La Rentrée

The return to school and work after the summer holidays is known in France as the ‘Rentrée’ which translated into English means ‘return’, nothing surprising there then! This point in the calendar feels more like the start of a new year to me now than the 1st of January in many ways: I come back to my studio feeling really refreshed and inspired after the summer’s experiences. So here I am again after almost two months off! For the last few years I have generally stopped working completely during the summer (although I still draw and paint regularly) to enjoy some time with my family, particularly my children who seem to grow so fast. I’m happy for this precious time with them as I’m fully aware of how time will soon sweep them off to live their own lives. I also took a well-needed break from social media during the month of August which did me the world of good and of course when I got back, nothing much had changed!

Back in my studio now I have started some new work and have a couple of exhibitions planned: one later this month at the lovely Masham Gallery in The Yorkshire Dales. The exhibition is showing work inspired by a local, magical woodland ‘Hackfall’ and I’ll be showing three paintings there. The second is at the wonderful Number Four Gallery in St. Abbs, Scotland and some of my paintings will be on display at their Winter Exhibition this December which I’m very excited about. If you don’t know these galleries, I encourage you to visit them both. They are full of beautiful work and of course if you go when I suggested, you’ll also get a glimpse of my work too!

Hackfall painting

Hackfall painting

Hope the ‘rentrée’ finds you well too!

Bye for now x

Painting Houses

I began making papier-maché houses last year. They are not just papier-maché; the main structure is made from sturdy recycled cardboard and then covered with papier-maché to add texture and reinforce the shape a little. Since houses are the main subject matter of my paintings, it just seemed natural that they would also be the first thing I would want to make in 3D.

back of house.jpg

This leads to the question, why houses?

When I first began painting seriously I was a bit tentative about it. Even though I’d been drawing and painting since childhood and had already put in years of practice, I still felt like a beginner. Needless to say, painting people was out of the question, the forms and depiction of movement seemed far too ambitious at the time.

There was never a conscious decision on my part to paint houses, it just came about naturally. Perhaps because they are one of the first things you paint as a child?

Wish You Were Here, Mixed Media on canvas, 80cm x 40cm, 2016

Wish You Were Here, Mixed Media on canvas, 80cm x 40cm, 2016

People often like to know about your paintings, about what they mean and why you painted such and such in a particular way. At first I didn’t give this much thought; things just sort of poured out of me. However, more and more people began to ask me this question and so I began to take a closer look and the only explanation I can give is this: I painted houses (and still do) because I was a little uncomfortable painting people and so I think the houses in my paintings are representations of people. The position of the house in the painting is important; the houses’ relationships to one another, their size and even colour are all significant in the meaning behind the paintings.

On A Distant Shore, acrylic on canvas, 1m x 1m 2016

On A Distant Shore, acrylic on canvas, 1m x 1m 2016

And so, the papier-maché houses I’ve begun working on lately, are I suppose, also representations of people.

The houses are far from perfect: they vary in size and shape and have ill-fitting fixtures; they are covered in scratches and some have holes and yet, in spite of all these things they are all beautiful in their own way.