Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a very happy new year, with my last sketch of last year (above) and a drawing from yesterday :-)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holiday drawings

My Dad now has a halo...

I always find the Christmas holidays such a great time to sketch... so many models around and so little need to do anything else... other than eat and drink... lovely :-)

Drinking red wine on the sofa

'Listening to football on the radio'

Mary in the school nativity play

Yes that is a dog/neck warmer

The three graces?

And a reindeer

Talking to his grandchildren

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy Christmas time

Snow at the Roseland Inn

I hope that you are all having a nice Christmas and New Year break. I'm loving the way that everything slows down and you can spend time relaxing with friends and family and not worry that you should be doing anything else. I love checking my emails and seeing hardly any new ones - except for all the January sale ones which I'm deleting straight away.

This painting of a Cornish pub in the snow - oh how I wish we had snow on the way - is now on show in the winter exhibition at the Harbour Gallery, Portscatho. 

You can have a look at all the paintings in this lovely exhibition here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fantastic news!

ROI catalogue 1997 

I have had the most wonderful news to end the year with. Last week the Royal Institute of Oil painters elected me an Associate member! It is hard for me to describe to you how much this means to me but if I tell you that membership of this prestigious society has been my biggest and longest held ambition (for the last 20 years) you may begin to get the idea!

The society hold an annual open exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London with a part of the show consisting of non member work which has made it through the competitive and rigorous selection procedure. In order to be even considered for membership you have to consistently have work accepted and hung in the annual exhibition year after year - which is tough enough!

I first had work accepted with the ROI in 1997, when I won a Young Artists Award.  My prize was £500 worth of Winsor & Newton materials, and a tour of the W & N manufacturing plant. It was my first major prize, and the year after I was awarded another Young Artists Award at the annual exhibition - so I had an early taste of success! 

Since then I have developed a hard work ethic, and buckets full of persistence. There have been years when I missed the annual deadline - when moving house or having my hands full with a new baby for example, but I never stopped thinking of the ROI and entered whenever I could. 

At the end of 2010 we were busy packing up ready to move to France and in 2011 living on the island of BrĂ©hat so I missed the ROI exhibition during those two years. When I returned to the UK after the year away I had gained a much clearer perspective on what I wanted to achieve with my work and also what I had missed while being away from the UK. I determined to never miss the annual ROI exhibition deadline again, no matter what. I developed strategies for keeping good work back throughout the year so that I would be ready for submission and prioritising the important dates for the exhibition in my diary. 

The planning ahead paid off and I was extremely fortunate to have work accepted in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and now have been rewarded for my perseverance and am very happy. I am looking forward to getting involved in the activities of the society and hope to prove myself worthy of being elected a full member in the not too distant future. For now I can proudly use the initials AROI after my name!

With Adebanji in September at A Brush with the Broads

It was a special double celebration as my friend Adebanji was promoted from Associate to full member of the ROI. Many congratulations Adebanji Alade ROI!

Read more about the Royal Institute of Oil painters here :-)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sketching with friends

Jose de Juan, Glenn Fitzpatrick, Adebanji Alade, Peter Keegan, Graeme Messer, Nur Shodaj, Edward Ofosu
and in front Michele del Campo and me

I had a Christmas treat last week when I was invited down to my friend Michele's studio in London. Michele gathered a little group of artists together and we had a sketching evening, each taking turns to be the model for around 12-15 minutes.

It was really good for me to get out as I hadn't been anywhere or seen anyone since the ROI preview at the beginning of December. And it's always good to get the sketchbook and pencils out, and I had slipped out of the habit recently with so much else going on this month.

My 15 minute sketch of Peter Keegan

My sketch of Edward Ofosu

My sketch of Glenn Fitzpatrick

My sketch of Nur Shodaj

My sketch of Michele del Campo

It is surprising what can be achieved in a sketch in so little time! Not all of my sketches from the evening worked out but I was happy with these ones.

Portrait of me by Adebanji Alade

Me and Adebanji sketching Michele del Campo
Photo courtesy of Peter Keegan

Friday, December 11, 2015

Snowy new homes

First snow,  Drove allotments

These favourite snow scenes of mine, painted this year, have all sold in the last month and are heading off to their new homes. It's so rewarding every time my passion for painting the gorgeous snowy domestic subjects is deeply loved and appreciated by somebody else.

'First snow, Drove allotments' is a complete favourite of mine. Painted entirely en plein air I haven't had a single day since where I have been quite as euphoric painting as I was on that day. Such excitement, to be at the allotments with snow. Simple pleasures eh?

This painting also felt like real progress to me, in the manner in which it was painted. It was as though I'd passed another level or grade in my pursuit of simplification.
It goes to join another of my snow scenes from the previous winter at it's lovely new home.

Treading softly

 What can I say about 'Treading softly'? Well this photo doesn't do it justice at all. It marks another huge turning point in the development of my work and I was almost holding my breath all the while I was painting it. I was desperate to communicate that delicate softness of the icy early winter morning when your breath hangs in the air as if frozen and shapes are emerging and hidden by the morning mist. I have a tendency to be heavy handed and knew that with this one I had to approach it so delicately and softly and not like a bull in a china shop! That's why I was holding my breath the whole while!
The abstracted shapes and colour combinations within this painting do take my breath away, and I actually feel cold coming off the painting when I stand in front of it. I'm also very proud of this one and happy that it has gone to a very good home.

Out of the woods

'Out of the woods' is a good example of the less is more and get it down quick tactic. It's a much smaller painting than the others here and it's that end of the winters day, do I have it in me to stay out for one more hour? Oh my gosh look at those long shadows and the sun going down behind the trees. Yes. I. Do.

The thaw, Drove allotments

Aww 'the thaw'. Well this one is the largest snow painting yet and I passionately love it also. It's a bittersweet emotion because the snow is melting and my time to paint it is running out fast but what an exciting contrast to try to capture! The warm sunlight, the cool shadows on the snow and that really fresh green of the sodden grass emerging from it's cold cloak. Added to which the structure of the sheds, the opportunity for little abstract passages. Bliss. And strong tonal contrasts which meant that for this one I could be just as gung ho as I wanted! This one is like the 'yang' if 'Treading softly' is the yin.

'The thaw' is currently on display in the Royal Institute of Oil painters annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. Do go in and see an amazing show if you can but be quick, it ends at 1.00pm on Sunday 13th December.

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