

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So as soon as I read the sub heading of Lilla Rodgers I Just Like to Make Things: Learn the Secrets to Making Money While Staying Passionate About Your Art and Craft, I was puzzled – surely there can’t actually be a book that tells you the secret to making money or we’d all buy it and live happily ever after.

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So in the end curiosity got the better of me and I did buy it, happily read it from cover to cover and though sadly I did not have the secret to making money revealed, I did get my art soul spruced up in the process.

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I’d have lapped this book up a couple of years ago but I’m further down the self-employment road now and the pot at end of the rainbow still seems just over the horizon.

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But for now it reminds me to have fun with my art, be creative, take chances and do new things and that there is no quick route or fast track to success (and that’s from an agent’s mouth.) The overriding tenet of the book is to work hard, build good relationships, keep at it and create beautiful work.

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It spurred me on to swapping watercolours for acrylics, paper for canvas and planned observational drawing for instinctive layering and imagery by chance.

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And I’ve got to tell you I loved every second of making this work. I took it slowly, pondered but didn’t over think and reminded myself about the importance of staying open to new ways of working, hearing inspiration any where and seeing it everywhere.

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Blue Tits © Claire Leggett

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My recent posts may suggest that I have been gadding about and holidaying without a stroke of work in-between but it just not true – promise!

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This still-life is a magpie’s collection of things that I like that aren’t even mine – the coffee pot was loaned by a dear friend, the cups and saucers borrowed from my mum and dad, the macaroons were a gift and the wallpaper a cheeky (rather large sample) torn from a roll at a DIY store.

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after applying masking fluid

It came together as I accrued these things; putting them down on a side table until there was quite obviously a theme to them as collection.

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end of day 1

And I love the blue and white Scandinavian feel to it. Probably the influence of watching way too much Nordic Noir lately (current obsession is The Bridge but I digress).

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Ab’s Coffee Pot © Claire Leggett 2013

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Last night was the opening evening of the RBSA Open Competition 2013. There is an amazingly wide range of beautiful pieces on show – it never ceases to amaze me how different each artists treatment is. And I am really encouraged and delighted to have Autumn Jug and Blue Checked Anemones amongst them. It’s on until the end of June.

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There was a small shaft of sunlight through my studio skylight window this morning and it prompted a bit of spring cleaning.

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I found I had 5 new illustrations to put up here

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and 16 new paintings to put in the gallery.Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 15.38.53

Next up are the files of pattern designs to sort through and upload, the piles of annoying admin jobs to do and finally a sweep up. Hope Spring keeps showing itself or it will all grind to halt again!

Painting this set up has challenged my New Year resolutions about eating less cake! How long can one observe a cupcake before wanting to eat it?


Luckily this is one of a batch that go in and out of the freezer on still-life duty so are too yucky to even contemplate eating (the Fox’s Party Ring biscuits haven’t been so lucky but more of that another day!)

I really adore the colours in this painting. Navy blue may be my colour of 2012. Pantone are slow to catch on to my trend setting!

The birds-eye angle is quite strenuous to paint unless you are a giraffe or lying face down suspended in a hammock (no I’m not!) I’ve also done everything in duplicate so that I have whole items to scan into Photoshop and play around with later.

Cupcake © Claire Leggett


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All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Claire Leggett and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Claire Leggett.

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Spent a lovely (and last workshop day before Xmas 🥳) making #textileart and #drawingwiththread ➰🧵➰ @mac_birmingham From painting to collage to appliqué and stitches- fun, fun, fun 😝#illustratedstitch #applique #handstitched #textiles #workshop #stitchersofinstagram #stitchery #textilepictures
This Sunday 📆 @paperdollshandmade market 🛒 the @mothershipprojects #MARKit ladies will be selling their #hand printed and #hand sewn products for the first time 🥳 🎉 👏🏻 Please show them your 💙love💜 and be quick to snap up the cutest tea-towels ☁️ (swipe to see just some of the stock) 🏢Custard Factory, Digbeth #refugees #handmadesocialenterprise #everyonewelcome #refugeeswelcome #printedtextiles #socialenterprise #screenprinted #supportlocalartists #womenempoweringwomen #birminghamcity
Yesterday I taught Teacup Totes Embroidery @winterbournehg 🧵 ➿Here’s my sampler for class (finished in front of Strictly last night) #embroidery #embroideryflowers #embroideryart #broderie #stitchersofinstagram #stitch #slowstitching #frenchknots #daisystitch #stemstitch #teacups #stitchlovers #sewingfun #mindfulstitching #drawingwiththread
Ending my part of the #MARKit project @mothershipprojects today with a grateful heart 💖 Grateful for the chance to have shared my creativity and knowledge to welcome, build friendships and empower these awesome women 🙌🏻 #welcomerefugees #empowerwomen #refugeeswelcome #walkamileinmyshoes #motherswhomake #whorunstheworldgirls #craftforchange #womeninbusiness #artchangeseverything #makeadifference #fromstrengthtostrength #socialenterprise #sharelife

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