Archive for October, 2011

The painting I sold

It’s been a long, and busy, day, but the art group exhibition was quite successful. We had more paintings entered than we’ve had in a long time, so we ran out of forms and labels, then we ran out of tables and easels, and spent a frantic half hour before we opened shifting paintings around, trying to make space and get all the framed paintings, at least, on the table easels. Everything was just about ready in time but it was touch and go.

 We had far more visitors than we usually do,  especially visitors who weren’t friends or relatives of the artists, so that at least justified going back to Combe Down, and we sold 7 paintings, again more than we have done at other exhibitions recently.  But apparently despite the crowds the teas and coffees didn’t go as well as usual, and the cards didn’t sell any better than usual. So the Treasurer will have to do some calculating before we know if it was really a great success.

I was quite happy with it from my own point of view, as I sold one  painting, a rose, and quite a few cards.  And Mum came up and won a raffle prize.
But it was an awful lot of effort on the part of a few people really, so there is a lot more than simply finance to take into account.
It was a great pleasure to be back in the hall at Combe Down though. It is really lovely since it’s been done up, very light and bright, clean and fresh, and a perfect place for the exhibition. Just very expensive, unfortunately!

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I’ve been working hard all morning framing some pictures for the Combe Down Art group exhibition on Saturday. Why do I always leave it to the last minute? Every time  I promise myself that next time I will frame them as I finish them if I think I’ll put them in the exhibition, but it never seems to work out!

I’ve not got a lot of new works for this exhibition, but I am putting in this one that I did for the club’s Christmas card competition – I shall probably reproduce it on cards to sell, too,  and use it for our Christmas card this year. I’ve also got one  that I did as a demonstration using wax pastels earlier in the year, along with two flower paintings that I did back in the summer, and an abstract that I did as an experiment for the fringe festival this year, so at least I shall be contributing.

This exhibition is a bit of a gamble – it will be the first  time the group has been back to the Church Rooms in Combe Down since they were condemned and we had to find alternative accomodation. Now that it’s been done up it’s terribly expensive, so we could make a loss on this, but members want to give it a try so we’ve got our fingers crossed that people will come – and buy – and it will be successful.

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The coast a few miles down from St Ives

We’ve just had a really lovely trip to Cornwall. We’re working our way round the coast of Great Britain, and, having done Wales, North Somerset, North Devon and North Cornwall, had got as far as St Ives. So this time we’ve been moving along the south coast, and had a fabulous time. We were very lucky for weather most of the time, and even when it rained we managed to time it right so as not to be out in it. We have a small motorcaravan, so have somewhere cosy if it does rain, and we do tend to spend quite a bit of time parked up looking at the lovely sea views, drinking tea or coffee or reading the paper – very relaxed – but we do also do explore the beaches, harbours and small towns when the weather allows, and this time  we managed quite a bit more walking than usual.

If only it was always like this...

One of the things that amazed us was how quiet the campsites were. We normally choose small campsites, but this time we just stopped at the first sites we came to when we felt we’d gone far enough for the day, and some of them were very large sites where we were almost on our own. It was lovely. On this site we had an amazing view down to a lake, and there was no-one else anywhere near us. I bet it’s a different story in the summer!
In fact everywhere was quiet – a couple of times we were the only people on a beach or harbourside, which was a real pleasure.  Parking was never a problem. It came as a bit of a shock on our last day, when we’d crossed into Devon and reached Dartmouth on the Saturday at the beginning of half-term, to find it heaving with people! There was a food festival going on there too. Luckily we’d decided to call it a day then anyway, as bad weather was forecast for the south coast on Sunday, so we headed home after having had a week of real peace and quiet,  amidst beautiful scenery, that really recharged our batteries. 

Can't remember the name of this place , but it was beautiful...


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The Bath Prize

I was pleasantly surprised to find that both my entries for The Bath Prize this year were chosen as finalists. Admittedly, there are a large number of finalists, but fewer than half the entries get through and I hadn’t been very pleased with my efforts this year.  I was allocated Kingsmead Square as the area of Bath I had to produce at least one entry inspired by, and I didn’t actually find it terribly inspiring. A super part of Bath, yes, bustling and popular , but not really the sort of thing I usually paint. I spent some time looking for that one view that would work for me, but in the end decided to take lots of photographs and see if I could do something combining several aspects of the square. I’ve done a couple of pieces in the past made up of a number of small squares , and that was what I had in mind to begin with, but wasn’t really happy with how they all went together, so in the end I picked the three that I was most happy with.  They seemed to go together to represent a slice of life in the Square and I guess someone liked it!

North Parade Bridge from the Parade Gardens

My second picture iss more the sort of thing I usually do. I started it sitting in the Parade Gardens on one of the few lovely days of this summer, and I managed to fill in most of the shapes and get an idea of what the picture was that afternoon.  Then I brought it home and worked on it a couple of times in the next few weeks. I usually take photos for later reference, but the batteries in my camera let me down, although I think that was actually a good thing, as I concentrated on making it work as a picture rather than getting the detail “correct” according to a photograph. I used wax pastels on black paper, a favourite medium. The black  gives the colours some drama and increases the depths of the shadows.  It was quite and enjoyable piece to work on, and I was more pleased with the result than with the Kingsmead Square one.

They’re going to be exhibited with the other finalists in the Octogan, Bath, for a week from October 21st, then  they will be auctioned. I don’t expect them to sell, but am pleased to get them in the exhibition, anyway.

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There's something about penguins......

What a great weekend we just had. The weather was still doing it’s record-breaking late summer thing, absolutely glorious, and we went up to Chingford to visit Jon. The North Circular wasn’t all that brilliant, lots of roadworks and an accident,  but once we got there, the campsite was good, mellow in the evening sun, and after an hour with a drink and the papers, we met up with Jon for a meal in his local Italian, which is excellent.

On Sunday we all went to Colchester Zoo, a bit by accident as  we couldn’t find anywhere to park the car in Chelmsford so we just kept driving towards Colchester ! We  all really enjoyed the zoo. It seems very well planned, and the animals have more space than we expected. They were mostly lolling around in the heat, and the penguins looked quite dozy, really cute. We were very envious of them and lots of the others for the water they had! I just love penguins, and I took loads of photos to work from, as I often use penguins on my cards.

In fact, some of the Christmas cards I was working on while we were in Wales  were penguin cards, and I’d meant to put one up on here before. I’d drawn a few Christmassy penguins, and created a digital stamp of these two playing with a huge snowball. I printed it on card  and cut them out, putting them on a background of a dark blue paper that has the look of a  swirly, snowy sky, that I found in my stash. The little trees are actually punched shapes, the punch, from Craftime,  is called Fern, but it makes lovely little fir trees.

I raised a few of them up on slivers of foam pad for a slightly 3D effect with the trees at the front, but they tend to wobble about as it’s such s tiny bit of foam, so I wouldn’t recommend it! With their hats I used a glue pen and glitter to give them some sparkle then stuck on a few tiny gems.

I had lots of fun drawing the penguins. If anyone would like to use them here is the file.


On our way home on Monday we stopped off at Kew Gardens for a few hours. That was fantastic. the weather couldn’t have been better and, although we only managed to walk round a third or so of the gardens it was fabulous. We came back with several plants in mind for our garden, and lots of inspiration, and also thoroughly relaxed. We particularly enjoyed walking along this lovely walkway, just  the sort of thing we  want to do for our pergola once the patio is dug out, and we spotted a rose with masses of little red hips on that seemed to be climbing very vigorously across the beams, so we noted the name – hope we can find it!

Altogether a really good weekend and it felt like we’d had a much longer break than we had. It’s always great to spend time with Jon but this one was especially good.

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