Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Highlights of 2013

2013 has been an amazing year for me
As you probably already know

But just to count my blessings here are some/my highlights:

January, February
I painted a series of self portraits
I finished the very large Eurydice enters the Underworld
My Self Portrait with Lace Collar got accepted into the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2013
I received over 160 visitors over 3 days during my Open Studio
The BP Portrait Award Opens and I received the Travel Award
Self portrait with Blue Background got accepted into the RBSA Portrait Prize Exhibition in Birmingham
July, August
I travelled to various lace-related places, read many books and studied early 17th century lace and portraiture for my Travel Award Project
The exhibition Women Painting Women UK opened at Art Exposure Gallery in Glasgow
I spent most of my time sewing; making props for paintings.
I exhibited with the prestigious Haynes Galleries in Nashville, Tennessee
I finished painting The Choice
I was now seriously painting for the BP Travel Exhibition
The RWA Autumn Exhibition started. This was my 3d year exhibiting with them.
Christmas Show at Art Exposure Gallery in Glasgow, exhibiting 4 of my paintings
The dates for the BP Portrait Award 2014 and therefore my Travel Award Exhibition were made public: 26 June - 21 September 2014
I revealed a new pastel painting Lace Lines which will feature in a 6-page article in the US Pastel Journal.

Bring on 2014!!
Happy New Year!!

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Fabric of Life

All subscribers the the Pastel Journal (USA) should have received their February issue now, and hopefully seen my article “The Fabric of Life”. Here is a picture of the opening spread. In the article I give a step-by-step demonstration on how the painting ‘Lace Lines’ came about, with lots of pictures and explanations. I also discuss technique, subject matter and much more, all illustrated with my pastel work. My technique for using pastel is quite similar to the technique I use with oil paints so hopefully the article will be interesting for oil painters as well as pastellists. The small hatching technique can easily be applied to both, and gives much control over details and shading. I hope you will enjoy the article. Feel free to let me know what you think of it.

A preview of the magazine:

Monday, 16 December 2013

Lace Lines

New pastel painting off the easel
Lace Lines

The ‘making of’ will appear in the February issue of the American Pastel Journal. A preview of which can be seen here.

and you can buy the Pastel Journal here

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Christmas Show in Glasgow

Art Exposure Gallery is putting on their Christmas Show and 4 of my paintings are included.
Do go and see if you get the chance.
 G1 5RJ 
 Tel: +(0141) 552 7779 
 Tuesday - Saturday 12pm - 5pm 
Or by prior arrangement
White Dove, oil, 40x60cm

Child of Time, oil, 40x30cm
Silk & Lace, oil, 40x50cm
Enveloped, oil, 60x40cm

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Save the Date!

Save the Date! Save the Date!

The dates for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2014 have been made public. This exhibition will include my first ever solo exhibition of paintings created for the BP Travel Award which I won last year.
I am working very hard to make it a great show.
I am sure I will be around on the first day to welcome you.

BP Portrait Award 2014/ Travel Award Exhibition
26 June - 21 September
National Portrait Gallery
London (and then on tour)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mothers and Daughters and Lace

My paintings for the BP Travel Award are inspired by the many portraits of women from the early 17th century as painted by Larkin, Gheeraerts and Verspronck and many others. They painted wealthy upper class women. Although their wealth gave us the opportunity to see their faces and their dress, they were women who must have shared many things with modern-day women: they were mothers, daughters, wives and grandmothers. They loved fashion and beautiful things or perhaps not so much. They had to battle the challenges from life as a wife or a mother and a head of a household.They were hugely restricted in their freedom but no doubt found ways to exercise some power over their own lives. They were painted in elaborate clothes, often richly decorated with lace. The lace would have been made by many more women of whom we do not have portraits. They were invisible women who were also mothers, wives and daughters. The incredible refinement and beauty in the lace is something we cannot reproduce nowadays and will one day be lost forever, when the lace has disintegrated into dust. All we then have are the paintings of it.
(from my upcoming catalogue)

William Larkin, Lady Mary Radclyffe, 1610-13
Denver Art Museum

Lace detail of one of my portraits, around 5 inches wide.
Oil on linen.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Works in progress....

Just some pictures of work in progress....for your to enjoy...and to wonder what it is all going to lead  to since I cannot show you any complete paintings....yet.....

A small 2 inch detail of a work in progress.

I love painting silk! This is the underpainting stage....

with a small brush I add texture to turn the silk into taffeta silk
Detail of a painting in progress....

Some reproduction goodies to be used in my costumes...

Thursday, 14 November 2013

RWA Autumn Ehxibition

I am happy to exhibit again at the Royal West of England Academy of Art (RWA)  for its 161st Autumn Exhibition.
24 November - 26 February

Queens Road


Petals & Lace, graphite, 38x28cm

Some images of the show, with the room where my drawing hangs:

Other posts on the RWA Open exhibitions:

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


My palette is starting to look rather, eh, creative...

A thorough clean with a paint scraper and ready for an underpainting!

Colours laid out for the next stage.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Portrait of Queen Anne of Denmark

John de Critz, Portrait of Queen Anne of Denmark, 1605-10. National Portrait Gallery, London

Anne of Denmark (queen consort of James I), (born 1574- died 1619), daughter of the King of Denmark, who loved fashion, extravagance, fought for custody over her children, was a Lutheran and had a troublesome marriage with the king. Portrait by John de Critz (1551-1642), Flemish born, but living and working in England most of his life and 'Serjeant Painter' to James I (chief painting job in court)In 1619 Anne of Denmark died and in the same year a whole generation of artists such as Hilliard, Robert Peake and William Larkin, paving the way for new style in portraiture.

Her silk dress shows the 'pinks'; little decorative cuts in the fabric. It is decorated with embroidered bands. She wears an Elizabethan wheel farthingale under her skirt and in her wire- supported collar there is some very detailed and expensive cutwork lace.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Haynes Galleries Photos

Thanks to fellow exhibiting artist Melixa MorĂ³n Gonzalez for taking some pictures at Haynes Galleries in Nashville, Tennessee, US. It is really exciting to see my paintings hanging on the gallery walls!

Lace in progress

Detail (about 2 inches wide) of a portrait in progress...Flemish lace.
Am afraid I can't show you much more at the moment....

Friday, 4 October 2013

Exhibiting with Haynes Galleries in the US

I am delighted to share that I am exhibiting 3 pieces with the Haynes Galleries in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States.

The Haynes Galleries is one of the leading galleries in the US that show contemporary realist art. They have an impressive stable of artists and art on their books that include not only past greats such as Andrew Wyeth and John Singer Sargent, but also contemporary realist masters such as Anthony Ryder, Burton Silverman, and Alexandra Tyng. I am very proud to join this impressive group of realist artists and exhibit in their next exhibition

New Works: New Directions

'Fresh faces, fresh work and fresh perspectives highlight “New Works: New Directions” at Haynes Galleries, an exciting collection of paintings from some of the most talented names in contemporary American Realism. The show runs fromOctober 11 to November 16 at Haynes Galleries, on the historic Music Row Roundabout. An opening reception will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. October 11; the event is free and open to the public.'

See my work on the gallery website:

Haynes Galleries
On the Music Row Roundabout
1600 Division Street.
Suite 140 Nashville,
Tennessee 37203-2736
Telephone: 615-312-7000
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10am to 4pm
Or by Appointment


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

New Painting

New work....

Trapped, oil on canvas, 50x60cm/20x24" (excl. frame)

The painting was inspired by the choice many women make, of being at home and taking care of the children instead of going out to work and develop a career. While they happily make the choice many feel trapped at some stage in their life, trapped by the expectations of being feminine, beautiful and attractive (the lace underwear), while also providing a home, raising kids, cleaning and tidying (the rug in the painting), but not being able to develop themselves mentally in a career. A feeling, I am sure, many women recognize.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Women Painting Women Catalogue

The Women Painting Women Exhibition at Art Exposure in Glasgow is well on its way.

I am happy to say that both my paintings there sold within the first 24 hours of opening the show. I am so grateful. I hope you get a chance to go and see this show as it has some really great artists in it. Most of these are friends, whom have gotten to know each-other though the extensive network of artists that find each-other on Facebook. Facebook has been brilliant for me the past few years. While it has been a simple of means of staying in touch with friends for many, for me it has provided a network of international artists to exchange work, experiences, exhibitions and support. I have met many artists whom I first only knew on Facebook but who have now become real friends. It has been a goldmine of added value for my painting career and life in general. 

The catalogue for the exhibition at Art Exposure is available to buy online, so even if you don't get to see the show, you can get this lovely catalogue with all the works illustrated.

Related blog posts:

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Ruff Making

I am finally getting to where I want to be with my ruff-making skills. It is far from perfect, I am no seamstress after all, but at least I can work with this one....Hopefully you'll see it again in one of my paintings....

Thursday, 19 September 2013

work in progress

Preparing for paintings, making collars....I look like a seamstress but honestly this will lead to painting!!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

An overview of Early Lace

Early Lace: A Short History

In the late 16th century lace became increasingly popular in fashion. It developed from decorated edges, surface decoration, decorated seams on clothing and passementerie (braids, cords, tassels etc). As it became increasingly popular it became increasingly developed. There are two types of lace: needle lace and bobbin lace.

Needle Lace

Needle lace is built up with a thread and needle, stitch by stitch, on an outline of thread. The thread outline follows the pattern on parchment or paper. Row after row of buttonhole stitches built up the design. The designs can then be connected by linking bars, also made up of buttonhole stitches.

Bobbin Lace

Bobbin lace does not involve a needle but is a type of weaving with the help of bobbins to keep the threads organised. The pattern would be drawn out on parchment and would be pricked out. Pins would be placed through the holes and they hold the lace-in-progress in place. Once the lace is done it will keep itself in place and the pins could be removed. 

A number of threads would be joined together, resembling the warp threads in a piece of woven material, and then the threads would be woven, pleated, and twisted together with the help of the bobbins. 

'Straight Lace' is a lace where the entire piece, pattern and linking bars is created in one continuous process. This technique can be used for the most simple as well as the most complicated pieces of lace. A simple piece would only require 6 or so bobbins, while a complex piece could need 600 or more bobbins! Straight lace is the oldest form of bobbin lace. 

Bobbin Lace making


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