Some prices don’t change as quickly as others. While sorting some old paperwork, I realised that the retail price of my cards is still as it was twelve years ago! To celebrate this little oasis of tranquillity in our changing world, let me introduce my Robin Hood’s Bay Collection. Please contact me by phone or email, if you want to order or reserve cards. £15 for 6 cards (+ £2 postage, but if you’re struggling, please tell me and I’ll send them free postage), or £30 for 12 cards (2 of each).
I’ve been so lucky this year: a commission every month, from January to July! I’ll be open to new commissions from September. My latest commission, for a lovely couple, to celebrate her 75th birthday, and to have sunny days on their wall everyday: Ebbing Tide Revisited, Robin Hood’s Bay. oil on canvas, 50x70cm.
I love bluebells and in May, between commissions, I painted this sunset. My only painting of bluebells this year, it is rather dark and moody. Someone said his mother used to live in a cottage in these woods, and had to walk to school along those paths. It could feel a bit scary if you were a little girl and, with the Little Red Riding Hood story in your mind, you imagined that a wolf may be hiding amongst the trees… Someone was very interested in this painting, so I told him I would reserve it for him for as long as he needed to decide (I really like it, so I was happy to keep it on my wall). A couple of months later, he has decided that he definitely really likes it. (happy little dance).
The weeks do fly by, and especially in Summer. Between time in the garden, re-sourcing and re-grounding, I’ve been painting commissions, including the one above, to bring a bit of North Yorkshire to a charming couple’s southern garden room.
This weekend, 25 & 26 June, it’s Whitby Art Fair! There hasn’t been one since June 2019, so artists are looking forward to it. For many of us it will be our first exhibition since our lives became more reclusive… It’s happening in Whitby Pavilion, on Whitby West Cliff, and over 40 artists are taking part. I hope to see you there!
Here is a finished commission, now in its new home. For his wife’s birthday, someone wanted a painting of Robin Hood’s Bay, with a fox! It was kept as a surprise and revealed today. She wrote:” if I was to paint a picture in my mind of my favourite view from one of our visits to RHB, including my love of foxes, your painting would be it! I absolutely love it.” Commissions can be a bit daunting, but it’s such a good feeling…
The bluebells were stunning this year. In Loftus woods, some trees have been cleared and the flowers bloomed in the increased sunlight. In between commissions, while waiting for new blank canvases to arrive, I walked in the woods and was drawn to paint them again.
Tomorrow, 28 April, is the first day of Brigantia’s art & craft exhibition at the Bath House, RHS Harlow Carr, in Harrogate. The exhibition runs until the 29th May. I will not be there, but some of my work will be, including this most recent watercolour. It is the first time that I have painted with watercolour on canvas, and I’ve enjoyed the process. My friend Ailsa gave me some tulip bulbs in my darkest winter, a gift of hope. I planted them after all hope was lost, but every year those strange tulips rise up in their fiery red. They talk to me of bleak winters underground, and of the surge of Spring, of love and friendship.
It’s good to be busy. I’m working on the last set of artist’s impressions for the CPRE, and then in April, I’ll put my watercolours away for a while and start on a private commission in oils. In between, I should start to prepare for my first show this year: Brigantia’s exhibition at RHS Harlow Carr, which starts at the end of April. I’ll be able to accept new commissions in June. Meanwhile outside, there are signs of Spring. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without too much fear.
Trees. Aren’t they simply wonderful? Planting trees seems to be one of the ways to combat our climate crisis, and it is certainly the most eco-friendly solution. I would love to have a forest, to sit within it and watch it grow… growing a little oak tree in a pot, as I do, that is nice, but not quite enough. Lacking the funds to purchase land and plant it with trees, I was wondering what I could do, then I saw that Seagull Gallery, in Filey, had joined a tree-planting scheme called Just One Tree; so I joined and pledged to donate so that a tree will be planted for every painting I sell. I joined in November, and started by donating for every painting I had sold in 2020 and 2021. (I was so grateful that so many of you decided to buy one of my paintings during the first two years of the pandemic: 46 paintings. So if you did, thank you. A tree was planted for every painting you bought!). Here’s the link: https://www.justonetree.life/
I’ve been reading a fascinating book: Peter Wohlleben’s “The Hidden Life of Trees”. It is an interesting and easily read book, written by a German forester, which I would recommend to anyone who loves trees. Its relevance here is that, as you probably know, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and store it in their trunks. If the tree is burnt, the carbon is released, but if the wood is kept, the carbon stays captured; for example if the wood is made into the stretchers of a canvas! So if you have paintings stretched over a wooden frame, or of course anything else made out of wood, you are already helping the planet. (And if you want to know more about the idea of the “wood wide web”, do read “Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake!) https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/13/hidden-life-of-trees-peter-wohlleben-review
Another way to combat the climate crisis is to diminish our energy consumption. That is easier said than done, but we must try. Using energy efficient machines and insulating our homes are a start. Shutting down polluting energy sources and adopting greener renewable energy is also part of the solution. In this context, I am delighted to have been commissioned to paint a series of artist’s impressions for Community Energy Vision documents being prepared by the CPRE. It feels good to be part of something good. Some people might remember the CPRE as ‘The Campaign to Protect Rural England’ – its previous name. It has worked for almost a century to support and promote the countryside. It is now called ‘the countryside charity’ and it is aware of our climate emergency. You can find more about it here: https://www.cpre.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are/our-vision/
The simple joy of ink and watercolour. I’m really enjoying my latest commission. It combines my local landscape, environmental concerns and renewable energy, and has drawn me back into fine lines and watercolours.
Sometimes one hopes for a commission, and then three come at once. (But I’m not complaining!) This does mean that I will be very busy until the end of March, which is nice.