Saturday, 22 April 2017

Spring love

Primroses and Wisteria

Watercolour on paper

Framed size each 35cm x 35cm

On display at:
ACEarts Gallery Somerton

Nature is wonderful.  Whether we are just tired of the winter months of dreaming of summer months ahead, the arrival of spring simply has a "certain something".  It seems to gently make an appearance with an array of colours that lift the senses, seemingly to a new level each time we see them.  With transparent yellows in daffodils and primroses to a blue in bluebells that is difficult to identify in any palette, the colours simply glow.  Moving then towards the pinks of blossom and lilacs of wisteria, the colours compliment and warm towards the summer months.  It is both intoxicating and irresistible.

I just hope my paintings do them justice :-)

Friday, 17 March 2017

Ladies Day Cheltenham Festival 2017

Ladies Day, Cheltenham Festival.
I arrived in Cheltenham ridiculously early so as to avoid the traffic and then enjoyed the next couple of hours in the Pitville Pump Rooms soaking up the atmosphere (together with a hearty fried breakfast!).  The rooms were buzzing, racing papers on the tables and outside, the Guinness bar was equally well attended.
I walked up to the entrance to meet my hosts for the day and, without a cloud in the sky, we walked through the crowds towards hospitality where, thankfully I would have a base to wander and return for a welcome lunch and later cup of tea.   With my bet placed on the tote, I then set off with camera to explore.

The Racing

The horses for the first race were beginning to parade.  Beautiful, fit and spirited horses, I could watch them all day.  The jockeys mounted and they made their way down the enclosed lanes towards the race track.  Along with much of the crowd, I slowly moved towards the finishing line of the track and was able to catch glimpses of the horses as the raced round.  The finish has to be experienced – the crowd go mad!  It’s a roar!

I lost my first bet! 🙂


With the huge volume of people there, I was surprised as to how much you can see.  It is extremely well organised and it would seem you can choose the type of day you wish – some stay in the grandstand and enjoy each race from a height, others wander and some appear to stay and watch from the Guinness Welcome area!  The festival really is a spectacle and has an atmosphere hard to describe.

After race three I decided to go back to hospitality and sit down for a much needed cup of tea.  And from the table, it was possible to watch and enjoy race 4.  So much to take in, the races follow on quite quickly.  So then back out for the next race.  By now the sun is getting low and I am finding the photography easier and more exciting, lots of shadows and atmosphere.
This time I decided to see if I could get to the start line and it was easier to get to the front.  It was great to feel the anticipation of the start and fabulous to watch the horses ready for the race ahead.   Thankfully I don’t think there were many injuries on the day, although there were a few dismounts and a couple of horses finishing the race on their own.  The horses look hot when finishing, their coats glossy with perspiration and veins prominent on the skin, but I know that these very treasured horses are well cared for and are all in the most fabulous condition.

Days End

It was time to bid a fond farewell to my hosts and make my way back home to Somerset.  The atmosphere on the way out leaving the festival was still amazing and friendly – free bottles of water and smiles.  This will be a day that I will never forget and I have just a few photos for inspiration 🙂

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Online tuition - daffodils in watercolour

A short trailer to show one the paintings included in my online tuition to paint daffodils in watercolour.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Little Red

"Little Red"
Original Watercolour 37cm x 37cm
Image ©Kayeparmenter2017

The first memory that springs to mind when I hear of red squirrels is when we saw them feeding close to the window of a holiday cottage in Cumbria, UK.  They are smaller than their grey relatives and incredibly beautiful.

They are present in our country in areas where the grey squirrels have not been allowed to take over, and I remember having to report to authorities when we spotted a grey squirrel in this Lake District garden.  A man arrived to take him away.

In this painting I have tried to capture the spirit of this lovely species –  the air of a fleeting moment.  They move really quickly, a very light and springy step with small stops to glance around – I’m not sure what they see but it seems that, if you don’t move, they don’t notice you.  So keep still and just enjoy the moment.

Greetings cards and prints available

Friday, 24 February 2017

Rocky Road - defender

"Rocky Road"
Landrover Defender
Original watercolour
Private commission

I was recently given a photograph of a Landrover Defender to paint for a commission as a present for a birthday.  I could get the detail that I needed from the photo but, with a bit of artistic licence, I decided to "muddy it up" a bit!

Having been on a Landrover experience day and let the car drive to the higher end of it's capability (holding on to the steering wheel), it makes me smile wondering how many people drive their landrovers off-road in this way.  

So, with the watercolour painting, I could use the qualities of loose washes and muted colours to give the effect of a muddy climb on rock.  They are without doubt huge fun to drive and I can see why people become so attached.  As they are not being made anymore, I can see why people are keen to hang on to their defenders!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Boss

The Boss

The kingfisher is irresistible as a choice of subject matter.  With its complimentary colours and fleeting nature,  the kingfisher is an artist's dream!

Within the past two years, I was introduced to the Greyhound on the Test with it in mind that I display some fly-fishing paintings.  And, with a walk along the beautiful river bank, I am never short for inspiration.

The fly fishing season is soon to start and I am making plans to hopefully see the mayfly rising this year.  The riverside, light on the water, atmosphere and gorgeous landscape work really well with watercolour and I look forward to creating more paintings and art along this theme.

My cheeky take on nature's fisherman with the painting of the Kingfisher appeared briefly at the Greyhound on the Test and I'm sure there will be many more paintings to come this year.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Spring Inspiration

Feeling the love for Spring? Paint daffodils with me.  Online tuition available soon.

There are so many fabulous ways to create art using the wonderful medium of watercolour.  One of the beauties is the ability to use lost and found edges to add a hint of softness to the piece.  Capturing light is an another consideration. In my online tuition for painting daffodils in watercolour, I am hoping to cover these aspects when using this great medium.

More details to follow soon.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Hard to Beat - Chargot, Bettws Hall

Chargot, Bettws Hall

 1st of February marked the end of the pheasant shooting season at Chargot Estate and I was excited to have been invited to go along to the beaters day to meet the team.
 Having taken down the paintings that had been on display for guests at the lodge throughout the season, I waited for the party to return from their first drives.
 Hungry and eager for lunch, a large party of beaters, pickers up and friends plus dogs arrived at the lodge and I was greeted by a happy and bubbly group – evidently working well together as a close team to support the running of the shoot.
 I adore Exmoor anyway, but I was thrilled to be offered a lift to Kennisham, a drive that I had already painted earlier in the season.  Driving into the estate, along narrow and sometimes steep lanes, we arrived at the most beautiful high drive, nestled in a valley with a small stream running through.
 Positioning myself at one end of the guns, I quietly studied the scene and gathered much visual information and inspiration for future paintings.  I am always inspired by the dogs; I cannot express in words how committed they are to the task.  It brings out the very best of their nature; loyalty, enthusiasm, stamina and, above all, the never ending desire to please.   I could watch them all day.
 Zeiss, the estate manager’s black spaniel, particularly caught my attention, although I found it hard to photograph him, as he moved so fast.
 I’d love to thank both Chargot and Bettws Hall for the opportunity to exhibit work with them this season, it has been amazing.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Bramble's story

Bramble’s story:
As I was painting Bramble, I became intrigued to learn his story, and his owner has shared this with me:
“I knew Bramble from a puppy when he had 2 eyes. A friend of mine owned him when I was at college. Whilst with them, Bramble ran away and came back with a bite mark from something through his eye. The vet couldn’t save the eye sadly and we don’t know what was responsible for the damage. 
 My now husband started working with Bramble’s owner and the family decided they wanted another dog. The introduction didn’t go well and my husband brought Bramble home for a “couple of days” until the new puppy got settled in and Bramble calmed down.  Well….he never went back. They decided it was best for Bramble to stay with us, as he was much happier. He came with nothing, not even the knowledge of the word “sit!” He was around 3 when we got him and had been 1 eyed for about 2 years, so was none the wiser! 
 He has now been with us about 6 years. He has an entire log basket full of toys, 5 beds around the house, comes to work with either me or Gaz every day (he has severe separation anxiety so is never left alone). He comes with us absolutely everywhere from coming in the car whilst we go food shopping, to family parties and bbq’s! He attended our wedding as Guest of Honour in November. He is known as the Pub mascot in the village as he comes in with us (along with his bed) every day! We live the country life with Bramble in tow including when we go shooting and he is put alongside Labradors and Spaniels to pick up birds….he beats them all and even experienced shooters are so surprised at him! The “YOU CANT TEACH OLD DOGS NEW TRICKS….” not true! He sits, lays, spins, paw, high 5 and lots more!! 
 He is much loved by all of our friends, family and colleagues. He is rather famous in Warwickshire to be honest (perhaps he has also produced a number of good litters of puppies recently). I know most people say their dog is the best, but this chap has something extra that I have never seen before! Everyone asks how he is before asking how we are! We are inundated with dog sitters, people who want to know if they can come and say hi to him. To be honest, I think he is more human than dog!
He is certainly one in a million and is just the most loving and brilliant dog (probably as he is so used to spending time with people as he is never left) with the calmest nature, but can run and go mad for hours when needed . And we get told this but strangers too!
He is our world! “

Monday, 16 January 2017

There's a fox in the kitchen

So, what do you do when your husband comes in after a late evening shift at work, wakes you with a tap on the shoulder and says “don’t worry, don’t wake up, but there’s a fox in the kitchen”.
Well I would challenge anyone to go back to sleep, without going to have a peek!  And yes, there was a fox in the kitchen.
To cut a long story short, many years ago on a dark rainy night my husband had driven past the fox, noticing him sat still on the side of the road, his eyes, glowing in the light from the headlamps.  Stopping the car, and on closer inspection, he saw the fox was injured, so gently scooped him up in a blanket and brought him back to our little flat.  And, yes there he sat in our kitchen.  Bedraggled, wet, wrapped in a blanket and with some water by his side.  There was nothing more that could be done until the next day.
A completely different sight met us the following morning and I wonder whether this may be what draws me to the subject to paint.  He was now dry and his fur was a truly brilliant, fiery, fluffy red and he was wild, mad wild!  So, with a pair of elbow length strong gloves, he was carefully taken to the nearest RSPCA centre for the medical attention that he needed.  I wish I could say that there was a happy ending, but sadly his leg was broken to the extent that it was not possible to repair and the kindest thing was to put him to sleep.
I will never forget the vibrant red and wild expression of this beautiful animal and I hope my paintings do justice.