Friday, 18 March 2011

Meltdown at Art Class

It has happened before, and it will happen again... my students lost it. The culprits this time J (on the right), who was so disgusted with her attempts at squirrel portraiture that tears and laughter burst out at the same time causing a phenomenon I like to call 'Art Class Meltdown'. It is of course contagious as can be seen by her friend D. Another student L had a camera, and I have permission from the lovely ladies to post the photo. If your art goes wrong the best thing you can do is laugh... and cry... and laugh some more.

In the past I have myself attended many art classes, some of which are sophisticated affairs with little talk, serious application and classical music. This, as can be seen (and heard) if you are walking past is not the sort of class I run.

Last week I took a day off, and checking my emails found I had sold 3 postcards from my shop, all with seashell art on, to someone in Minsk. Amazing! On the same day I sold this:

'Five Bar Gate, Marks hall'. Informing boyfriend happily of my 'day off' sales he said "perhaps you should take more time off!" The painting sold from some holiday homes in Nayland near Colchester, where the owners are kind enough to display my work.

Not currently having any illustration commissions, it is back to fine art, and a trip to Felixstowe on a cold and windy sunday gave me a little inspiration. The photos of the derelict boats being particularly interesting. In the end I settled on this one:

I started it with pure watercolour painting in mind, but decided it would be perfect for line and wash. Starting with a sepia dip pen drawing...

and then adding the paint in loose washes, using gum arabic to add shine and softness to the water reflections:

At the same time I was working on a couple of mosaics. The first one was supposed to be a red and white light house, until I realised that all my red crockery had been used up by students on the mosaic day I taught last year. So I turned it into a simple flower, with a mirror centre:

(The bar visible in the mirror is my camera tripod!) Luckily my friend S has since dropped a big red casserole dish, so the lighthouse may yet be made! I also made a vintage style heart from floral crockery and lovely warm blues:

So the production of artwork is going well. On a less happy note I can reveal I am harbouring a serial killer:

After the success of his mouse exploits he has moved up to massive pigeons. Despite it being so large he could barely carry it, he attempted to bring it into the kitchen. His delight at his kill was boundless and two days later whilst I was teaching a new private student in the studio, I glanced out of the window to see him happily torturing a poor blackbird. "Please excuse me" I said politely, dashing in the house and instructing boyfriend to get it off him. Another broken neck. As a member of the RSPB and having a genuine fondness for birds, I am mortified by this behaviour. I think a louder bell on his collar may be necessary.

I wish I could say he is wracked by grief and repentance, but I am afraid I would be lying like a rug. Gimlet sleeps soundly, untroubled by his conscience...


  1. Oh the joy of cats!!!

    But they're worth it...aren't they?

    I love your pen and wash, Michele, even though it looks very different from what I've seen of your work so far. And I'm not at all surprised about your sale (Five bar gate) - I think it's beautiful! Did you use a photo for reference?

  2. Thanks Judy, yes I used a photo, although it is a place I have visited often at Mark's Hall near Colchester. There is no Hall anymore as it was demolished after the war, but the grounds and gardens are lovely, with interesting planting; that is bamboo on the left hand side! The cakes in the tea shop are the real attraction of course!