Extra curricular activities Pt III

Non OCA work

Here are a few paintings which were not completed for the OCA but which relate to the subject of landscape

fig 1 : initial momoprint

Fig 1: Initial monoprint

Fig 2 : Painted monoprint

Fig 2 : Painted monoprint

Figures 1 and 2 were completed at a monoprint workshop.  We could choose whatever subject we wanted and drew out our design on the paper, having inked our tables.

When I got home I decided to colour in the monoprint using acrylic paint.



The pictures and paintings below show other paintings of outdoor scenes that I’ve completed over the past few months:

Prunus Tai Haku

Above is ‘Prunus Tai Haku’ painted in acrylics and inks on canvas and below is ‘Light in the Forest’ painted in acrylics on paper

light in the forest

This painting below is on canvas and I used acrylics and inks once more:

Castell Coch web

And, just for a change, here is a silk painting:

repeats (1)

Exhibitions & Galleries

When I was in Spain for several weeks I visited several galleries and exhibitions.

One of my favourite is the Ralli Museum which I visit whenever I am in this area.  This art space shows a collection of contemporary Latin-American and European art and international sculptures.

In March we visited two galleries in Cardiff, Wales.  The Glamorgan Street Gallery is run by an art collective ~ 9 artists who can hold an exhibition once a year each and use the rooms as their studios.  A great idea for professional artists.  Many of them have another career but Art is their passion.

Holly Davey: "Nothing is What it is because Everything is What is Isn't"

Holly Davey: “Nothing is What it is because Everything is What is Isn’t”

Summer found me in the National Gallery of Wales looking at the Wildlife Photographer of the year entries which were of outstanding quality, and the Pop and Contemporary Art Exhibition.

The photo on the left is of an installation by Holly Davey who took her own photographs of the stairwell and landing and digitally altered them to create a space that is reformed, repeated and replayed within the original architecture.

We also spent time in Denmark and visited some lovely galleries, including two where the artists were in their 80s and selling really well.  This gives me massive hope for the future!

And the highlight of my trips was to The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London where we saw hundreds of paintings from ‘the general public’ as well as those from more famous artists.  It was a real mixed bag; some inspiring and some surprisingly poor, given the thousands that went through the decision making process.

I had seen a programme on TV prior to my visit which showed how the pictures came past the judges on a production line and the decisions were based on about 3 seconds of viewing so they had to stand out from the crowd.  There were some wonderful etchings and lithographs; some Barbara Rae (one of my favourites); Quentin Blake and a local artist, Terry Setch.  Also brightly coloured canvases which appealed to me from John Bellany.

What a shame we were not allowed to take photographs.

How I started

How I started

Workshops / Lectures

I went to two art classes in Spain but the third was cancelled so I didn’t finish my painting. Left you can see how I began the structure.  To the right is where I got up to.  We were doing our own version of a famous still life by Cezanne.  Regrettably it was too costly to have the painting sent home for completion.

Half way through but never finished

Half way through but never finished


"Retirement" by Bee Lilli

“Retirement” by Bee Lilli






The picture on the left is called “Retirement”.  I painted it from a photograph I took at a dock in Scotland.  I used acrylics on canvas board and the picture is framed.  The method was palette knife.  I was really pleased with the paint effects on the body of the boat but was not pleased with my ‘prissy’ land around it!


Unfortunately, I’m having muscular and arthritic problems which are preventing me from progressing much right now.

TV and books

I dip in and out of books on drawing and painting.  My latest purchases were “Painting the Landscape in Pastels” and a book about David Hockney Paintings.  I’m working my way through “Drawing Now – Eight propositions”

I’ve just watched a wonderful TV programme called “What do artists do all day”.  The episode I caught was about Jack Vettriano.  Excellent insight into his life, work and thoughts about his lack of recognition by the art world.  His work had been dubbed “painting by numbers” and I understood why since he takes photographs of his subjects, modeled on location; transfers the exact shapes the the canvas and fills them in with paint. They may not have any amazing brush-work or texture but they do have one thing all desirable art needs – an emotional charge.  His paintings tell a story, create nostalgia and are extremely popular because of this.  I also think he has a good eye for colour.

Also watching Lili Cole’s Art Matters.  I’ve so far caught the Antony Gormley episode which was wonderful.  It helped me understand that his work is intended to be interactive; to include the viewer and also that he creates many of his art works with the help of local communities and local people.  Very interesting.

Reichstag by Christo

Reichstag by Christo

Also in the same series I watched a programme about Christo.  I really don’t know how I missed his work before since it is on the largest scale possible with projects such as the ‘wrapping’ of the Reichstag building in Berlin.

Not only is his work stunning, exciting and ultra-creative but it was interesting to hear that these projects often take many, many years to come to fruition; cost millions of pounds on environmental surveys, planning and execution and that Christo funds all this from the sale of his smaller art works.


Back from our time abroad in February I managed to attend my first Art Talk of the year at Porthcawl Pavilion.  Ellie Frost who graduated only two years ago showed us her “one hour portraits” project and talked about her desire to work quickly and the joy she gets from capturing the essence of the sitter in such a short time, even though her Father, who was an artist, persistently encouraged her to “work them up” for several more hours.

Lloyd Rowe : Rockpool

Lloyd Rowe : Rockpool

On April 16th I went back to the Pavilion to hear Lloyd Rowe who has spent his life and professional career making marks.  He has always loved to draw and takes his inspiration from the rockpools and beaches near his home.

In June we attended again.  A great talk by Leslie Dearn and a discussion on how the average artist makes any money at all!  My thoughts were “can we feed our families AND our soul”.  Often ‘popular art’ is not necessarily that good.  Some artists who follow their passion regardless of whether they earn or not do succeed but most go broke unless they have another job.  Is there a formula I wonder?




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