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.

Happy New Year 2015

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

We had a great Christmas and New Year. It was a good mix of friends and family in Manchester and Cumbria. We made our annual New Year trip to London on Tues. but just visited for the day this time. I met a friend of mine and as well as Egon Schiele at the Courtauld and Grayson Perry at the National Portrait Gallery we went to see the Maggie Hambling ‘Walls of Water’ paintings at The National Gallery. This work has been inspired by the waves crashing onto the sea wall at Southwold where she lives. Also at the National was an exhibition of seascape paintings by Peder Balke, a Norwegian artist from the 1870’s. We loved his work. Much of it was painted in the very North of Norway using a neutral palette. I hadn’t heard of him before but found his seascapes atmospheric and inspiring. I then spent a couple of days with friends in Whitstable. It was lovely to catch up on news and to see the sea for real.

I now need to get myself ready for my next two exhibitions as time is running out and I’ve still several to finish and frame.

Here is the flier for the group show at The Parsonage in Didsbury.

Spectrum Flyer-A4-3-FLAT-WEB-PROOF

Kendal and Didsbury Exhibitions

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

I am busy getting ready for some exhibitions at the moment. Two are in Kendal and another is in Didsbury in Manchester. One of the exhibitions in Kendal opens on Wednesday and I am going to help hang the work tomorrow. It is in the Castle Dairy Restaurant and Art Gallery which is the oldest building in Kendal (dating back to the 1500s). The restaurant is staffed by students from Kendal College under a top chef and I have heard the food is very good. Friends of ours have been telling us about it for a while so we plan to go with them to eat there some time soon. There will be canapés at the opening so I’m looking forward to tasting them!

The other exhibition in Kendal opens in January and is in the Brewery Arts Centre. It is a group exhibition and I will be submitting two paintings but I haven’t decided which ones yet.

Yesterday, I met with three other artists with whom I will be exhibiting in Parsonage House in Didsbury next February. It is a Grade 2  listed building and the rooms, where we will hang our paintings, are very light and spacious. They look on to beautiful gardens where I have been painting for many years. Here is a painting I did of the house. I will probably include it in my exhibition.

Parsonage House Dave

Pear Mill

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Textile mills have been featuring a lot in my life recently! We have a house/studio at Farfield Mill (once a weaving mill) in Cumbria and yesterday I visited Quarry Bank Mill in Styal with The Cheshire Gardens Trust. The main aim of the visit was to see the progress of the restoration work on the garden which the owners, the Greg family, had created in the 1790s. When it is finished there will be restored glasshouses, a vegetable garden as well as flowerbeds and views of the River Bollin. The mill is a fascinating place to visit with a working waterwheel and weaving looms and these recent additions, by the National Trust, will add even more interest to a visit.

The Tourist Office in Stockport has been asking me recently for some different card designs to sell in the office. I visited Vernon Park in Stockport for some inspiration as it is a Victorian/Edwardian park and I thought there may be some interesting features. I have only been once before and hadn’t realised there was a wonderful view of Pear Mill. It was a glorious Autumnal day and the white pear on its roof stood out against the Derbyshire hills.

So, this is my new card.

Pear Mill

The Howgills.

Monday, October 27th, 2014

I’ve loved sitting in the fields around our mill in Cumbria and painting the hills. The countryside is looking beautiful now with all the trees changing colour. The sheep don’t take any notice of me, they just look up to check where I’m going and then get back to chomping the grass. Our neighbour was telling me that this is the first year that the farmer hasn’t put his cows in the field. I am relieved about that as I wouldn’t fancy sitting amongst them!! There was a bull in one of the fields near us a couple of weeks ago. He was sitting quietly with some cows and their calves. I was told that they are calm when sitting with their families! But I still wouldn’t fancy getting too near!

Some days, when I think it might rain, I have been doing some drawings in pen and ink. I have been enjoying using this medium for a change and it is less to carry!!

This is one of them.

Ink Howgills

Sheepfest

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

We’re beginning to get to know Sedbergh, the local town to our mill in Cumbria. There was a weekend event recently called Sheepfest when shops, cafes, businesses and local groups all made a sheep. They were displayed throughout the town and there was a sheep trail to help you find all their names. I found 80 out of over 100. It was great fun and they were very creative and witty. It gave us a good feeling about the community and we found places we didn’t know existed so it was a great way to find our way around.

Graham’s nephew, partner and their little girl, Alice, had been staying the week before. They were over from Australia. It was a pity they missed Sheepfest but we had some good walks in the countryside and I was relieved that the sun shone!

We are in Manchester at the moment but we are itching to get back as our neighbours say the Autumn colours are looking beautiful up there.

Cyclist sheepDSC04411

London visit 2014

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

We spent a few days in London again towards the end of August. We met several friends, though we didn’t get a chance to see Graham’s old friend, Richard. We are hoping he will come and visit us in Cumbria one day soon. We saw an exhibition about colour at Somerset Gallery and there was also an exhibition of paintings by Beryl Bainbridge. I really liked her work. I didn’t even know she painted!! The other exhibition I enjoyed was of ancient Chinese drawings and watercolours at the British Museum.  Some of them dated back to the 5th century, they were exquisite.

We went to the Proms twice and also saw Billie Piper in ‘Great Britain’, a satire about the News of the World hacking scandal. It was at the National Theatre where there was an exhibition of landscape photography by Charlie Waite, which was wonderful and very inspiring. I found the simplicity of composition and his use of colour really beautiful. I entered a competition to win one. I hope I’m lucky!!

We returned to Cumbria straightaway as a friend was coming to stay. It was a terrific contrast to the big city and it was great to see the Howgills, (or Sleeping Elephants as they are called here) again. We went on several walks and I’m beginning to get to know the area. This painting is looking down a valley with the Howgills in the background.

Howgills from up high2

 

 

 

Visitors

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

We’ve been having a great time at our mill with lots of visitors. Graham’s sister, Jean, and his nephew Mark and family came for the day. It was a very wet day but Megan decided they should go on a boat trip on the way to us! So they were very wet and bedraggled when they arrived. They came laden with gifts. Jean had made us two crocheted blankets and a rag rug and Megan had made us each a Loom bracelet. It was a good day, despite the rain, and Megan and George enjoyed throwing stones in the river.

A friend of mine then came to stay for a few days of painting. This time the weather was lovely and we worked very hard both inside the studio and out. Here we are having a crit!

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Red Hot Pokers

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Our Withington garden has been looking very lush, rather overgrown, but colourful. We have had the usual disappointments and the slugs have been munching away as ever! But, we have also had some successes. I have been getting very despondent with a Tree Peony and  early in the season I was about to dig up a Red Hot Poker which was taking up a lot of space. Just as I had the fork in the ground I decided to take pity on it and leave a bit of it. Both plants must have known they were under threat as they have bloomed for the first time this year. I painted the Red Hot Pokers to celebrate, and here they are.

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Farfield Mill Gallery

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

My new studio in Cumbria is in one of the mill buildings of Farfield mill. The main building is an ‘Arts and Heritage Centre’ and I am thrilled that I now have some paintings, prints and cards exhibited in one of the galleries. I have also joined a local art group called Green Door. They organise lots of exhibitions throughout the local area, including at the mill, so I am looking forward to getting involved with them.

Three of our friends visited us at our mill on Monday. We have only had 2 days of rain since moving here but unfortunately Monday was one of them. Luckily it was still fine when they arrived so they could see the Howgills which are the magnificent mountains nearby and which Wainwright says are unique to this area. We still had a good day and they all enjoyed looking at the art and crafts in the gallery. Between them they bought a woolly hat, a leather belt and a copper brooch.

Here is my latest card, called ‘Hedgerow’ which is on sale in the shop. I painted it when all the Spring flowers were blooming in the hedgerows around the mill.

HedgerowsDave

 

Buttercups

Friday, June 27th, 2014

It has been glorious weather recently so it’s been lovely being in the countryside at our mill. My sister and brother-in-law have visited and Graham’s sister came yesterday with a group of women from Westhoughton. They all enjoyed looking around Farfield Mill and one of them, who has visited the mill many times, commented that it has got more and more interesting over the years.

We have enjoyed walking in the fields of buttercups  and I was upset when the farmer ploughed them up. But then, I suppose that’s what happens in the country. I’ll have to stop thinking like a townie!

Here is Graham amongst the buttercups before they disappeared….

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…..and here is our mill from across the river.

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Hedgerows

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

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We’re getting organised now at our mill. We have furniture now and are no longer sitting on camping chairs, so it is feeling like home. It is a treat to be able to walk out of the door and be in the middle of beautiful countryside. The hedgerows have been looking so pretty and I have picked some of the wild flowers to paint.

 

 

Hedgerow

Farfield Mill

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

At last we have signed the contract to buy our place in the country. For those of you who don’t know, we are buying a 2 bed ‘unit’ in a mill in Cumbria. It’s much better than it sounds! It’s been completely restored with fully fitted kitchen, bathroom, underfloor heating, wood burning stove etc and doesn’t need anything doing to it (just as well for us) and the added attraction is a huge studio which overlooks the rushing River Clough which used to feed Farfield Mill.

The main mill is now an Arts and Heritage centre and so we have had to show that I will use the studio for my art work and so will be contributing to the industrial nature of the site and be contributing to the area. This is what has held us up because it’s in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and they had to approve us! They didn’t rush!! It’s been a long wait but we never had a moment’s doubt that we wanted to go through with it.

The following photos show our house and the view from our patio. It’s beautiful.

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Easter

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

We had a good Easter with lots of sunshine and Easter eggs. We visited Graham’s sister on Good Friday as our nephew, Mark, and his family were there. I felt sorry for Megan, aged five, as she had been stung by some stinging nettles and we hadn’t got anything to ease the stinging. She was very brave, though, and some Easter eggs seemed to help!

On Tuesday I visited a friend who has recently moved to Llandudno. It was lovely to be beside the sea and on Wednesday we visited Bodnant Gardens. It looked spectacular as there were lots of azaleas blooming as well as beds of tulips and peonies. There has been a lot of development since I last visited and they now have a huge car park and an underpass which makes crossing the busy road much easier. There is also a new craft and gift shop which we weren’t that impressed with!! Unfortunately it felt a bit like being in Ikea as you were supposed to follow a certain route. If you were like us, and didn’t follow the designated route, you wandered around aimlessly trying to find the exit!!

This is a painting of some miniature tulips that were on our ‘Nature table’ in our garden. Not quite as exotic as those in Bodnant but still beautiful.

 

Mini tulips

Spring

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

It’s our 18th Wedding Anniversary today. This time last year was a very sad and hard time for us as my Mum was very ill. I’m glad it’s a year on. The tulips of hers that she enjoyed so much are now about to bloom in pots on our front step. All our bulbs are looking beautiful especially the Fritillaries which are only in a tiny pot but multiply each year. Every year on Graham’s birthday in October our gardening friend, Hazel, gives him a bowl of bulbs. Often she plants them in unusual containers. They come up year after year and I love arranging them around the garden in the Spring.

It’s the allotment AGM today and Graham is going to be voted as Treasurer and somehow I have been coerced into taking the minutes. After that we are going to friends for lunch so I am off now to buy a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate our anniversary. After the AGM we’ll need it!

Frittilary

Lemon Tree

Monday, March 17th, 2014

It’s been a busy week. We are having our attic decorated which is where we house Graham’s collection of crime novels. There are hundreds of them which were on shelves covering two walls and they all had to be moved!

I also spent a couple of days in Leeds, as my Brother-in-law had open heart surgery on Monday and I wanted to be with my sister when he came out. He looks fine but we are trying to convince him that he’s got to take it easy!

The weather’s been glorious and so I made sure I spent a bit of time in the garden and allotment. The daffodils are looking wonderful. I’ve put a table just outside the conservatory door with all my bulbs on it so we can see them from the kitchen. I call it our Nature Table! The lemon trees are in flower and we have several lemons. They’re not as good as two years ago when we had over 70 lemons on one tree, but enough for a few gin and tonics!!

lemon tree

Stockport Cafe

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Graham and I rehang my exhibition at Rhode Island Coffee recently. My paintings have been selling well and so there were lots of holes in the walls! I decided to hang all the city paintings in one area and some landscapes at the dark end of the cafe to brighten it up. Graham has treated himself to a new De Walt cordless drill (apparently they’re the best!) and we managed to get it done without too much stress!

We’ve also been using the drill to mend our raised beds on the allotment today. The allotment’s looking quite good for the time of year and it’s not too boggy underfoot. I’m sure Manchester doesn’t get as much rain as it used to – or am I just used to it!? We certainly haven’t had as much rain as other places this Winter.

One of my prints on show at the cafe.

Times Square at night

 

Staircase House, Stockport.

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Graham and I have just been for a tour around this amazing house which is tucked behind the Tourist Office, by the market hall, in Stockport. Some parts of it date back to the 15th century and it has been lived in continuously for 500 years. It has been beautifully restored throughout, using traditional building methods and specialist skills and is furnished  in different period styles from the 16th century to 1940. It is fascinating and well worth visiting. I can’t believe I worked in Stockport for so many years and never knew it was there. I am particularly thrilled because they are stocking my cards and prints of Stockport Market in the Tourist Information shop. So I hope they get lots of visitors!

Stockport Market

Bollington Adventure.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

I decided it was time to go out painting in the hills again yesterday so I went to Bollington where I have some favourite painting spots. I visited my friends Rosie and Chris first thing for tea and pastries and I was pleased to see the weather was dry, we could even see some blue sky at times! As I left, the sky turned  grey and by the time I got settled on a hill overlooking a valley, there was a violent storm, lightening, hail, the lot!! As I didn’t fancy being blown away, I drove further down the hill and painted from the car.

It was so wet I couldn’t see  through the windscreen so I had to keep the wipers working and as it was rather bleak I had the radio on to keep me company . What I hadn’t realised was that I was running the car battery down and by the time I was ready to go it was totally flat! After a few moment’s of PANIC I phoned some friends who also live in Bollington and thank goodness they were at home, and they even own some jump leads – I didn’t know anyone still had those!! So, while Janet and I sat warm in the car, Keith got it started! They followed me till I reached a main road and off I went, very relieved.

 

Despite the rain I enjoyed painting up there. Here is one of my studies.

Winter Hills

Happy New Year 2014

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

We’ve had a great start to the year. We went to London on January 2nd for our annual Winter trip to catch up with theatre, exhibitions and friends.  We saw some superb theatre including ‘The Commitments’ and ‘Mojo’ and some great exhibitions including Paul Klee. This exhibition at Tate Modern is huge (17 rooms) and is wonderful. I discovered Klee in my first year at Art College and I still find his work inspiring. One of our friends took us to Broadway market. I didn’t know the area but really liked it. It’s very lively and there are some good bookshops. We had beef burgers in an Argentinian cafe, they were huge, delicious and cheap!

After London I went on to Whitstable to visit my friends, Sue and David. Sue  fell recently while playing badminton. She broke her hip and had to have a hip replacement, so I went to help out. She was well on the way to recovery so we went on some trips, one of which was to the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate. I don’t like the look of the building from the outside but it is a good space inside and I have heard that it is helping the local economy.

This weekend we visited out friends who live near Kendal and enjoyed being in the stunning Cumbrian countryside. I have often painted the views from their cottage and here is a painting from a previous visit.

Eve's _0001

Christmas 2013

Friday, December 27th, 2013

It’s that lull between Christmas and New Year. Graham has had sciatica over the last few days so we’ve had a fairly lazy time. It’s been odd without my Mum and I’ve missed her and all the little traditions that have developed over the years. But it’s been good spending time with our nephew Mark and his children, and joining in with their excitement.

I’m sorting out my studio today. A large shelf came crashing down recently and so it has prompted me to go through all the art materials, old invoices, cassettes etc that had gradually built up on it. The cassettes have mostly been thrown away and the invoices have been filed. I’m now looking through all the paints and pastels and may have a play later with some of the ones I haven’t used for a while

My work has been on exhibition in Buxton throughout December. A friend came with me when I delivered the paintings and we had a fish finger butty in a local cafe afterwards. Graham is going to come with me to help collect the paintings, but I think the main attraction is the fish finger butty!!

Here are some of my paintings in the exhibition.

Buxton2

Leeds Art Gallery

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

We went to Leeds yesterday to see my sister and brother-in-law (Sheila and Mike) as the finale to my week of birthday celebrations!!  I especially wanted to go to Leeds Art Gallery because there is an exhibition of Ben and Winifred Nicholson on at the moment. I only really discovered Winifred Nicholson last January when I went to a talk  about her at the Whitworth Art Gallery. I love her flower paintings and recently when I was painting the landscape in Cumbria and Yorkshire I was inspired by both Winifred and Ben’s landscape paintings. It was a lovely exhibition and I couldn’t help think that it would be much more publicised if it was in London.

There were also some very powerful paintings by Nevinson of WW1 and a huge photo of Ypres after the battle of Passchendaele. Our Grandfather fought in that battle and was awarded a Military Medal for bravery. It was very moving to see the photo knowing that he had experienced it at first hand.

If you’re ever near Leeds you should visit this Gallery, but leave plenty of time if you want lunch, as the service in the cafe is very slow!!

Cumbrian hills

One of my paintings of Cumbrian hills.

Amber Gallery

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The Didsbury exhibition was very successful. I enjoyed the weekend as it was very busy and there were lots of people to talk to. We also raised a lot of money for the Friends of the Whitworth because a percentage of all sales went towards their fund raising for the gallery’s development appeal.

I have just heard that my work has been selected for the Amber Gallery in Buxton. An ex. student of mine told me that they were looking for artists to exhibit their work during December and so I applied. Buxton is a very busy town these days with lots of visitors and the Borough Council is very supportive of the arts. The gallery is housed in The Green Man Gallery in Higher Buxton which they describe as ‘the emerging cultural quarter’.

I will exhibit my landscapes of the area. Here is one of them.

On the road to Whaley Bridge

Didsbury Exhibition

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

I’m taking part in another group exhibition on the weekend of Nov. 1st (see my About page for more details). It’s in one of the lovely big houses in Didsbury whose gardens look on to Fletcher Moss park. I have been painting in the park for years, ever since I lived in Didsbury in the ’80’s. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a wonderful rockery which I love to sit in a paint at all times of year. It has been rather neglected recently as there are no full time gardeners anymore but I visited recently and there were signs of weeding. I hope someone has taken over. If I didn’t have a garden and allotment of my own, I would help!  Here is a painting of the rockery that I painted in the Spring and which I’ll be including in the exhibition.

Spring in Fletcher Moss_0001

Late Summer

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

The exhibition in Disley went very well. The weather was glorious, the tea and cakes on sale in the barn were delicious and the artists raised a lot of money for the Friends of the Whitworth. I was thrilled that so many of my friends came, including my sister and brother-in-law who came all the way from Leeds.

I’m enjoying the sunny Autumn. We’re still picking flowers and veg from the allotment and our garden is looking bright and cheerful. The Begonias and Fuschias that I keep from year to year have been slow to get going but it’s lovely to have them flowering at this time of year. The Rudbeckias have trebled in number, and I just had to paint them!

Rudbeckia

Ten on the Edge, Homestead Farm

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

As you can see here, my paintings are up at Homestead Farm. My friend, Hazel, helped to hang them and although the hanging system was complicated it was easier than I had feared! There is some lovely work on show including jewellery, ceramics and furniture.

The lunch and private view went well on Sunday. The weather wasn’t as bad as forecast and the guests managed to get a look around the beautiful garden before the rain started. The exhibition continues over next weekend so I am hoping it will be dry and even for some sunshine!

 

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Ten on the Edge

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

My exhibition is fast approaching. It opens to the public on Friday 20th Sept. but there is a Private View and lunch this coming Sunday for Friends of the Whitworth. It is a group exhibition and is in a lovely setting. The address is easier to read on my ABOUT page but if you want more details, please get in touch.

I can’t write more. I’ve got lots to do as I am going to start hanging my work tomorrow. TOTE Leaflet 2013 PRINT copy-1TOTE Leaflet 2013 PRINT copy-2

Allotment sale.

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Our allotment held a produce sale recently and the chairman asked if I would show some of my cards and prints. I have done quite a few paintings of the allotment and local gardens so they were very popular. I have a big exhibition coming up and I have only just realised that it is in 2 weeks! I have loads to do. I visited the barn in Disley last week where it is to be held and I saw my space. It is bigger than I had expected, so it’s back to ‘Frames’, my local framers, for some last minute framing.

Graham helping on my stall.

Graham helping on my stall.

Beside the seaside

Monday, August 12th, 2013

I have just spent a wonderful few days staying at my friend Sue’s in Whitstable. Everything was just how a seaside holiday should be with a picnic on the beach, lots of cakes and a cream tea, a drink in a bar overlooking the beach while watching the sun set and there were even fireworks over the sea. It was great seeing people having barbecues outside their beach huts and enjoying just messing about in the sunshine.

We also visited some gardens, including Sissinghurst where Vita Sackville-West created a wonderful garden with her husband Harold Nicholson. I have been wanting to go there for a long time and it lived up to expectations. I have been working hard in our garden to create a proper herbaceous border and it’s beginning to look good, not quite as good as Vita’s, but pretty good! Here’s a part of it.

Summer borderblog

 

Allotment

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The allotment has been great this year and there’s still lots more to come. The potatoes are the best ever, and for the first time in years they haven’t got slugs lurking inside them. We’ve just picked the onions, shallots and garlic and they are drying in the conservatory. The Sweet Peas and Dahlias are beautiful and the Gladioli will flower soon. The hours we spent weeding after coming home from France was worth it!

Allotment dahlias

Windy Banyuls

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

We went back to Banyuls-sur-mer in SW France again in June. Last year we stayed in an apartment overlooking the marina and this year we were in a house up a mountain! It was incredibly windy which meant sitting on the beach or even on the patio was impossible. So, each day we sat in a sheltered spot in the hills and while Graham read, I painted. The scenery is stunning and I enjoyed experimenting with the colours of the vines and vegetation and the hills.

It is great to be back in time to enjoy England in the sunshine and be able to top up the tan. Though I’m not sure if it’s from the sun or the wind!

Mountains Banyuls

Wet on wet.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I had a couple of days in London recently, meeting old friends and catching up on some exhibitions. I particularly enjoyed an Ellen Gallagher exhibition at Tate Modern. Her watercolour studies of fish and sea life were exquisite. Also some gouache studies by Humphrey Ocean of friends and family who had visited his studio. These were at the National Portrait Gallery. I called in as I had time to kill before catching the train at 8pm. That’s what’s great about London, there’s always something to do whatever the time of day or night

My main reason for going to London was for a watercolour course organised by The Art Fund. We worked very quickly with wet on wet from a model, using very few colours. I really enjoyed it and found it relaxing to switch off.  I am feeling sad at the moment as my Mum died on May 21st so this was a lovely distraction.

Art Fund nude

Patio Tulips

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

I’ve been spending a lot of time at my Mum’s flat recently as she hasn’t been well. This is a quick painting I did of the pots of bulbs on her patio whilst the sun was shining over the Bank Holiday weekend.  Graham planted them for her Christmas present and they have been looking beautiful. As she hasn’t been able to go out she has enjoyed looking at them. Sadly she’s back in hospital now.

Patio pots

Anniversary

Monday, April 8th, 2013

It was our 17th wedding anniversary on Saturday and we went out for a day in the countryside. My sister was coming to be with my Mum so we had the whole day free and went to see our friends John and Pauline in Malpas. John is a wonderful artist and we visited his studio to see his new paintings. I also love his drawings, especially the ones he did in Italy. I dug out my old charcoal crayons today and did a quick drawing of the garden. It was good to work in just tones and no colour for a change.

It is such a slow season that we only have daffodils blooming but at least the weeds aren’t growing either!

Alice

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

I went for a walk in Fletcher Moss last week with my sister. I’ve never been so early in the season before and was amazed to see so many crocuses. There were carpets of them in the rockery and under the trees and they looked glorious. Our Mum’s in hospital at the moment so they cheered us up.

Graham and my new great niece was born on March 1st in Melbourne, Australia. So I painted this painting for her. Welcome to the world, Alice, Sophia.

Snow

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

I’ve just treated myself to an iPad. I haven’t used the painting app yet but I am looking forward to having a play with it. I loved the landscapes that David Hockney had done on his iPad. I saw them at the exhibition of his work at the RA,  and preferred them to his large oils.

I drove into the hills, above Bollington, again at the weekend to paint.  As usual we have had very little snow in Manchester this Winter but it was pretty deep up there and lots of people were tobogganing. Next time I’ll take my iPad!

 

New Year 2013

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Our year started with a few days in London. We stayed in our favourite Hall of Residence in Covent Garden and spent each day meeting friends for lunch as well as visiting galleries and the theatre. The highlight at the theatre was ‘Privates on Parade’ which was amazing and the National Portrait Gallery was my favourite gallery. I visit this gallery a lot and yet there are always so many different things to see. I also loved the  Ben Nicholson paintings in Tate Britain. When I got home I drove into the hills to a favourite spot of mine near Bollington and did a painting inspired by him. This is a section of it.

Christmas 2012

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Christmas has been a bit of a whirlwind this year as my Mum has just moved into her retirement flat across the road from us. It was all very hectic as she had lived in the same house in London for 62 years and so had to get rid of lots of furniture and belongings. But she’s in now and, although surrounded by boxes, the flat looks very cosy.

I haven’t been able to do much painting so am looking forward to life getting back to normal soon and to seeing some flowers in the garden again. I visited Parsonage Gardens recently and met the volunteers who had created the wildflower meadow there this Summer. They were thrilled to see my paintings, prints and cards which were inspired by this garden. It was a cold day but they were all working very hard and doing a wonderful job. These volunteers are even more important than they used to be as there are no longer gardeners from the council working there and a private firm does little more than mow the lawn!

Volunteer gardeners in the Alpine House in Parsonage Gardens.

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Oxford

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

We had a lovely weekend in Oxford to celebrate my birthday. We saw our friend Richard Heap performing in ‘Mansfield Park’ at the Playhouse which we really enjoyed  (also the lock-in afterwards at the pub next door!). One of  the highlights of the weekend was a visit to Pitt Rivers Museum. It houses collections of everything you can imagine from musical instruments to masks, combs, textiles, baskets etc. Everything is piled high in glass cases and is fascinating.

Pitt Rivers Museum.

Rhode Island Coffee

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

It’s been a busy week since the Victoria Baths exhibition as I now have paintings on display in a cafe in Stockport. I was very impressed with the cafe when I went to visit. It is always busy but has a relaxed atmosphere, you can sit and read a book there all day if you wish, and the coffee is great too. Stockport  is one of the 12 towns which have been chosen by Mary Portas for help with regeneration and the last time I visited it did seem more lively than it has been for a while. I’m sure cafes like this one will help.

I decided that my paintings of New York would suit the style and theme of Rhode Island Coffee.

Art and Craft Fair

Monday, November 5th, 2012

It was a good day yesterday as I was taking part in this Fair at the Victoria Baths and as you see I did have wall space! It was really well attended and I was thrilled that lots of my friends came to support me including our ex. neighbours Judy and Paul and two people from my French class. I am sure the Baths raised lots of money. Hopefully this will mean they can fix the boiler because it was freezing!

I’m now getting ready to display my New York paintings at a cafe in Stockport.

Victoria Baths

Monday, October 29th, 2012

I am nearly ready for the Art and Craft Fair at Victoria Baths although it would be easier if I knew whether I have wall space or not. Apparently there isn’t enough for everyone and so I may just have a table. I’m not sure how I’ll show my framed paintings if I don’t have a wall to hang them on. I’ve got table easels but only three!

New Prints

Friday, October 5th, 2012

I am going to exhibit my work in the Art and Craft Fair at the Victoria Baths in Manchester. This stunning building is gradually being restored and this event is in aid of the Stained Glass Appeal. It  is on Nov 4th and I have just realised how close that is and I want to have some prints of my recent paintings on show.

My Mother is about to move up here from London. Everything is happening very quickly and there might suddenly be a call to say the move is about to happen. So I need to make sure everything is ready.

This is one of the paintings I want to be printed.

Paralympics

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Had a fantastic day last Thursday at the Paralympics. My sister managed to get several tickets and gave two to me. My Mum lives very close to the Olympic Stadium so it would have been crazy not to have got there. It was incredibly well organised and great fun. We were surrounded by school children all waving their flags like mad. I was very interested to see the landscaping as one of the designers has been chosen to design the landscape around The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. I look forward to seeing what she does there as the Olympic Park was impressive.

Summer’s end

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

It hasn’t been a great Summer, weatherise, although, unusually for Manchester, I think we’ve had less rain than many other places. We’re still picking beans, tomatoes, raspberries and cucumbers on the allotment and the garden is looking colourful too. Graham is very keen on One Day Lillies so we have several different types. We have been digging up lots of the common orange ones and giving them away as they are taking over, but the yellow ones have looked beautiful.

 

Wild Flowers

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I’ve been painting in Parsonage Gardens in Didsbury this Summer. There is a beautiful wild flower meadow in the lower garden which makes a lovely change from formal planting. I sowed wild flower seeds on our allotment in the Spring but they didn’t germinate. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the rain or maybe they were pulled up along with the weeds!! Still everything else has done quite well despite a difficult season.

Homage to the Fauves

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Well, my sundress is back in the wardrobe and my tan is fading, but we still have lovely memories from our holiday just South of Perpignan. One special day was a visit to Collioure where the Fauvists (Matisse, Derain etc) were so inspired by the intense light that they began to paint in their wonderful, strong colours. There were posters displayed around the town of the paintings they had painted at the spot where they had painted them. It was fascinating to be able to stand in front of the same scene and see how they had interpreted it.

Here is a painting I did in their honour!!

Banyuls-sur-Mer

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Just back from the South West of France where we stayed for 2 weeks in a seaside town called Banyuls-sur-Mer. It was surrounded by wonderful scenery. The patterns created by the slopes of vineyards and olive groves and the rich colours of the soil meant it was an inspiring place to paint.

Stockport Open Contemporary

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Was pleased to have a painting accepted for this exhibition. I couldn’t go to the opening which was 3 weeks ago and finally managed to get to see the exhibition yesterday. I went with Mim who had 2 of her bowls on display and we took photos. We weren’t too thrilled with the hanging or display. My painting, ‘Didsbury Allotment’ is very detailed but was hung so low down that you had to crouch to see it. Mim’s bowls were separated by a tall vase which looked stupid. We swopped her bowls and their labels around. I wonder if anyone will notice!!

Still, it was good to be included and here I am in front of my painting.

 

My painting in the Stockport Open Contemporary.

Whitworth Art Gallery

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

My greeting cards are now for sale in the Whitworth Art Gallery shop. There are 13 different images. Two of them are of paintings I have done of local scenes; Stockport Market and Oxford Road in Manchester.

Here is Oxford Road showing the wonderful Refuge building.

Oxford Road, Manchesterblog

Whitstable

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Have just spent a few days staying with Sue and David in Whitstable.  Sue is a very good friend and I’ve known her since we went to ballet classes when we were students.

We visited the new Gallery in Hastings which was very impressive. It has been quite controversial as it cost a lot and the fishermen don’t like it being on their beach. But I’m sure it must bring extra visitors to Hastings, especially out of season. We also visited the RHS garden at Wisley.  I have been wanting to visit Wisley  before the membership, that my sister had bought me, ran out. It was beautiful, especially as the weather was glorious. It is still March but was like mid Summer.

There were lots of Helebores blooming but none were quite as beautiful as the ones we have at home and that I have painted. I just wish they’d keep their heads up as it’s difficult to see all the lovely markings!