Pathways

I’ve just completed Pathways – a landscape I was commissioned to paint during  Cambridge Open Studios in July. In discussing what the clients wanted, I put together a painting plan.  The painting should be in the blue/green colours, have no buildings, include an interesting sky, and a pathway – or two.

Pathways by Vandy Massey
Pathway. Watercolour 49 x 39 cm

Elements in Pathways

This painting takes the viewer for a gentle walk with countryside features along the way.

Hogweed and Grasses in Pathway by Vandy Massey
Hogweed and grasses

Heading over the brow of the hill, a patch of hogweed waves in the breeze. Look carefully at the stems below, and you may find a spiderweb suspended between two stalks.

Wild Grasses in Pathway by Vandy Massey
Wild grasses

Look through the long grasses to the fields below.  Grass seed heads blow. Spores dance in the breeze. As you progress along the route, terraced hillsides and fields of golden crops appear. Hedges and pathways criss-cross the land. Tree copses and woodlands fringe the farmlands laid out neatly in the distance.

Horizon in Pathway by Vandy Massey
The lake and the pathway on the horizon. Purple hills in the distance.

Until finally, the lake appears. Trees on the bank are reflected in the still water.  Wander further to the right and over the rise next to the trees on the horizon. There are hills beyond, and more fields to explore.

Cambridge Open Studios and the Art Safari

There’s a bit of a buzz in the house at the moment. We’re getting ready for Cambridge Open Studios in a fortnight.

I had the pleasure of going to see the studios of two other artists yesterday, both are experienced artists and have strong styles. They have very different styles of Open Studios and I was impressed by them both for different reasons. Jo Tunmer and Claire Marie Wood inspired me in different ways which was fabulous when faced with a weekend of framing, and organising to get ready.  And it was lovely to have a chance to visit a couple of other studios. So often its not possible if your studio is open on the same weekends.

After a couple of days of working on the preparations, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re making progress. The framing is done:

Cambridge Open Studios preparation
All framed up and waiting for hanging

My Running With Brushes will be on display providing some exposure for the project. I wish I could display the whole collection, but even without being able to show the works of other artists, it should raise awareness.

Cambridge Open Studios display
My Running With Brushes paintings on display

Cambridge Open Studios in Whittlesford

We’re having an Art Safari in the village to make Whittlesford a good destination for Cambridge Open Studios visitors. With 4 artists works on display within a 5 minute walk, visitors will have plenty to see.  It’s taken a bit of organising – firstly to make sure we could all be open on the same days, then to arrange our preview evening for the same time and date. Finally, we got the marvellous Lori Bentley to design our map which will be available at all studios and has gone out in 400 guidebooks around the area.

Between the four artists taking part, many mediums will be on display: watercolour, pastel, oil, acrylic and collage. The range is rich and the colours vibrant.

Art safari social media

If you’re in the area, pop in for a coffee and say hello.

Painted Paper for Painted Wolves

African Wild Dogs, otherwise known as Painted Wolves are endangered.  They are small sociable canines, native to Sub-Saharan Africa.  Their habitat is being destroyed and there are now fewer than 6000 Painted Wolves living in the wild.

Jeremy Borg, CEO of South African wine brand, Painted Wolf Wines is on a mission. Today he started an epic journey on two wheels from Cornwall to Scotland. Along the way there will be wine tasting events and an art auction. Jeremy’s progress can be followed on the Painted Wolf Facebook page.

The Amphitheatre - printed donated for Painted Wolves

Jeremy’s Top Dog Trek will raise finds for the conservation charity, Tusk in three ways: Donations, Jeremy’s ride sponsorship, and an amazing online Art Auction which opened at noon today and will continue for the duration of Jeremy’s ride. Bidding will close on 30th June. I’m very proud to be one of a group of artists who have donated works to this Art Auction.

The two artworks I have donated were painted this year in the Drakensberg. Each one is a hand-detailed giclée print. The original painting in watercolour is reproduced as a limited edition of 25 prints. Then each one has additional watercolour and ink detail, making it a unique piece of art.

How the Painted Wolves Art Auction Works

Bidding for a piece of artwork is easy. A simple online form must be completed to register. Thereafter, simply place your bid in a comment on the artwork page. Come back from time to time and check the current bid because the highest bidder on 30th June will be the owner of the piece of art.

The AmphitheDrakenberg Dusk donated for Painted WolvesThe Painted Wolves auction art works include original watercolours, acrylics, hand detailed giclee prints, photographs and sculptures. The first 3 bids were received within 5 minutes of the auction opening and artworks will be on display at a number of events along the route.

If you’d like to have a look at all the artwork, you could look at the auction website (where bids can be made), or download the full catalogue pdf.

Exhibition at Windmill Art in Linton

My next showing will be an exhibition at Windmill Art in Linton with Mark Judson.

Exhibition at Windmill Art Exhibition at Windmill Art - detail
Mark’sMark Judson's ceramics will be on show at the Exhibition at Windmill Art in Linton ceramics are well known in South Cambridgeshire where he exhibited for many years while teaching and heading the art department at The Perse School. I recently posted a photo on Facebook of the pot I decided I just had to have after seeing a picture of it. It was far too big to mail so we took a long weekend trip to France to collect it. It now stands proudly in our lounge and is a frequent conversation piece because of the beautiful delicate colours in the glaze.

Mark’s work can usually only be seen at exhibitions in central France where he now lives. This is a rare opportunity to see them on show in the UK again.

I will be showing watercolours themed by my travel experiences. Every country has it’s own special atmosphere and I aim to capture some of this in my landscapes. These are the works that will be on show in October.

Today I leave for my latest trip – a painting week on Belle Ile, France. I’ve been sailing in this part of the world before and some of the sights and sensations of Island life are bound to make their way into the exhibition at Windmill Art. There will be some paintings to see that are ‘hot off the easel’.

About the Exhibition at Windmill Art in Linton

Windmill Art is, as the name states, exhibition space in a windmill. The venue has ample parking and is close to the A14 and M11. For an invitation to the Preview evening, please sign up for my newsletter. The invitations will be going out very soon.  I hope you can join us at Windmill Art on the first weekend in October.

Lest We Forget – Commemorating the start of WW1

Today’s post should have been written yesterday, the day when we were all saying, “Lest We Forget”.  But it didn’t happen because I was down at the Tower of London.

Yesterday was a poignant day for many people. Commemorating the start of WW1 one hundred years ago is a significant occasion for those who value human life. It’s slightly depressing that we (the human race) haven’t learned to do this peace thing a lot better by now.

I decided to do something positive to mark the day. I haven’t had time to work on my Running With Brushes contributions for some time, so over the weekend I painted a few.

RWB0104 Fields of Green
Fields of Green (Watercolour 21 x 15 cm)

This one, Fields of Green, is particularly appropriate. It reminds me of the reason for the sacrifice made by all those men and women so many years ago. The right to live in peace in a country of our choice seems such a simple thing. And yet, without those soldiers who fought for it, we would not have it.

For those few of my readers who might not know about Running With Brushes, this is a project to paint 1000 small watercolours, and sell them to raise funds for Care for Casualties. Care For Casualties supports the families of members of Rifles Regiment who have been killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date, over 350 paintings have been created, 162 paintings have been sold, and as a result, almost £3200 has been received by the charity.

Tower of London 4th August 2014. Lest We forget
Tower of London 4th August 2014. Lest We forget

Tower of London: Lest We Forget

We also took a trip down to The Tower of London to have a look at this powerful and poignant art installation.

The Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red exhibition, by

Artist Paul Cummins created Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red to represent the lives of every British and Colonial death during the conflict.  The poppies will be planted continuously until 11th November when there will be 888,246 of them in the moat around the Tower.

The poppies can be purchased by members of the public to raise funds for 5 military charities. I’ve just ordered mine.

I’ve been playing with creating video clips with my phone. This one is slightly wobbly but gives a slightly better idea of the scope of the poppy field in the moat at The Tower.

Society of East Anglian Watercolourists

East Anglian Watercolourists

The art event in my August calendar is the summer exhibition of the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in blogging mode.  July was a busy month with more than a few highlights:

We went off to Umbria for the annual Jazz Festival in Perugia. My head is filled with images of musicians, great buildings, and fantastic unspoiled scenery. There’s loads of painting subject material in that part of the world. Once I’ve sorted through my photos, I’ll have enough for a series. I’ve not managed to get back into the studio since I got back, but I will be picking up my brushes again soon.

I took part in Cambridge Open Studios for the first time this year. Our home was open to visitors on the first and last weekends of the month. Over the course of these two weekends I had 83 visitors, most of whom hadn’t seen my work before. I’ve taken part in Saffron Walden Open Studios for the past two years, which was a good way to get into the Open Studios groove. Being located half way between Saffron Walden and Cambridge presents some challenges for visitors at either of these events: we are in the outer regions from either direction.

The Society of East Anglian Watercolourists Summer Exhibition

This is the next event I’ll be taking part in. I’ll have six paintings on show at this event next week. Unfortunately, I’m not likely to be able to attend the preview evening, as I’m due to have a little operation two days beforehand.  Marc is (yet again) being wonderfully supportive and will deliver my paintings for me so that I can take part.

If you’re in the area and would like to attend the preview of this event, please let me know. The standard of work from these East Anglian Watercolourists is extremely high and it’s always a good exhibition.

 

 

Whittlesford Art Events

Whittlesford Art EventsThe village will be buzzing with Whittlesford art events this July. For the first time, four artists will be collaborating locally to stage complementary exhibitions as part of the Cambridge Open Studios programme.

Two watercolour artists (Jan Smail and Vandy Massey) and two mixed media artists (Sue Rapley and Val Pettifer) will be showing their work on three of the four weekends in the month of July.

Whittlesford Art Events July details

Visitors to the village on July 5th and 6th (weekend 1) will be able to see works in the studios of Jan and Vandy.

On July 12th and 13th (weekend 3) Jan Smail will have her studio open, and the works of Sue and Val can be seen at the Old School Studio.

If you want a real bonanza weekend, head out to see the Whittlesford Art Events on July 26th or 27th (weekend 4) when all four of the artists will be exhibiting.

Refreshments will be available at all the studios and there are gardens to be viewed at the same time as all three places have lovely garden elements.

Art lovers visiting the village can also pop in to Oxbow & Peach, purveyors or wonderful vintage pieces, and pick up information about some of the fabulous courses being run at the Old School Studio.

Over the past year, Whittlesford has become a centre for art events in the area thanks to the re-opening of the Old School Studio, Essex Framing and Oxbow & Peach. Together they create a great browsing experience for a creatively-focused day out. Cambridge Open Studios exhibition days provide the perfect opportunity to see the work of the Whittlesford Artists, Jan Smail, Val Pettifer, Sue Rapley and Vandy Massey at the same time as having a taste of the burgeoning art community south of Cambridgeshire.

Saffron Walden Open Studios 2014

Saffron Walden Open Studios

For the second year, I’ll be taking part in Saffron Walden Open Studios 2014.

I will be opening my studio at 19 Church Close, Whittlesford CB22 4NY for the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. And there will be cake in the garden in aid of Care for Casualties. It’s a bit early for our garden to be in full bloom and I’d love you to visit us if you are around that weekend. (If you’re a garden fan and would prefer to visit later in the summer, I will be taking part in the first and last weekends of Cambridge Open Studios in July as well.)

Saffron Walden Open Studios 2014

The studio and garden will be open from 11am to 6pm on both weekends. I will be exhibiting a range of watercolour paintings, both framed and unframed. In addition to my full size works, my Running With Brushes paintings will be available to view. And for those who are interested in limited edition fine art prints, there will be an opportunity to view some of the range, and order prints for delivery within a week.
The Saffron Walden Arts Trust is a charitable organisation which coordinates, encourages and promotes artistic enterprises of all kinds in the Saffron Walden area. The trust provides practical support to local artists and performers to help them display their talents, with initiatives such as music festivals and craft fairs as well as open studio events.

The open studio events provide visitors with the opportunity to see the work of local artists by visiting their studios. Visitors can talk to the artists about their methods, influences and approaches to their art. I was only open for one of the two Open Studios weekends last year. Even so, I met some wonderful art lovers and had some great conversations. I am looking forward to the Saffron Walden Open Studios 2014 weekends this summer.

Watercolour Exhibition – My Favourite of the Year

All Our Days by David Poxon (pure watercolour). Part of the RI watercolour exhibition
All Our Days by David Poxon RI (pure watercolour)

One of the highlights of the art year for me is the exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours at The Mall Galleries. This year, the watercolour exhibition runs from Wednesday 2nd April to Saturday 19th April.

Clearly you can’t expect every painting in every watercolour exhibition to be a Wow for you. It’s all subjective, after all.  But I have found that this particular exhibition invariably has many works on show that inspire me.  I make sure that I go to exhibitions of works in other mediums from time to time, but for now, this medium remains my passion.  -So my favourite watercolour exhibition is still on my ‘treat myself’ list for the year.  I think it’s a combination of the light, the translucence, and the immediacy of the pigment on paper that entice me.

Some of my favourite artists will be showing in the watercolour exhibition.

Look out for works by:

Mat Barber Kennedy
Anne Blockley
David Poxon
Shirley Trevenna
Naomi Tydeman

These are just a small handful of the talented artists whose work will be available to view.

David Poxon (who received the Winsor and Newton RI Award at last year’s exhibition) very kindly sent me the a photograph of his painting “All our Days” which will be in the exhibition. He said of it, “Found this subject in an old Quaker chapel in the Scilly Isles, the life possessions of someone who had just passed, puts it all into perspective I thought!”

I first saw this painting on Facebook and was blown away by it. The light streaming down onto the box of possessions makes the point that the contents was precious to someone.

(In a small irony, I am currently in South Africa and have been spending much of this week helping my parents. They are starting to sort through and give away old books and collected items that have been accumulated over many years  of living in the same house. I am reminded just how difficult we find it to let go of possessions that represent a life time of memories).

All set for Advent

At Anchor (watercolour 12 x 17cm)
At Anchor (watercolour 12 x 17cm)

Tomorrow is the first day of December – where did the year go? This weekend I’m showing the Running With Brushes collection and some of my own larger paintings at the Christmas Fair at The Old School Studio which is in our village.  Val and Dave have done a brilliant of making it a warm and welcoming space where artists can drop in for a painting session, browse Val’s extensive library of art books, or do a workshop to explore a new creative material or method.  After being empty for ages, the Old School has become a real arts centre with the Studio, Framers and gift shop and the marvellous Oxbow and Peach (a real treasure trove of gorgeousness)

While it’s great to be part of the Christmas fair, this does mean that it’s going to be a bit tough starting my Advent Challenge tomorrow – but even if it’s late, I will post my first artist share. I’m feeling the need to get back to my brushes having missed out on studio time this weekend – so I will somehow find time to do a little sketch tomorrow.

Checking out my list of subjects, I thought I would have a slow start and paint holly to start with. The studio has been decked with wreaths, candles and Christmas table decorations so I’ve been surrounded by sprigs of holly today. If you’re feeling inclined to paint some holly and are looking for reference material, here’s a link to a collection of creative commons photographs of holly leaves on Flickr to inspire you.

Tomorrow I will post my holly painting and if you’ve painted one as well (not necessarily tomorrow), you’ll be welcome to share the link on tomorrow’s blog post as well.

In the meantime, it’s the end of October and I must do the Running With Brushes recon so I can put the month’s proceeds into our JustGiving account.