Sunday, February 26, 2012


Would you like to win this lovely Painting of a Traditional rose??

Unless you have been away from planet Earth recently, then you have probably realised I am looking for votes to get a tidy little sum towards my business, from Enterprise Nations Fund 101.

So I thought I would give away a painting to people who support me.  Once I reach my 250 votes I will do a random draw from anyone who leaves a comment below, or e-mails me at  You wont be excluded if you don't want to vote, but I would like you to at least pass it on to others to give them the choice.

So let me know either if you have voted or if you have passed it on to others though facebook, twitter or in your blogs etc.  If you have already voted, or forwarded on the link then don't worry you can still enter just let me know you have done it.

I will be closing the giveaway when I have reached my goal of 250 votes.

The painting would make a lovely Mothers Day present and I am hoping that I get all my votes in time to send it out to the lucky person by then.

The Painting is in watercolours,  on A4 paper with a border left blank to help with mounting.  it would come unmounted and unframed and would usually retail for £35

So if you like my business case please vote or pass it on to others.

Why I need your votes!

You should check out fund 101 at Enterprise Nation  they are a great site and I love the idea that they actually support small businesses.
I have put in a case that you can read here,
 but I thought I would just fill you in a bit on why I need the money.

Materials -  These are vital to making sure my students get a good experience from the lessons they get from me.  I have used cheaper materials like paper and paints but it doesn't help when people are already not sure of what they are doing if the paper starts to degrade when the work into it to much.   If they make a mistake on good quality paper all is not lost and I can help them sort it out.
Cheaper paint tends not to be easy to use and colours can vary so much,  I have 2 tubes of fairly basic watercolour both called sap green but as they are made by different companies they differ so much and this just adds to confusion about tonal values and ranges. They also separate out easier when mixed and can be grainier than good quality pigments.  It can be so discouraging when a student does a beautiful wash only to discover that it fades so much when it dries they have lost some of the colours completely.

The there is just the quanity they use.  I do use cheaper paper for practicing techniques and for colour testing,  but you would be amazed at how much paper a workshop can go through.
We also have a problem locally as all the small art shops have shut down :-) and so people struggle to get good quality materials.  If I could for instance get a roll of watercolour paper ,  they could buy it off me at a good price and then it would help self fund another roll when it is finished.  But thats an outlay of £75+  which is just to much for me at the moment.

Advertising.  Gosh I have been shocked at the prices of printing flyer and leaflets.  To make them worth while I would need to buy thousands and so I need help with the design.  If I paying out that much then I need to make sure my message get across.

Signage ,  I do need a good sign,  I have no idea what, but my handmade one does not have my new logo on and although it marks out my studio. it doesn't really show people the way to it

So please if you haven't already voted,  Can you check me out and if you think its a good idea,  vote for me.
To those who have already voted,  Many Many thanks


Finally, finished kitchen pictures

We finished our new Ikea kitchen ages ago but we have only just taken finished photos. I say finished but we still have a couple of jobs, We still need a new light and blinds, but i can't afford what i want so am sticking it out until I can and we need a piece of art above the breakfast bar. Otherwise its a fully functioning kitchen, that is fabulous to work in, So pleased with it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Great Day for workshop

I had a group of students in today and as the weather was so nice we went out in the Glorious February sunshine ( yes seems odd to say that for Feb)
We spent some time in the car park at the centre( I do take them to all the glamorous places!!) and sketched the cottages and hills behind that I love so much.
We then returned to the studio and spent some time exploring some techniques whilst the stretched paper dried , including, wet on wet, water dropped into wet paint and various grades of salt.
We then looked at the sketches and decided on a suitable composition, taking things out in some cases and adding things in, in others. Then they used masking fluid to keep the paper white for the cottages so they could be a bit braver with the washes..

So check out the results. I am so pleased as its not easy to just work for a ten minute sketch, to produce a good painting and hopefully they learnt some new techniques along the way.

There was a bit of a problem with the masking fluid, I have never had it lift paper before, when it was removed, especially when I have used Bockingford paper, which is my paper of choice for students as its usually so robust, and it puts up with lots of corrections and abuse.
There may be a couple of reasons for it.
My masking fluid is very old as I don't use it very often.
We used a hair drier between stages to speed up the process, and I would normally let it dry naturally
I changed my supplier for the paper and although it was sold as bockinford and looks just like it I do have slight doubts about it, as it was about half the price I normally get it for. But perhaps I am just being paranoid as I have always believed if it sounds to go to be true it usually is.

Paper I am finding is my biggest problem, as I go through so much of it.

Anyway like the great people they all were, they coped with it very well and in good humour, but its did slightly ruin the smoothness of the look of the cottages as the paper was a bit damaged.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Preparing for the Spring Flowers workshop I am running in March, I thought it would be nice to show my students some flowers I had painted, so here are some I did today. It was nice to be painting again, x

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Could I ask a favour??

I have signed up to Enterprise Nation and applied for some 101 funding. I would really appriciate if you could read my business case and if you don't mind sign up to the site and vote for me. I really would appreciate any support as I need 250 votes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Keeping up ...

Its been very cold at the Centre, The ducks have been walking on ice quite a bit. There are being fed as the Silversmith Jeff thinks its not fair when the visitors are around they get fed but when its quieter then they don't, seems good to me.
As visitor number are low, then its been a time for preparation, Liz the potter who had a sell out Christmas, is busy filling shelves again and so is Romy the handbag maker, who is working on bags ready for the wedding season.
Sue in studio 2 has been setting up a wool exchange and a group for knitting teddybears for charity. Emily is going to be the new owner of my old studio and is starting to make preparations for her opening on March the 10th . She is going to be doing felting and textile work.
We also all met to discuss the advertising for 2012 and arrange a couple of events that will be coming up later in the year, it all went vey well and looks very positive for the rest of the year.

In my studio, its been quiet busy. Not huge numbers yet but regulars coming every week which is great as I get an almost guaranteed income. I have some great people who are working hard and have had quiet a few beginners who have done fabulous work, and hopefully they will continue with me.
I now do regular groups on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, also Saturday afternoons when I don't have a workshops. Bookings for my spring flowers workshop are just about at maximum and in April I will start doing an evening session on Thursdays. I am currently taking a few Sundays off to recharge my batteries as although I generally have Mondays and Tuesdays off I need to use Tuesdays for my own work and I am visiting my Dad alternate Mondays ( with my sister) as he is needing a bit more support. As the summer comes I wont be able to take the time off so I am making the most of it while I can.

I have also sent all my work to the states that will be licensed. I now have to do a biography and fill in some US tax forms ( help!) and then I am sorted I hope. I will continue to send work as and when I have more.
I am also working on a landscape commission. It has a long deadline on it but I want to get on top of it, as I know if I am not careful it will get forgotten. I have done a sketch and am waiting for feedback to see where to go from there.

I have a project that I am starting to try and work out. At the back of my studio I have a empty wall ( see the photo) which I have been given permission to paint. I have been thinking of running a competition ( maybe through local schools) for a design that represent 2012, so they could use the Olympics or the Queens jubilee, its really up to them. There will then be a display in the school holidays for all the entries and hopefully it will bring families in during the holidays. I am not quite sure how to organise it yet or what age group to aim it at, so any suggestions please let me know. I really have to get a move on if I am going to get it off the ground in time.

I still have to work out my sign. I have had some great offers from other crafts people but I am not sure what I want. I think my brain needs a bit of a break to make a decision, so I will sit on it a bit longer as long as I get it up by Easter I will be happy.

Generally I am pleased with progress. If I can keep up and if January and February are anything to go by , then the rest of the year should be good. I am glad I moved to the larger studio, I have never worked so heard in my life. although I don't feel it in the same way as I really enjoy every minute. What is it they say, "If you do a job you love, you never do a days work"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How Proud am I

These are two of my students works finished this week.

This one is worked using different images for reference to come up with a suitable composition, in order to experiment with a wash techniques.

This one is working completly from a photo. This was the students first attempt at watercolours.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

That dress?

What to do with this dress? A question I have been asking myself for quite a number of years.

About 20 years ago I used to do Amateur dramatics. A lady donated loads of clothes for the costume department and I couldn't bear to let them cut this one up, so I gave a donation to the club and took it home. I had every intention of loosing weight and actually wearing it. I even made Mr WD promise to take me to a Ball when I did. Alas it never happened and its just been stuffed in the loft.
I have been thinking again about what to do with it so its come out of the loft.
I have tried to find out a bit about the label, Jean Allen was not anything amazing, just a 60's and 70's clothes manufacturer. There really wasn't much about it I could find out.

I think Jean Allen is the maker and Marshall and Snelgrove I think were the shop that sold it.

Its obviously missing some straps....... this is the back view

It has two underskirts one is like a muslin and the other is thick cotton? I think

It now has some light brown spots on the underskirt? any idea what they are and how I can get them out.
So what would you do?

Sell it frame it?

Or shove it back into the loft??

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sorry I haven't been blogging a lot recently. Busy busy busy. But I thought I would show you my latest work, finished yesterday

click on photo for a larger image

xxxx Janice xxxx