Latest Work update

A collection of my most recent work can be seen in my new gallery

My Path in Art

1. Cinderella – film – Walt Disney

The first film I saw. I have love cartoon art ever since

2. Alice in Wonderland – book-Lewis Carroll with illustrations by John Tenniel

The first book I remember owning (I am sure there were others). Again, it is the illustrations I remember and the cover which was a blue and pink all-over pattern.

3. A drawing slate and slate pencil

The slate was in a frame and all round the frame were line illustrations for different animals which I can remember spending ages copying.

4. Piero della Francesca – The Baptism of Christ


Again, I think it is the illustrative nature of this painting plus the peaceful ness and sense of geometry which appeals to me. I remember stopping in my tracks when I first saw this painting.

5. The Scapegoat – William Holman Hunt


Probably the painting I love most, even in reproductions. Last year I was lucky enough to see it for real and I had a real job dragging myself away.

6. Arlene Steinberg


This book, or rather the painting on the cover, inspired me to start using coloured pencils.  Now I use them and graphite pencils almost exclusively. This book taught me how to make coloured pencil work glow.

7. Penny Wilton

Penny is a local artist and teacher who dragged me out of depression by her patience in her class which I attended. She made me realise I could create art.  A very inspiring lady.

8. Arthur Rackham

Difficult to chose any particular piece by Arthur Rackham……I am inspired by the all. A master of illustration and timeless.

9. Willem Kalf


I have been inspired in my own work by the work of the 17th century Dutch still painters. Willem Kalf is one of the best.  Still life is one of my favourite genres and the Dutch painters of the 17th century have never been bettered in my opinion.

10 Peaches – M A Brown


Yes, this is one of my own pictures but it is important to me. It was the first picture I did in coloured pencil. I entered it into a nationwide competition and it was accepted and exhibited in a London art gallery. It inspired me to carry on with coloured pencil. It also helps me through periods of doubt when I wonder whether to carry on making art.

Knitting project finished


……and in place at the Lighthouse Art Centre in Poole. Everything was assembled and put in place last Tuesday. The Lighthouse provided plinths and a frame sited near the entrance.

I was doubtful we would get it all put in place in the two hours the we meet for but the ladies came up trumps and everything was stitched in place. What a relief! I have had a few sleepless nights I have to admit……..and a lot of waking hours were spent thinking about it.

Thank you, ladies of Purlesque.










Lighthouse Knitting Project

I think I have made a mention in a previous entry  about this project. As things have moved along  bit I thought I would dedicate a whole entry to the subject.

To recap, the project was to create a knitted celebration of the sailing Olympics being held at Weymouth. One of our group did a rough sketch idea which I worked up into a colour version with notes on the different parts and how they would be tackled. I then had a meeting with Sara St George at the Lighthouse Art Centre, where we meet and where the piece will be exhibited, to get approval. I have also spoken to the artist-in-residence at the Lighthouse to discuss how it would be exhibited. The Lighthouse will provide a plinth and a frame to set up the piece.



The next thing was to get started on knitting the components making up the background – knitted pale blue strips for the sky, boxes of various sizes covered in knitting for the rocks and freeform knitting for the sea. The Purlesque ladies have done sterling work on knitting these components. The sky strips just need to be stitched together (my job for this weekend), we have a goodly selection of different size and colour boxes for the rocks,

2012-04-24 12.09.16


and the ladies have done magnificently on the freeform pieces which are gradually being joined together to create the sea.



We are now working on the yachts, buntings and other bits to be added. One of the ladies, Margaret has knitted a brilliant lighthouse based on the Portland lighthouse which you can see on the table in the picture. As you can see from the picture were are very industrious…..with our needles and tongues.

When everything comes together I will post a further entry. Thank you ladies of the Purlesque Knitting group for all your hard work.

Highly Commended

Last week I mentioned that the craft group I belonged to had entered a piece into a local flower show. I am pleased to say our entry was highly commended.

It was a lot of fun to do. Thank you, Tori, for all your hard work bringing the piece together. Let’s hope we can do some more.

Yesterday, I decided to try to see if I could go 24 hours without turning my phone or computer on…..I am pleased to say I survived! What did I do with the time saved. I sorted all my threads out. I did not realise how much I had got…tapestry wool, embroidery thread, all sorts of fancy threads I seemed to have bought for no other reason than they looked good, wool and silk for felting and other stuff which I have no idea what you do with. I guess I knew at the time I bought the…..although that is by no means certain!

I have been experimenting with freeform crochet….in particular some ideas from Renate Kirkpatrick’s excellent book Freeform Crochet and Beyond. I was looking, in particular, for spiral crochet motifs which could be used to represent ammonites for the work we are doing at the the Purlesque knitting group to celebrate the Sailing Olympics and the Jurassic Coast. This is one of the motifs I did. I have never done bullion knots before so I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Now to experiment with colours.


There is so much in this book to enjoy and learn. I did hesitate about buying it having been a bit put off by some of the reviews but it was worth every penny. The front cover was worth some of the price by itself.

Must go and play some more.

Spring Crafting

Back home in Poole after 10 days house-sitting for my brother. Apart from the British Museum and V and A trip that I wrote about in my previous post, I only had two other days out as I felt pretty ill the rest of the time with a chest infection (for which I am now taking antibiotics… always my last resort). I spent a day at the various museum in South kensington – the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the V and A ( again – I just had to have another look at the spider silk!) I had not been in the Science Museum since 1983/4 when I was a student at Imperial College which is just down the road. It is a fascinating place, even for the non-scientist. As an F1 fan I found Mika Hakkinen’s post-crash Maclaren one of my favourite exhibits.


I also visited the London Zoo, a place I had never visited before. I really did not enjoy myself that much. I felt pretty unwell which did not help. I did get a nice picture of a tiger, though, which I may well have a go at painting.Image

Had a lovely morning last Saturday at the Westbourne Craft Collective. We worked on an entry for a local gardening and handcraft show. Everyone crafted flowers etc associated with Spring. Tori (who runs the group) had printed some old pictures of Bournemouth Gardens onto a piece of cloth and we arranged our pieces onto this and started attaching them. It still needs some more work and mounting on a frame but I think it looks lovely.



I will publish a picture of the finished piece in my next post. It was a lot of fun to work on and it is nice to work in a group sometimes. So much of what I do is done alone. I hope we can do something else like this. After the show, Westbourne Library want to hang the piece in the library. I should mention how supportive the library is to our group. We have use of a room to meet and a cupboard to store materials. They also did an advertising drive for donations of unwanted materials and the response has been amazing. We have enough to craft with for the next couple of years I reckon. Thank you, Westbourne Library.

Catching up……….

It has been far too long since my last blog entry. I could make a list of “excuses” but I won’t……far too pathetic and predictable. So here we go again…..hopefully I can get myself a bit better organised and write a bit more often.

First of all a quick summary of some of the things I have done since my last post. The knitting group Purlesque has continued to prosper. We are now working on a project, to be exhibited at the Lighthouse Arts Centre  in Poole, to celebrate the sailing Olympics to be held off the Dorset coast. AT the moment we are working on the background, rocks and sea…….lighthouse, yachts and anything else will be worked on in the near future. We hope to have it all ready by the beginning of June when Dorset Arts Week take place.  I will write a more detailed blog about the project in the next couple of weeks together with some photos.

I have also joined the Westbourne Craft Collective where we are currently working on a textile piece to be entered into the Handicrafts section of the Parkstone Gardeners’ Spring Show. I am working on pansies using different techniques….needle felted, crocheted and knitted. I may do some daffodils as well and perhaps a primrose or two. Again, I will do a more detailed blog entry with photos soon.

I have done very little on the colour pencil front apart from an ATC for the Scribble talk exchange….a pair of red/orange shoes which are now walking about in Texas.


Dancing shoes


Dancing Shoes. Coloured pencil on Stonhenge

2.5” x 3.5”


I am currently working on another ATC for the next exchange and will publish as soon as it’s finished…I would add I have not started it yet!


AT the moment I am house sitting for my brother in Teddington. Today I went to the British Museum to see the Hajj exhibition. Once again the BM have put on a beautifully curated and interesting exhibition which gives one a chance to see many artifacts not otherwise normally accessible…textiles, books etc. This is the 3rd exhibition I have visited at the BM ( the other two were Hidden Treasures from Afghanistan and Italian Renaissance Drawings) all three quite different but all amazing. I also went to the V & A Museum to see the Spider Silk Cape. Wow!. That was something else.

Check out the video in the link I have given. Unlike silk from silkworms, the spiders live to weave another web. Unfortunately, it is a very labour intense, time consuming method of making silk cloth so I do not think we will all be wearing spider silk any time soon. It took eight years to create the cape and anther piece of cloth.




Close up of cape. The embroidery, also in spider silk, is all worked by hand.



More amazing Spider Silk.


The colour of the silk is its natural colour which is pretty amazing of itself. I do not plan on capturing spiders and making silk. Even if they were indigenous to England, they are too large for me to pick them up!

I bought the booklet about Spider Silk and have flicked briefly through it. Apparently, Spider Silk is nothing new and has a history going back several centuries.


Well, that’s enough ofr this catch up.

More next week……I promise

Last Thursday I took part in an artathon at Poole Lighthouse as part of the Monochorium – “a black and white exploration of words, music and illustration” event running until 10th November. I spent a couple of hours doing Zentangles and some sketching and enjoying a rather good performance by a singer who sang folk-type songs.
Not totally sure I quite got the point of it all. OK. There were a lot of art and artefacts that were black and white……although there was a fair amount of colour as well……. and the people involved in the “running” wore black and white but some of it left me a trifle confused…..perhaps that was just me!. Enjoyed myself, though.

Zentangle completed at Monochorium event

On Friday I visited a n extremely good Exhibition of work using just graphite by local artist Heather Lewis. I am a great fan of graphite. Firstly, you do not need a lot of equipment. Secondly, as with colour pencils, it is extremely relaxing and meditative to do albeit time consuming. Earlier this year, I was very pleased to see a graphite picture win the David Shepherd Wildlife artist of the year competition and there is more and more pencil and graphite work appearing in exhibitions. I have recently given all my paints away (apart from a small oil set) in favour of pencil and plan to concentrate of colour pencil and graphite in future.

Hopefully, by the time I do my next post at the end of next week I shall have completed, or nearly completed a painting of Old Harry Rocks which I have had on the drawing board for at least 2 years. It was intended as a birthday present but the recipient, my dear friend Jo, is two years older and still without the picture. I am not going to start anything new until I finish it!

Orchid and Fish

Have just completed a new colour pencil  painting. It is for an artist trading card swap for Scribble Talk and is 2.5″ x 3″.

Orchid ATC

My next painting project is Old Harry Rocks which has been gestating for about 3 years. I shall be putting pencil to paper this week, really……………………………..

Now to the fish. A first for me……I went to a fish therapy place in Poole and had my feet nibbled by tiny little fish (Garra Rufa). It was lovely. There have been concerns about these establishments but the one I visited was clean, my feet were washed before I put them into the fish tank and I had to complete a health questionnaire as well as being asked whether I had any cuts, blisters etc.  Personally, I cannot understand how fish nibbling dead skin off your feet can pass on any infections. I shall certainly be having more sessions with my piscean friends. I felt like Ginger Rogers afterwards. Thank you Pat.

What price pleasure

I have joined a local knitting group. The groups started about 6 weeks ago as part of  Blooming Marvellous. The exhibition has visited various venues in Dorset and I joined in the fun when it transferred to the Lighthouse Centre in Poole. At each venue, local knitters worked on one part and the Poole Group, which we have named Purlesque, are knitting a greenhouse which involved knitting panes of glass.

Greenhouse - a work in progress

Last Tuesday, our meeting day, I was packing up when a woman came and sat nearby and asked me what it was for, looking at the panes that had been knitted. I explained the project and that the squares were for a greenhouse. She expressed the feeling that the squares would be better as a charity blanket and then asked whether the garden was linked to a charity. “No”, I relied. “It was part of a project to bring different community groups as well as individuals together to work on something together. I did my best to explain that it was not linked to any charity, but that it was a project to give people pleasure in the making and further pleasure in viewing the finished work. In all the venues where it has been exhibited it has given a lot of pleasure….and it will undoubtedly do so at future venues where it is scheduled to be shown. I am afraid I did not convince her, there had to be money involved somewhere.  In frustration I asked her what price you could place on pleasure and left.

Since then, this question of whether everything has to have a price on it be it for profit or charity.  Whilst I applaud doing things in order to raise money for charity, I believe there is still a place for exhibitions such as this. Many people, young and old, disabled and able-bodied have enjoyed being involved in this project and many more have had their day enhanced by viewing the garden. I have seen the expressions on faces as they come into the centre and see what has been produced. So I ask,  “What price pleasure?”

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