Category Archives: Winter

Weekly Snaps…with David Adjaye’s Making Memory Exhibition

February 5, 2019

Filed Under : 5ftinf Tables - Arrangements - Art - Brighton - colour - Conscious Creativity - cycling - exhibitions - London - Museums - synaesthesia - texture - Weekly Snaps - Winter

As I haven’t created any ‘Weekly Snaps’ posts for ages, I should just say that they are almost entirely written in images; I always find wandering about, looking at things and finding stuff that matches up far more satisfying and expressive than words…  The next few photos are from the brilliant new David Adjaye exhibition: Making Memory which opened at The Design Museum last weekend….you can find all the details HERE

Catching Up…with Colours and Clothes

January 31, 2019

Filed Under : 5ftinf Tables - Arrangements - Art - Brighton - colour - Conscious Creativity - Cornwall - cycling - exhibitions - Fashion - London - synaesthesia - texture - The Lonely Kiosk Project - trips - Winter - workshops

It was a crazy few weeks before the New Year; I was planning and organising loads of stuff around my book launch, running workshops, sending out calendars and hosting my Artist’s Open House. It was full on to say the least, but kind of exciting at the same time. I was probably a bit too hyper to be honest, but I was enjoying a big old creative flow. However that basically resulted in major Christmas flu; spending  hours in bed, coughing like an old fashioned smoker and just completely crashing for the first part of January. I had all sorts of things I was going to do as soon as Christmas was over; sort my photos, sort my emails, sort my house, fix the cooker etc, etc. But I found it SO difficult to rally any sense of urgency, any sense of practicality and any sense of getting on with things. It’s only been in the last couple of weeks that I’ve felt much better and now I’ve got creative things I’m desperate to do, but which I have no time to do, pouring into my mind and waking me up at 3am! One of the major ‘jobs’ I’ve had to address is that of new workshop dates…I think I sort of wanted all the information to just appear in people’s heads without me having to do anything. I lose hours working on the aesthetics of putting an Instagram story together for example; I absolutely love doing it, but the reality is that it always takes way longer than the half hour I hoped it would. I also think, as I’ve hit an Instagram Stories note, that they are in part responsible for me not keeping up with my blog consistently: they are so quick and easy and reach so many more people that it leaves blogging feeling clunky and not as satisfying as an instant response to my surroundings…Anyway, here I am, nearly at the end of January, just about catching up, or at least with all the workshop info and booking details ready to go. So this post is going to be a combination of January things; colours textures and general observations as well as a pointer to my next online course.

There are still various things I need to really catch up on: the next big job is getting some of my paintings listed in my online shop ( something I’ve been promising since September! ) and getting back into making some clothes again! If you haven’t already seen, my inner clothing imp seems to have been unleashed, and the stories of my handmade and thrifted clothes are shaking up my feed on Instagram! …and my old ‘Weekly Snaps’ posts are something I need to get back into too…as my Grandpa used to say: “We’ll see what we shall see…” And just another reminder about the online course and with more details in my shop here 

Inspiration on The Somerset Levels at Godney Arts House with CoolStays…

March 12, 2018

Filed Under : Art - collaborations - colour - texture - trips - Winter

I never think of February as a particularly exciting month, although I do always try and structure the first couple of months of the year with day trips and a general feeding of my eyes and mind. January and February are always tricky to get through so over the years I’ve learnt  that I just give in to not knowing what I’m going to be doing and use the time as respite from the madness of the latter end of the previous year.

In January I met with CoolStays who suggested a trip to Godney Arts House as they said they were sure I’d love it, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be quite as beautiful and cosy and that I would feel so inspired by the Somerset Levels. The house is owned by artist Simon Ledson and designer Jane Peck and it felt like a perfect opportunity to reconnect with my painting as weather and the landscape often inspires my work. Brighton artist Sophie Abbot, who I always find an inspiring person to be around, came with me for the couple of days and we spent our time chasing starlings at sunrise and sunset in the hope of a glimpse of their famous murmurations, as well as walking, painting and relaxing in the amazing pub next door The Sheppy Inn ( who even served us soup and mussels when they’d closed the kitchen as we’d lost track of time painting ).

As we were only there for a couple of days, we decided to make the most of the journey there and back, so stopped off en route at the cliffs by Cheddar Gorge, and then popped into the Hauser & Wirth Gallery on the way home.

I have to say, as collaborations go, this was genuinely both an inspiring and relaxing break which is what Cool Stays is so brilliant for; they have such quirky and interesting holiday options that I really urge you to have a look through their site, particularly if you want a get away with style, character and luxury as well as keeping your independence.

I’ll start my photo story at Cheddar Gorge, which was our giant gateway into into a secluded Somerset retreat…The gorge cliffs were enormous and then the Levels were so beautifully flat…such incredible opposites so close by felt surprisingly humbling…Having driven down lots of sleepy, flat roads with gentle bonfires silently burning, we arrived at Godney Arts House greeted by fresh bread and Cheddar cheese…The house was instantly calming, warm and very cosy and all the windows there are to die for… The house is full of lovely, stylish and quirky details including artwork ( which is also for sale ) by Simon…

My two favourite things in the house though had to be this gorgeous bath and the simple kitchen table, which ended up being commandeered by water colours and pastels…
We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be staying next to such a brilliant and unique pub which is well worth a visit, even if you’re not staying in Godney, as the beer and food are fantastic… I was desperate for one of these Spanish dolls as a child and here she was dancing in the Ladies!We drank ‘Wild West’, but kind of wanted to try this pump…although she scared me a bit! The following morning we were out of the house before 7am trying to find the starling murmurations, even going so far as to phone the starling hotline, and although we didn’t catch any displays we found them roosting like fat fruits in some of the country lanes…

After the sun came up properly we went for a morning walk around Westhay Moor Nature ReserveI made the mistake of testing how thick this ice was, and got a very wet boot!
We wanted to try and catch the starlings at sunset so had a leisurely afternoon

before going to the opposite end of the reserve to wait by the bird hide…and get extremely cold!! The starlings only made an appearance in the distance but we watched the sky for 2 hours completely enthralled…

Every piece of the sky was constantly morphing into new and more beautiful shapes…We went back to Godney Arts House and became engrossed in sketching, although nearly missed out on supper… We’d really enjoyed our early jaunt the previous morning so set of for an invigorating morning walk before setting back for Brighton… I could have stayed so much longer…this was a truly calming and quiet spot, but Brighton was on the horizon, although as the Hauser & Wirth gallery was so close by in Bruton, just before we properly got going on our journey back, we stopped off to have a look around ‘The Land We Live in and The Land We Left Behind’

I found this trip to be such a breath of fresh air and can’t thank CoolStays enough for asking me to go. Just looking at the landscape, walking along ancient tracks, staring at the sky and taking time to paint was invigorating and enlightening…if you need to get away you should definitely do it, even if it’s for a couple of nights, and I would also definitely use the CoolStays site as well as following their Instagram account @coolstays as a starting point.

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A Stay in Yorkshire…with David Hockney, Peeling Paint and Sunset on the Moors

February 25, 2018

Filed Under : Art - colour - exhibitions - Museums - texture - trips - Winter

Last February I went to stay with Rachel @welliesandlove at her home in Yorkshire where her famed round window lives… She’s virtually my cousin as my grandfather and her grandmother were each other’s constant companions when we were younger.

I’d wanted to get back for another visit during last year but the weeks just rolled into each other and it has taken me a whole year to get back…but I was aso glad I went as, apart from going to Betty’s in Ilkley which is always a must, Rachel also took me to Salt’s Mill for the first time and I was blown away by the extensive collection of David Hockney‘s work there, (due to it being so near Bradford where he grew up). It was also a great excuse to meet up with Jules @thisisjules and Oscar as I hadn’t seen her since my workshop in Sheffield a couple of years ago.

Rachel also took me to Haworth, indulged my texture collecting, my telephone box spotting and my general pleas to pull over onto verges where good photo opportunities were calling .

I was only there a couple of days but it felt like a whole week and fuelled by an incredible sunrise on the train journey back home I am already desperate to get back up there…

A Betty’s treat in Ilkely… Saltaire… Salts Mill… Me and @thisisjules looking through tiny textured holes… Oscar wanted to look through a hole in the wall too… They had displays of modern pottery which was great to see as I have lots of these Portmeirion designs…And Rachel has lots of these Hornsea designs… ( I was born in Coventry… ) And so to the Hockney’s…

I made two Salts Mill inspired homages to Hockney…( above and below )

On to an out of season Haworth…home of the Bronte sisters

An alarm and early rise to catch the train home…

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London…with Art ( Part 2. )

February 24, 2018

Filed Under : Art - colour - exhibitions - Fashion - London - trips - Winter

After visiting Lumiere London 2018 the previous week Sophie ( Abbott ) and I thought we’d visit a couple of other galleries. Her choice was the Peter Doig exhibition at The Micheal Werner Gallery in Upper Brooke Street, and my choice was JR’s ‘Giants – A Body of Work’ at Lazinc in Sackville St, but we started off in Mayfair having a look around the Christopher Kane flagship store in Mount St and finished off in Dover St Market

 

London…with Art ( Part 1. )

Filed Under : Art - colour - exhibitions - London - My St James - trips - Winter

I had decided that January and February were going to be months of looking at things…

I’m currently writing my book which will talk a lot about different ways of looking and observing and I felt that I hadn’t indulged myself in the act of just looking for ages.

Rather obviously, the looking led to lots of photos and rather less obviously not as much ‘sharing’ on the social places. To be honest I was really enjoying creating stuff and quickly moving on to the next thing but which led to a backlog of images which needed editing and filing.

However, there comes a point when it all needs to be sorted, so over the next few days I’ll be sharing lots of the pictures I’ve been taking over the last few weeks…with a few links but not that many words.

I’m hoping the images and the looking will write the stories…

One of my oldest and most favourite London cafes Maison Bertaux is always a great start to any London trip… Fellow Brighton artist, Sophie Abbott, and I had decided to visit part of Lumiere London 2018, around the St James area…

Fortnum and Mason windows were also glowing…

We had supper at Anzu in St James Market where Tonkotsu is currently having a ‘Ramen Residency’

The Supercube was a Lumiere favorite!

And, as always, The National Theatre was also glowing on the way back home…

…but we both decided to come back the following week to see a couple of exhibitions which I’ll post about in Part 2!

Monday…with some Creative Accounting Accessories

January 8, 2018

Filed Under : D.I.Y - tutorials - Winter


Probably one of the worst things about January is the looming Tax Return deadline…I usually start getting up at 05:30 to squeeze in an hour of receipt sorting before the day actually starts as it makes me feel that I’ve triumphed in some small way…however I got all my tax stuff off to my accountant before Christmas, basically because they made me! Tax is going digital and I’m meant to be taking photos of receipts and uploading them to some app, but I can’t quite get my head around all that yet.

I’ve always kind of enjoyed the receipt sorting once I actually get down to it, and the first year I ever did my accounts ( as an actress in 1997 ), I had no idea what was expected and I submitted a sort of scrapbook/journal of my expenditure; notes about what I had been doing and why I could claim a sandwich I’d had to eat during a rehearsal. I’d bought a beautiful notebook from Paperchase for the purpose! My then partner discovered me gluing and stapling in the living room and told me that although it was beautiful, it was not really what an accountant wanted…

I realised that clearly labelled envelopes and a folder was the way forward, but even now I always have to make my accounts aesthetically pleasing to some degree…it’s my life; my previous year in numbers, petrol stops, cafes, trains, post offices and supermarkets. It’s my diary!

So, although I’ve already submitted my accounts, I now have to start work on sorting next year’s and so I thought I’d share some creative, cheap and easy alternatives to some of the standard stuff we buy for this onerous task…maybe it’s a form of procrastination; putting off the actual job, but I also find that if I can do something creative within or connected to a boring job, it kind of makes it all a bit easier…

  1. ACCOUNTS FOLDERBuy a cheap folder with plastic sleeves inside and then cut these leaves out, retaining the spine they are attached to…
    If the folder has an elastic fastening and a pocket save these as well… Take some nice card and draw the template of the folder onto it… I also added some flaps to keep everything a bit more secure… Superglue the spine of the plastic leaves to the new card… Make holes in the card where the elastic will need to be theaded… Cut out a new card pocket and superglue it to the inside of the folder… I wanted to give the front of the folder a personalised look; something which felt like me so I used a typewriter to make the label… ( the typewrite isn’t actually very good, so I photographed the text, then enhanced it with Instagram editing tools and then printed it out… ) I actually decided to create a more colourful label, using some of my own work in the end…

2. THE STAPLERI love using the stapler…it always feels really satisfying and official, so I thought I pimp up a boring one, which I bought for £1.80, with some vintage buttons of my grandmothers…
Basically all you need for this is buttons and glue, and any other bits and pieces you want to encrust the stapler with… The buttons made a few gaps which I wanted to fill, so I added some old beads and tiny shells I’d saved… It reminded me of a caddisfly larvae who gathers lots of bits and pieces which are floating around its environment and makes itself an encrusted outfit…( have a look at this article where gold and precious gems were added to caddisfly water ) 3. PAPERWEIGHTS I wrote a tutorial a while ago about how to make these which you can see here, but I wanted to make some which had some relevance to my year…it’s good to choose something to cover them with which is personal… I collected some ordinary stones when I was in Cornwall and then chose a map which features Amsterdam as it was a city I discovered for the first time this year, and which I really loved…

You have to cover the map and the stone in PVA glue ( I always add a little water to dilute it )… Then you start to wrap the stone as tightly as possible, smoothing the paper all the time as you work it… They’re quite tricky to get completely flat, but even if they turn out a bit rough they will have some meaning to you personally… After you’ve finished all the gluing they need to dry…I put them by the fire but a radiator is just as good… So, now you’re kind of set to start your accounts with some interesting things to look at, at least, and which are genuinely useful.

I also must have Sharpies, envelopes, a nice pencil and my old calculator which my Dad bought me when I was at school!

 

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Christmas Eve…with a Floris Advent Gift in St James’

December 24, 2017

Filed Under : collaborations - London - My St James - Winter

It’s the final day of the St James’ Advent Calendar of gifts, and today you can win a Bespoke Fragrance Appointment at Floris!

Floris is the oldest, family run perfumers in the country, dating from 1730, and their scents are absolutely incredible; their fragrances have so many layers, with echoes in history as well as unique personal experiences. The way they approach scent is more like art; creating fragrances inspired by places, people and time, and today you have an amazing opportunity to win a Bespoke Fragrance appointment.

To enter, you should follow the @StJamesLondon Instagram account where they will reveal the gift to be won each day and how to enter on their Stories. You should also have a look over on their website for more details and terms and conditions and you can read a blog post all about my trip to Floris last year here Their Jermyn St store has a museum of their perfume with scents which have been worn by incredibly significant figures over the years including Florence Nightingale, Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier… Rose Geranium, below, was worn by Marilyn Monroe The shop itself is beautiful and always worth a visit, but with a bespoke perfume appontment you’ll also get to see the pefumery… Don’t forget to head over to the @StJamesLondon Instagram account and look in their Stories today to find out what you need to do to win! Good Luck, and Happy Christmas!

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Friday…with a Handmade Christmas Card tutorial

December 22, 2017

Filed Under : Art - texture - tutorials - Winter

I always really enjoy making my own christmas cards but I think over the last few years I’ve been a bit lazy as I give lots of my family and friends my own printed cards, which feels kind of home made, but it means that I don’t really exercise any practical creativity in these few days leading up to Christmas. To be honest, that’s mainly because there isn’t enough time, but this morning I was ripping up some envelopes and thought how much the tear looked like snow…which is how these cards began… You will only need paper, pencil, glue, paints, crayons or felt tips and some glitter glue, a gold pen and a pair of scissors… I’m rubbish at cutting straight lines so I thought I’d make a virtue of it and create snow drift tops to the cards ( basically cut the card wonky at the top )… Then you need some white paper…if you have 3 different types that’s perfect, although not essential… Tear strips and chunks of the paper, making sure that you’re not controlling it too much…
When you have a few strips you can start sticking them on the card…don’t worry about it being neat or going over the edges…it’s better to look natural, and you can tidy it up a bit after the sticking… Try and build a sort of landscape, working from the bottom up, and include some of the bits of paper which will curl up, as this is reminiscent of windy weather in the snow… Once you feel you have your snowy landscape, draw a very simple cabin house in it… Then colour in the cabin, showing light in the window and smoke in the chimney so that there is a striking contrast between snow and the cosy life inside… You could also add some sunset colours accross the snow before adding some little dabs of glitter which act as ice as well as stars… Each card you make will have it’s own cabin and landscape which gives each one really individual character.. It’s a great, quick way to create something homemade and it’s a way you can re use  some of the masses of excess paper or packaging around at this time of year, and it’s also really easy and satisfying for kids who, let’s face it, love ripping up loads of paper!