I started painting small sunny pictures and worked up to bigger pieces when I was stronger. When I was sure I was feeling better I took a small stall at the Brancepeth Castle Summer craft fair and have just had a go at a "Test run" workshop with some familiar faces. It has taken real strength to update my website though - I may need to return to the sofa this afternoon!
I'm planning to take it easy this year but am starting back again with workshops in September 2018 and I'm very excited about the new workshops with Ushaw College in Durham.
Thanks to everyone who has been sending me messages whilst I have been ill - looking forward to seeing you all again soon. I'll try not to sleep through Autumn!...
And I have totally forgotten to do an autumn blog! That is because I have been so busy painting glorious autumn paintings – I absolutely love autumn colours and have been enjoying splashing them about on as many paintings as possible! I also did an autumn workshop in October which went extremely well and I was very impressed with the paintings everyone produced. The November workshop was a winter view of Durham Cathedral which I then took to my lovely printer in Sunderland and got cards made for everyone. I think they look fantastic. Now I am in the middle of a whirl of Christmas art and craft fairs. I have just been to Chester Arts Fair and Brancepeth Castle Christmas Craft Fair and am getting ready to do the Durham Christmas festival this weekend. It is all great fun and I meet lots of wonderful people every year. Thanks to everyone who came down to Brancepeth Castle and said hello to me. I am sharing a stall with Jenny Ulyatt at the Durham Christmas Festival so come and find us this weekend if you are in Durham. At some point I should probably also get round to doing some Christmas shopping…
The weather has been tempting us with some lovely sunny periods and then chucking lots of rain down to bring us back to reality. I have been painting some summery beach scenes to do for workshops in July but by the time the workshops happened, the rain was back again. Luckily, this does not make much of a difference to North East beach goers!
Plans for July include a day of summer holiday watercolour workshops for children and adults at the studio in Durham that Jenny and I share. It will be great to have people around the studio and the fantastic community art space that Empty Shop are creating there – Jenny and I very excited about it. On the last weekend in July I have a stall at the Brancepeth Castle Summer Craft Fair. I really enjoyed having a stall at their Christmas Fair last year and am looking forward to being back for the summer fair. Add it to your list of summer holiday trips out in the local area! Now the sun is shining so I had better finish those beach paintings…
Things have progressed from madness to chaos but in an extremely positive way! The Witham Exhibition finished at the end of April with a few sales but with some absolutely lovely comments and feedback. Thanks to everyone who took the time to go down to Barnard Castle and write in the book. About 3 weeks ago Jenny Ulyatt and I moved into our new shared studio in Durham City. It’s a great room and it’s part of an art community space that is being developed by “Empty Shop”. Jenny and I are thrilled to be part of it all and have big plans to make the most of the space. Our most immediate plans involve (a) considering buying a sofa and (b) working out the best local coffee shop. All essential for the creative process. My April and May watercolour workshops have continued to go well and, this month, I started a new workshop at Crook Hall in Durham. It was a gorgeous morning and we painted whilst gazing out at Crook Hall Gardens in the sunshine – A person could get used to that! My next two weekends are busy with local art shows: Heighington Art Show this weekend and The Easingwold Art Fair next weekend (20th-21st May). I always look forward to local shows that support local artists so come down and have a look round if you find yourself at a loose end. Jenny and I are teaching in a school in Manchester next week and then at the end of the month it is half term and I shall be “Relaxing” with my own children! Paintings from this last couple of months have included Lakeland daffodils, spring cherry blossom and chilly spring beaches. If I am lucky we shall be down in Cornwall at half term visiting family and sketching beautiful Cornish beaches… time for summer paintings.
Christmas is all done and dusted and I had a great time at the two Christmas craft fairs. I met some wonderful new people, sold lots of cards and prints, three original paintings went to new homes and some of my prints went into the Kemble Gallery in Durham (https://www.kemblegallery.com/). Thank you Santa.
Now it is 2017 and I am making good on some resolutions. I have NOT given up coffee and chocolate and am instead holding my first Watercolour Coffee Morning Workshop on Wednesday 1st February, 10.00 – 12.30, at Greenfield Arts in Newton Aycliffe (http://www.greenfield-arts.co.uk/). Please do get in touch if you are in the area and would like to come along.
I have also been making my January lungs feel warmer by painting some really big pictures of Tresco beaches. Is January too early to be ready for a summer holiday?!...
Tresco summer holiday paintings – check. Fountains Abbey and autumn paintings – check. Winter landscapes – check. I have been painting 3 different seasons in 3 months. The Christmas adverts have started on the telly and I am getting ready for my first Christmas fair. I am very excited to have a stall at the Brancepeth Castle Christmas craft fair on 25th – 27th November 2016 and would love to see friendly faces if anyone is free to pop down. Then on 2nd – 4th December 2016, Jenny Ulyatt and I have a stall at the Durham Christmas Festival on Palace Green so a busy and exciting few weeks ahead. Paintings at framers – check. Cards and prints packaged – check. Asthma inhalers – check. Thermal underwear – check. Flu jab - check. Oh the glamorous life of an asthmatic artist in the winter!
Well, I did make it to “Patchings” but it seems that touching wood may actually be hazardous to my health. I was pretty sick again (although hopefully more useful to Jenny than I was last year) and the latest theory is that some kind of tree pollen is aggravating to my asthma. This would account for my seasonal “Patchings” poorliness but that is all information for a medical blog and not an art one so I won’t elaborate further. Needless to say I have not been able to paint very much this June but I did manage to finish a couple of little summery pictures to make myself feel better. I also managed to make it along to the Horsforth “Walk of Art” in Leeds on the 2nd and 3rd of July. Jenny and I had the Horsforth Tennis Club to ourselves and gleefully filled the club house with paintings. It was a fantastic weekend – a big thank you to Lara (the event organiser) and to John Barton and the committee of the Horsforth Tennis Club for all their help and support. I was also very pleased to hear this week that I have had 3 paintings accepted into the summer exhibition at POD art gallery in Bishop Auckland. The exhibition starts on 11th July with a preview evening which I am looking forward to attending. My last piece of good news this week was that my painting “Blue Cottage, Staithes” has been sold thanks to the efforts of Ali and Rob who organise the Art Wall at Tea Hee’s in Easingwold, North Yorkshire. So, it has been a wheezy June but so far July has come in with a bang and I still have all those bluebells to paint…
So I finally got round to creating a website and it only took me 6 days, 9 hair tugs, 2 temper tantrums, 1 prayer to Jesus and 1 quiet weep to launch it. I am feeling both pleased with myself and simultaneously fully aware of my internet failings. I like to think of my website as unencumbered by content but I am planning to write a blog once a month to let people know what I've been painting and what events are coming up.
So, I have been sketching all the marvellous bluebell woods around Durham this month and managed a small, slightly abstract painting of a beautiful patch in Low Burnhall Woods. I am strangely pleased with it but it has not satisfied my bluebell cravings and so am embarking on a number of much bigger pieces. This may of course result in me growing rather sick of blue but I'm willing to risk it.
At the beginning of next month (9th to 12th June) Jenny and I are going to be at the Patchings Art Festival and I am very excited about this. It is as close to a festival as I get these days. Last year I went along to help Jenny with her stall but my lungs had other ideas and poor Jenny had to manage an invalid as well as her stall. This year I am good and healthy (touch wood) and planning to be a much more glamorous assistant. Come and visit us for a really lovely day out. Otherwise, read next month's blog to hear how it went and whether I survived.