At the end of this term I gave my students some Christmassy things to draw. Here are a couple of sketches that I did beside them.
Every bauble I have tells a story. We still have a very cheap one made of glittery paper from our first Christmas together when money was very tight. Then there are the beautiful wooden German figures that were sent to me by my mother-in-law. I also have a few pieces my grandmother had on her tree when I was child and later I inherited boxes of beautiful baubles from my parents.
When my children were growing up we would allow them to choose a new decoration for the tree each year. The drawings above are two of those. Our original fairy which I inherited eventually fell to pieces and this fairy was chosen by my children when they were young. Today it sits on top of the tree with a beautiful Christmas glass star made by my good friend Maureen Charles who I have shared a studio with in recent years.
The other bauble is my all time favourite though. Bought by my daughter who thought it was the most horrendous thing she had ever seen, I loved it as soon as I saw it and it now takes pride of place next to the Christmas tree. Why not hanging with the other baubles? - because I would be devastated if it fell and broke.
Walking down King's Parade I was really delighted to see one of my paintings in the window of Byard Art. Made my day!
I have a few paintings on sale at Byard Art in King's Parade.
This gallery is definitely my favourite and not just because they stock my work. They are very friendly and have some of the most amazing artworks by artists from all over the world.
Some of my favoutite things there are the beautiful jugs. Mmmm, think I might ask Santa for one of those for Christmas.
At the weekend I shared a studio with Diana Kazemi and Carmen Renwick. We decked it out with an enormous amount of Christmas lights, put the mulled wine to heat up and opened our doors to the public.
Here is a photo of me just after we had set up the previous evening. Behind me is one of my largest Cambridge paintings that incorporates gold leaf and some of Diana's beautifully elegant ceramics. I love the way the two different media and styles work together.
We had a wonderful time meeting everyone who came to visit us and the time just flew by. Thank you for for visiting as it was a little cold and we would love to see you again next year.
I shall be sharing a Winter Open Studio this weekend with Diana Kazemi, ceramicist and Carmen Renwick, painter and printmaker in Chesterton, Cambridge.
I hope you will be able to drop in at some time over the weekend to see our work and enjoy a glass of mulled wine. A number of other artists, within cycling and walking distance, will also be opening their studios during the same times.
We will be open on 24 and 25 November from 10am to 5pm. If it is cold the door will be closed but please knock. You will see the flags and 'A' board near the entrance at The Old Dovecote, 5 Church Street, Cambridge CB4 1XQ - the same street as St Andrew's Church.
I have made some more scarves for this open studio. They are gorgeous, soft, silk, vibrant in 6 different colours, I can't wait for everyone to see them.
As you may be aware, I love the monthly meetings with Cambridge Urban Sketchers - #USKCambridge. On Saturday we visited the Zoology Museum in Downing Street, Cambridge. Although there was a large group of us, there are two floors to explore and we all managed to fit in among the visitors.
I headed to the lower floor where the animal skeletons are and found a seat in front of the large display cases. These exhibits are lit so well they throw the most wonderful shadows. So here are my sketches using a black 0.5mm fineliner. A red howler and a brown hare.
After the photos of all the sketches and the group we headed for the cafe which overlooks the huge whale. Here we look at all the sketchbooks over a cup of tea. As I ate my brie and grape panini I was devastated to learn that the cafe would be closing as it was not profitable. Such a shame that this lovely place is unable to survive as people prefer the expensive brand coffee shops.
I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to exhibit some paintings in this exhibition. There are 6 altogether although they will not all be shown at the same time in this ever-changing exhibition.
I went along today for the opening and found myself with a glass of mulled wine, my first this year so Christmas must be coming.
There are plenty of wonderful things to see by dozens of different artists in all kinds of media. I do have a soft spot for the checked pottery and I think one of the jugs will be on my Christmas wish list. There are also some one-off pieces of amazing jewellery which are exquisite and some really interesting mixed media pieces plus ceramics with Emma Will represented who is also doing a Winter Open Studio near me this year.
Other pieces I really love are the wacky houses and the ceramic people. I am so chuffed to be showing my work amongst such talented people. Exhibition ends on 24 December.
I am very excited, and a little nervous, about giving a talk and demonstration at Ely Art society. It all happens Friday 9th November at the Methodist Hall, Ely, CB6 1AD.
I shall be talking about my work and giving a demonstration on how I use copper and silver leaf in my paintings. After that I shall be talking about my love of Urban Sketchers. All illustrated with lots of prints and paintings plus sketchbooks from my art classes and urban sketches.
Bookings can be made online http://www.elyartsociety.com/section816939_
One of my students has been offered a job abroad and this means I have a vacancy in my Friday class.
If you are interested in joining my classes please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What we do in the classes is led by the students and we discuss media and subjects at the beginning of term. My students love drawing and this is the best way to learn to look at the world around you. We also make a lot of paintings, in both watercolour and acrylic, on various themes and experimenting with different techniques.
I provide all materials so you don't need to pay for paints and pastels like in most other classes. My classes are for a maximum of four people so everyone gets lots of attention.
The classes are from 10am to 12.30pm. Want to know more or like to visit? Please contact me.
You can see some of the work we do here http://www.facebook.com/cambridgeartclass
I usually draw along with my students. But over the years I have accumulated so many bits of paper that now I usually draw in my sketchbook. I like sketchbooks, they keep everything together in time order.
Sometimes I draw my students drawing the set pieces for observational drawing. I like doing this because It forces me to draw moving people and yes they do wriggle an awful lot.
Now I am wondering how many of these books shall I take along to my big talk to the Ely Art Society early next month.
Although I haven't updated my art class website, here is the link:
The exhibition at Addenbrookes will be showing until 15 November.
I love having a painting in the long corridor at Addenbrookes Hospital. That corridor is really long, starting near the bus station and ending at the treatment centre - that is from one end of the hospital to the other!
There are lots of artworks to cheer up your visit, some permanent and some that have been up for years but close to the far end, past the concourse, the exhibitions constantly change. I had a solo exhibition there a few years back and got some great comments. When you are stuck for a time in a hospital and able to walk around, the galleries are a great attraction - they are also on the way to Costa, M & S and numerous other outlets.
The paintings are for sale and the hospital gets commission which goes towards helping the patients.
This is me in my studio. I work on an old computer desk which faces my garden. It's a lovely place which means I can look up when I am in need of inspiration.
Today it has rained since I got up this morning and the forecast is for more and more of the wet stuff so I have the lamp on with a daylight bulb. One thing about rain; you don't feel guilty about staying indoors.
Painting though, can be a lonely job!
One never knows what is going to happen but when something does it can really boost one's confidence.
I am an Urban Sketcher. I love it. The Cambridge group are really great and I feel I have a whole new set of friends. It took me some time to pluck up the courage to go but since then I did I have not looked back. So what happens during an Urban Sketch meeting? Venues and dates are shared on social media and you just turn up with your sketchbook and pencils and paints.
We have been to all sorts of places but my favourite are the colleges and the street scenes. A few weeks ago we were invited to draw down Mill Road, which has a long stretch of quirky independent shops and cafes. After meeting outside St Barnabas Church we spread out to find something to draw. I headed down one of the side roads to the antique shops. I spent an hour sitting drawing until the smell of curry from a nearby restaurant became too overpowering and I moved to draw something else.
After regrouping with the other sketchers we were asked to show our work to the Mill Road History Society and unexpectedly asked to say a few words about what we do. Then those that could make it went to Hot Numbers for tea and cake and sharing sketchbooks - thinking about it maybe this is why I love going to the meetings.
Later we put our sketches on social media.
A few days after this I come home to find a message on the answerphone from Janet at Cambridge Antique Centre who would like to buy my drawing and to use it as their logo. Chuffed or what - I said yes. So hopefully in the future I will be able to show the printed paper bags on my blog.
I recently sold my painting called Cornucopia. The lovely lady that bought it knew the place it should be, in her office. But her office is unfinished and is being used as a storeroom.
She said in an en email 'I am enjoying your picture so much. My husband wanted to share it, so it’s hanging in the sitting room, pulling all eyes toward it.' I am so pleased it has found an excellent place in her house.
The painting is called Cornucopia which derives from Latin in the early 16th Century and is a symbol of plenty usually consisting of a goat's horn overflowing with flowers, fruit or nuts.
In my version a tree with curly golden branches produces many different fruit. The foreground is packed with flowers and fungi and in the distance are rolling green hills and a mountain range.
A ladder leans against the tree and someone has been there to fill the basket....
I am preparing four mini paintings for a Christmas exhibition. I have two completed and two more to finish.
Each of them depict some trees with silver bark and somewhere along the bottom some very subtle millefleur. I am hoping these will be just about complete tonight so later in the week, when the oil colour has dried, I can add some moons in the night sky.
Then I can frame them. Thinking about framing them with lots of space around.
The Museum of Classical Archaeology is one of the least known museums in Cambridge. Run by the Faculty of Classics of the University of Cambridge since 1983, it is located in a purpose-built gallery on the first floor of the Faculty of Classics on the Sidgwick Site of the University. Unfortunately it is hard to find due to lack of signage and several times I have arranged to meet my art students there and they are late and frustrated as they have spent time trying to find it.
Once inside, the museum is worth the effort. It is full of white casts of heroic figures that used to adorn public buildings. The collection spans the length and breadth of the Graeco-Roman world and covers a time period reaching from 1700 BCE to 400 CE.
Outside the university term time the museum is quiet and only a few visitors find their way in but during term time you might stumble into an informative lecture given by learned professors. Several times I have been there drawing and a tutor and their student/s have arrived and I can overhear how their essays are progressing which I find fascinating.
The drawings above are of the gorgeous Mattel Amazon and looking out of the window past the plaster cast heads.
A really enjoyable Urban Sketchers today on a beautiful sunny Autumn day.
We met outside Barnabas Church before finding something to sketch and there was certainly lots of choice. I walked to Gwydir Street and sat down to draw the antiques shop and got to work quickly before a car parked in front, which did eventually happen but I had a rough sketch and was able to work into it from imagination.
Eventually I had to leave as the smell of curry from the local Indian Restaurant became overpowering and I moved onto Mill Road itself and drew H Gee's shopfront. If you ever want a gizmo, this is the place to visit.
Our 2 hours were up really quickly and we met up in the Barnabas Center where the Mill Road History Society had asked us to show our sketches as part of their Open Day. We were unexpectedly asked to give a talk and our leader rose to the challenge and she also asked me a to say a few words.
Afterwards we went to Hot Numbers to eat cake, drink tea and share our sketches.
Recently I have been painting larger pictures and the detail takes me a long time so now I am playing with something a little smaller. The paintings are on panel which makes them nice and flat and I am quite liking it.
I have been asked by the wonderful Debora Cane to do a presentation to her Ely Society members.
I have never done anything like this before and although I have a few butterflies I am really excited. So what to talk about? I shall start with an 'how I got here' talk about my life in art from Art College to my classes, my urban sketches and my paintings.
I have nine weeks to prepare alongside helping organising a wedding, painting for the next exhibition at Byard Art and preparing for Winter Open Studios. What is that old adage? If you want a job done, ask a busy person.
I will update my progress
Many hours have passed since the last photos. I had this painting set up during Cambridge Open Studios so visitors could see how I worked. At quiet moments I managed to add to the painting.
The painting was completed in a very quick time of around 8 weeks. I often work on two paintings at the same period because the paint takes such a long time to dry.
Sometime during the process I decided to add cows. Some time ago there were 3 cows in the area behind Kings, a British White cow, her daughter and granddaughter. These days there are some lovely red polls which are there to keep the grass in trim.
The trees are now covered in copper leaf. I add the copper very roughly so touches of the red paint show through, this gives them the texture of bark. Adding the leaves is a pretty laborious job so I turn on the computer and tune into BBC iplayer to listen to the dramas while I work. Adding the leaves will take several days and I may add several layers.
In the second photo you can see my paints. I always use a tear-off palette which I can discard after use - anything to save extra work!
My paintings consist of several layers.
Before I got to this stage I have added an extra coat of acrylic primer to the canvas and an undercoat in acrylic paint to outline the main shapes in the painting. I have over-painted the layers of green and made a sky change from light to dark in oil paint. Each colour will take around a week to dry.
My idea for the painting is the 3 levels of grass leading down from Kings College to the Backs, one of the most famous views in Cambridge. You will be able to see a small King's College Chapel between the row of trees.
These two images show how I outline the design of the trees in white before painting them a solid red in oil paint underneath where I shall place the copper leaf.
Everyone loves elephants or at least are intrigued by them. They are ungainly, huge, have peculiar noses and are frightened of mice.
Way back before people took holidays abroad, explorers used to send back descriptions of these amazing animals. Initially they thought elephants lacked knees which meant if they fell over they were doomed as they struggled to get upright. For a very long time only a very few people in Europe had ever seen one but word got back that they were so huge they could carry castles on their backs yet they were afraid of mice.
My painting is based on a description from the thirteenth century and the huge creature has King's College Gatehouse, part of the University of Cambridge, on its back along with a few lost crusaders. Imagination is a beautiful thing.
I don't particularly like visiting hospital as it means either I or someone I know needs some tests or is ill.
Waiting can take a time in the various departments but this means you stay in one place for a time, maybe for 5 minutes or maybe up to an hour. So I take along my sketchbook, a propelling pencil, an eraser and some black fine liners. I don't think the hospital would appreciate me with watercolours so they stay at home, the red marks were added at home.
The two sketches above were done quickly. The first waiting with a friend who needed a blood test and the second waiting for an appointment to see the doctor.
July is over and so are the Cambridge Open Studios. Although it was really hot most of the weekends I would like to thank everyone for visiting. It is really lovely to meet people who have seen my work in the guide and come along to look at the work and to chat. I find this very flattering especially I am not in the centre of Cambridge. This year several people came along who had seen my work at Byard Art on Kings Parade in Cambridge, others told me they wanted to see more after liking my paintings at the Cambridge Drawing Society.
August means lots of visitors to the city centre and a lot of locals keep away for the holiday season. If you do venture into the city I have 4 paintings at Byard Art which are grouped together in the basement.
I the meantime I am frantically painting for forthcoming exhibitions.
Open Studios have finished for another year.
This year the heat radiated down reaching of around 30 degrees. Whew! Then there was the football and the tennis and for the last week, high winds and at times rain. So thank you to everyone who ventured out of their houses to see my work.
I love meeting old friends and new acquaintances at this yearly event, some who are from close by and some who have travelled quite a way to see my new work. This year, amongst the colourful detailed paintings including some based on my research into the medieval art of centuries ago, I included my sketch books of urban drawings. I have been to many places in Cambridge and beyond with one of my Winsor and Newton sketch books and sat and drawn what I see. When I draw like this I get totally oblivious to what is going on around me so it was a great surprise when I finished my drawing one day to find people behind me watching my progress.
I displayed a variety of paintings, prints and cards this year. The images above of are two of the large oil paintings that I sold. A big thank you to everyone who bought something and I hope they give you lots of joy.
For the last session with my Thursday Art Group we went to the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Cambridge to draw from our surroundings. We met for a quick lunch before finding places to sketch. My spot was slap, bang in front of the glorious glass houses. I love the architecture of these old buildings and the Cambridge examples are beautifully symmetrical.
How to draw all those straight lines? It takes a lot of looking and a steady hand. I couldn't believe how time flew by and soon I had to find my students. Although their aim was to draw in the glass houses themselves they couldn't find anywhere to sit so I tracked them down by the lake.
I am not sure I did much teaching but it was a wonderful afternoon out sketching.
The first week of Cambridge Open Studios has passed.
Many thanks to those who visited me last weekend in searing heat (29 degrees) and even when the England football team were playing their quarter final in the World Cup. Fantastic. My visitors make the annual clearing up and polishing worthwhile. I have a wide range of paintings, urban sketches and mono prints with loads of stories to tell.
The medieval rabbit pictured above is based on the gorgeous drawings found in the margins of old medieval manuscripts. It is a collage I made alongside my students - the theme is free in those sessions so beside me there were collages being created of Canadian mountains, American snow scenes, an inspiration from Cezanne and a Green Man. There is certainly diversity in my classes!
The other image above is a painting I sold some time ago although I still have a couple of prints. I think this is one of the best views of Cambridge and I don't think many of our Cambridge Tourists have ever seen it. Maybe I shall paint it again?
I am looking forward to this weekend when I shall be open again and I shall be interviewed on the radio. Gosh, just talking about it makes me nervous.
Cambridge Open Studios starts on 7 July this year as this is the first full weekend in July.
My studio will be open on July 7 & 8. July 14 & 15 and July 21 & 22 from 11am to 6pm. I love open studios, I love welcoming complete strangers who have seen my work online, in the guide or at Byard Art and want to find out more. It gives me a chance to chat about my work and maybe even pick up a few commissions.
For the third year running I shall be sharing my space with the fabulous glass artist, Maureen Charles - we call ourselves the Mo Show! There is one downside of sharing with Maureen and that is that I love her jewellery so much I end up buying lots of pieces - but I never regret it.
What to expect when you visit my studio?
I like to think we offer a warm welcome to my house full of art and glass. We can offer a cold drink, especially needed if the hot weather will continue or a hot drink. There is even a glass of wine on offer. I have a garden with lots of animals hidden for the children to find and colouring sheets.
Besides the artworks I have cards of my paintings, the Cambridge Art Book, limited edition prints and new this year some notebooks.
The easiest parking is just round the corner at Woodhead Drive but a bike can be left on my drive. We have a leaflet of all the local artists and when they are open so you can do a trail of the local studios if you like.
I look forward to meeting you at 309 Milton Road, CB4 1XQ
It has been a whirlwind month.
Following the 'Cambridge Art Book' launch last year, I was invited to exhibit five new large paintings in Byard Art's annual 'Along your Street' exhibition. Incredibly one of them sold with two hours of me delivering them to a lady in New York who had seen the image on their website. I was over the moon.
Not long after the exhibition opened these two paintings sold. With more exhibitions coming up including Cambridge Open Studios I am planning other images to paint over the summer months.
Life is good.
I think I must be hungry!
My Friday art group loves drawing, we have tackled fruit, veg, flowers, cameras, jugs and a whole wealth of other items. For the last couple of weeks I bought sweets for them to draw as they are really good to draw in pen and watercolour.
Although free to eat as many as they can I am still left with a couple of boxes full of sweets. I wonder how long they will last......
You can see some of my students' drawings on my Cambridge Art Class Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/cambridgeartclass/
I thought it might be interesting to show my very first sketch of 'The Backs' painting. The idea had been whizzing around my head for some time and when a friend asked what would be my next painting I did this doodle on a napkin.
Yes it does sound cliched but that is exactly what happened.
I kind of build my paintings so I divided it into sections and added the background colours. I played with how the grass on the Backs would look and decided to make it patchwork so I painted green squares of three different sizes to show the perspective.
Next I painted King's College, loved doing that. Then it was hours and hours of tiny detailed painting for the flowers in the grass, followed by the punters, the tree and after a very long time of almost a year - I painted the blackberries. Then I sat and looked at it. After another few months I added the seated girl and smartened the whole painting up.
When Byard Art asked me to paint 5 large paintings I knew this would be one of them but I waited another 5 months before I could add the varnish.
I found the original scribble not long ago and was actually amazed at how closely I had followed my original idea because normally I go off in all sorts of directions.
I do have favourite paintings and this is one of them.
Today I took my Friday art group to the Zoology Museum in Cambridge. The museum is not fully open yet, that happens on 23 June, but it is still a great place to draw.
We met outside at 10am and walked around the gallery choosing which of the wonderful exhibits we were going to draw, then retreated to the Whale Cafe for a bit of sustenance before returning to the gallery and getting our pencils out.
We had each chosen a different creature to draw. Clare choose a black rhinoceros skull, Graham tackled an African elephant, Winnie drew a giant turtle and Ya Su, who is a new student and has never been to out to draw, choose a rabbit. I was so impressed by the results and I asked the lovely attendant to take a photo of us 'urban sketchers style' with our drawings.
What did I draw? I fell in love with a very cross seabream skeleton. When I showed this to a friend he thought it looked like a political cartoon of a politician! ....I know what he means.
These two paintings have been in the window at Byard Art.
I love the reflections of King's College, it must be wonderful to look out on such beautiful architecture during work time. I love it that the painting on the right is of King's too.
The painting on the left is called 'Tree of Discovery' and includes references to Cambridge learning and pushing boundaries and includes Hawkings' Equation that he wants on his tombstone, an image from the Parker Library ...... but more of that later.
The 'Along your Street' exhibition at Byard Art started yesterday and finishes on 1st July.
Today I saw an ad for the show in a local magazine and was delighted to see my painting of Newton's Apple Tree featured. The painting itself has already been sold and will soon be hanging on a wall in New York. Wow, I really am feeling so excited.
The painting depicts the tree outside Trinity College. The tree may be a descendant of the apple tree which grew in Isaac Newton's mother's garden where he worked on the Theory of Gravity after an apple landed on his head.... or it may be just a fantasy. The buildings around are snippets of Trinity College.
If you would like to see the exhibition the gallery is on King's Parade in Cambridge.
During the month of May I have been taking part in the May Challenge. This means making an urban sketch every day. My sketches over the month have included trips to the Zoology and Classical Archaeology Museums, parts of Cambridge and even some skecthes when I spent a weekend in Brighton.
The two above are of my garden and my studio, both of which you can see if you visit during Cambridge Open Studios in July.
To celebrate the third anniversary of the Cambridge Urban Sketchers group, our leaders have organised an exhibition at Novi in Regent Street, Cambridge.
There will be around 25 sketches in all kinds of styles of various places we have visited over the past 3 years. All sketches will be mounted and framed and for sale. The Private View takes place on 22 May between 6 and 9pm. Come along and meet us and find out more about what we do.
You can find out where and when the next meetings will be if you want to come and sketch with us.
It's Day 9 of the drawing challenge and I am delighted to say I haven't missed a day!
Of course there are rules, otherwise it would be easy but it means getting out there to draw even though you might be in a place surrounded by people who are all too aware of what you are doing.
I've included two of my sketches: one is the beautiful wisteria in my front garden that is our pride and joy, lovingly pruned and cajoled twice a year by my husband and the second is the glorious totem pole drawn during a trip to the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology on Downing Street, Cambridge.
The sketches are put on the Facebook USK Urban sketchers' site every night so that is a great incentive to make sure I draw every day.
Cambridge Urban Sketchers will be celebrating their third anniversary this year and will be holding an exhibition at Novi in Regents Street, Cambridge between 25 May - 24 June. If you are in the area, pop in for a coffee or cocktail and view the sketches.
I have been invited by the wonderful staff at Byard Art to paint five new pieces for their June exhibition called 'Along Your Street'.
Byard Art is is a lovely gallery on King's Parade in Cambridge just about opposite the King's College Chapel. The five paintings can be seen in the 'Cambridge' gallery on my website. I have really enjoyed making the paintings and I am so excited that they will be on show in the centre of Cambridge.
One of my favourite destinations is the Parker Library at Corpus Christi, which is part of Cambridge University. I have always loved old manuscripts, tapestries and anything from around 1300AD. One of the most exciting things that happened was stepping into this fantastic library a couple of years ago and seeing thousands of old and beautifully bound books with the most amazing illuminations.
I feel very privileged to have become a reader here. I am different to the majority of others visiting the reading room who are writing PHDs or learned papers, I am really excited to be drawing from the books they keep.
Last week there were several visitors to the actual library and as we cannot be left alone (the books are priceless) I joined them in the main library and was able to sketch this beautiful interior and even included the librarian (Anne) and one of the visitors.
I just love drawing in the colleges even on really chilly days. Our January meet was at the wonderful Queen's College which includes the Mathematical Bridge.
I always seem to be drawn to the staircases at the old colleges which are made of wood and worn down from hundreds of years of feet. Some of my staircase sketches will appear at the Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition at the Pitt Building in April/
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