Saturday, 24 January 2015


On Friday 27 March I’ll be doing a lunch time talk at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery about my project The Lace Trail. The talk is about an hour, free,  and I hope to see you there!

Dutch artist, art historian and BP Travel Award winner Sophie Ploeg takes you into the lavish world of early 17th century Dutch and English portraiture. These portraits and the development of lace and ruffs as a fashion accessory has inspired her to create a series of new paintings which are currently on display within the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition. Within this talk she will discuss early 17th century portraiture, the development of 17th century lace and how she got inspired to create the costumes for her paintings. She will share studio images of the works in progress and explain her working method.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Friday 27 March
12.45 - 2pm

(If you cannot make this talk there will be another one in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire on 23 April)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Pastel Society

Pleased to announce that my painting ‘Two Cushions’ has been selected to be exhibited in the Pastel Society’s annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London.

Two Cushions, pastel
Look Again
Pastel Society
Annual Exhibition 2015
24 February - 7 March
Mall Galleries
The Mall, London SW1
(can I hint at an exciting exhibition coming up in...Manchester! Stay tuned...)

Thursday, 8 January 2015


My workshops are filling up but if you are interested in joining me for a day of drawing portraits do have a look on my Workshop page on my website where you can also sign up.

On the 22 January I will dive into the nitty gritty of how to draw a face, which can be so difficult sometimes. We will explore a few techniques and just dive in with some basic drawing materials. We will try and think about proportion, shading, mark making, line and shapes, values and much more. Drawing portraits is the underlying basis for all portrait painting, whether you prefer oils, pastels or watercolour and so it will help in whichever medium you prefer to work.

On 29 January we will attack colour! Pastels are a great medium if you like to work with colour as it is direct and instant. It will not change over time and you do not need to wait for it to dry. You can mix, blend, layer and scumble just like with any other paint medium. We will touch upon a few portrait drawing topics but go less deep than in the first workshop and instead point our attention to working with colour, value, mixing, light temperature and much more.

For both workshops we will work from photographs. All materials will be provided. Workshops are small and informal (max 6 students) but packed full of info and practice.

2015 Exhibitions

Happy 2015!! I love looking ahead so I have been looking at any great exhibitions coming up. Not the ones with my work in it - necessarily - but the big ones at the major public galleries. Lots of newspapers do this but just like everybody else I never agree with their selection! In 2014 there were some real blockbuster exhibitions. I don’t always get to go because of time restraints (I have a young family so sometimes Rembrandt has to make way for Paddington Bear) but I really enjoyed the ‘Wedding Dresses’ exhibition at the V&A last year, as well as the major Veronese exhibition at the National Gallery. Of course the BP Portrait Award 2014 was a big one for me personally. I really wanted to see the Rembrandt exhibition but I simply ran out of time and had to skip it. I am no big exhibition-goer, but I am a wannabe.

In no particular order I hope to see at least some of these promising exhibitions in 2015. Which ones would you recommend and have I missed?

12 February - 25 May 2015
National Portrait Gallery, London

14 March - 19 July 2015
V&A Museum, London

13 November 2015 - 14 February 2016
Queen’s Gallery, London 
Gerrit Dou, Girl Chopping Onions, 1647

18 June - 20 September 2015
National Portrait Gallery, London

7 October 2015 – 10 January 2016
National Gallery, London

Goya, Self Portrait in his studio, 1793-5 ©  Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid

Sunday, 4 January 2015

...2015 is Here!

A new year, new plans, cleaning up, sorting out...
As soon as the new year starts I usually get the bug and can’t wait to throw out the Christmas decorations, tidy up and go for minimalist instead of cozy and full. I have been researching a new easel for a long time now and although not totally decided or ordered I wanted to make more space in my small studio. So out with the big (-ish) old desk and in with a new smaller one! A few shelves and a new desk chair (still to be covered with some nice fabric) and some re-organising later I am very happy with a new, more organised, space saving corner in my studio. I used Pinterest for some interior design ideas... There is more space to set up models and still lives, more space to hold Open Studios and most importantly there is space for the longed for big easel. But that is another story.

Ten Best Facebook Pages on Art
The New Year was off to a good start by a post by the Making a Mark Blog about the 10 best Art Facebook pages....which included mine! Wow, thank you Making a Mark. 

Talking about social can find me not only on Facebook, but also on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest! Yes I love it all..... ;)

Teaser Image
On my Facebook page I recently shared a studio shot, with a small detail of a painting in progress. Just a little teaser:

Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to say...
For your interest and support

Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year!

(lots of exciting things in store for 2015!)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Art Exposure Happy Hour

Just thought I’d let you know that Art Exposure Gallery in Glasgow is having a ‘Happy Hour’:
Thursday 18 December, 5-8pm there will be Christmas cocktails, mince pies and 10% off everything (including my paintings there)!
Perhaps worth popping in.....
See also their newsletter

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Christmas Show in Glasgow

Art Exposure Gallery in Glasgow has moved to bigger premises and can now be found on 516 Great Western Road, in Glasgow. They are currently having their Christmas Show on - a huge show with a wide variety of great quality work. They are also showing three of my works - three ‘dark’ ones with Victorian lace. The show is on until Christmas so do go and visit if you are in the area.

My three works on the left and Cherylene Dyer’s work right

the gallery downstairs

(thank you Nadia and Jane for the photos)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

BP Portrait Award in Scotland

I have just come back from Edinburgh to attend the Private View of the BP Portrait Award 2014 at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The show looks absolutely amazing there, different, and I am really pleased with ‘my wall’. They managed to hang one extra painting compared to London, so now the painting ‘The Long Wait’ has also made it onto the walls! From the ten paintings I created there are 8 on show in Edinburgh. I made it to the newspaper, this is from The Scotsman of Friday 28 November:

Here are some pictures of the show:

My paintings for the Travel Award and Robert Neil’s work on the far wall.

David Jon Kassan’s work in the middle

Thomas Ganter’s winning painting at the far wall.

The glorious central hall of the Portrait Gallery in Christmas mood

BP Posters are up!

More pictures here
I have written a book about my project 
The Lace Trail which you can preview and buy here

For an organised list of ALL blog posts that I wrote during the BP Travel Award project (2 years), please see this page on my blog!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Christmas Show at Lime Tree Gallery

Today is the start of the Christmas Exhibition at Lime Tree Gallery in Bristol. I popped in today to have a look.

See the whole exhibition online: 

Lime Tree Gallery
84 Hotwell Road
Christmas Show 22 November - 23 December 2014

My three paintings on the wall at Lime Tree Gallery

Thursday, 20 November 2014


If you are interested in having a browse or seeing a particular painting ‘in the flesh’ you are more than welcome in my studio. Just contact me first to set a time and date.

Looking Back (oil)

Left to right: Paper Bag & Lace (pastel), portrait study (graphite), Petals & Lace (graphite)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Portrait Workshops

I have taken a big step and decided to offer workshops. This has been playing on my mind for many months and I have finally taken the decision to go for it. I hope you can join me or spread the word. Feel free to ask any and all questions.

For now I am planning on two workshops:

Portrait Drawing
I will offer a one day, intensive portrait drawing workshop where I will delve into how to draw a face, what to look out for, what helpful methods to use and show you how to work with shape, proportion, values, lines, shading and mark making. We will work from photos. Materials are simple so as not to distract from the task of getting a face onto the paper. We will work mainly with graphite pencils and paper but pens, charcoal pencils and pastel pencils are welcome too. All materials will be included, and tea or coffee provided.
22 January 2015
10am - 4pm
£65 pp.

Pastel Portraits
The second workshop I will offer is Portraits in Pastel - a comprehensive and fully packed day of learning the possibilities of pastel painting. Not only do we explore the drawing of a portrait but we will talk and experiment with colour, chroma, edges, mark making, colour mixing and much more. We will work from photos. All materials, tea and coffee will be included.
29 January 2015
10am - 4pm
£75 pp.

Workshops will be held at my kitchen table, the studio is in the next room where you are free to look and see whatever is on the easel. Workshops will be small and informal with a limit of 6 participants. Please look for more information on my workshop page on my website and do not hesitate to ask questions.

I hope to see you soon!
More information here:

Friday, 14 November 2014

Cool Comment

I am sorry but I just had to show you this....
This is a page from the guestbook of Sunderland Museum & Art Gallery, where the BP Portrait Award 2014 is currently showing.....
Yes, I added the red circle...
I don’t know who wrote that but I must thank him or her!! 
Very cool indeed.

Lime Tree Gallery

Opening 22 December
Christmas Show
Lime Tree Gallery

Three paintings by me including this new one:
Three Pearls
Oil on linen

The exhibition is on until 23 December and includes works by many artists, such as James Bland, George Gilbert, Neil MacDonald, David Smith and many others.
See the whole exhibition online: 

Lime Tree Gallery
84 Hotwell Road

Private View:
22 December 10am - 5pm
You are invited! Feel free to pop in to see the show. I will be there around noon.
I show some photos of the show after the Private View.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Two Cushions

This pastel painting is finished. I am not sure about the title yet...bear with me. How about ‘Two Cushions’ for now.

This is 18x11”/ 46x28cm

Thursday, 6 November 2014


Two recent framed paintings in my studio. The drawing on the right is sold.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Some Faces

Just a few older portrait details I shared on my Facebook page....

A detail from a commissioned portrait (2012)

A detail from ‘The Pearl Necklace’, oil. BP Portrait Award 2014
Still on at Sunderland Museum until 16 November
Opens at the Scottisch National Portrait Gallery
on 29 November 2014.

A detail from a recent commissioned portrait (2014). oil.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Paper Bag

 Two pastel paintings I’ve been working on recently.
Paper Bag and Lace, 24x30cm, pastel
Paper Bag and Ribbons, 24x30cm pastel

Sunday, 12 October 2014

RWA 162 Open Exhibition

Some pictures of the Private View of the 162d Open Exhibition of the Royal West of England Academy of Art.
The exhibition is open until 7 December 2014
The first main exhibition space
Me in front of my painting ‘Trapped’ which was hung in the first main hall!

The wall with my picture on the bottom row
Other posts on the RWA Open exhibitions:

Secret Lives

Here are some pictures of the Private View of ‘Secret Lives’ at Gallery Beaux Arts in Bath. The exhibition features three of my works and remains open until 8 November.


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