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!



Monoprinting mayhem

I was asked to run a two day, drop in monoprinting workshop as part of the South Downs Folk Festival. There were things happening all round the town in Bognor but my pitch was in a large marquee near the theatre. Over the two days my assistant, Jasmine and I helped nearly 60 people of all ages have a go at something they had never done before. Our time see-sawed from twiddling our thumbs or doing some printing of our own to being rushed off our feet when several people came at once switching us into manic gear dishing out ink, explaining the processs and washing print plates, rollers and tools in a bucket. It was particularly enjoyable  watching the delight on the faces of children as they peeled off their paper to see what they had created. The two friends featured in the photos had a whale of a time producing one print after another rather like Mickey Mouse in  Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.


A new toy

The other day I took the plunge and bought myself a small grapic tablet and pen. I wondered if this was a foolish move as it will be another lot of 21st (ish) tech. that I have to get my very 2oth century mind around.  It’s the very basic model as I thought it was best to start small to see if the thing was any use to me. I have been pleasantly surprised how easy it has been for me to adapt to using this tool. Though this gadget will never replace getting my hands dirty with paint and other messy stuff I am delighted to have a back button when trying to produce illustrations. My motive is to illustrate my husbands diary about the winter we spent on the Greek Island of Symi some 20 years ago and you never know, I might decide to blog it!