Lockdown walks and the joy of Allotments.
All through Lockdown last year I walked in The Kidneys and Iffley Meadows, taking my sketchbook with me all the time. In March there were no leaves on the trees and no fritillaries in the meadows, then spring came with bright willows and buttercups, and summer brought haze and heat. Then it was my favourite season of autumn. Throughout the seasons I sketched trees, fields, and paths, and sometimes people, and turned them into paintings back in the studio. I really enjoyed being very aware of the changing seasons in this way and these paintings celebrate that. They make up a large part of my exhibition.
There are also some plein air paintings of the beautiful Elder Stubbs allotment site. I have had a plot there for many years, and during Lockdown I appreciated it more than ever as a peaceful place to go. When there is less pressure to dig and hoe I stagger up with my easel on my bike and paint. There are several of these paintings in the exhibition too, and some still life paintings of some of the things I grow. Those of you who know me know that I cannot resist painting onions, so here they are again!
My studio is at the bottom of the garden, and the doors will be wide open. I will limit the numbers in the studio and there is space to wait safely in the garden. I really enjoy meeting everyone who comes, and I look forward to lots of interesting conversations. However, to keep safe this year I will not be able to open the exhibition with celebratory coffee and brownies.
I have painted all my life. I cannot remember a time when I haven’t enjoyed picking up a brush or a pencil. On family holidays my mother and I sat on the beach with oil paints and worked together, little bottles of turps balanced in the pebbles.
Wherever I am, every day, I see things around me that could make a picture. I cannot escape it! I love colour and shapes and patterns and these inspire me. One of my main ways of working is to do very rough scribbles and sketches of these ideas, and then turn them into pictures in the studio. I carry ideas in my head where they often develop and grow. I also love the excitement of painting en plein air, which is a very different process, demanding complete concentration and quick decision making. And then there is still life, which is a peaceful, quiet experience of keeping hand and eye up to scratch.
I work in oil, sometimes using a brush, sometimes a knife. I also work in chalk pastel, and I enjoy the difference between the two media.