I am really excited to have been invited to talk about my Lockdown Sketches to local art group, Cambridge Drawing Society.
During Lockdown 2 and 3, I made a sketch a day based of what I was doing, Covid or the top news items. The sketches were a mish mash of drawing with my art students via Zoom, making jam, going out for a daily walk and the news such as the US election and Johnson giving us a daily briefing.
I made my sketches into two books and these are for sale on my website (look up Shop, then Books).
It is the first time I have been asked to talk about them. If you would like a link to watch my talk please contact me.
One of my favourite subjects to paint are buildings. Living in Cambridge I am spoilt for choice so when I was asked by Lux Gallery in Birmingham to provide some work I wanted to paint some of the buildings there too.
I have always loved Bournville Village. When the chocolatiers open their Bournville Chocolate factory they built some really beautiful houses for their workers which have certainly stood the test of time and are rented out under strict conditions so they keep their original feel.
One of the loveliest buildings is the Rest House, perched on a hill in the centre of the village green close to a parade of lovely timber framed shops. It was built in 1914 to commemorate the silver wedding of Mr and Mrs Cadbury. It has become my first subject in hopefully a long line of iconic paintings of Birmingham.
I have included one of the photos I took for my preparation so you can see how my paintings develop and become more magical as I work.
One of the things I love about being an artist is that I get to take part in Open Studio events.
For 16 years I have exhibited at my home in Cambridge for two or three weekends during July. I even took part during the pandemic when I set out a stall and a gazebo in my front garden. I love meeting people, talking about my work, having a chat with a complete stranger about everything under the sun and feeling a thrill every time I sell something regardless of whether it is a card or a large oil painting.
This year I am really pleased that I shall also be taking part in Birmingham Open Studios - with my photographer son, Owen de Visser. I am so proud of my son who actually set up and runs Birmingham Open Studios based loosely on the Cambridge model. And it means I can get to do Open Studios in another city, with more people to chat to.
I shared a studio with Owen once before at his house in Stirchley but this year I am taking part at the brand new Lux Gallery and Photographic Studio in Edgbaston. I find this so exciting!
If you find yourself in or near Birmingham this weekend 25/26 September do come and have a look. Also showing his work as part of Open Studios is amazing jeweller, Glen Campbell. Plus, there are many paintings by both local, and not so local, artists on the gallery walls. And there are cards and prints and some very beautiful ceramics and jewellery.
The gallery is in the heart of the beautifully restored Edgbaston Village and full of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. No doubt I shall be tempted to pop along to Loki Wine Bar a few doors away to sample some glorious wines!
Lux Gallery, 13 Greenfield Crescent, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3AU
The gallery is open Monday 10am - 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm
I was asked to create an exhibition at my local community centre, Nun's Pavillion in Kings Hedges. It was the oddest place I had ever been asked to exhibit in and to my surprise, I said 'Yes'.
The North Cambridge Community Partnership brings together communities from Arbury and Kings Hedges with all kinds of activities such as virtual coding clubs, play groups, summer trips and even gardening projects. One of the organisers had been following my Lockdown sketches online and asked if I could exhibit them when they have their Annual General Meeting. She knew I had drawn a lot of local scenes when I went on my daily walks. I was delighted to be asked.
I did have a little bit of a surprise when I was introduced to the exhibition area - a changing room! However, I saw this as a challenge and agreed to do it. I had some time to think about how it could work, I needed it to look spectacular so visitors forgot it was a changing room!
I broke up 3 of my printed Lockdown sketchbooks, bought loads of thick red paper, foamboard, glue dots and sticky fixers. Now all I needed was a huge guillotine, a long ruler, a pencil, a craft knife and plenty of patience.
It took 3 days to put it altogether so that all the sketches are mounted on red and just 2 hours to put up the 167 mounted sketches in the changing room - with a lot of help from my daughter.
It looks amazing.
My exhibition is part of the Summer Event which takes place on 26 August 2021 from 11am - 2pm. They have asked me to give a little chat about my work at the AGM which starts at 1pm.
I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this event. If you live in the north of Cambridge or can get there it would be lovely to see you.
Both of my Lockdown books are available will be available for sale on the day as well as from my website shop:
I was delighted to be invited to some life drawing sessions at the beautiful old Tithe Barn in Landbeach.
The group and venue is new but unfortunately, I could not attend in July as I always seemed to be putting up my paintings either at the Pitt Building or at my home on Friday mornings ready for Cambridge Open Studios so I was really pleased they extended the sessions to take place in August. My main problem was transport. The venue is 3 miles north of Cambridge but I share a car with my daughter who lives close by and her shifts with the ambulance service coincided with the classes. Her work comes first as she has to take spare clothes, helmet, emergency equipment etc which she can't get on a bike. I contemplated going on my bike via Mere Way as the A10 is far too dangerous to cycle but with rain forecast and a strong wind I gave up that idea and decided to catch a bus. All worked well except the walk in the rain from the bus stop to the barn took 25 minutes so I arrived wet and late.
The last life drawing session I had been to was 25 years ago when they were held at Kings College. Sessions were always a bit crowded so it was lovely to see the space in the Tithe Barn. The door was left open so we could see and hear the cows in the big landscape outside.
I opened my sketchbook and began to draw. The model was brilliant, very professional with good poses and, I found out during the break, a great cake maker.
When I looked at my drawings later, I realised I had made a series of urban sketches! I was as interested in the surrounding as I was the people as you can see in the drawings above.
I had a wonderful morning and met some new people and got a lift home. I am already looking forward to next Friday and hope I can get there on the bike as long as it is dry and not too windy.
My daughter caught me sketching in the garden.
She gets used to seeing me with a sketchbook in my hand wherever she finds me. I get completely focused when I am drawing and often don't notice anyone coming up beside me. Time flies by too.
I don't have great deal of equipment: somewhere to sit, a small pencil case, a set of 12 Rembrandt watercolours, some water and a bit of kitchen paper and I am happy.
I really missed Cambridge Open Studios last year so I shall enjoy it even more this July.
I shall be exhibiting for 3 weekends but not all at the same place.
On 10 & 11 July and 17 & 18 July, I shall be joining other fellow artists at the glorious Pitt Building on Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 1SJ. It is situated opposite Fitzbillies so please visit us either before or after you you have eaten one of their famous Chelsea Buns.
On the final week of Open Studios I will be back in my own studio at 309 Milton Road, CB4 1XQ, follow the yellow flag opposite Kendal Way. I shall have some copper and silver leaf available so you can have a go at gilding.
During Lockdown 2 and 3 I made a sketch every day about what was happening around me, be it where I visited on my daily walks, the drawings I made with my classes on Zoom or the politics of the day. During the lockdowns a new president was sworn in and an old one caused chaos; there were the daily briefings as we saw the infection rates and death rates rise and fall and the 'roadmap' was introduced.
I have made a book of Lockdown 2 which lasted 27 days and Lockdown 3 which lasted 167 days. Both will be for sale at my open studios. I would love to hear your opinions. My sketches featured in the Cambridge Independent on 3 July and I was delighted that one of my drawing 'Sausage Wars' was blown up to cover a full page. There was also an article about Open Studios and a photo of me!
I posted my drawings each day online and you can see them here:
I look forward to meeting you at one of the days and one of the events.
I feel like life is getting back to normal!
For the first time in over a year I will be showing some of my work in an exhibition. And it's in one of the most fantastic venues I have ever shown in.
I was invited to exhibit at the Tithe Barn because of my interest in medieval art and manuscripts. I discovered that the Parker Library at Corpus Christi, part of Cambridge University, has one of the best collections in the world and had a guided tour. I booked on this and was overwhelmed at the history, the library and the books on show and was particularly interested in the Peterborough Bestiary.
The link to the Tithe Barn is that Matthew Parker was once a rector at Landbeach Church when the barn was built. Later Parker rescued many manuscripts when Henry VIII tried to have them burnt. He donated his books to Corpus Christi where he was the master and they form the basis of the Parker Library.
I had a chat with the librarian at the Parker Library and eventually plucked up the courage to ask if I could go along and draw from the manuscripts. Imagine my surprise when he said he could arrange for me to be a reader! I had to fill in a few forms which were totally irrelevant to me (what was my dissertation, needed permission from my tutor etc) and suddenly I could make appointments to sit in the reading room and draw although I was under strict instructions not to use paint or anything messy.
I love it there. It is very quiet and people come and go as they glean information from the books. The manuscripts are kept in a temperature sealed safe. I am allowed to touch them but feel happier drawing from facsimiles. They also have a vast array of detailed books relating to everything in their collection.
I hope to be back there shortly now covid-19 restrictions have been lessened and I shall again relish my visits.
My last haircut was in mid December 2020. At that time we had come out of lockdown 2 which lasted for 27 days. Christmas was ahead and everyone was looking forward to normality but the virus was nowhere near defeated. Boris decided to allow people to meet up for Christmas although as a family we decided the risk was too great. In fact my daughter who was training to be a paramedic contracted Covid-19 on Christmas Eve and we celebrated via Zoom. The ambulance service was hit hard by the pandemic due to a lack of proper PPE. My daughter told me her colleagues asked who hadn't had the virus instead of asking who had it as the pandemic spread throughout the service. It was hardly surprising as they were on the front line taking very ill patients to hospital with little more than a plastic apron and flimsy mask for protection.
On April 12, the majority of hairdressers opened. I waited until the initial rush had subsided and booked my appointment.
Francesca, my hairdresser cut off the last of my pink tresses but I have a bottle of mauve which I will use later this week. Watch out for when it happens on Instagram or Facebook.
I have just pressed the buy button to order copies of my very first book. I am very excited but also a little apprehensive.
I started making a sketch a day when Lockdown 2 started on 5 November 2020. I have been asked many times if I will make a book of the sketches and - I have! This book of 27 sketches (one a day from 5 November to 1 December) will be available from 20 May. I must admit it was a HUGE learning curve organising this as my computer skills are, to say the least, a little outdated when it comes to making files ready to print.
The book's first outing will be on Bank Holiday Sunday, 30 May when I shall be exhibiting at the Tithe Barn in Landbeach CB25 9FB. I shall also be displaying it during Cambridge Open Studios 10,11, 17 and 18 at the Pitt Building in Cambridge and 24,25 at my home studio.
It will also be available via my website.
This is so exciting!
I have made a sketch every day during Lockdown 2 and 3. Boris Johnson assures us this lockdown will finish on June 21st 2021. I look forward this date which also happens to be my daughter-in-law's birthday and my son and her are planning a big celebration with their friends in Birmingham. I hope we can all visit shortly afterwards.
Some days it is difficult to find time to do a sketch. I try to do it around 5.30pm, my husband thinks this is an excuse not to prepare our evening meal - he might have a point! I try to take no longer than an hour although getting it onto social media does add more time.
I upload the new images onto Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook I add it to my personal account but this restricts views so I shall eventually add them each day to my professional account. Links below.
It has been a long time that I have taken part in an exhibition that you can actually visit. The Cambridge Drawing Society has 2 exhibitions a year, one in the Spring and one in the Autumn. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Both exhibitions were cancelled last year but this Spring we have been able to have our first online exhibition.
Although I normally exhibit some of my oil paintings at these exhibitions, because everything that is sold needs to be posted I have entered three sketches and a rather vibrant little painting of a pink vase. All of these are framed and can be easily posted. The exhibition can be seen here:
I do hope that the Autumn exhibition will take place this year in its usual venue at the Leys School during half term week.
So looking forward to this exhibition.
Cancelled last year due to the pandemic, it has now been booked for Bank Holiday Sunday 30 May 2021. Open from 11 - 4pm.
Landbeach Tithe Barn, situated about 5 miles north of Cambridge off the A10, is around 800 years old and has recently been beautifully restored. The exhibition last year was going to be the first art exhibition held there and the venue hopes to become known for its exhibitions. Why was I chosen? Because of my interest in Medieval Art. This wonderful period has always influenced my art work and was around when the Barn was built.
If you like paintings that reflect those beautiful old tapestries and exquisite manuscripts full of gold leaf do make sure to visit. There will be people happy to tell you about the Barn's history and the big draw, lots of tea and homemade cakes. There will also be some paintings by my fellow artists from Cambridge Drawing Society.
When Lockdown started in May 2020 we all thought it would only last a few months and yet here we are a year later still inside. The first lockdown was the easiest as we could get out in the garden or go for walks and we kept fit with Joe Wicks. We all managed to do a few jobs around the house, catch up with reading and watch films on Netflix.
During the second lockdown I made a promise to myself to draw lockdown sketch a day. Amazingly, I did it!
I am now on my Lockdown 3 series and as I write this, just about to do sketch number 72. I try to make them relevant to my life during lockdown and post an image every evening around 7pm on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. As my following has grown I have been asked by several people to make a book of these sketches. I will but as we don't really know for sure when this lockdown will finish I can't tell when the book will be available.
In the meantime please follow me at
During the second lockdown of 2020 I drew a sketch every day about how I was coping whilst trying to face up to being at high risk of catching covid. It meant leading a very quiet life without visiting a shop, seeing my family (except my husband) or being able to visit a museum and absorb myself in art - although I did manage to go Urban Sketching a few times at a suitably social distance which was really great - but cold.
Here are the first two sketches I made which depicts me in a mask and what 'outdoors' felt like. I posted the sketches every day on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
One of the things that kept me sane was my students. I couldn't teach them face to face but we met up once a week via Zoom and WhatsApp. Zoom allowed us to have a chat and share our news and WhatsApp was the place to post our pictures. Most of my students are older and some were also isolating and enjoyed the contact.
In August the husband of one students sadly passed away which was not unexpected but my students showed real compassion and became a lifeline to the lady's grieving process and made the group very closely knit.
Some of the daily sketches were made with my two groups as I continued to show a part of my life during lockdown. You can see them by following one of my social media accounts - the drawings were posted daily between 5 November and 1 December. This is the link to view them on Instagram. You may need to scroll down through the drawings.
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