It's been a looooong time since my last blog . . . . . last September . . . .
All I'll say about 'lock down' is, I did lots of gardening and not a lot of artwork. I caught up on some printmaking, because it was easy to stop and restart that process while gardening. It took a global pandemic to get me printing an idea from my trip to the Shetland Isles in 2017!!
Now the planned artwork process is back underway. Before lock down, I'd completed the 'Scottish Lobster' painting from the 'coast and harbour' inspiration and had limited edition giclee prints made. The crabs were next, but I've been side tracked by all things 'blue.' Perhaps it was the weeks of fabulous weather, with blue skies, glittering blue sea and sightings of visiting dolphins in the bay, that put me off course. Whatever it was, my head was filled with blues:- ultramarine, Prussian, Phthalo and cobalt hues.
There are 4 large, (for me), canvas to paint. It's a daunting, yet exciting prospect. There are many things to consider before the paint ever touches the canvas. It will be a real mark-making challenge. I've long been intrigued by Aboriginal art from Australia, were marks and symbols, record stories and create maps, from when there was no written Aboriginal language.
The plan is to make various marks to create patterns expressing the theme of 'harbour as a safe haven.' Colour and pattern have already been explored on smaller pieces of paper. This now has to be scaled up onto 80x80cm canvas. Then there is how to introduce flow and movement into a work that features the sea. My head has been spinning while I consider all these aspects and try to plan my process. It won't be an instant, expressive-type, abstract work going on here!
Starting later this week, there will be updates on my Instagram and Facebook feeds, if you'd like to follow the progress of the processes involved creating this artwork.
With the recent changes to trading circumstances, I've taken a positive approach and adapted were I can-
My studio is now open at weekends, as conditions allow, until end of October, following Scottish Corona Virus guidelines. Masks/face coverings to be worn.
Open Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 11am-3pm. (card payments accepted)
101, Main Street, Port William, DG8 9SD
Drop in and say hello, if your passing.
Other opportunities to view/buy my artwork are at my new, secure, online store at
My work is also at the Artists and Makers Shop, Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway, DG7 2HS
Open 10am – 4pm, closed Tuesday and Wednesday, until end of October.
Cherish your journey . . . . . even if it's a bumpy road . . . . stay well . . . .
Art making has been on hold since the end of July and through August. My home has seen a number of visitors come and go. For those of you who have visited during the Spring Fling Open Studio event, you will know my home is also my work space, so with under 5's visiting, many things had to be packed away. It's been a very busy stay-cation for me this Summer.
First visitors were my grandboys- when you're 3 and almost 5, everything is an adventure. We had enormous fun at the beach, catching crabs in the harbour, flying a kite, being explorers in the garden and playing football on the Harbour Green. It goes without saying, they have a lot of energy! Next, it was my young friends from Germany, making a return visit, but this time with their children. In the UK wherever you are, you're at most, a couple of hours from the sea. Germany is a huge country, by comparison, and they live 6 hours drive from the sea. We just pressed the 'repeat' button and did all those fun activities, all over again. They really enjoyed the crab catching and returned 27 back into the harbour! They were amazed at how clear the sea water is and how there are fish swimming and jumping in the burn. This reminded me, that things we take for granted, are not universal.
Finally, it was the turn of my grandgirl, on her very first visit to my home. We simply pressed the repeat button once again. Despite the weather being typically Scottish, a warm August sun came out unexpectedly on the afternoon we were at the beach. At three years old, with no inhibitions, first the wellies were cast aside, then the waterproof jacket and then all the clothes came off and my grandgirl ran into the sea for a splash in the waves. This wee girl has her own central heating system, I'm sure of it! Memories in the making for all of my young visitors.
Now the crab nets and footballs are stowed back in the cupboard, art activities are back on track again. There are 2 events to prepare for and a trip away, all before the first week of October.
On September 20th/21st/22nd there will be an open studio event across the bay at Drummore. (see my 'about and events' page for more info.)Three artists from the Rhinns of Galloway will be showing their work and demonstrating their skills. They are Linda Irving- felt artist and Jane Fraser- woodturning, at The Mull of Gallery, on the road to the lighthouse. Plus, Glenda Waterworth in Drummore- fine art and hand spun and dyed yarn. Alongside her beautiful artwork, my 'Memory of Fire' artwork, (plus other work), is going to be on display at her studio. It feels like this work is 'going home.' The Smithy that inspired the work is at her studio, just outwith the village of Drummore, on the road to Port Logan. I won't be there, as I already had other plans for that weekend, involving Pablo Picasso and some sunshine. More on that later
. . . . . I have to save something for the next blog post!
Wigtown Book Festival seamlessly follows on from this and you'll find my stand, and me, in The Kist marquee from Friday, 27th September- Tuesday, 1st October, from 10am everyday. I love this event, as there is always such a great atmosphere at the book festival. In the past, I've been told by visitors they were too late to book an event, as it had sold out, but came along to soak up the atmosphere! Perhaps the organisers should think about bottling it! Do call in The Kist and say 'Hi' if you're in the town at all. I hope I'm not next to any chocolatiers this year- the temptation is too much- for 5 days, I need more than just will power!
Applications for Spring Fling Open Studios 2020 have just opened and the closing date is near the end of October. The pressure is on. Searching for inspiration for new work I took a walk along the beach to 'think.' Instead, I found myself collecting seaweed, washed up shells and bits of crab from along the tideline. I dropped it all into a bucket of water at the back door and left it there for the night. I did 'think,' but much later. There will be sketchbook work done and a big dash of imagination will be added at stages along the way, from shore to artwork . . . . . who knows what journey it will take me on?
Spring seems a long way-away now, as the Autumn has arrived here, with blustery winds and rain. The leaves are turning colour and getting blown, or maybe that should be, stripped, from the trees. Tonight there will be clear skies and hopefully we'll see a multitude of stars scattered across the sky. Maybe even a glimpse of the Milky Way and the world does keep turning . . . .
with best wishes,
Cherish your journey
It was a pretty amazing Spring Fling event this year. I'm so grateful to those who turned up at Studio 4, despite the cool, showery weather. One hundred and thirty, lovely people visited to see my artwork. Many of them carried off a painting, or even two! So much support for my artwork and business, it was such a boost. It was great to see the familiar faces of folk returning after visiting last year and a special 'big up' goes to those who had me on their 'must see' list of studios! Phew, that's setting the bar high for next year, that's if I get through the Spring Fling selection process for next year!
It was a long period of intensive preparation for that weekend and energy levels have taken a dive just now. The post-Spring Fling 'slump' has begun, but I'm trying really hard to shake it off! Lots of things were still to be done after the event. The artworks that sold, but weren't taken away at the event, have now been delivered. The triptych, my 'work in progress,' that a very brave person decided to leave a deposit on, has been completed. They initially loved the colours and my broad outline of the work yet to be done. Thankfully, they are very happy with the finished work. When the oils are dry, it will head off to Peterborough, to its new home. The Spring Fling 'stats' have been logged online for Studio 4- how many visitors, where they came from, etc., from the 'book of numbers,' recorded over the event weekend. Much of the remaining artwork has been taken down and the walls in the house have almost returned to what is for my kind of 'normal.'
There are 3 new works prepped with gesso and ready for new beginnings. Before I start, there is a joint exhibition to prepare for. It's at a new space opening in July and there will be more details on my Facebook page soon. Feeling very 'chuffed' to have been invited as one of the opening artists.
Top of my 'to do' list is, 'I want my bedroom back!' The front bedroom is ready to redecorate, following the improvements to the insulation. Every day, I look in at the front bedroom covered in dust sheets and sigh. Every night, I carefully manoeuvre around most of the front bedroom paraphernalia, which is temporarily squashed in the back bedroom with me! Oh, to have my bedroom back! It won't be long now . . . and another, sigh . . . .
Out in the garden there is rhubarb ready for picking and the strawberries will be ready soon . . . . if I can get to them before the birds and the mice! There are areas of the garden that desperately need some TLC and some that just need a rampage with a well sharpened machete! During all of this activity, I will be making time for enjoying the Summer, whenever it starts- the Gulf Stream needs to edge a bit further North yet, for Scotland to warm up a bit. I really do believe in global warming, really I do, but sometimes when wearing a cagoule and sweater, in mid June, you do wonder . . . . .
There will be family visiting in July and August - fun time - paddling in the sea - maybe even a swim - brrrrh - sand castle construction - beach combing and walks. Memory making . . . .
However busy you are this Summer, be sure to make some memories too,
Cherish your journey
Yes, I know, this blog post is well overdue. Nothing new there, you say! Don't tell me, you haven't realised yet, that I'm secretly training you into my ways of random bursts of information, at unexpected moments . . . . . . . . . .
Here in Scotland, we've already seen the snow drops in the woodland, the daffodils have been rejoicing the end to winter in the garden. Now it's the first day of May, the swallows are back from their winter holidays and the bluebells are carpeting the woodland here, a reminder that Summer days are coming soon!
It's been an eventful few months on many levels. On the artwork front, I'm thrilled to have been selected again, for the Spring Fling Open studios event, 25th - 27th May 2019. Back in March, The Artists and Makers Gallery in the Mill on the Fleet, at Gatehouse of Fleet invited me to join them, displaying my work at this popular visitor attraction. Plus, a selection of my artwork makes a return to Glentrool Arts and Crafts Gallery, between March and October. My work continues to be available at the Artists and Makers shop in Castle Douglas, all year round.
New abstract artwork this Spring has been inspired by many themes, from the incredible, unbelievable, often hilarious, village gossip, (the rumour machine), through Germination, to a winter trip to Argyll!
At home, the disruptive chaos of new insulation and renovation work to the upstairs progresses slowly, but surely. The sound of hammering is thudding upstairs as I write.
A long standing health issue became much more troublesome from Summer last year. After investigations and a series of unsuccessful treatments, it was decided that surgery was the best option for an improvement to my long term health. That was done 2 weeks ago and recovery is now going to plan. I did have concerns that I may come home looking like I'd done a sparring session with Mike Tyson! Apart from a temporary lump on the side of my nose, due to the dissolvable packing and dark rings under my eyes from lack of sleep, the surgery left no visible signs it had taken place. So grateful we have our National Health Service, where would we be without it? I'm really hoping my energy levels are soon restored, ready for the 3 days of the Spring Fling open studios event.
In March I ran a full day workshop, 'Meaningful Mark-making', here in my home/studio. I wanted to introduce people to being 'creative', to be expressive and to learn by exploring ideas/techniques without any pressure to complete a finished piece of work. We began with creative mark-making at random and with intent, using many different tools and objects, using black ink. After morning coffee there was a short guided meditation to aid focus and creative thought, before an introduction to composition and basic colour theory. This was then applied to the black and white work done earlier. After a light lunch we moved on to beginning an abstract acrylic work, on board, to be taken home at the end of the day. The day flew by and the ladies on the course really threw themselves into the expressive mark-making during the morning. Later they created some thoughtful artwork, an expression of their own individual styles. I received some great feedback and hope to repeat the workshop during the Summer/Autumn. If you go over to my Facebook page, you can take a look at the working 'in the zone' video clips taken during the workshop sessions. It was really inspiring as they explored the mark-making possibilities and I watched their confidence grow throughout the day. If you would be interested in this workshop, just get in touch for more information.
As I was not to do anything 'strenuous' these past 2 weeks, I've been exploring ideas for printmaking, planning for Spring Fling, knitting a fabulous, colourful hoodie jacket for my Grandson and quietly healing from my surgery. There is the usual, ever growing, 'to do' list and the weeds in the garden just keep getting taller, but hopefully, all will be ready for Spring Fling later this month! 24 DAYS TO GO!
Returning from last year, will be the popular- 'name the artwork' draw during Spring Fling weekend. It's free to enter, visitors just give the work a title. If your entry is drawn out on Monday 27th at 5.30pm, the artwork is yours. There were wonderful titles suggested last year, can't wait to see what ideas visitors have this year. I met such a friendly, creative bunch of visitors last year and I'm really looking forward to welcoming visitors again this year.
See you soon!
Cherish your journey
They do say 'all things happen for a reason.' With lists written and the diary filled with plans, out of the blue an email arrived. It asked, 'could I take a stall at The Kist during Wigtown Book Festival, because there'd been a late cancellation?' With only 7 days notice, I took the chance and said 'Yes.' I hadn't applied to take part this year, so there was no time for the usual preparations, but still managed to get the display stands out of storage and the artwork organised in time. All of this kit slots into my little car, almost like lining up the squares on a Rubik's cube- well sort of.
It was the 20th year of the Wigtown Book Festival and, as usual, there were the great , the good and the celebrity speakers, giving talks at a host of literary events. There is always a fun, welcoming atmosphere in The Kist marquee, where a selected crew of artists, makers and speciality food producers gather during the event. I looked forward to it and it was a successful event for me, with sales and such a lot of positive feedback for my artwork. It was also an exhausting 5 days for me, as I can, and do, suffer from 'people overload' – that's when I say, 'yes, it's lovely to meet you all, but can we stop now, please?' That's when I'd disappear for a couple of circuits of the outside of the marquee and then return, a lot better able to cope.
Afterwards, with only 2 days to pack it all away again (phew!), I was packing a suitcase and putting my printmaking kit into the car. There was a school talk and demo to do, on developing sketch book ideas and lino printing. The talk and demonstration went really well. The children were very interested in my sketchbook work and so enthusiastic to be involved in making their own prints. The staff were really supportive and lots of prints were made, using different methods, at the 2 sessions- a total of 60 children, aged 7-8 years old took part. As the first session finished, I was amazed to see the corridor outside the classroom door, was a colourful, patchwork river of prints, all lined up to dry.
Sadly, schools don't have spare money in their budgets to 'buy in' artists, so this was me 'giving a little something back.' Let's hope that seeing my sketchbook of art experiments, hearing my thoughts on exploring ideas, not worrying about 'making mistakes' and telling them to have fun and play with their ideas, will see them being even more creative. Children are so curious and as expected there were lots of questions about print making and then there were the unexpected, like . . . . how old are you? . . . . do you really live in Scotland? . . . . where did you get your jumper?
Last week, my website was finally up-dated with more recent information, plus, works that have sold. Any newer work, not sold, will be on there around the end of the month.
The 'Energise' exhibition opens at the new Kirkcudbright Galleries this weekend, organised by, Upland, the arts organisation. A mixed media work has been selected for display. It's very personal to me, being related to my trip to Chile in 2009. It's also very different to my usual work and I'll be interested to get feedback about it. Looking forward to seeing the exhibition, which is on the theme of climate change and conservation. October is turning into a very busy month too!
Right now, I'm working on ideas for the Spring Fling open studios application process, inspired by my visits to The Smithy. The application deadline looms in 11 days time and I'm hoping to be selected to take part again in 2019. Fingers crossed.
with positive thoughts,
Cherish your journey . . . .