Category Archives: 2018


It is now over a year since I finished my MA and I am learning to impose structure to my work.  The Tread Softly series is nearing completion and my thoughts now turn to what to do next.  I had expected to start work on a series of images based on my parents love letters, but events have overtaken me and another exciting opportunity has presented itself.

I had the good fortune to meet the owner of the Pugin Chapel in St Leonards who was looking for community engagement with the Chapel.  I suggested a residency and yesterday I completed the checks necessary to work on a school site.  If all goes to plan I will start work in the Chapel in the New Year.

For some time I have been considering the possibility of working in a church.  As my work moves into a ‘softer’, reflective period, I have been wondering whether it would lend itself to responding to a spiritual building.  I am not religious but I have lived in a converted chapel and found the experience enriching.  I am hopeful that creatively exploring the Pugin Chapel will open a new direction for my work.

I should add that even asking for the residency is way beyond my comfort zone, but I have seen the results of other artists from such an experience and as I move purposefully towards the next stage of my life, I feel that now is the time for such a challenge.

Where to start?  I toured the Chapel yesterday with the director and explained that I will not be painting views of the building.  That my purpose is to paint the feelings the building arouses, which may be abstract or may include details that resonate with me.  I plan to spend a day a week for the first few weeks, just contemplating, observing and recording details.  Due to the way I work with many layers of very wet paint, on site painting will not be possible.  I will need to rethink how I approach this project.


Still Treading Softly

I want to use this blog to think out loud.  For three years I worked within the structure of the MA.  For the last six months I have been free to do whatever I want.  This should be liberating, which of course it is, but it then requires a self imposed structure and a self generated sense of purpose.

It took three months to emerge from the deep trance-like state that I had found necessary to focus on, what was for me, the huge challenge of the MA.  It is only with hindsight that it is evident that this was happening.  I read page-turners and played with paint, but steered well clear of challenging myself.  The space created allowed time for reflection, and an insight into a possible future as a professional artist.

Painting is a solitary task.  I enjoy the time alone with music to suit my mood, but  local support is a necessary pillar for motivation and survival.  Our crit group is now in place and has already taken me on an unexpected path.  I attend occasional networking groups with fellow artists.  I am about to become more actively involved with one of the exhibiting groups I belong to, with a view to increasing our collective profile.  The experimental drawing and exploratory colour group continue, which together with social media activity, leaves surprising little time to paint.


Tread Softly l, Watercolour on Canvas 100 x 100 cms

This painting is about the ravages of time, how hope lives on in spite of the knock backs.  It will represent the final painting in the series.


Detail from Tread Softly l

Following our crit discussion I am now working on two further canvas paintings (100 x 100 cms) to create a Tread Softly series.  I wanted to work on two simultaneously to explore different approaches.  The first specifically works with the warm and cool colour wheels, the second expands on that in a much looser style.  The question posed by the crit group was what happened before the first finished painting and what happened after.

Work in progress Tread Softly ll

Watching paint dry and detail from top left corner.

The second stage, where the general direction is clearer.


Detail from lower left and top right.

The final work 100 x 100 cms


Tread Softly ll has become the start of the series, full of hope and dreams, with only the slightest of anxiety.

First stage of Tread Softly lll



Second stage as the form takes shape.


Detail from the second stage of lll, mid left and mid right.

Stage two of this painting revealed much frustration and I wanted to develop this idea.


The work is not finished, but I now need to live with it to determine its final destination.  This may be weeks or months away.

The series so far: