26 July 2012

100 birds- progress!

i've been so busy painting that i haven't had time to update this blog (or other important things like go to the beach or port eliot festival...)

there's just too much i'd like to write but i'm just going to have to post a few pictures, keep on avoiding the temptations of the sea and carry on painting. and in true 'carry on' style i've been so hot in my studio i've resorted to painting in my underwear with my hair pinned up with a porcupine quill! thankfully it's very private and if i hadn't mentioned it here, nobody would know!

playing with ideas for the window display......

.......it included an exciting use of sea urchins (though now it looks like they're all sold out- disappointing...)

hooray for new paint brushes- i wear them out pretty quickly!

14 July 2012

falmouth colours

for the last couple of years i've been collecting shale, soft slate and coloured earths from the coast around falmouth and grinding them into powder in a pestle and mortar. some colours are precious and i only have tiny amounts like the veins of salmon pink i scraped off a piece of shale with the tip of a knife. i'd love to learn more about these substances, what exactly they are and if they have names. the ones i'm giving them is the colour and where they were found. at present it's not a very scientific process but one that leads me on adventures of discovery. unfortunately i don't think i'll have enough for all 100 paintings so i'll have to supplement my palette with the coloured earths i brought back from florence- can't wait to use them!

coloured shale collected by a friend

sorting, grinding and sieving

some of the colours

13 July 2012

100 birds

'100 birds' is the title of the exhibition i'm working on at the moment. it's made up of one hundred small paintings of seabirds using natural pigments, most of which i've collected from the local coast. there's a huge amount of work to do in not a lot of time! it opens at the poly in falmouth on august 21st. the week i started working i had two encounters with birds. on the spiral staircase leading to my studio i found a dead baby blue tit - it didn't feel like a good omen. later in the week i came across a friend trying to free a coal tit. it was hanging upside down from a very bloody leg caught in the chain of a bird feeder. after an unsuccessful attempt to cut the chain or prise it apart i had a go at releasing the tension and miraculously the bird flew free. this felt a little more positive. and now i'm hoping for an experience with a fully healthy happy bird!

09 July 2012

sanding and sunburn....

after an epic sanding stint (all 100 boards in a day) i felt so tired and as if my right arm was longer than my left. the next day i showed a friend and the scary thing is that it actually is- by about an inch! i'm hoping that it will gradually shrink back again and i won't feel so out of balance. i also got very sunburnt shoulders....

white hands

white leaves

white webs - sorry mr spider!

white toes

white bricks

07 July 2012


after 4 to 5 coats of gesso the boards are drying on every available surface in my studio.

02 July 2012


so there's been hammering and snipping and hammering and trimming and hammering and pinning followed by more hammering..... for quite a few days now. and i still haven't got round to explaining  what this is all for but i'm sticking to a rough timetable and i'm in the 'board phase'.  i'm 73 down, my arm is aching and there's more hammering to go.

lead bound boards
1st coat of gesso
the beginnings of a tower and wishing i was ambidextrous
27 more to go.....