Newsletter: March 2020

Newsletter: March 2020

Hi Everyone and welcome to my March Newsletter…yes I know it’s April (just), but there’s been rather a lot going on!

Looking out from great Almscliffe Crag-before the lockdown

Ok, so my plan for this month and for the newsletter was to talk about all the shows and other events I had planned between now and October… Obviously everything is cancelled for now, and these are tough times for the artist community, many of whom have lost all their income in one fell swoop.

However, this is as nothing compared with what’s going on with Covid 19. With  a medic in my very close family, my thoughts and thanks are very much with absolutely everyone battling through in the NHS.

To be honest it’s been a very anxious month and unsettling…I’ve been distracting myself with walking, doing stuff outside and having a much-needed studio clear out. Its been hard to settle to anything focussed, so I have had a stern talk to myself, and remembered how much pleasure and calm comes from spending time immersed in making art…In fact it’s something I can highly recommend! 

The trick when life in general is difficult or worrying, is to take the pressure off and just get back to playing, experimenting and trying out ideas. When you do this, it’s amazing how quickly you can get back on track even if at the moment, it’s just for a brief time…  By the way I’m the last to say that suddenly everything is fine, but I think finding creative outlets is really good for all our mental health at the moment.

So if you are one of the thousands of people who have art supplies gathering dust at the back of a cupboard, this might just be the perfect time to dig them out!

Although it’s been a very strange month, I have managed to get little bits of work done, and I have glimmers of possibilities in two new mini series I’m working on…

I’m focussing on material I had collected from walks, much closer to home. Some from along the top of Sutton Bank, looking down on Lake Gormire, and some based around Great Almscliffe Crag. Incredibly luckily, I had already decided to work on these two areas, and so had collected a load of material ready to get going- I’m so reliant on getting out and about walking for my work, I would be pretty badly stuck otherwise!

Page from my painting notebook with planning for Sutton Bank Series.

 The picture above shows a section of my painting notebook-you can see that I tend to make thumbnail sketches to plan my pieces, then add notes and reminders to myself, and especially colour swatches, which help me get my palette sorted.

In the next photo (above) you can see a small detail showing texture and directional mark making- I like to look for contrasts; so here I’m placing smooth flat, visually ’calm’ areas against complex textured ones.

The picture above shows WIP, developing a larger canvas in this series; this one is 61cm x 61cm. You can see what I mean about building textural areas with directional marks, and contrasting them with smooth areas of flatter colour.

Layers in Landscape and Paint: Great Almscliffe Crag

The painting below is the first from Almscliffe Crag; here I was focussing on layers in paint and in landscape….the painting has multiple layers starting with a greenish base layer. Then I used a lot of drawing back through the paint surface, creating incised detail. I use a mix of favourite tools for this including:- a bradawl, an etching needle, and a series of dipping pens….all of which give me the precision I’m looking for.

*If you’re interested in finding out more about any of the work shown, please email:

**Make sure you don’t miss my monthly newsletters by signing up…I won’t be bombarding you with stuff, just one monthly email with news of what I’ve been up to, and latest available work, and you’ll be the first to know about shows, events and open studios…when they do eventually start up again! 

But above all for the moment, take very good care and keep in touch, Jo x

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