Sunday, 30 December 2012

Where have the lino-prints gone ?

It is normally at this time of year that I am keenly cutting away at lino endeavouring to produce some designs.  Those of you that follow my blog know that my lino-cuts are often on the theme of birds.

This year, my time has been spent painting and planning further botanical paintings as I want to explore more exhibiting opportunities.  At the moment I am working on a very large painting of a Sacred Lotus.  Below is the sheet I compiled whilst  I was testing colours etc. 

Back to birds and lino-prints.  In 2011 I saw a link to an advert on the Arts Jobs website.  It was asking for artists to contribute images of birds of freshwater habitats for a forthcoming poetry anthology.  I hastily applied and thought it was an exciting opportunity to show case some of my
lino-prints.  There was an extensive list of birds to choose from and I chose to illustrate the Heron, Great-crested Grebe and Kingfisher.

Just before Christmas I heard that the book had been published, but unfortunately due to email address problems I had missed the launch party in London.  My disappointment was short-lived, as on Christmas Eve my best present arrived on the doorstep - 5 copies of the anthology !  Having not been involved in anything like this before I wasn't sure what the final result would be like, but I must say that I am absolutely thrilled.

Kirsten Irvine and Jon Stone at Sidekick books have done a wonderful job in compiling and publishing the book and Kirsten is also one of the contributing poets.  The artwork is all in monochrome and includes a variety of styles.  The book is very reasonable priced and futher information can be found at:


As another year comes to a close I wish everyone a happy, healthy and creative 2013. 
Thank you to everyone that follows my blog and it certainly inspires me when people show an interest in my artwork.  There are many artists out there that work away in their own homes, sometimes feeling quite isolated, they in turn get a lot of support from other artists that they may meet in art forums on Facebook or from other blogs, thank you to them too - you know who you are ! 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

A long awaited return to Staunton Country Park

The picture above was drawn a number of years ago now and it was fun to have a look at it again,  the sketch itself was completed in water-resistant pen with watercolour washes added afterwards.  But what does it have to do with visiting Staunton Country Park ?

As a younger artist and when I was very involved in a previous career, one of my favourite pastimes and forms of relaxation was to visit Staunton Country Park, which is located in Havant, Hampshire.  There are many areas to visit at Staunton - a walled garden, the country park, a farm and one of my favourite places a Victorian glasshouse.  There were many Sundays when I came and escaped there at all times of year and sat in the glasshouse sketching away and I am sure this is where my love of Orchids originated from.

My reason for visiting Staunton today was not to soley visit the glasshouse, but to view the rooms set aside for educational activities.  I met up with the lovely Kerry who is the Education and Community Manager for the park.  My friend Clare and I recieved a very warm welcome and a hot cup of tea on a cold but sunny winter's day.
Next year the Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust will be holding several of my art workshops at Staunton Country Park and the rooms we decided upon are light and airy with great character, in one of the buildings around the edge of the farmyard.
I am really looking forward to teaching at Staunton.  As like the HWT Nature Reserves where we normally hold workshops, there is so much to inspire artists interested in illustrating the natural world.  The first workshop held there will be on Saturday 23rd March 2013 and is entitled
 'A Brush with Nature'.  This workshop is always a popular one as it can cover a wide range of subject matter.  The places are filling up fast and it is only December !  If you are interested in coming along please book a place with the Hants & IOW Wildlife Trust by following this link:
Hopefully a further workshop will be taking place at Staunton in May 2013 on the theme of butterflies and moths - watch this space !
In the meantime, if you would like more information on Staunton Country Park why not visit their web page: or visit them on Facebook:
Back to our visit, after we finished the meeting we took the opportunity to re-explore the farm, walled garden and glasshouses. My mind is buzzing with ideas for artwork, but at the moment the following images will have to suffice and will give you a good idea of how wonderful this place is.
Piglets under a day old !

Part of the farmyard

The Fern room in the glasshouse

The Water-lilly pool