We had another very successful painting week in Dorset last month - the weather was challenging - warm and wet to start with then turning cold and windy, but we got out every day and found the changing conditions inspiring - on the cliffs the first day it was misty and atmospheric, then on the last day in Studland it was so bright and clear it looks like the Caribbean on the photos, but the cold wind meant that we couldn't linger too long at Old Harry. Some of the evening light was really beautiful on Corfe Castle and the Isle of Wight was clearer than I've known it. Our b&b came into its own with the cosy underfloor heating and the barn studio with excellent daylight for the wetter moments - it gave us a chance to do some experimenting with different materials and push the boundaries a bit. We managed some lovely walks, and those who preferred an easier trip went by car to the locations. Altogether an inspiring week and I'm planning another one in May next year (more info to follow).
In September I was on this beautiful ship for a short trip to Northern Ireland and Scotland. There were only 2 sea days so not much time for painting classes but I still had 49 guests sign up - they enjoyed the chance to paint some landscapes from the trip and learnt a bit about how watercolour works, and could take home a copy of my book, Watercolour Tips. It was very rewarding for me to see the enthusiasm and commitment, with some lovely paintings being created. My next trip is aboard Saga's other new ship, the Spirit of Adventure, a longer voyage to the Canaries with more chance to help guests with their painting and the possibility of some winter sun!
As last week was so successful (see below) I'm planning another painting holiday in Dorset in October - it will be beautiful there with the autumn colours, and if it gets cold we have the wonderful barn to work in, and the prospect of a hearty dinner at the end of the day. The rooms have underfloor heating too! If you'd like to join us (it's filling fast!) contact me for more information. The dates are October 17-22 and the price is the same - £820 half board for single occupancy of a double room with reductions for 2 sharing, non-painting partners and small single rooms (limited availability). There is a lavish breakfast and two course dinner (you can choose from starter or desert) and packed lunches are available with chef's home made bread for a small charge. We will do a combination of (easy) walking and sketching, some workshops and some painting - but how you work and the materials you use are up to you - if you need advice don't hesitate to contact me.
We finally made it! After postponing the painting holiday in 2020 and in April this year because of Covid restrictions we managed to get to the Kingston Country Courtyard for the long awaited painting holiday last week. As I'd been in hospital in May (another spanner in the works) my friend Phyl came to help me out with the teaching. The weather was kind to us - while the rest of the country was suffering deluges and floods we had wonderful sunny conditions - sometimes even too hot! I had been planning this holiday for 2 years so it was wonderful that it could finally take place. All the planning and research paid off as it proved to be a perfect venue and location. The b&b was very comfortable with wonderful meals and Tony, the owner was very helpful and accommodating. We spent some time in the beautiful garden and the one wet morning doing a colour workshop in the barn, we also walked up to the cliffs at Houns Tout and down into Corfe to sketch the castle. Another day we drove to Worth Matravers and walked to Chapmans Pool for some fabulous views and wild flowers. It was all so successful I immediately booked accommodation for October so we could go back there, and bookings are coming in for that one - if you'd like to join us, contact me for more information and a booking form.
Bookings are going well for the painting holidays next year - there's still space on both dates, though June is almost full. Have a look on the Holidays page, and contact me if you'd like more info or a booking form.
Herts Open Studios is here, and I've been busy!
I've been busy during lockdown - it's been quite novel having extended time at home without planning, packing etc. and it's been a chance to reflect and be creative. I've made the Antarctic sketches into a small book:
I did some paintings of the garden when it was at its springtime best:
I did some landscape sketching:
and when I was doing the zoom choir rehearsals I sketched my friends on the screen:
I was lucky enough to go on a fantastic voyage to Antarctica at the beginning of March - and even luckier to make it home on March 15 just before the Covid Lockdown. It was the most wonderful trip full of inspirational sights. We had perfect weather and an unexpectedly smooth crossing over the Drake Passage. I particularly wanted to see the fabulous blues and turquoises of the icebergs and I wasn't disappointed. We also saw three different types of penguins, lots of seals and birdlife and some magnificent whales, both humpback and orca. It was very cold of course and sketching was tricky but I managed some small sketches which I've made into a book, a wonderful memory of the trip.