I guess this was a highlight of 2018…. being shortlisted for the RA Summer Show with this little watercolour. Not at all typical of my work??? How do they select? But I’ll have another attempt this year.

Looking back on 2018 I see it was full of swimming. There was my own two hour swim in the River Stour, Mill to Mill Challenge finishing with a picnic in front of Constable’s famous Mill at Dedham. It only took granddaughter Sophie and my son Chris, half an hour. I shan’t repeat the experience in a hurry. You can see by my face in this photo that I could hardly believe I’d survived it.

Then of course Sophie’s Channel Swim in a team of 6 completely overshadowed my achievement. They even turned out to be the fastest girls team of 2018 and won a shield. I celebrated her swim with a painting as a Christmas present which she seemed to like.

And now I’m busy painting again with renewed confidence after two fairly successful Exhibitions in Wivenhoe and Art Fair East, Norwich. I’m still painting water, but branched out a little with this view of a path leading down to the sea in Cornwall from one of the sketches I made during my residency in Cornwall – a great week at Brisons Veor, Cape Cornwall.

I’ve also repeated a slightly larger painting of Warraba, NSW Australia. The first one sold very quickly in Norwich and as it’s a lovely place which I enjoyed painting, thought I’d do it again. An artist friend said you should always paint from the heart not try to paint commercially. She says if you love the subject someone else will too. I think she’s right. So here’s Warraba mark 2.

So there are lots of nice things to come in 2019. I’d like to do a painting/sketching trip to Scotland and Northern England for further inspiration. It’s so good to work in new territory. I’m already so enjoying my larger studio space too. Life is good.

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Well after a wonderful summer filled with sunshine and trips to Cornwall, Cyprus, Wales, Florence and France all of which inspired my painting, I followed it up with two great exhibition opportunities.

The Sentinel which I shared with Amy Drayson, was not a sellout but we broke even and made a slight profit each. But more importantly, we learnt a lot about exhibiting and made some interesting contacts and received some lovely comments. I then went on to show my work at Art Fair East in Norwich. This time with Jen Sendall. I’ve shown here twice before and each time it seems to get better. The reputation is growing and I personally did really well this year achieving some good sales and making lots of new contacts. But more importantly It did my confidence a huge favour. I think I’m more aware of what to offer at these events and pleased that by sticking to what I like to paintI can still sell without compromising or dumbing down on my goals. The experience again taught me so much.

Since then I have reorganised and enlarged my studio space and am looking forward to more painting and also to offering short workshops as I still enjoy teaching.

Mastering MailChimp has also been instrumental in my selling work. Another arty friend told me that art was 40% painting and 60% marketing. A rather sad statistic but probably true. I’m not good at marketing and resent the time it takes but slowly coming to terms with the reality and finding it a bit less of a chore as my confidence increases.

Here’s one of my sales – Warraba NSW.


Not sure this is the correct use of an Art blog but although I’ve obviously expressed verbally, to friends and family, my joy about things I’ve done this summer, it still seems important to write the words down for posterity. So a-n has become a repository for my diary thoughts. Suppose I’m apologising but in fairness, my life/diary is inevitably slanted towards ART and as I believe art is synonymous with life, it’s allowable. Yes?

Right, apology over. The course at Newlyn Art School was wonderful. Full of practical advice on ‘how to paint’ but delivered by the tutor Gareth Edwards in brilliantly humorous/semi art-speak academic/understandable language. His thoughts on composition were a revelation demonstrating that there is always something to learn, even after a lifetime of painting and drawing.Here’s one of my efforts after the first plain air day on a stunningly beautiful Cornish Beach.

Then second day was spent in the studio making large-scale acrylic paintings. This is a detail from one of mine. I so enjoyed this one and it taught me so much.

I drove home (7 hour journey !!) feeling elated. Had one day to pack then 4 of us took off on another long journey via Brittany Ferries to France to stay in a gorgeous 200 year old stone house recently acquired by a relative. Situated on the borders of the Lot, Dordogne area. Again so wonderful that superlatives like amazing, beautiful, sublime can’t do it justice. Had no idea where to start painting as every angle was crying out to be captured. So I began by filling a concertina sketchbook with quite domestic images, to document our stay and to give to our niece as a memento. I photographed some of these to reuse back home combining lessons learnt on my Cornish Abstract Landscape course.

Here are some of the sketches and photos….

And now….inspired and slightly overwhelmed I shall begin a series of French memories. Then on 22nd I’m off to Brisons Veor,Cape Cornwall again for a weeks residency. What a wonderful arty summer I’m having.


Can’t believe this is my first August blog post!!!

Used up lots of nervous energy and trepidation by painting since my last blog. Fear has proved an excellent spur to creativity.I’ve managed to bag another week at Brisons Veor in Cape Cornwall and am so looking forward to time spent in this magical setting to paint when perhaps I can live in a more reflective manner than the current frenetic activity. News of my proposed Cornwall week prompted me to look again at the sketchbooks of my first visit for inspiration. And thank goodness this instigated a series

Just four of the 15 or so paintings rapidly completed recently in preparation for forthcoming exhibitions.

But the fear was not caused by these. A greater challenge was the one and a half mile swim I had foolishly agreed to do in the River Stour – the Mill to Mill starting at Dedham and ending at Flatford Mill next to Constable’s home. My son had dared me to take part.

Somehow I made it. Here with granddaughter Sophie who took 35 minutes compared to my 2 hours. Never again!!! I’ll stick to painting. It took me two days to recover. Now I’m getting my brain back in gear for next week – Visiting two lido’s in Devon to paint on my way to a two-day course at St Ives on abstract landscape. A timely event before my week at Cape Cornwall in September.

But that’s before our 10 day stay in France and a quick trip this Monday to Wells to see the Sculpture Trail. Shall have to blog again soon to catch up…haven’t mentioned my wonderful find of Covehythe Beach and my friends great art exhibition at Snape Maltings. Will I ever slow down? It’s proving to be a gloriously busy as well as hot and sunny summer.


This , I THINK’, the final version. Like I said before – each painting is like reinventing the wheel. I knew something wasn’t working but it’s taken a while and several reworking to discover how to get it right. But what does right mean? There are always more questions than answers and I suppose that’s exactly what keeps you moving forward. I seem to have moved on a little in my general approach to life in that I don’t just give up, throw a painting away and start on something else. I have managed, well with this particular one at least, to persevere until I get closer to the image in my head or to what, I consider, the right answer. That’s progress in my book.
And here’s a detail which I think made all the difference. It lifted the image from being purely figurative without having to obliterate too much detail and turning it into a pure abstract. The squiggly lines made with Inktense pencils suggest the crumbling cliffs in a way I couldn’t manage with paint alone.

I really liked the effect and have used it in my next image of a pool in Cornwall. See detail below.

Well that’s enough analysis for now. On with more painting. Actually, looking at this blog I now wonder if I should make squiggly lines in the sky of the Cliff painting??? Things are never finished. Questions??????