I suppose that sort of covers my greetings cards subjects these days – I have done the odd Polar Bear and some Highland cattle (not really usually wild, are they). And sheep and ponies – do they count? I have tried to add a new specimen annually as a Christmas card. So this year, having dallied a while with otters I finally settled on badgers and I will have the cards at my Somerset Art Weeks Open Studios 2019 exhibition (number 22).
Last Christmas I branched out into coasters, although getting the subjects to form a nice square was challenging!
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?
My (nearly) last job before Somerset Art Weeks in about 10 days time was to create my 2017 Christmas card. I usually choose and animal image and this time I wanted to have a Fox.
We occasionally get a fox visiting the garden and I had a few images from this year when she came leaping over the stream in search of the fallen cherry plums.
None of her poses was quite right though, so I had to resort to the internet for a bit of help. I finally decided I wanted to concentrate on quite a close-up view of the head, but not too centrally placed, with room to suggest a snowy setting.
There are some lovely painterly pictures of foxes around so I had to start again several times as I was happy with the pose but not the painting. I was also deperate to avoid anything ‘cute’ (see a previous blog on this subject) so I carried on with rather a ‘zombie’ look until I was happier:
Is that the correct spelling? Anyway, when I decided to commit to producing a 2018 calendar in time for Somerset Art Weeks I made the usual mistake of assuming that I would easily find 12 suitable seasonal works among my Oeuvre (spelling doubts again…)
Then I soon realised my calendar was as full of holes as a colander (spelling doubts now getting boring). So here are some of the new ones:
The title is my way of self-denying that I didn’t do a post in July ! I have been doing some painting, in particular a couple of commissions. One of them I delivered yesterday, only to realise today that I had forgotten to photograph it. Duh!
So here’s the other, which presented some difficulties, not least that it was a surprise present. I find secrecy in a little village like Moorlinch is tricky. Somebody is always going to spot you loitering with intent to paint in someone’s garden. That’s just the painting. Communication is also difficult when the intended (but unaware) recipient shares most forms of communication with the person who has asked you to do the painting so organising the project is problematic.
Anyway, here is Drysend Farm – an interesting name, and a very apt one as we saw in the floods of a few years ago when the vast lake on the Somerset Levels lapped a few metres away from this cottage:
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 http://somersetstitch.blogspot.co.uk/ we are freshly pressed and ready to greet you. So do visit https://springfarmarts.wordpress.com/
No pictures here this time but lots on the website!
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.
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!
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:
I still took a lump out of the middle and reduced the size of the village. Finally:
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.
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!