Art trail time again

I am yet again taking part in the annual Chichester Art Trail. I am right on the outer limits of what is a very large trail so tend to get fewer visitors than those venues clustered together in Chichester. I open my working studio to the public and unpack all my stored paintings to turn our house into a temporary gallery. Its a huge amount of work so I am glad to see visitors. This year my messy studio has the honour of featuring on the trail guide cover and the poster below.  More details can be found on the  trail website:



Paint problems!

Recently I decided to use my Alkyd oil paints. I don’t usually bring them out in the winter as they do need good ventilation. They  dry overnight but are workable for about six hours. If you want to work again in a hurry without the week wait with normal oils they are useful.

As its been a while since I used them the first job was getting the lids off; enter a bowl of hot water. With the lids successfully removed I found the openings blocked with hardened paint with the nice fluid stuff quite clearly evident below. My trusty steel meat skewer made a bit an opening but it was still like a strong man competition exercise to get more than a minute blob out as the hard stuff would block the hole again. When one is itching to get going this can be VERY frustrating so with several  I resorted to cutting the bottom of the tube off and exiting the paint that way. I figured that I was going to have to use up the older paints quickly anyway.

I did finally get going but had to repeat the process every time I came across another blocked tube which does rather disrupt the creative flow. At least I can be grateful they were not acrylics which would have dried on my palette whilst I messed about with blocked tubes. Below is the in progress painting I was trying to work on.

Well its a painting

Having trouble getting going with fresh work but have managed to finish this today. It started life as a quick demonstration on the theme of ‘Storm’ for my little art class. As its on a good sheet of heavy acrylic paper primed with gesso I felt I had to at least finish it off. Managed to do it without getting too fussy which pleases me. Below is the quick pencil sketch the painting was taken from. I like working from sketches if I can.



Starting with a cold engine

I haven’t posted here for ages. I finished the Marathon that was ” The Mavis Diary” book illustrations, then Christmas and New year – the result I haven’t touched a paintbrush for months. I always find starting from a cold dead stop really hard. I think I need to do some serious messing and sloshing paint around not worrying too much about the result until I get creatively warmed up again. In the meantime I have some paintings of Hotham Park where I am Artist in Residence in a mixed exhibition at The Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester until Feb. 12 2017.

I needn’t have worried

After all my angst about getting my exhibition up in th cafe with curved beams it all went so smoothly I can hardly believe it. Knights in shining armour in the shape of the cafe proprietor and one of his staff put all the pictures up in record time . All I had to do was stand there giving directions. Amazingly all the pictures found a place and I had half an hour to spare to have a cup of coffee and take pictures for the record. The Mayor  of Bognor Regis and Chairman of Arun District Council arrived at the alloted time followed by other invited guests. The  catering was scrumptious and wine was served as people entered as well as coffee for those who wanted it. I have to say this was the nicest experience of putting on a show I have ever had, in contrast to those times I have greeted my guests whilst still trying to get myself looking as if I have not spent the entire day running at full tilt through a hedge,  dragging on a prepared change of clothes at breakneck speed at the last minute. Thanks to all who made this such a delightful experience for me.

Hanging day

In my last post I mentioned the difficult job of hanging my paintings in a space without walls. They will be suspended from hooks in curved beams. What can possibly go wrong? I have put long strings from D rings only fastening one end so that the height can be adjusted in situ. I have tested how they hang by suspending one from  a bedroom curtain rail. An additional complication is that the cafe does not have car access so we will  unload onto two flatbed pull along trollies at the entrance  carpark. This brings back memories of dragging a cart of wooden bricks along as a child. Down the main path, past the clock tower and boating pond then round the corner to the cafe where we will have access at 5pm. Then for an hour and a half all mayhem will break loose to get everything in place by 6.30 and attempt to look as though I have just stepped out of bath, rather than been dragged through a hedge backwards, to greet guests and the Mayor. No worries really!! Photos of the event will follow.


Nightmare hanging

Don’t get me wrong I am not about to put a noose around my neck but I do have a problem with hanging of an exhibition in Hotham park cafe on October 24. I am delighted that Arun District Council have arranged with the cafe for me to have a one night exhibition to showcase the work I am doing as Artist in Residence for the Park. Whats not to like? Well I have exactly one and a half hours to get the show up before various dignitaries start to arrive and the cafe reopens. “It can’t be too difficult to put a few paintings up.” I hear you  say ….weeeell yes, fine if you have a wall with hanging fittings, but I will be hanging them from hooks in the beams holding the cafe roof up. Again not too hard, except that the beams are curved with one end about 15 inches higher than the other.  Entails hanging each picture with a difffernt length string to get them level. After much agonising I have devised  a system which I THINK will work, the trouble being there will be no practise run! The whole thing will have to go like a military operation (and we know what can happen with those!), if I am not to be up a ladder looking hot and bothered when the Mayor arrives.  Wish me luck with that one!