Figs 1

I think it may be here!! Spring, that is. Definitely warmer so that’s a good thing right?
There’s only one week left to see my exhibition at 78 Derngate, Northampton with paintings of the gardens and its produce. Speaking of which, I’ll be on Radio Northampton on Sunday morning around 10.35 speaking to John Griff about the exhibition, my painting journey and all sorts. Maybe even mention the theft!! Two paintings were taken off the wall and snuck past the desk. I know! Outrageous. Luckily all my facebook friends and the police are on it so I may get them back, you never know. Not quite Ocean’s Eleven but a big loss to me all the same. I do hope you’ll pop in and see the exhibition anyway. Also, I’m doing a demo at Coton Manor next Tuesday. If you’d like to come and watch, go to their website and book yourself on via their garden school. Fab lunch included and I can recommend their cakes…….sadly.

1883 figs1

20cmx20cm oil on canvasboard – SOLD

Narcissi and teapot

I love it when spring arrives and you can fill your house with flowers. Every container in the house gets used! I wanted to let you know that I’m doing a painting demo at Coton Manor gardens on April 10th as a follow up to my exhibition which still has a week or two to run. Exhibition is at 78 Derngate and the demo sign up is  Here are some daffs to be getting on with.


20cmx20cm oil on canvasboard – SOLD




Well, I had a lovely time in Italy and feeling rested and raring to go. Whilst I unruffle my feathers, here’s one I made earlier. It will be part of the exhibition The Coton Manor Year I’m holding at 78 Derngate, Northampton in February which will feature year-round plein air and still life from that most marvellous garden.


Grandma’s pears 1

I’m heading out early today to get in my August painting of Coton Manor before the high winds hit so this post is super-early into your inbox. My lovely late mother-in-law planted a pear tree in our garden not long before she died and we have two pears this year! I thought I’d consign them to my dp collection so here they are. I’ve actually painted them twice with different lighting angles for an article I’ve just finished for The Artist so expect a repeat, but differently lit, portrait soon!
Have a great weekend.

1833 grandma's pears

20cmx20cm oil on gessoboard

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Coton Manor Day

Yesterday I spent a lovely day at Coton Manor doing my “May” painting of the wisteria that grows on the south side of the house. It was particularly glorious and the visitors were seemingly very impressed with it. Some stopped to chat while I painted which was lovely. These paintings will go in the exhibition “A year at Coton Manor” which will kick off next February at 78 Derngate, Charles Rennie Mackintosh house in Northampton. There will be at least one plein-air and one still-life for each month from the gardens. If you’ve never been to Coton Manor, I’d highly recommend it. I’ve been in the garden today, painting Freya’s beautiful pram under the apple tree……….more on that once it’s finished. Studio day tomorrow and I’m fancying some asparagus.

The garden school door

Coton Manor


I love anemones and their jewel-like colours. So, anyway, thought I’d let you in on some good news (unless you follow me on FB in which case….sorry to go on again). On Sunday I was elected an associate member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists which was very exciting. Next step is to go forward as a full member next year. The RBSA is a lovely society which, I have discovered, is the oldest royal society of art after the Royal Academy and former presidents include many of the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. Their first exhibition was held under the patronage of many famous artists including JWTurner. There, a potted history for you.
Below you can see the half-finished plein-air painting of the bluebells at Coton Manor.

1800 anenomes

20cmx20cm oil on gessoboard-SOLD

painting at Coton Manor – May

Magnolia and sake cup

Last month, my subject at Coton Manor for April was the striking magnolia that grows by the lake. The month it just had to be bluebells so yesterday I took myself off to the bluebell woods there which were looking fabulous. I did a quick oil sketch and shall be painting the bluebells later in the week. Here’s a little oil sketch of the magnolia and I’ll post a photo of the plein-air I did yesterday, tomorrow when I’ve sorted out a technical glitch.

1801 magnolia and sake cup

20cmx20cm oil on gessoboard-SOLD

Dahlia Alan Sparkes

I’ve been working on some biggies this week so have no daily painting today for you.  I thought I’d show you this dahlia which I painted in situ at Coton Manor gardens and then at home as a still life.  Excuse the photo, the paint is still wet! Big and blowsy……..who knew dahlias could be so lovely!  I’ve never been a fan but think I may be a convert.

10x12 NFS

10×12 NFS



Plums in a bowl

Sorry about the radio silence – wifi issues yesterday and on Monday I was painting at Coton Manor but more on that later.  I wanted to remind you that I’m opening my studio this Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 1pm.  I’d love to see you and there will be plenty to buy although no obligation.  I have packs of Christmas cards, prints, cards, notelets and of course paintings……….not to mention coffee and possibly cake!  I’m just off the A5 at Caldecote, follow the yellow arrow.  When you’re done here there are also lots of other artists opening their studios in the area so a good morning’s outing.  If they’re all making cakes you could fill up for the week 😉

In the meantime, the last of the plums.

20cmx20cm oil on gessoboard

20cmx20cm oil on gessoboard-SOLD