October 25, 2018

Settling down to Autumn

What a busy Summer that was, the days passed by so fast, and my travels have taken me here and there and everywhere. It has been one of my busiest years in business yet with workshops and exhibitions, Pop Up shops and projects on the go. Trying to keep my feet on the group and remembering to Breathe has been a definite challenge.
 When I first sat down to compose this post  I thought I hadn't done much but as I started to write I see it's no surprise I ended the Summer feeling burnt out. So I'm trying to slow down again and find my own rhythm with of working. Changes need to be made!
 Amid all the rushing about there have been some precious moments, pockets of quiet and calm that I have been much thankful for. At last we finished the summer house (you can see the before picture above in the bottom right hand corner!) it has now become a wee oasis of quiet, somewhere I can retreat to when I need time out. It has a tiny log burner, though it needs some attention as it has been belching out smoke. We decided no electricity, for candlelight and solar lights are all that we need.
I spent my birthday visiting dear friends in the South of France with various members of my family, including my lass and her partner, the honeymooning couple! Such a hidden treasure tucked away up in the hills in the quaint village Embres et Castelmaure. Delicious food, good company, beautiful scenery all did much to help me mend. Then I had a trip to visit my beautiful Granddaughters and my eldest lass and a weekend away with Mr O!
 And so back home and into the studio, with pockets full of lovely memories, easing into this my favourite season of all. Autumn, it feels like a dear old friend, the trees all clothed in their final finery of the year. The colours always inspire and make me want to paint!

I had this snippet of a poem by Thomas Hood waiting in my sketchbook for a long while and at last I finally felt inspired to  work on it.
I built up watercolour washes and finished it with gold and bronze acrylics to give a hint of shimming leaves in the evening light. Beautiful old Autumn. I hope to get prints of this in my Etsy shop very soon. But i'm not quite ready to part with the original yet.
Happy Autumn all x

July 26, 2018

Sunsets, silhouettes and a painting

I always feel a rush of excitement when someone loves my work enough to commission a painting. It's a joy to work with customers trying to interpret their ideas and come up with a design that they will like.
The painting above was for a wedding gift and needed to have thistles and shamrocks in it, combining the bride and groom's Scottish and Irish heritage. I can't share the whole image yet as the gift hasn't been given! The sun I finished in 23.5 carat gold leaf so that it glimmers when the light catches it.
I always have my camera to hand for I love taking photo's and many of my paintings are inspired by the photo's I take near my home here in beautiful Dumfries and Galloway. You might have guessed that I love the gloaming, sunsets and silhouettes, quiet times and magical moments.
I love to take a moment to sit quietly in the garden at this time of night to listen to the world softly settling down to sleep. it feels like I have stepped into another time, another place. Just the sort of place for me to conjure mystical images to work into my paintings.
This last photo was the view I caught on my way back from home one evening, driving along the coast road, it was so dramatic I just had to stop and try to capture the light!

This is one of the things I love about living here in South West Scotland, the light and the sunsets, and every day when I drive along this road I feel so blessed to live here

I wonder, what do you love about where you live?

July 11, 2018

Summer workshops at Kirkcudbright Galleries, Dumfries and Galloway

There has been a hustle and a bustle in the studio lately as this Summer finds me putting on my 'ART EXPLORERS' hat! My brand new business partner Susi Briggs and I have been designing a whole heap of crafts for the family drop in workshops we are running at Kirkcudbright Galleries.
We were so pleased to be asked to work in this beautiful B listed building which has recently been completely transformed into a gallery of National significance here in the Artists town of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. You can find us up on the mezzanine floor every Wednesday throughout the Summer.

We have developed a lovely range of topics to delve into and are thoroughly looking forward to meeting all the busy bees who come along to participate. Our 'Nip Nebs' workshop with crafts inspired by our new book (more about that in a later post) was a huge success. We did wax resist painting, web weaving and peg doll pixies.

and the paper stained glass inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh went down a treat today too. 

18th July - Mad Hatter hats

25th July - Puppets, 1st August - Clay house tiles, 8th August - paper portraits, 15th August - Masks

22nd August - Lanterns

29th August - Create your own family tree

5th September - Art Journaling for kids

So do hop along and join us every Wednesday through the Summer for a fun filled workshop!

The workshops run from 10.30 am -12.30 pm.
There is a minimal charge of £2 per child.
No need to book just pop along.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Aimed at ages 7-12 years, though we can accommodate younger children too.

May 03, 2018

Becoming a self employed artist - This time ten years ago

So much to tell!  

I've been away from blogging for far too long and missed it so much! But finding the time to write my lovely long posts like I used to is proving difficult with life being so very busy just now, so I am changing the way I post, smaller snippets of news more often me thinks, we shall see how it goes.

I just realised today that this time ten years ago, being a full time artist and working for myself was just a dream! It was such a scary thing to take that first step, but I'm so very glad I did and I've never looked back.

I'm feeling so blessed to be doing a job I love. 
Be brave my lovelies and take that small first step, you just never know where it might lead!

February 15, 2018

A blessing tree and a special place

At last I can share with you some very special news! 

Late Summer I was approached by the design team for the spiritual care section in the new Dumfries and Galloway hospital, who were looking for work by local artists that would fit their vision.

I am very honored to say that my blessing tree 'May you have' was chosen to hang at the entrance of the palliative care unit.

You may remember that early last year our precious Dad passed away, he had been cared for in the wonderful Alexandria palliative care unit at the old hospital. The care and support he received there was outstanding, and we could never thank them enough.

For me the fact that my painting now sits in the new palliative care unit is so very poignant. I hope that whoever takes a moment to read the Blessing it carries may find a small measure of comfort.


A Celtic Blessing - May You Have 

May you have walls for the wind
and a roof for the rain
and drinks beside the fire
laughter to cheer you
and those you love near you
and all that your heart may desire.

Dear Dad you are always near us x x x

July 24, 2017

Telling the Bees, a foggie toddler

I am loving spending time in our garden just now and try to find some time each day for pottering and planting and pruning, there is always so much to keep me busy.
After two years tending what began as a wild patch, the garden is  finally coming in to it's own and each nook and cranny holds delicious splashes of colour and tucked away gems. I find gardening such a peaceful and healing pastime, the growing of things, fingers buried in the soil, listening to the bird chirruping in the bushes. (This year our blackbird is feeding three babies!)
 We have so many more bees now too, humming among the blooms and I find myself talking to them as I work, calling them by the Scottish name - Foggie-toddle, a name used in Deeside - ‘Fog’ meaning moss or grass, and ‘toddling’ is meandering with a gentle sound. It suits them so well!

In Celtic folklore bees were thought to be the wisest of creatures, messengers between worlds. There is an old Scots saying 'Ask the wild bee for what the druid knew'. The old highlanders believed that the soul of a person left the body in the form of a bee once a person had died or whilst they were in a trance.
I had the perfect excuse to study my wee bees up close for a new commission that came my way earlier this year. A lovely customer of mine all the way from the USA asked for a painting for a dear friend, a glass artist who makes bee & honeycomb necklaces,  isn't this stunning!

The painting was to include bees, honeycomb and daisies, so I took lots of photos first to inspire me, then began sketching and very soon an idea bee-gan ( sorry couldn't resist) to form. 
I wanted to capture the bee close up and have a hint of the honeycomb behind filled with a delicate blend of honey colours and lots of splashes of gold ink to highlight.

I am rather pleased with the final result and love the way the gold catches the light. I'm also happy to report that my lovely customer liked it too when it arrived safe and sound over seas.


I have just added 'Foggie Toddler' to my Etsy store as a limited edition print.  Each print is hand finished in gold ink - you can follow the link here.

Well I'm off into the studio to carry on working on a new exciting project which I will share very soon.

Oops I nearly forgot to mention  - the winner of the Butterfly bunting giveaway was KJ Sutcliffe from the sweetest blog 'I live, I love, I craft, I am me', congratulations!

July 21, 2017

It's Friday!

Yay, it's Friday, it's been a long and busy week in the studio working on some new creations I am excited to share very soon.

 I wonder what adventures the weekend will bring - a visit to see Whithorn Art trail, doing some work on our 'in progress' Summer House and hopefully a long soak in a bubbly bath with my newest book!

I wonder what does the weekend bring for you?