Site Festival Artist’s Open studios

Thanks to all my visitors that came over the last two weekends to my open studio. The sunlight was out for most of the two weekends, which was a real blessing! Tea and biscuits in the sunshine, greeting my visitors in a studio crammed full of work…perfect.

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It was great to hear so much positive feedback on my work. Even if you’re visiting an artists studio and never picked up a paintbrush, you can get an idea of how lonely it can be sometimes. There are many ups and downs of working full time at your passion – some days I’ll have painted all day in my studio until the light fades away and the next day I’ll come in and be frustrated with my previous efforts! My paintings are definitely produced with my utmost enthusiasm and energy, but still aiming to capture the immediate energy or response from my subject, right through to the very last layer of paint.

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My bluebells received the most praise during the open studios, and its quite a favourite of mine too! I was focussed on creating the depth and drama of the trees and the bluebells. Building layers of brush marks in a variety of sizes and directions is an effective way to add personality and atmosphere to a painting.

To those who missed the open studios, my exhibition also featured a large oil painting of roses. I’ve been working on another project alongside the landscapes and the collections of objects from my travels and walks, which is of movement in nature. From drawing the outlines of shadows and plotting the tremble of petals in the wind, I found myself drawn to a photograph I’d taken a while back of two roses, one fading away and petals beginning to fall, and the other in rich, luscious bloom.

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I used the interest of movement in these delicate forms to explore that in the movement of my paintbrush. Throughout my degree, I was fascinated by the use of very thin oil paint for its similarity to watercolour. I experimented with building up very delicate layers, with expressive marks, so there was a glimpse of the layer of paint before the next one. There was a lot for my eye to explore in this painting of the roses, from the rich encircling layers of tone in the blooming centre of a rose, to the drifting and fading petals.

I also made a visit to the ‘Fresh Art Fair’ at Cheltenham racecourse this Friday, and it was fantastic! It was great to see such a variety of galleries, and some quite prestigious ones too, altogether in a jam packed venue. I’m definitely inspired to visit more art fairs in the future. Some years ago I made a visit to ‘Art in Action,’ which sadly no longer exists, but it was great as I managed to squeeze in some taster courses pre-booked in advance, including egg tempera painting and Islamic geometry. At the Fresh art fair you could also watch some artist demos and ask a few questions, which was rather exciting.

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Chatting to a few galleries, I felt inspired to pick their brains. What makes a good artist? I asked ‘Beside the Wave’ gallery. What makes a successful, established artist sing out to you? The reply was; An established, successful artist has a strong, personal style that speaks out to you from a distance. Not only does that artist have a clean, distinguishable style, but an ability to adapt and experiment, for example, change their palette of colours, and remain consistent.

Wow. I felt really inspired. I looked again at that artists work on the wall and thought…one day…I’ll be that artist!

May is a fantastic time of year for painting outdoors. By June and July, I get followed by the mosquitoes and the horseflies, and the heat gets a but much painting for long hours outdoors, but May often has a bright sunlight during the day. Being so close to April there is sometimes the unexpected rain cloud or thunderstorm, so I find lots of changeable subject matter to work from. Artists’ weather forecast is looking good!

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I also got asked a few technical painting questions during the open studios, so in response, I might just share a few of my own techniques here on my blog, so stay tuned! Over time I have made my own preferences towards painting supports, mediums, etc, and through experimentation have found things that have worked/not worked. They are of course, personal to the way that I work but I can offer some tried and tested advice on beginning a painting and technical issues with oil painting. Any suggestions on topics would be received and answered with great contemplation!

Thanks for having a read, I’m hoping to update my blog a little more often as I paint more frequently these days as we draw into summer..and the days are longer…hurrah! I’m about to begin two huge canvasses as a commission, which is going all the way to America once completed (exciting). Also, a while ago I had artwork in the Doctors surgeries of St. Briavels and Trellech, which was a great success and they have invited me to exhibit with them again. So in a couple of weeks I shall be hanging quite a bit of work for them. I would love my paintings to find some good homes!

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