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.


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


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!



Sunday, March 18th, 2012

I couldn’t resist showing a photo of our Lemon Tree. It was covered in scale insect during the Summer which is almost impossible to get rid of and involved me swabbing each leaf with soapy water. But it has recovered. We brought it into the conservatory in the Winter and it is now laden with lemons. I gave up counting at 70. Last night I made a Lemon Meringue pie for some friends with our own lemons. How about that!!

Note to David and Jodi – I know this is nothing to shout about in Phoenix or Kauai but in Manchester it’s pretty special!!





Winter Garden

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

We went to the Winter Garden in Dunham Massey today. It felt like the rest of South Manchester was there but it did look very pretty with snowdrops and daffodils blooming. There were some miniature Irises on sale which were called ‘George’, so of course we had to buy some pots of them in honour of our new Great Nephew.

It’s been very gloomy recently so it was lovely to see some sunshine and I was inspired to start potting up some of our plants at home. Here is a painting of some Grape Hyacinths which have looked beautiful on the windowsill.

It’s one of my friend’s birthday today. I won’t be seeing her for a while so, Happy Birthday, Hazel.





Rivington Pike

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

This is a section of a painting I did last week of the view from Rivington Pyke. Graham has often told me how spectacular the views are from up there, and they are! It was a sunny day and the colours were fantastic.  Bolton is in the distance where he was brought up and where some of his family still live. We met a very new addition to the family on Sunday, our Great Nephew, George.

Graham’s brother-in-law (George’s Grandad) died at the end of last year, so it was good to start the year with a celebration.


Thursday, January 19th, 2012

The other day I went with a friend to see my paintings which are now displayed at Dimitri’s restaurant in Didsbury.  I was pleased with how they looked. I had selected paintings with a Mediterranean flavour to fit in with the cuisine of the restaurant. It is the partner to Dimitri’s on Deansgate, so I hope it is as successful.

London Trip 2012

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Just back from 5 days in London. We saw some great exhibitions, including Postmodernism at the V&A and the Grayson Perry exhibition at The British Museum. Grayson had given a lecture to the Friends of the Whitworth Art Gallery last November which was excellent. I particularly love the way he promotes skills and craft rather than just concentrating on the concept. I wonder what other Turner prizewinner would admit to being influenced by a patchwork quilt and then go on to make one of his own!! Here I am with him before the lecture.

We also saw some great theatre, the highlight of which was ‘Jerusalem’. Get to see it if you can. Added to all this was dinner with friends. A great way to start the year.

Grayson Perry and me.


Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Happy New Year to you all. I have enjoyed Christmas and we went to our friends, John and Sue, to bring in the New Year. We had a great night of delicious food and good company.

They live near Bala and we stopped off en-route to visit a brass instrument repairer as Graham has decided to get his old euphonium repaired at last. When he goes back to pick it up I will go too as I’d love to paint the hills. They were lovely colours of rusts and reds and looked beautiful, even through the rain!

This is the view from their conservatory. I painted it one Autumn and have had it reproduced as a greeting card.



Anna’s exhibition

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

We had a great afternoon at my Christmas exhibition at my friend Anna’s house. She was very sweet and left me alone to  rearrange her house and it was good to see my paintings on the walls of someone’s home rather than a gallery.  Stupidly, I forgot to take any photos, so here’s a favourite painting of mine. It’s of an allotment, belonging to Fiona, which is opposite to mine in Didsbury. Fiona came to the exhibition and was thrilled to see her allotment there for all to admire.

Didsbury Allotment.



Christmas exhibition

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

A friend of mine has offered to let me use her house for an exhibition. There will be paintings, cards and prints of mine on show, also live music, Christmas food and drink. I have deleted the address for obvious reasons but just email if you would like to come.


Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I went to a party a couple of weeks ago where we decorated cupcakes. It was great fun. I did three. Here they are. The one in the middle was the best as the colours worked well. This photo doesn’t do it justice!!


Monday, October 31st, 2011

It was very sunny last week, so, in between sweeping up fallen leaves, I went out to paint in the hills. It was still quite cold so I painted from the car. This is one of the paintings I did near Bollington. I’m not sure if it’s in Cheshire or Derbyshire, but it’s very beautiful.




Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Despite all my worries, I really enjoyed last Sunday afternoon when I exhibited my paintings and cards on the railings in Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury.  It was very busy and, amazingly,  it was a lovely, sunny afternoon. There was music and events for the children and lots of people stopped to look, and also buy, my paintings. Three friends helped me set up, which was great, because it was very tricky fixing them on the railings. Here I am with some of my large canvases.

The Soup Book

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Our Soup Book is now finished and printed and we are very pleased with it. At the moment it is only for sale in our allotment shop but we may see if it can reach a wider public through other allotments or even local shops. It costs £4.95 and is in aid of the allotment society funds. It makes a great Christmas present!

Graham wrote it and I illustrated it so we are signing copies for our friends!

Fletcher Moss Gardens.

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Recently back from a weekend in London. We stayed in a Hall of Residence in Trafalgar Square so it was easy to get to exhibitions and theatres. After that I spent a few days with my Mum and visited a lovely RHS garden called Hyde Hall near Chelmsford. So, I am inspired and happy to be back at my drawing board again. I also want to paint outside as much as possible before the Winter comes. I have enjoyed painting in Fletcher Moss Gardens and the allotments in Didsbury this Summer and want to do some more.

The next showing of my work is during the Didsbury Festival. I will be hanging some work on the railings by the cafe in Fletcher Moss Gardens. I’m still not sure how I’m going to fix my paintings and where to put things. There’s not much room. I don’t think I’ll really know until the day as I don’t know which section of the railings I will be on!  I am just going to show canvases, prints and cards as it will be too difficult keeping my framed paintings clean and protected. I am going to get some of my paintings from Fletcher Moss printed. I hope it doesn’t rain!

Here’s one of the paintings I’ve painted sitting in the Fletcher Moss Rockeries.

Fletcher Moss Rockeries

Fizz and Fancies

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Our Garden Party in aid of the Friends of the Whitworth went really well and lots of people came. We called it Fizz and Fancies because everyone had a glass of fizz and a cake when they came in! The sun didn’t  shine but the rain stopped just before 2pm and the afternoon was dry. I needn’t have worried about my disastrous cakes because so many people brought them that we were nearly giving them away at the end! We were thrilled to raise £650 for the funds and although it was a lot of work we really enjoyed it. Not sure if we would do it again but maybe we could be persuaded!!

My cards and prints sold very well and it helped me get prepared for the Didsbury Festival, which I will be exhibiting in later on this Summer. I bought a cradle to display my prints, which I am really pleased with, and everything is now labelled and ready. I will be hanging my work on railings in a park in Didsbury, so there is still plenty to think about! Like how to fix them and what to do if it rains!

Me announcing a raffle prize winner.


Saturday, July 30th, 2011

It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks. I am organising a Garden Party with a friend of mine in aid of the Whitworth Gallery Development Appeal. This Gallery is in Manchester and I am a Friend. It has been awarded funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a posh new extension and study rooms but needs more money. The Friends have pledged to raise some and this Garden Party is part of that.

We will be selling cakes, jams, books etc and also artwork from a couple of local artists. I wanted to print greeting cards of my paintings to sell, but true to form, my printer has been playing up. Eventually I decided to get a new one but have run out of time to print the cards. So, I have used a local printer and I am very pleased with the results. I might not bother doing them myself now because he will do them in short runs so I can order them as I need them.

Added to this, my cakes wont rise and the plant cuttings I took months ago, aren’t growing let alone flowering. Still, if the sun shines I am sure it will all be fine!

Here are two of my latest cards.

Andalucian Village

Anne's Courtyard

Villa in Puglia, Italy

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

A few weeks ago our friend, Gill, phoned up out of the blue and invited us to spend a week with her in her villa in Puglia, Southern Italy. We went 2 years ago and it is glorious, so we jumped at the chance.

As you have to fly from Stansted, which is a long trek from here, we decided to spend an extra week driving around Puglia, staying in hotels. We explored lots of places and had a great time with good food and drink. There were 10 of us staying at the villa which was hectic but fun. Graham enjoyed shopping and cooking for everyone and I enjoyed painting.

In that area of Puglia the houses have pointed conical roofs which are called Trullis. It has become a bit of a status symbol to have a house with a trulli, the more the better. Gill’s villa has two. Here’s a drawing of a part of her villa showing the trullis and another of a view from a nearby town. It is very flat in this area but there were fields of poppies which looked glorious.

Gill's villa in Puglia.

View from Locorotondo.


Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The weather has been glorious and we’ve been spending lots of time in the garden and on the allotment. Blackbirds and robins have been very busy in our garden building nests and then looking after their young. But we are feeling very sad because the magpies have been attacking the baby blackbirds and we can’t hear any sounds from the nest any more. The parents did their best to protect them but we haven’t seen them for 2 days now so it looks like the nest must be empty.

So, here is my drawing of a male blackbird in their honour.

Finca El Cerrillo

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Just back from Spain where Graham was running a Writing workshop at this wonderful hotel, called Finca El Cerrillo. It was a great week. We had  lots of fun and the writers wrote some really good pieces, most of which were read out at the end of the week.

I spent all my time painting. There are fabulous views and a beautiful garden so there is lots to inspire me.  The hotel sell postcards of paintings I have done whilst there before and I was thrilled to see they are doing very well. Two of them are shown below.

The only bad thing about the week was the journey home as we were delayed at Malaga airport for 6 hours and arrived home at 6am!!

View from the terrace.

A bedroom at Finca El Cerrillo

Allotment Cookbook

Friday, February 18th, 2011

A friend who has an allotment on the same site as ours, came up with the idea of producing an Allotment Cookbook with favourite recipes from the other allotment holders. It proved to be rather slow getting the recipes so we decided to start off with a book of Soups. Graham is a very keen cook and wrote the ‘Coronation Street Cookbook’ several years ago  so he has been sorting out the recipes and I have been drawing vegetables. Our friend Rosie, who is a Graphic designer, is going to design the book. It is a fun project, and if it turns out well we will do some more and, who knows, maybe there will be a series!!


Didsbury Cafe

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

I have two prints hanging up in Cafe Delice in Didsbury. It is only a tiny space so there wasn’t room for many! I always feel daft banging nails in while people are trying to have a chat or a quiet cup of coffee so I took a friend along for moral support! I decided to put up a small print of New York and the one of Oxford Road as it’s local. The owners are very friendly and helpful and it’s a good excuse to call in for a BLT!!

Oxford Road, Manchester

View from The Rainbow Room, New York.

New Year

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I can’t believe it has been so long since I have written anything. It’s been a busy time. The New Year started really well as Graham and I went to London for a few days of culture!  We went to loads of exhibitions including the Diaghilev exhibition at the V&A and Gruau, the French illustrator, at the Somerset Gallery. We  saw ‘Billy Elliot” the musical which was amazing, a fantastic spectacle and very moving. We also went to our favourite theatre (it seats 60!) in London which is above ‘The Rosemary Branch’ pub near Islington. We saw ‘Robin Hood’ by The Charles Court Opera. We have seen their productions there before. They are a very talented and hunerous group of singers/musicians and actors. It was a great night.

So, I’m thoroughly inspired and ready to get back to painting.

Birthday Treat

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

To finish off the celebrations for my ‘big’ birthday Graham and I went to Glasgow for the weekend. There were blizzards while we there but nothing as bad as it’s been since and we went by train which was a good thing. Fortunately we were staying very near to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum so we spent many hours in there. It’s a very large and interesting Museum and there are some wonderful paintings on display by the Scottish Colourists.

Graham in a blizzard outside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Private View of my exhibition

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

We had a great night and it was very busy. I arrived just after 6pm and there were already people there and it got very crowded later on.  A friend of mine was over from Arizona and other friends were there who I hadn’t seen for a while so it was a reunion too. I was very pleased with how Paul had hung the paintings. I had gone to the Gallery and looked through the window the night before as I couldn’t wait until the actual night! I sold well and was very pleased with the comments I received. A crowd of us went back to our house afterwards for Bolton pies and pasties as usual!

Arison Gallery, Chorlton

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Everything is finally getting sorted for my exhibition. Most of the invitations have been emailed or posted although I have run out of them. The prints are being mounted at ‘Frames’ the framers and the labels are printed. I have just found out the exhibition is going on for a week longer than I had expected which is good. It finishes on the 27th which is 2 days after my birthday.

The invitation only gives the date of the opening so I have had to include cards in the ones I sent out to explain that it continues!

Chorlton Exhibition

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

My exhibition at the Arison Gallery in Chorlton opens in 10 days. I have loads to do as usual and am panicking as it is getting rather close. One of my paintings of Hong Kong is going to be used for the invitation and some others are on The Arison Gallery Facebook page.

Staffordshire gardens

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Have visited two gardens in Staffordshire recently with some friends. We belong to The Cheshire Gardens Trust but haven’t managed to go on many of their trips this year so arranged some of our own. One was to The Dorothy Clive Garden and another to Rode Hall. Even though it is late in the season the gardens still looked beautiful. At The Dorothy Clive Garden I was inspired to do some paintings of the surrounding landscape. The earth in that area is very pink. The sun was out but the sky, at times, was thunderous  so the colours were particularly strong.

Staffordshire fields.

Tangiers market

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

For some time now I have had the idea of creating a series of paintings of markets in cities around the world. Graham’s family worked on the markets in Bolton so whenever we visit a new city we always spend a lot of time in the markets. We visited Tangiers a couple of years ago and of course spent lots of time wandering around the market there. It was all very busy and colourful, especially the fruit stalls which were piled up with fruit. I finished a painting last week of one of these fruit and veg. stalls.

Market stalls in Tangiers.

Tomatoes, Dahlias, figs and plums

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Recently returned from a short holiday in Cheshire with my Mum and sister so have had to spend some time in the garden tidying it up.  At last the sun is shining again. We have had the best year we can remember on the allotment. The vegetables and flowers have been fantastic. The soft fruit has been disappointing but the Victoria plum tree is groaning with fruit so there will be plenty of plum jam again this year.

Tomatoes, Dahlias, figs and plums.


Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Just back from Glasgow where I spent a week painting at The Glasgow School of Art.  It was a treat being able to paint for a week with no distractions and such a great experience to work in the Mackintosh building. Spent a lot of time life drawing, which I enjoyed as I haven’t done any for a while, and also developed my landscapes using stronger colour.

There was an exhibition of ‘The Glasgow Boys’ at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which was wonderful. Their use of colour is very inspiring.

Outside 'The Glasgow School of Art'

In the studio, GSA.

Garden Pond

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Have been painting in my ‘Diary of our Garden’ as the weather has been so beautiful. I have now reached the pond and the fish have been posing for me! I was painting late one evening and the birdsong was particularly beautiful. I looked up and two Song Thrushes were sitting on branches of our Larch tree and singing to each other and there were two frogs sitting in the pond and croaking!

Diary of my Garden

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Finally cut our tiny lawn with the shears. It has been so neglected that it is too long to mow but there were several wild flowers flowering so I quite liked it!

The Clematis are all still looking beautiful. Am trying to paint each type whilst  they are in bloom  so that they can be included in my visual diary of the garden. I started it last year and am working my way around the garden to log what is planted and where. The problem is as I move from one part to another, a plant in the previous part starts to flower or one is flowering in a part that I haven’t yet reached! So I am painting plants as they flower and adding them later. The paintings are becoming collages which is a different way for me to work and I am enjoying it. These Clematis are by the pond which I should reach soon.

Exhibition in Sale

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Had a great time at the Preview of my exhibition. I was nervous, at first, but once all my friends started to arrive I began to enjoy it. It was very crowded and several people are going to return for a better look! I was particularly thrilled because our friends from Spain turned up. I had no idea they were coming so it was a fantastic surprise. Gordon (who organised the exhibition) and I had both sent them invitations and then Graham emailed them about the ‘do’ we were having back at our house after the Preview. So they booked the next flight over!!

Lots of people came back to our house and we had pies and pasties from Bolton. This has become a bit of a tradition at our parties and our guests would be disappointed if we gave them something else!

The exhibition continues for 10 days so I will be returning from time to time and meeting friends and family there. I hope the good weather continues as the garden is beautiful.

Paintings on display at the exhibition.

Palm trees in Spain

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Delivered paintings to Gordon Cooke. He was having a mass clear out in preparation for displaying the work for our forthcoming exhibition.

He runs Ceramic workshops in Andalucia at The Finca (hotel) where my husband, Graham, also runs Writing Workshops. Whilst there I always paint as the views and the garden are beautiful. I am showing some of these paintings at this exhibition.

Over the years I have done several paintings of  two huge palm trees in the garden. You could see these palm trees from miles away but sadly they are infested with a beetle that is ravaging lots of palm trees in the area. I think one of them may survive but I will miss them and they were fun to paint.

Invitation to my Summer Exhibition

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

My exhibition is fast approaching so it has been hectic getting paintings framed, contact cards produced etc. Decided to have 8 different cards printed to show a range of different styles including landscapes, cities and flowers. This exhibition is at the home of a potter who has a beautiful garden so most of my paintings on show will be around the theme of the garden. There will also be some of Spain and Portugal to fit in with the feel of Summer.


Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Recently back from a holiday in France. We were staying in a friend’s house in a little town near Limoges in rural France.The countryside is very like England. It was about 2 weeks ahead  so the blossom was still on the trees and the fields were covered in wild flowers. I was hoping to paint outside but unfortunately the weather was very cold and wet. However, I picked bunches of wild flowers and took them to the house and painted them. There was a wood-burning stove so Graham wrote while I painted! Here is one of my sketches.


Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Lovely sunny day so painted the camellias and purple azaleas in the garden.  The red camellias are beginning to fade but the pink ones are now at their best. Used Dr. Martins watercolours as wanted to capture the vibrant colours.

Different tulips are appearing each day and the little, pale daffodils are now blooming. The Damson, Plum and Cherry blossom is still beautiful.