Saturday, 14 September 2013

Manchester Work

Tram Stop - St Peter's Square, Manchester
The Triangle, Manchester

I've been working on some mini canvases recently. These are 20 cms x 20 cms (8" x 8"). I love street scenes and iconic buildings, like Piccadilly Station. I've chosen to use heavy body acrylics and kept a loose style. These have been popular; two have sold already and I have a commission for another Piccadilly one. Visit my Facebook Page (link in top left corner) to find out what is still available.

Piccadilly Station, Manchester

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Catch Up!

Oops, I realise I've neglected my blog (I've been a bit better with my Facebook page though). There's so much to catch up on since my last post, but in a nutshell - I took part in a great exhibition at Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, graduated at Bridgewater Hall and had a busy fortnight with the Barnaby Art Trail in Macclesfield at the gallery I share with 3 artist friends.

Monday, 15 April 2013


I feel like I am coming out of hibernation. Not only is the weather getting warmer (just a little!) but I am moving from my many thought processes to something which I can share with you here. For my final degree exhibition, my basis is the link in the industrial heritages of Macclesfield and Castlefield - cotton, silk and coal. From this I am opting for working with black and white, with possibly a touch of orange. To start with I have a few sketches with charcoal and acrylics, taking the reels of cotton I saw on machinery in the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. Here are some close ups.

With the charcoal sketch, I covered the area with charcoal and then used a rubber to reveal the white areas. This gives a grainy effect which reminds me of the threads of cotton.

With the acrylic sketch, I painted black, then added the white areas once the black was dry, scratching through to reveal the black. Then I added silk over the top which takes the starkness out of the black.

Sunday, 3 March 2013


I'm so excited as new materials have arrived that I want to play with. I have a whole range of silk products and by-products that I can use in a textile piece and I am researching how others have used them creatively. 

Back to the Beginning

Now begins the last part of my Foundation Degree - a group exhibition with the title 'A Sense of Place'. I find this stage in the process exhausting as my head fills with all manner of thoughts and possibilities about how I can respond to this. My initial ideas are connected with the histories of Macclesfield (where I live and study) and Castlefield (where the exhibition will be held). Images of cotton, silk, coal, canals, and mills jumble in my mind and the colours of black and white dominate. Follow me as I explore these ideas in my experimenting and creations....

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Commissioned Work in Location

Here is the commissioned piece, which I have now installed in the Hope Centre cafe area. The colours are perfect for the location and it can be seen from across the room. I am really happy with how it looks and have already received some positive comments from customers and volunteers who help at the Hope Centre.

Finished Piece

And here is the finished piece - I am very pleased with it and look forward to seeing it in place.

Finishing Touches

I have left this part of the process until last for a reason. When I used this fabulous sheer voile with gold and silver flecks on my experimental pieces, I added it before creating the circles and found that, as it is more of a fabric than paper, it soaked up the paint more, giving a more intense colour when rubbed over with the sponge, and the overall effect was more uneven than I wanted. So for this piece I left it as the last addition. It is so sheer that the colours and images still show through, but the flecks add detail and interest to the larger areas of the dove and large jar, sparkling when the lights catch them.

Some Close Ups

I thought I'd post a few close up photos now that all the circles have been added. I'm really happy with how they create little windows into the images and background.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Adding Circles


Once I was happy with the overall look of my piece,  it was time to add the circles. I cut the template for the largest circle and used the negative to select the best area. This was used for each of the 3 main figurative symbols. Once I had decided where it was going, I put the circle in place and, with a sponge, added a transparent blue paint. This meant that I didn't lose everything underneath, but there was enough colour for the circles to show. I repeated this with two other sized circles, placed more randomly but taking care not to end up with a formation.

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Standing back and reviewing my canvas, I thought that the blue in the top left corner was too strong, so I knocked it back with a creamy white and my favourite transparent green - terre verte hue. The transparent quality of the green allowed shades of blue to show through and gave me the blended hues I wanted. One of the trustees wanted some water spilling from the jars, so I suggested this with touches of light ultramarine blue and white dry brushed over the texture of the tissue paper. I added some Japanese paper with patterned holes over part of the pomegranate and the scattered seeds. I chose this because I think it adds texture and the pattern resembles the shape of the seeds.

Developing Colours

 Now I have added the red and plum colours for the jars and pomegranates and developed the colours on the dove. As I have been working on the figurative elements, I've also blended the background colours more - working on the piece as a whole to keep the balance. I am a bit undecided about how far to use the stronger colours on the jars. I like the transparent look of some of them but think that I only need to keep a couple of them like that. I have the idea of them fading out towards the edges.

Blending In

The next stage was to start to blend in the lino print doves and printed music. I used a watery white wash over these areas and picked out some highlights on the figurative elements. I want to be careful to build the layers gradually, so that the depth is not lost. I like it when some of the bottom layers are still visible in areas, so I work on getting the balance right between keeping things loose and not covering everything with sweeping brushstrokes.

Sketching The Composition

During a recent lino printing session I found that I liked this print of the dove the best. I love the simple lines and graphic quality and think they go well with the music score. They are printed on tissue papers so have a lovely textural quality too. I decided to sketch in the main dove, pomegranate and jars before I continued any further with the background as it would help me harmonise the whole piece.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Getting Started

 Finally at the point where I can start the work on the final piece. Got myself all set up with the large 30 x 30 inches canvas on my easel upstairs at our gallery and put my example boards up for reference.

I covered the whole canvas with a creamy yellow wash then added washes of blue, green and violet - letting them drip and blend. I decided that as there was going to be more of the red colours in the bottom half with the jars and pomegranates, I would echo this colouring in the top right corner

Once the canvas was dry, I started on building the layers by adding pink and blue coloured tissue papers with more washes. This helped to consolidate the background colours.

Example Boards

I developed a board with an example of what the painting might be like to show the trustees, putting together the elements we had discussed.
They liked the dove and pomegranate, but preferred the shapes of other jars in my sketchbook. The music was a printed scan of the hymn 'Amazing Grace' as I think the words are very encouraging. When I discussed this example with the trustees, it was decided that I would do a collection of jars rather than one and place the circles more randomly.

Developing my example further, this is the second board.
This was shown to the trustees, who liked it. The only comments were to make the music more in the background and to have less yellow. My own personal feelings are that I want to make the circle outlines all the same colour - I chose different ones here to try and balance the colours, but I will work on doing that with the background instead.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


This page in my sketchbook shows an example of how I could include circles. Tissue papers are layered with acrylic paint. The circles are created by using a circle template cut from cardboard and place on the layered background. A transparent green paint was sponged around the edges. The template was then removed, leaving the circle revealing the layers underneath.

Abstract Version

This was a quick sketch to show the client what a more abstract version could look like. The majority of them agreed that they wanted the symbols to look be recognisable, so I will not be developing this any further for this piece of work, but it is something I would like to come back to at a future stage and experiment more.