Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Last beginners courses

After 6 weeks of hard work my last beginners groups at Clevedon Craft Centre finished their final paintings.  So pleased with the results.  I hope they all take it a bit further and continue to draw and paint 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Onwards and Upwards

Its been a funny old month...... Once I had decided to leave the Craft Centre then it has been all steam ahead to start moving into my new studio and sort out the old one.  Some students have not taken my leaving well,  but I guess that was to be expected and also quite flattering, but the majority have been very supportive and understand that I have to do what I have to do. Many I will keep in touch with and some are even joking that they will record me saying little messages, to play back when they are painting,  the most popular seems to be " Stop fiddling", but other suggestions have been.. 'step away from the painting" and "is that a good idea?"

The room I am using temporarily as a studio is quite small but I am settling in quite well.  its a bit of a mess but you can see Fin has his blanket on the floor, so he can still sit with me when I paint.  His bed will of course eventually come from the Craft centre and  I think he will miss going into the studio more than I will.  

As you can see on my wall I have been painting already.  I did my usual stab at a portrait of Dear Mr Wellydog.  I am not sure I quite captured him ( the usual frustration)  but I, as always had fun painting it.  I have always found it hard to convince some students that my paintings quite often can look rubbish until near the end and go through a "I want to throw this in the bin" stage, so I thought I would document a painting to show them.  This just happened to be the next painting I did, so here are some of the stages, this painting went through.

and this is the final result 

I have also been thinking about the summer,  apart from not wanting to think about the cold and wet of the coming winter,  then I am determined to have an exhibition next summer.  I have  a bit of an idea so decided to explore some possibilities,  in doing so I painted a bucket and spade,  this reminds me so much of summer I think it will have to live on my studio wall to remind me of warmer days to come;

Nice chatting with you,  catch up soon

janice x

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Something to think about

..........There's always some reason, to feel not good enough 
And it's hard at the end of the day ,
I need some distraction..... oh beautiful release 
Memories seep from my veins 
Let me be empty, weightless and maybe 
I'll find some peace tonight........

These are lyrics to a song 'Angel' by Sarah McLachlan,  I've heard so many different versions of this over the years but it has been particularly poignant to me in the last couple of years as my life has changed, as my Dad has declined due to dementia.  These particular words sum up my escape into painting and how it has become essential in my life.   My husband is my rock, always has been and always will be.  My children an everlasting source of joy, but its my painting that has become my addiction.  Whilst mulling this over I discovered that the song is in fact about the  Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996, so maybe thats why it resonated with me and describing my painting as an addiction, is perhaps not to far out there......

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Beginners 1st Acrylic paintings

Apart form one of my students none of these beginners have used acrylics before.  Some took to it lso well and I think will love using the medium,   I think a couple would rather stick to watercolours and pastels.... but didn't they all do an amazing job

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Giveaway is now closed

Thankyou to everyone who entered and

CONGRATULATIONS  to the winner

*******ALISON GOODHEW  *******

Monday, November 4, 2013


Over on Facebook I am running a giveaway as a thankyou to the 400 people who have liked me,

You can't  enter from here but if you pop over and like my Facebook page

you can then  post on the Duck Photo

 with all the details of the Giveaway for me to know you want to be included.  One lucky winner will be drawn out of the hat on Saturday 16th November and win this lovely painting

Look what my beginners are up to

They all seemed to have funs with watercolour flowers, salt and cling film

and then later getting very messy with Pastels

Friday, November 1, 2013

Latest News

Shock Horror........I am leaving Clevedon Craft Centre

I have had a wonderful 2 and a half years at the Centre.  I am pleased I went there and also that I expanded into a larger studio to do more teaching.  I have learnt so much and gained so much confidence in  myself, my teaching and my Art work.

But the time is right to move on. The teaching has become so successful that it has started to dominate so much, that I no longer have time for me, my family or my own Art work.

The aim when I when I moved to the larger studio was to teach in the winter to help when no visitors were around in the quiet months.  But the visitors never really materialised.  Last year I put it down to the bad weather but even with the fabulous summer we have had,  the visitor numbers have been very low. So to be able to stay at the centre I expanded my teaching, and overloaded myself.  I cut down some hours earlier this year,  but have had to raise them again for the winter.  It became clear that I was teaching to stay at the centre to be able to paint,  but in order to stay at the centre I was having to teach so much that I didn't have time to paint.....vicious circle.

I had planned to stay until March but when I was on holiday we did some sums and lots of talking and realised that with the extra cost of electricity for the heating and lighting through the winter, I gained very little by sticking the winter out,  so I may as well call it quits now.

I am not giving up OH NO!!! I have learned now what my priorities are and I now have the skills and confidence to go for it.
This means setting up a Home studio,  for any of you that follow me on facebook, you will know I am in a major sort out mode at the moment, so now you know why.  My studio will initially be in a spare bedroom,  but come the end of the winter we will look into building a studio in the garden.  I will still teach,  but probably only Beginners groups and Day workshops but only when I have the time.

I am working towards a Summer exhibition and also am looking at spending some time at the coast painting.  I will approach some galleries and I will also now have time to visit some other Artists and perhaps works on some collaborations I have been thinking about.    Being in the studio has stopped me doing many of these things, as I always felt I had to justify the money I was spending, so did as much as possible there, which was limiting.

Things I will miss

The company - Painting is a very lonely task and there was always a creative person around not only for a chat but also some feedback.  I have made some good friends and met some very talented people.

Having a place to go, to paint away from home - Its much more of a motivator than at home, with all the distractions, so I will now need to push myself much more.

Some of the students - some have become real friends over the last couple of years.

Things I wont miss

Some of the students.... need I say more

Being constantly on show - you have to keep your space tidy in case visitors come.  My work is on display at every stage and as some of you will know, work in progress can looking shockingly awful for a while, and people don't hold back on comments just because you are in the room.

Being constantly up-beat for the students -  no matter how you feel,  you have to put a smile on your face and be positive,  very hard all the time. No time off for any illness.

Being cold  -  To save money, the heating is only ever on when the students were in, so most of last year I associated painting with being cold and wore a couple of pairs of fingerless gloves and my coat whilst doing so.

Working weekends -  for the last 2 and a half years I have hardly seen my husband,  I am looking forward to getting to spend some more time with him and visiting my children and other family more often.

Enjoying summer - A warm summer holiday --- bliss,  the last 3 years we have holiday'd in the winter months as I needed to be at the centre during the 'busy' summer period. I also can now also have the odd weekend away yay!!!

" People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it"

George Bernard Shaw

I know some of you will think I am mad! but as from the 31st december I am moving onward and upward.  I have handed my notice in and told all my regular students.  It is sad but I am also very happy and at this moment have no regrets.  Those of you online, will see me more often on Facebook and Twitter and I will get an online shop up and running.  Also if I have said I would love to come and visit,  I may actually have time to do that now.....

Watch this Space

Janice x

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Back from break and looking to the future

I am getting worse and worse at this blogging lark! How long since I last spoke to you???

Our lives are very hectic at the moment, but we did manage to get away for a couple of weeks which was bliss.  It wasn't as relaxing as we had hoped for as my Dad was seriously ill the few weeks before we went.  I doubted we would be able to go at all.  But in the few days leading up to us leaving then,  he made a good recovery and so I decided to go. I worried the whole time about him so it took a while for me to settle.  My sister was  ( as always ) brilliant and kept me updated all the time.  But a break is a break and it was as always, beautiful in Cornwall.

The Day before we went,  Our family  did a Sponsored walk for the Alzheimer's Society,  a charity close to my heart at the moment.  We had fun ( even if it did feel like it was longer than 10K) and raised a lot of money for this worthwhile cause.

We stayed in Coverack,  on the Lizard peninsular. We were made to feel so welcome, both by locals and other visitors.  But it did get us to thinking,  we met and spoke to more people in the 2 weeks we were away than we see in our home town of Weston-super-Mare in a year. I know part of that is because we are both so busy,  but just generally Weston seemed positively unfriendly compared to the Cornish welcome.

Coverack as you can see in the photo above is a beautiful village with a little harbour.  We have been there a few time before .  But staying there we realised it also holds a bit of a secret, a sculpture park.  It doesn't seem to be advertised a lot, but the locals let you know about it and in our case actually walked us to it ( its quite difficult to explain where it is).  Terrance Coventry is an ex pig farmer who changed his life and took up sculpture. We saw a lot of his work and there are currently exhibitions of some of his work all over the country.   We felt very privileged to be able to amble through 3 fields of his sculptures.

Although not sculpture I did get inspired to produce my own 3D work, especially at Cape cornwall with all the fabulous rocks and seaweed.  Cape Cornwall is one of those spots that just draws us back again and again,  there is nothing better than sitting watching the sea from Priests Cove with a big hearty Cornish Pasty.  We met a fab guy who showed us some Choughs, something I hadn't been able to spot before, he also was a fountain of knowledge about local tides, currents and wildlife. And had the best hangover cure ever ,  swimming in the freezing cold sea the morning after!!  He may also be able to help me out with a place to paint next summer,  which could be exciting so I will keep in touch.

I did some painting when away.  I don't think I produced anything brilliant but I am happy that I did do some work that maybe I can use for sketches to work from in the studio.  I shall have a closer look today and decide their futures.

This was the view from the decking where we stayed 

Coverack from the conservatory window

Coverack beach from memory after a long walk and finding a star fish

Poldu Beach

Painted from  Cape Cornwall above Priest Cove

Coverack from the cottage window

Coverack from the cottage window

St Michaels Mount from Marazion beach

Coverack early morning from the cottage window

Bits from the beach

The strange thing about holidays is that it makes you think about things,  we spent a lot of time just walking and watching the sea and ultimately talking to each other,  something we never really get time for at home.  You know those deep meaningful conversations you put of in ordinary life.  Its amazing even after 32 years of marriage what you learn about each other and what our priorities have now become, as our children have left home. I think we must be having a mis life crisis because we have come home with a renewed determination to spend more quality time together and to not keep doing thing we don't LOVE doing.  So maybe change is in the air, or maybe a couple of weeks back to 'normal' routines will just get slip back into our old rut,  who knows!

Catch you soon

Janice x
P.S   Just remembered,  The student exhibition raised a wonderful £144 for the RNLI

Monday, September 2, 2013

Student exhibition and continuing through

Sorry its been such a long time since I chatted to you.... busy, busy , busy

So at long last, after a year of hard work the students got to exhibit their work.  Not only does it give them more confidence and in most cases their first experience of putting their work on display, but it is also a great show case for my teaching workshops.

We also have been raising funds for the RNLI and I donated this painting to the cause.  We are pleased as we are over £70 to date and hopefully a bit more to come in by the end of the exhibition on the 25th September.

On Saturday the 24th August we had a private view where the students could bring family and friends along to see the work on display

It was a successful evening and we even had cake........  iced by my own fair hands.......

This is one of my ladies displaying her work for the very first time,  she seemed thrilled.

some more students show off their talents ...

.....Cheeky monkeys

Here is a rare shot of me cutting the cake,  with my new short haircut.  Which I needed as I sweated with blood sweat and tears over the next works...

Well it was very hot at times this summer :-)

I am particularly proud of the one below as its how I have wanted my work to go for a while.  I am particularly enjoying this journey.......

 and I have another painting on the go.....  watch this space  or see previews of it on my facebook page

 Catch you soon

j x

Thursday, August 1, 2013

2 Years on - my journey so far

On August 1st 2011 I moved into my first Studio at Clevedon Craft centre 

I had no furniture just my old craft desk and a few paintings, 

I hung them on the walls and hoped people would come and look at them 

As time went on I bought new furniture and added to my tiny collection of paintings

I took a few tentative steps into teaching, in the room at the top of the barn. 2 of those first students are still regulars with me now

Someone at the centre left and there was a re-shuffle so I moved into studio 4b...  where I still am today

The bare bones were there but a lot of work ahead 

In January 2013  the Weston-super-Mare town Mayor officially opened my new studio 

And I introduced more regular teaching sessions

 I spent sometime earlier this year trying to attract more people through the door 

and set aside more space for me to paint

and this is where I am today,  a multi million pound business ( if only!) But I doing ok and  most of the time still loving it x

Heres to the next 2 years 

Janice x