May sunshine and flowers

After a long and dreary winter and a delayed spring, it seems that summer has taken us all by surprise. Now the days are long and lazy, the older I get the more I want to slow down and take time to smell the roses. 

This year I decided to introduce some lupins into my garden, after being inspired by the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I have been careful to include some organic slug deterrents which I hope will be wildlife friendly but keep the slugs away. They are made from woollen pellets and are said to make an itchy and scratchy hostile environment for slugs and snails... we shall see!

Work has been focussed on creating images for Victoria Magazine, this month the theme was France and so I enjoyed painting summer garden images. You can find a new print of the garden cat in my Etsy shop Acornmoon, link in my sidebar.

It has been a time for long country walks, wild flower spotting and listening to bird song. The bluebells have been spectacular this year.

I even managed to complete a new miniature portrait of our granddaughter EdieRose. Watercolour on Kelmscott vellum. It was a labour of love!


Easter Blessings from Oxford

We visited Oxford recently to attend The Fine Press Book Fair. Although the event was out of town we had a few days to enjoy the city. The weather was cold but bright and there was definitely a touch of spring in the air.

We saw a Palm Sunday procession complete with donkey,

we admired the well kept gardens,

and found time to visit Pitt Rivers Museum where we found this display of decorated eggs.

Wherever you are I wish you all a Blessed Easter.


Not Quite Spring!

As you will already know, those of us living in these parts of Britain have been in the grip of the most cruel and bitterly cold easterly winds. These have brought snow and chaos and I wish they would go back to where they came from. Having said that, if you are wrapped up against the cold, there has been much beauty to behold in frozen icicles and pure white drifts of snow. I think we feel so bitter about it is because it really ought to be spring! A time to rejoice in the "springtime, the only pretty ring time, where birds do sing hey ding a ling ling...., "
ah well, you get my drift?

Victoria magazine has been focusing on Wordsworth and his daffodils and I have had the great pleasure in supplying some of my artwork.

The botanical study in watercolour of daffodils is available as a print in my Etsy shop should you wish visit please follow this link to Acornmoon on Etsy

Until this snow takes its leave I wish you farewell. If you are visiting from colder climates I am sure you will be laughing at our feeble attempts to cope with what to you may seem a mere dusting of snow. Who was it who said "there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes"?


Welcome 2018!

Hello and welcome to my blog 2018! My exciting news is that I am artist-in-residence to Victoria magazine and I am thrilled to bits. You can read more about it here on the magazine's website
Years ago an art editor I worked with used to post copies of Victoria to me and later I subscribed; it then went out of print for a time but is now back in circulation, this time with Hoffman Media. Victoria is a bimonthly women's lifestyle magazine celebrating all that is beautiful in life and promising a return to loveliness - an excellent sentiment wouldn't you agree? Below is one of the pages in the January/February edition featuring one of my prints. You can find this print and much more in my Etsy shop Acornmoon.

The year so far has been cold, grey and miserable and at times it has been difficult to find inspiration. Apart from a few snowy days and some amazing sunsets, I am feeling ready to say goodbye to winter. This time of year is always difficult and I am reminded of personal losses, especially that of my parents and siblings. Enough of that, life moves on and so do I.

In my garden today I found these tiny snowdrops bravely daring the cold January rain. Roll on spring!



A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Wishing you all a Blessed and Peaceful Christmas, I leave you with some images of a new miniature I have been working on, inspired by Medieval manuscripts.

The design is first worked in pencil

It is transferred onto a tea stained ground, the letter has been gilded with 24ct gold leaf.


Royal Miniature Society Exhibition 2017

I took part once again in this year's RMS annual exhibition at the Mall Gallery in London. This was my fourth time to exhibit with the Society and as an Associate Member I was allowed to enter six paintings.

Anyone can enter their miniature paintings or pieces of sculpture, the details of entry can be found on the Society's website. All entries have to be approved by the committee and it is always an anxious time waiting to see if your work has been accepted. You can enter up to five pieces as a non member, if you have all five pieces accepted in two consecutive years you can become a candidate. If the committee approves you can then become elected as an Associate Member. After a further three years you can apply to become a full member but this is by no means automatic. The Society also has members who are friends, people who may not be artists but who support the Society in other ways.

Many of the entries arrive in boxes by post, others are handed in by person, all of which involves a huge undertaking. Before I became a member I don't think I realised just how much work is involved in making the exhibition possible. Artworks have to be unwrapped, listed, judged and exhibited and all of this work is carried out by the members themselves who give up their time and energies to make it all happen. This year we helped at "hand in" day, unpacking precious artworks amidst mountains of bubble wrap, being careful not to miss any of the tiny entries in the process. It was both fun and enlightening to take part behind the scenes.

I was delighted to have sold four paintings at the exhibition, see below. All are watercolour; the owl has some additional gilding around the border in gold leaf.

The little portrait is my grandson George; this is the first time I have entered a portrait. This was painted on vellum, another new departure from my familiar watercolour paper. Although the exhibition is now closed you can still see the exhibition and some of the award winning paintings on the society's website

The most coveted prize is The Gold Memorial Bowl which was won this year by an artist called Raoof Haghighi for his stunning portrait "Linda". I think I am correct in believing that this was the artist's very first and only entry to the exhibition which makes it a truly remarkable achievement. Many congratulations Raoof and to all the other award winners. If you are interested in learning more about the society please click this link.


Pattern and Friendship

Ravilious and Co The Pattern of Friendship

 It has taken a while to return to my long neglected blog so if you are still out there, thanks for visiting, I hope it was worth the wait!

To tell you the truth I have been rather down in the dumps, who wouldn't be with all the recent events happening in our world? As always it is family, good friends and art which have lifted my spirits and I was lucky enough to win this wonderful book over on Dovegreyreader's blog. If you love books and quilting this well established blog is well worth a visit.

Ravilious and Co - The Pattern of Friendship by Andy Friend is published by Thames and Hudson. Not only does the gorgeous book feature Ravilious's wonderful wood engravings and artworks but many decorative patterns created by himself and his circle of friends. Numerous designs created for Curwen are featured, some of which I have featured previously on this blog. I am particularly fond of the work of Enid Marx who was a distinguished designer of textiles and also a gifted artist and illustrator.

Patterned Paper bindings

I recently took part in a workshop run by the Society of Bookbinders and we had the opportunity to put to good use an assortment of patterned papers. The top two on the photograph feature my own designs, these easy to make stub bindings are simple but surprisingly useful. The bottom left is a coptic bound book; here I used a beautiful Florentine paper given to me by a dear friend. The bottom right uses another paper, also given to me by another kindred spirit. What lovely friends I have!

Ravilious and Enid Marx often created patterns which started life as wood engravings, some were inspired by artists of their day. In these two pieces I have started by making doodles on a piece of scraperboard, or scratchboard as my American friends would call it. I have then played around with repeat patterns to create two different designs, the top one has a tile repeat which reminds me of a kaleidoscope I used to love to play with as a child.

Before I go I should mention an exhibition I took part in - The Annual Hillard Society of Miniature Paintings, in Wells, Somerset. The exhibition is now closed but you can visit it online here- Wells is a beautiful place to visit and was the birth place of the miniature artist Hilliard, hence the name. The exhibition takes place once a year in the Town Hall, it is always enjoyable and a good opportunity to make new friends in the miniature art world, both artists and collectors. There are also demonstrations by members who are always willing to share their knowledge.

I have been busy with new commissions, I loved working on this miniature version of an old Tudor portrait of a noble woman wearing the most exquisite patterned lace. I painted it in watercolour on a surface called polymin, this is a man made ivory substitute and the very devil to paint on! It does however have a lovely translucent quality and I have since learnt that it helps to dust with talcum powder first and then coat with a thin wash. (The painting is very small, three and a half inches across.)