Blog

I was delighted to launch my Website in January 2015.  I am very excited by new concepts and experiments that I have undertaken and the results of these will be added to my Gallery.

At the moment I am busy preparing new work for the various events and exhibitions I will be entering this year.   I will keep you updated as to my progress.   Do keep watching my Site and we will really enjoy an artistic journey together.

READ ON– Latest blog at the beginning…

3rd November 2018

On Saturday, 17th November 2018 I am organising an Art Exhibition with paintings for sale and will finish with an Auction of special paintings.
All paintings for sale are by local artists.
The aim of the exhibition is to raise money for a Mini bus to take out the residents of Mayfair Lodge, a Care Home in Potters Bar, Herts., where my mother is living with dementia. The staff are brilliant and really want to be able to take the residents out more to interesting places and as the Care Home is a not for profit home their funds are low.
Please come along and support us. Many thanks in advance. See the photograph of our poster which gives all the necessary details.

 

30th October 2018

Summer is over and it has been a fantastic one this year with lots of really hot weather.  I have made the most of it and have been away again to Devon for two more weeks and this last week I just returned from an incredible trip to Tuscany in Italy.  We stayed in a beautiful, medieval village called Gavinana up in the mountains at a family run hotel called, Albergo Franceschi which is run by the Franceschi family.  We were able to visit Florence, Lucca, Siena, Vinci where we visited the de Vinci museum.  Saw loads of wonderful art and magnificent buildings.  Oh, what a great deal of inspiration this has given me.

On returning from Italy I just had two days to prepare for our local exhibition held in the Village hall of one of our local villages and this was a great success. My new studio is now up and running and I have a lot of work ahead of me with two more pet commissions.  Here is a photo of my new studio:

20th June 2018

Well, it is almost midsummer’s day and the weather has been wonderful.  Far too good to sit in front of a computer so I have been away to glorious Devon again to get lots more inspiration.  I have finished my commission of Monty the Cocker Spaniel and his owner has given me permission to put the painting on the website.   Apparently his daughter was delighted with the portrait for her 24th birthday and it has special place on her bedroom wall.  So here is the trio of Monty painting on block canvas in acrylic.

Monty
Acrylic on canvas
Commission painting

I have also transferred the watercolour painting of the three swans “Bottoms Up” into acrylic.  I used a palette knife for this painting, this is a tool I love to use especially for paintings with water in such as the sea and lakes etc.

Bottoms Up
acrylic on canvas

I will get cracking now on the abundance of inspiration which I gleaned from my latest trip.

25th April 2018

Back in my studio, the good weather we had was a great incentive as well as receiving another commission for a pet portrait.  This time a young cocker spaniel.

I have now transferred the watercolour painting of the (Girl at Tiller) but have changed the title to “Girl at the wheel” – having sailed in the past I know full well the tiller is at the back, don’t ask me whey I misnamed it, can’t blame that on my eyes!!  I would be interested to hear whether you prefer the bold colours of acrylic or the more subtle watercolour.

I am just finishing the acrylic version of “bottoms up” and will post a picture of that when it is complete.

Have been doing loads of sketching as this is the best way to keep up my practise and would recommend any budding artist to do the same.  Always keep your sketch book with you.

Girl at the wheel.
Acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13th April 2018

A rather belated Happy New Year.   No, I haven’t given up but I have been out of commission for several months as my eye sight was deteriorating – not the best thing to happen to an artist.  I finally had a retina operation on 5th January which put me out of action for some time and have only recently got back to painting.

I have started back in my studio with two watercolours and both these I am in the process of transferring to acrylic.  Hopefully it won’t be long before I am fully up and running (or rather painting) again.   The photos below of the two watercolour sketches that I have recently done.

Girl at Tiller
Watercolour

Bottoms Up
Watercolour

18th October 2017

Well, once again I have to say it.  Doesn’t time fly?  Didn’t realise that it is now 2 months since I last wrote my blog.  I have been really busy stocking my shop on Etsy.com and have had my first sale to America.  I am delighted.  I have now added notelets of my work which would make very desirable Christmas presents in packs of 6 and also have designed some Christmas cards, see pictures below.  You can also buy these in packs of 6

The Joy of Giving

 

Family Christmas

The Joy of Loving

10th August 2017

STOP PRESS  –  GREAT NEWS –  Now open

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JensGardenGallery 

I have now opened a shop on www.Etsy.com.   Please go to the link above, or you can also find it on my “Links” page and browse.

You will be able to buy any of my work.  If you do not see what you are looking for then please email me and ask if whatever it is you have fancied on my website is available for sale.   If it is still unsold I can put it in the shop for you.

3rd August 2017

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer.   I have just returned from an amazing four week trip to Canada.  The inspiration the trip gave me is incredible.  I started by flying to Vancouver, one night there and then a flight up to Fort St. John, B.C. which is on the Alaska Highway and very much still a frontier town.  I arrived in time for Canada Day to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.  A Parade was held in the town with a party in the park in the afternoon and a firework display in the evening.

I later took a trip down the country with my cousin, driving through wonderful scenery, spotting Elk, Black Bears, Eagles and other assorted wild life.  The mountains were magnificent, the National Parks awesome and then on down towards wine growing country and eventually Kamloops where I flew to Calgary and then home.  The only thing to mar the wonderful sights were the Wild Fires which raged up and down British Columbia.  The weather was so hot and the ground dry.  I left Canada when the temperature was 37 degrees celsius.

The memories, sketches and photographs I have taken from the trip will be a lasting inspiration to me in my art.

18th June 2017

Well, it may be a long time since I tackled my blog but a lot of work has been done in the meantime.   The experiment with using a palette knife is finished.  Not sure that I am 100% pleased with it, but it was a first attempt.   Have since done another “palette knife” painting, this time of two swans on a pond with the reflections of moon and stars.  Also in pipeline is an abstract painting on a very large canvas and also a pair of boots!

South Pool.
Acrylic on canvas painted with palette knife.

 

 

Starlit Swans.
Acrylic on canvas painted with palette knife

The independent thinker.
Unfinished. Acrylic abstract on large canvas.

 

Old boots.
Unfinished. Acrylic on canvas paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17th June, 2017

I visited my mother in her Care Home today and although she has Vascular Dementia she had said she would like to do some painting – she went to Art College as a 16 yr old to study dress design. She is now 97 and hasn’t painted for more than 15 years as she has very arthritic hands.
I stayed to lunch  and afterwards we went out into the garden complete with a watercolour box, pencil and sketch book. At first she said she couldn’t do it as her hands were too stiff and she couldn’t draw straight lines. I gradually persuaded her to hold the pencil loosely and it really didn’t matter what it looked like as it was just for practise.
Gradually she got into it and what was so marvellous was that she was concentrating really hard on what she was doing – something she hadn’t done for ages. She got very frustrated with herself but with encouragement continued. When she had drawn a picture of a poppy and foliage that was nearby she started to paint. The result is in the photograph, which I think is pretty good.
After finishing that she said that she wouldn’t do any more because she was a perfectionist and it wasn’t perfect. I suggested then that we just played around with the paints. She slapped on some water and paint with a much larger brush so that some of the colours ran. When it dried very quickly – it was a hot afternoon – I turned the picture around and asked her what it looked like, we both agreed it looked like a dog, so added a nose, eyes and accentuated the ears. “What fun”! she said. I was so happy for her. She was too tired to do any more and a friend of hers had arrived, but she wants to do it again.
I have been asked to help at the Home later in the year to encourage the other residents to paint. I have discovered with this little experiment with my mother that painting really does seem to help them concentrate which can’t be a bad thing and it gives people with dementia that “in the moment” feeling that they can do something positive.

Mum drawing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23rd April 2017

I have been in my studio over the weekend painting from a sketch I made whilst in Devon earlier in the year.   I decided I wanted something with more depth, spontaneity and strength to show the beauty of the area, therefore I decided I would experiment with a palette knife.

Below is the step by step progress I am making with the painting.  It still isn’t finished but you can get an idea of what I am trying to achieve.

Sketch of Devonshire scene painted on site.

Beginning of painting, having sketched out in charcoal first. Acrylic.

Picture to demonstrate use of palette knife

Demonstrating use of credit card. This makes a good alternative to a knife.

Adding more features and gradually painting loosely from top to bottom.

 

Adding texture to roadway at the bottom using acrylic texture paste.

More detail being added before finally completing.

 

 

19th April 2017

A very belated Happy New Year.  Where have I been and where has the time gone?  Unfortunately I was ill for a lot of the winter so not much work was done.  Then I had a lot to catch up on, but I have not been idle for the beginning of this year.  Two trips away.  One down to Devon in February for a touch of fresh sea air to clear the lungs.  This was amazing with lots of inspiration.  I am presently working on a large landscape as a result of this trip and experimenting with the use of a palette knife.   I have also been to Venice.  Wow! what an experience and loads of inspiration to be had from this magnificent city.  No wonder so many artists have been inspired by the place.  Watch this space for my own inspirations.    Lastly I received a commission for two cat paintings which I have completed in between the trips away and they are now installed with their new owner.   These are the paintings of Bob and Misty.

Misty. Acrylic on block canvas.

Bob. Acrylic on block canvas. painted for a commission

7th October 2016

I have now finished the child portrait I was working on.  Please see my Facebook Page  Jeni Hurlock .  Please contact me if you would like me to paint your child’s portrait or maybe one of your grandchild, niece or nephew as a Christmas Present.

william-finished-2-703x1024

 

5th October 2016

I am still working on my new project and this should be up and running shortly. I have lots of new ideas developing and in the meantime have started taking commissions for child portraits.  My first one is pictured below – this is work in progress but hopefully should be completed soon.  Please be patient with my blog as I can’t keep my website up to date as well as paint.  There is so much to do and so little time to do it in!!!

william-work-in-progress-2

 

28th August 2016

I can’t believe how time flies.  Since writing, Sho-Jen Dowell has also given a two hour demonstration at Art in Herts one Tuesday evening which I attended.  I continued to find her work inspirational.  She gave a lovely talk about the therapeutic aspect of Chinese Art and how the whole process has an antidepressant result.  Great for when life gets too busy and you need calming down.  Will definitely apply the technique to my own work.

What else have I been doing whilst my blog has been quiet you may well ask.  Well I have not been idle and have produced some new work.  Mainly on the animal and bird theme.  Below are my two latest pieces, which you can view again in my Gallery.

King Charles Spaniel 2 (1024x816) Billy Budgie 1 (799x1024)

I have been experimenting also with watercolour.  It is not my medium of choice but I feel that in order to be a proficient artist I should practise other forms of media.

Here are the watercolours :

2016-08-28 15.29.59 (1280x926)

 

 

 

Man under brollie. watercolour

The first was painted outdoors of a Lavender patch.  The second is called “Man under Brollie!.

WATCH THIS SPACE.   I have a big new project coming up which I will be launching and will announce it on my blog page.

30th May 2016

I spoke about the two day workshops I attended recently – my experimentation has gone all oriental.   The Chinese brush painting as I mentioned was fascinating and a completely new way of thinking and applying media.  The use of an ink block was very therapeutic as you have to concentrate on using your ink stick by gently massaging it into the block, this was very calming and you can meditate and shut out all bad thoughts until you have manufactured enough ink to work with.

Then working on the “rice paper” you have to concentrate and hold your brush in an entirely different way.  Our demonstrator, Sho-Jen Dowell, was very patient with us all and explained everything in great detail giving us an interesting history and insight into Chinese Brush Painting.

Here are a couple of my efforts:

My first attempt in black ink in Traditional Style of a Landscape

My first attempt in black ink in Traditional Style of a Landscape

 

This was in the Modern Chinese style using a colour wash.

This was in the Modern Chinese style using a colour wash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next workshop with Jamel Akib was also on Oriental Lines.   His theme for the day was Japanese Kimonos.  After demonstrating his own very fluid and loose style we then had a wonderful time splashing colour around.  We could use either oils or acrylics, but I stuck to my acrylic medium.   Here are the three paintings finished that day:

My first attempt was a portrait, we designed our own Kimonos!!

My first attempt was a portrait, we designed our own Kimonos!!

This was a full length Kimono using a very loose technique and lots of colour.

This was a full length Kimono using a very loose technique and lots of colour.

Our last one of the day This time I finished up all the colours on my palette and had a wow of a time just sploshing paint on - fantastic.

Our last one of the day This time I finished up all the colours on my palette and had a wow of a time just sploshing paint on – fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

29th May 2016 

Phew!!  Well my exhibition at Mill Green has been running now for a couple of weeks and today I will be there from 2.00 pm until 5.00 pm so that people can stop and chat to me about my work.   It has been quite a buzz with lots of interest. I am hoping that this Bank Holiday weekend we will have loads of visitors, there is a lot going on at the Mill for families.   In the meantime have been catching up on work and doing lots of experimentation – that is what it is all about – great fun.

The exhibition at Cafe Dutch finished and I sold both the paintings I put in which was quite a boost to my ego.    I have since been to two day workshops just to try out new ideas.  The first was Chinese Brush painting, the 2nd was another great day with Jamel Akib, he is my greatest inspiration, he makes it all so much fun and takes away the inhibitions.

24th April 2016

My exhibition at Mill Green is getting closer and I am beginning to panic.  Still four more paintings to finish and my deadline for delivering is 8th May.  It is amazing how much one can achieve when you have a deadline and it concentrates the mind enormously.  I have already rejected two of the paintings I had done as I felt they were not up to standard and hope that the ones I am working on come up to my own scrutiny.   Oh well, plodding on and hope to have some results to report very soon…….  watch this space!

12th April 2016

Absolutely delighted to hear that I have sold one of my paintings at the latest exhibition at Cafe Dutch.  This was a portrait of a cat which I called “The Mouser”.

Having a full day in my studio painting ready for my next Solo exhibition at Mill Green.  Lots of inspiration and raring to go.

The Mouser acrylic on block canvas

The Mouser
acrylic on block canvas

9th April 2016

Hi everyone.  Sorry not to have written anything for such a long time but have had personal problems to sort out.  I have updated my website including adding a contact form which you will find on various pages.  Do feel free to add comments and if you would like to buy any of my artwork then you can use this form for enquiries.  I will shortly be putting up more artwork on the Gallery page and will try to keep my blog up to date.

I have two paintings at the moment at Cafe Dutch, Great North Road, Hatfield as part of the Art in Herts exhibition.  This exhibition has already started and runs throughout April

I will shortly be having a Solo exhibition at The Mill Green Museum and Water Mill also in Hatfield, please see my Exhibitions page for more details.  Do come along and see this exciting exhibition called Art in Motion.

28th February 2016

Yippee!!  The first opportunity for a very long time I have managed to spend a whole day in my studio working.  It has been a beautiful sunny day, if a little cold, but the electric radiator in my studio helped warm me up.  All very conducive to painting.

I had three paintings which were “work in progress”.  Two were oils and the third an acrylic on canvas.  These are part of a selection I will be using in my Solo Exhibition coming up in May called “ART IN MOTION”.  This is to be held at the Mill Green Museum & Watermill, Hatfield, Herts.

The paintings will all be based on the theme of movement.  These will include my Dancers series,  Birds in Flight and Exercise, as well as a couple of abstract.  I just love to use large brush strokes, palette knife and other implements such as credit cards to work loosely and uninhibited.  It is all very therapeutic.

If you want more details about my exhibition then look on the website at the Exhibitions page where you will get a lot more information.

Below I have posted some photos from today.  Two are of my studio taken today and I apologise for the chaos but when I am painting I get carried away and do not have any time for “tidying up”!!

Two more are of my oil paintings which are “work in progress”.  These are for my “Dancers” series and are painted in oil on canvas.  I still have quite a way to go before they are finished and, of course, oil takes a long time to dry.

The last two are of my acrylic painting.  This is the first of my “Exercise” series and shows work in progress as well as the finished painting.   Enjoy!

Sunday studio. Work in progress.

Sunday studio. Work in progress.

It has been a lovely sunny day for working.

It has been a lovely sunny day for working.

Oil painting in progress from Dancers series.

Oil painting in progress from Dancers series.

 

Work in progress using oils on canvas. From Dancing theme.

Work in progress using oils on canvas. From Dancing theme.

 

Acrylic painting on the theme of Exercise. Unfinished.

Acrylic painting on the theme of Exercise. Unfinished.

Finished acrylic painting on the theme of Exercise.

Finished acrylic painting on the theme of Exercise.

 

14th February 2016

Went to the Parallax Art Fair at the Old Town Hall, Kings Road, Chelsea yesterday.  What a wonderful fair.  It is an amazing venue and fortunately we arrived early.  I had gone with a view to exhibiting at one of their future Fairs and wanted to suss it out.  I was not disappointed.  The place soon became packed with visitors.  The artists exhibiting there were very diverse in their subject matters and the most friendly lot I have ever come across.  It was so interesting talking to fellow artists from all round the Globe.  One young lady had come all the way over from Japan just to exhibit, others from Mauritius, Sweden, USA, France, Spain and many other places and it was great chatting to them all.

The Parallax are holding their next Fair in New York, but I don’t think I can afford to go that far.  However, will definitely consider the next one being held in Kings Road, Chelsea.

24th January 2016

I thought my readers may like to see the process I use when executing a commission for a pet portrait.  If, like the latest one I did, I am unable to actually view the animal  (this commission was a surprise present for the owner of the dog), I ask for several photographs which show the personality of the animal in question.  The client provided me with several photos and I used these to do several sketches at first.

Then I did a rough sketch actually on the canvas itself, to give an idea of the positioning and what I wanted the finished portrait to look like.

I gradually completed the painting using layers until I got a picture with which I was satisfied.   Once the portrait was complete I varnished it three times which brought out the colours.   The entire project took just over 12 hours.

If anyone is interested in having their pet portrait painted then please contact me and I will send you a list of basic fees based on an acrylic painting on block canvas. If you want something different then I am happy to discuss it with you.

A charcoal sketch from photo, one of several.

A charcoal sketch from photo, one of several.

First sketch on canvas using charcoal & paint.

First sketch on canvas using charcoal & paint.

Starting to paint, gradually putting in the colours.

Starting to paint, gradually putting in the colours.

 

Finished portrait.

Finished portrait.

 

23rd January 2016  

I originally trained as a textile artist and printmaker, though I have painted all my life, so imagine my joy when I sold several of my textile pieces during the open studios.  It appears that textiles are back in fashion so I will be concentrating on doing more of these in the future.  Here are pictures of the pieces I sold, they were all part of my “through the microscope” series:

Diatoms Reverse applique with gold fabric & white silk.

Diatoms
Reverse applique with gold fabric & white silk.

Lightning Wall hanging Hand & machine embroidered with velvet frame.

Lightning
Wall hanging
Hand & machine embroidered with velvet frame.

FORAMINIFERA Reverse applique using hand died fabric & net on canvas.

FORAMINIFERA
Reverse applique using hand died fabric & net on canvas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22nd January 2016

A very belated HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!    I am sorry not to have added anything since my Open Studios.   I have been busy sorting myself out, both personal and business.  However, I am happy to report that the 2015  Herts. Open Studios was a great success.

We had over 150 visitors during the four weeks we were open and made lots of sales.  Our launch party was a great success on the Friday evening before the Open Studios began and our guests really enjoyed the experience.  Now I am having to decide whether to “open up” for the 2016 Herts Open Studios.  Decision still on hold!!

What have you been doing then, since the end of the Open Studios and now?  You may well ask.  I have entered a couple of exhibitions and been busy in my studio with more painting.  Also have just completed a commission  from a lady who came to the OS and has since asked me to do a portrait of her daughter’s dog.  More about that later.  As I have said before, painting and art is always a learning curve so I have been attending demonstrations, art galleries and learning new techniques for myself.  There are more exhibitions to work towards coming up in 2016.

21st September 2015

Just one more week to go before the end of our Open Studios.   What a learning curve it has been.  I have found interacting with the public the most interesting, informative and rewarding part of opening up my house and studio to the public.  Unfortunately not all of my fellow artists who were exhibiting alongside me agreed.

Art to me is my life and it is not about making money – yes, you have to live but there is more to life than getting rich and acquiring material objects.  I suppose I am fortunate in being able to express myself in my art which is also remarkably therapeutic.

My work is based on my love of life, nature and people.  I like to put colour, humour and expression into my work and do not enjoy painting “still life” or “architectural buildings, city scenes etc.” That is my choice – some people are really talented at painting these subjects.

This month has allowed me to talk about my art to people who are interested, who ask questions and even give constructive criticism which I really welcome. I do believe that part of being a good artist is to be able to explain what your art is about, to be able to show people how you made a particular piece, what inspired you and how you set about accomplishing the work.  I was amazed at how informative many people were and they were able to impart their knowledge to me, also a little disappointed at some of the disinterest, although this was rare.  Art is definitely a two way process, the artist feeds the viewer and the viewer takes from this a new experience and thought provoking process.

When my house is back to normal and my studio no longer a display centre I now have an abundance of new ideas and experiments to create.  I am really looking forward to the winter days when the weather is bad and I am forced to stay in and can immerse myself in my work.

 

18th September 2015

Gosh, it is ten days since I last posted on the blog.  We are now half way through out Open Studios and the first two weeks went really well.  Yesterday was quiet but it was a miserable, rainy day.  Today started off quiet and we had lots of showers – it seems that visiting Open Studios is definitely a fair weather occupation.   The first couple of weeks we had lots of visitors and lots of sunshine so they were able to sit in the garden with refreshments and it was like a big garden party.

However, things brightened up this afternoon and we had five visitors in total.  So I am hoping that the weekend will bring a lot more response.  I am finding it so interesting talking to different people from all walks of life, explaining about my work and listening to their comments.  One set of visitors last week was a family whose daughter had been given our address by her school as she was studying art – now that is definitely what Open Studios is all about.  Inspiring the young.

Still lots to see!

Still lots to see!

 

8th September 2015

Welcome to Open Studios

Welcome to Open Studios

That’s the first weekend of our Open Studio over and it was a great success.  Over 50 people came to our Launch party on the Friday night and we had a steady flow of people who were interested coming over the weekend.  Quite a lot sold and interest shown.  It is really lovely to be able to talk to the general public about my work and explain how and why I do certain things.  Open Studios is certainly a great opportunity for this.  Next open on Thursday 10th September at 11.00 am.  please come along and see what it is all about.

Our Garage Exhibition but much more in garden and inside.

Our Garage Exhibition but much more in garden and inside.

We hope our frontage will attract many visitors

We hope our frontage will attract many visitors

4th September 2015

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun?  We are now reaching zero hour for the Launching of this year’s 25th Anniversary Hertfordshire Open Studios. After lots of hard work we are ready and tomorrow we will open to the public for the first time at 11.00 am.

Here are some photographs of us getting it all ready and my house looks like one massive Art Gallery.  Loads of paintings and drawings by all five of us artists who are participating at Art in the Garden Studio.  See www.hvaf.org.uk-Open-Studios for full details.

 

Me putting finishing touches to my studio.

Me putting finishing touches to my studio.

My studio ready to meet the public

My studio ready to meet the public

Diane contemplating where to put a painting

Diane contemplating where to put a painting

Fiona's taller so able to assist!

Fiona’s taller so able to assist!

It's looking good!

It’s looking good!

The lounge is like one large Art Gallery

The lounge is like one large Art Gallery

As you can see we have a lot on show.  More photographs to come so keep a watch out on this website.

24th August 2015

Well it is two weeks since I have written in my blog.   So much to do to get Open Studios ready plus family commitments.  I apologise to the very rude person who sent a comment saying how lazy I was for not writing in my blog every day.   I am not a computer nerd I am a professional artist and reluctantly use the computer as a tool of communication.  I am human and have a life, time gets filled with lots of important things.

Now, back to my Open Studios.  This year is going to be really great.  My four   fellow artists and I have lots of exciting things to show you.   I will be in my studio demonstrating and if the weather is fine I hope to have a table outside so that any children visiting can have a go at painting and drawing.  Don’t forget to look at the brochure on www.hvaf.org.uk/open-studios   .  Our entry is No. 87 .  You will also find lots of other exciting artists to visit throughout Hertfordshire.  Why not make a trail so that you can visit as many as possible in a day.

Also visit my Facebook page – Jeni Hurlock and see my latest paintings.  I will try to get back to my blog asap once there is more news to tell you.

11th August 2015

Count down has started to my Open Studios, less than four weeks to go now.   I spent the weekend tidying up, cleaning and clearing out my studio ready for the onslaught – boring!!   It is amazing what you find that you had forgotten about though and I came across a few treasures that I had lost sight of.   Well, the place is clean and tidy so I now have to sort out my paintings and hang them on the walls.  The other artists joining me will be using the garage, which is now clear, and part of the back room.  I intend spending most of my time during Open Studios painting & demonstrating my work.

When Herts. Open Studios first started 25 years ago by a very enterprising lady called Terry Sadler, the idea behind it was not first and foremost to sell our work but to show the general public that we artists do, in fact, exist.  That we can come out of our hiding places and that we are all different.  Among all the artists taking part there is great diversity, from painters (in all different media) to sculptors, ceramicists, printmakers, textile artists etc.  A lot of what we do appears to be a mystery to many people so we like to unravel this mysticism.

We are inviting you into our homes, so please do come along during the event and we ask you to respect our privacy when we are not open.

4th August 2015

I still haven’t sorted my spam issue out but wish to say that I am now counting down the weeks until the Herts. Open Studios start on 5th September.  I am being joined by four other artists in my studio and if you come along you will be very welcome and in for a treat.  If you live in Hertfordshire you can pick up a brochure at your local library or several other community venues or else look at the on-line brochure at http://www.hvaf.org.uk/open-studios/open-studios-2015 

3rd August 2015

First of all I would like to say that I have not written a blog for a little while as I have been inundated with SPAM comments.  I have had to make a bulk deletion and I apologise to anyone who has sent a genuine comment.  I am trying to sort this problem out but in the meantime please bare with me.

18th July 2015

I have just come home from the West Midlands.  I visited some wonderful places which will no doubt give me lots of inspiration in my painting.  The City of Chester was full of interesting historic buildings including original Tudor streets, the Cathedral was also worth a visit and I admired the stained glass windows which sported a contrast between the old, original windows and some modern. The modern windows had intensely rich colours with both abstract and figurative designs.   We also visited Powis Castle with its incredible tiered gardens, so beautiful and exotic.  Then we travelled through the exquisite Welsh countryside with rolling hills and waterfalls.  So much to take in, but truly enjoyable.

 

Back home to reality and I have just submitted a painting into the Maynard Gallery at Campus West in Welwyn Garden City.  Here you will find one painting exhibited from each of the participants of this year’s 25th Hertfordshire Open Studios as a Taster of what is to come.

Also today is the handing in day for the Barnet Guild of Artists’ 66th Annual Exhibition.  The exhibition runs from 27th July until 8th August and you will see a selection of my work there at Pennefather Hall, Christ Church, St. Albans Road, Barnet, Hertfordshire.

The next few weeks will be spent preparing for my own Open Studios when I will be painting at every given opportunity.

5th July 2015

Wow! what an exhibition.  Stayed in Kent for a couple of days and went to the new Turner Contemporary Gallery to see Grayson Perry’s exhibition  “Provincial Punk”.

I  do so love Grayson’s work.  He is very profound in his feelings which are portrayed in his art.  I feel I can understand exactly where he is coming from – and with a lot of his ideas.  Into every piece of artwork has gone a great deal of research and thought – his emotions are packed into the exhibition.

The first room  (which I came to last!) was packed full of his ceramic vases and each vase brought to life an individual message.  There was humour in the room, deep thought, often tongue in cheek, others gave out heartfelt and sincere communication.   As well as the contextual side to his art Perry’s skill and application to technique is exceptional.   The rest of the exhibition was varied, fascinating and very creative, naturally I loved his tapestries.

My own words are inadequate so this is how he explains the meaning behind the exhibition.  With acknowledgement to the brochure & website:
“I was a punk in the provincial sense. I was there in my bedroom with an old school shirt stencilling the word ‘hate’ onto it, looking out onto the lush turf of the north Essex countryside. Then, when I came to London, I was hanging out with people who were at the cutting edge of fashion – Body map, John Maybury, Cerith Wyn Evans, Steven Jones and Michael Clark were my part of my social circle at the time. And yet I was making pottery … with a Shetland woolly jumper view of the world and that was funny. 

The idea of ‘Provincial Punk’ is an oxymoron but it encapsulates creatively some sort of spirit in my work that still goes on to this day. It is a very creative force, a willingness to turn things over, to not accept the fashion and to have a bit of fun. It is a kind of teasing rebellion; it is not a violent revolution.” 

Grayson Perry
Please take a trip to Margate – the gallery has turned a run down, sleepy seaside town into a tourist attraction and I really hope more people will support them.  I was born just a short way along the coast from there in Herne Bay, so the area holds lots of memories for me.
Visit https://www.turnercontemporary.org/ to see details about the gallery.
Now I must get back to reality and hard work in my own studio. Taking work to two exhibitions next week.
 24th June 2015

Spent a great few hours at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition today.  I have been going for many years, since I was a child and it started to get boring – so hadn’t been for a couple of years.   This time it was sooo different and has been uplifted into the 21st Century, thanks to Michael Craig-Martin RA who was the Exhibition Co-ordinator.

From the striped staircase through to the pink room it was all different – no more the cluttered, crowded walls.  Everything stood out and had space to breathe.  No one person can like everything there, we are all different but I certainly had my favourites.

Julie and Bob by Grayson Perry RA was my favourite over all.  A giant tapestry of two people in an edition of 6 – a snip at £69,500.   Yes, I am biased as I trained as a textile artist, but this was expertly rendered and the subject matter told a story.

My favourite sculpture was a that of a very large man in an Atlas like stance with his back in flames.  Artist was Tim Shaw RA and the piece was made from black painted foam, polythene and steel.  I was most amused by the comments from other members of the public.  Some just couldn’t even see it was a man, even though it was quite obvious, many found it “scary” and others wondered where anyone would put it in their home – durrrrh! – it is a brilliant piece of public art.

There were many other works of art which caught my eye and I had to return to several rooms to see them again.  The Studio by Francis Bower is a watercolour which  I found very atmospheric.  In the architectural room which has now been moved to the Large Weston Room, I loved a small sculpture by Victoria Watson called Three Towers, this was constructed from Perspex and embroidery thread. The thread was very skilfully manoeuvred through the perspex and gave optical illusions of direction and pattern.  The Entomologists Garden was another painting in oil by Nicholas Pace which also appealed, as well as bringing a tear to my eye because my late husband was an entomologist and it brought back memories.

Obviously there were some pieces I didn’t like or thought insignificant, but I do believe there were far more that I liked this year than most other years.

There were two rooms which need a mention.  One was the rooms was the Small Weston Room which was devoted to pieces by William Kentridge Hon RA,  His work consisted of lino cuts, Indian ink and various other simple media on pages of non-archival dictionaries, found pages and hand made paper.  The subject matter told the story of South Africa during the apartheid era and Nelson Mandela’s endeavours.

The other room which was well worth a visit was right at the end. This room was devoted to Tom Phillips RA who back in the 1960s wanted to buy a second hand book for 3d.  He found a book by W H Mallock, the 9th printing dated 1892 called A Human Document.

Phillips’ artwork consists of the pages from the book being transformed.  It has taken him from 1966 until now and the work, I believe, is still ongoing.  He uses words and phrases from each page and reconstructs the page using various media. Some of the content is very amusing.  He has called his own work “A Humument” – you really must go and see for yourself, or failing that look him up on his website.

 

21st June 2015

Lots of painting done this week in my own studio.  Publicity sent out to monthly magazines re. my Open Studio in September and ended the week with a day’s painting with my painting group – finished off two paintings.

I am now a member of the Barnet Guild of Artists so yesterday attended a watercolour workshop which was led by Heather Joliffe, an excellent watercolourist from Hampshire.   As I have mentioned previously I am not a watercolour painter, although I have “dabbled”, so I really believe it is good for any artist to try out different media from time to time to stretch their abilities. Heather was demonstrating techniques in watercolour and this time she was showing how to use wax crayons as resists, instead of masking fluid.   We had a great time trying out this technique and here are the results of my “playing” with the medium.   Not masterpieces and one is not finished, but you get the idea.

"Stormy Seas" - my first attempt using this technique and probably my favourite.

“Stormy Seas” – my first attempt using this technique and probably my favourite.

"Shoreline" my 2nd attempt. More complicated, not so happy with it.

“Shoreline” my 2nd attempt. More complicated, not so happy with it.

"Boats" - not finished but hopefully will show promise when it is!

“Boats” – not finished but hopefully will show promise when it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11th June 2015

I spent the day in South East London yesterday visiting my daughter & granddaughters.   Whilst there I took some time off to visit the Ravilious Exhibition showing at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.   It was a truly inspirational journey.  He has always been one of my favourite artists, in particular for his East Sussex paintings as I have had a lot of connections with the County and the places are all familiar to me.  However, I found his paintings and prints whilst a designated War Artist were absolutely brilliant, full of detail and showing a real depth into what went on “behind the scenes”, the mechanics of the war, rather than the actual atrocities which are often depicted.

I hadn’t realised that he had done figure drawing and painting as well.  These were not prolific but the few on display showed great individuality.

Ravilious is mainly a water colourist.  Definitely not my medium, but his paintings have given me inspiration to perhaps give it another try.  His style is like no other water colour painter that I know and his technique is very individual and  impressionistic.

The Exhibition is quite small, but if you are in the vicinity it is well worth a visit.

7th June 2015

As a result of the three day course at Insight (see 31st May), we had a photo shoot and the latest portrait of me as an artist is now on the front of the webpage. Credit goes to Paul Regan for taking the photograph.

From Tuesday, 9th June you will be able to view some of my work  for sale in Four Seasons Gifts in Fore Street, Hertford.

It is a lovely sunny day so am off to my studio to get cracking and be creative.

31st May 2015

Where has the year gone – half way through it will be June tomorrow and I feel as though I have done a whole years work so far.

The Mentmore Arts Festival has now finished and it was a great success.  I was able to sell some paintings and also greetings cards.  It is definitely worth considering for next year as the turnout was amazing, and the venue beautiful.  There were over 60 artists taking part and the standard was first class, with lots of professional artists displaying their work.

Mentmore Arts Festival. St. Mary's Church, interior and exhibition.

Mentmore Arts Festival.
St. Mary’s Church, interior and exhibition.

Mentmore Arts Festival St. Mary's Church, knave.

Mentmore Arts Festival
St. Mary’s Church, knave.

Also I have just finished a really interesting and intensive three day business course at the Insight School of Art in New Barnet, Herts.   I found this most inspiring and it has spurred me on to create and exhibit on a much more professional basis.

Now I must concentrate on my next project which is the Hertfordshire Open Studios which commences on 5th September.    I will be opening my Studio where you will be able to see where and how I work as well as view my paintings and buy if you wish.   I am also opening my house and garage up to four other artists who will be joining me in displaying their work.  Look out in the Exhibitions section of the website for more details nearer the time.

 

 

19th May 2015

It is almost here.  Busy getting all my paintings ready and packing them up ready to take to the Mentmore Arts Festival.   See website http://www.mentmore-arts-festival.co.uk/.  Mentmore is a beautiful and scenic village in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside, well worth a visit just to see the village itself.  At the heart of the village is The Stag pub.  They serve delectable food and I have sampled it for myself, delicious.

I will be exhibiting, along with my artist friend, Yvonne Sint, at St. Mary’s Church in the village – you will find our work on the right just as you go in the front door. There are 60 artists exhibiting both in the church and the village hall.  Proceeds from the Festival will be going to support Dementia Care, Horses Helping People and of course, the Church.  All worthy causes.

If you want to take a trip out then the Postcode to the village to put into your satnav is LU7 0QF.

14th May 2015

It seems dreadful that it is so long since I last wrote anything in my blog but so much has happened over the last month.   The Hertford Trail ends this coming weekend on 16th May and I take down my work on 17th from the Four Seasons Gifts & Shabby Chic gift shop.   What a wonderful experience I have had being there on several occasions and meeting the public.  A lot of interest has been shown and I have found it most rewarding.

Unfortunately I should have been at the shop on Tuesday but have just come back from a disastrous cruise to the Norwegian Fjords where a majority of us had the Noro-virus bug.  The cruise had to be cut short and I had a second dose on my return home.  I had hoped to get a lot more inspiration from the trip than I managed to.  However, all is not lost.  Whilst confined in my cabin for several days I was able to sketch whilst looking out of my cabin window and also take numerous photographs, so I think I will have quite a lot of material available to paint plenty of pictures ready for my Open Studios on a Norwegian Fjord theme.

In addition I was able to attend a couple of the evening shows on board and took several photographs of the dancers on stage which will make magnificent subjects for my “movement” series.

This Saturday, 16th May, I will be attending a Master Art Workshop (see my links) and the artist will be Jamel Akib again.  I just love his style and he inspires me enormously.

Just a week until the Mentmore Arts Festival so look out for more about this in my blog.

22nd April 2015

Almost at the end of the Exhibition at Cafe Dutch. (see exhibitions).  Am delighted to say that I have sold one of the two paintings I submitted.   The exhibition finishes first thing Saturday so just 2 1/2 more days to go if you would like to visit.   The Hertford Trail still goes on and there have been many visitors touring the exhibits, this won’t finish until 17th May.   After that the next exhibition will be the late May bank holiday where I will be exhibiting at Mentmore Art Festival – a beautiful village with lots going on, well worth a visit.

Well, must crack on with more painting to replenish the ones I have sold.  My trip to Devon will certainly feature.

18th April 2015

Just returned after a weeks holiday in Devon.  Lots of inspiration.  Back to the  Hertfordshire Arts Festival commencing with the Launch last night at Hertford Castle.  The Mayor of Hertford was in attendance and gave a very positive and encouraging opening speech.    Today was the first day of the Hertford Trail and I attended my venue at Four Seasons Gifts at 93 Fore Street, Hertford and met some interesting people.  Do come along if you are in the area.  There is plenty to see in Hertford and lots to do during the next four weeks.

7th April 2015

It is April already and Easter is now over.  I do hope that everyone had a really good Easter holiday.  The sun shone here and on Easter Monday it was so beautiful that I was able to eat my lunch in the garden – after mowing the lawn that is!!

Less than two weeks now to the Hertford Arts Festival.  It is looking good.  The publicity is under way with lots of leaflets and posters having been published and the smart invitations to the Mayor of Hertford’s launch reception at Hertford Castle have gone out.

I have done very little painting in the run up to the Festival as I have been framing, labelling and wrapping my paintings as well as preparing Greetings cards to sell.   Please don’t forget the dates : Launch party on 17th April and the Festival starts in earnest on 18th carrying on right into May until 18th May.  Lots to do and see.

It kicks off with the Hertford Art Trail on 18th April where I am taking part and I will be at my venue from 12.00 noon until 1.00pm if you wish to have a chat about my work.  Also on 18th April there is a one day taster 10 am – 4 pm – cold connection ring and stone setting construction, incorporating soldering at Made in Herts Studios – www.hertfordshirejewellerystudio.co.uk

Celebrate St. George’s day & Shakespeare’s birthday on 25th April with an Elizabethan Hertford afternoon walk ending with a promenade performance in the castle grounds.   –  Morris Dancing – George and dragon puppet theatre – storytelling with Danelaw inc fire breathing & warrior from Celtic Harmony – Falconer and leatherworker demonstrations & music with Bullenbush Folk Trio.  Also Street magician. childrens craft stalls and an evening tasting Mead at the White Horse in Castle Street – what more could you want for a day out!! Lots of other things to do on other days too, not just art exhibitions.

Watch my blog for more events.

18th March 2015

I am so excited.  I have been selected to exhibit my work as part of the Hertford Art Trail at the Hertford Arts Festival which runs from 17th April until 17th May. I have been allocated a Gift shop in Hertford called “Four Seasons Gifts” at 93 Fore Street, Hertford.   Just come back from visiting the owner and my “host” for the event.  Such a lovely lady called Jackie who will allow me to put my paintings on her wall.  The shop is an absolute haven of fascinating objects, so I do recommend anyone looking for a gift or something just that little bit different to go along and browse in there.

I just can’t wait now for the Hertford Arts Festival to begin.   Wey Hey!!

17th March 2015

A happy St. Patrick’s day to all my Irish friends.   I haven’t been idle over the past two and a half weeks.  I went over to Mentmore the other Sunday with my fellow artist friend, Yvonne Sint, to visit the area where we will both be exhibiting at the May bank holiday.  Wow!  what a fantastic place.  It took us an hour to get there but was worth the trip, it is a large village in a beautiful setting, with very few residents.  It is also home to Mentmore Towers, a magnificent specimen of architecture which was unfortunately not open to visitors the day we went, but hopefully we will have the opportunity at a later date.

We will be exhibiting in their lovely old and picturesque church, St. Mary’s, which is down the road from the village centre.  We were able to meet some of the villagers who were extremely friendly and enthusiastic about the Art Festival saying that it attracted large crowds every year. So we are really looking forward to the event. We finished off our trip with lunch at the local pub, The Stag Inn , and had an expertly cooked roast dinner at a reasonable price.  Well worth a second visit.

If you want a really interesting day out then do put the May Bank Holiday into your diaries and come and see us.

28th February 2015

Over the last two weeks I have been completing more paintings as well as experimenting.   My first exhibition of the year is coming up on 28th March throughout April – this is part of a group exhibition at the Cafe Dutch along the Great North Road, AL9 6ND.  The work shown is by members of Art in Herts and should be a good show.  Do come along.  Then there are several more exhibitions in the pipeline, so I need to produce a good body of work .

Went to the Royal Academy Exhibition of Rubens work “Rubens and his Legacy” on 17th February.  I loved it, although I read many of the criticisms about it but tend to disagree with some. I enjoyed the idea of comparing some of his major works with those of other famous artists who were influenced by him.  It was inspirational to see each room themed so that you can compare the other artists work on the same subject and it made me realise that there are few ideas that are “original”.

When you think how many centuries ago Rubens painted his master pieces, (1577 – 1640) his skill and amazing application of paint and colour, we have not advanced to such a great extent.  Even the final room at the exhibition where the curator had placed modern artists who had been influenced by Rubens, the ideas are not that futuristic, modern or dynamic.  It is as if many of those artists were trying too hard to find a “different” idea, but several lacked the skill of the old painters.

Photography was a thing of the future in Rubens time and much of the work of artists at that time was still didactic.  Rubens, however, used his imagination and produced some amazing work.  Many of the ideas are still being copied.  He is known for his paintings of the rounded female form, or “Rubenesk” figures, but these were only a small part of his work and his portraiture and landscapes are included in his repertoire.

This is definitely an exhibition to go and see, it runs until 28th April, 2015.

14th February 2015

Time flies.  Just realised how long it is since I wrote in my blog.   Have completed two more paintings so the time was not wasted, also preparing for the exhibitions ahead.

Whilst painting and getting really carried away into the subject matter my thoughts went back to when I was teaching and doing workshops.   I used to regularly visit a very dear, now departed, lady who had had a stroke.   She was an inspiration to us all.  Despite her disabilities, she was hemiplegic and as a result had lost the use of her left hand.   She was determined she could manage my Creative Textile classes and invited me to her house, along with four of her friends to give them regular private classes.   The work she came up with was amazing and very inspirational, she had put her heart into it.

This lady also had a daughter with Downes Syndrome and she would relate to me how, before her stroke, she would take her daughter around Art Galleries.  When her daughter was asked whether she liked the paintings and what did she see,  the daughter replied “You don’t see paintings – you feel them”.    How right she was. This has always stuck with me.

When I paint I am feeling what I paint.  All my emotions go into the subject.  If I can’t relate to the subject then the painting is not good.

6th February 2015

A few days have passed and I have been busy working on a large 3ft canvas.   However, this morning we woke up to another cold day, no snow today but it was icy.  I discovered some amazing formations in my garden and loads of inspiration. Andy Goldsworthy sprung to mind.  Here are some photographs I took to add to my inspiration folder.

Ice Ring

Ice Ring

 

This was a great ring of ice that was formed inside my bird bath.  It looked great with the sun shining on it.   I took the photograph and photo shopped it so that I can keep it for future use.

 

 

 

Below is an ice sculpture I made from the ice ring as well as two other blocks of ice I found in two smaller bird baths.     Below that were crystals of ice forming on twig of clematis

Ice sculpture

Ice sculpture

Natural Diamonds

Natural Diamonds

 

 

 

 

 

Puddle with ice and snow. notice the patterns created by the ice.

Puddle with ice and snow. notice the patterns created by the ice.

 

Tuesday, 3rd February

I am overwhelmed at the response I have had to my Website.  Thank you everyone who has emailed me or left comments on the Site and on Facebook. I now need to get cracking and do some more work in my Studio!

It has snowed overnight here and the garden looks beautiful.  Just a dusting but it makes everything look so pretty.  After all it is winter and when I go out I hear people complaining about the weather.  Either it is too cold, too wet, too windy, it is snowing, gloomy, foggy or depressing.

Let us look at the weather in a different way today.  Yes, it is cold but “hooray” that will mean you can put on that lovely, chunky jumper you made last winter, or that Aunty Wotsit gave you for Christmas.  You could knit one whilst sitting by a nice warm fire (I don’t have a fireplace in my living room, so I just imagine I have!).  You can’t knit, you say?  Well it is winter so that is something you can learn to do this year and get lots of satisfaction in achieving it.

If it rains and you are indoors have you noticed the patterns rain makes on the windows?  …  it also saves you having to clean them so often, that’s a bonus! Look at the puddles, at the different colours reflected in the water, how the birds love to flit in and out of the rain, shaking their feathers in such a pretty way.  Go out in the rain, well wrapped up, enjoy the freshness of the water on the face, they say it is very good for the complexion.  Splash in the puddles like you did as a child and observe the raindrops glistening and dripping from the trees.

Look at my paintings.  “Hog Drovers in the Mist” shows how atmospheric mist and fog can be.  I imagined those phantom Hog Drovers from days gone by – mist and fog brings out the imagination.   My painting “Frosty Morning” shows just how beautiful the cold can be.  Never be glum with the weather, it is what keeps nature going.

 

1st February, 2015

A new month a new day.  It has been said that all artists are mad.  It is my belief that there is no such thing as a mad person – we are just “independent thinkers”. People who live and think outside the box.

Eric, my late husband was an independent thinker.  He was a Scientist, a Zoologist specialising in entomology,  and I would like to dedicate my Website to him for all the encouragement he gave me.

Artists and Scientists are very much alike.  We both question and will never just accept what is there.  We observe.  Both scientists and artists will start with nothing and come up with something of interest.

I have recently been to the cinema and seen both “Mr. Turner” and “A Theory of Everything”.  The first film about the artist JMW Turner, the other about the scientist Stephen Hawkins.  Each of these characters made an impact by their free thinking and anarchic outlook, and I was fascinated by the similarities.  Neither followed convention or “stuck to the norm”.  That is how our wonderful world exists, how boring it would be if we were all the same.  There would be nothing new and no excitement.

January 2015

I attended a workshop by Jamel Hakib last year, the workshops are run by Master Art Workshops.  His theme for the day was movement and I found this exhilarating, it made me be more spontaneous and looser in my work and I hope that you will enjoy my paintings of dancers using this method. My own style is more realistic and I still enjoy painting this way, but it does everyone good to have a change now and again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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