I knew I hadn’t written a blog post for a while but I didn’t realise it was 10 months. The issue is time, running a gallery, working as an artist, managing a community art exhibition, life in general and attempting to keep my mental health on an even keel swallow up my time and energy.

In those ten months I had hip replacement surgery, which was frustrating in some ways but also presented an opportunity for me to paint some still life I wouldn’t otherwise have done. As I was recovering at home I began to paint the flowers visitors brought. I used a mixture of media, as it was an opportunity to experiment. My favourite of the group of paintings was one that I created on metallic paper. I just wanted to see how it would work or not. I was very pleasantly surprised by the effect, as it gave a lustre to the light I’d not seen before. Before anyone runs off to try it, you will need some transparent gesso, as if you apply paint straight to the paper it will pool on the mirror like surface. So to cure that give the paper a thin coat of transparent gesso and let it dry before beginning to paint. This gives a toothy surface the paint can adhere too.

Something else I started was the process of having prints made of my work. Having found a company I am happy to work with to do this, it does add time to the process of beginning to end for the painting. I used to take my work to the framer when it was finished and then it would go straight for sale. Now however, I have to send the work to the printer to be scanned, I then have to check the proofs in person, not on a screen. If they are OK I can then take painting to the framer and then decide what size prints I want to order. I only offer giclée prints as they are the best quality and guaranteed not to fade.

In the lead up to Christmas I also added two series of high quality ceramic coasters to help make my work more accessible. The first are the ‘Night and the City’ series, which have been reproduced on square coasters which are cork back to keep furniture safe. The second series is an open series of my quirky birds paintings. An open series is one that will continue to change and grow. The birds are reproduced on circular coasters, again cork backed to protect the surface below. You can find these on my website and they are also available in the gallery.

The next evolution for me was once I was back at work after surgery I began experimenting with painting outside in the landscape, otherwise known as ‘Plein Air’. The reason for that was partly to be more immediate and dynamic with landscapes, as well as figuring out the practicalities for the trip I am now on. I did some research about what to add to my oil paintings to get them to dry more quickly, I also had to build some boxes that would hold them safely in that process while driving home. The best lesson was to make sure you pack everything you need……..I now have a travelling kit so I can’t forget things again.

I am currently on a road trip in the south of England and the south of Wales to take stock of the ten years I have been working as an artist and to celebrate my 60th birthday. I have already seen some very inspiring places and am painting as I go. When I return I shall endeavour to share more of my works and the process I employ, but don’t expect it to happen every week.