Saturday, 27 December 2008

Boxing day walk

I love a walk on Boxing day, after stuffing ourselves on Christmas day it's great to burn off all that excess food and wine! Boxing day this year in the Lakes was a beautiful day the sun was shining and there was barely any breeze, which made it glorious walking weather. Christmas cake was in the sandwich box and a flask of tea what could be a better way of spending Boxing day. We ticked off two more Wainwrights Great Bourne and Starling Dodd in Ennerdale, these are not well known fells but what fantastic views of all the ones we know, Calbells, Helvellyn and over to Gable.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Red, red robin comes.........

I can't resist taking photo's of Robin's they really are little posers, I caught this little chap at Grasmere our Lakeland Robin's are not camera shy, sometimes I feel you could hand feed them. With a week to go to Christmas it's been very busy with the gallery, Xmas card workshops and preparing for the festive time which I love, mince pies haven't been made yet,and I still have some pressie's to buy and wrap!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Winter wonderland

Fresh snow and calm lakes make the perfect winter picture, I'm thinking of having a go at this lovely view of Grasmere, I drove to Grasmere from Keswick we had no snow but Grasmere had this lovely sprinkling, where shall I go I thought, and as always I'm drawn( excuse the pun!) to some of my favourite views, I often paint the view down the Lake looking at Helm Crag but today this is what caught my eye, the bench that I usually sit on was snow covered, so I did a quick standing up sketch, always having pens and pencil to easy reach makes a difference in these conditions. A hot chocolate warm up ended the perfect afternoon

Friday, 5 December 2008

A Classic

I love painting Striding Edge it really is a true classic with lots of excitement and drama especially in the winter, it's in Lot's of ways helped me succeed in the world of art, one of the first exhibitions I entered was British painters at Ilkley where I was voted one of the top artists and an actor off Cor nation street bought my Striding Edge ( Alf Roberts the shop keeper) this gave me such a buzz and greater confidence to approach galleries. Now in December this year I have my first demonstration and article in 'Leisure Painter' and I was asked to paint my old favourite Striding Edge. If this cold front keeps up , I'll be taking just the sketch book, watercolours tend to freeze on the paper! back up Helvellyn to see a classic Lakeland vista.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Christmas is coming!

I saw my first Christmas trees lite up last night in a couple of houses in Keswick! I'm one of these people who leave it to the last minute, I quite like that mad rush on Christmas eve!!
One thing I am fairly organised with is ' Christmas card workshop' which is organised for next week and this is what we are going to have a go at painting, it's a bit of a change from painting my usual dramatic landscape, the Robin was a little challenge.

Friday, 14 November 2008

A dream come true

I received a phone call last week about a shop/ gallery in Penrith which was available for a short lease, I couldn't resist, it's a wonderful opportunity to have your own gallery and to show your work, I have another friend Karen that I met through Italian classes, she makes handmade Murano glass and silver jewellery she's joining forces with me. So from Tuesday 18th November Lakeland Gallery and Firefrost Jewellery will be open at 9 Devonshire Arcade, Penrith.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Winter Skies

I saw a lovely winter sky yesterday, a little like this! This was the painting we did for my evening class trying to keep to a limited palette. I have organised my Christmas card workshop for Tuesday 2nd December in Battersby Hall Keswick, Christmas is coming round fast!!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The glorious Lake District

On days like this it's hard to imagine a more beautiful place than the Lakes, this photo was taken from the top of Black Crag, this is the easiest Wainwright I've ever done but what lovely views. We parked at Tarn Hows and walked half way round the Tarn then up to the top of Black Crag with fantastic views across to the Langdales, Bow fell and the snow capped Crinkle Crags, the colours were magical, I'm looking forward to having a go at painting this, I did a few sketches from the top and I think it will make a great pastel painting!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Secrets of watercolour!!

Having been asked many times about workshop weekends in the Lake District, I have organised some for 2009, I love teaching watercolours to beginners and improver's, its fantastic to see how a few techniques or secrets can make a painting come to life. The weekend courses are aimed at these students, staying in quality bed and breakfasts based in Keswick with en suite rooms and been close to the town centre. Workshops will be mainly based inside a spacious light hall with step by step demonstrations and plenty of one to one attention specially designed to meet all students needs.Workshops begin Saturday and Sunday at 10.30am and finishing about 4pm with a break for a light lunch. the price for a weekend is £175 Evening meals are not included.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

First Snow

I could'nt resist painting Sharp Edge today, all the mountain tops around Keswick have got snow on them, I love seeing snow I feel that it gives more drama to the fells.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

How long will it last?

What a perfect tree, I love this time of the year, Autumn light is fantastic long shadows, the rich fells with a sprinkling of snow bright blue skies, there's nothing like walking at this time of the year kicking the Autumn leaves and smelling log fires burning in cosy rooms

Monday, 27 October 2008

Autumn Leaves

Keswick has seen some exciting weather this weekend, but today when I walk to the Lake in the glorious sunshine it's hard to believe, but the Lake is very high and there is the first glimpse of snow on the fell tops. I'm surprised that there are any leaves left on the trees but the colours look so beautiful, I can't wait to get it to paper or maybe canvas!! Monday night is my evening class in Keswick and this is the painting we are going to have a bash at!!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Aladins Cave

Finished my 2008 Lakeland art courses today we had a lovely time and really got to grips with the medium of watercolour, and it finished on terrible weather, the Thirlmere road to Keswick was flooded quite badly, the waterfalls were unbelievable gushing down the fells and onto the road. The weather has been quite remarkable this year, February was beautiful and also May sitting beside the river painting in pastels and watching for a Kingfisher or even our Derwentwater otter is always magical.The week in Italy in May was beautiful we didn't swim in the Lake this year but I'm hoping that our visit in June next year will be long sunny days spent painting and evenings watching the sunset over a fantastic meal with a chilled glass of wine. My four summer courses in the Lake District were a little damp to say the least we managed to capture misty Lakes, glass like reflections and a real feel for the English Lake District.

I am already looking forward to next years courses and I am delighted that TheHeaton Cooper Studiohave offered 10% off for all Lakeland art courses students, it is one of my favourite galleries and art shops and I always get a buzz when walking in and looking at all there colourful paints, pastels, the list is endless. I have kept my prices for the Lake District courses the same for 2009 the same as this year, courses are starting to book up and I'm about to send my brochures out.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Ace of Spades

Autumn is here in the Lakes, I couldn't resist this glorious Acer in Grasmere today, the weather was so varied dark payne grey skies one minute to stunning deep winsor blue the next. The beautiful drive from Grasmere to Keswick along the side of Thirlmere is one of my favourites and never fails to inspire the colours really are at their best, I want to stop and paint everything before the wind blows those precious leaves away.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Summers returned!! briefly

I love this time of the year, the colours are changing, the fells are more of an ochre rather than very green, and the light is softer with longer shadows creating paintings round every corner. I found this sun lite terracotta pot in Rydal Hall yesterday, I have a beginners course in watercolour based at Grasmere it starts in 2 weeks, the Lakes will be heavenly if we have sunshine days and the colours will be fantastic.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Orange and Blue

I recently have acquired a full imperial stretcher, never having painted a watercolour this big, I could'nt wait to have a go but also felt quite daunted at the prospect. But once you get used to handling a big board it's no different really, I enjoy working big and find smaller paintings more challenging. While painting this I was very aware of colour complementaries and tone. I have an exhibition in Keswick next week and I'm hoping this will feature in it.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Summers gone!

The fells are changing colour, the light is different all wonderful ingredients for painting projects. Wainwright bagging is a great way to see the Lake District we managed three peaks Allen Crags, Esk Pike and Great End, parking at a busy Seathwaite and heading up the valley towards Stockley Bridge I had a sketch book in my rucksack and a camera always to hand, the light was mystical this as got to be one of the most dramatic valleys in the Northern Lakes. I was soon reminded as we approached the top of a cold and windy Allen Crag that Summer was over and Winter walking had begun. Since returning from this exhilarating walk I have been buzzing with ideas of what to paint, which style and medium!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Can I have a look?

There's nothing quite like painting outside,
after a few weeks of relentless rain, it's such a wonderful feeling to get out and do some sketching. Needing only a few bits of equipment a pen or pencil and sketch book and your free to work anywhere, I spent a few hours on my favourite walk around Derwentwater stopping occasionally and capturing what inspired me, luckily my companion the 'duck' was not to critical.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

2009 Dates

Can't believe September is here, I've just organised next years courses, It's a enjoyable job thinking of the places to go to paint,imagining the glorious weather we will be having! and remembering courses from this year, funny stories and little mishaps. Painting is a never ending learning process and a wonderful hobby. I'm about to start running an evening class for beginners in Watercolour in Keswick which is always alot of fun.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Golfing Brollies

I've spent the last few days sketching and painting in heavy rain showers, but with the help of a golfing brolly it can be a wonderful experience! The brolly is propped on the floor over your knees and the precious work of art, you can work quite easily avoiding the raindrops, but experiencing wonderful atmospheric conditions perfect in watercolour. Derwentwater was calm and reflective and the Otters have been seen again playing and swimming in one of the coves.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Knowing when it's finished.

Worked today on Friars Crag, I'm still getting to know my 'Wallis paper' from USA and I was a little worried that I had covered too much of the tooth of the paper with Acrylic paint, but no it was a joy to work with, I love working with an under painting, I think that you are more aware of colour and colour complementary. I worked so enthusiastically that I finished the painting and managed to frame it up ready for my exhibition at Moot Hall at the end of the week. Knowing when a painting is finished is sometimes a feeling that you just know 'that's it' or it can be a battle as to now when to stop, I sometimes take a digital photo and look at it on the camera or PC or look at it through a mirror but I always put it on the floor with a mount around and view it from about 2 feet away.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Rain showers

Another warm day in the Lake District but rain showers kept me in my studio, I decided to have a go at Friars Crag on Derwentwater, in pastels but with an acrylic base painted onto Wallis pastel card, I had it shipped over from USA which was a change from walking down to the local art shop. Using Hermes P400 for the last 14 years or so it's very exciting to find a paper of equal standard if not better!!! One of the main advantages is putting an underpainting on without disturbing the surface of the glass paper.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Swallows were dipping

Morning showers cleared a trip on a open topped bus and a perfect Lakeland landscape awaits. There was no breeze so pure and calm reflections of Loughrigg and the islands on Rydal water were waiting to be captured, the swallows were dipping around the beautiful waterlilies and the ducks were keeping a watch to check that no sandwiches were been eaten. I decided on a palette of Cobalt Blue, Burnt and Raw Sienna, Transluscent Yellow and a touch of Permenant Rose and the wet in wet technique hoping to apply a one wash approach, my Ken Bromley stretcher and Arches paper worked a treat.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Sunny Days

Nothing beats painting 'en plein' on warm sunny days with plenty of sunlight. Today I was painting with my group of artists at Easedale Valley, Grasmere beside the beck listening to the sounds of Summer while capturing in watercolour distant craggy fell tops, an old farmhouse and wild flowers of foxgloves, purple orchids and sun kissed yellow buttercups catching the light. Making the scene complete was an old green tractor making perfect bales Monet would have loved!