A selection of my work can be seen at:
Area Design, Corso Torino, 150, 14100 Asti
Cantina di Dogliotti 1870, Via Fratelli Vicari, 70, 14054 Castagnole delle Lanze AT
Ristorante sul Lago Codana, Via della Repubblica, 32, 14026 Montiglio Monferrato AT
April and May 2021 - Irises
Well it is now June and as I have started to write this newsletter for May I realise that I have not written one for April. I can’t believe how the time has flown. But I think it might be because of what I have been concentrating on - working on paintings for the Florence Biennale in October this year. Further to what I wrote in the March newsletter I found that I did need to have all the paintings I wish to exhibit ready by early May - although the Biennale office very kindly extended the deadline for me. Anyway that is what I have been totally absorbed in.
I am going to exhibit 2 paintings both 80 x 80 cms - these two - Red Iris and Blue Iris.
Red Iris, Messenger of the Ancient Greek Gods
Blue Iris, Messenger of the Ancient Greek Gods
It has been quite a struggle to get here. I started with the red one which was heavily dependant on washes of acrylic paint blending together. I started by mixing various reds and orange acrylic paint and dropping it onto canvas that I had partially sprayed with water. Then I sprayed more water into the paint to move it around the canvas and to make the colours mix. I left it to dry overnight and repeated the process a number of times. I then painted in areas with a brush - to darken colours or to draw into some areas and to basically adjust the composition and balance of the painting. I was really pleased with the result. Meantime I started on a yellow one which went in a completely different direction - see below. Then I started on the blue one but could not get a satisfactory result - I almost had a decent picture at one stage but I completely messed it up trying to “improve” it. So I bought a new canvas and started again and eventually got a result that I liked and would go well alongside the red iris.
I should say that I started off by planning to have three canvases, each 80 x40 cms of purple, red and blue iris - the purple one I I already had - see the March newsletter. BUT the best laid plans of mice and men (and artists) don’t always work out do they.
However I did complete the other large blue canvas and the smaller one - so here they are alongside the yellow one. I now like them all. But my favourites are the red and blue ones I shall be exhibiting
I belong to a group of artists called Art Tribe which is run by Louise Fletcher an artist based in Yorkshire. She has a fabulous site with lots of regular and interesting content. She asks members to make videos of their work/studios to put on the site. Well I made one in May and I was absolutely overwhelmed by the many very kind responses that I got. Since then my Instagram account has got a lot more followers and many new people have signed up to this newsletter - so a very warm welcome to all of my fellow Art Tribers. So I am thinking of putting the video on my facebook page - but it needs a bit of editing first. I will let you all know when it goes out.
I am also now a member of a group of artists in Turin called GoArtFactory and we will be having our first exhibition since the beginning of lockdown last year in the Baloon area of Turin - along Via Borgo Dora all day on 13th June. I shall be exhibiting a range of smaller works.
Also on 26th June there will be a “Romantic Dinner” at Cocconato to celebrate us being in the top 10 Borgo dei Borghi in Italy. The theme is L’Amore Per L’Arte and there will be an exhibition of art along via Roma - I will be taking part in that so I hope to see you in Turin and/or Cocconato.
After having tidied up my studio I will be getting back to my mountain paintings and maybe some more flowers (not irises) now that they are all blooming my garden. Also I want to pick up on the work I was doing on the Lewis Noble course in March. Here are a few of the first cropped black and white drawings I made. For now I feel that the pressure is off!!
I loved playing with the quality of wet compressed charcoal
During may we had two Sundays of painting in the vineyards of Cocconato - one at Maciot Vineyard and one at Nicola Vineyard. It was organised by our Tourist office. People of all ages came to paint the vineyards or the views from them and I was there to help people with their paintings and offer advice. Both sessions were very enjoyable and we shall be doing one more in September.
One last thing - it was my birthday in May - a big one- here I am starting the celebrations with husband Ken having lunch at Lago Viverone.
March 2021 Mountains and Flowers
During March I have continued experimenting with inks, gesso and acrylics. I was happy with the very free charcoal and ink sketches I made last year in the Appuan Alps - so I started with a large sheet of gorgeous 300lb watercolour paper taped up into four squares and started paint freely without looking very much at my reference material and was pleased with the results - I really like the blues with the orange and sepia.
I then went onto two largish canvases (70 x 50 cms) using inks with gesso and black and blue acrylic, which I enjoyed as somehow I seem to be able to work more freely than I had been doing with my landscapes.
At one stage I put a sepia ink over most of the canvas but realised it looked too hot so I toned it down and put a coat of semi transparent gesso over it. I used palette knives, scrapers and brushes and ended up with some lovely textures - which unfortunately don’t show up well in photographs.
March has been beautifully sunny here and there have been fabulous views of both Monte Bianco and Monviso so I have been working on some ideas based on sketches and photographs that I took. These still need some work.
Apuane Mountain Images. Mixed media on paper approximately 28 x 38 cms
Mixed media on canvas
50 x 70 cms
But the mountains now will have to wait a while - I am exhibiting at the Florence Biennale in October and have been thinking that I have plenty of time to decide on my subject matter and develop some paintings. However I took a quick look back at the regulations and saw that I must provide an image of a painting for the catalogue by mid May and that this painting must be exhibited at the Biennale. As the theme of the Biennale is “Concepts of femininity in Contemporary Art and Design” I have chosen a floral theme - based on the Iris. The ancient Greek goddess Iris was the messenger of the gods and the personification of the rainbow and acted as the the link between heaven and earth. Through history the meaning of the iris has come to include faith, hope and wisdom. In our world today we need faith hope and wisdom more than ever before and the feminine symbol/personification of the rainbow is a powerful concept of femininity. I have one painting in my collection that is inspired by the iris which I may use - depending how the others develop.
At the same time I have just started a three week on line course with Lewis Noble which is helping considerably with issues of composition. More on this next month.
Purple Iris. Acrylic on canvas 40 x 80 cms
February 2021 Beautiful Ink
February has been a busy - and very cold month in the studio. But my husband and his blacksmith friend are building me a "stufa ad accumulo" which is a tall wood burning stove that will keep me lot warmer than the two expensive and not very efficient radiators I rely on at the moment!
I have been developing my more abstract/expressive landscapes but I have to say I am making slow progress. I almost always work in a series and have 6 landscape paintings on the go, but I fell into the trap of focusing too much on just one - trying to make it work and have not so far succeeded. Luckily I am following Louise Fletcher's studio sessions on her Art Tribe Facebook page and this month she is has been doing some loosening up work with inks. So I put the landscapes aside and followed Louise's advice. I was just planning to start experimenting when I happened to be at the fish stall in a local market and was taken by the lovely shapes of the shell fish and molluscs so I took some photos and used them as a starting point - using black and sepia ink with gesso and some charcoal and graphite. The images here are some of the results. I loved exploring the quality of the inks and gesso - splashing, scraping and rolling (using a printing roller).
This week has been really busy - I have been following 2 taster online courses with Nicholas Wilton and Gabriel Lipper. Both really useful - particularly to bring you back to the key functions of design, tone and colour which can get forgotten (certainly by me). I thought I had finished a couple of the landscape paintings but thinking about contrasting tonal values - very much emphasised on both the courses, i made black and white photos of them and can see immediately that they need to be tweaked - so that's my job when I get back in the studio tomorrow.