Thursday, 30 September 2010

Holmfirth Art Market

I've been selected to participate in the Holmfirth Art Market on 7th November.  I am very excited but I don't think I have time to sleep from now until Christmas!


The beginning of autumn;

The sea and fields,

All one same green
Matsuo Basho

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

First commission

Family. 30cm x 30cm

One Sunny Day.  17cm x 12 cm

Ever since I immortalised myself and the boys in the piece 'Family' (above), people have asked if I work to commission.  So for one of the craft fairs I produced 'One Sunny Day', another self portrait, but this time to invite commissions.  My friends Kate and Stephen were lovely enough to see the potential and asked me to create a portrait of their three children.  It's taken a while, mainly to muster the confidence to do justice to someone elses family memory.  The initial idea was from a family photo from a day at the beach, one of those days when everyone is happy.  In Kate's family this was more than a nice day at the beach, it was a miracle day, a day at the end of a long year of very bad health.  For me, knowing this, it was more than a portrait, it became a celebration of a very special family.  The sun signifies that warmth and unity, and although Kate isn't in the picture, she is symbolised by the sun.

I delivered it last night, to great praise and I do hope they love it! 

Rough design and sketches from photos

Pencil sketch

Colour selections for Paddling

Paddling 30cm x 30cm

If you would like to commission a family portrait, or immortalise a memory, I am currently taking commissions for Christmas.  Please get in touch through my website.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Seasons Change

Seasons Change 43cm x 17cm

Arc of Light 43cm x 17cm

Here are two pieces I completed last week in response to the changing season. The colours are getting more subdued, but also richer.  The light is more diffused across the landscape.  It's my favourite time of year.  I love the duality of Autumn.  The suprise of days, the not knowing if it'll be cool all day or burn through into a majestic day spiced with colour.  The vicarious weather patterns play havoc with the barometer in my head, swinging from being calm and introverted to full of energy and drive.  The cooler days fill me with a sense of dread at the long winter ahead and the near constant darkness but for now I am in my element, harvesting light and colour to get me through the darker days to come.

There's currently an exhibition on images of trees in art at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.  The exhibition looks at our dependence on trees as a building material and their symbolic presence in British Art, particularly the oak tree as symbol of British identity.

Friday, 24 September 2010


I came across these photos on my camera and realised I'd not posted them.  They're of our bedroom makeover that happened at the start of the summer.  Those red geraniums fill me with nostalgia for summer.  Oh, sunny days .....

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Feeling sad


Today I was given a box of papers that belonged to my Dad.  In it was this picture that I did in, I guess, 1978.  Oh to be able to create as freely as I did when I was five!

I also found this poem today in Staying Alive:

Poem from a Three Year Old

And will the flowers die?

And will the people die?

And every day do you grow old, do I
grow old, no I’m not old, do
flowers grow old?

Old things – do you throw them out?

Do you throw old people out?

And how you know a flower that’s old?

The petals fall, the petals fall from flowers,
and do the petals fall from people too,
every day more petals fall until the
floor where I would like to play I
want to play is covered with old
flowers and people all the same
together lying there with petals fallen
on the dirty floor I want to play
the floor you come and sweep
with the huge broom.

The dirt you sweep, what happens that,
what happens all the dirt you sweep
from flowers and people, what
happens all the dirt? Is all the
dirt what’s left of flowers and
people, all the dirt there in a
heap under the huge broom that
sweeps everything away?

Why you work so hard, why brush
and sweep to make a heap of dirt?
And who will bring new flowers?
And who will bring new people? Who will
bring new flowers to put in water
where no petals fall on to the
floor where I would like to
play? Who will bring new flowers
that will not hang their heads
like tired old people wanting sleep?
Who will bring new flowers that
do not split and shrivel every
day? And if we have new flowers,
will we have new people too to
keep the flowers alive and give
them water?

And will the new young flowers die?

And will the new young people die?

And why?

(Brendan Kennelly)

Life's eternal questions, still unanswered.  Life's creative path, still journeying.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Night and Day

Reflection 17cm x 12cm

Orange Sky 17cm x 12cm

Here are two smaller pieces I delivered to Thoresby Gallery this week along with some other work.  I was aiming for a more abstract image and more of a textile mark.  I like playing with the shapes and the link between the symbolic and abstract elements, how one creates the other.  I still have alot of images of kantha stitched textiles and quilts on my inspiration board and I have been craving working with cloth, perhaps scaling up and working larger.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Follow your heart

“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked, when they had made camp that day.

“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

“But my heart is agitated,” the boy said. “It has its dreams, it gets emotional, and it’s become passionate over a woman of the desert. It asks things of me, and it keeps me from sleeping many nights, when I’m thinking about her.”

“Well, that’s good. Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to say.”

“My heart is a traitor,” the boy said to the alchemist, when they had paused to rest the horses. “It doesn’t want me to go on.”

“That makes sense. Naturally it’s afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won.”

“Well, then, why should I listen to my heart?”

“Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.”

“You mean I should listen, even if it’s treasonous?”

“Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly. If you know your heart well, it will never be able to do that to you. Because you’ll know its dreams and wishes, and will know how to deal with them.

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God,” the boy told his heart.

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,” his heart said. “We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them—the path to their destinies, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out indeed, to be threatening place.

“So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly. We never stop speaking out, but we begin to hope that our words won’t be heard: we don’t want people to suffer because they don’t follow their hearts.”

Paulo Cuelho "The Alchemist"

Making Plans

After Wirksworth I was exhausted and the house was a dump!  Little Man had started back at school, we hadn't caught up on ourselves at the end of a summer of trips and holidays and the house was full of piles....of work, paperwork, washing, name it we had a pile of it!!  Wirksworth was an achievement of a dream and a real launch to what seems to be a new life.  David's work is on the back burner whilst I try to promote my art.  I'm excited and scared at the same time but the moment seems right.  As a bit of a net, I've also got a couple of rumbling smaller business ideas including selling vintage linens and plants.  So I am firing on all cylinders, finding it hard to go to sleep at night and writing lists and more lists.  I'm running on the last energy of summer, trying to shore up plans before the year starts to ebb.  The other day I looked up and saw alot that I'd been missing.

David has become a domestic God!

We had our first fire of Autumn and baked.

This year we are drying beans to stew in the winter.

The flow of life is ever onward.....

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Liz Salter

Liz Salter: A Fresh Wind.  Acrylic on paper

Liz Salter: Between the North and the South.  Mixed Media

This year, as last, I was beguiled by the work of Liz Salter at Wirksworth.  Her landscapes are expansive and fluid.  They are full of space and the sense that you have just turned your face to the wind and invoked the landscape on a breath of the freshest air.  They transport me to those precious spaces beyond the constraints of our every day.  On her website, I have an affinity with her statement:

"The paintings are not topographic, not based on the scenic, but filtered through experience of place and the reality of the experience of being there." 

My pictures too are experiential, inspired by the reality of place but filtered with a sense of design and decoration that leads it to a different conclusion to the eloquent landscapes of Liz Salter.

Monday, 13 September 2010


Wow!  What a magical weekend.  I LOVED taking part in the Wirksworth Festival and met so many lovely and interesting people.  I had a great response to my work.  I sold several pieces but more than that I received creative fortitude.  It was such a boost to see people engaging with the work and receiving from it the sense of joy, or meditation that I wanted for the piece.  There were many creatives there with whom I discussed technique, and I talked to book restorers, textile makers and painters, who were intrigued to know how I create my work.  I am now really excited to establish a workshop programme so I can share my ideas and techniques.  The first planned will be in March 2011.  Please e-mail via the website if you would like to be added to the mailing list for these.

The only draw back to the weekend was that I didn't really get out and about to imbibe that magical Wirksworth spirit.  I was so glad that there was a music venue right outside the library to bring the fetival to me.

Thank you to all who came to see me for your wonderful positivity and support.  I'm on cloud nine!

Thursday, 9 September 2010


The exhibition I have put up at Wirksworth Library is the culmination of a years work.  Starting work again after having a family, it has been no mean feat to find my creative soul and be confident to express it.  I now find myself with a portfolio of work that I am proud to put my name to, galleries wishing to represent me and a fiery ambition to live the creative life.

I really hope that you can visit me in Wirksworth this weekend.

Exhibition Catalogue: Smaller works





Red Sky at Night


Exhibition catalogue: Landscapes

North Wind

SOLD. Burnished

SOLD. Harvest

SOLD. Autumn Sun

Autumn Storm

Moonlit Copse

SOLD. Theatre of Light

Exhibition catalogue: Larger works

SOLD. One Leaf Left

The Robin and the Snowdrops

On the Breeze


Monday, 6 September 2010

Nearly there!

Hooray!  I've finished all my work for the Wirksworth Festival.  Tomorrow I am setting up and on Saturday and Sunday I will be at the library in Wirksworth as part of the Art and Architecture trail.  It's a great event, with street art and music, and over one hundred artists hosted in venues around the picturesque town of Wirksworth.  Hope to see you there!

See press for details!
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