Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ophelia and I have moved on

So Philly and I have moved on from Chopin, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky to good old 1980s Power Ballads. It's great and we really are getting to grips with things. So here's an updated photo. Not sure on the overall quality of this photograph as I haven't a PC to check it on (it is currently packed in a box heading for Spain) and I only have my tablet...

She's still not finished, but we are most definitely on the home straight now. For those of you who didn't see me start this piece back in April at the RHS botanical art show in London, its pretty large - roughly A1 in size.

I will be taking limited edition (20) prints of this piece at the same size. If you are interested I'd love to hear from you. Please email me (

Friday, 29 August 2014

Listening to everything in a minor key

So it's been a while hasn't it?! Thought it was probably time to check in and write a little update. Since I last wrote quite a lot has happened... I had a lovely little trip to Galacia at the beginning of August and then I had two days in London where I tied up all loose ends before catching the train to Bognor Regis - my hometown. For the next two days I caught up with my dad and started my intensive driving course. On the Saturday night I then zoomed back up to London and I came back down to Worthing on the Sunday with all of my things and dearest Henry. Then I went back to Boggers to finish my driving course. I passed... phew! So that was a mega week. My brain was fried with everything that's been going on in my personal life, and learning to drive on top of all of that in such a short space of time was hard going. I am really glad that I passed though as it is really going to help me with pretty much every endeavour in the future.

I passed! Thank you Bank Holiday/Goodwood Racing/Arundel Festival traffic!
So, since passing and having a fun day out with dad and his crowd from The Alex to the Arundel Festival* I have moved to my mum and step dad's flat in Worthing. This is great as I can now paint and heal. This no longer involves indulgent foods and alcohol. The process has developed and I am now in my 'music phase'. There is rarely a moment when my headphones aren't in my ears. This must really annoy the people around me, but it's essential. 

So, alongside indulging in music I have been busy trying to finish Ophelia. I have found completing this piece very restorative and I am glad that I hadn't finished it earlier on the year as I had originally hoped. For me, this piece is about the power of femininity, creativity and transformation. Calling her Ophelia is a bit of name-play.

Ophelia the Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.) Started at the RHS' Botanical Art Show Pop-up Studio
It does seem to be taking a long time to complete this piece. I think this is because I have become rather too accustomed to painting leaves and I'm just not used to working with so much pink! These petals are very different - very whole with little interruption along the surfaces. Big washes are needed and lots of time for drying. The amazing thing about this big beauty is how much yellow she has in her layers. I am mainly using my very old Daler Rowney paints for this one... Permanent Rose, Rose Madder, Phtalo Blue, Ultramarine, and W&N Transparent Yellow. In the green places I have the same colours, but in different proportions. I try not to add too many colours on one piece and stick to a limited palette. It's bad enough having five brushes in one hand, let alone tons of colour mixes! Well that's what I think anyway... The really funny thing is I have got a really big brush for these big washes and I can't really get it in my mouth when I am using the smaller brushes. I tend to bite on my brushes a lot you see, like a dog with a bone. It's useful as an extra hand, but sadly I am struggling with the 5-brush tactic this time around...

Close up on the Orchid
Right-e-o, I think that's enough of an update from moi. I hope to update again a few times before my move to Spain on the 24th September. Don't forget that Inspiring Kew opens tomorrow!! I probably won't be going up to London as originally hoped, so I eagerly await to hear all about it from you...

* I highly recommend visiting the Arundel Festival. It's a brilliant arts-based trail and features some of the best artists in the area. Arundel itself is a beautiful town and over the weekend you also get to see musicians, performance artists and taste some very tasty food!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Coco's progress

It's Tuesday and I am getting ready to go to Spain on a little trip. This isn't the big move, more of a 'toe dip'. I am seeing my house mate Catuxa who kindly bought me a ticket to go and see her as a thank you for helping her with her PGCE and QTS work. Isn't that a lovely thing to do?! So, in between trying to cram in as much as possible into a teeny hand luggage bag and decanting all of my Green People sun cream into 100/50ml bottles, I am slowly getting Coco completed.

Leaves close up - apologies for bad photograph, light in my bedroom isn't as good as the studio and I have a very old camera as my new one broke.
It appears I have at last worked out why I couldn't paint on the Fabriano Artistico paper - it was not only because I insisted on working on a drawing board rather than flat, but also because I am very naughty (tight) when it comes to buying new brushes. Knowing I am going to move to Spain, I decided to splash out on a load of brushes the other day. I was going to save them, but on my return from the shop I couldn't paint using the older brushes with the shiny new ones staring straight at me with their pointy heads and clean bristles! I succumbed to temptation and broke four new brushes in. WOW! It was amazing and I can now say that Artistico isn't that bad after all. I can also say that I am now promising myself to buy new brushes more regularly than before. A lesson learnt!

A close up on the leaf with the sun shining through it.
So here is Coco - I managed to get quite a bit done at the RHS on Sunday which is good and then again yesterday and today. Actually yesterday was a pretty non-productive day as I was too busy house-packing, emailing and getting my Euros sorted out, but anyway - you get the idea.

Again - rubbish photo - I blame the camera and my dimly lit room... 
I am going to work late tonight with the hope I can sleep on the plane. Might try and get that other leaf on the left done now I appear to be in the groove of working with these lighter more lurid shades of green. The types of green you get with the sun shines through leaves. It's a really tricky green to get right and I know I still haven't got it right, but I think it's better than the green I used on the The Green Giant, so I am getting there... if a little slowly.