Category Archives: Sketchbook

Some sketches from Wales



Last weekend, we spent a fabulous few days with my sister (Liz) and brother-in-law (Dave) at their place in Machynlleth. We met up at Powis Castle, which you must visit when the gardens are in full bloom – they are quite beautiful. Powis Castle is a National Trust property.

Headland from Borth beach

Headland from Borth beach

One of the walks we did on our visit was circular from Dinas Mawddwy – a mere 10 miles! It is fantastic and the panorama once you reach the top is awesome. Of course, we couldn’t visit one of our favourite places unless we walked along the beaches of Aberdovey and Borth.

Dinas Mawddwy

Dinas Mawddwy

There is nothing better than sitting on the terrace of the Victoria pub in Borth to watch the sun go down and listen to the waves (all the while sipping a glass of wine or beer!).

Included in this post are a few sketches I made during our few days stay. Hopefully, artwork may develop from them… who knows?

Borth from clifftop

Borth from clifftop

Bath Artists Printmakers Open Studio

I am happy to say that three of my prints, which are based on my sketch of the Remarkables mountain range in New Zealand, have been sold at the Bath Artists Printmakers Open Studio.

Thank you so much to the new owners. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed visiting the Remarkables when I toured New Zealand earlier this year.

Also, a big thank you to Pat Groves-Hill. I will be in touch with you soon, Pat.

Monoprint made while with the NZ printmakers at their studio

Monoprint made while with the NZ printmakers at their studio

Helpful suggestions

When trying to work out how I feel about art – as a personal practice, rather than as a viewer – I often look at my sketchbooks, which contain lots of quick impressions of the countryside made while enjoying walks in the open air.

In particular, this charcoal collections includes many sketches made while visiting my sister’s small renovated barn in mid-Wales, from which you can reach beautiful, quite locations really quickly.  As a family we love walking and within five minutes of leaving the barn you can be trudging up beautiful Welsh hillsides, or – after a 20-minute drive – wandering along the always amazing Ceredigion coast.

While I obviously find such scenes inspiring, only rarely have I taken these pieces forward into finished forms of art such as paintings or prints. Which leads me to ask: am I really a dedicated artists? Is it enough for me to record and remind myself of places I love?

At the moment, I tend to think it is. I do find making these sketches both rewarding and fulfilling. But could I get more out of them, and if so what would be the best ways to move my practice forward? Any ides would be very welcome.

Grasses in Sand dunes Ynysla

Grasses in Sand dunes Ynyslas

Grasses in Sand dunes Ynysla



drawing 2 for blog


drawing 3 for blog


Final Week in Auckland

We returned to Auckland after a week in the Bay of Islands and visits to Kaitaia, the Hibiscus Coas, Waiheke island and the Coromandel peninsula. Before leaving for the South Island I was lucky enough to meet a group of fellow printmakers in Auckland itself.


One of Coromandel’s lovely beaches

I want to thank Pat Grove-Hill, who kindly arranged a day at the Lakeside Arts Centre in Takapuna, where the Studio Printmakers have their base. When we arrived I was absolutely thrilled to find 12 enthusiastic fellow artists waiting to greet me.

Not only were there members of Pat’s group but there were three from another in Waitakere. After introductions we got down to the important thing… coffee and a lengthy discussion on printmaking around the table. Some of them had brought samples of work which we discussed, sharing techniques and ironing out difficulties we may have encountered during certain processes. Thanks girls.


Printmakers Studio, Takapuna, Auckland NZ

Solar etch Pru Macdougall NZ Printmakers

Pru MacDougall – solar etching

Walking the past

Walking the Past framed

Gloucester Cathedral show on the theme of pilgrimage – part of Impress 2016

My print for this show is now finished and has been framed by Kevin,  a wonderful framer in Bath.

If you click the project label above you can see how I conceived the idea, planned its execution, mixed the colours I wanted and worked out a method.

The individual images are based on medieval tiles in the cathedral’s Whispering Gallery. But where only two colours were used for most of the originals I opted to use four.  This is because I wanted to reflect more of the pilgrims’ experience of the setting as well as of the tiles themselves.

In the medieval period most places of worship would have been brightly decorated, inside and out. So both pilgrims and worshipers – coming into the building from the drab, brutal society in which they spent their everyday lives – would have been in awe of the coloured walls, illuminated by the magnificent, stained-glass windows.

Did they feel nearer to heaven as a result? Who knows, but their hearts must have been uplifted by the spectacle.

A new beginning in 2016

Walking the Green Way

Image made during a weekend workshop at Rabley Drawing Centre, near Marlborough.


Image made during a weekend workshop at Rabley Drawing Centre, near Marlborough. Both exhibited in Alkmaar, Holland, 2015.

It has been a while since I last posted anything on the site, in fact it is most probably more than a year. Where does the time go?

I have always felt like a dinosaur when it comes to technology, it is, however, the future. Apologies to all technophiles before I begin.

My work has been exhibited a few times in the last 12 months with some shows more successful than others.

I find my stress levels go through the roof at the thought of preparing and showing work. That, alas, is my cross to bear.

It is a big decision for me, to open my sketchbooks for public scrutiny and place my artwork into the world. “Why,” you may ask? Because sketchbooks are private doodling and working outs of what is going on when the little grey cells get to work at the beginning of a project.

To begin with, things are going to be a little slow and mistakes will happen. I can deal with that. You don’t know me, which is fine. There is you, me, my work and the ether. What’s there to be scared of…