Friday, September 30, 2011

Ticking the hot day away

Wow is it really the last day in September? Not only has this year flown by, but the weather suggests it is still only July. I am thinking of breaking out my summer clothes again after thinking it was getting to cold to wear them again this year.

The ducks spent most of the day in the water or under the bushes trying to keep cool. I just sat in the sun as much as possible bliss.....

I finished the clock painting, I put it in a mount that was a bit small. I did think I would just get a bigger mount cut but then, I thought what if I paint out onto the mount? I was curios so gave it a go, I'm not sure about it but will live with it and see what the feedback, if any, is.

I am just about ready for my workshop so I will update you after the weekend as to how it all went.

Enjoy the sunshine

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tick tock, sunny days

What a glorious day today, I walked out to pop a letter in the post, at the end of the road and walked by this chap. I tried to get him to come nearer but he was not having it, he totally ignored me an just stood in the sun, can't say I blame him
In fact I did the same when I had my lunch I sat out in the sunshine and did a bit of reading.

If you look closely you can see the beautiful cushion on the chair the that the lovely Sarah Ashworth made for me in a craft swop last autumn.
I think all the other studio owners must think I am a nutter as I never go anywhere without my trusted little camera, and I saw Dot have a giggle when she walked past when I was taking this one.
I must say Dot has been an absolute star the last few days, with having the vertigo I haven't been able to drive and she has been my chauffeur. I am feeling a lot better so hopefully I can get behind the wheel again soon.

Inspired by the lovely clock bits and pieces in the next studio, I have started a new painting, its looking a bit flat at he moment so hopefully I can get it to come to life tomorrow. I need to finish it then as I need the board it is stretched on for my workshop on saturday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Windfalls, colours and cards

The lovely Jeff from Studio 1, brought me some windfall apples today he has given me some before and they are really yummy, really fluffy apples when they are cooked. I thought they looked lovely on my bench outside the studio. I love the textures on it , I have started photographing things there a lot. as I think it looks great.

I finished the beach scene today, I added more pebbles and hopefully that brings it to a better conclusion, The foreground was looking very bare.

Also I did my big sign outside the door to try and encourage people to come in. I am not sure its going to work as the first people who came past it, poked there head round the door and said "is it ok if we come in"?
Also there has been a bit of a joke from my neighbour who said, he was to frightened not to come, in as it looked like an order in the bright red! Perhaps it is a bit OTT and I may have to rethink... What do you think?

I also thought I had better start some prep for my first workshop on Saturday, I did some sample colour mix swatches to show them, if we get time we will do some, but I think its more likely we wont have time. I did my lesson plan, I happy I have enough to keep them interested. In the morning I will teach some basic mark making and tonal exercises. But by the time we move onto colour in the afternoon, we would probably be tight on time, so I think I would rather they went away with a reasonable 1st painting rather than just colour swatches. People can take ages to do them.
I did enjoy doing them, its been years since I have, they can be useful for beginners to work out colour mixing and are fun as well.

Then this afternoon, I got very excited as I had my new card delivery, the lovely Steve from my local printers delivered them. Its so quick I only ordered them on Thursday night .
I will list some on Folksy, but I don't think I will list this one ( below). It is Clevedon Pier and I am sure it will only appeal to people coming into the studio.
These are the others I had printed. I think they have come out really well.

....... finally here is my token Christmas card. Sorry I didn't want to get it printed to soon, but my printer was keen to get them done before he got snowed under with the christmas orders.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thankyou & Au Revoir

Just a quick post to thank a couple of people and let you know about my next project.

I wanted to say a huge thankyou to Jools from Art by Jools Yasities, for a lovely mention in the folksy blog interview she did I was really chuffed to say the least. Check it out here

Also to the lovely IvyDeanDesigns who has been such a support and encouraged me to take part in the sketchbook project.
This is my next project, I enrolled the other day so am now waiting for my sketchbook to arrive so I can get working. I am hoping to do this in between paintings at my studio.
I picked the theme "Travel with me'.
I have no intension of going on a world wide trip to research this,( mores the pity), but to sketch my day to day travels, even if it is just a walk round my garden or the craft centre, more like a visual diary of some of my daily movements. So wish me a good trip

I am alsotrying to sort out a few bits and pieces for my first workshop. I am doing my lesson plan and them I will know if I have everything I need fort he day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Celebrations and self employed problems

What a strange week..............
Friday we had our open evening to celebrate 40 years of the centre being open.
I spent the evening painting this seascape and chatting to people. It was never going to be a selling occasion but people came and they were interested in what I was doing. I had fun.

We had the most of the mural finished. Damien Jeffery spray painted it and used leaves and flowers from around the studios to act as stencils. I believe he is going to add some ducks ( well they are always on the stream) I like it so far, I will photograph it again when it finished to show you the ducks.

Then the bombshell hit on Saturday. I woke up and walked into the wall. No I wasn't drunk, I wish I had been as I have been to the Dr's today to find out I have labyrinthitis ( vertigo) again. The last time it took weeks to clear so I am not happy as I was unable to work over the weekend as the nausea and dizziness was so bad I couldn't do anything and worst of all I am not allowed to drive ( and wouldn't want to ) until it settles down. .
So I am not a happy bunny and have now encountered what I have been told is the worst aspect of working for yourself. I just can't not go in, especially on Saturday as its my first workshop. So I am going to have to take the tablets and hope for the best that I can get through ....wish me luck I think I might need it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Waves and the Sketchbook project

I have been trying to decide whether to participate in the Sketchbook project I love the idea and I would have the time in my studio, it may even help me during those times in between the larger paintings, when I don't know what to do. But its the $25 thats holding me back.
I am getting very mean with my money since I have been in the studio. even though things are going well it will be a while before I make anything remotely like an living, so we are relying on our savings to get us through until I can get some decent money coming it.
I still may apply to do it, I have till the end of Octpber, Mr WD has told me to go for it, I just feel slightly guilty as I am putting us under financial pressure but doing this. Also the more I save the longer I can stay here, until I make it work for me. I would be gutted now to have to leave and go back to a 'proper' job.

I finished my wave painting today.

I found a great frame in a charity shop to put it in. I wont be able to list this online as I do my other works as you can see from the framed version, it is quite large and so wont post very well.
I am hoping it will be a bit if a center piece for the open evening tomorrow night to celebrate 40years of the centre having been open.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chickens water and signs

This is my new friend he let me get this real close up of him, to take a picture, I may paint him sometime as he is so sweet.

I have been busier in the studio the last two weeks, it has been much better than August. Mornings are very slow generally, but thats when I catch up on all the gossip and get the majority of work done, the afternoons tend to have more interruptions with customers coming in people just wanting to chat. The people that are coming in now are much more interested in the work and so are buying more things, even if its only a card or two. I have had some bigger sales and lots of interesting converstions. It shows in the figures as well, as in the last 2 weeks I have taken the same that I did in the whole of last month.

The painting in my last blog got framed and put up this morning. I am pleased with it and it has got me thinking about water again I like painting water :-) I decided to try and do a much bigger piece , this is it in progress and hopefully it is starting to look a bit like a wave.
I spent the last hour of the day trying to decide what to do next with it, I suddenly felt if I touched it I would ruin it, I will go back to it tomorrow in the hope that I know what to do with it...wish me luck.

Because I am now totally concentrating on my art work, with few, or no breaks then I get so involved, I am starting to obsess a bit about it. Sometimes I get so engrossed, especially if I have my music on ( headphones), then I don't notice people coming in. Is this a good or a bad thing , do you think?

I am going to have to get a different sign outside. I can hear conversations outside and quite often people hear people say, "Oh its only paintings" and then walk by. So I want to get a sign that just says "studio open, Please come in" and hopefully then they will just come in and then judge whether they are interested or not then. I don't mind people not buying but I'd wish they would at least come in and look. Some people ask permission as well and I worry that they think they shouldn't disturb me. I also think it would be good to put dates of my workshops on the back so that as people walk back the other way they can see what I have organised. I just need to find the right sign now.

I have put together an events sheet for the whole centre. The others don't have that much but I am seeing how it goes for a while as I would like people to leave with an idea of what is happening to try and encourage them to come back more often.

I am looking forward to opening on Friday night for our 40th anniversary celebrations, I haven't opened in an evening before. Damien Jeffery has started painting the new mural an its looking really good. It will be interesting to see how many people turn up. and what it will be like.

The rain has been heavy the last couple of days and it has filled up my pond at the back, it looked so beautiful this morning with the reflections on it. I just can't get a good picture through my window, at least all the ducks are happy. I can' tell you how happy I am here. I am not saying its easy, it's not, there is a lot of work involved and but I am reminded of a saying I heard once .............

If you do a job you love
you never do a days work

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


To celebrate its 40th birthday Clevedon craft Centre will hosting an open evening on Friday 23rd September between 7pm – 9pm
Come along and be the first to view our amazing new wall mural created by Bristol Artist Damien Jeffery

Friday, September 16, 2011

Take a look.....

You never know there may be something you love and could buy some gift ready fro Christmas

Autumn at the studio

Summer finally feels over, the studio is getting a wee bit colder, but visitor number are up. Tomorrow we start a fortnight of "made in North Somerset celebrations, so are hoping it will raise even more, This is a big marketing campaign to get people to look at what they can buy locally , which I think it is fantastic. I was too late to be included in any demonstration or do anything special but I will be in my studio the one extra day painting for all to see.

Well thats if I can get any inspiration, which has been sorely lacking this week. I have been beavering away but I am just not production anything good. This is probably for a few reasons but I think the main one has been that Mr WD had been away. I haven't been sleeping too well and my diet has gone for a burton, I have been on a giant sugar overload. Mr WD hasn't really got a sweet tooth but while he was way I had loads of sweet stuff. So on a sugar high I haven't been able to concentrate . So I am back on a more sensible eating routine and hopefully be producing some decent work again. Opps daft aren't I.

I am happy to say that my workshops are getting filled up and that I had a private lesson at the weekend that was brilliant. I have so many ideas for more workshops, but I need to get them down on paper and see if they will work. I will also be putting in another card order next week so hopefully will have some more choices available soon.

Next Friday the 23rd, then we are having a 40th anniversary celebration at the centre. I am looking forward to it as there will be a mural painted onsite by Bristol artist Damien Jeffery and I am a bit of a fan of his dark brooding seascapes. Check out his website to see the wonderful murals he does.
Everyone is invited so if you are in the area why not pop by between 7pm and 9pm we would love to see you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crafter, Artist and corners

I am not in the studio today but have been online sorting out my stall for the big CraftFest at the weekend, Hopefully its all sorted now. Please support it and visit over the weekend. Click the link for more details

In doing it I have to ask myself a question? Am I an Artists or crafter.... or both?? I always think of myself as a crafter but a few things recently have make me questioned it.
I do carefully craft each painting in the same way I used to craft my jewellery and make my Tiaras. I have been crafting for years and that included painting. But going back and taking my painting seriously again, which I hadn't done for years, just seemed like an extension of all the other things I do. ( Believe me there are loads of them) .
But like I said this has been questioned, do I take my art seriously enough and rate it enough to be an artist??? Nobody is undermining me or critisising me, but have just made me think.
I still have no answer but would love your opinion?

I am totally still in shock, about me being in the studio. A few months ago I was in a job I hated with no chance of me doing this as a job.
I have never been an overly positive person, Mr Wellydog says I am a pessimist, but I like to describe it as a realist. If I think the worst will happen then I will always be pleasantly surprised.
I am not going to go into details, but a few months back I snapped, I was no longer prepared to be bullied and undermined. I was out of luck and then out of a job. But with that came a bit of unusual clarity. I basically had nothing to loose, and so when the opportunity presented itself I didn't hesitate, I just jumped.
So why am I telling you this, well I have read on some of the forums about people being despondent and fed up that they can't take their crafting to the next level. To them, I just wanted to say, be patient you don't know what's round the corner, but when you go round it keep an open mind and you may see an opportunity you never imagined.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

'The Sphere' by Fritz Koenig

Studio - bad paintings and virtual fairs

I am going to show you something I wouldn't normally.
This is a painting that I just can't get to work. It was suppose to be an idea for a Christmas card, but its just not coming together, and I am not really sure why. I have spent a lot of time on it and it still looks wishy washy.
I am not however going to throw it away Its something I try never to do, as I know I will go back to it, at a much later date and either know what to do or put it away again, until another time.

I have been busy online this week as just because I have the studio now, I think its important to keep as many revenue streams going , especially with the winter coming as I think people will be reluctant to come out to the centre in the rain and snow. So I have signed up for a virtual stall for the brilliant Craftfest on Creative connections. Hopefully you can click on the link below and it will take you there. I will remind you nearer the time.

I have my first private lesson today. It was a daft day for me to arrange it, but I think if they want to continue I will have to find a better day as Sunday afternoon seems to be the best day a the centre for visitors. However saying that, then Wednesday was my best day ever for sales.

I had a shock as well yesterday as we sold all 4 of our Halloween decorations. I really didn't think they would do well at all, but there you go, it was obviously worth trying.

The workshops are not booking up as quick as I had hoped but I really need to get on and do some decent advertising, so I think thats what I will concentrate on over my 2 days off.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New techniques and blagging it.

Yesterday, I took my newly acquired encaustic Iron and waxes that I got off ebay into the studio. Wow what fun, I spent a good few hours experimenting with what it would do. I learnt very quickly that you can't plan it, you just need to do the first steps and then see what you can do with it after. For instance the one below I had thought would be a landscape, but when I saw it it looked more like the sea so I put some corals in and then added the fishes.

I got in a terrible mess, moulten wax can get everywhere. It dripped off the iron on to the floor and onto my jeans.

But I discovered that its not a good idea to experiment with something new when people are coming in. The trouble is they all thought I was experienced and were fascinated and wanted to watch. I remembered what I was taught when I did my teacher training. That you only have to know one stage ahead of the people you are teaching, you don't need to be an expert and you can say you don't know, so I ended up blagging it and giving a couple of short little demonstrations. Oh Dear!!!

Its been a very good week this week, I sold a big painting and lots of bits and pieces, I have sold enough of the cards to cover the printing costs so as soon as my printer is back off his holiday I will get another lot printed.
So any suggestions of paintings of mine you think would work well on cards, would be gratefully received.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Successes and experiments

After a few days off I had the best day ever at the studio for sales. Painting was not that successful. But I did do an interesting experiment.

I am often asked why its important to use good quality paper and why cheap paper is not ok. I find it hard to be specific as I haven't used anything but good quality paper for years, and to be honest, I couldn't really be sure it wasn't just my inexperience and bad technique when I last used it, that was as fault. After all how bad can it be??? So off I went and bought some cheap, watercolour paper from a hight street store.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be .........

..........It was a lot lot worse

I wanted to see a true comparison, so I stretched 2 pieces of the same weight paper. straight away I had problems as the cheaper paper did not want to dry.
I then wet the paper to do a wet on wet background. I used 4 colours and mixed up enough to do both pieces. I splogged them on, then when it was still wet. I splattered paint to get a spotting effect. I then left it to dry. The colour sat happier on the more expensive paper and so dried, brighter and more vibrant, but the cheaper paper, just seemed to absorb all the colour and the green seemed to completely disappear before my eyes. Also as I splogged the paint, the surface of the cheaper paper seemed to lift and there was bits of paper peeling off and sitting on the top of the paint.
I then used a leaf from outside and covered it with paint to print onto the paper with it.

I thought the printing was better on the cheaper paper as it seemed to be a crisper print, but as it dried it didn't hold its form as well and started to look a bit blurred.
I then finished with a splatter of dry paint with a hard brush, the better quality paper ended up with little individual drops, but the other paper, had bigger longer dots as they joined together as the paper seemed to stay wet for a massive amount of time.

So I am sure by now you can see which was which, I know the photos aren't that good, but just in case you don't know, the bottom one is the cheaper paper and to be honest, it now looks like a bit of tatty old kitchen paper, it has lost its shape and never dried flat regardless of stretching it. I also couldn't cut it to neaten up the edges, as it just kept ripping.

So lesson learnt and I have the samples to now show people.

Now Another Meet the neighbour.

Ka Designs specialises in hand crafted jewellery and Luna clay flowers. Using Stones and agates to create a beautiful range of bespoke jewellery.

Ka makes the jewellery and her husband helps look after their beautiful baby daughter and the studio.

You can see details here

Some of the paintings are from Greg one of the other Artist on site

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What is it with Saturdays

I know I have only been here a month but I am convinced Saturdays are the worst day of the week. I sat until 12:00 with no visitors and then I had some personal visitors. Which was lovely but what is it about Saturdays that makes it so dead for the majority of people. I had always assumed it would be one of my busiest days. How bizarre!! I did get a few in the afternoon but nothing to write home about, still at least I get lots of uninterrupted work time.

My new cards have dominated the last few days. I have added a pack of all four cards to my Folksy shop with a discount for buying four at a time, so I'm hoping that will encourage people to buy , check it out here

I also had a e-mail from the lovely Brenda, saying she thought people still liked to rummage through cards in a basket, and I think she's right as not may people have looked at the card stand other than a quick glance, so I put it on a table outside, and kept a basket with some inside, which I think worked well. As there were so few people around today then I will have to see if it really works over the next few days. Of course its no good if its raining or blowing a Gale.

I started another christmassy themed picture, but its not really working for me, I will see how it goes when I work on it again on Sunday.

I also got my new workshop dates confirmed today, so my beginners workshop will be on Sat 1st October and the improvers will be the 29th. They are starting to book up a bit now so that all good news.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Christmas and double chins

You will be pleased to know (at least I hope so), that my cold is starting to feel better, so I am not quite so miserable. It certainly helped that its been a hot sunny day. This morning I thought I had better try and get some Christmas card designs sorted. I though it would be good to have some at least some in the studio, leading up to christmas. I know its only September but I like to be organised and the printer said he gets very busy soon, so I thought I would get them in as early as I can.
This is the first one I tried. I took in a wooden star and some tinsel to draw and this is what came out.

Then this afternoon it was so sunny and warm, I sat outside and drew my studio. I tried to image what it would be like in the snow. Its not finished yet I'm not quite sure where to go from here, hopefully inspiration will hit tomorrow. I don't know if I will print either yet, I shall see what I come up with in the next few days.

I finally saw my interview in the local paper. It went to all of Clevedon , Nailsea and Portishead but as I live in Weston, I didn't get a copy. Luckily someone thought to bring one in for me today. I have had a phone call about the workshops and several visitors today, who have mentioned they came to the studio, as they saw me in the paper. As the paper gets delivered yesterday , today and tomorrow, I am hoping I will get lots more. Visitors were steady today and a different type of visitor, people who were in much less of a rush and took there time looking and chatting. I suspect its because all the schools round here, went back yesterday.

I tried to copy the article to post on here, but it didn't work, the only way to see it, is to click on this link North somerset Times and forward to page 10. Try not to look at my double chin!!!

I still haven't sorted the dates for my new workshops as the diary was not in today, but we think they will be the 1st October and 29th October.

I have been thinking about whether to have an official opening day. I had intended to, but the month has flown by so quickly, and I don't know if I have left it to late. What do you think?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Studio -Good friends and Happy accidents

The ducks were sunning themselves all day . It was a glorious day, everyone kept coming in and telling me how lovely it was to get out of the sunshine, and into the coolness of my studio. Meanwhile I shivered with my cardigan on, but then thats what having a cold does for you, so I will keep this brief and then off to get some paracetamols, and an early night I think.

After feeling a bit sorry for myself yesterday, I can't thank everyone enough who commented and e-mails. I do feel thoroughly ashamed of myself and incredibly lucky to have this opportunity, I guess I just want to make sure I do it justice.
I am always incredibly grateful for all the comments and e-mails I get , but I had one special e-mail today from someone I have never met, but who I have come to know online and I would call a very good friend. When her e-mail came it lifted my spirits and made me feel lucky to know such support and such lovely people. So thankyou, to all of you, it really does mean a lot x
This painting above is my happy accident, It all went terribly wrong. It was very bright and when I added bright blue in the background it looked hideous. So in a moment of frustration I washed it in the sink and then left it outside, in the sun to dry. I was expecting more colour to come out but what I actually got was this lovely bleaching effect , I then just added some details and there you go. Thats one of the reasons I love watercolours.

Heres my new card stand, I am well pleased with it.

Also my bags arrived and I finished transferring images onto them before I went to the studio this morning.

Anyway, I have rambled on more than I expected, so let see what tomorrow holds....less of a cold I hope