Very pleased to take my place amongst the startlingly impressive and varied output of the excellent Burnham Art Club members who always show their collective work at the end of August to coincide with Burnham week. Lovely to meet visitors and fellow artists and to make some sales and purchases!
I was delighted to show my pen and wash portraits of beautiful Maldon High Street in the Maeldune Centre, at the top of Market Hill, Maldon, from 17th August to 2nd September 2023.
Here I am on the launch night, sitting in front of the half size fine art prints I had made of the original paintings. Click here to find out more about the prints and buy them.
The exhibition had a tremendously generous reception from Maeldune Centre visitors and volunteers alike. By far the star of the show was the black and white print I had made for the table tops in the centre of the gallery. People had great fun colouring it in and writing on it; the comments and shared memories of Maldon High Street were really touching.
Maldon’s mayor, Andrew Lay, and young Blake hone their colouring skills at the launch party.
Maldon historian Stephen Nunn visited a couple of times and I was able to add some fascinating facts about the High Street to the interactive artwork as he dictated. Here he is with my dad, Ron, who was also very enthusiastic and generous with his High Street memories.
The Maldon Society is in the process of adding photos of the interactive piece and digital versions of the original paintings to their archive. I am truly an honour.
Here’s what Stephen said about the exhibition along with some other reviews:
I was delighted to submit a painting for the annual exhibition of locally made artworks celebrating the Steam Tug Brent which ran for a week in July 2023 in the Octagon at St Mary’s church.
In preparation I paddled out with my kayak buddy to get a photo from an interesting angle. I wanted to show The Brent with St Mary’s Church and its Octagon in the background because that’s where the exhibition would be held.
I used that photograph as reference while I made my pen and wash painting (above).
There was a generous and varied selection of beautiful works shown in the exhibition, the youngest contributor being under 4 years old and the oldest having just celebrated their 93rd birthday.
Photographs of the exhibition space
This is me, proud as Punch! Having just hung my paintings in Holicity Health, 140 Station Road, Burnham on Crouch, my alloted venue for the Burnham Art Trail 2023.
It was Art Trail venue number 12, which you can find on the Art Trail Map here.
This was my first Art Trail, the culmination of nine months painting and anticipation, which is why I was so relieved and excited.
Diana and Nick from Hoilcity Health were an absolute dream to coordinate with. They were both so kind, laid back but enthusiastic and very flexible when I had to postpone my set up day because of a brush with covid. Huge thanks to them.
All my Art Trail Paintings are For Sale!
I’ve listed the paintings I exhibited in my Art Trail venue below. They’re all pen and wash and they’re all for sale, so do please contact me if you’d like to buy yourself, or someone else you love, some art:
Sunset, Winter Trees, Mayland
Sunset II, Winter Trees, Mayland
Sunset III, Winter Trees, Mayland
Grapnells Farm, Wallasea Island
Blue Boat, Low Tide
Wallasea Island from Burnham Quay
Clock Tower, Burnham-on-Crouch
Green Door, High Street, Burnham-on-Crouch
Morning Trees, Mayland
At Burnham Museum
And below is the painting, also pen and wash, that is on the Burnham Musuem ‘taster wall’
No7 High Street, Burnham-on-Crouch
And this is the original painted postcard I donated for the auction, it’s based on a sketch I made in my neighbours’ garden last year.
There was a lovely Art Trail launch party at Burnham Museum. It was a real treat to meet other participating artists, some for the first time. The range and quality of the artwork on show there was really impressive and I was honoured to be included.
Art On The Quay
I also took part in Art on the Quay during the mornings of Sundays 25th June and 2nd July. We painted under the bright pink gazebos opposite The Olde White Harte pub.
And here’s me painting it!
Back at the end of the 1970s, aged 10-11, I had a brilliant teacher for my last year of primary school; Janet Hall. She was a gentle, creative person with flowing hair, flowing skirts and clogs, and she lived on this boat. The Steam Tug Brent.
I’ve had the good fortune to have had enjoyed some excellent travel adventures but one of the best was during that last year of primary school. Mrs Hall arranged for our class to travel by boat (not the Brent!) from Maldon to Saint Osyth’s Priory. I still remember that exhilarating feeling of freedom as we skimmed across the water that dark grey morning with a hair whipping wind. Below – my school photo from around that time.
I got back in touch with Janet having returned to Essex after many years away. As luck would have it she was on the deck of the Brent as I walked on Maldon’s prom one day. Once Covid restrictions eased we met for a coffee and caught up on the intervening years.
Janet told me the story of the Brent’s rescue from the salvage yard in 1971, the years when she became the Hall family home through to the Steam Tug Brent Trust being set up in 2010 as a means of raising money and a voluntary workforce to conserve and restore this lovely old boat.
The Brent has achieved iconic status after 50 years in Maldon. To celebrate, a group exhibition of Brent related artworks was staged at St Mary’s Church Octagon in July 2021. The range, number and quality of pieces was really impressive; models, paintings on metal and board, watercolours, textile pieces, primary school submissions. Really lovely.
Circumstances, Covid and otherwise, have so far conspired to prevent me from getting on board on one of Brent’s open days. I’d love to have a really good look around, and of course it would be marvelous to see her fully restored and sailing under steam power again one day.
I designed the front cover for Té Verde back in October 2017 (you can read about the process here) so Marcel invited me to exhibit some of my art work during the event.
That’s Marcel (below) being interviewed by Paco Ariza Varo from Radio Vejer before Marcel interviewed me….
I decided to keep the exhibition small and simple so I showed a selection of my sketchbooks with my painting materials (to demonstrate the process of illustration) alongside the finished illustrations for:
- CDs – Jauja and Somos Más by Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads, La Musa Difusa by Merche Corisco, Lukumi by Trio Lukumi
- books – The Black Dawg by Louis McIntosh and me, The Three Witches by Jackie Cornwall
- Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen Christmas cards from 2015 and 2017.
I also displayed some of my fabric designs (my current favourite form of illustration!) and the dresses I made from them, as well as a selection of postcards and a computer slideshow of other artworks.
The presentation was highly entertaining, Marcel served green tea (té verde) and cakes as people arrived, two actresses from Marcel’s theatre group read the first act of the play, the flamenco musician Abraham Sevilla Serrano improvised a song dedictated to Marcel and the play (right)…
…then Marcel broke out the cava and presented me with my copy of the book
The Spanish version of the play Té Verde is now available to buy on the publisher’s website.
It’s a highly entertaining read…Good luck Marcel!
Yolanda, the delightful proprietor of Vejer’s ‘La Pinturera‘ generously invited me and three other local artists to set up a group exhibition in her hair and beauty salon since she had a great deal of white wall space and the opportunities for sales would be high in the run up to Christmas.
Pinturera means swanky, so it’s quite apt!
We started in the window (left) with a mixture of all the participating artists’ work (below)….
…then each selected a space inside the salon to show our work individually:
My wall – above, me in the mirror
Chio adds the finishing touches to her wall of Vejer themed drawings.
Laura designed the poster, left and we set a date for the official opening…
Laura shows one of her beautiful sketchbooks, left…
…and below, Chio’s jewelry and sketches and my postcards…
I’m feeling very grateful to Yolanda for this wonderful opportunity to exhibit in such a lovely space alongside Chio, Laura and Bryony whose work I truly admire; they’re a great group of people.
They say good things come in small packages and the tiny exhibition space ‘Vejer Inspira‘ is certainly a case in point…
The gallery first opened to the public on Friday 1st July and has the following opening times:
Tuesday to Sunday 11am -1pm and 7pm – 9pm
Vejer Inspira on opening night (above)
My wall (above)…decked out with my signature stenciled cockerels, some collages, a limited edition print of my cow skull drawing, original pen and watercolour drawings of Vejer and various prints of illustrations including the Chicken Buses, Gas Bottle, Discord Nancy and the CD cover for the album Jauja by Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads.
Vejer Inspira was conceived and set up by Sabine Friedrich (left), an accomplished painter from Germany, who generously invited me and three other Vejer based artists to share the walls and shelves with her.
The other artists who are exhibiting in the Vejer Inspira space are:
Blanca Gortari – who paints gorgeously colourful swirls and dots on pretty much anything that stays still long enough (right)….I am the proud owner of a Renata keyring and have a pair of reading glasses on my wish list…
Gustavo Paradiso – originally from Argentina, who designs fabulous contemporary jewelry (left)
Debra Berger – whose fairy tale ceramic concoctions are displayed on a small scale here but feature as grand installations in various locations including her delightfully restored Vejer town house.
Cádiz Carnaval is one of the best know carnivals in Spain. For two weeks every February the whole city is crazily vibrant with elaborately costumed groups, the most famous of which are the chirigotas, singing satirical and humurous songs they have taken all year to prepare.
The exhibition space will be open on Saturdays and Sundays 12-2pm from 13th to 28th February 2016.
Click here to see photos of the event.
Carnaval is traditionally an opportunity to indulge in alcohol fueled mass revelry before the more austere Easter celebrations begin.
Masks and cross-dressing are typical so I went with a drag-queen inspired cartoon style character who is wearing a ‘Nuestra Señora‘ virgin inspired headdress (right).
I decided to crack open my new pastel set and experiment with bright colours and blending techniques. I used charcoal for the background and crumbled pastel dust over it to achieve a glittery effect.
All in all quite a messy, dusty process, but fun nevertheless.