Your drawing skills aren’t great.

Your drawing skills aren’t great.

Your drawing skills aren’t great.

That’s what I was told by a tutor when I was at art college approximately 1 million years ago. Thanks for that mate.

He did go on to say that I had a very sophisticated use of colour… which was well received by me haha. I’m easily pleased! The point is that 1 million years later, I still remember this exchange. (If you can call it an exchange… I’m pretty sure I remained mute while absorbing this information and taking it to be an irrefutable fact.)

I hear all the time from visitors to my studio, that they were told at school they were no good at art. Why teachers do this is beyond me. It really leaves a lasting impression on the student. I see my role as a tutor as an opportunity to enthuse people. We all have different creative skills and when you find your flow with colour, line, design or composition, the door is open to develop the other skills alongside.

We are born with creativity coursing through us. As young children, we thrown colour and line around with utter confidence and as adults, I think the starting point for creative flow, is to learn to play again.  Apart from anything else, it’s fun, and who doesn’t enjoy having a good time while simultaneously creating something lovely?

So off I went on my merry way, bathing in a colourful painterly life. I took the compliment and never questioned that colour was my thing, while somewhat lacking in the drawing department. Fast forward nearly a million years, oh ok, more like 30 years, and I went on a painting workshop as a student. I do this occasionally because it’s fun and good for my practice. A rather fantastic painter called Hester Berry was running the show on this day, and she talked about drawing regularly being an important part of her work. I looked at her drawings and thought, yeah I can see why. I may be no good at it, but I’m going to give it a go again.

Off I went and got myself a lovely shiny new sketchbook. Well Hester, you were right! My first few were dodgy as they come, but I now draw all the time. It informs my painting, gives me a lovely portable way to work, increases my ability to look and observe, brings confidence to my mark making. I used to draw as a means to an end. To make shapes for the colourful painty bit to bring up the rear and make a party of the situation. No more. Now I draw to enjoy drawing.

I literally love it! And guess what… I flipping CAN draw. I just needed to stop caring what I was told and go for it.

If you fancy a fun day of drawing, come over to my Leicestershire studio and have a go at one of the workshops. It really is fun to draw.

What do you expect?

What do you expect?


What do you expect from a workshop?

I would love to go on a writing course for a day and be quite brilliant and fully equipped by the end of the day to write my hilarious international bestseller!

My tutor will teach me everything they know, and I’ll pick it up like a pure natural with all the confidence required to see me set off on the road to my new and exciting career. Hahahahaaaaaaaa

Sorry guys, I love running workshops in my studio, but I’m selling a good day out. An experience of painting in a working studio, seeing exactly how I make my work and deciding which bits you think can help your painting move forward, and which bits are utter rubbish and would never work for you.

It really is a fun day, but one of the first pieces of advice I offer, is to manage your expectations. I stop short of gleefully showing you the pile of canvases in a dark corner, that never made the cut, but I will admit to their existence. We all have them. The near miss, the total failure, the one that technically hits all the marks but, in the end, just isn’t good enough.  These pieces are actually as important as the ones that go on show. Without getting it wrong, how can you possibly know how to get it right? By relaxing into a good time, laughing and enjoying the process, you stand a far better chance of producing something you love. Pick the colours that light you up. Swing your arms around and make the marks that are your marks. This is the path to success in the painting studio… well it is in mine anyway.

On the occasions that I try too hard, or feel the pressure, my work freezes. It becomes stifled and stiff. I rely on my own discernment and intuition to tell me when to stop, when to free up, and when to add the detail. Painting with me is a chance to grow your confidence and dare to push yourself. I have many people who come to me after being told as a child they were rubbish at art. (This is gut wrenching to hear and may be the subject of a future blog!) What’s rubbish is to think you can’t do it. Of course you can! You’re great and you can pick a colour and make a mark like no-one else. You’re the best at being you, so come and have a go, leave your worries elsewhere and let yourself go.

If you come for time in the studio with me, expect to enjoy the day, pick up some dos and don’ts, learn some techniques you might not have tried before, and you never know, you might produce something you didn’t know you had in you.

Expect a good day out with the potential of making great discoveries and maybe even some lovely artwork.

Show Time

Show Time

It’s show time again!

This weekend is the Melbourne Arts and Architecture Trail in beautiful South Derbyshire. Shall I take the chance of saying that it’s always sunny and warm.. perhaps I’ll keep that thought to myself and err on the side of caution. Either way, it’s a chance to see the work of artisans from across the country, displayed in and around the homes of this achingly beautiful Georgian market town.  Food, music, laughter and creativity are in abundance so I reckon you should come along and have a good day.

Easily accessed from Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottingham and Birmingham, we’re right in the heart of the Midlands and you can’t miss us.

It’s a funny old game, popping your artwork up and hoping that people will come along and have a look. This particular show is one of my all time favourites, as I’ve been showing here for as long as it’s been running and I feel that we have grown and learned together. My paintings are all about finding the light and the theme seems fitting at this particular event. It literally lifts the spirits to be a part of it.

If you fancy coming along and having a laugh with me, I’ll be at venue 3 on Church Street this year. I’ll be easy to spot under the big gazebo on the patio. Excitement will be effervescing from me, with a small measure of panic thrown in. I find a little bit of panic that the weather might not hold, is never far away when showing outside. It’s not the strongest look for an artist to be employing the skills of an octopus while attempting to hold on to canvases, cards and prints simultaneously ! It does guarantee the laughter promised though haha.

Looking forward to seeing you there. Roll on show time. I’m ready.


Pushing on open doors and open studios

Pushing on open doors and open studios

The theme that runs through my life as an artist is that I need to push constantly. Doors to opportunities don’t open on their own. It can feel like a set back at times, and life is full of custard pies, but carry on pushing them and the golden opportunities will present themselves when you keep showing up.

I read a book some years ago about lucky people. The message was clear that luck doesn’t come knocking, it’s the lucky people that go looking. The more you search for chances and new breaks, the more become available. I’m in the market for gateways to uplifting new adventures and intend to share them far and wide.

Last weekend I had the privilege of opening my own studio door to the general public in my first ever open studio event. Not only was this a hugely rewarding experience, but I’m thrilled to say that it will be repeated on the first weekend of every month from now on.

With a great deal of planning and some careful thought, it genuinely feels like an exciting start to a new era for me.

In the spirit of the eternal push, I’m striking while the iron is hot and will bring regular news to you here on my website about anything art within my sphere. New opportunities, exhibitions, work and techniques and pretty much anything else that pops into my mind can be found here from now on.

As my own studio is in the heart of the Midlands in beautiful Leicestershire, bordering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, I feel uniquely placed to reach fellow creatives in this part of our beautiful land and beyond.

Come and enjoy the warm welcome of my own studio and those of my fellow creators at the Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts, at Staunton Harold Hall.

Drop in here to my website to follow the latest news.

Walk with me on my creative meander and let’s see which doors are ready to be pushed.