Some of you have asked me, so… yes! I will publish a 2022 Calendar. Last year was a strange year(!), my calendars were printed in November, and sold out by early December. I will get them (a bit) earlier this year (hopefully). Please message/email/phone me to let me know if you’d like one (or more!) and I’ll reserve them for you, and post them to you in October if you don’t live locally. Thank you.
2022 Calendar. A4 size. Portrait format. One page per month. £12.50 per calendar. Postage within the UK: £2.50 for 1 or 2 calendars, £4 for 3 or more calendars. Postage to the EU: £5.85 (+ fees, see below); to the USA: £8; to Australia: £9.85. I haven’t yet decided which images will feature this year, but they will be some of my North Yorkshire landscapes. I’ll update as soon as I have decided…
NB. If you are in the EU. From recent experience, products from the UK may be subject to fees up to 40% of the declared value, to be paid by the recipient. I am really sorry about that. Obviously it wasn’t my idea to leave the EU. I can still send you one, if you really want one, but be warned that, with postage and those extra fees, this will makes it an expensive calendar. Maybe an artist in your country publishes nice calendars…
There is a field of red poppies, on Micklow Lane, in Loftus. It looks at its best around the Summer Solstice. I had painted it a few years ago, on square canvases. This year it was superb, and I decided to paint it again. The painting was in its early stages (I paint the bare bones, the structure, before I use colour) when a couple saw it in my studio, ad I told them it would be a field of red poppies. After they went back home, they asked me for first refusal. I said that I had just started another, quite different one, and they asked for first refusal on both. I never really know how my paintings will turn out. I establish the composition from observation of the landscape, but once colour takes over, it often is a surprise for me. So I hoped they would turn out fine…
I emailed photographs of the paintings some weeks later, when finished. And they both loved them! Today they came back “up North”, and picked up their paintings.
Now that is great, because I liked the paintings, and they liked them too; but mostly it was just brilliant because until their visit in early July, I had not met him since we were both sixteen years old, and I had never met his beautiful wife. I stayed in his parents’ house on my first visit to England when I was 12 years old, then he later spent a Summer on my parents’ farm in the South of France. That was decades ago… Old friends are wonderful, and they open the gates of shared memories, of youth and sunny summers. These Solstice paintings, with their vibrant red, are a celebration of friendship, and Summer.
I have spent a lot of time in my garden. It earths me. So when it’s warm and sunny, I am outside with the flowers. But of course I still find time to paint. I recently finished this commission. There is a wonderful couple, who love my artwork, and also love where they live. They bought their house because of the view. A few years ago, they commissioned a painting of the view from their house, and this year they commissioned the view from an upstairs window. It was a delight to immerse myself into such a peaceful landscape.
I finally met some friends, after so many long months, for a walk through bluebell woods. The greyness and harsh frosts a few weeks ago, made way to sunshine and warmth, friendship and flowers, in the last few days of that merry month of May.
Thank you to all of you who visited the exhibition at RHS Harlow Carr. It went very well, and Brigantia is planning another exhibition there next year.
Hope. This is my latest one. It is so cold and grey, outside, today. I painted this little one when the sun shone through. And now it warms my eyes. I love yellow. It is just a little cutting of an Anthurium plant my neighbour gave me (I call it Arthur, to remind me of its proper name). I hope the cutting takes so that I can give it to a friend. I hope the sun shines again. I hope I can see my friends again. I hope that there is hope for each of us. Hope.
Brigantia exhibition at RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate.
The Brigantia exhibition is on until 13 May. If you would like to see it, please note that to limit the number of visitors, visits must be booked in advance, so you will need to book your arrival time slot (once you are in, you can stay in the gardens until closing time). This week is already fully booked for slots before 4pm (this is no surprise, as the gardens are stunning in the Spring sunshine), but there are available slots next week. The exhibition is in the Bath House, near Betty’s Tea rooms. Here is a link to the RHS website, where you can book your visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr/articles/visiting-the-garden?
While Nature brings us new flowers everyday, work in the studio also marches on. I did finish that commission of Filey, and she loves it! She told me she put this painting in her bedroom, so that everyday the first thing she sees is blue sky…
I have also been painting some of the flowers in my garden, a mini series of iris persica in different media, including a first attempt at silverpoint. And carrying on with gouache on larger wood panels, February and March flowers. I am hoping that lockdown will be lifted as planned, then some of these paintings will be exhibited in the Bath House, RHS Harlow Carr (Harrogate) from 12 April to 13 May.
And so March comes around again… I’ve been busy painting a commission, and watching out for those shoots of hope emerging in the garden. This year, the first flower to unfurl after the snow, when even the snow drops kept their petals closed, was this little iris persica. I just couldn’t resist drawing it. In these strange times, it is good to look at Nature, and accept each of her marvels as a gift to treasure.
There doesn’t seem to be any reliable map-making equipment in my brain, so I get lost very easily. Therefore I cannot tell you exactly where this is. Somewhere near Commondale, in North Yorkshire… I found these stripey fields striking and arresting, and so I stopped and looked and sketched. And then I painted. And now it’s done, and already reserved. Now sold!
P.S. I saw a friend’s photograph of the snowy fields near his home. It looks very different under a mantle of snow, but I recognised the buildings. Yes, this is in Commondale, just above the village.