24 Oct 2018

Ulster Society of Women Artists, 2018 annual show

Apologies for missing last week, but to be fair it was pretty hectic, and two big exhibition opening nights thrown in. Tomorrow I'll be up at the Crescent Arts Centre helping to man the USWA show, so I'm writing this now, since I won't have time tomorrow morning.

This marks my 3rd year exhibiting as an associate member of The Ulster Society of Women Artists, with the annual show again being held in the lovely Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast's university area, with The Pantry cafe on the ground floor.  I should have posted this earlier as this show finishes this Saturday 27th October at 4.30pm, oops! So get your skates on!  Admission is free, but if you'd like a catalogue they are only £1. Plus, one of my pieces is on the front cover!! Pretty chuffed they chose it for the publicity this year, even though there was a slight spelling glitch. It's called "My Chains Are Broken" not "my chairs"!! Although according to my dad, it might as well be chairs for all he knows! Yes, well never mind, always a talking point.....

 Yours truly standing alongside "My Chains Are Broken".

And above, I'm beside "Woman In A Red Poloneck." Rather more straightforward as far as titles go! I made these pieces together, when I was rather obsessed a year and a half ago with Indian ink. They are very much mixed media pieces, with free machine embroidery on paper, which always scares the life out of me, but I need to experiment and see what happens. I love the textural effect, the added dimension that it gives. In "My Chairs are Broken," I even used an old antique Singer sewing machine I picked up at a wee shop in Greyabbey. I had to go on YouTube to figure out how it worked and clean it up a bit, but even though it only sews in straight lines, it still works perfectly. They don't make things like they used to. I sound like my mum, but it's true!

Below are a few pics of the opening night and some of my fellow artists admiring the work on display.

 Artist Sorrel Wills doing an amazing job giving her first public speech as President of the Society.

A lovely little pen and wash by our founder Gladys Maccabe who passed away last year at the age of 99.

 Our banner outside The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast.

So if you are in Belfast do pop in and have a look.  I was going to write about the Royal Ulster Academy's annual show too, (and my joy at finding my wee accepted coloured pencil piece had sold on the opening night!!) But it's getting late so I think I 'll leave that till next week.  

Goodnight folks! zzzzz

12 Oct 2018

Pomegranates using Derwent's Lightfast Pencils

Hello folks, it's a windy Friday out there, and we're still trying to fix damage from the last big storm! As promised, I am trying to post weekly now. It has been a hectic and difficult past couple of years for my family and I, and sometimes I think my body's just showing the signs of fatigue now, so that is no small feat for me. Plus, as you all well know, modern life is busy, too busy sometimes. So wrap up well, pour yourself a cuppa, and if you can find a pair of pomegranates in a supermarket or grocery store, even better! I know they can be expensive, but you get to eat the seeds afterwards, plus they are so beautiful! If you can't, or just can't be bothered, just follow my steps below.

There's a lot of talk and advertising by Derwent at the moment (you must have noticed!!?) of their latest innovation: the much anticipated Lightfast pencil. You can check out last week's post to read a review I wrote on them. So, this week I wanted to follow up by doing a step-by-step of a simple still life. This took me about 3 hours, plus taking photographs of the different stages.  This is not a botanical or hyper-realist rendering, more a study of the fruit and how to describe them in coloured pencil, in a painterly manner. Please leave a comment or show me how you got on, if you decided to try it for yourself, or just even your thoughts on the pencils.

Let's get started....




For this demo I’ve chosen some beautiful pomegranates that caught my eye in the supermarket. I love their organic forms, the luscious colours, and what I like to call their topsy-turvy crowns. 


Fix your paper to a drawing board or rigid support of some sort. Use a low tack masking tape or equivalent! I am using Stonehenge paper, which I love, and it has a slight tooth to the surface which takes the pencil well, but if you don't have any, any good, medium thickness cartridge paper, or similar, will also work, as long as the paper is not too thin as we are going to add some solvent. The most basic, yet crucial step is the first: take your time placing your objects on the paper and get the basic forms and proportions right. At this early stage you can use light shading to hint at shadows, but use a gentle pressure. If you press too hard on the paper you can emboss marks into it, which will show up in the finished drawing. (Believe me, I know from experience and it can be a real pain!) I used a Derwent Coloursoft pencil, Pale Lavender C230, for this outline sketch, since it’s soft, erases quite easily if I make a mistake, and will blend in well with the rest of the artwork, and the colour is similar to ones I know I‘ll use later on. But you can use any pencil you have to hand, Lightfast or otherwise, that is a similar shade.


While we might think of pomegranates as red or pink fruits, there are really so many more colours involved! Look closely and you’ll see the underlying colour is a warm yellow/ochre. Using the Derwent Lightfast Brown Ochre, and using the flat of the pencil, block in colour with a light to medium pressure over the whole drawing including the shadow area. I have placed the fruit on a white, semi-shiny table, and the surface reflects some of the colour from the pomegranates, so there is some yellow and red in the shadows. Leave some areas white for the highlights, though this is not completely necessary since we’ll also use the white pencil for that nearer the end. Blend the dry colour with solvent to create a ‘wash’ effect. I used cotton wool dampened with low odour solvent. Don’t soak the cotton wool, just dampen it enough to blend well. Remember to work in a well-ventilated area, too. You could use a blender pen instead, but you won’t get the same painterly look and it will take a little longer. Some of the yellow/brown will show through the successive layers of the drawing, and by blending gently rather than too hard, some of the paper texture remains, adding interest to the skin of the fruit. Don’t worry if you think they look like onions at this stage! Lots of layers still to do!


I used Blush Pinkish, followed by Yellow Red and then New Red, to work on the mid tones, working from the lightest to the darkest tone. (When writing this step-by-step, I was just informed that the final 72 set of these pencils won't be available till next year.  For this demo I used the final prototypes of the Lightfast pencils that Derwent sent me: the exact same core as the final product, but a different casing. You can just substitute any colours I used which are still not in the public market, for the most similar ones in the available 24 and 36 sets). I also added some light layers of the much darker Venetian Red in the darker areas. It’s always safer to add multiple, light layers at first, so as not to press down too hard on the paper and flatten out the tooth of the surface, thereby making the addition of further layers very difficult, at times, impossible. Be descriptive with your shading, using both the flat of the pencil, and the point for finer details. Move your hand in the direction of the marks on the skin of the fruit to help create form and volume. Alternate layers of pink and red with layers of Brown Ochre, and now some Sunset Gold, which adds more warmth. Keep these layers a medium pressure for now.


 Now start to blend the colours on the paper more by blending with a light violet colour similar to the one we used to draw the outline in Step 1. I used Derwent Lightfast Mars Violet.  Since we are now applying a stronger pressure, it is almost like burnishing. These pencils are unique in their blending ability.  They virtually mix now almost like paint, on the paper. Sharpen the point if you need to, for the finer detailed areas such as around the tops of the pomegranates.
Then, using the Venetian Red, a very dark red-brown, start to sculpt out the form by darkening the shadow areas, and add layers of colour to the cast shadows on the ground. The white table is reflecting some light back on the bottom of the fruit near the shadows, making some areas a lovely warm red-orange colour. To achieve this, blend in a layer or two of the Sunset Gold and New Red. Using the Brown Ochre, start to add some of the details of the patchy marks on the fruit skin. Hold your pencil in a writing style grip, closer to the point, for these small areas, and to have more control.


In the final stages we add the darkest darks and the lightest lights. Since green is the complimentary colour of red, I used a lovely dark green called Racing Green for the darkest areas in the skin as well as the hollow area of the stalk.  It helps to squint to see which areas are darkest!  I also used this pencil sharpened to a fine point, to add some dark scar-like marks to the right pomegranate. I used an eraser, as well as pressing hard with the Lightfast White pencil to create the highlights. Be careful though with erasing at this stage. If the paper is still damp from the solvent, you risk smudging your drawing, or staining and at worst, tearing the paper! To keep the drawing from looking too overworked and fussy, I crosshatched some rough shading over the shadow areas, and left some drawn lines to hopefully create contrast with the solid forms of the fruit.  You can also blend a little with some solvent again at this final stage, to create a more paint-like finish if you wish.  These pencils are quite soft and can smudge easily, so it’s a good idea to clean any unwanted marks on the white background with a clean eraser, and spray your finished drawing with some fixative to help protect it.

The finished drawing! Now you can sit back and relax, and think about how you are going to use the seeds: just eat them as they are, or as part of a recipe. It can be a bit of a job deseeding pomegranates, but well worth it in the end!

4 Oct 2018

Derwent Lightfast Pencils

A look at the new Derwent Lightfast

Its name alone has been reason enough for most artists to get excited about this new coloured pencil.  When Derwent first got in touch with me to be one of the many artists to work with and give feedback about the prototypes for the new pencils, my interest was instantly piqued. Derwent’s first ever oil-based pencil, in an eventual 72 colour range, with a creamy smooth laydown and excellent blendability. This is no ordinary pencil, folks, and believe me, I’ve tried a few.

Here are some of the specs:

  • ·      Oil-based.
  • ·      Core is similar in softness to the Drawing Range, harder than Coloursoft but softer than Artists, Studio and Procolour.
  • ·      4mm core strip, 8mm barrel diameter
  • ·      Every single colour in the complete range is 100% guaranteed lightfast. Tested using the international ASTM 6901 standard, in the Arizona desert no less, which apparently receives the most hours of sunlight daily in the world. Certainly guaranteed more than in Ireland anyway!
  • ·      Will be available in a complete range of 72 colours, but for now, only the 36 set.
  • ·      Work well on several papers, including coloured supports, as well as other surfaces, including wood.
  • ·      Blend well, lay down very smoothly, and when layering colours, these actually mix on the paper, kind of like an oil pastel in some ways, but not quite!
  • ·      Opaque colours (kind of connected to the mixing property mentioned above). Most other pencils ranges are more transparent.
  • ·      Blend really well with solvent.
  • ·      These are expensive pencils, but as they say, you get what you pay for.

Highly pigmented, they lay colour down really well and fast on several kinds of paper, including coloured supports.

While these pencils can be used well in the traditional techniques of blending by optically mixing colour with many successive light layers, they have a unique property that I have never come across in any other, even oil-based pencil. Their opaque nature and the oil binder mean that they can be used to some effect, like an oil pastel or paint on the paper, only in pencil form.  After applying several layers the colours begin to mix on the paper, much like paint on a palette, forming a complete new custom colour. The white in particular, lays down well over other colours also, something very important to many coloured pencil artists.  Their ability to blend beautifully with solvent is a real added bonus, allowing you to lay down large areas of colour quickly, and once the solvent is dry, you can go back in and build up dry layers of colour on top. However, in my opinion, what’s really exciting about them is that I believe they will lend themselves wonderfully to more experimental ways of working with coloured pencil, opening the doors for mixed media work to artists who perhaps have never given the medium a second thought before.

Being so great at blending with solvent, another thing you could do is grab a few pencils along with a sketchbook, and take a waterbrush but fill it with solvent, to make quick, expressive sketches on site. You will get an oil mark, more apparent on some thinner papers than on others, but it will dry out eventually, so don’t be too alarmed. It’s kind of like working with water and watersoluble pencils, but not quite. The results are different, but interesting. Alternatively, use Derwent’s blender pens for easier, "cleaner" blending.

On a sheet of Perspex, roughed up a little with a brillo pad, I laid down some colour using the flat of the pencil, and then added some low-odour mineral spirit to make what is essentially an oil paint-like ‘wash’. I then picked up this wash with a brush to paint marks on the paper. You could also use a plastic or disposable palette for this, but it’s much harder since the pigment has no tooth to hold onto on the smooth surface.

In the bottom left corner of the paper above, I laid down a wash of clean solvent and sanded some red pigment directly into it from the pencil using a sandpaper block, to create a speckled effect. Drawing into a solvent wash or dipping the core in solvent will activate the pigment and create a different quality to the drawn line. Remember however that solvent evaporates very quickly, so while these techniques are similar to those done with water and watercolour pencils, the results can be a bit different.

Another note worth mentioning is that these pencils work really well on wood. I tried on canvas, and stretched canvas over board, but they didn’t take the pencil well.  I had to press really hard and was scared I’d break the point. Gessoed rigid supports could also be something worth trying out. The wood, however, was a fun and interesting surface to experiment on. This is an imaginative doodle, but something which appeals to me and I feel worth exploring further.

Here are a few pics showing some stages of a piece I started as a demo a few months ago in Dublin for Hill Arts. To begin with, I used the techniques of mixing colours on a palette with solvent and laying them down with a flat brush on the paper, to make the basis for the waves. If you use this method, be aware that the solvent dries, or really, evaporates, quickly, certainly quicker than water, so practice a bit with this first before you commit yourself to using it in a finished piece.

Once I had laid down the sea using the technique described earlier,  I could go in on top and add more layers, creating more depth to the colours.. The whites go down particularly well on top of colour, and helped me add highlights and give the undulating waves more definition.

And here is the finished piece.  In the end, where initially I was going to have sky and a horizon, I decided to add more sea, and just focus my attention on the swimmer and her bright red swimsuit.  Can’t decide whether to simply call it The Swimmer or The Front Crawl.

In short, these pencils lend themselves to a variety of techniques, from traditional to experimental, and are a complete joy to use.  They are equally perfect for quick, suggestive, yet bold studies, while their guaranteed lightfast ratings ensure complete peace of mind when working to commission or for an exhibition piece. Certainly a pencil for any serious professional artist to consider adding to their repertoire.

PS: I’m going to try to blog here more often (I know, I know, you’ve heard that before!) I have been mainly using other social media sites over the last few years, but have missed Blogger. But anyway, I love these pencils, and hope to share a step-by-step of a simple still life next week, so please pop by to see if I’ve kept my word, and please remind me if I haven’t!!

22 Nov 2016

Black Friday at the Black Sheep

Just a few days to go before I open my gallery to the public!!! Right now, I feel a bit like the proverbial dog who`s bitten off more than she can chew, but hopefully things will ease up once I get it all started.
I really wish we adopted the Thanksgiving holiday over here as well, rather than Halloween, which I`m not a fan of, but who knows.

I can`t offer huge discounts on televisions and dishwashers, nor thankfully the horrendous, hypocritical stampedes that often accompany them (it is the day after Thanksgiving, after all, so being thankful one minute and almost killing someone else over a blender the next, is hypocritical, imho).  However, I am offering 20% discount off all original artwork and my husband, of HF Photography, is doing the same on his photographic prints

There`ll be shortbread and mince pies, tea and coffee, and the stove will most likely be lit. It`s getting cold!! So please come in for a look.  There`s no pressure, I`d just really appreciate the support of you coming, and if you see something you fancy, even better. 

We are now able to offer card payments with my new SumUp Card reader, which many other artists and stallholders have told me they are very happy with, and it is one of the top 3 on the market, so you can feel secure with your purchases. 

Hopefully, you can make it. Times are as follows:

Friday 25th November: 10.30 am to 9pm (I`ll be the one high on caffeine by 6).
Saturday 26th November: 11 am to 3pm

125 Knockan Road, 
Co. Antrim, 

Even got some Christmas deco out for a festive feel!! But the house will have to wait till December for its.

11 Nov 2016

News In Brief

Nearing the end of another busy week, with a heavy cold thrown in. But looks like I am at the end of the tunnel, and might be able to get the trainers outside again soon. I digress.

Just thought I`d share some news with you. Of course, I`ve been meaning to do it for ages, here. But better late than never. 

My 1st group show as an Associate  member of the USWA (Ulster Society of Women Artists, which if you Google it, you will probably find the United States Wrestling Association !!) is coming to an end on Saturday 12th (the day after tomorrow), so there`s still a bit of a window to see it in The Crescent Arts Centre in the University area of Belfast. I believe there are 120 works on, most for sale, all of different styles, so there should be something for everyone. I`m also chuffed to say that one of my 2 entries, High Tea, won The New Member`s award. Here`s some pics of yours truly receiving the award from President Kay Cullen and looking rather pleased on the opening night last week!

While I`m busy trying to organise (and in some cases, finish) work for Christmas shows in various galleries, scheduling a few things in for next year, trying to market smaller pieces in my online shops and deciding which competitions to enter, etc,  I`m also getting my own studio open to the public as of November 25th!! Am I mad? I`ll still be offering viewing by appointment, but as the kids are all at school for most of the day now, I`m out there most days anyway, so we decided to just do it: put a sign up, advertise a bit and hopefully get more people popping in. (As long as it`s not in the middle of a flat watercolour wash: should be interesting!) So, we`ve been busy little elves painting walls, and me, once again, upcycling yet more used furniture, even getting the Christmas decorations out! I hate doing anything like that in the house before December, but I suppose that`s business. The B word for artists.  I`ve even ordered a SumUp card reader to be able to offer card payments. Yep, dragged kicking and screaming into the modern, digital age.

To celebrate, we`re having a special event called Black Friday at The Black Sheep Gallery, which will run the Saturday after also, offering a whopping 20% off all original artwork and photographic prints. So if you`re looking for an original Christmas gift, please don`t buy another print from IKEA that everyone else has, or spend hours in a traffic queue at the newly opened Range in Ballymena, just because everyone else goes there. Be original and shop local. I try to. You`ve probably heard this before, but anyway: "Buy art from living artists. The dead ones don`t need the money." Enough said.

Event times:  Friday November 25th:     10.30am to 9pm
                     Saturday November 26th:  10.30 am to 3pm

Tea, coffee, a lit stove, and mince pies, if you can stomach them this early, will be on offer. 

Black Friday event on Facebook: 

You will also be able to find me at a stand at The Ballymena Academy Fair this year again, on Saturday the 10th of December. More on that in a later post.

Also, for those who don`t yet know, I  just started uploading some videos on YouTube a couple of months ago, mostly product reviews, some tips and techniques, etc. Please take a look at my channel, give any videos you like or find useful a thumbs up, and subscribe to be kept up to date with new videos as I post them. This is my latest one on Winsor and Newton`s pigment markers:

And before I forget, since I`m trying to free up some studio space for more recent work, I`ve been offering some older pieces at big discount prices every Thursday on my Facebook page for the last couple of weeks.  Look out for the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday and there are still 2 more weeks of these special offers left.

And since it is #FolksyFriday after all, pop over to my Facebook page where I`m doing a wee promo to get others to share my event, by offering this wee #folksy piece from a few years back to one lucky winner drawn from all those who like, share and tag a friend on my event. For obvious reasons, THIS PROMO ONLY APPLIES TO UK RESIDENTS.

The prize is this wee original pen and ink with a watercolour wash, which I did when Nathan Jess asked me to design the cover artwork for his album, Love Stands Forever. This was one of the preliminary designs I had in mind.  The leaves are a lovely copper colour which doesn`t show up very well in the photograph. It`s unmounted and unframed, but I will send it anywhere in the UK free of charge, in a sealed cellophane envelope, and with some hardboard for protection, and you can frame it as you wish.

 Dawn Chorus II,
pen and ink, with watercolour wash on paper
10 x 7 inches

I might even throw in something else, too, as a wee surprise. Hope you have a nice Friday and a restful weekend folks. Speak soon x

7 Oct 2016

#folksyfriday When Copper Met Turquoise official blog

Oops -  didn`t manage to get a #folksyfriday post written last week, but I`m glad to announce that today I`ve gone one better and written the official one over on Folksy`s own blog page! So, I`m feeling a little bit chuffed. (love that word, the sound of it, the onomatopoeic quality of it - now there`s a big word harking back to my A-Level English Lit days. I digress..)

Anyone who knows a bit about my artwork will see I have a thing about turquoise, and when you pair it with some coppery tones, for me, it`s a match made in heaven.

Here`s the link to the blogpost, and I hope you enjoy :)


23 Sept 2016

Autumn Colours for #FolksyFriday

Hi all! Just popped by to let you know that I now have a shop on Folksy, too, where I`ll be selling some smaller original artworks, original artist linocut prints, and some limited edition giclée prints and cards.

Since yesterday was the first day of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, I posted my acrylic piece, with some hand embroidery detailing, "Autumn, The Four Seasons" to celebrate the start of my favourite season.

In this blog post, I`d like to share with you some of my favourite Autumn-inspired finds on Folksy.  As always folks, please remember that copyright belongs to the artists and crafters.  If you would like to use these images on social media, you must credit them back to their original author.  I`ve posted links to all the respective shops beneath each image so you can go straight to their Folksy shop.  Happy Autumn all!!

I just love the colours and the composition of this beautiful collograph print,  "Autumn hare" by Suzi Thompson Printmaker.

I`m a bit of a bookworm, (I confess more so before the advent of the digital age, but paper isn`t going anywhere soon, imho) and who could resist such a quaint bookmark? I love it! "Autumn Embroidered Landscape Bookmark" by Lynwoodcrafts.

"Tree Pendant in autumnal orange" by Tanith Rouse Jewellery is simply gorgeous! I absolutely love the colours!

 And this is one of four pieces I did, each measuring 20 x 50 cms on box canvas, called "The Four Seasons". Look closer, and you`ll see "Autumn" is holding a small hedgehog in her hands, complete with hand embroidered spikes. She`s available in my new Folksy shop, Judith Logan.

This is a beautifully crafted pendant, showcasing the amazing, graphic qualities of seedheads and pods that are so typical of the season. You can find this and more in Claire Gent`s Folksy shop.

And finally, Autumn just wouldn`t be Autumn without some rust coloured leaves. Why not have one all year round, in the form of this lovely "autumn leaf brooch" by Lotus Blossom?

or in the form of this beautiful, porcelain leaf decoration? Made by Pelin Hanley ceramics. 

Thanks for taking the time to look at my autumnal selection. I really hope you enjoyed it. I had so much fun choosing what to post, I think I`ll be posting more for #FolksyFriday !! Have a great weekend folks. Enjoy the changing colours, stop to look at the glistening spiders`webs in the morning dew, breathe in the aroma of a brisk walk in the fresh air, and make some jam or a pie!

If you like a bit of poetry, make a coffee, sit back, and enjoy John Keat´s classic: #odetoautumn

4 Jul 2016

New YouTube Channel!

Mega short post to let you know that I have started to post some art-related videos on Youtube. The first one needs a bit of polishing up, but with practice, I hope to get better! This video shows a little bit of my working process, which varies quite a bit depending on the piece, and I hope to post more like this, using different techniques and media, and also reviewing and comparing products, art books, etc.  So please take a look, and of course, if you like it, please give me a thumbs up, and don`t forget to subscribe!!

20 Feb 2016

A bed of roses......

Before I forget how to use blogger completely, I thought I`d better write a post asap.  So sorry to all those who follow me here,  but life is so busy and these days I generally use Facebook and now Twitter for most of my social media networking, etc.  If only I could afford an agent to do all that for me, lol!  Then maybe I would have more time to actually paint!!

Well, to get straight to the point, I don`t know if any of you read my post a while back about entering competitions, but for me, 2016 got off to a great start.  One of my pieces got accepted for the Royal Watercolour Society`s Contemporary Watercolour Competition!!  Even though it is one of my favourite waterbased media pieces I`ve done so far, I was actually a little shocked that it got through.  It`s a pretty high profile art show and the competition is huge.  For many, open entries are a bit of a taboo subject. Usually there is an entry fee, and if you live across the water like I do, or even further afield, delivery of artwork can cost a small fortune.  Fingers crossed Rosa (below) sells!! As much as I love her, I hope I don`t ever see her again (except for the opening night on the 3rd March, which I`m really hoping I`ll be able to attend, even though that`ll be even more expense :/ )
For the last few years now, since I started to work in watercolour, I have been in awe of many of the society`s members, bought a few of their painting videos and books, while finding my own path on this watercolour journey.  It`d be awesome to meet some of them in person!


Saying goodbye to Rosa before she heads off to The Bankside Gallery in London. Please excuse the reflections in the glass, the big white label stuck on the front,and the rather bad model! but you get a better idea of the size of the painting this way.

But whatever your opinion, the fact remains that getting through to these events can only be positive in an artist`s career.  You never know what doors it might open, and it feels nice to have some kind of formal recognition of your work.  That said, rejection is part of life, and on the flipside when your email reads "unfortunately, on this occasion..." you need to get past that too. I entered three into the RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy) in Dublin.   It was my first time, and none of them got accepted. Should I feel disheartened? I probably wouldn`t be human if I didn`t a bit.  Should I feel envious of those who did get accepted, or as so many artists sadly do, praise them to their faces and then stick a knife in their back later: gossip about how on earth they got in when your work is so much better? No, I shouldn`t.  Maybe their work is better, maybe it`s just different.  Maybe....
Beauty, and talent, are often in the eye of the beholder, nowhere more so perhaps than in the visual arts. 

As I grow, and grow older, as a human being and an artist, life has taught me that being happy for others`successes can be every bit as gratifying as enjoying one`s own.  I often feel like life is in fact a bed of roses.....there`s so much beauty to be had, but thornpricks are inevitable.  I suppose it`s how we deal with our triumphs as well as our defeats, that make the difference.

It seems I have had quite a thing about roses lately: a few of my pieces using the iconic flower, all of which were initially inspired by an old porcelain jug with a pattern of pink roses on a black background, which I found on Ebay.

Yours truly working on The Housekeeper, now SOLD
 Rose In The Night Garden, oils on canvas, SOLD
Rose And The Magpie
coloured pencils

21 Aug 2015

Jackson`s art competition

A short blog post tonight: my piece "Swan" got shortlisted for an acrylic painting competition with renowned British Art Supplies company, Jackson`s.  I am pretty pleased, since it was literally a last minute entry because I only found out about the competition on Twitter, where I  just opened an account a few days ago and am still learning the ropes.  If you`d like to follow me there, my user name is JudithLArt, by the way.

Anyway, here is the link to the online voting for The People`s Choice Awards.  It is only through Facebook, so that people can only vote once (but for as many pieces as you like) to therefore ensure against cheating apparently.  
If you like mine, I`d really appreciate a wee vote.  Goodnight and sweet dreams, Judith x


19 Aug 2015

tweet, tweet, short and sweet

Ok, like I really need another social site to eat away at my precious time......but I have finally given in to peer pressure and opened a Twitter account. As I am a very open person, I have no qualms in revealing that I have very little clue about how to use it, and wish that I didn`t need to.  But as a self-employed artist in the big bad world out there, I now feel I can hardly afford not to.

(I will just try to ignore the tweets about what so-and-so had for dinner last night, who they are with now, etc and hope that it helps give my art good exposure and me to meet likeminded individuals albeit in a virtual manner).

Should you care to follow me there, my user name is JudithLArt

Oh, and before I forget, I am offering 15% off across my entire Etsy shop until August 30th!! Just type LEAVES in at checkout.  And thanks to Folt Bolt for another plug posting my work on her Facebook page today. Please have a nosey if you feel so inclined and have a monent to spare. She showcases an amazing array of colorful artworks and crafts from all around the globe and it is amazing to be included.


20 Jul 2015

Call For Entries

How many times have I paused for thought after reading those words in art magazines, and now more commonly, in Facebook posts, etc? Lately, I have decided to enter more competitons or calls for entry to exhibitions. It is a gamble, it costs a lot of money, and the fear of rejection is ever present, but if an artist wants to gain greater exposure, or a bigger audience for selling their work, then he or she needs to have quite a few eggs in quite a few baskets. 

 The problem I face is I live on an island :/ 

The biggest and probably most sought after show in Northern Ireland is the RUA`s annual exhbition. I am pleased to report that I have again been shortlisted for this year`s after getting accepted last year and being fortunate enough to have my piece sell on the opening night.  But being true to my rather unconfident self, I am not very happy with my offering for this year, but hadn`t time to finish other new work, and work previously exhibited here was inadmissible, so... I feel I rushed it, but to my great surprise, it got accepted, at least, it passed the first stage.  And I should probably try for some in the south of Ireland, especially since I am now in a really good Dublin gallery called The Doorway Gallery, but like everything else, I just haven`t gotten round to it yet....maybe next year!

But whether us islanders like it or not, we really want (and need, probably) to try across the Channel, and that for us is even more expensive.  We can`t just fly over or hop on the ferry every time we want to enter a painting in some exhibition or other, so we have to use carriers, or even Royal Mail, (and keep our fingers crossed).  Financially, it`s no picnic.  Artists aren`t exactly on the top of the pay roll, (unless we make installation art masterpieces of our unmade beds, dare I write this?) and entering competitions is expensive and with absolutely no guarantee of any return.  But as Gatsby would say,
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

On the one hand, we would all like to make it, whatever that means, but on the other, entering work in these sorts of exhibitions makes us even more vulnerable, open for criticism, judgement, and art is a highly personal matter.  I think developing a thick skin is an essential requirement for anyone in the visual arts.  Let`s face it, you aren`t going to please everyone, nor should you try. 

 White Tulips Remind me of You,
watercolour, and other waterbased media on paper,
56 x 76 cms

So this one didn`t make it in my first attempt at entering The Sunday Times Watercolour competition this year, but I like it, and for anyone who knows how hard I am on myself, that says a lot!  I think as long as the artist likes his or her own work, then basically that`s what matters. Be true to yourself, and don`t fall into tthe trap of trying to make everyone else happy.  

So, I have entered it into Artists & Illustrators Artist of The Year 2015, along with a few others, and since I am a member of their Portfolio Plus, at least this one was free, so to speak.  But it may not get accepted, in fact the statistics are against me, but rejection is part of life, and actually, something I think our younger generation need to be taught to weather better. Not everyone can win at Sports`Day, not everyone can play the leading role in the school play, not every child will be able to play the trumpet, the violin, be great at rugby or football and get 90% in their tests.  Ok, so I am getting a bit sidetracked here, but my point is, we are all different, and nobody can be ourselves like we can.  And if one artist gets accepted into a competition, good for them, and if I don`t, or you don`t, well, we can always try again.  I think accepting other`s successes as well as our own (and the times we don`t succeed), is a crucial part of growing up and growing, and something we all need to work at, if we were only a bit more honest about it.