Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Contemporary Landscape Course at Pear Tree Farm

Just ran a  brilliant two day course  with a group of 8 amateur artists. 'Students arrived early, in the sunshine, having driven from all parts of the country.  They all got to know each other, chatting, drinking  tea and looking at my work displayed in the arts centre while I unloaded my car and set things up for an evening presentation  and demo.  I was concerned that my MAC laptop may not be fully compatible with the centres 'digi' projector but after buying the suitable convertor, everything went well... :-)

We ate at 7 and drank complimentary wine (always tastes better when it's free).. I decided to go and do  some painting and my 'students' eager to start the course early, followed me to the studio.  I did another demo and  talked about  what we would be doing over the next two days.

After a wonderful  Full Monty breakfast on  Monday morning, we  jumped in cars and went up to look across the valley from the Top Road at Holloway.  By lunch time, after a hard mornings work in the hot sunshine, everyone was well on the way to filling there first sketchbook with lots of quick 5, 10 and 15 minute studies.

After large Buffet Lunch we worked on some mixed media studies in the studio, experimenting with a variety of materials until dinner at 7.00....  I then did another hours demo before going to the Jug and Glass  for a very well earned pint or two of Copper Dragon.

On the second day, we had more fun and everyone worked really hard  until 4.30 when we had a mini exhibition of work... A really enjoyable time made even better by the wonderful cooking and  hospitality  shown by Sue and Alan Barber who run the centre.

I have just returned from the gym where I have been to try and lose some of the pounds I put on in  just over two days...

If anyone is thinking of doing a residential art course, I would really recommend Pear Tree Farm. ;-)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The New Forest..

I spent last week camping and painting in the New Forest. Having never been there before, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I chose wisely when I selected Hollands Wood  campsite... It had no less than THREE well appointed shower blocks...  I decided it  would be a good idea to camp at a not too considerable distance away from  one of them... just in case.....
I arrived Monday lunchtime half an hour later than the sat nav predicted.... but then  Tom sent me to the wrong site at first.... one that didn't have ANY shower blocks or loos. I set up camp. Erecting the smallest tent in the world, borrowed from my daughter Alice who had bought it last year for the Leeds festival which she didn't attend... (another story)
I spent Monday evening exploring Hollands Wood, deciding where I would paint when  got up at sunrise on Tuesday. (which happened to be  4.45am) I cant believe that I was actually painting by 5.15,after having  two VERY strong stand your spoon up in  mugs of coffee....
Hollands Wood looked wonderful with the light coming through the canopy and lighting up the wet ferns.I spent the rest of the morning  sketching, walking, painting and photographing Hollands Wood.
In the afternoon I decided to go find Bolderwood. Which I did after a Pub lunch of chargrilled chicken which I think upset my tummy for the next three days...  My close proximity to the shower blocks coming in use on more than one occasion during the night... :-) Bolderwood was very different having many huge conifers as opposed to the mainly deciduous  trees in Hollands Wood.
Wednesday was spent in Hollands Wood...  having decided that it might be a good idea to stay pretty local for reasons already mentioned... Anyway, Hollands Wood is well worth painting and I had now made friends with a wild Pony which I named Frank... (don't know why)
Weather played havoc with my painting on Wednesday.... Raining for a while, then the sun came out, then it rained again etc etc... you got the gist... However,  Wednesday night was very Sunny and warm so I painted until sunset... Painted was eaten alive by lots of wee beasties, midges and mosquito's which I am now paying for...( itch itch, dont scratch it aghhhhhhh you'll make it bleed) Next time I paint in the woods, Ill spray myself with anti we beasty stuff...
Thursday was my last day... it had rained and rained during  the night... and as I woke up Thursday morning which I knew wasn't going to be a painting day... By 11, the rain stopped, I  'de camped' and packed  the car.... intending to go home... BUT THEN THE SUN CAME OUT so i decided to drive 20 miles to treat myself to a paddle in the sea..... and doing a couple of quick sketches with sand filling my paint tray up to give added texture to my seascape.
Quick visit to a beach cafe for a slice of cake and cup of mint tea (to try and settle my still upset tummy) and then home to Derbyshire. :-)

Really enjoyed my short trip to the new Forest and intend to go back in the autumn when i am sure the colours will be spectacular... (Might be a bit cold to camp tho)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Wow... I just clicked a few buttons and hey presto, I have set up a blog... I only sat down at the computer this morning to search for a chain saw on eBay and look what's happened. Oh well, I may aswell  have a go at 'Blogging' as its seems a pretty logical time to start. ie. I recently retired from art teaching and am now painting full time. I have also just moved house and into a brand new Studio...  New beginnings and all that. ;-) I have no idea if anyone will bother to read this of course, as in the whole scheme of things, I am pretty much unknown as an artist. In fact, I question if I am an artist at all.... To quote Lowry... "I am not an artist, I am just a man who paints"
IF you are one of the few people who MAY read this Blog, I apologise now if i get things wrong while producing this blog.... I am  a 'novice little blogger' you might say... learning as I go along. Isn't that what we all do throughout life.?
I have uploaded some of the woodland studies I did in my sketchbook. I will use these, together with other sketches and photos to produce a body of work which will be exhibited some time next year... 
Welcome !