My studio is tucked away in the village of Holton within easy reach of Wheatley and with Waterperry just 2 miles away. The winter event is more informal than in the summer. Paintings will be in abundance on the walls but there will be many unframed in folders and browsers. You will see a working studio upstairs and be able to search through sketch books. There are low beams so if you are tall you will need to take care, but the views are magnificent.
There is a joyful and often surprising use of colour and bold compositions of flowers and still life. My regular painting breaks to the coast give rise to many sea, sky and coastal paintings. I love the textures and feeling of antiquity in rocks and stones and try to convey the mystery of time.. Amongst the bold and the bright you will also encounter tranquil, harmonious compositions and paintings with a more classical feel.
My recent focus is a series called The Fairytales. These small inexpensive paintings invite the viewer use their imagination and create a story. They appeal to adults and children too and would make an interesting Christmas present.
Many of this year’s paintings are 46cm x 56cm framed, but there are smaller ones and end of series at bargain prices. Cards will be available too. You might like to consider having a painting on loan. It can be difficult to imagine a painting in your home and from experience I have found this to be helpful for some local visitors.
Visiting any open studio is a unique experience and it is up to you to choose how it will be for you. You are welcome to take a brief look, or you can bring something of yourself to these paintings, pause and reflect, ask questions, sit and read, give me some feedback perhaps, or just sit in the warm with a drink and homemade cake.. Feel free to do what appeals to you, relax and enjoy our welcome.
I was given pencils when I was recovering from chickenpox at the age of eight. From the window of my tiny attic bedroom in a terraced house in London I viewed only a blank wall and the neighbouring roof, so my pencil drawings became focused on imaginary people. I had discovered how to draw faces in profile and produced them in great numbers sticking them all over the walls.
From that early age I was always wanting to escape to the country. At least there was Clapham Common close by and I went there exploring and climbing trees. So began my love of trees. At 10 I was still drawing, always black and white, moving onto pen and ink and then scraper board. A largish scraper board of trees in autumn won me £10 at the library opposite Battersea Town Hall where many of the Portrait Artist of the Year programs are hosted. That love of trees has continued as you will see from my paintings. But the move to colour did not happen for a while. It’s impact hit me while I was in the sixth form. My school was near to Tate Britain and with my constant love of escape I would take myself there in the lunch time. An exhibition of Oskar Kokoschka’s paintings blew my mind. Some wonderful examples of his work can be seen in the Courtauld Gallery in London. I discovered them to my delight just a short while ago.
My childhood need to escape remained with me and took me to wild and remote places. I have walked the South West coast path and Hadrian’s wall, climbed Welsh mountains stayed on the Orkneys and the Scilly Isles, and rambled through France and Swizerland, always returning from each trip with enough sketches to keep me busy for weeks. My love of art exhibitions has also continued and I am a regular visitor to the Royal Academy and the Tate.
I have achieved my escape to the country now and my studio under the eaves of our cottage with views to the Brill hills is far removed from my childhood attic. It is a haven, a place to unwind, to experiment, to make a mess. The only disadvantage is that in summer it becomes an oven and I have to work outside. This suits me well as I love following local footpaths and waiting patiently to spot deer in Holton woods. The physical activity of walking helps me to think, to gain inspiration and to plan.
My most creative times at present are when I go solo for a couple of days to the south coast. I fill up sketch books which are resources for later paintings. These coastal trips are full of surprises. I have met remarkable people, listened to fascinating stories, and most important had time alone to think and observe, waiting for my attention to be drawn to the next subject to draw. Later back in the studio when it is cool enough I can remember and enter again into the feelings, and emotions of that brief holiday and gain further insights into life.
I suppose the greatest development in my painting over the years is in the use of colour. I love experimentation and the joyful, imaginative use of colour. You will see a predominance of blue, turquoise and purple, often with a rich contrasting orange. My studio is a messy place with several projects on the go. I sometimes have no clear plan, but start with an idea and let it develop. These sort of paintings may take several weeks to complete, others more focused on observation may take just a day or two. If I am stuck music helps move me on, or a brisk walk away from the paints for a bit.
There are regular artistic commitments to fit in, such as doing a cover and reflection for a local newsletter. Also a display on a village noticeboard needs changing every fortnight. This display which began during the pandemic proved popular so it has continued, and allows me to show my recent paintings. Some paintings are linked with written reflections which could be described as mindful or spiritual. I feel that nature closely observed can teach so much about life, and love finding expression through both prose and poetry as well as through painting.