Monday, 31 October 2011


It's been a frantic day today! Rushing from home to gallery to framers, I was asked a few times "how are you today?" and I can honestly say fantastic! My new children's book that I've written and illustrated should be finished and with me by early next week, I have two galleries to supply paintings with by wednesday and paintings are in progress for charity ventures that I love......this and juggling being a busy mum, why do I feel so great?

It's because I'm doing something that I love!

After painting the poppies in remembrance of our brave servicemen lost to war and sitting back looking at it, taking time to reflect, I would like to say that I really appreciate the fact that I am able to do something that I love. My hearts go out to the families of our lost ones.

We will never forget x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Milk time!

Firstly I'd like to offer a warm welcome to those visiting my blog, I am thoroughly enjoying sharing news with you and I hope that you like my posts.

I wonder if any fellow artists feel the same as me - sometimes I feel that my best work is produced when I feel an emotional connection to the subject.

I definitely felt emotional watching the "Elephant Diaries" on television and indeed some members of our family found it too disturbing and sad to watch. The program is about orphaned baby elephants where, often its mother and family have been gunned down to serve the Ivory trade. In Nairobi, Kenya, a tiny Elephant Nursery, under the auspices of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, offers hope for any orphaned elephant fortunate enough to be found alive.

Having painted the above baby elephant, who is being fed a bottle of special milk by a keeper, I emailed a photo of the painting to the Trust. Angela Sheldrick replied and asked if I would mind if my painting was sent as a gift as one of the monthly paintings sent to the foster parents of the elephants. Angela is an artist too and I was delighted to be able to help.

It's a truly amazing organisation and their website is wonderful:

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Evening Post!


Painted in 2009 as part of a Charity Auction.

I saw a television program today, explaining that spending time on your computer late at night, may stop you sleeping - I'm laughing now as it's late and I shouldn't be here! As this is the only spare time I have, I may have to stay up just a little later before feeling sleepy!

My time recently has been spent with family holidays and birthday celebrations but in amongst the chaos, I was keen to find the time to return to a place dear to me. In 2009, two very special people successfully bid on a pet portrait commission (pictured above) that I had offered to help raise money for their village hall.

At the auction, I was made to feel so welcome and I have since been touched by the support this couple have given by travelling some distance to see all my subsequent exhibitions. I was keen to reciprocate and a couple of weeks ago, inbetween the busy times at home, I took some of my paintings to their local art show, one of which was inspired by our recent holiday to Cornwall. I was honoured to be advised this had been elected "Best in Show".

I feel that there are so many directions that your art journey can take. This road started with a risk - doing something that I wasn't sure about. There's nothing quite like sitting within an audience in an auction where your painting is the next lot!!! I took the risk and the rewards have been to meet some wonderful people - a great experience.

Thank you so much!!

Saturday, 30 July 2011


After a long walk in the Lake District and a much needed ice-cream at the Honister Mines, Alan mentioned to me that the owner of the mines, Mark Weir, had sadly lost his life in a helicopter crash earlier this year. The lady sitting next to us joined in our conversation and it soon became clear to me that he was a character who lived life to the full. On leaving the tea room, I noticed the engraved slate photographed below.

I dedicate this to my family who believe in me:

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.

To weep is to risk being sentimental.

To reach out to others is to risk involvement.

To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.

To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair, to try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing and becomes nothing.

He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.

Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.

Only the person who risks is truly free.

Having now had a look on the internet and read about Mark, I can indeed see that he must have taken risks in his life and indeed lived it to the full. I am very sorry for his wife and children that he has left behind.

I like the dedication and find it very thought-provoking.....

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Fun in five minutes!

Either at the beginning of a painting session, or at the end, I think it is a great idea to have fun with a watercolour sketch that should take you no longer than five minutes to complete.

Take any subject and a small piece of paper and simply paint, fast and loose!

Try not to make the sketch perfect, don’t get fiddly. Look at dark areas, look at light areas and decide before you pick up the brush where you are going to start.

With this ballerina, I wet the tutu area before starting. I wanted this to be diffused and “fuzzy” looking.

Mixing up a grey, I painted the bodice onto the dry paper, allowing the grey to mix into the water on the tutu. With the surplus grey on the brush, I stroked it into the tutu to suggest folds.

I then applied burnt sienna onto dry paper on the hair. Quickly mixing up a skin colour with raw sienna and alizarin crimson, I painted the neck and arms, allowing the paints to mix. As the paint was quite bold in colour, I added a brush clean water to the paper above the arm and allowed it to run down through the skin and bodice.

With mixes of alizarin crimson and Ultramarine blue I painted shadows on the legs and minimal shadows detail on the shoes just to indicate leg position.


Fun and only five minutes MAX!!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Look on the bright side!

Having sat for an hour in the garden of a Holiday Cottage in the Lake District last year at midnight, watching a lone peanut butter sandwich on the grass in front of me waiting for the badger rustling in the bushes to appear, I was not down-hearted. I grabbed a glass of wine and stared up into the sky where, with the lack of light-pollution, the view of the stars was unbelievably beautiful.

The badger didn't appear but I still saw nature at it's best.

There's always a bright side :-)

Have fun tomorrow everyone.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Going Quackers!

Thank you to everyone who is following my blog, I am really enjoying the extra time that I have to paint now that my exhibition has finished. But as ever, there is always something around the next corner! I'm enjoying painting for the 303 Gallery Summer Exhibition, titled "Splash" - I expect to finish these tomorrow. Then I'm looking forward to preparing for my next workshop and painting commissions.

We are planning a small family break soon, again it is to another lovely part of the country - I surely won't be able to leave my brushes at home, lol!!!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Capturing your vision

Completing a painting that has captured your initial vision is a great feeling. I love Somerset and "Feeding Time on the Levels" leaves me feeling very grateful that I live in such a beautiful part of the country.

I have enjoyed painting Herons this week and I will return to painting them again soon. In the meantime, it's back to the "Splash" theme for the 303 Gallery!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Teenage Kicks!

We have a Heronry in Somerset and I think this may possibly be the one featured in Springwatch on BBC1, televised this week.

I loved seeing the Heron Chicks and was totally inspired by the footage of them, set to the sound-track "Teenage Kicks".

Comical chicks with attitude! I believe that you can see the video footage on the BBC's website, under nature heading.

Paintings and cards will be available to view at the 303 Gallery Martock Summer Exhibition and I will donate 10% of sales to the RSPB.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Upside down??

I truly believe that no subject should be out of bounds for a serious artist.

Also, within the boundaries of good technique, I believe that there should be no rules as to how we reach our objective.

This painting may make you smile when you visit the workshop page on my website.

Happy painting everyone........

Monday, 2 May 2011

Watercolour Exhibition 1st-31st May 2011

Exhibition opening day.....

After months of preparation, yesterday saw the opening of my watercolour exhibition at East Lambrook Manor Gardens. A small selection of photographs as a slide show can be seen on

I wish to say a huge thank you to all the people who came along on the opening day. East Lambrook Manor Gardens is a superb venue and was bustling with visitors, many enjoying the gardens in the sunshine as well as the exhibition in the studio and malthouse and not to mention the lovely coffee and cakes downstairs. I have enjoyed seeing many friends who have travelled some distance, the day passed so quickly that I would love to live it again!

Friday, 29 April 2011

The Royal Wedding

I, like so many others today, loved watching the Royal Wedding. What a spectacle - a delight to watch and there seemed to be just the right balance, everything was perfect. With an artist's eye, I couldn't help but be inspired by so much, the colour, movement, drama.....

No sooner had the balcony appearance finished, I was heading towards my watercolour brushes to put on paper some of the images I had in my head.

I wish the prince and his new wife the happiest of futures, they must both be delighted! A wonderful day to remember.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Your Art Image

A few months ago, I discovered “Your Art Image”, providing tools to help develop your art business.

With a hectic life and an art business that has grown in strength over the years, I have actively set and reached goals and targets, I think I’m doing ok.

But am I? Kathryn has made me question this. After subscribing to the website mailing list, I receive a free weekly email each with an “Artists Action Point”, fantastic valuable information, suggestions and tips – I look forward to receiving it, and I’m usually still awake when it arrives late on a Sunday night!

It has been a great reminder to me that we should never stop learning. As well as enjoying the success that you achieve, I believe you should also be totally receptive to new suggestions from outside sources. Kathryn obviously loves what she does and this comes across strongly in her messages – she does hold various courses and seminars and, although I have not participated in any of these, I would imagine that they are very good.

Thanks Kathryn and keep up the good work!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Great Ormond Street Hospital

Lucy (left) and me (right)!

Book reading - Great Ormond Street Hospital

Today I was invited to the Oncology department at Great Ormond Street Hospital to give a book reading for my book “Kiss it Better”, it has been something that I have wanted to do, but I did not expect it to be able to happen due to the children being so poorly and vulnerable to infection.

Armed with teddies, conkers, paints, brushes, and books to give away, I set off for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Arriving early, I was able to sit in Russell Square in the sunshine, enjoying watching the children play in the fountains, contemplating the afternoon’s reading.

Catherine from the Community Fundraising Team kindly escorted me to the hospital for which I was very grateful as it is absolutely huge! The feeling is quite overwhelming as you walk in the building, it doesn’t have the normal “hospital” feel and smell – it is bustling with people and full of colour. Catherine explained the history of the building and a new section to the hospital is currently being built – it is very modern, quite a contrast to the older parts of the hospital.

We went up to the Lion and Elephant wards and met Lucy, who was arranging the book reading for me in the ward playroom. It soon became very apparent that despite Lucy’s attempts to spread the word, many of the children were simply too poorly to come along. We did manage the reading though, and some children also did some watercolour painting afterwards. I was enthralled watching them absorbed whilst painting, it was a magical moment. One mum said that she would treat her daughter to some watercolour paints.

I knew I would find it hard afterwards – on the train journey back I have struggled to think of anything but the children and a baby I met today, it doesn’t seem fair – if only we had a magic wand.

The "Kiss it Better" book is available online at Waterstones, however if you order it directly from Kaye, she can donate more to the charity. From each book, up to £4 will be donated to the Kiss it Better Appeal, for research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancer, one of the biggest diseases affecting children today.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Daunted or Challenged!

“Love-in- a- mist”

I have always loved this flower and always been daunted with the prospect of capturing its feathery, light and soft appearance. Whenever faced with a subject that I find daunting, my feelings soon change to that of wishing to “rise to the challenge”, call it determined or even stubborn!

I believe that we all should be able to paint anything that inspires us, be it a flower, animal, landscape, figure or portrait and, through a process of experimentation and testing the boundaries of the medium, we should be able to draw from previous experience, paint freely and be lead by the heart.

After I’ve picked up my brush, I could be anywhere – I am totally immersed, absorbed and feel like I’m in a different world. I can’t say it’s always a relaxing place to be, but it’s exciting and addictive! I’m hoping to capture this feeling in my next workshop with a slight twist on my normal format!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A beautiful poppy

A Beautiful Poppy

I took a photo of this flower last year at East Lambrook Manor Gardens. It has an unusual name and I'm waiting for the owner of the gardens to confirm what it is called. It has very unusual colour petals and is so delicate. I really enjoyed painting them! Today has been a fantastic painting day...........

Friday, 18 March 2011

Life in the fast lane

Life in the fast lane
As I'm busy preparing for my next exhibition, I realise that I only have three weeks left to prepare before the long Easter Break arrives. My exhibition starts two days after the Royal Wedding, lots of bank holidays to plan around! Today I've arranged for posters and invitations which has taken me away from painting, but I've enjoyed a quick look back at last year's work and wanted to share my cyclists with you!

Keep pedalling!!!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Prussian Blue!

Prussian Blue
I am slipping into bad habits...starting a painting without making sure I had squeezed the right paints in my palette. My painting style is very loose, painted usually with lots and lots of water, and it's edgy, and I mean by this that I react quite quickly to the effects appearing on the paper and try to capitilize them! I didn't have my blue to hand when I most needed it and couldn't find it in my box.....oh no, so I grabbed the nearest blue I could find.....Prussian Blue. What an amazing colour and how spectacularly it worked for me on the paper! I love it and will try to make the same mistake again ;-)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Hitting deadlines

Painting under pressure

Isn't it strange how sometimes when we are under pressure we can produce our best paintings. Other times when there is a deadline to meet, it can have the adverse effect and we can seem to somehow lose the plot! I wish I knew why.

I had a bad painting day the other day. The next day, I decided to change my routine. I started slightly later, took a cup of coffee to my "painting pasting table" and sat with small pieces of paper and just doodled with a brush. I told myself it didn't matter and, as I normally love my painting days, I should just relax and not think of workloads and pressure ........ it worked and how different to the day before!

My painting always feels like it is slightly "on the edge" as it's so wet-in-wet and bordering out of control. So maybe that's why I'm feeling as if I'm balancing on a tightrope, not always a great place to be, but at the same time exhilerating and addictive!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Exciting times

Where did February go?

Just a quick update email to let you know the changes to my website, please have a quick peek if you have time:

The major updates are:

1. Snippet of new paintings are going to appear on the homepage daily. Although I can't share the whole painting until shortly before the exhibition preview, I hope you enjoy seeing my work evolve!

2. My book. THANK YOU so much to those who have bought a copy. This means the world to me. I have sold the first print run, ordered the next and have just sent a cheque to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity "Kiss it Better" Appeal. By painting a pet portrait for a special person, I have been able to buy 15 copies to send to the oncology department to give to the parents of the poorly children. This has been one of the most important parts of my journey so far in this project.

3. Workshops.....going great! Due to a heavy work schedule I can't offer any more workshops at the Exhibitions but I will be providing demonstrations on an ongoing basis.

4. Tutorials. New....Pansy Practice. Have a go, it's great fun!!

I would welcome any comments - please do contact me!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Old Boot

It's been such a busy but happy few weeks. I was smiling today, thinking of my last watercolour workshop. We warmed up with washes graded and flat, colour with pansies and tone with pears, but a few faces looked concerned as we built up and moved towards painting the old boot. Far from the freedom we'd experienced with the pansies and pears, the boot looks quite intricate and fiddly. I was delighted to see that everyone thoroughly enjoyed painting this and it wasn't as hard as they rewarding! We had some fabulous old boots!

The day was filled with lots of little exercises building towards painting a beach scene, but time got the better of us, and we had to stop short of finishing this, but everyone was keen to carry on painting when they got home.
Thanks to a wonderful group for making a wonderful workshop!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Busy days.......

I can't believe how quickly time is marching on. From arranging for my first children's book to be published earlier this year to arranging a small exhibition with snowdrops and spring flowers, I would have liked the time to slow down, not fly past even faster.

Painting wise, I'm very busy as usual, but here is a little something to make you smile:

A couple of years ago, I visited St Margarets Hospice in Yeovil and was fortunate to be introduced to Patrick. He is a gorgeous black cat who, one day, casually wandered in and quite literally "made himself at home". He is now a valuable and much loved member of the team. I photographed him and painted a portrait in watercolour.

His portrait sits on the wall in the entrance to the hospice and he can saunter past and admire himself on a daily basis. He is now reproduced on greetings cards and is a fundraiser for the charity!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Snowdrops and Hellebores

I'm enjoying painting snowdrops and hellebores at the moment. There is something magical about seeing these wonderful flowers, they are both so delicate - strange to think they appear at such a harsh time of year.

The sun was shining on Saturday morning and the flowers at East Lambrook Manor Gardens looked fabulous, I have so much material to carry on painting tomorrow and I can't wait!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Happy New Year (belated!)

I've been a bit quiet recently as I've had a lot of things "on the go" and the latest project has been a childrens book that I have written and illustrated.

"Kiss It Better" is a 24 page illustrated rhyming story about two bears preparing for a conker match. Although aimed at pre-school age, I'm sure older children will enjoy it too! I will be donating all my profits to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity "Kiss it Better" Appeal for research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancer, one of the biggest diseases affecting children today.

Full details are on my website, including how to buy a copy if you would like to - it's been quite a journey!

Painting wise, I have a small selection of spring flowers which you can see on the "Latest Work" section of the website.

Workshops: thanks to the lovely group who came on Friday......I really enjoyed the day!