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Art Couture Festival, Painswick


Last Sunday was a day of scorching heat under clear blue skies. We got dressed up and headed off to the biennial Art Couture Festival some 8 miles away in the village of Painswick, Gloucestershire. Although the proceedings took place under the Union Jack this was certainly not your typical British village fete. For instance, it is not usual to have people parading around the churchyard wearing only knickers and a liberal coating of body paint!

Below are some photos I thought I would share & a video that nicely captures the atmosphere of the day. I hope you enjoy them!


 ‘Queen Bee’





Dat Brass playing in St Mary’s churchyard, Painswick not Rome despite what his jacket says!




‘The Power of Positive Thinking’




‘One Bad Apple’


View across the normally quiet Painswick valley

To discover more including how to enter the next festival in 2018 click here – Art Couture Festival


Watercolour demonstration at Hobbycraft

I have been demonstrating with watercolour today at my local Hobbycraft store in Cheltenham.

IMG_20131207_124633The photo above is of the demo table set up with a display of my work. I took a mixture of things along, hoping that there would be something to appeal to everyone. My intention was to inspire people to see the versatility that can be achieved with watercolour.


The two sunsets at the front of the photo are the paintings I was working on, along with the iris painting in the centre by the colour chart. Many thanks to all the friendly people who stopped by to say hello!   I’ll post the finished work as soon as it’s completed……..


William Morris and Selsley Church

Today was hot & beautiful with a clear blue sky. It was my husband’s birthday & he wanted to make a visit to All Saints Church, Selsley. It has associations with both William Morris & the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Selsley is under 30mins drive from our home & we have visited twice before. On both occasions we found the church to be beautiful, but chillingly cold. Today, however, was different.

Selsley Church 030

First, there was lunch at The Bear of Rodborough, so called because of the ancient stuffed bear standing in reception (& if I’d been waiting that long to check in, I think I’d try somewhere else!) Lunch was wonderful & we sat out in the courtyard enjoying a tiny patch of shade & the square of clear blue sky above us. We then drove across Rodborough Common & over to the opposite side of the valley to Selsley. The church is slightly outside the village & on both previous visits we had difficulty in locating it – today we had the benefit of sat nav on my new phone!

Selsley Church

The road climbs steeply through the village & then we took a right turn in the direction of King’s Stanley. All Saints is a short way along on the right. It is a most distinctive looking church & the churchyard has open views to the surrounding hills.

Work began on the church in 1861 & it was consecrated the following year by the Bishop of Gloucester. The architect, George Frederick Bodley, was a friend of members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood & he enlisted their help in its decoration.

Morris & Co

Although I love the gothic architecture, for me, the magical quality of All Saints is centred around its exquisitely beautiful windows. Outstanding amongst these is the Rose Window, which was one of the first commissions for the newly formed Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.

[caption id="attachment_518" align="aligncenter" width="640"]The Rose Window The Rose Window[/caption]

The Rose Window design is based on the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis. The central circle shows Christ seated above the waters. The other roundels can be viewed by clicking on the icons in the gallery below:

You can read more about Selsley Church by clicking here.

Light & the Great British Seaside

Summer is getting off to a slow start here in the UK. However, yesterday & today have been full of sharp, bright light & searing blue skies that, whilst there’s still a nip in the air, whisper the promise of hot summer days to come.

I’m currently teaching an online drawing class & as part of the preparation, wanted to take some photographs of pebbles. I already have pebbles in my garden collected on previous excursions to the coast, but what I didn’t have was the right type of light.

I decided that I owed it to my students to give them photographs of pebbles taken in situ on a beach in coastal light.  The nearest place, I could get to easily, was Clevedon on the south west coast. Technically speaking, Clevedon is at that point where river & ocean meet. The water contains silt washed down the river by recent heavy rain, & yet, it’s tidal, has small pebbled beaches & a beautiful Victorian pier. Clevedon

On the drive there, I was thinking about the fact that artists seem to be drawn to the light of the western coast & why this should be. For example, the St Ives artists in Cornwall & St David’s in Wales is also a congregating point for artists. Is this just true in Britain or does this happen in other places too, artists creating communities to take advantage of the western light. Do you know of any others?

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