The Artist’s year

The artist’s year  is a bit of a muddle. Hard to get outside in the cold beginnings of the year but the two monthly magazines I draw for still need something seasonal to put on their pages. I scour old sketchbooks for inspiration. For February found a drawing of a hellebore and some ‘parked up’ wheelbarrows (which came in very useful later…)

Then for March there was the gift of the red super blue moon – not sure those adjectives are in the right order – from a quick early morning snapshot. And a few moments snatched outside the hall during one Wednesday morning Art Sessions gave me the rooftops.



The next task was more far-reaching: fill in the entry from for Somerset Art Weeks in September, and select an image. So I swiftly worked on a couple of animal pictures that might also serve as my Christmas card (even further away), some gorgeous tractor ruts and, yes, had another go at the wheelbarrows. Then I cropped them all to more or less the right size (tiny) for the brochure and conducted a poll in the pub and the Art Group for the most effective:


Yes – the wheelbarrows won! And meanwhile, that’s a start made on the 2019 Calendar. Where did that year go?


Christmas is coming – again!

November has come and gone – not without artistic activity but it went unrecorded.

I’ve been busy having coasters made, featuring some of my paintings.

creative christmas 2


I’m a bit ambivalent about the point of coasters but having sold all my calendars I was looking for another product for our current event: Creative Christmas at Moorlinch.

Creative Christmas

So here we are, mince pies and wine at the ready, open for business!

A new look

Thanks to the newest of the group of artists and makers I work with on the site here at Spring Farm we have a new, improved website – with added Stitching and Photography!

SAW 2017 is looming so before September we thought we should just haul the creased and crumpled Spring Farm Arts website out of the cupboard. Thanks to Pam Martin of we are freshly pressed and ready to greet you. So do visit

No pictures here this time but lots on the website!


The Artist’s Companion


That’s Gem. And.  Pedant Alert: that’s ‘s, not s’,  because I’m sure there are many other artists’ companions.

It was a stormy Sunday earlier this month when the neighbour’s Cherry plum tree was at its glorious, early blossoming best.

P1050123resized Gem seemed happy being a rubbish cat until I went out to grab a few rain-free minutes sketching. Then she decided to continue the basket theme.  Finally the rain did come so she pointedly lay on the doormat.


OK, I have a Cherry plum tree too so maybe I could draw through the bedroom window. I think Cherry plum trees are a local thing. They have quite small fruits a bit like…yes, a cross between a cherry and a plum – and quite big stones. My culinarily gifted neighbour makes a delicious cordial. I leave mine for the badgers and foxes.

So -rain outside and faithful Gem inside, with me. And the bed.


Finally I realised I could see most of my subject through a different window which I opened every time it stopped raining and finally finished the picture. Thanks for your help, Gem!

P1050147 cropped


Rearranging the Landscape


This week I made great steps towards completing a painting commissioned early this year: it was to be a retirement present and none of my existing pictures quite fitted the bill. So the intended recipient was given a free hand to come up with his own suggestions. Yep, already sounding challenging!

He did his homework thoroughly and enthusiastically, even down to producing a map showing where to leave the car to  walk to the chosen viewing spot. And as you walked along the (very muddy but picturesquely rutted) track, you got wonderful near, middle and far distant views.

But, just repeating that ‘as you walked along…’ , the elements the customer wanted could not all be observed when you actually stood still. As I wasn’t filming but painting it required some ingenuity to compose a satisfying picture with them all in: the track, the modern  ‘windmill’, Shapwick village, the woods and Glastonbury Tor.


Back to a well-known problem: dealing with a view that is many times wider than it is high! There’s still a long way to go to the left before you see the windmill. And this isn’t even from the chosen viewpoint.


So these were the elements I dragged together and the general plan was approved:p1040393

I still took a lump out of the middle and reduced the size of the village. Finally:p1040625-cropped

And my (satisfied) customer said: The painting captures all the points we discussed and it takes the eye beautifully down the track to the middle and then the far distance. Job done.


Somerset Open Studios 2016

It’s not Somerset Arts Weeks now, it’s Somerset Open Studios. If you click on that title at the top of the website you’ll get a selection of the new work I’m showing, under the headings ‘Winter and Spring’ and ‘Summer’, for reasons which I hope will be obvious!

I’m very happy  to say that I’ve been so lackadaisical about keeping the website up to date that I’ve already sold Four pictures!


Somerset Art Weeks 2016

Yes, it’s that time of year again, and don’t ask me where the rest of it has gone. I had a great time with my canine visitor Carson, and it proved very creative, what with having to get up and out early, with camera, sketch pad and dog treats. But translating the experiences into actual pictures took time. Although I managed to continue to chronicle Carson’s adventures on facebook, not much of it made it onto WordPress.

I have a bit of an idea to get it all into a book, but with drawings rather than photos and I haven’t really had time to develop a drawn doggy character – except this one:  002

Still my local summer views certainly carry on well thematically from the earlier ones. The tracks and fields were in full summer glory and are on a new page in the gallery.

I’m putting some of my favorites here though:p1040066-croppedp1040086-croppedp1040092-croppedp1040106-cropped


I had a different challenge of getting more cards organised, including a new Christmas image, and this is the result:p1040112-cropped

Crickey – that’s the rest of the year anticipated!






May – just in time?

Just spotted the calendar (hi tech, me). So nearly failed to achieve my target of posting at least once a month.

I had to wait to publish my most recent work which is a painting of our local, the good old Ring O’Bells, Moorlinch. This was a wedding present for Trish and Clive the landlady and landlord, handed over at a wonderful party at the pub last Friday. I’m sure I was not alone in feeling I’d perhaps had too good a time on Saturday!  (Actually I typed ‘satyrday’. That sounds like the title for a Nancy Farmer Painting so I must suggest it to her).

Anyway it was a while since last ‘did’ the pub and it was quite difficult to avoid being spotted, but I think I got away with it:

P1030425 Pub cropped

A couple of weeks back I finally decided ‘it is what it is’ , photographed my latest version of ‘The impossible View’  (as described in my April post) also known as ‘Looking out out over the Levels,’ and took it off the stretching board:

P1030438 cropped

I’m sure it won’t be the last time I’ll tackle this one!

I did discuss this project with a very sympathetic artist and her colleague who came to our Moorlinch Art Group and gave us a memorable workshop on creating sketchbooks: Sue Lewington and Jackie Hichens run excellent classes that really made us look differently on our sketchbooks

I couldn’t resist buying one of their handmade sketchbooks and ‘christened’ it straight away:

photo 4They brought masses of resources with them and we all got stuck in. Thanks Sheila Jones for organising!




An irresistible and impossible view again

Last Sunday, I found myself at the top of ‘our’ hill. After some very Aprilish weather, it was a day of huge sapphire skies with luminous clouds – oh, and beneath the sky the flat patterned fields with the mauve smudge of hills on the horizon behind the Levels.

And there’s the difficulty : the view is panoramic, miles wide from side to side….and from my point of view, holding up a pencil to measure, a mere six inches or so from top to bottom.  This is about half the panorama!

I’ve attempted it may times –  two years ago, later in the year, I did some ‘extracts’:

So I don’t know really know if I can add anything else. But I’ve started, as Magnus Magnusson used to say… but will I finish?

So far I’ve done two small sketches:

They’re about 5″x 7″.

The next step…will be reported…in due course!


Slow March

The title conveys my pace of work, not the fact that March has been a slow month – au contraire, we’re nearly at the end of it and I have been silent all month!

I’ve been enjoying the local lanes and hedges, in that period where everything is twiggy and you can see much further than when all the greenery bursts forth.

I’ve been particularly inspired, again, by the work of Rowland Hilder who excels at that kind of low key winter landscape. We don’t have any of his beloved oasthouses in Somerset but we do have the hedges, lanes , bare trees and wheelruts.

This selection is based on the subtle, rather than spectacular glimpses that are seen  by the farmers, walkers, riders, cyclists and motorists who use the triangular network of lanes between Moorlinch, Stawell and Sutton Mallet. Beauty on our doorstep!


P1030070 cropped

This view looks beyond Sutton Mallets to the Quantock Hills.

P1030079 square

The maize stubble is wonderful for showing the shape of the contours – this is sketched just past Fursedown Farm.

More lovely hedges showing how the lane loops, between Tapmoor and Sutton Mallet Farm:

P1030103 cropped