Affordable art: In aid of Salcombe Town Regatta

I always support local charities and community activities and also like my art to be available at affordable prices.
Now, I can now kill two birds with one stone: providing affordable art in the form of my fine art greetings cards and financial support to Salcombe Town Regatta at the same time.

 

Salcombe Town Regatta

 

The hard working Salcombe Town Regatta team provide great fun and excitement each year for the local population, and encourage visitors to Salcombe to book their holiday in Regatta week.In 2018, that’s 11-18 August.

The Salcombe Town Regatta also makes donations to local charities from the profits made in what may seen like one frantic week of activity but, as we all know, is the result of many months of planning and preparation.

So, I am delighted to be a supporter of this excellent event. These individual cards, of my usual 350gsm quality, with a 100gsm envelope, are presented in a cellophane wrap and will soon be available at the usual stockists and also – NEW! – at the Cater Cove Hairdressers.

 

How does your purchase support Salcombe Town Regatta?

Wherever you see this card – your purchase will result in a donation to this very worthwhile cause. Please buy one. Or two!

The original oil painting (the featured image above) has sold, but another, larger, oil painting,  Salcombe Dawn II with slightly different pink/purple tones is available for £475.

 

Where can you buy these charity cards?

My main fine art greetings card stockist is Malborough Post Office where all 59 designs can be found.

But my cards are also on sale at the Salcombe Information Centre, Bonningtons the newsagents in Salcombe, The Gallery @ Avon Mill, The Gallery Project at Noss Mayo, Bloomers the florists in Kingsbridge – and direct from me.

 

Will there be more designs sold as charity cards?

Yes!

Salcombe Town RegattaThe Hope Cove Charity card is already on sale at the Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove and other outlets.

I am currently in discussion with other local charities and will post news as soon as designs are decided and texts agreed and I have an image of the new card to show you.

If you are working for a local charity and you think you might like to adopt one of my designs to raise funds for your charity, please contact me to discuss this further.

Sketchbook Notes: Merlins Racing Past the Venus Cafe

Merlins are by far the most exciting craft to grace the Salcombe Estuary. The excitement – and the beauty – when they hoist their spinnakers is breath-taking, and their races always promise thrills and spills.

I take hundreds of photographs in any one year, and many of these are of the Merlins. These snaps are sure to provide inspiration for a painting; the tricky part is choosing which photo to use.

The year before last, I painted one image of Merlins (featured above) and it sold within days of going on show at the 2016 Salcombe Art Club Summer Exhibition.

So I had to paint another, and have actually done three!

 

Merlins Racing Past the Venus Cafe

This is the photo I chose as my main source of inspiration for Merlins Racing Past the Venus Cafe.  The boats consist of horizontal lines (the hull) and strong vertical lines (the masts and sails) and I find this combination pleasing. The composition is not perfect but I feel I have captured the excitement of the race.

The next step is to create a sketch, deciding which elements of the photo to keep and which to lose, and applying ‘rules’ such as the rule of thirds. This is my sketch.

Notice that I have placed only those Merlins in the foreground and that they create movement from right to left. My shoreline is positioned just below centre, and I have scaled the boats so as to include their full height as best I can.

In drawing this sketch, it became clear that the closeness of the two boats on the left hand side would only lead to confusion. So, while this sketch provided the outline for the composition, I knew that when I moved to the painting stage, I would need to tweak the composition even more.

So, having done my preparation and having a clear idea in my head of the main features of this painting, I move to the next stage, and this is where I’m at right now.

It was a sunny day, so I started with fairly pure colours and have yet to address shadows or indeed reflections in the water. I have also left the surface of the water and will at some point decide how rough to make it look.

I have also yet to decide whether to include additional craft, for example on the shoreline. Time will tell… I have much to think about before this painting is finished.

 

THE SKETCHBOOK NOTES SERIES

This is one of the Sketchbook Notes, a series of posts explaining what inspired me to produce a particular painting.

If you own one of my paintings, or are just curious about an image, let me know; I’ll then write a blog post especially for you!

Postcard from Milton Keynes: Howe Park Woods

If you are near Milton Keynes – you don’t need to search out galleries or museums to see works of art. Many are on show, for free, in the countryside.

 

Milton KeynesMilton Keynes – the frog band sculpture

These four frogs, called  ‘the Frog Band Sculpture’, provide no sound but much entertainment for children. They are the work of American artist, Roland Lawar.

Donated by the community arts charity, Inter-Action MK, these four sculptures are situated conveniently close to a welcoming cafe in Howe Park Woods, Milton Keynes. For those used to the traffic system it’s easy to find: it lies between Chaffron Way H7 and Tattenhoe Street V2.

 

Milton Keynes community arts charity Inter-Action MK

According to their website: Inter-Action MK use the arts to bring joy and purpose to all communities and especially to improve the life chances of people with support needs or disabilities or in challenging or vulnerable circumstances. Their innovative programme of inclusive arts successfully brings people of all backgrounds together in shared creative activity. Their programme helps participants to develop creative, personal and social skills.

 

A good place for a muddy walk in Milton Keynes!

Milton KeynesAnne and I visited this location one cold January morning, along with her son and his family. In the photo above are Charlotte and Edward, wearing full woodland walk kit.

And I was wrapped up warm too.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.

 

 

Post card from Chichester: Pallant House Gallery

PallantThis was my first visit to Pallant House Gallery; it won’t be my last!

Anne and I visited Chichester just before Christmas, to attend a funeral, and we had very little time to spare. But, on our last evening, at dinner, we fell into conversation with a charming lady who was dining alone at the next table. She insisted we make time, before heading back to Devon, to visit the Pallant House Gallery, and, in particular, to visit the Bomberg exhibition.

 

Where is Pallant House Gallery?

PallantYou will find the gallery tucked away down a side street just off the main pedestrian area of Chichester. It’s also only a short distance from the railway station – very convenient!

Apart from Mondays, it’s open from 10am (11am on Sundays and bank holidays) until 5pm (8pm on Thursdays).Pallant

There’s a cafe and restaurant, and numerous free-to-view areas as well as the various special exhibitions for which there is an entrance charge.

 

David Bomberg

2017 marks the 60th anniversary of his death and Bomberg was a much-neglected artist until recently.

His Jewish heritage and his contribution to pre-war British modernism was a path in history to lead him to being a war artist in both world wars.

His association with Whitechapel Art Gallery exposed him to radical changes in modern art over many years.

 

The Bomberg Exhibition

This exhibition runs in Chichester until 4 February 2018. The paintings and drawings all come from a single private collection and are housed in a number of adjoining rooms. As you walk from one room to he next, you see his life’s work, clearly illustrating how he developed as an artist.

Pallant

Oil on canvas: Portrait of John Rodker (c.1931)

Commencing with early Cubist drawings, there are  over 70 paintings from all periods of his artistic life.

 

Bomberg’s approach to portraiture

Oil on canvas: Kitty (1929)

Bomberg’s approach to portraiture shows the huge leaning to the expressionist attitude popular during his life time.

I particularly liked the one of John Rodker, and his portrayal of his sister Kitty.

Both are oil on canvas.

 

And then the landscapes …

His landscapes of Jerusalem and Spain are also magnificent.

Pallant

Oil on canvas: Jerusalem City and Mount of Ascension (1929)

Oil on canvas: Cathedral, Toledo (1929)

The Bomberg Exhibition after 4 February

If you cannot get to Chichester ahead of 4 February, this exhibition is transferring to the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle. That Bomberg Exhibition will run from 17 February until 18 May.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.

Postcard from Chichester: Ching Piau Khoo

I met Ching Piau Khoo in Chichester. He had a stall in the main pedestrian area. As you can tell from what we are wearing, it was cold and had been raining, but he was full of good cheer and I was impressed by his paintings.

 

Let me introduce Ching Piau Khoo

A self-taught artist, Piau’s been in the UK for over 20 years. Like me, he has a passion for nature.

He uses high-quality professional grade watercolour paints and cotton canvas. His many layers of watercolour are enhanced by delicate use of pen and ink. The net result is most pleasing on the eye – and on the pocket.

According to Piau’s website: his original paintings and prints are now collected worldwide.

Piau says: Nothing gives me greater pleasure than creating a new piece of work. My artwork covers a wide range of topics – landscapes, seascapes, wildlife, and flowers. I make originals as well as limited edition prints in a variety of sized to suit every customer. Commission are also regularly undertaken and welcome. 

Where can you meet Ching Piau Khoo?

Piau sells his paintings via his website, and exhibits in the Chichester Market on Wednesdays.  You can also find him at Lymington Market and Winchester Art and Design Market. And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/piauartgallery/

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. 

Christmas gift ideas for an artist

Deciding on the perfect Christmas gift can be tricky.

If you have an artist friend and are still wondering what he or she would like, what about treating them to a gift which lasts all year?

 

Subscription to a magazine as a Christmas gift

I get The Artist and Leisure Painter magazines every month … and received this promotion via email in the past few days. Check out offers for new subscribers on their website.

christmas gift

 

Christmas Holidays …

I will be enjoying the Christmas break – no blog on 25 December 2017 or 1 January 2018.

Festive greetings to my readers: I wish you health, wealth and happiness in the coming year.

135-christmas-camellias

Christmas Camellias

Two weeks until Christmas and the camellias are in bloom already!camelias

This photo was taken a few days ago, a few yards from the spot where you can see the magnificent view of the bell tower and out to sea, from the pathway above Salcombe Yacht Club.

 

Salcombe Yacht Club Christmas Camellias

Salcombe Yacht Club Christmas Camellias is my only ‘Christmas card’ – and it’s the carefully positioned robin which gives it the festive touch.

It’s another of what I call ‘man cards’. Blank inside. Choose your own words!

 

Where can you purchase the original Salcombe Yacht Club Christmas Camellias?

The original acrylic painting is for sale at £500 and on display at Beacon House Gallery.

 

Where can you purchase the affordable-art card version of Salcombe Yacht Club Christmas Camellias?

All of my 59 designs of cards are available at Malborough Post Office.

Selections are also available at other stockists: Bonningtons (newsagents in Salcombe), Salcombe Tourist Information Centre, Salcombe Yacht Club, Bloomers (the florist in Kingsbridge), The Gallery @ Avon Mill, and the Project Gallery (Noss Mayo).

You can also buy direct from Beacon House Gallery, and in quantity – at a reduced rate – if you’d like to use my Christmas card as your Christmas card.

Call me on 01548 844020 to discuss your requirements.

Spring term art classes at Salcombe Art Club

2017 exhibition scheduleYes, it’s time to start thinking about signing up for spring term art classes at Salcombe Art Club.

Although I paint a lot and some would say I’m quite good at it, there’s always something new to learn … and these classes are brilliantly tutored and great fun to attend.

 

Which classes have I signed up for?

I have signed up for five workshops/classes- which will keep me busy on Tuesdays and Fridays – and a couple of weekends – ahead of the start of the Main Exhibition on Friday 30 March 2018.

  • Painting in Acrylics or Watercolour with Michael Hill: Tues 9 Jan – 6 Mar (except 13 Feb = half term) 10am – 3.30pm
  • Oil Painting with Ian Carr:  Fri 12 Jan – 16 Mar 10am – 3.30pm
  • Travelling Light Oil Painting with Ian Carr: Sat & Sun 3/4 Feb 10.30am – 4pm
  • Untutored Life Drawing: Tues 13 Feb, 13 March, 20 March 10am – 1pm
  • Portrait Workshop with Jenny Johnson: Sat 24 Feb 10am– 4pm
Are there other classes?

Yes! Classes are arranged each term – Autumn and Spring. Apart from the ones I’ve chosen there are several others …

  • The Enjoyment of Drawing with Jennifer Johnson
  • Watercolour and Mixed Media with Jennifer Johnson.
  • Woodcuts, 3 day workshop with Rod Nelson
  • Caroline Barker’s Linocut Workshop with Colour

Plus, there are ‘Studio Painting Days’ which provide an opportunity to spend a day painting in the company of like-minded artists and ‘Untutored printmaking’ for experienced printmakers.

To attend, you need to be a member of Salcombe Art Club.

 

How do you become a member?

There are three categories of membership.

  • Lay members may take part in workshops, courses and social activities and generally assist in supporting the club but may not exhibit.
  • Associate members may take part in most club activities including exhibiting in the Little Studio section (but not the main gallery) of the Annual Summer Exhibition. Associate members also have voting rights at the annual AGM.
  • Full members may take part in all club activities and exhibit their works in the Annual Summer Exhibition when they are required to carry out their share of stewarding duties. Full members also have voting rights at the annual AGM. 
The first step is to enrol as a lay member; it only costs £12 per annum. After that, there is an annual selection process to become an associate member or a full member. For full details, check the How to Join page on the SAC website. 

Postcard from London: Tate Britain at Millbank

No visit to London would be complete without a visit to Tate Britain. Anne and I traveled up by train on Thursday and had a whirlwind of meetings and reunions before we returned late on Saturday. But, we made sure we had time to fit in one gallery and, this is me, on a bitterly cold but sunny morning, on the steps of Tate Britain.

Tate Britain

 

What’s on at Tate Britain?Tate Britain

Tate Britain at Millbank is, as ever, currently running several exhibitions and offering talks and other events:

  • Art in Focus: Horse Frightened by a Lion – until 30 November 2017
  • Rachel Whiteread – until 21 January 2018
  • Art Now: Marguerite Humeau: Echoes – until 15 April 2018

As luck would have it, and it was our preference, the one to catch our eye was the EY Exhibition ‘Impressionists in London Curator’s Tour’.

 

On at Tate Britain: EY Exhibition ‘Impressionists in London Curator’s Tour’

Having visited the Musée D’Orsay when we were in Paris, and sent a postcard from there, we have an ongoing love for the Impressionist movement.

My knowledge about the influx to the UK, as a result of the French-German conflict in 1870 or thereabouts, and the subsequent domestic political turmoil was only very sketchy. However, it clearly had an impact on the artist fraternity who had fled to the UK  and, to our delight, there were paintings of Molesey, Hampton Court and Kew Gardens.

Many of the work on display, it would appear, were on loan from the Musée D’Orsay. We didn’t mind seeing them again!

Time was limited but I treated myself to an early Christmas gift: a hard back version of the exhibition catalogue. It’s a beautiful book, with hundreds of images and fact-filled accounts for each one. Edited by Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, it’s a delight to read.

 

Highlights of our visit to Tate Britain

Of the paintings we saw, one of my favourites is Sisley: The Regatta at Molesey 1874

Tate Britain

And another Sisley: The Bridge at Hampton Court, Mitre Inn 1874. Both remind me of childhood haunts!

Tate Britain

The exhibition also includes many views of the Thames and its bridges. Lots by Turner …

 

When does the Impressionist exhibition end?

This exhibition continues until 7 May 2108 and is well worth a visit.

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. 

Work-in-Progress: November 2017

An artist’s work is never done – and here is an update on my work-in-progress.

 

What do artist’s do when the ‘season’ is over?
house portrait

House portrait: preliminary sketch of Anne’s daughter’s home in Melbourne, Australia

Once the SHAF Arts Trail is over – that’s at the end of October – you might think artists put down their brushes and take a holiday.

Most years, that’s precisely what I do!

Every three years, Anne and I visit her daughter in Melbourne. We aim to spend at least seven weeks travelling and, although I take a minimal watercolour kit with me, the time is mostly spent with family, and relaxing. We enjoy a well-earned rest. However, this is something I painted during our most recent visit: a house portrait of their home. This is just the sketch; the finished painting is on their living room wall.

Every three years, we also spend the Christmas holiday somewhere else by ourselves: Malta or Madeira, anywhere warm … and again I take an art kit with me. I tend to spend more time painting on these holidays but only because Anne is usually busy with a writing project. In our apartment, we set up our separate corners – a studio area for me, a writing desk for Anne – and only meet up for walks and meals! It’s a complete break from our usual routine and, even if we are only away for a few weeks, we need that change of scenery to recharge our batteries.

Every three years, and it’s this year, we stay at home – to play host to friends and family at this special time. This is also my chance to catch up on my painting. The real stuff. The paintings I need in stock ready for the start of the next season.

And Anne is very busy, writing her latest NaNoWriMo novel, so I’m grateful she’s made time to type up my blog for me.

 

Studio update

My new studio space

While we were away last Christmas, we had a lift installed so that our home is wheelchair friendly. This was very much appreciated by at least one visitor to our home during the SHAF Arts Trail fortnight in October.

In the redesigned part of our house, I now also have a new studio. It’s larger and lighter than the previous one, and it’s already full of my ‘stuff’. It may look a bit of a mess to you, but I know where everything is.

 

Work-in-progress

You’ll notice, on the far wall, the gallery-style strip at ceiling level. There is almost invisible plastic ‘wires’ hanging down on which, in other areas of the house, I hang pictures that are available for sale. In my studio, I’ve devised a system of bulldog clips to hold my work-in-progress paintings. You can see three of them on the right, and there’s another on the easel.

Yes, there are quite a few! And there are more – mostly oil paintings – drying in the airing cupboard.

At the moment, only one of these paintings is signed. I sign my paintings when I feel that I should do no more to them. A signed painting is, therefore ‘finished’ and ready for the next stage.

 

Are any finished yet?

A finished, signed, painting ready for the next stage

Only the one so far … as you can see, it’s an oil, on board.

My handwritten notes to myself are still visible, as well as the guidelines for the photographer.

It is square in shape and therefore ideal as a fine arts greetings card. No cropping necessary …

 

What happens next?

Good question! Before any of my paintings are varnished or framed and made ready for sale, I have them professionally photographed.

Rather than taking paintings one at a time, I batch them. So, two or three times a year, we book a session with the photographer and trek into Plymouth for the day.

Ahead of that appointment, Anne and I sit down together and confirm the sequential number of each painting – this one will probably be number 136 – and its title. This data is added to the computer records of my art, and also written on the back of the painting for identification purposes.

Because I paint a limited number of scenes, coming up with an original title can be a challenge.  It can’t just be the place name. I need more. Low tide at … Dawn at …

Sometimes, especially when I have decided to paint one scene in different media, or in different sizes, we resort to Roman numbering: Salcombe Dawn I, Salcombe Dawn II, Salcombe Dawn III, …

Having decided on the number and the name for each painting, and recorded it, we forward that information by email to the photographer so he knows how many paintings to expect and can name his electronic files in such a way as to avoid confusion. This is especially important when I have a series of very similar paintings.

 

And then what?

I leave the original paintings with the photographer for a few hours, and Anne and I make good use of that time, shopping in Plymouth.

Then, I return to the photographer to see the results of his work. The images he has taken are printed onto good quality paper, so that I can check the colour match against the original. And, at a later date, I can arrange to have giclée prints made – knowing the print will be as close in tone and hue to the original as possible.

And then we put all the originals back in the boot of the car and head for home.

Job done … except then, I need to make time for varnishing the acrylics and oils and book the framer.