Welcome to my Blog Posts

I'm Anne Mackinnnon. When I'm painting in the garden or somewhere in the countryside or in a new city I can jot down my thoughts here. About what I'm doing and where I'm going.

Farfield Mill – saved.

Monday, December 10th, 2018

It’s been an exciting time at Farfield Mill as we managed to raise over £346,000 in shares which meant the mill has been saved from closure. We’re not quite sure how we did it but we did! My studio is in the grounds of the mill and so, although our place wasn’t at risk, we would have missed the buzz of the mill. It would also have been tragic for all those artists who have studios there and the staff who would have lost their jobs. It is a lovely place to visit in the midst of glorious countryside in the Yorkshire Dales so it would have been a sad loss if it had had to close.

A new website has been set up recently called Dales Discoveries and my work will be going on it. I love painting the scenery around here and since  working in pastels, my work has become more dark and moody than when I work in watercolour. Here’s one of my latest on my easel in the studio.

Pastels

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

My exhibition at The Parsonage in Didsbury finishes on Sunday. It’s been going well and has been very popular. Our Opening was very busy. There was another opening in the adjoining gallery. They provided wine and we had tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes. Our visitors were drinking their wine and their visitors were eating our cakes, so, it was a good ‘do’. We also had a ‘Meet the Artists’ event on another Sunday. A friend of mine travelled up from Whitstable to be there on this day. I hadn’t seen her for nearly a year so it was lovely to have her there and a good chance for her to meet some of my other friends too.

I was pleased with how my new pastel drawings looked. I’ve done another one since the exhibition and am now going to go bigger. I treated myself to some large, bright paper and some more gorgeous pastels at Cass Arts in Manchester yesterday and I’m looking forward to doing some more.

Spectrum

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

My exhibition of paintings as part of The Green Door Art Trail came down on Sunday and today, Tuesday, I have been hanging my next exhibition at The Parsonage House in Didsbury. It isn’t easy, the walls are very high and the ladders are wobbly. Still, I am enjoying working with Carolyn Murphy and Cate Gibson, the other exhibitors, and the exhibition is going to look great once it’s up which will be tomorrow, hopefully!!

Here’s the flyer.

Art Trail 2018

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

The Green Door Art Trail is coming up and again I’ll be exhibiting in The Athanaeum in Leasgill near Milnthorpe in Cumbria.  I had some wooden screens made last year to hang my small paintings but the screens only just fitted into the car. I keep meaning to get a local joiner to saw 6inches off the tops and I’d better get a move on as the trail takes place on the weekend of the 29th and 30th September.

Unfortunately, that’s the day of the launch of the Share Offer at Farfield Mill. We’re hoping it will be a busy weekend at the mill with lots of people wanting to buy shares so as many trustees, staff, resident artists etc need to be on hand as possible. I wont be able to be there but I will be back in time for the party for the ‘Great and Good’ (and wealthy!) of Sedbergh and district in the evening! We’ve got to raise £365,000 to keep the mill going. We’ve been promised £100,000 of matched funding so only need another £265,000!!

Here’s the Green Door  Art Trail flyer.

 

500 to 1!

Monday, August 27th, 2018

Great news from Farfield Mill because at a recent EGM, we won the vote by 500 to 1 to become a CBS. This means we’ll become a co-operative and people will be able to buy shares. This is the only way the mill will survive as it needs serious money investing in it to bring it up to date, repair the roof etc.

It’s been an emotional time, not without problems but we (the trustees) the resident artists, staff etc are ecstatic and now must get on with selling shares!

Meantime I’ve been working in my studio and getting ready for an exhibition at the Parsonage in Didsbury. A friend came to stay recently and we both enjoyed a week of drawing. Me in pastel and her in pencil.

Here’s one I was working on.

 

France

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

We’re just back from a holiday in France. We spent 4 days staying on a houseboat on the River Seine right outside the Musee D’Orsay. It was great sitting on deck watching the other boats go by and of course, we visited the Musee D’Orsay. All the Impressionists were there but my favourite rooms were of Bonnard and Vuillard where there were paintings of theirs I’d never seen before.

We then moved on, by train, to North of the Loire where we stayed in a gite in the middle of nowhere. After driving through towns with no-one on the street and all the shutters closed, you’d find a small restaurant and it would be packed! By 1.30 the towns would be deserted again! We visited some very pretty medieval towns and Le Mans, where we caught the train, was amazing with narrow cobbled streets and 14th century timber framed houses. In the UK it would have been heaving with visitors but there were only a few of us tourists. The cathedral like many of the other churches had beautiful painted frescos and pillars dating back several centuries.

Some of the most fun nights were spent watching the World Cup in various bars. It was surprising to see that the Americans and French were cheering for England when they were playing. So, we aren’t hated by everyone after all.

I enjoyed painting and here I am in the garden of the gite being critiqued by the owners’ cat.

Sunshine

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

It’s been glorious weather during the whole of May and into June. I think we’ve had less rain in the North West than in the South of England for  a change! I went on a coach trip with a local gardening club to two gardens and nurseries in York and Halifax recently. The gardens were gorgeous but it was very cold and when we arrived back in Manchester the sun was still shining!! I bought several plants of course. I can always find a space!

We held a Plant Sale at Farfield Mill on the weekend of June 9th in aid of the Friends of Farfield Mill. I had sowed several trays of lettuce seedlings but I don’t think the hot weather had suited them as they struggled to grow and some of them are still looking rather weedy!  We did very well at the sale and raised some much needed funds for the mill and I managed to sell some of the more healthy looking lettuce seedlings too!

Whitworth Park, where The Whitworth Gallery is situated, has also been looking lovely, especially in the Spring when the blossom is on the trees. I painted it and have had the painting printed as a postcard so they can also raise some money! Here it is. You can just see the windows of the gallery peeping through the trees on the left!

Green Walk

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

I exhibited my work at Green Walk again this year. An Arts and Crafts Festival has been taking place in this cul-de-sac in a suburb of Manchester for 12 years. It is always on the first May Bank Holiday weekend and this is the first year in all that time that the weather has been so hot!! This is  cul-de-sac is a little oasis in this part of Manchester. It has a beautiful green in the middle of it where people picnicked, played games, musicians played etc. I was exhibiting in one of the houses and as well as showing my paintings, I met loads of people who I hadn’t seen for years. It was a great weekend, though it was just a shame that I spent all the glorious weather indoors!

Conservatory Cactus

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Sadly our wonderful, tall cactus has died. It was tucked in a corner and I think we neglected it. I did this painting in my sketch book nearly 20 years ago and it grew to 4ft. There’s been another demise in the conservatory and that is our Weeping Fig. It had been a gift from students and must have been even older. So, we have more space now in the conservatory for the lemon trees which are getting very large. It’s nearly time for them to go in the garden but they are very heavy as they’re in large pots. The student lads next door come in useful as they help to carry them out!!

The seedlings are finally germinating (hopefully the tomatoes wont be as leggy as these!) after a very slow season and other plants in the garden are pushing through and coming to life. The Magnolia tree and Camelias are looking glorious.

Snow

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

We’ve had our place in Sedbergh for nearly four years now and hardly seen any snow but it’s making up for it this year! I’ve been keen to do some snow paintings and so have been having some good walks, all wrapped up and taking photos to work from. There are lots of hills round here, of course, and it’s been great seeing people tobogganing and having fun. It’s not been too good for visitor numbers to the mill, however.

We had a good trip on Friday (before the snow came) to Liverpool to see the John Piper exhibition.  We then visited the Walker Gallery (our favourite) and discovered the Singh Twins exhibition. The subject matter was challenging at times, as it looked back to times of the Raj and exploitation in the textile trade but the twins who are from Liverpool, employ traditional techniques used in Indian miniature painting to produce vibrant, exquisitely-detailed paintings. We bumped into an old friend from Anglesey who we hadn’t seen for many years. She was also visiting both exhibitions. She used to be a textile designer like me and we both loved the Singh Twins exhibition as their painting of the Indian fabrics was glorious.

As if we need a reminder, here’s a snow painting I’m working on at the moment.

Pruning

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

It’s been such a miserable month that I have only been to the allotment once and that was for a quick visit to prune a few of the Autumn Raspberries. I managed to get into the garden the other day but was depressed to see soggy leaves everywhere. I obviously didn’t clear as many away last Autumn as I usually do. I was going to prune the Fuchsias but then heard there’s a very cold spell coming so thought I’d better leave them. I hope it snows again so I can do some more painting of snow on the fields and hills.

Our gardening friend Hazel gave us a Hydrangea Paniculata (to give its full name) a couple of years ago but I don’t know how to prune it. I’m confident pruning the large blousey ones but this one’s more delicate. I’ll have to ask her to help me. It was so beautiful last year that I painted it and it’s a reminder of lovely seasons to come.

January 2018

Friday, January 26th, 2018

I’ve been to a couple of workshops on acrylic painting recently. I have lots of tubes of paint but never get around to using it mainly because, unlike watercolour,  it dries so quickly. I experimented with some different ways of using it and so plan to dust off my tubes and have a go at home!

It’s been pretty wet this month so I haven’t gone for many walks. There has been some snow so the hills have looked beautiful, especially when the sun was shining. The hedgerows are pretty bare except for holly and ivy. There are still some berries on the holly that the birds haven’t eaten but there are plenty of flowers on the ivy for birds and insects to eat.  I took some home and painted it. In watercolour, of course!

 

Christmas 2017

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

December has been so busy that I’ve just realised that I haven’t written anything all month.

It’s been hectic at the mill organising Christmas exhibitions. It was free entry over the weekend of my birthday with lots of events and activities for children. We called it Festive Farfield and it was great fun. We had all gathered a few days before to decorate the mill and it was good to see staff, resident artists, trustees etc all mucking in and getting into the festive spirit. We have had a challenging year and aren’t out of the woods yet but our Just Giving site is bringing in some well needed revenue before we become a Co-op in the New Year.

We went to London for a few days and caught up with several old friends for lunch. We saw ‘Follies’ at The National which was brilliant and very emotional, also ‘The Play that Went Wrong’ which was very funny. My favourite exhibition was of Degas Drawings. Although I’d seen most of them many times before, there was something about the way the exhibition was curated that made it special and inspired me to get out my pastels again!

We’re having a great Christmas with family and friends in Manchester. I feel like I’m running a B&B at the moment with different people staying each night, then we’re back to Sedbergh for the New Year.

I thought the following photos of round the corner in Withington and outside my studio door at Farfield sum up our dual life. No prizes for guessing which is which!!

I hope you have all been having a very Happy Christmas and wish you a very Happy New Year.

Newcastle

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Graham and I visited Newcastle last weekend. Our main reason for going was to see the exhibition of a friend who was exhibiting her large patchworks at the City Library. It was a mixed exhibition with work from different artists inspired by the library’s big books collection.

We were very impressed with the city, it was small enough to get around easily and had some lovely old buildings. We went to a Paul Nash exhibition at The Laing Gallery and I saw again the paintings he had painted after being a soldier at the Battle of Passchendaele in Ypres. My Grandfather had fought in that battle and it was quite emotional to imagine him in such a desolate place amongst all the slaughter.

We went to The Baltic Gallery in Gateshead and really enjoyed it there, especially the lunch. We also visited The Biscuit Factory which had displays of work by a variety of artists and crafts people, just like at Farfield Mill. Talking of which, we are now ready for Christmas at the mill. A crowd of us stayed late last week and decorated it with holly and ivy and lots of baubles. It is the Christmas Fair, Festive Farfield, this coming weekend so we are hoping for lots of visitors as we have some great work for sale.

It’s getting cold now but I’ve managed to draw outside when the sun has been shining. I’m enjoying working with pen and ink again and am inspired by the stone barns and our mill buildings.

Elterwater

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

It was the opening of the exhibition at Merz Barn recently, organised by the Green Door Art Group. A friend was staying with us so we went along. We first visited Elterwater where there were Morris Dancers performing outside the pub. I noticed that a lot of them were women. As usual it seems these groups need women to keep them going!

The exhibition was in a small barn that had once been a cattle shed. It looked very cosy with a roaring fire in the stove. When they were putting up the exhibition the electricity had cut out so they had to finish by candle and torch light!! But you wouldn’t have known! Most of the paintings were inspired by the work of Kurt Schwitters and mine was the only one that showed the barn!

Autumn Exhibitions

Monday, September 18th, 2017

My exhibition has come down now. The final weekend was busy because the mill was taking part in Open Heritage Weekend. It was also Meet the makers so I was there along with the other artists who are currently exhibiting. A patchwork artist who is coming to exhibit at Farfield Mill in the Spring came along with a huge bunch of gladioli for me so that was a treat to end my exhibition.

I then spent the next couple of days putting up the next exhibitions. One is by Re-View Textiles, a Wirral based textile collective and the other is by Access Art, a participatory project run by AccessArt  www.accessart.org.uk/accessartvillage which is a UK education charity which supports and inspires teaching and learning in the visual arts. The project aimed to inspire individuals of all ages and abilities to contribute a sewn drawing of their home towards a larger, collaborative artwork.

The resulting installation of over 700 3D models shows work by children next to that of accomplished artists and older generations. We are hoping to reach a wide audience to come and see this fantastic exhibition at Farfield Mill.

Merz Barn

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

I had never heard of this project before Green Door, the art group I belong to, announced it would be holding an exhibition there in Sept. Located in a remote woodland in the heart of the Langdale valley in Cumbria, Merz Barn still stands as Kurt Schwitters left it unfinished in 1948. Schwitters was a German artist who could be considered to be the first installation artist. He created several of these barns but all but this one were destroyed. After his arrival in England during the war and especially after hearing of the destruction of the Hanover Merzbau,  Schwitters was desperate to resume what he considered to be his lifetime’s work, and create a final, permanent Merzbau. This he started just outside Elterwater in 1947 but it was never completed. A Trust is now trying to restore this derelict barn to what it would have been.

Graham and I visited there recently.  It is a magical place and we were full of admiration for the couple who stay there and caretake the area. I painted in the sunshine and look forward to the exhibition to see how others responded to this special place.

North and South

Monday, August 14th, 2017

My exhibition is up. Here’s the flier. I’ve called it North and South as I wanted to include some of my paintings from Southern France and Spain. However, I’ve also included some of my New York paintings and others from Tokyo, so maybe it should have been called North and South, East and West!

In the other gallery at Farfield Mill is an exhibition of work in wood by three woodworkers. It’s called ‘Into the Woods’ and you enter through some branches of trees. They give off a lovely aroma which adds to the atmosphere.

The mill is very busy at the moment with lots of visitors to the area. There is a mouse trail for the children to follow and some looms where you can have a go. All the studios are full now with weavers, jewellers, painters, knitters etc. So, it’s a good place to visit, especially when it’s raining!!

Exhibition, Farfield Mill

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

It’s been a busy time at Farfield Mill recently. We have been organising a Stash Sale which means we have invited artists and craftspeople to hire a table to sell any beads, wool, fabric, weaving equipment etc that they no longer want. It takes place this Sunday July 16th and it’s also been a good opportunity to clear out the cupboards at the mill. Three of us spent all Friday sorting out one of the cupboards. Most of it will go into the sale, some was given to two of our new resident artists who upcycle garments and recycle fabric and some of it went in the skip!

As well as this, I am getting ready for my exhibition at the mill which opens on Aug. 3rd. A friend of mine is coming up from Manchester to help me hang it.  It’s going to be quite a rush as we are going to a wedding in Derby on the Sunday before but most of my paintings are now being framed so I think I’ll be ready. Here’s one of them. It is of a quiet place by the river near my studio

 

Workshop

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

I spent a day in a Junior School in Dalton in Furness last week. It was their Art Day and I and six other artists spent the day working with the children in different types of media. Mine was watercolour. The teacher organising it said that they are under constant pressure to ensure all children achieve high levels in English and Maths but they also believe that art is incredibly important. I was pleased to hear this and so, although I am not used to working with children, I agreed to take part.

In the morning I worked with 8 and 9 year olds and they were very enthusiastic. We took photos and made sketches of the lovely garden in the school grounds and then they painted from them. In the afternoon, it was very different. The children were 10 and 11 year olds and already self conscious and didn’t want to make mistakes.

I tried to get the children to enjoy themselves and just see what happened but I left the school feeling I had failed. The teacher has since told me that they have been talking about the work and have been painting again and this time trying not to be afraid! So, maybe it wasn’t so bad after all and if some of them were inspired to keep painting then that’s great!

Manchester

Monday, May 29th, 2017

I went into Manchester today. I needed some shopping but I also went to St. Ann’s Square to see the flowers and balloons left after the bomb a week ago. I’ve often felt ambivalent about people leaving flowers in this way but it was rather emotional. People were coming from all directions with bunches of flowers and it was moving to see children taking such care over writing messages. Some were writing in chalk on the pavement, others attaching the messages to their flowers. Most people I know, knows someone who was at the concert.

I had organised a coach trip to Manchester on Tuesday, the morning after the bomb, for some of the Friends of Farfield Mill in Cumbria. Several people didn’t come but I decided to continue with the trip. We have to carry on living our lives as normal as we can. What else can we do?

Art Trail

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Graham and I are both now Directors at Farfield Mill so it’s a hectic time at the moment with endless emails and meetings every other day. Still, I think we’re making progress.
I took part in an Art Trail at the weekend. It was run by the Green Door Art Group and there were exhibitions in venues across the Kendal area. I was exhibiting in Leasgill near Milnthorpe with six other artists. It was glorious weather all over the weekend so we were worried that this would keep the visitors away but plenty came and it was a successful show. Here’s my stand. Please admire the screens, there are three of them but you can only see two! I had to get them made specially for this exhibition. They worked well but weigh a ton so weren’t easy to transport!!

Storm Doris

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

We went to London at the weekend to catch up with exhibitions, theatre and friends. Unfortunately, we were going on Thurs. the day of Storm Doris and ended up spending it at Manchester Piccadilly station as there were no trains running! We had booked to see The Lion King that evening. I have been wanting it to see for years but we finally had to give up waiting to see if there would be a train when we knew we wouldn’t get there in time even if one did run. So, we went home and set off again the following morning. After that we had a great time. We saw Paul Nash and Hockney at Tate Britain and America after the Fall and the Russian Revolution exhibition at the RA. We went to the National Theatre to see a strange play and met several friends.
The weather wasn’t great but it didn’t matter. We’ve had all weathers this February. It’s been sunny, mild, wet and we even had some snow this morning but we have managed to do some work on the allotment and I went to Dunham Massey recently to see the Winter Garden as the bulbs are now coming up. It inspired me to get out painting again.

2017

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything because my website has been playing up. I’m not sure where to start as it’s been a busy month! We had a great Christmas and New Year and I’m now a Trustee on the board of Farfield Mill! This is rather daunting as the mill is in a bad way financially. There is a new group of people on the board who are very enthusiastic so we have lots of plans to save it. Our cottage is not affected. It is the main mill building next door to us that is an Arts and Heritage Centre which is in trouble. It would be very sad if it closed down so we’re working hard to make sure it doesn’t.

I still have contacts with Bollington. I took part in an exhibition in November and through that I have cards and prints for sale at the Bridgend Centre. I visited recently and was intending painting the hills but it was so foggy that I couldn’t see them! I parked in a lay-by and did a quick sketch of winter trees.

New Light Auction

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

I have recently submitted a painting for an auction run by New Light whose aim is to make Northern visual arts available to everyone through exhibitions, lending art to hospices, schools etc and through an education programme which includes talks, workshops and school projects. The aim of the auction is to raise money to be able to continue with this aim. Its called a 100 for 100 and the paintings submitted had to be small and unframed. I decided to put in one of my paintings of the view out of the window of the cottage of our friends, Eve and Duncan. It is near near Kendal and I’d painted there many times. Eve gave Duncan one of my paintings of the view for his 60th birthday. Now they’re about to move, so it will be a good memory.

This is the one I put in for the on-line auction which starts this Friday.underbarrow

Slovenia

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Zrece in Slovenia is twinned with Sedbergh and a group of ten artists came to visit recently. I joined them one day in the local community hall for a day’s painting. They were a very friendly, jolly crowd but only four of them seemed to be interested in painting. I think the others had just come along for the ride and spent most of the day chatting and drinking! October’s been glorious with lots of sunshine but the week they were here seemed to rain a lot. However, it didn’t spoil their trip and they were very surprised by how friendly the English are. They said they get a very different impression of us when seeing us in films!

Yesterday I went to the last day of a wonderful Winifred Nicholson exhibition at Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal. It was mostly of her paintings when she was living in Cumbria. She loved painting flowers and several of the paintings on show were of vases of flowers on her windowsill with Cumbrian hills in the distance. A subject I love.

I visited a garden near Kendal recently which was open for charity. The garden was beautiful and I was inspired to paint it showing the Cumbrian hills in the distance.
Garden view

Sheepfest again

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

It’s Sheepfest this weekend and Graham and I are just finishing off our sheep. This year the subject is Book titles as Sedbergh is a book town. Graham and I wanted to continue our themes from last year when I made David Hockney and Graham made Jeremy Corbyn.

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I have made Van Gogh so my book is a ‘How to’ book, in this case ‘How to paint sunflowers!’ Graham has made Donald Trump!! He couldn’t resist it. I believe he has written a book about how to succeed in business!! As usual we took advantage of friends who were visiting to help us. David, from Phoenix did a wonderful job building up Donald with masking tape and bubblewrap and has gone home inspired to make some sheep to sit on his back step in the desert!! Hazel, is an expert needle woman and sewed some of the fiddly bits for Vincent.
And I am using a painting our niece Megan painted of sunflowers, for the cover of the book Vincent will be holding. Here it is.

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Swifts

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

I haven’t written anything for a while as my website has been playing up!
We’ve been having a busy Summer with lots of visitors. The swifts have gone which is sad. I’ve been enjoying watching them which is amazing considering I didn’t know what they looked like before moving here! Their numbers have been going down over recent years because old barns are being converted and the little holes, where they used to nest, are being filled in. A group of swift enthusiasts in Sedbergh are checking their nesting sites and putting up nesting boxes in the eaves of houses. I was given the job of checking where they are nesting at Farfield Mill, where there are several old barns. They go into their nests at dusk so, recently, I could be seen standing in the field at 10pm getting bitten by midges and staring up at the tops of the old barns!! They are very quick. If you blink you can miss them.

The hedgerows have been looking beautiful. I just had to paint some of the flowers.Hedgerow flowers

Farfield Mill exhibition

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

I’ve got two paintings in an exhibition of my Art Group at Farfield Mill. They had to go through a selection process and the day of submission was while we were away in Spain!! Fortunately my sister and brother-in-law (Sheila and Mike) were staying at our mill for a few days and so I emailed my sister images of the paintings I wanted her to take and so they are up. It would have been frustrating if I hadn’t been able to exhibit in the mill next door. Sheila and Mike were at our place during all the glorious weather recently and had a lovely time. If anything, they said it was too warm. The insulation and double glazing are very effective!!

Here’s one of the paintings in the exhibition.

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Spain

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

We’re just back from 2 weeks in Spain and it’s been a treat to come home to such lovely weather. We had a great time, staying in Malaga and Seville. We started our holiday staying with our friends Sue and Gordon in their glorious hotel, Finca el Cerillo, in the hills above Malaga. They managed to get some time off to spend with us so that was an added bonus. We then spent a few days in Malaga and then went to Seville and stayed in an apartment in the centre of the historical quarter so we were very near the cathedral. It is a beautiful city and I loved the Real Alcazar which is a Moorish palace with beautiful carvings, tiles and an enormous garden with a fountain that played a tune.

We finished our holiday back in Malaga near the botanical gardens where I did some painting. If my scanner was working I’d show one of them but instead here is a photo of some of the carving in the Moorish palace.IMG_0636

Bollington, Brigsteer and Bluebells

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

My two exhibitions in Bollington and Brigsteer have finished now and so I’ve been able to get back to painting. A friend from art college days has been to stay. She lives in London and it was her first trip out of the city for a year. She really enjoyed having a complete change of scene and as the weather was so good we spent a couple of days painting outside.

One day while in Sedbergh we spotted a sign for an Open Garden. It was just through a gate off the car park in Sedbergh, and it was glorious. There were 2 acres of garden including a courtyard full of tulips and anemones and a bluebell wood. I couldn’t believe it was there just tucked behind the car park. The lady owner used to be a textile designer, like Gill and me and invited us to stay and paint. It was a lovely find.

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Bollington Arts Centre

Monday, April 18th, 2016

My exhibition has got off to a good start. I have to be there every Sunday from 2 to 4pm until May 8th so I have done two Sundays so far. They were both very busy and I made some very good sales. It’s like having five openings and I am hoping that people spread themselves out over the five Sundays so I don’t get bored! Here’s the invitation:
Invite

Easter

Monday, March 28th, 2016

It’s been a blustery Easter but not as bad as down South, by the sound of it! We’ve been on some walks and a friend with her dog came to stay. Most of the shops in Sedbergh were open all over the weekend. They wanted to take advantage of all the walkers who were out and about. As one of them said to me; “if we want to be a destination town, we have to be open!”
I’ve been busy preparing for my next exhibition which opens in Bollington on April 10th. Paintings are being framed but there’s still lots to do.
Country Walk

Snowdrops

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

It was lovely to be able to walk in the sunshine at the weekend and there were a few lambs in the fields. There aren’t any sheep in the fields near us at the moment so I hope they come back when their lambs are born. Last year we enjoyed walking up the lane to watch them skipping around at the end of the day.

There were glorious drifts of snowdrops. They have been wonderful this year and have lasted for weeks. I remember they were looking beautiful in late January when I visited Harlow Carr with my sister and it’s now mid March. Maybe they are different varieties or else they liked the wet winter!

This is a painting of snowdrops in the Winter Garden at Harlow Carr.

Snowdrops HCarr

The Bath House

Monday, February 15th, 2016

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I visited my exhibition at the Bath House and was pleased with how it looked. Despite it being awful weather, it was very busy in the exhibition. I expect people were pleased to have somewhere warm to go inside. My cards were selling very well and so my sister visited again yesterday to deliver some more. She’s been there three times now in as many weeks! It’s a good job she lives quite nearby and is a member of the RHS!

Harlow Carr

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

I went to the RHS gardens in Harlow Carr on Tuesday with my sister to deliver my paintings for an exhibition in February.  There is a lovely old building in the grounds of the gardens which used to be The Bath House in Victorian Times. A company called Just Makers has now taken it over and they hold exhibitions there. They asked me to take part. I will be showing paintings, mostly my garden ones, prints and cards throughout February.

After a coffee in Bettys, we had a walk through the gardens. It was a miserable day in January and yet the gardens still looked lovely. Gardener’s Question Time came from Harlow Carr on Sunday and they mentioned a Winter Walk so I hope that brings the crowds flocking in and looking at my work.

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Happy New Year 2016

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Jodi's treeWe had a good New Year’s Eve and the rain stopped for long enough over the last couple of days for us to be able to get out for some walks. I am now preparing for an exhibition at the RHS garden, Harlow Carr. I’m also helping at Farfield Mill as it closes for two weeks in January  for cleaning and refurbishment. Today, I’ve been painting the display stands. There is a plan to extend the cafe so they can be open on occasional evenings and also rent it out for groups. It looks like the mill is being revitalised so that’s good news.

It’s all change in Sedbergh as well, as two of the three pubs are closed at the moment. We’re not sure about The Bull but the landlady of our favourite pub has just retired. We have heard that a new owner will be taking over soon but no-one seems to know anything about them. We just hope they don’t change it too much and so lose the atmosphere and that they keep the coal fire!

The days are rather grey at the moment. It would be good to have some bright, crisp winter days but the landscape here is still great to paint.

Christmas 2015

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

Fortunately our river at Farfield Mill hasn’t flooded though there have been some worrying moments! We were away in London for two days at the beginning of the week at a friend’s birthday party so we missed another of the storms. Our neighbour sent us this photo taken from our fence!  There’s another couple of feet to go before it reaches the top so I hope Storm Eva isn’t as bad as is feared.

We had a free day in London so we visited the Peter Lanyon exhibition at The Courtauld and then Giacometti’s portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. It was good to be in London just before Christmas, though I was disappointed with the lights on the tree in Trafalgar Square.

It’s been a good Christmas with parties on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. We have family ‘dos’ tomorrow and Monday and then will be missing the annual New Year’s Eve party but spending it, instead, with a friend in Cumbria. I hope the rain stops so we can get out for some walks. It would be good to see some Winter sun.

This was the River Clough outside our door on Tues. 22nd.

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Stormy Cumbria

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

It was my birthday last week and in several of the cards from my friends in the South there were comments about the snow in Cumbria! I can’t say that snow has been a problem but the wind and rain has!! My sister and brother-in-law visited on Saturday from Leeds and decided to come by train to Garsdale instead of driving across country in the dark. When we took them back for the 7.15 train we were told there were no more trains to Leeds because the signals were out of action. As they needed to get home that evening it meant a mad dash to Oxenholme station which is in the other direction from Sedbergh and along very wet, stormy, winding, hilly roads.  Fortunately they made the train in time but I’m not sure they’ll be visiting in the Winter again for a while! We were pretty exhausted too as we’d been driving for over 2 hours and it meant I missed ‘Strictly’!!

It feels like it has been raining for weeks but I have been happy in my studio painting the winter trees.

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Cumbria Life

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Great excitement because Farfield Mill has been nominated for an award in the Cumbria Life magazine awards. It was voted by the public and then chosen by a panel of judges to be in the top five of the small galleries category. It is up against stiff competition as Blackwell House is also in the running. We don’t imagine we’ll win but it’s great publicity.

Autumn has been glorious this year and I’ve been painting outside more than I managed in the summer. I’m still working in pen and ink but am combining it with watercolour and pastel. I haven’t used pastel much before, despite Graham having bought me several sets of colours. I am really enjoying the freedom it gives me, especially when combining it with watercolour. Here is a painting I am working on at the moment. The original is larger than this but I can only scan A4!

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Indian Summer

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

It was Graham’s birthday recently and we went to The Cross Keys pub for lunch, where we’ve  been meaning to go for a while. It is quite famous around here as it’s known as the Temperance Pub but as you can take your own alcohol I don’t think it is a proper one! The pub dates back to the early 17th century and has wonderful views of Cautley Spout (waterfall) and the Howgills. It’s been fabulous weather recently and so we then walked towards the Spout in the glorious sunshine.

The following day I returned to the same place to paint. It was so peaceful. you couldn’t hear a sound except the rippling of the beck.

The Cross Keys

Sheepfest 2015

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

It’s been a busy week in Sedbergh as it was Sheepfest for the second year running and it lasted for 10 days this time. Graham and I made a sheep each and they stood outside our front door. Graham’s was Jeremy Corbyn – very timely and a great talking point – and mine was David Hockney. Lots of people were following the sheep trail so we had a steady stream of visitors to our door. Graham stoically sat there for most of the week and directed them to my studio (I need some signs!) I enjoyed meeting more of the locals, including several farmers who were pointing out the fields in my paintings which were theirs!

On the opening Saturday a flock of real sheep was herded down the main street. There was much hilarity as someone opened the door of the library and they all dashed in! Apparently, if they see their reflections in the windows they try to follow them!

Here are the sheep, real and not so real

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Summer 2015

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

We had a lovely week recently as two friends, Jodi and Victor came to stay with our  friend Hazel.  Jodi, Hazel and I were at art college together but Jodi now lives in Kauai, a Hawaiian island, with her husband Victor. The weather was fine and it was great to be able to have a week doing touristy things. Victor is American and likes anything old and he really enjoyed looking around Farfield Mill. We are so used to looking round the mill now that it was good to see it through fresh eyes.

Naturally I had to take them to see my exhibition at The Brewhouse! It has been extended till mid September and after then, there will be a group exhibition of Green Door artists as they are celebrating their 20th anniversary. Here is a photo of a corner of my exhibition. The Manager of the wine bar told me it has been very popular so that’s good!

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Red/Read

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Green Door, the Art Group based in Kendal that I belong to, are organising an exhibition in Kendal Museum and we have all been asked to submit 2 paintings. The theme is Red/Read and we were told to think around the subject and not be too obvious! I decided to submit one of my New York Times Square paintings and the other one is a painting I did several years ago of a Greek island called Symi. I thought that, as Greece is in the red, this would fit the theme!

It has reminded me how lovely it is there and I think perhaps we should go back soon. I  know they could do with our money. The last time we were there, Greece was just entering the Euro. I remember one cafe owner saying what a mistake it was. I bet he’s not happy now.

This was the view from our apartment.

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Art and Craft Trail

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

I went with a friend to the Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail on Sunday. It was a lovely day and many of the studios had fabulous views of the sea. I would love to take part in it but unfortunately it is only for people who live in the immediate area. I bought a box box made out of pear wood to keep my pen nibs in and had a go at carving Portland stone.

I’m now getting my studio ready for a group who are visiting from The Friends of the Whitworth on Thursday. They are visiting Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal in the morning then coming on to the mill for lunch and a look around. After that they’re going on to Leyton Hall. The exhibition at Abbot Hall is of artists in St. Ives in the 50’s so it will be a great exhibition and I must visit soon.

Here I am having a go at carving.

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Penruddock School

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Its been a busy couple of weeks. Nephew Mark, Janella, Megan and George came to stay one weekend and we went for walks  and looked at the new born lambs. Throwing stones in the river was one of the highlights and George was happy as long as he could play with our old toy cars. I had been asked by a teacher at a Primary School near Penrith if I would go in and do a workshop with the children on painting the Cumbrian landscape. It was a new experience for me and I was quite nervous. Megan wanted to do some painting in my studio so we painted together and I tried out some exercises with her.

The workshop went well and I was impressed with the childrens’ paintings. If they had used better paper they would have done even better. At the end of the day we had a gallery of their work and invited the parents to come and see what they had done. The children were very enthusiastic and so I enjoyed it in the end!

Here are some of them with their art work.

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Spring

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

It’s been wonderful spending our first Spring in Cumbria, especially as it’s been so sunny. The swallows are back and have been swooping over the river outside our back door and there was great excitement as I saw a Kingfisher. It flew very low and very fast over the river but there was no doubting the irridescent blue of a Kingfisher.

The lambs are so cute and and I love watching them. I went for a walk recently with our neighbour who used to live on a farm. She knows all about sheep and it was very interesting to hear all about the different breeds. The only breed I’d heard of was Herdwick and this was thanks to Beatrix Potter. Graham and I went to an exhibition at  The Rheged Centre near Penrith of photographs of Herdwick sheep by Ian Lawson. He had observed these hardy sheep and their shepherds for five years and his photos are magnificent.

Grahams’ nephew and his young family are coming to stay soon so we are hoping the lambs don’t grow up too quickly.

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The Brewhouse

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

I have an exhibition coming up soon at The Brewhouse in Kendal. We met our friends, Eve and Duncan there recently so I could look at the space and think about what paintings to show. I want to show a range of paintings and not just of the local area so I think I’ll include some of New York and Manchester too. It is a Wine Bar and so they will fit in. Whilst in Kendal we also had brunch at The Castle Dairy restaurant. It was delicious.

I think I will include this painting in the exhibition. I painted it looking down from the road between Sedbergh and Kendal and you can just pick out Sedbergh nestling in the distance.

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Stockport Art Gallery and War Memorial.

Monday, March 16th, 2015

I visited this gallery  last week. I haven’t been for ages but I was interested in seeing an exhibition of an artist who was at Art College with some friends of mine.  I also wanted to support the Gallery as they have been through hard times recently with cuts and threats of closure. They now have a lively team who are working hard to keep it open as an Art Gallery and they are organising some great exhibitions. I may look into having an exhibition there myself one day.

Whilst in Stockport I visited Turners, the art shop. I saw some watercolours by a company called Pip Seymour. I hadn’t heard of them before but they looked very interesting with a lovely colour range. I think I’ll treat myself to some next time I visit.

I’ll be going to Stockport again soon because Rhode Island Coffee still continues to sell my paintings of New York and there are some spaces on the walls which I need to fill. This is one of the paintings I’ll be hanging.

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The Old Parsonage

Friday, February 20th, 2015

There are just two days left of my exhibition at this gallery in Didsbury. It’s been a great success and I’ll be sorry when I have to take the paintings down.

The opening was very busy, about 200 people came, and I really enjoyed it. I was chuffed that so many of my friends turned up. I had been disappointed at first that it had to be on a Sat. afternoon, rather than the usual Fri. evening, but we had tea and cupcakes as well as pink fizz and it was a lovely day so people could also walk in the gardens.

It’s a popular place to visit so I’ve enjoyed being at the gallery on several days since it opened.  My sister and brother-in-law came as well as several more friends, the youngest being Rhys who was  5 weeks old! I’m not sure he was that interested but you never know!

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