120602 open studio today

We have open studio this weekend June 1-4th 2012 so if you live in and around Worcestershire come & visit our studios in the city of Worcester. We have over 100 paintings & prints on display including my new regal portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.  What better way to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee than with an arts trail showcasing and celebrating  the creative talent of Worcestershire. Over 40 other artist/designer studios are open this weekend so do take a look at the Worcestershire Arts Trail website for further details: http://www.worcsartstrail.org. We’ve had visitors come on foot, on bicycles and some have driven but whatever your means of transport this Jubilee weekend you’ll be assured of a warm welcome. All donations from cups of tea sold go to The Childrens Society. Please feel free to share this with others to ensure Jubilee Weekend is an out and out success. Cheers!


120507 gone walkabout

I have just been along to the annual Cropthorne Walkabout (or Cropthorne Splashabout as my husband called it in view of the weather). It was lovely with gorgeous gardens, stalls, magic shows, Morris men, cakes, teas and live jazz; the very best of British. Some of the views from the gardens beyond the river Avon over the Worcestershire landscape were truly magnificent but I was surprised Holland House wasn’t serving teas; last time we went we were queuing round the block. We bought two lovely art books on a book stall: Eric Ravilious and the Newlyn School, plus a Barbar book (the child in me couldn’t resist) , and I have just planted the plants I bought on the plant stall. And all in aid of Cropthorne Church. Incidentally I read in a magazine in the hairdressers recently that the Queen doesn’t like variegated plants which surprised me because I do! I think they can be used very effectively in a garden to create all year round interest. Without them the gardeners’ palette of colours would be severely diminished, don’t you think? There you go, you learn something new every day. Anyway I hope lots of local people come along and support the Worcestershire Arts Trail in a few weeks time. I’m sure they will.

110608 small is beautiful

The inaugural Worcestershire Arts Trail went really well; Paul and I met some lovely people and the four days went very quickly. I am sure that by next year there will be even more participants and even more people coming round. By next year we intend to have more drawings, prints and cards available. It felt good to be able to recommend other artist studios in the vicinity for interested parties to discover.

We then spent a magical few days on the coast in mid Wales catching up with the Museum of Modern Art in Macchynleth and sunbathing amongst the dunes in Aberdovey. The weather was kind and the wild natural beauty of the area delightful after being studio bound for the previous few days. Although we were camping we managed to find the nearest 4* hotel at lunch time and treat ourselves to the most delicious three course lunches you can imagine. This turned it into more of a glamping experience but goodness me, having left the kids behind who can blame us! Sadly however this week I now have to diet trying to lose all the extra pounds I put on. Ah well. It seemed a good idea at the time but boy! does sea air make you ravenous.

Now the inaugural Worcestershire Literary Festival is nearly upon us and we are busy framing paintings for the literary portrait exhibition we are holding here in our studios at 74 Battenhall Avenue. I am also going to be involved reading at Worcester Writers’ Circle events during the festival and being on the door selling tickets for some of the events, as well as running a picture book workshop with Karen King. But well done, Lisa Ventura, for organising it and getting it off the ground. Its good to have a cultural event going on in the city and I hope everyone tries to support it. There are so many interviews, workshops, book signings, readings taking place there is surely something for everybody. Small is beautiful this year but I am sure that by next year, just like the Arts Trail, it will have grown. Check out: http://www.worcslitfest.com for all the up to date details.

110524 on air

Last week we were down in London supporting Worcester Cathedral choir as they sang in St Paul’s Cathedral at evensong. Well, I say evensong, but actually it was The 357th Festival of the Sons of the Clergy with great pomp and circumstance, more than a handful of bishops and even the Household Cavalry to boot. I say supporting Worcester Cathedral but in truth we were just cadging a lift knowing how close it was to Tate Modern. At the service (which actually was completely awesome) amidst such heady company as the Bishop of London the man sitting next to me looked decidedly underdressed, wearing shorts and looking more likely dressed for a summer picnic; I  nearly said something but then realised it was my husband.

First thing as the coach came into London I had looked out of the window mesmorised by the gardens of the capital’s residents – hugely grateful to all those, and certainly not all, who tended them. Many were neglected and grotty  but some were nicely planted with roses and nurtured front gardens making them uplifting and welcoming to the visitor.  Before evensong we had spent all afternoon in Tate Modern seeing the Miro exhibition and spending time viewing the permanent collection at our leisure. We both preferred Miro’s early work (of tended gardens, naturally) and his later work, but the best bit by far was the film made from interviews with Miro, his grand daughter, gallery owners and dealers who all knew him personally. Shots of where he lived and worked were fascinating. We had once visited Miro’s studio just outside Palma in Mallorca and it is always incredibly poignant to see where an artist works. It puts them in context.

Similarly we’ve visited Barbara Hepworth’s studio in St Ives, Ken Howard’s studio in Venice, Mary Fedden’s in London to name but a few. I can also remember like it was only yesterday visiting Victor Hugo’s writing room in Guernsey, and both William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter’s homes in the Lake District when I was a child. They bring you very close to the artist and to the core of their creativity.

This Friday for four days we will be throwing open our studio doors to visitors as part of the inaugural Worcestershire Arts Trail. Though not in the same league I’m sure it will be memorable for someone; well, at least I hope so! We’ve just come back from talking about it on the Andy Easton show at BBC Hereford & Worcester; I’m not saying I was nervous but I actually thought nothing would come out, not even a peep, when I opened my mouth; the cat had really got my tongue. Truly terrifying it was, but Andy was brilliant,  and unbelievably relaxed even completely eating an enormous wrap during a break. Paul Powis, Bridget Drakeford and Sharon McSwiney were fabulous too. Me, just a bag of nerves, me.

110410 Worcestershire Arts Trail

The Worcestershire Arts Trail was launched today with website and brochure now available. What is it exactly? Well, 25 Worcestershire artists and craftsmen are opening their studios to demonstrate what they do for 4 days at the end of May 2011. It has backing from the Lottery and Arts Council England and will be a showcase of makers’ talent. We too will be participating so look forward to welcoming visitors to our studios in Battenhall, Worcester. My goodness, what with the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester Cathedral, an inaugural Worcestershire Literary Festival AND the Arts Trail Worcester is really putting itself on the cultural map this summer. And not before time.

sketch book study in medical dictionary: Comrie, J.D 1931 News Chronicle Home Doctor Morrison and Gibb Ltd., London