Thursday, 14 September 2017

On the joys of a good boat bottom . . Jersey September 14th.

 Beautifully proportioned lines.

 I have had a couple of days to rest between workshops this week. I have just about shaken off the very lovely - not - infection in my lung. It affected my voice box so I had no voice for 7 days. This has never happened to me before - no voice. It was a very peculiar feeling not to be able to communicate with my voice. I am well on the road back to being fighting fit again, but it does remind me I do need to look after myself a bit more carefully. Note to self - eat more greens!!!

I am on Jersey to deliver 3 workshops at The Harbour Gallery over the coming weekend. It is great to be back here. It's been 3 years since I was here last. I love coming over here and it good to have some time with Pat Robson, the Force Majuer behind The Harbour Gallery. Pat is great fun and there is always something good happening at the gallery.

 Like most of you who read this blog, I love wandering around harbours and piers. There are always wonderful distressed textures and colours to enjoy. The Harbour at St Aubin is no different. I found myself enjoying the layers of lines that can be found wherever you look. I love looking at the proportions of the lines, all the composition ideas you could ever need are right there around you.

 Lines of boats and buoys.

 Lines and shapes that have been created by lines.

 Interesting spaces between the lines.

 Looking at repeat shapes that also create lines.

 But of course, the boat bottoms were calling . . .

We all love peeling paint and distressed colour. All we have to do is choose which part of the texture to photograph. That is where it becomes interesting. If 10 of us photographed the same boat - all the images would be slightly different. Different compositions, different focus and different distances. We all see composition differently and we all have different opinions as to what looks best. That is the joy of art - it is all a matter of opinion. There is always the theory of composition to back ideas up, but ultimately, it is all down to opinion.

This turquoise paint was stunning, peeling back to expose some wonderful layers of rust. A classic colour combination.

 The ridges on the hull of this wooden boat are just gorgeous, and the pale blue paint is a beautiful contrast to the wood underneath.

 Another fabulous wooden boat.

 Great lines. It is all done for me.

This was my favourite texture. Rusting metal. Just wonderful textures and a great colour combination.

The workshops on Jersey will be my last 'face to face' ones until 2019. 
For the next year I am going to concentrate on teaching how to develop new ideas from the inspiration that is around you.
These kind of images are the sort of thing we will be looking at on my 'Look. Draw. Stitch - Retreats' in Ireland. Of course we will also have the amazing dry stone walls, coastline, rock pools and hedge rows to be inspired by too. 

 The hedge rows are full of flowers on Loop Head from July to early September.

 There are wonderful rocks to explore at my local bays.

 This link will give you more information if you are interested in spending a long weekend with me in Ireland with a small group - maximum of 6.  There are a choice of 9 weekends. You can come by yourself or if you belong to a group, then you are already sorted.  I am looking forward to working closely with small groups of students, we will have fun and create some fabulous work, inspired by the beautiful Loop Head Peninsula.
 Lobster pots at Carrigaholt pier.


Sonas Studio - online workshops

The online workshops are going well. There are still places and plenty of time if you want to join in the fun. Have a look and see what still has places . . 

A fabulous sample from A New Starting Point.


Hello Jill - my you are working hard.
Hi Diana, I need to catch up with what you are all up to online. 
Hello Tod - was sooooooooo good to see you in my house.

 x x x

Monday, 28 August 2017

Teaching at home in Ireland and a fabulous workshop at Art Van Go.

 Wild Atlantic Inspiration

 OK!!! The time has come to announce the dates for my teaching at home in Ireland in 2018. I am just winding up my teaching for this year, I will be at a couple of shows, then that is it in the UK for a while. The basic information is as follows -

Land, Sea and Sky Retreats –

Look . Draw . Stitch .
Time for you –
A relaxing retreat on the beautiful Loop Head Peninsula, County Clare, Ireland.
Be inspired by the local dry stone walls, incredible geology, the lighthouse and friendly welcome. Depending on the weather we will go out to take photos/draw or stay inside and draw from the wonderful views and artifacts in and around my colourful and interesting home..
You will create several drawings, which can then be made into printing blocks. We will print onto paper and fabric to create beautiful layered surfaces on which to stitch - by hand. (the following images of the Art Van Go workshop will show you what we will be doing). It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or experienced - you are in safe hands.

The price of the weekend will be £250 per person.
This will include all tuition, some materials, welcome drinks on Friday with nibbles, coffee and teas through the weekend and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Not included is your accommodation, transfers from airports and evening meals. All these can be arranged by Kim if you need suggestions. There are plenty of local B&B’s.

For a booking form or any enquiries – please email Kim

January – Friday 12th – Sunday 14th.
February – Friday 9th – Sunday 11th
April – Friday 20th  – Sunday 22nd
May – Friday 18th – Sunday 20th
June – Friday 15th – Sunday 17th
August –Friday 17th – Sunday 19th
September – Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd  
October – Friday 19th – Sunday 21st
November – Friday 9th – Sunday 11th

 Inside the Loop Head Lighthouse

Rocks from the local bay.

There is more information on the Facebook page

There will be a dedicated page on my website later in the week.


This was my last workshop on the UK mainland this year - and what a workshop it was - pure joy.  I wanted to try it out before I launched the weekends here in West Clare, Ireland. 

We had a group of 11 - more than enough to play with, and teaching at Art Van Go is always great fun. We are always so well looked after.
There are loads of images - too many really - but the work was soooo good. 
 The joy of a baby wipe!
Cleaning your printing blocks with baby wipes gives you even more great prints. 

It's amazing what you can achieve with tracing and carbon paper. Even those of  us who can't draw can create fabulous designs. All the students brought in an image and this was turned into a design that was then made into 2 printing blocks, one being the 'negative' part of the design, the other being the 'positive' part.

Tracing the designs and making the blocks. 

Here are a selection of the blocks made by the group and just a few of the prints. They created so many more - there just isn't space on here to show them.

 The printing blocks.

 2 of the many prints.

 Layers of printed fabrics, cut back, applied and stitched.

 The printing blocks and print.

 More prints.

 Layers of the same print on several fabrics using applique, cutting back and stitch.

 The printing blocks.

 Lots of fabulous prints.

 Starting to layer prints, cut back and stitch.

 A wonderful table full of prints based on the line of the sea where it meets the sand.

 A great table of work. the deign was based on a mosaic, the printing blocks were made and fabrics then printed.

 A rather fabulous layered, printed and stitched piece.

 I loved this piece. From a simple design taken from lobster pots.
The printing blocks and the stitched sample.

 The printing blocks.

 One of several printed, layered and stitched samples.

Each member of the group produced several great prints. There just isn't room on the post to show them all.

 You csn see the inspiration for these prints on right on the middle. 
The printing blocks from the design are bottom right.
The beautiful prints are on the left. 

 Just one of the prints produced from these blocks with applique of polyester organza with sympathetic stitch.

 The following 3 photos shows the process from design, through to print to finished layered sample - ready to be stitched.

 Your starting point can be almost anything. A photo, a drawing, a photocopy. With tracing and carbon paper almost anything can be achieved. It's great fun. You don't need to be able to draw.

This is the print from both blocks - one on top of the other.

 I loved this print.

 Various prints on similar fabrics cut up and applied onto a background fabric.
Just ready for stitch.

The printing blocks on the left were used on this and the following 2 images.

 One layer of print . .

 Several layers of print that have been cut back and worked into.

 A few more gorgeous layered and stitched prints.

 This was a very satisfying 2 day workshop for me. I have been wanting to try this out for a while, with students from beginners to experienced. Everyone created their own designs, their own printing blocks and layered samples - some even had time to stitch. The most important thing is that the students can do it all again, and again. .  so their designs will always be original.

 It was great to spend some time with Viv and Kevin of Art Van Go, they have become great friends of mine over the last few years.

The 'show and tell' at the end of the workshop is very important. Everyone gets a chance to see what has been done. It is a great way to finish up a workshop.


Viv having a good look at all the work. 

If you find this way of working interesting and fancy having a go with me in Ireland within a group of 6 students. Then check the dates and see if they are still free. If you email me I can send you a booking form or you can just ask questions if I haven't covered something you need to know. You can come on your own and make new friends, organise your own group or come with a partner and they can go and explore while you are on the workshop. There are so many possibilities.


Hello Jill - not long now.
Hello Diana - well done on the fabulous samples. 
Hello Tod - Wednesday the 6th would be better, it will give me a chance to go shopping. Can't wait to see you all. x x x

x x x