Painting on 'plein-air' in January?!


January seems a strange time for me as an artist. Much of my painting is done on location (plein-air), for me, working outdoors in January has few attractions though I do sometimes go out in my camper if there is a sunny forecast. So what am I doing? Well I have just completed a big order with ‘Jacksons’ for paints and some other materials – including new brushes and palette knives. Choosing a supplier is always a decision – I have spent time doing orders with different suppliers to get the best price – but it takes ages! so now I seem to stick with Jacksons, they are efficient, helpful and I can order on the phone which speeds things up in my mind. I also have decisions to make – applications for events that I would like to take part in. Peppering the calendar with events through the year makes a great focus for my work. My main focus however for January is to try and get more visitors to my website. I am getting to know meta descriptions!! – what you say? well it seems to be a good way to encourage people to click on to your website after they have found you in a search – it seems the more people search, the more likely it will appear in searches!! As my website is a selling site then I really want to try and get it to work more for me… want to help? – try searching for me either by name or perhaps something more obscure like ‘artists blog whitby’ – if you do this and email me a bit of feedback and your address I will send you a couple of greetings cards in the post (well I will limit this to the first ...

Getting ready for ‘Art in the Pen’


Art in the pen (Thirsk and Skipton) are two well established and popular events on the northern art calendar. I have been lucky enough to get accepted to both, so am busy getting ready for the first one in Thirsk. I did this last year so at least I have a little know how for this year. Each artist sets up a display in a pen and I have devised a system to stretch material in front of the railings to give a good back drop. There is always lots to get organised for these events, but as I do more, I gradually refine my equipment to the essentials so it hopefully runs smoothly. This year I have invested in a trolley which I think will be invaluable! As I prepare to frame new work, I have to be organised (I like to be organised! – but often I am not…!) I photograph the work, then I write on the back the title, my comments, the date painted and sign it as well. I enter all these details in to my data base and then I put the new image on my website. I can then print off labels for the backs of each painting and for the pricing of the work at the show. Other things I will need, to name a few are – packaging, tape, bags, sorting the display of greeting cards, up to date biography, business cards, visitors book, refreshments for me, a seat to rest my weary legs, probably some sort of table, browsers for prints and unframed paintings. I will be showing about 16 paintings and have a few spares to fill gaps (always pays to be positive!) – that’s why I need a trolly!! My pen at Skipton is a smaller one so ...

Saving the lives of tiny beetles (or not)


I have just got back from a painting trip on the coast around Flamborough Head. I spent 2 days painting at the cliffs at Bempton. Its an RSPB centre and at this time of year (June) there are thousands of sea birds residing on the cliffs to breed. It is an amazing spectacle. Painting in a popular place like that has its problems. The view points get very busy by around 10. 30 so I usually have to paint early or late, however the light is in my favour with the summer solstice close by. People with their scopes on big sticks try to muscle their way in to my view point (I am inevitably at the best slot) – it can end in paint scrapes – I have had a dog jump on to my palette and then jump all over me covering us both in paint!. Then there are the little insects landing on my palette. They get their paws stuck on the acrylic paint – these I try and rescue, but usually it ends in a fatality. Then there may be one face down in the fresh blob of white I just squeezed out but it is too late for them. I think I manage to save around 5% which is a worry. I can only hope that in years to come when they x ray my work to establish its authenticity they will see the bodies of tiny insects encapsulated in the paintings (like the grains of sand they found in Monet’s work!). Finally there’s paint on my clothes. I wander around looking more like a bag lady it’s just not worth looking smart to paint as I always get paint somewhere – as you can see by the photo, this is when I sat on ...