Sunday 11th August 2019   09:52 AM

Cake Tree

A painting for lovers of cake
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I have wanted to paint a cake tree for a long time, I just loved the images that those two words brought to me.

But what is a cake tree? During my childhood it referred to a cake stand with little savory or sweet delights. It also filled me with memories of my last 'big' birthday when my family treated me to afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason with small sandwiches, tiny cakes and a never-ending pot of Countess Grey tea - what bliss!

But what I really had in my mind was a tree where an assortment of cakes grew and could be picked at any time. And so I started to paint. First adding extra gesso over the linen canvas and then an undercoat of dark blue acrylics. This picture was destined for @ByardArt in Cambridge for their Summer Mixed Exhibition 2019. I prefer to paint in oil but deadlines are deadlines (had a lot of those when I was a graphic designer) so I decided to paint the whole thing in acrylics because it would be much quicker than waiting for my oil layers to dry.

My graduated skies normally take hours to perfect and I first came a bit unstuck as the acrylics dried too fast but I persevered and added lots of slow drying medium. The sky done I did my usual red tree trunk as a base for the copper leaf. My next problem was that I usually used an oil based size to adhere the leaf and I realised if I painted in acrylic over this the paint would be unstable so I dropped in to my local #Tindalls to have a chat and get advice. They certainly know their stuff and I happily walked out with a water based size which I painted over the red base and the copper leaf was now in place.

The next stage was painting the little cakes and then the smaller branches and leaves. So how did it work? I was disappointed. The picture didn't have that 'glow' of oil colours, the colours looked flat and I couldn't get the intricate detail and the covering ability of oil without repainting it about three times.


What did I learn? I learned I prefer my oils but thought there must be a way of achieving a similar effect in acrylics to cut down the drying times. I have been asked to do four small paintings for the beginning of October, deadlines certainly focus the mind and I didn't want to be caught out again. I did more research and came across Golden Open acrylics that are described as "a professional, slow drying range, offering artists the ability to use and work into Acrylic over longer periods of time." I think I may have found the answer. I have bought a range of colours and am experimenting with them now. I will report back at a later date.


Sunday 4th August 2019   07:34 PM

Space pictures

A celebration of the moon
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Like most people I love the moon. Sounds like an odd thing to say but it is reassuring to look into the sky and see it there even though it may not always be in a same place and of course we know it is there even when it is cloudy.

I think my love affair with the moon started during the moon landings and those amazing astronauts who made their steps on its dusty surface. But of course the most beautiful pictures were what the earth looked like from so far away.

My next big experience of the moon was on a visit to Germany, close to the then East German border where the air was crystal clear and I viewed the moon through a telescope. Breathtaking.

When I started painting seriously I found the moon crept into my pictures. When my children were small you could find my paintings on a stall at Chelsea Market. My paintings were for children and the moon made an entrance in most of them regardless of the subject and sometimes the moon itself was the subject.

Nowadays my paintings are influenced by medieval art, trees and Cambridge: but the moon is still there proudly part of my work.


About image

Painter living in Cambridge. Mixes fantasy and realism and loves medieval art and it's detail. An avid sketcher.

Blog Archive

* 2024
* Tree of Birmingham for a client
* Having fun making collages with my art students
* Sketching at the Heong Gallery
* Cambridge Drawing Society Spring Exhibition
* Drawing at the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge
* The January Challenge
* 2023
* Live painting at Byard Art
* Demonstration at Byard Art
* Arts & Craft Fair, Pitt Building, Trumpington St, Cambridge
* A portrait of me
* Cambridge Drawing Society - Autumn 2023
* Inktober
* Try your hand at Gilding
* Birmingham Open Studios
* Teaching in my home
* Sold at Byard Art, Cambridge
* Thank you to everyone who visited my Open Studios
* Last weekend of Cambridge Open Studios 2023
* Cambridge Open Studios 2023
* Summer Exhibition 2023
* Cambridge Open Studios
* Cambridge Open Studios 2023
* Making planets
* Reverie at the Leper Chapel
* A new me
* Lost in Reverie
* Talk to the Cambridge Drawing Society
* First outside Urban Sketch of the year
* Cambridge Drawing Society Spring Exhibition
* Cambridge Art Classes
* Paintings in progress
* Work in Progress
* #TheJanuaryChallenge
* 65 Million artists
* 2022
* Exhibition at Michaelhouse extended until 17 December
* Small paintings with patterned gold leaf
* Of Day & Night
* Teaching students in my studio
* Of Day & Night
* Self Portrait
* Art in the corridor at Addenbrookes
* Christmas Cracker 2022 Exhibition
* Birmingham Open Studios 2022
* Birmingham Open Studios
* Birmingham Open Studios
* Life Drawing at the Tithe Barn
* Cambridge Open studios
* Cambridge Open Studios 2022
* Art demonstration
* Silent Auction
* Classes starting March 2022
* Newmarket Open Exhibition
* 2021
* Making a Tezlip pattern
* Winter Open Studio
* Winter Open Studio
* Mill Road Winter Fair
* Cambridge Drawing Society exhibition - October 23 - 30 2021
* A talk about my Lockdown Sketches
* The Rest House, Bournville
* Taking part in Birmingham Open Studios
* Art in a changing room!
* Life drawing at the Tithe Barn, Landbeach
* Sketching in the garden
* Cambridge Open Studios
* Art Exhibition at the Tithe Barn, Landbeach
* A haircut
* My very first book
* Still sketching
* Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition
* Art Exhibition at the Tithe Barn
* Update about my Lockdown Sketches
* My Lockdown
* 2020
* SEAW exhibition
* Urban Sketchers are back
* Summer Exhibition
* Cambridge Open Windows
* Paintings off to Byard Art
* Sketching with my students
* Cambridge Open Windows
* Drawing what I see
* 20 x 20 exhibition at Byard Art
* Cambridge Art Classes
* Coronavius and my art classes
* Coronavirus
* Sketching the Market
* 30 day sketchbook challenge
* 2019
* November
* Winter Open Studio
* Christmas Cracker Exhibition
* October
* Birmingham Open Studios
* August
* Cake Tree
* Space pictures
* July
* Getting ready for Cambridge Open Studios
* Sketching in the garden
* Sketching with Cambridge Urban Sketchers
* June
* Drawing during 'The Silence of Time' exhibition
* Along your Street exhibition
* May
* Packing the paintings
* Basoka dreams / Dreams in the forest
* April
* Cows at Trinity
* Cambridge Art Classes
* March
* Cambridge Drawing Society
* Urban Sketchers in Eddington
* Messing around with watercolours
* Pyjamas
* February
* Commissioned Painting
* Commissioned painting
* Cambridge Urban Sketchers
* Three paintings on the go
* Part 3 of my 30 day sketch challenge
* January
* Another ten photos for the 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge 2019
* Sketch a day challenge
* January in Byard Art
* New Year, New resolution
* 2018
* It's almost Christmas
* Look what's in the window!
* Christmas Cracker exhibition
* Winter Open Studios
* Winter Open Studio
* Urban Sketching
* Christmas Cracker
* Talk/Demonstration at Ely Art Society
* Friday morning Art Classes
* Sketching with my students
* Exhibiting at Addenbrookes
* Painting on a wet day
* Cambridge Antiques Centre
* A customer hangs her painting
* Two more mini paintings
* Drawing at the Museum of Classical Archaeology
* Urban Sketchers
* Painting some mini pictures for an upcoming exhibition
* Ely Art Society demonstration
* Painting Kings and Cows
* Painting Kings and Cows
* Painting Kings and Cows
* World elephant day
* Visiting Addenbookes
* In the basement at Byard Art
* Thank you to everyone who came to visit my Open Studio
* Drawing at the Botanic Gardens
* Open Studios have started
* July means Cambridge Open Studios
* Sold at Byard Art
* Edible drawings!
* First Sketch to completed painting
* Zoology Museum visit
* Paintings in the window
* Paintings at Byard Art
* My studio and garden
* Urban Sketchers at Novi
* May Drawing challenge
* Byard Art
* Sketching at the Parker Library
* Drawing at Queens College
* 2017
* New painting
* Winter Open Studio
* Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition
* Cambridge Busker
* Cambridge Urban Sketchers
* Cambridge Open Studios
* Cambridge Art Book
* Haddenham Gallery
* Drawing at the Parker Library
* Teaching Art
* Observational Drawing
* 2016
* Winter Open Studios
* Winter Open Studio
* Lost Crusaders
* Drawing at the Parker Library
* Cambridge Open Studio
* Cambridge Open Studios
* Curiosity Gallery, St Ives, Cambridgeshire
* Running with Brushes
* Cat on a Mat
* Winter Open Studio
* Cambridge Drawing Society
* Mixed Media Workshop
* Cambridge Art Classes
* Pop up shop
* Cambridge Drawing Society at Addenbrookes
* Busy Painting
* Cambridge Drawing Society Exhibition
* Samovar Tea House and Gallery
* 2015
* Pop Up Market Place
* Etsy Handmade Fair
* 2014
* Cambridge Christmas cards available
* Cambridge Open Studios
* Strawberry Fair
* Cambridge Open Studios 2014
* Clavering Easter Art Show
* Cows, Bowers and Towers
* 2013
* My Shop on Etsy
* Prints
* Potentials
* Cambridge Art Classes
* Silvanite Woods
* Tree of Knowledge
* Cambridge Open Studios 2013
* New exhibition at Williams Art
* Art on The Hill
* Cow Prints at St Ives
* 2012
* Christmas Gift and Craft Fair
* Art Classes in Cambridge
* Cambridge Open Studios 2012
* 2010
* Moos & Blues

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