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 http://www.nancyfarmer.net 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   http://www.travellingartclassesandholidays.co.uk

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

P1030427
photo 4They brought masses of resources with them and we all got stuck in. Thanks Sheila Jones for organising!

 

 

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January blues…reds…and yellows

It never pays to absent yourself from your blog for too long because while your back’s turned Word press comes up with some new editing wizardry to cause some brow-furrowing.

Anyway, enough of that. January has been unexpectedly busy (and profitable) on the Art beat, it turns out. I’ve had a couple of commissions, which I can’t talk about yet, and I’ve given my first workshop!

Just before Christmas I had a long, flattering and hence persuasive request to give a workshop to a local Art Group. Some members had visited my exhibition during Somerset Art Weeks and asked if I ever did such things and I replied that I didn’t – too scary, too difficult, too time consuming.

But this group has a very nice, friendly and encouraging organiser.  So this week on Wednesday I used my village Art group as guinea pigs and on Friday went out into the big wide world (well, Taunton) with my easel, paintings, paints, books, photocopies and tracing paper.

The group was interested in seeing and trying some of my painting techniques, so after discussion I decided to choose a simple image that offered lots of scope for messing about with paint rather than too many time-consuming problems of composition.

P1010059 cropped

I created a level playing field  – to be more accurate it was a snowy hillside with lots of hoof-marks – and provided everyone with an outline drawing to trace or re-draw. I thought they might be insulted at the prescriptiveness of the situation but most seemed happy to start from the same point. In true Blue Peter style I also provided a ‘step by step’ sheet prepared earlier to show  how I arrived at my result:

4 pony views

 

I explained and demonstrated that my method was to do as little palette mixing as possible, rather to let the paints (blue, red, yellow) combine on the paper and see what happened, starting with a bit of undefined background and foreground. Snow and snowy skies lend themselves to a lovely free, sloshy approach, and liberal use of a squirty bottle of water combined with kitchen paper (my two secret weapons!)

Later when everyone had got some paint on the paper I painted in some of the darks on the pony, adding burnt sienna to the mix.  I think they were quite surprised to see my palette at this stage as proof that you don’t need to do much stirring and mixing :

palette

The final stage was ‘finding’ a background in the swirls and lines that had emerged. But by then there were as many different versions of my original painting as there were artists in the room, which was exciting and gratifying too.  Here is a selection:

 

 

 

Christmas at Moorlinch

Long time, no blog! Meant to write about preparations for our Moorlinch Artists’ Christmas offering and now it’s happening anyway.

Print screen

I’m joined again by Sheila Jones, a resident of Stawell a couple of villages away (but we don’t hold that against her!) and Kez – Keziah Herbert to be correct – who has held the fort at our Moorlinch Art Group sessions where I’ve been notably absent for much of the year. Kez has just produced a beautiful Colouring Book for sale and is even now demonstrating what fun it is:

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I’m quite pleased with my  new product: boxed notelets featuring some of my black and white drawings. I have a regular supply of these as every month I illustrate the front page of the parish magazine and the back page of the Polden Post.  Here is my marketing approach:Black and white pollarded willows

And I learnt how to  make up boxes, too (eventually). This is me displaying my wares:

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So we’ve found time to take pictures:

20151204_125042Sheila

And finally, here’s our store of Christmas goodies on offer – the edible, as opposed to artistic,  kind. Merry Christmas!

20151204_125111Christmas goodies

 

 

 

 

Link

That’s what I feel I’m doing at the moment. Not literally in fact, but metaphorically  paints, brushes, palette, water pots are whizzing round my head. Yesterday was time to meet up again with Moorlinch Art Group, a delightful collection of women artists of a certain age. Not that we practise any age or gender discrimination, it just happens to look that way at the moment. We meet once a week in Moorlinch Church Hall. The surroundings are truly inspiring : ancient church, apple orchard with fully laden trees and sheep jostling over the windfalls, views way out over the Somerset Levels and a clear blue sky.Took the photo because it wouldn’t hurt to encourage a few more member, so I’ll put a little piece in a couple of local magazines.

Some members of Moorlinch Art Group

Some members of Moorlinch Art Group

Last week it was all Chandos Society stuff – another group which has me as Chairman, but never mind. OUr exploits are recorded on www.chandossociety.wordpress.com .We’ve recently opened one of our two exhibitions this year at Bridgwater Arts Centre.

Finally of course, there is Somerset Art Weeks with just over a week to go to my preview on 19 September. I’ve been spending time with my pictures, juggling them from wall to wall too.I’ve delivered all Nancy Farmer’s work and bits and pieces so now it’s just me and my work – scary!

Maskerade

It’s a pun…I do know how to spell  really.(I just did. That’s a joke too). Rob Dudley, from deepest Dartmoor came to our Moorlinch Art Group, which I run, and gave us a brilliant demo last Wednesday.

Among other valuable insights he shared with us was How to Make a Masking Fluid Applicator That Works. It looks like a marine creature impaled on a stick and you begin by consuming creme brule (which I can’t seem to accent correctly. Dare I add I do know how to spell in French too)  from Marks and Spencer. I’m not sure I should say more…

Pam Motum with Rob's astounding masking fluid brush

Pam Motum with Rob’s astounding masking fluid brush

Rob employed the device with great dexterity and created a sparkling seascape before our very eyes. ‘It’s all tricks’ he declares. Hmm….well maybe you can’t teach old artists new tricks, but we’re all determined to have a go! Inspiring – thanks Rob.

From this...

From this…

DSCF4198

…to this.

Why Rob should kneel at my feet I don't know. Oh - maybe he's just too tall...

Why Rob should kneel at my feet I don’t know. Oh – maybe he’s just too tall…