Surrey Artists Open Studios 2021

This year I’m running a series of 8 workshops from my home studio in June, which is around the corner from Farnham Pottery in Wrecclesham. There will be an artist’s trail called ‘Bourne and Beyond’ which encompasses 7 artist’s studios, from Shortheath Road to Fullers Road in Rowledge which runs parallel to the Bourne Stream. The map complete with cake and beer stops is in progress.

The SAOS brochure comes out after Easter, but here’s a heads up on what you can learn.

I’ve put the workshops on Eventbrite, to limit numbers to 6 people per 2.5 hour session, so we can work socially distanced and you have the added security of an easy refund should they not go ahead for any reason. I have run the screen print sessions before, and they’re great to do with a family member or friend, so you can hold the screen for each other

Workshop one is Simple Screen print on Paper learn how to screen print and make ‘ghost prints’ like this onto quality paper…

Squirrel ghost print

Workshop two employs Simple Screen Print onto Fabric here is an example of a crane print onto a tea towel…

Screen Print on Fabric

Workshop three gets to grips with using heat transfer paints and papers on a small scale to make a Heat Pressed Purse we can look at Marimekko and Orla Kiely for inspiration…

Heat Press Purse

Workshop four will be a Heat Press Cushion Cover which will involve using heat transfer paints and paper on a bigger scale. We will work boldly using expressive paint marks to make a beautiful cover for your home…

Heat press cushion cover

I’m currently finishing work on a collection of prints, collage on paper and fabric based on Surrey Vineyards, so this will feature in the work I’m showing, as well as a chance to snap up these cool acrylic vine leaf earrings…

There will also be the chance to purchase remaining narrative aprons and prints from the ‘Year at Ochre’ Residency in 2019 to make way for my current obsession with trees after reading Overstory by Richard Powers!

Ochre Residency aprons and prints

No Blues, just Cerulean

Happy New Year everyone! 2021 has started slowly but positively. Teaching online via Zoom has been a different experience, but it is really joyful to check in with people. It was great to hear that several artists who join my classes had received their Covid Vaccinations before Christmas, and with luck I will be teaching in person after Easter.

My sketchbook hasn’t been in action since a trip to the Isle of Wight in October, and a rather lovely warm day in Wisley’s Pinetum.

Pinetum, Wisley

This year is going to be about trees. I finished reading Richard Power’s book ‘Overstory’ at the end of 2020, and it has underlined the need to protect our beautiful environment both close and far.

I still have some wine coolers to make for TopNote Design (the pink one pictured below), and have been printing the images on fabric from drawings made at Greyfriars Vineyard.

I will continue to work with these until I feel I have exhausted every technique and colour combination, which should be a couple of weeks yet! I took the chance to add the prints I have used on deckchairs and digitally printed wine coolers to Contrado, so if you want to get some of these, it is easy to order them through the site.

I will add some more products as I think the colours are lovely. They were inspired by the collaged pieces below.

These lush colours are making me realise why Blue Monday just makes me dream of summer. Talking of which, I’ve just signed up for Surrey Artist’s Open Studios in June. Setting up a trail that takes in two of my favourite and most creative people – @geraldinebesgroveart and @pearlandthemoon with @carolynwallis.silkweaver joining the trail Bourne and Beyond. I will add more details here and how to book for a range of exciting workshops during June.

Big Draw 2020

Big Green Drawers

The theme for this year’s Big Draw is ‘Climate for Change’ and never has this been more relevant. As someone said recently, Covid-19 is part and parcel the planet telling us to take a long, hard look at what we’ve done.

Climate change has been bottom of the agenda while forests, jungles and habitats continue to be destroyed. Air travel has been prioritised over the carbon footprints it makes. Animals are going extinct at an alarming rate.

But what this pandemic has also shown us is the power of human nature, kindness, community and creativity. We need to come up with solutions to the threat of climate change, and the best way to do this is to come together with creative ideas. How better than with the international language of drawing.

I was asked to get involved with the Big Draw in Farnham last autumn, and for a while we wondered how we could do the normal thing of creating community events that get everyone mark making, thinking and drawing together. This is what we’ve come up with…a series of three videos, using simple art materials to create your own mini habitat, filled with animals we know are facing extinction.

Here’s the set up I made to draw from if you want to use this, it’s also available on Instagram

Big Draw Plant Set Up

Video One will get you using graphite and pencil to draw all the plants you can get your hands on!

Graphite Jungle

Video Two will get you thinking about drawing just the highlights, making use of negative space…

Chalk Jungle

Video Three, will get you to cut it all up and add some animals…

There’s a tiger in my pot plant

Here are some animals to print out, or you can draw some of your own!

Collage Animals
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Tutorials and Big Draw

This week I’m working on some demonstration videos for the Big Draw, and am using this platform to add some resources for this and a couple of other tutorials I made to keep my art class busy!

First up is a series to guide you through a watercolour Still Life of some mouth watering tomatoes and a bottle of wine. If you’ve never tried watercolour, it will hopefully make you want to paint.

You can set up your own Still Life, or use this to paint from – either print it out, or make it visible on a digital device. The colours are tubes from Seawhite, a basic set with two shades of green – you may need to mix these or use similar shades depending on what you have…

Still Life for Watercolour

Here is the painting from the tutorial…

Watercolour Still Life

The second tutorial is an acrylic Still Life, this was made during May, when the 70’s orange roses were blossoming in my garden, I think they look amazing next to the olive chevron pitcher and cobalt blue fabric. Here’s the resource:

Acrylic Still Life

And here’s the painting from the YouTube tutorial…

Acrylic Still Life

I liked this one so much that I made a card of it to add to my Etsy shop

Still to come are three videos to get you fired up about ‘Climate for Change’ the theme for this year’s Big Draw, this is going to be largely online this year, with some events in Farnham Surrey which I will be running…

Big Draw Climate for Change Collage
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Oil Pastel Tutorial

Following the Graphite Pears tutorial I put on LinkedIn, I’m putting some resources here to support my oil pastel tutorial on YouTube which is live today. There are three videos, and you will need a set of Oil Pastels to follow along.

I use Cray Pas Pastels, which are really soft, there are 2 sets – one with 12 colours, the other with 24. To create this image I used some of the colours from the bigger set – you can mix these or buy a few more colours such as the turquoise and ultramarine blue, and an extra stick of white is always useful!

Otherwise, use what you have, the idea of oil pastel is not to be too representational, and look hard for subtle colours like pink and purples. You’ll need some pastel paper to work on, blue, green or even a hotter red or pink would be great. If you buy a pad of A3, you could use a sheet or two to create your set up. Just add pineapple!

If you don’t have these to hand, use this image to draw from – having it on an iPad propped up is great, so that the image doesn’t keep locking, choose ‘never’ from the auto lock controls under ‘display and brightness’ or just print it out…..

Resource image for Pineapple study.

Neoprene Magic

This June I was planning to run some heat press workshops at Ochre Print Studio in Guildford. During my residency there in 2018 I got hooked on the process of heat transfer, using specialist paints which turn into a gas when heated and transfer onto synthetic fabrics.

The colours are so vibrant, I decided to make a series of rock pool inspired neoprene bags, which are close to the technique I will be teaching when the Studio opens again soon.

Pink Seaweed Neoprene Bag

I have also made some which were inspired by local vineyards.

Wine Washbag

These are available in my Etsy shop.

Talking of Vineyards, I visited Albury near Guildford at the weekend, and had the most amazing cream tea and a walk through the vines. Check out my Instagram to see the drawings I made. Rosé definitely helped…..

New work and events

Taking the drawings I made at Greyfriars Vineyard during the harvest in October, I have used the leaf shapes to create some collaged work. I really liked the rich deep blues and greens in this piece…

Blue Green Vines

So I got the design digitally printed onto some heavy canvas to create deckchair slings.

Blue Green Vine Deckchair

I’ve also been working with images of trees from woodland walks in my local area. These also made a good print design.

Woodland Tree Print
Woodland Tree Deckchair

I’m currently also working on some more neoprene and lavender bags, which will be on sale at Farnham Maltings Monthly Market this Saturday (July 4th) – all in the carpark and socially distanced – and then on my etsy shop

Wine inspired neoprene bags

Drawing Courage

Since April, the biggest thing I’ve missed is the regularity of teaching. The last post here was about the Jeanie Senior project at Park Barn Community Centre.

Since then, the Watts Gallery have used the drawings made in those sessions to create beautiful tea towels, money raised will support their further work. It is so lovely to read about how much the participants value the time spent learning new skills.

Art for All Tea Towel

You can get a tea towel here

The other teaching I do is a mix of drawing and painting every Thursday in Woking, as many of the students are vulnerable, no classes have gone ahead during this summer term. I’ve made them a series of videos which I will link to here every couple of weeks

My sketchbook

I have had the chance to get my Etsy shop established , with a promotion from the Lightbox (and 15% off until June 25)

During May I got back into painting too..

Zig Zag Still Life
Albury Still Life

This last piece is partly a reflection on my work this year in documenting the wine making process in Surrey. Some of this will be for sale at the Maltings Monthly Market on July 4th, which will be the first one for quite a while!

Jeanie Senior

This post is to record a project I ran from January to early March, for the Watts Gallery at a community centre in Park Barn, Guildford.

The brief was to think about Victorian women activists, who will be celebrated at an exhibition at the Watts Gallery scheduled for the end of 2020.

I really liked a portrait by George Frederick Watts of his friend Jeanie Senior, painted in 1858.

‘Jane Elizabeth (Jeanie) Hughes, Mrs. Nassau Senior (1828-1877)’. 1858. Oil on canvas, 176.5 x 103cm. Wightwick Manor, Staffordshire (The National Trust).

I went on to read a book called ‘Army of One’ by Sybil Oldfield. Interestingly it is signed by the author to Juliet Stevenson, and on reading the book, Jeanie knew George Eliot, and provided the inspiration for Dorothea in Middlemarch. It would be fascinating to think it is Juliet Stevenson the actress who was perhaps was researching the role.

Jeanie was the sister of Thomas Hughes, who wrote ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’. She came from an influential family, however married unhappily aged 19. Her kind and caring nature and strong conviction that she must spend her time helping those less fortunate eventually led her to be commissioned to write a report on the Pauper Schools for the Government. In this capacity she was the first female Civil Servant, and had she not been struck by illness, would have been even more instrumental in social change.

Watts portrait suggests this caring, nurturing personality, and so I decided to use the colours and the spring plants as inspiration for a drawing session using heat transfer inks. Similarly shapes of the glass jug and smaller ceramic planter were echoed in the arrangement I put in front of the learners…

The heat press inks we used were cobalt, turquoise a deep green and cherry red with some yellow and mandarin for the daffodils. I was really pleased that the learners enjoyed using the inks in a painterly way, varying the marks to suggest flowers and reflections.

On the following week, we cut shapes from sublimation paper in similar strong colours – this time I introduced the orange from the painting, as well as the rich reds and stronger blue. The learners collected their papers – quite a few were negative shapes from around the jugs and pots, I then heat pressed them onto 3 long pieces of fabric. For the final session, I heat pressed some of the left over drawings and shapes onto some embroidery fabric, and the leaners spent the session sewing over the shapes as a guide. I was worried that this might be too difficult, but they loved it!

Heat Press Workshop at Woking Lightbox

This week I’ve been working with the heat press to trial a workshop that will run on Saturday January 25th at the Lightbox in Woking.

In this three hour workshop (10.30am -1.30pm) you will be able to transfer expressive marks made with heat transfer paints onto a cushion cover to take home. The process involves layering colours, both expressive and plain blocks which are created by cutting shapes from sublimation paper.

I used blue and orange shapes in combination with cobalt painted ‘water’ to suggest this detail of reflected tiles in a swimming pool.

Hockney Pool

The reverse of the cushion was inspired by a painting of Californian landscape. The orange, yellow and house shapes cut from sublimation paper and the details created using expressive heat transfer inks…

Hockney California

The workshop costs £25 for adults, members of the Lightbox £22. Book via The Lightbox.