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Monday, 25 November 2013

A great weekend

I'm home from a wonderful weekend which started off with a couple of days in the Lake District staying at one of our favourite B&Bs, Lakeside Country Guest House, with fantastic views over Bassenthwaite Lake to Skiddaw.  Sharon and Arnie always make us feel so welcome  and you can't beat the breakfasts they serve which sets us up for a day's walking in the fells.  We had a mixed bag of weather over the couple of days we were there with Thursday being quite grim weatherwise and then Friday being glorious!  

Here we are on Barf summit looking over towards snowy Skiddaw - I'm quietly ticking off new Wainwright fells when I can - there are 214 in all and I've still got a long way to go to complete them all but I'm over half way so maybe one day I'll get round to completing them all.

My art fix for this weekend was meeting the lovely Judith Farnworth.  There I am with the lovely lady in the photo at the top of this post.  Judith has been such an influence on my art since I started painting nearly 3 years ago.  She's been so encouraging and supportive to me (and I know lots of other artists), so  it was wonderful to get the opportunity to visit her solo exhibition in Garstang and get to meet the lady herself.  The paintings on display looked so familiar as I've admired the majority of them online but to see them 'in the flesh' so to speak was such a pleasure - they look great online but even better in real life and her gorgeous red poppy made a beautiful centrepiece above the fireplace - what a stunning painting!  Judith has recently started running workshops and I'm not at all surprised at how successful they've been as I know what a great teacher she has been in the online group she runs on Paint my Photo, encouraging looseness in watercolour.  When I first started painting I thought it was important to try and paint all the detail - something which doesn't come that naturally to me, so it was wonderful to find that painting loose - something that seems to suit my slapdash way - is ok !!!  So I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Judith for guiding me down this path and helping me believe in myself.  I really hope we get to meet again and spend a bit more time chatting - I could have happily chatted with her all day!  

Our weekend finished with a charity ball in aid of Brainwave.  So Gary and I went from being in walking gear one day to bow tie and ball gown the next - I haven't any photos to show of us all glammed up though which is a shame.  I'm hoping to get the brushes out tomorrow night for the first time in a couple of weeks and can't wait, so hopefully something new for you here artwise!  Hope you're all having a wonderful day whatever you're doing. Bye for now!

P.S.  got a photo of us at the ball after all!  Nice change from walking gear

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Snow Angel

This is one of my Christmas card designs for this year - it's from a photo I've been admiring for a long time from Paint my Photo (link to site on the side bar) and was taken by Alison Ventura.  I decided to paint her using just one colour, my favourite indigo and then splattered some white gouache around the hair to give a snowy effect.  I hope you like her and think she's appropriate for a Christmas card.

Yesterday we were out walking again and ended up in the rain yet again, but we're determined to get our fitness back up after our illnesses which means when our day off comes we have to just go for it, whatever the weather.  We did Snowdon yesterday, the highest mountain in Wales and England and we got very wet and very cold, our waterproof jackets both failed on us but then I realised that I'd left the arm vents open on my jacket so it was letting the rain right through duh!!!  

Off out for another walk tomorrow to the Remembrance Service on the top of Great Gable, hopefully it will stay dry!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Autumn Harvest

Thank you for the lovely comments on the Sherpa portraits I posted yesterday - I enjoy creating portraits so was thrilled to hear about a new TV series which started this evening on Sky Arts - Portrait Artist of the Year  - amazing to watch the different styles and methods artists use to paint portraits from life - I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next few weeks.  Has anyone else seen it and what did you think?

Well, after the couple of graphite pieces I did I went back to watercolour to paint a harvest inspired still life, not the sort of thing I usually do and it was a bit of a challenge - I'm trying to get more light into my paintings, something that I know I don't pay enough attention too, but did make a bit of an effort with this one by creating highlights and strong shadows - hope it's worked to some extent!

and before I go I've got one more photo to share with you..... Gary and I spent the weekend in Snowdonia at Plas Tan y Bwlch, a short break which was my prize for coming 2nd place in the Natur Cymru Art Competition earlier this year.  It was a real treat even though the weather was dire!   We pretty much had torrential rain from the moment we arrived to the moment we left and Saturday was particularly grim with thunderstorms and gale force winds - needless to say we didn't do any high level walks!  I have to admit on Sunday morning when we were walking yet again in heavy rain, I was starting to get a bit fed up of the weather but a couple of hours into the walk we were treated to this spectacular rainbow over Snowdon (Snowdon is in there somewhere in the cloud!) - what a delight and it certainly put a smile back on my face.

If you look carefully you'll seen that there's a sprinkling of snow on the mountains.  We're planning on going up Snowdon on Friday (weather permitting) and hopefully will be treated to some snow when we're up there!  

Thank you for visiting, I really appreciate you stopping by

Monday, 4 November 2013


Oh dear the old blog has been somewhat neglected over the past few weeks and I need to catch up with what all you bloggers out there are doing too.  Anyone else out there like me and need more hours in the day?  I've not done a lot art wise - after the 30 paintings in 30 days I put the brushes down and decided to pick up the pencils and do a couple of portraits I've been meaning to do for a while now.  They are both from photos by the mountaineer Kenton Cool who took them on one of his Everest expeditions. I loved the photos and really wanted to try and capture the Sherpas in graphite - I'm not one for photo detail in graphite and really admire those who have the skill to create photo realistic pencil drawings but I do try and capture character and would love to know whether you think I've done this - honest opinions please - I've got a thick skin honestly!

I love graphite art and it was where the art bug started with me -  when I was a child I used to draw portraits of my favourite pop stars and TV stars.   Then in my late teens I stopped drawing (what a mistake that was) but at least I've started again now albeit over 20 years later!   I do wonder how much better I would be now if I'd kept it up though - never mind!

I've just realised I've had over 63,000 page views since I started this blog 16 months ago - amazing!  Thank you all so much for taking the time to look and to leave comments.  I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that sometimes I wonder if there is anyone out there looking in or whether I'm rambling to myself  most of the time!  That's it for today - back tomorrow with an Autumn inspired watercolour, see you then!