Open Studio Give Away

This is my third year of holding an Open Studio. Joining over 300 other Cambridge Open Studios artists is a highlight of my year.  I love all of it – the planning, the build up and most of all, meeting interesting people who come for a browse.

This year, to celebrate my 2016 Open Studio I’ve decided to do a giveaway

The winner of the draw will receive this limited edition signed and numbered giclee print of Poppies in the Sunlight.  This print comes mounted and ready to put into a 12 x 16 inch frame.

There are plenty of opportunities to get your name in the draw (see below):

Win Poppies in the Sunlight at my 2016 Open Studio

The draw will take place at 6pm on Sunday 24th July.

Your name goes in the draw every time you do one of the following:

  • Visit my Open Studio and put your name in the box. I will be open from 11am to 6pm on the 16th, 17th, 23rd and 24th July.
  • Sign up for my email newsletter. (I only do 3 or 4 newsletters a year).
  • Like my Facebook page
  • Share the Facebook post at the top of my page (you will need make sure the privacy setting on the post is ‘public’ so that I can see the share and add your name to the draw)
  • Sign up to receive my blog by email
  • Follow me on Instagram and pop a comment into the post with about this draw on my feed.

That’s 6 opportunities to get your name in the draw. You could have 6 chances of winning this print.

(About this painting: Every year a few of my works seem to be the zeitgeist pieces of the year. This is one for 2016. It was painted last summer and was then used as the poster image for the Spring Exhibition of the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists Spring Exhibition. The original painting was the first painting to sell at the exhibition. For me this painting represent exuberence and zest for life: a joyful painting)

What’s on show at my Open Studio 2016

This year I have

  • 90 of my Running With Brushes paintings on display.
  • A number of  new watercolours, some of which stem from my South African travels, and some from a recent trip to the island of Paxos.
  • I’ve invested in a top quality scanner and giclee printer so this year will also be showing a range of signed limited edition prints mounted and ready to be framed for the wall.
  • Seven new greeting cards designs join the collection of evergreen favourites.

I am aware that time is precious and I so value the effort people make to come and see my open studio. My working studio, untidy as it is when I paint, will be open for visitors to look around and I’ll be there to answer any questions and chat about my inspiration and my approach to painting.

And if the weather is kind to us, we’ll even be able to have our tea and cake in the garden. The next two weekends are looking to be fabulous!

Figures and Faces

Pink Roses in her Hair (watercolour 4 x 6 inches) Artist: Vandy Massey
Pink Roses in her Hair (watercolour 4 x 6 inches)

I’ve written (probably quite often) about my block when it comes to painting people. It extends to just about all living things but I did manage to start breaking it down during the past year by painting a few animals. There was the frog, the lizard, and finally a rooster.

Then I was asked to painting a portrait via Running With Brushes for someone who wanted it as a Christmas gift for their partner. She knew portraits weren’t my forte, but was brave enough to let me have a go anyway. I had a couple of attempts but eventually got to a painting that captured the little girl’s likeness. It was a real breakthrough moment for me and it has made me want to do more.

Emboldened by my ability to paint an actual face, I went on and painted a whole person!

Spray (watercolour 24 x 19 inches) Artist: Vandy Massey
Spray (watercolour 24 x 19 inches)

I really wanted to capture the dynamic energy of the sport in this painting. The approach I took with painting a figure was a little different to my usual way of working. As a general rule, we’re told to think about our work as just being blocks of colour. That way, once you’ve got the main masses of colour right in terms of their tonal values, you know you’ve got the most important element right. In this case, I felt it was important to get the structure of the body right. I needed to visualise the angles of the arms and particularly, the legs, before I could start laying down the colour.

This one is a gift for someone who loves to ski. I really hope he think’s I’ve captured the essence of the sport. Now that I’ve broken the barrier, who knows what till come next? I quite like the challenge of capturing movement so that may be my theme for a while.

Advent Day Artist Day 24

Christmas Cockerel (watercolour 5 x 4 inches) Artist: Vandy Massey
Christmas Cockerel (watercolour 5 x 4 inches)

In our house, when we the boys were young, we had early wake up calls every Christmas morning so that present unwrapping could start as soon as possible. These days, we have the luxury of a late start and an even later lunch since the present sessions can be done at a less urgent pace now. But for those who still have an early start on Christmas morning, here’s the Advent give away cockerel who is bound to crow at daybreak.

Advent Day Artist Day 24

Today’s advent artist is Marc Massey. Marc’s photographs have always provided great reference material. He’s going to be running photography workshops at The Old School Studio in the new year. On top of all that, Marc does all the mounting of the Running With Brushes paintings and my paintings. We’ve passed the 300 painting mark and every single one of them has been mounted and packaged by Marc.

Advent Artist Day 23

Warm Welcome (watercolour 4 x 6 inches) Artist: Vandy Massey
Warm Welcome (watercolour 4 x 6 inches)

Today’s advent give away painting is one that had to be painted at some stage in the series. The classic Christmas wreath on the front door is a welcome for friends and family. With only one more day until the Christmas turkey gets cooked, we’re all getting ready for the knock on the front door.

Advent Artist Day 23:

Australian watercolour artist, Anita Bentley is today’s advent artist. Her paintings capture the colour and clarity of light of Australia. Anita also has a Facebook page where she shares her art.

Advent Artist – Day 22

Red Currants (watercolour 4 x 6 inches)  Artist: Vandy Massey
Red Currants (watercolour 4 x 6 inches)

Not turned into jelly yet, but when they are, the meal will be delicious. The glorious colour and translucence of red currants makes them great subjects for watercolour. This is the Advent 22 give away.

Advent Artist Day 22:

Today’s Advent artist is Cambridge ceramicist, Katharina Klug. Her work is characterised by beautifully simple form and colour. She shares images and thoughts about her work on her Facebook page.

There’s a fascinating interview with Katharina here:

Fired Moment from R & A Collaborations on Vimeo.

Advent Artist Day 21

Fir (watercolour 4 x 6 inches). Artist: Vandy Massey
Fir (watercolour 4 x 6 inches)

One of my favourite aspects of watercolour is the way the paint creates wonderful surprises. I think this is probably one of the greatest thrills of working in watercolour for most artists. This little fir tree is a perfect example – painted with only two colours. The first layer of paint in Daniel Smith Green Gold was applied reasonably dry so that the dry brushstrokes created the branch structure. Then a second layer of paint (Pthalo Turquoise – also Daniel Smith) was applied again using dry brushstroke. The final step was the risk and the thrill. Spraying water from a reasonable height softened the turquoise and filled out the tree. This is today’s Advent give away.

Advent Artists Day 19:

David Poxon is my advent artist for today. I first encountered David’s work at the Royal Watercolour Society’s annual exhibition at The Mall Galleries a couple of years ago. David’s painting of a barn door caught my attention and I started following his extraordinary work. David paints machinery and parts of buildings which have been abandoned by people and are showing a degree of decay. His realism is amazing and his paintings so evocative that I sometimes think I can smell the rust or the rotting wood.

Recently, David built a studio in which he will run a series of workshops starting next year. For more information about David’s workshops, you can drop him an email.

Advent Artist Day 20

Christmas Flower (watercolour 4 x 6 inches). Artist: Vandy Massey
Christmas Flower (watercolour 4 x 6 inches).

Hellebores (Christmas Rose) are found across Europe. One of the legends around them says that it emerged in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the baby Jesus in Bethlehem – hence their common name. This is today’s advent give away.

Advent Artist Day 20

Today’s Advent Artist is Val. My first forays into painting were a result of Val’s inspiration and enthusiasm. She only started painting quite late in life. Val loved her painting, joined in with other artists in the area, and created beautiful delicate watercolours.

Val’s funeral is today and I want to remember her joyfully for her lovely work as well as for her laughter and her go-ahead attitude. This is an opportunity to celebrate her love of art and in particular, painting.

Advent Artist Day 19

Every Family Has One (watercolour 6 x 4 inches). Artist: Vandy Massey
Every Family Has One (watercolour 6 x 4 inches)

Today’s Advent give away was another one that made me smile. This feels like one of those moment in every family when someone decides to have a little fun at the expense of a sibling.

Advent Artist Day 19

Cristina Dalla Valentina paints delicate, luminous watercolours of woodlands and plants. Her paintings have an ethereal quality that invites the viewer to explore her fantasy world. Cristina also has a Facebook page you could follow.

Advent Artist Day 18

Pear Tree (watercolour 4 x 6 inch) Artist: Vandy Massey
Pear Tree (watercolour 4 x 6 inch)

I’m starting to find it challenging to find mew ideas for paintings – and I have seven more days to go. As these paintings are all being given away I’m looking for subjects that aren’t so Christmassy that they couldn’t be enjoyed all year round.  This was a suggestion from Helen when we were discussing the give away series on Sunday. I decided to have a bit of fun with it.

Advent Artist Day 18:

My Advent Artist today is Wendy Griffin. I met Wendy through a photo diary website where I was posting photographs of my paintings. I’ve got to see more of her work as she’s developed her Facebook page and it is extraordinary. Wendy is based in Guernsey so her seascapes are wonderful and evocative.

Advent Artist Day 17

Cardinals' Sin (watercolour 6 x 4 inch)  Artist: Vandy Massey
Cardinals’ Sin (watercolour 6 x 4 inch)

This one is a bit of fun. I saw a picture of choir boys ice skating and my initial thought was that their cassocks made wonderful shapes as they moved. You can almost see the speed of the air blowing through them as they skate. Then, for some reason, the image of a bunch of cardinals skating popped into my head. Made me laugh – and had to be painted. This is today’s Advent give away.

Advent Artist Day 17:

Another photographer today: Lukas Renlund. I love his Steal my Photograph project. It’s kinda like the advent give away – but a lot more hard work by the look of it. Check it out – and have a look at his Facebook page while you’re at it.