rough going out


Another work in progress for today - hate waiting for layers to dry!

Dying to get that sky in - but then again, its rather nice just staring and pondering (and thinking of upgrading to a hot air blower from my puny hair dryer!).

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Acrylic on canvas 610 x 762mm (24 x 30")


this one is nearly finished now ...


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WIP today - but pretty much finished I think.

Of course the thinking of the title bit is yet to come - but I love the ambivalence - is it landscape or is it seascape? There's a lot of texture and detail in this one - I just scraped off the white verticals on the left - too much distraction - so still fiddling about. Detail below:

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Acrylic on canvas 610 x 762mm (24 x 30")

postcards from the jurassic



Sending these little postcard pieces off to the Grejczik Gallery for Postcards from the Jurassic; Ammonite - the first Open Exhibition at the gallery (which will also be part of Scarborough’s Coastival Festival).

They are all overworked monoprints on Japanese handmade paper. Loved doing these! If you'd like to submit - you'll find details here - deadline 30 December 2016.



new studio

... just SQUEE! The new studio extension was ready for Open Studio at Cross St Arts -  and I'm hoping to be resident and working there by January 2017. My space is probably the smallest there - but it's exactly what I need as I'll be shuttling back and forth between here and my home studio.

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Had a fab day here yesterday invigilating the gallery downstairs for Open Studio with Lucy - both of us sketching and planning furiously.

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Now showing ...


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... as part of Cross St Arts Open Studio Associates in the gallery - here's my work (really pleased with the way that the small works in the black frames look). More to follow next week as I'm invigilating. Also, maybe a sneaky peek at the new studio spaces!

The gallery also hosts a little shop area at the back and features a raffle/bran tub to win a random small canvas (mine below) - or just buy your own choice of canvas outright!

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Drawing December


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We've had a couple of technicolour bright, bright, crisp mornings with thick frost - so today was a bit of a shock - with a soft, damp and muted quality.

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However, just as I started to muddle about for a gentler palette - the sun broke through and brought a beautiful, stained glass quality to the landscape. Very crisp, very vibrant for a whole ten minutes before the cloud rolled over and brought everything back to a flat neutral.

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There are still some leaves on the forsythia hedge that are shrieking lime green, citrine and acid. Behind the middle of the hedge is a big, battered Scots Pine - deep green and blue with ochre whiskers. With the brilliant sunshine behind it all - the result was a riot of intense colour.

(Click any image to see larger).


Willow Foundation/Stars on Canvas


Waaaayyyy back in January I did this little painting


... and sent it off to The Willow Foundation as part of their Stars on Canvas eBay auction. They held the auction last week (it ended yesterday evening) - and I'm pleased to say my work sold for £92.00. The work submitted was on show in Regent Street prior to the auction ending.

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.... SQUEEE!!! Absolutely delighted - BIG THANKS to the bidders xxxx







Postcard exhibition on the theme of the


Deadline for Entries: 30 December 2016

Exhibition Dates: 29 January – 19 February 2017

Final Weekend Celebration: 17-19 February, Scarborough’s Coastival Festival

Playing about with overworked monoprints (on handmade Japanese paper) to make into postcards!



Hockney Sumo


"British artist David Hockney takes a look back at his career with a monograph entitled ‘A Bigger Book‘. The tome, featuring works from the last 60 years, was presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair."  




Having a great time trying to capture autumnal light changes. Bang on cue, the quality of light changed with the coming of the autumn Equinox. At once golden and mellow - yet strident and strong - and that's before the leaves turn :) Even the shadows are alive and inky blue or indigo - with ochre and citrine highlights. The sky is a wispy, baby blue in contrast to the clamour below. Berries are just appearing in the hedgerow and gaps are starting to appear, as summer plants begin to die back.






and where to go next



I don't know where to go next - but I can't pretend. So I will follow my heart, and after a few weeks of turmoil and overthinking get a wiggle on.

I think I need to put into words what my work means - it isn't enough to present it and hope that people just get it (even if some people DO just get it lol). I cannot for the life of me, come up with some arsey concept that even comes close to communicating what I'm trying to achieve - so good luck with that one eh? (lol).


Today, I broke out of my funk and stood outside in that fractured, low light you get just as the seasons change. If I were more nimble, I'd have crawled into a field edge ditch and looked up into a cloudless sky - fringed with spidery stems and grasses. The hedges are having a last hurrah - threaded through with garnet red berries - and suddenly loud - a crimson turning leaf.



Wigan Arts Festival


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A new event on the calendar and a FANTASTIC venue with SO much potential. Cross Street Arts were sited in the foyer outside and inside the Isherwood Gallery across two rooms.

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That red wall was just awesome to see work hung against ...

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I'm not going to show everything - you'll have to go see for yourself!

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Creative writing sessions were held based around the art shown in the gallery (see below).

There are a huge amount of different events included in the festival - including drama/theatre/dance/music and more - see events .

Many thanks to the brilliant team at The Old Courts (and sponsors) who made all of this happen. 

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Wigan Arts Festival is based at The Old Courts building (more here) and is produced by The Old Courts in collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre, as part of the Collaborative Touring Network (CTN).



Gerrard Winstanley House, Crawford Street, Wigan, WN1 1NA tel: 01942 410499

WIGAN ARTS FESTIVAL tel: 01942 410499

Kurt Jackson: Revisiting Turner's tourism


Sat 10 September to Sun 4 December
Gallery 21

"An exhibition of works by the contemporary British artist Kurt Jackson and J.M.W. Turner. Kurt Jackson has worked within the landscape for over 30 years. Largely influenced by current concerns and seen through an environmental slant, he has become fascinated by the dynamic element of change through both our own pressure and the natural processes upon the Earth. Although based in Cornwall, his practice has taken him throughout the country and to the continent. In 2013 Jackson was given access to the University of Exeter’s collection of Turner engravings, produced to promote tourism through ‘the picturesque’. The exhibition is based on his responses to Turner’s series. Jackson visited 12 of the locations in Devon and Cornwall depicted by Turner – from Land’s End to Exeter – to investigate and record the profound changes that have occurred between the 19th century and the present. The exhibition showcases a diverse body of work in a variety of media with accompanying film, sketchbooks and other relevant material. Jackson’s new works will be shown together with the engravings that have inspired them."


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More here

VS | New Art Spaces Leigh | Cross Street Arts | NeoArtists | Castlefield Gallery | New Art Spaces Bolton


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VS is a joint exhibition by New Art Spaces Leigh and Cross Street Arts - as well as exploring project spaces by artists Paul Turnock, Steph Shipley, James Bloomfield, Marguerite Heywood, and Geoff Levy. Also includes solo exhibition by Stephen Cunliffe, in an adjacent unit/exhibition space.

Here are some images from the private view!

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Apologies for not noting individual artist's details, I was just intent on getting around to take pix before the space got too crowded. Also, for not posting absolutely everything - the lighting/access at the end of the gallery = less than stellar photos.

Having said that - here's a serendipitous reflection on an outdoor pillar ....

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More here from Castlefield, here (sneaky peek) and here from a-n 
I was showing 'Through the forest' and 'Fly up to heaven'




VS sneaky peek


Not too long now until VS private view (25 Aug) and New Art Spaces launch.

I nipped out this morning for a sneaky peek. New Art Spaces/VS launches (27 Aug) during Bolton Food & Drink Festival weekend (26-29 Aug). There will be road closures/access changes in the town centre during this period - but also street food and stalls - yum!

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Churchgate House is situated (unsurprisingly) on Churchgate, in the middle of Bolton. At one end of Churchgate is St Peter's Church (and gold postbox) and at the other the Market Cross/Monument. This is a pedestrianised conservation area

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St Peter's Church

"Good. They could do with doing something in these empty buildings"
(overheard whilst taking photos).

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Market Cross

The exhibition space still needs a little bit of finessing for the Private View - but it looks really interesting already (big thanks to all involved). I overheard lots of positive and curious comments as people passed by whilst I was taking these pix.

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More about New Art Spaces here and see below (via Twitter) where there should be further contact details should you need them. Note - there is no street parking at Churchgate House - there are car parking details and local info on the Bolton Council website   





My (acrylic) paint is drying as quickly as I can squeeze it out of the tube - yet here I am - still looking for that perfect hot summer blue (which in reality has faded from blazing to pastel as the afternoon has gone on). Yes I know they all look the same here - but they are quite different in Real Life lol!

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I'm also using up the semi-dried paint I've already squeezed out- making for some interesting dragging and scraping marks and textures. (Apologies for rank images but being outside in the shade gives the images a blue cast).

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VS | New Art Spaces Leigh & Cross Street Arts




Launch Event: New Art Spaces Bolton

Posted on 11 August 2016

In creative partnership with neo:artists, Castlefield Gallery is excited to be launching its latest New Art Spaces at Churchgate House, Bolton on Saturday 27 August, 12-7pm.

Registered charity and art organisation CG launched New Art Spaces (NAS) in 2012 to make available temporarily empty properties to artists in which to create and present new work to audiences. From empty retail units, warehouses and office spaces, artists, artist groups and artist development agencies have been transforming these spaces into project and pop-up exhibition spaces.

With the help of charity property provider Hammond Associates, CG has been able to take on four temporarily vacant shop units and two large office spaces at Churchgate House, Bolton for developing and showcasing new art and artistic talent in Greater Manchester.

Members of the public will be able to see VS, a joint exhibition by New Art Spaces Leigh and Cross Street Arts, as well as exploring project spaces by artists Paul Turnock, Steph Shipley, James Bloomfield, Marguerite Heywood, and Geoff Levy.

“NAS Bolton provides a range of spaces for visual artists to test new and ambitious work in a collaborative environment. Coinciding with both the opening of the neo:printprize in the Market Place Shopping Centre and the Bolton Food and Drink Festival, we look forward to welcoming visitors to Churchgate House for an opportunity to meet the artists and to see the diverse and engaging work being developed and exhibited in the spaces.” Nicholas James, New Art Spaces Coordinator, Castlefield Gallery

The launch of NAS Bolton marks the beginning of a creative partnership with Bolton-based neo:artists, who will be working with CG to manage the Churchgate House spaces, enabling both organisations to consolidate and enhance their artist support and development work.

“This is an exciting collaboration with Castlefield Gallery, giving artists in the region more amazing opportunities.” Jason Simpson, Director, neo:artists

Address: New Art Spaces Bolton, Churchgate House, Churchgate, Bolton BL1 1HL

a golden haar


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Acrylic on canvas (40 x 50cm)

I was referring to this as work in progress, but I love the loose sketchiness of it - so I'm calling it done. I did a load of captures in my sketchbook of haar on the beach and beyond; over clifftop fields and woodland. Love the smokiness and gauziness against the richness of the sea and the brilliant skies beyond.

back to sea


Some WIP images ...

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... which I think will probably stay as is - this one I've already changed (below) ...

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... and this one (below) I'm not sure if I'll do anything with and am quite pleased with. Of course the hard part is deciding finished or no - and coming up with titles for them.

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These are all acrylic on canvas.







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I got two pieces finished (24 x30" canvasses), a fair bit of stuff in my workbook and a dozen pieces wrapped and archived. I've decided on a few canvasses to be recycled/reused too.

Another little plug for Artwork Archive for helping me get (and keep) an organised database of work. The tariff I'm on now, allows for 100 pieces to be managed - which is about the maximum I can physically store here in my home studio. I only AA paintings - not prints - except for anything that I've donated (and which I'd like to keep a record of). I have only touched on the full features of AA and hope to get going with some of the others in the next few weeks. AA has a free 30 day trial so you can see if it's for you - I'm paying $4 or just over £3 a month for the lowest tier. BTW I'm not an affiliate - just a happy user passing on a good experience. 

All in all, not my busiest week from the point of view of painting - but considering I've had the most horrendous cold/cough that has set my immune system into overdrive (hello swollen glands) - I'll take that as a result lol.

Back on the timer again to make sure I don't overdo things and put myself back, health-wise - there's always next week!

work in progress


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Bringing this spread from my workbook to canvas (24 x 30"). Needs further working to bring a bank of ultramarine in. This is the hard part for me - waiting for the underpainting to dry so as not to work the whole thing into mud.


I thought that was exactly what I'd done with a painting yesterday - but today, looking at it with fresh eyes - it looks quiet and meditative.

finding it


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Work in progress - looking for the place - do you do this? I can see the place in both orientations, but I'm impatiently waiting for the paint to dry down so I can decide and act. Not helped by the water being switched off for 'essential maintenance'. I'm hoping my water stash will keep me in brews for the day.

The image below is the closest to it given that the paint is still wet.

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the storms that never were



It has been so heavy and humid this week - and we had weather-warnings for thunderstorms and heavy rain. However (she said tempting fate) so far - nothing. Some very dramatic skies and queasy light - but apart from the occasional shower of big drops - nothing. So I've had to resort to inventing the storms that never were - a series of small works on paper (A4) using acrylic over monoprints.




the storm we need to have


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We've had weather warnings for the past 24 hours for thunderstorms and rain, and whilst we have had the odd shower - nothing to lift or clear the humid, mugginess of this week. When the sun is out, it feels like someone turned the saturation up too far - then we get wild, bruised skies that promise a storm, but that pass so quickly, it's like it never was. Outside smells of rain and feels restless. The birds are hunkered down, waiting - only a bold robin comes and scuffs around for fallen seed under the feeder. 

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I've taken a break from archiving to try and capture something of the drama and to imagine the storm to come. I've been monoprinting and overpainting in acrylic - trying to take these captures onto canvas.

more archiving



Over mountain and dark sea, the sun made our wings bronze

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We meet


Pink horizon; storm approaches


Gold light




No heartsease here

... on a day too hot to think, and still I want to draw or paint. We are due to have overnight storms so maybe then.


archiving and liking


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Is it conceited to dig out your own old work and like it? Well, that's what I've been up to today. Wrapping and Artwork Archiving and physically archiving - and beginning to stocktake unused canvasses/media.

That one up there with the sig on? Never going to happen again. I had to put that on to get it considered for a show - hated being compelled to do it and hate the way it looks.

So, nothing to overpaint so far - but two canvasses with damaged hangers that need restretching/remounting.





on hiatus-y

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Not really on hiatus, but more like mulling-over and sorting-out. I'm having a good old root out of my studio - deciding what to keep, what to recycle, how to store stuff et al. I also need to schedule in some events and so on - holiday ructions have meant a distinct drift of late. I thought I wouldn't be around for some things I could have got involved with but didn't. Anyhoo - enough still to do.

I don't know how I should be storing my work - but in the interim I have bought a huge roll of heavy kraft paper to construct giant envelopes for the canvasses that I want to keep. I have a dearth of storage space here anyway.

I'm hoping to be installed in some studio space at Cross St by the end of the summer. It would be great to be a part of the Open Studios this year. We'll see. 

I went to the Degree Show at Bolton and actually enquired about doing one. It was lovely to be around arty-folks - but, I dunno. My artwork is hardly intellectual/cerebral and nor do I really want it to be. As I said, lots of mulling :) 

Next stop, Warrington Contemporary Art Fair (WCAF) - woot!



fog makes ghosts of us all (expanded)

More on the previous theme and an overworking of the original.

Inspired by the drawing-with-fog work in my sketchbook. No fog here today, but a softening haze of misty drizzle is making the landscape satisfyingly indistinct (and the light for photographing work - crap rather trying).

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The Red Cut


The earth at home is very dark and loamy, with great caramel-coloured ribbons of clay running through it. Here, in places - it is red and livid against all the lush green of summer.

We frequently came across great curves of cut earth as diggers and construction work opened the land. I'm hoping to develop these sketches further as I love the dynamics of such a visceral image.


stormy skies and early summer



Wild and vibrant light. Greens so fizzy and sherbet. By contrast, the ever-present brooding dark skies and brilliant sun making colours almost fluorescent in their intensity. 




Can you see the fringe of blue forget-me-nots in the verge?

And then came Ophelia ...



- spinning her falling portals and sending dancing ripples into the air ...


useful things to remember


I get Artwork Archive newsletters (being a subscriber) and received one recently that was so timely and pertinent, given my squee deficit. An interview with Anne Kullaf ding-ding-dinged with me so deeply - reading things like:

Be authentic. Paint only that which interests you in the way you choose to paint it. Don't change your approach to gain sales, popularity or acceptance. You will never do your best work if you do.

... so enjoyed this interview and the six bite-size advice points - reassuring.


forest field and sky


"Dr James Fox takes a journey through six different landscapes across Britain, meeting artists whose work explores our relationship to the natural world. From Andy Goldsworthy's beautiful stone sculptures toJames Turrell's extraordinary sky spaces, this is a film about art made out of nature itself. Featuring spectacular images of landscape and art, James travels from the furthest reaches of the Scottish coast and the farmlands of Cumbria to woods of north Wales. In each location he marvels at how artists' interactions with the landscape have created a very different kind of modern art - and make us look again at the world around us."