I am getting A Lifetime of Laughter ready to head off to her new home. A few years ago I met a lovely lady who brought her daughter to my studio here in Cornwall for a drawing lesson. She fell in love with this pencil portrait the moment she saw it and has longed to own it ever since. So as much as I am sad to be taking this picture off of my wall here by my drawing table, I know that she will be so loved in her London home where she is going tomorrow, and that is a very happy thing indeed.
A number of my original artworks are available to own, and a selection have limited edition prints and greetings card. Visit the gallery page and click on your favourite portraits to discover more about them, and get in touch to own your own piece of beautiful art.
As you may know, my pencil portrait A Lifetime of Laughter has been proudly hanging in the Victoria Art Gallery for the last couple of months, as a part of the Bath Society of Artists’ annual show. As this picture didn’t sell I am very happy to have welcomed her back home, so she now hangs on my studio wall once more.
I did receive good news about her stay though, it turns out that A Lifetime of Laughter was the runner up for the People’s Choice award. Although being runner up is not a recognised position, I was delighted to learn that she was so popular with visitors and that she had won the votes of many when she was amongst hundreds of other pieces of art. So thank you to anyone reading this who may have contributed to her success in this way, it really did make my day.
I will look forward to exhibiting this artwork again at some point, and till then I will be glad to have her cheerful company whilst I work. And if you would like a bit of extra laughter in your life, she is available as a framed original artwork, limited edition prints and on a greetings card.
I am very pleased to say that my pencil portraits A Thirst for Life and A Lifetime of Laughter were both shortlisted for the Bath Society of Artists 2021 open exhibition. This is an annual open show where half of the art exhibited is by Bath Art Society members and half by non-members like myself. Places are limited and highly sought after, so I was delighted to be in the running.
For the second stage of the selection process us artists had to deliver our work to the Victoria Gallery in Bath for judging. That meant a day trip and chance to explore this beautiful city, and it just so happened that whilst I was there the Holburne Museum had an exhibition of works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. What a treat it was to see these Pre-Raphaelite paintiing, drawings and photographs in person. My favourite of the show was ‘Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress)’ as shown below, which Rossetti painted in 1868. It really is a stunning portrait which I could have stared at for hours.
From the judging process A Lifetime of Laughter has been selected and will be exhibited as a part of the Bath Society of Artists 116th annual art exhibition. As you can imagine I am thrilled to be one of the lucky participants in this prestigious show.
The Bath Society of Artists 2021 exhibition will run from Saturday 2nd October until Saturday 20th November at the Victoria Art Gallery.
I was taking a well earned break and enjoying a cup of tea with the latest issue of The SAA’s Paint Magazine. When I turned the page I was thrilled to discover my pencil portrait A Lifetime of Laughter smiling back at me.
My drawing was Highly Commended in their Artists of the Year 2020 competition, which is a great honour as there are entries from so many artists whose work I admire.
Back in 2018 I also had the good fortune to receive the award of Highly Commended for my pencil portrait Amur Leopard which was also a finalist that year.
Entries for AOY 2021 are now open, so join me and enter too.
My most recent coloured pencil portrait, An Age of Indigo, has been doing me proud in the current Pastel Society exhibition. She has captured peoples imagination with her most expressive face, and has led to a number of enquiries. One woman in particular has fallen in love with her and has given her a new home in London as a gift to herself on her retirement. I am delighted that she speaks to others as much as she does me, and that she has started her new life in the city.
If you too would like some Indigo joy in your life, beautiful limited edition giclée prints and greetings cards are available, just drop me a line for more information.
And if you would like to learn more about the creation of this portrait, you can do with my blog post An Age of Indigo in the Making.
The February edition of the US publication COLOR Magazine features my most recent coloured pencil artwork, An Age of Indigo. I was asked if I would like to be included, which was of course a yes from me, and so I wrote a short piece about this portrait which you can read on the COLOR blog.
COLOR Magazine is a creation of the American artist Ann Kullberg, the first artist I became aware of who worked in coloured pencil, back when I was a teenager. Her realistic portraits were a huge inspiration to me, and I would pore over the book of hers that I borrowed from my local library, in awe of her skill and these seemingly impossible artworks.
This is the second time I have been featured in COLOR, you can read more about the first time I was the cover artist and published in its pages with my post about my step by step guide to drawing A Violet Veil.
Looking back at 2020 in pictures, this is my year in art. Amongst all the other things that life has required, and the particular and unexpected challenges of 2020, making art has remained a constant source of joy for me. There is a certain peace that comes with putting your attention on one task, and the distraction it offers from the regular thoughts when that task is challenging. Being creative, in whichever way it manifests for you, can be a form of meditation. For me it is an opportunity to disappear into something else for a while, to challenge my abilities as well as my preconceptions, and to really focus my attention on what is.
I will never tire of the magic of watching a drawing unfold in front of me. Despite knowing the techniques that I employ the visual illusions of shadows and highlights creating a sense of form work every time, and this never ceases to delight. I love the tangible nature of art, that I have something to show for my efforts, and appreciate the time I get to spend really getting to know the individuality of my subjects in this way.
Top row, left to right: Bonny Miss Bonnie (pastel), Billy the Kid (pastel), Jay (pastel), Pepsi (pastel), Melissa (pastel)
Bottom row, left to right: An Apprentice of Indigo (coloured pencil), An Age of Indigo (coloured pencil), Lisa and Danny (graphite pencil), Barn Owl (pastel), What a Hoot! (pastel)
I am delighted to announce that my coloured pencil drawing An Age of Indigo has been selected to be a part of the upcoming Pastel Society exhibition. This show will be held at London’s Mall Galleries in April 2021. It was due to open in January but due to national restrictions the decision was made to postpone the physical exhibition till the Spring.
All selected works in this exhibition are able to be viewed and purchased at the Mall Galleries website.
This news is a wonderful way to round off the year for me. After being selected to exhibit in both the Society of Women Artists and the ING Discerning Eye virtual shows this year, news that my artwork will be seen in a physical exhibition in a matter of weeks is very exciting. I make art primarily for my own pleasure, and to know that others enjoy it too is always a delight. Though to have this recognition of my skill, and in turn all the years of hard work that have allowed me to draw like this, is really encouraging and appreciated.
Many thanks go to Réhahn Photography for his most inspiring reference image.
An Age of Indigo is my most recent portrait, drawn solely with coloured pencils. The woman we find ourselves smiling back at has such a presence, she seems to have the ability to connect with all who see her through the universal language of a smile.
In Vietnam covering your mouth when smiling is a sign of modesty. And although we cannot see her mouth at all, there is no doubt as to her expression thanks to the way her eyes are lit up with joy, and the lines carved into her skin speak of the thousands of moments of laughter and joy through her life. This fact speaks strongly to me, as whilst we can readily admire the physical legacy of emotion in the form of wrinkles on her face, we are all too often condemning anything other than a youthful complexion on our own. I choose to embrace the privilege that is aging, and to welcome the lines on my skin which will speak for me of all the emotions I have felt during my lifetime. I think there are few things more beautiful than a broad smile with the traces of thousands of smiles shining with it.
The blue of her fingers is thanks to decades of hand dyeing cloth with the leaves of the indigo plant, tucked away in the hills above Sapa.
Whilst drawing this portrait I scanned the picture at eight stages along the way. This documentation of the process is a visual diary for me, and a way to share how I work and what goes into creating an artwork like this. I post the steps on my Facebook page in the Works in Progress album so my followers can join me on the journey. I love this opportunity to connect the solo work of an artist in her studio in Cornwall with a worldwide audience, sharing my thoughts at each point along the way.
This wonderful woman has been such good company on my drawing board, and I am glad to have had this time getting to know her. I will be looking to exhibit this portrait at the next opportunity, and have already begun work on another coloured pencil drawing which will join her to make a pair of portraits.
The original artwork, limited edition prints and greetings cards featuring An Age of Indigo are available to purchase, please contact me directly for more information.
A great many thanks go to Rehahn Photography for his generosity in allowing me to reference his incredible photograph.
My pencil portrait A Lifetime of Laughter has received the accolade of Highly Commended in SAA Artists of the Year 2020. This annual competition attracts thousands of entries from an international pool of artists, so to be recognised is a great privilege.
You can see a gallery of all the winning and commended artworks on the SAA website here.
I am particularly proud to have received the award of Highly Commended as I received the same in the 2018 SAA Artists of the Year competition for my pencil drawing Amur Leopard.
A Lifetime of Laughter is currently being exhibited along with A Thirst for Life as a part of the Society of Women Artists exhibition. The show is open till 31st December 2020. SWA exhibitions are typically held at the Mall Galleries in London, however due to the exceptional circumstances and challenges of this year, the show is for the first time being held online, giving opportunity for a global audience to enjoy it. View my portraits and the works of my fellow women artists here, and take a moment to vote for your favourite to win the People’s Choice award.