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.

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

IMG_0989

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.

DSC04912

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.

IMG_1500

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.

Pen and Ink trees_0001

 

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!

Penrrudock painting

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

IMG_0711

IMG_0287

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!

DSC04648

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.

Symi

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.

image

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.

image

 

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.

Lambs2Lambs3

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.

Sedberghview

 

 

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.

JVC taxis

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!

imageimage

Nieces and Nephews

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

We have another nephew, Thomas, who was born on January 16th in Melbourne to Nick and Sonia. January is getting quite busy for birthdays, as another nephew, George, was 3 on the 19th and a friend had a baby, Rhys, on the 3rd!!

Congratulations also go to our talented 6 year old niece, Megan, who was a winner in a painting competition on ‘Milkshake’, a Channel 5  programme. It’s good to see she enjoys painting as much as her Auntie Anne.

When Alice, Thomas’s sister, was born two years ago, crocuses were in bloom and so I did a painting for her of some that were blooming in our local park. When Thomas was born last week, there was snow on the hills in Cumbria so I did a painting of the snow for Thomas. He is rather tiny as he was born early and is still in hospital. Welcome to the world, Thomas, and grow big and strong. This painting is for you.

Thomas's snowhare

 

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!

image

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.

image

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….

image

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

image

Hedgerows

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

DSC04256

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.

DSC04108DSC04120

 

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!

 

DSC03912

DSC03926

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