Posted on | February 8, 2013 | No Comments
I have wanted an iPad for the past year, and finally I have saved enough pennies to buy one. I love it! It’s my new sketchbook, canvas, palette and jar of brushes all in one neat little package.
Despite the fact that it’s just stroking and tapping your finger (or stylus) on a glass surface, it’s actually quite a sensitive process. And it’s so spontaneous, easy and forgiving! No more fiddling with tubes of pigment, constantly cleaning my palette or my hands!
Although in reality I wont be giving up daubing and doodling with real paint. Because as any artist will tell you, the joy of applying colour to paper or canvas with a springy brush has an immeasurable magic.
I’m using an app called ‘Brushes’, the same app used by David Hockney. But I have come up against a severe limitation with ‘Brushes’. It has a fixed maximum size of 2048 x 1536 pixels. This simply isn’t big enough for accurate and large scale printed reproduction. How Hockney reproduced his iPad paintings up to gallery size is still a technical mystery to me.(If you know – please tell me!)
So I’m thinking of moving on to an app called Procreate which allows you to create huge images, up to 4096 x 4096 pixels. If you’ve used this, do let me know how you’ve got on.
I’m looking forward very much to taking my iPad into the field on a forthcoming holiday…
Follow my latest creations as I make them by ‘liking’ my Facebook page.
Posted on | January 17, 2013 | 2 Comments
I wondered for ages how in a single painting I might show the richness and order of the nature, everything all tangled up together in one glorious biodiverse web of life. It wasn’t until I was reminded of the richness of native British art by Waldemar Januszczak on his TV series about The Dark Ages, that I found an obvious way of expressing this. I would put it all together in a celtic knot. Easy!
Among those items shown you’ll find things as random as a cecropia moth, a dandelion seed, a leopard gecko, a tiger, a whale shark, a mudskipper, and the marvellous double helix of a strand of DNA.
In the true spirit of illuminated manuscripts from the Dark Ages, I have painted in a couple of legends in Latin. But you’ll have to work out for yourselves what they mean. Life is a riddle after all.
The original painting is acrylic on canvas and measures 50cm x 50cm.
Canvas prints, which don’t need framing, can be ordered:
40cm x 40cm – £72 inc P&P to UK
50cm x 50cm – £85 inc P&P to UK
Email me if you’d like one. The original painting is £600.
Posted on | December 13, 2012 | No Comments
Last week my husband Moth and I finally achieved an ambition – to get a really good view of waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus). Thanks to the Oxford Bird Log and WaxwingsUK we were alerted to a small group of these gorgeous birds which had been sporadically hanging out in the churchyard at St Giles in Oxford.
We’d tried and failed the week before to see them, but sheer determination paid off. They weren’t there when we arrived, so instead we enjoyed watching the redwings, blackbirds and long-tailed tits bouncing around in the yews. Then, all of a sudden, a small cloud of these unmistakable Lovelies swooped in – about 20 or 30 of them – and descended onto a tree covered in berries under which I was standing. I didn’t need binoculars, they were just metres away from me, leaping around, feasting on berries, chirping softly to each other. I was surrounded by angels!
My painting, Angels in St Giles, sums up the pure joy and magic I felt at this moment.
Moth’s photos of the waxwings and other birds (which I worked from) can be seen here.
If you’re interested I can order you a 40cm x 40cm canvas print of it (which wosn’t need framing) for £67 each (inc P&P to UK) and it will be signed by me. Email me if you’d like one. The original painting is £335.
Posted on | December 4, 2012 | 1 Comment
If you’re looking for something different, I might have something for you. I have a selection of paintings available right now in my clearance sale some at prices you wouldn’t believe for original works of art: many under £80!
Browse my selection of greetings cards – all of which are suitable for just about any occasion, including the festive season; but you’ll find no Nativity scenes or Wise Men here. Just beautiful images of gorgeous things from the natural world. Look out for multipacks and the bumper pack for fabulous value – my quest to rid the world of overpriced greetings cards! The packs of cards are lovely to give as gifts in their own right!
My quirky, hand-drawn maps are continue to be popular – these are my ‘love letters’ to places that are special to me: Avebury, Woodstock, Eynsham, Stanton Harcourt and Stratford-upon-Avon. They show the history, nature and character of the place as well as notable building, shops and activities. You can get the flat and signed (suitable for framing), or folded in a colour cover. If you think you know a place, think again!
And if you’d like something for FREE then please use my e-cards – no sign-up, no spam, no risk. Promise!
You can order online or simply email me.
Posted on | November 18, 2012 | No Comments
With financially hard times affecting nearly all of us these days, I have been doing my very best to produce works of art that are ‘affordable’ with no loss of quality or workwomanship or meaning.
And so for the Eynsham Winter Artweekend - which is next weekend, Art Lovers – I have hung an entire wall with pictures priced at only £95 a picture. These are all original works of art, conceived, designed and handmade by me.
As I’ve hung them, I’ve found that some of them work really beautifully in pairs. This was not intended, as each piece has been conceived individually, but just a rather happy accident! Come and visit us next weekend and see which ones you like best. The colours are much lovelier in real life than in these photos.
I’d like to bust the myth that original works of art cost the earth. They don’t. Original works of art in Janeworld can cost only £95.
Posted on | November 15, 2012 | No Comments
I have been working towards a seasonal exhibition and have been observing this autumn more closely than ever before: the conkers, the pine cones, the birds arriving from Scandinavia, and of course, the unmissable change in the trees from green to red, yellow and orange and finally leafless.
These observations, together with a few trips to the local bird reserve at Otmoor, chiefly to watch starling murmurations, inspired me to attempt a landscape almost without any green. ‘Autumn fox’ (click the thumbnail above to see the whole thing) is a large canvas (for me) at 999mm x 405mm.
In it you can see a small deceit of lapwings flying in to roost as the day turns to night.
Three greylag geese rest in a muddy field near the riverbank.
A big red fox seeks out a meal, perhaps some tasty blackberries?
The stalks and dried seed heads of umbelliferous plants (wild, carrot, cow parsley, angelica and the like) have intrigued me hugely this year and so these feature prominently. I only know they are ‘umbelliferae’ because my late father, a botanist, often referred to plants using latin family names. So yes, dad, I was listening!
I have also been hugely impressed this year with the crop of bulrushes. Perhaps this is one species to benefit from this year’s deluge?
I’d like to tell you how I have tried to imbue the whole painting with a sense of the beauty of continuity and flow of the natural world, and something about the inter-connectedness and balance of nature. But I don’t have the words to describe this, which I why I tried to paint it instead.
I hope you like it.
‘Autumn fox’ – acrylic on canvas – 999mm x 405mm – £400
Posted on | November 1, 2012 | 1 Comment
“On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, Two turtle doves…”
I stumbled across some photos of turtle doves and was immediately reminded of their gorgeous plumage and lovely colours. And thought – I’d like to paint that!
In recent years the numbers of turtle doves in Europe have fallen by more than 60%. Habitat loss, changes in farming practices and shooting these pretty birds for so-called ‘sport’ are blamed for their decline. I’ve never actually seen one in the UK and I’m pretty observant when it comes to our feathered friends.
It’s a bit weird that the turtle dove should appear in an English folk song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas‘, because the turtle dove isn’t actually here in the UK in the winter. It migrates south… and faces Spanish bullets.
This painting (acrylic on canvas – 40cm x 40cm – £175) will be on display during Eynsham’s Artweekend, 24 & 25 November, 11am to 5pm.
Posted on | October 19, 2012 | No Comments
Today we visited the Happy Birthday Edward Lear exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford. Edward Lear is best known for his nonsense verse, (who hasn’t heard of the Owl and the Pussycat?) and although this is quite brilliantly original and what he’s best remembered for, I especially wanted to see his paintings of birds.
Woo! They didn’t disappoint!
His exquisite observations are correct in anatomical detail but also express something of the character and habits of each species. Lear set ludicrously high standards in bird art which have rarely been exceeded. His work was admired by both ornithological taxonomist John Gould and the legendary John James ‘Birds of America’ Audubon.
Sir David Attenborough says: “I think he’s probably the best ornithological illustrator that ever was”. But I disagree with Sir Dave on this one – I think Audubon slips in at Number One, but only just!
As a big fan of the sadly-now-extinct Great Auk, my heart did a little leap when I clapped eyes on his watercolour study of this fine long-lost bird.
Also on show at the Ashmolean are some of Lear’s lovely illustrations for his nonsense poetry – “R was a rabbit, Who had a bad habit, Of eating the flowers, In gardens and bowers. r! Naughty fat rabbit!”
Lear’s notated watercolour sketches of his travels around Europe and the Middle East were never meant to be anything more than studies to be worked up into more detailed paintings, but they stand alone in their own right. Indeed as a mad keen on-the-spot sketcher myself, I felt there was more of the man in the sketches, all of which were made right there in front of the subject. His notations and jottings made them even more human, like diary entries.
But for me the best thing of all in the entire exhibition was this teeny weeny watercolour of a feather and Lear’s business card. In a single square inch where the filaments of the feather overlap the business card Lear has achieved a breathtaking mastery of watercolour, a sensitivity of touch and a level of observation which if I painted 24 hours a day for the rest of my life I could never ever reach.
If you’re in Oxford, go and feast your eyes on this exhibition, it’s only £4. And you’ll LOVE the Ashmolean. If you haven’t been before you’re in for a treat: so much groovy stuff!
Posted on | October 2, 2012 | No Comments
It’s conker time!I gathered these few from beneath the big horse chestnut tree in Eynsham churchyard last Friday. I had some trouble finding any – I think horse chestnuts must have been badly affectly by this year’s dreadful weather: first the drought, then the incessant summer rains.
Anyway I thought I’d make a little painting of them.
I started by drawing out the composition on a little 30cm x 30cm canvas, then blocked some of the main colours to find a sort of visual balance and rhythm.
Then I worked in some of the shadows to ‘anchor’ the fruits and give a bit of depth. I also had fun with green and orange paints putting the leaves in at the front. And I particularly enjoyed putting the shiny highlights on the conkers themselves.
…a little extra darkening of the shadows and a bit of softening their edges, a bit more detail in the open fruit cases, and a complete redrawing of the top leaves…
.. a few more touches, including the whirls on the nearest conker and the spikes on the outside of the fruits and it’s done!
Conkers – 30cm x 30cm – acrylic on canvas – £95 (part of my small but perfectly formed series)
I will be showing this and many more paintings of the natural world during Eynsham’s Winter Artweekend on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 November at 18 Newland Close, Eynsham, OX29 4LE.
Posted on | July 28, 2012 | No Comments
Did you see the exhibition of David Hockney’s paintings at the Royal Academy earlier this year? Many of the pictures were of the landscape of East Yorkshire wolds near Bridlington where he lives.
If you have never been to East Yorkshire you won’t know that it is probably the best kept secret in England. The coastal cliffs are alive with seabirds and the long sandy beaches empty. But most of all, the landscape is tear-jerkingly lovely. Earlier this week I had the chance to see those landscapes for myself. With the help of Simon Gregson’s website I was able to find just a few of the precise locations which inspired Hockney.
I always find it fascinating to go to the precise locations of a painting. You can see how the artist has translated what is actually there into a painting. It helps me in my own painting to work out how the great masters did it: how to see, how to look, how to flatten the space, what to leave in, what to leave out, and more important than anything: how to create that Spirit of Place.
Woldgate is name of quiet single track lane, a Roman road, running west out of Bridlington.
It snakes across the undulating landscape of wide cornfields and is lined with ash trees and hawthorns, and fringed with tall stands of wildflowers. Occasionally the lane runs through deep copses and it is one of these that he calls Woldgate woods.
Woldgate is a subject he returned to endlessly, making repeated paintings of the same motifs to observe the dramatic seasonal changes and record them in oils on canvas and on his iPad.
This bridge pier often features often in his iPad paintings.
We found the location of Woldgate woods.
Hockney’s repeated observations of an ordinary woodland scene on an epic scale make it extraordinary. It’s as if he’s saying open your eyes, people, take a bigger look at the simple things.
This old tree stump is what Hockney calls ‘Totem’ and it appears in many of his canvases and iPad drawings.
And all around the lanes the fields roll like grassy sea, the contours described by hedgerows and tramlines, lanes and field margins.
Just to the west of the enchanting village of Kilham is the location of a series of works Hockney calls ‘Tunnels’. It’s a tree-lined farmtrack, rising up slightly towards rolling fields. I could see immediately why Hockney chose it. Actually being in the location it was interesting to see how he’d flattened the space and described it really accurately – more accurately than a camera ever could limited by lenses and focal length.
I think Hockney’s Tunnels and Woldgate woods paintings are some of the most deliciously joyful, immediate and expressive English landscapes ever painted and should be considered as great as anything done by Turner and Constable.
Bigger Trees near Warter
This painting is vast; 40 feet long and 15 feet tall, made up of 50 canvases fixed together. It is the largest painting Hockney has ever made and he’s made some whoppers! I really wanted to find the location.
Making the painting was technically only possible because he was able to photograph canvases as he made them and put them together on a computer so he could still see ‘the bigger picture’ as he worked on each individual canvas section.
The copse is, like Woldgate woods, entirely ordinary; just a small stand of 20 or so trees on a corner by a house and outbuildings near the village of Warter. You can’t get back far enough to see all the trees so Hockney’s painting becomes a masterclass in how you translate the view you get while you’re actually there at the roadside into this giant painting.
He does a similar thing in Twenty-five trees on the Bessingsby Road outside Morrison’s supermarket in the semi-Egyptian style. This image is displayed in Salt’s Mill in Bradford which I visited in January.
It’s a really simple series of photographs of a line of mature trees along a major road on the outskirts of Bridlington. He’s stitched the photos together to create a view of the trees which you can never actually get when you’re there hence the ‘semi-Egyptian style’ of the title – a series of things seen individually put together to create a whole sequence.
I just love the way Hockney asks us time and again to look again, look harder, look more often and look at the small things. Only that way can we see the bigger things.
It was an inspirational visit to East Yorkshire. I return to Oxfordshire with a million ideas and only one lifetime to carry them out! Better get my brushes wet…
keep looking »