The Insecurities of Becoming a Portrait Painter

The act of creating a portrait is an emotional one.

It goes far beyond capturing a mere likeness; it delves deep, exposing their character and yours.

A finished portrait may exude confidence and calm, but the journey of its creation is often a complex maze of doubts, fears, and self-criticism for the artist.

We can overthink the composition or the medium choice. Then we question, maybe we should have studied drawing a little longer. Maybe we should start when we’ve got more time?

These are often (well-constructed) excuses based on two main insecurities.

  1. The fear we won’t do the subject justice
  2. The fear of social ridicule

I’ve just started a portrait of my nephew, and before I began the process, those same butterfly feelings bubbled up.

The first fear is dealt with more logically now, compared to when I was first starting out.

I still question, ‘What painting method will I use?” “Will it look like him?” “Will I overwork it?

But it’s the second fear that seems to hit me the most and as hard.

Will someone else judge your portrait attempts and deem you a ‘bad’ artist?


But I’ve learnt this can happen if you’re a professional artist with years of painting experience behind you as easily as if you’re an absolute beginner.

On your first driving lesson, if someone judged you as being a ‘bad driver’, you would have laughed at them and said, ‘I know! It’s the first time I’ve ever tried.’

No blame, no shame. That’s the essence of successfully progressing as a portrait painter.

The Challenges

If you’ve overcome the fear of actually starting, painting a portrait comes with different challenges to other subjects.

First, there is the technical challenge of creating a three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional surface.

Then, the colour mixing challenge of expressing realistic skin tones, hair and features.

And finally, the realism challenge of creating a likeness to the sitter.

So, how can I help?

Here are three solutions that I’ve found can really help overcome insecurities when painting portraits:

1. Build Confidence Through Practice:
One of the most effective ways to combat insecurities is through consistent practice.

Many of my paintings are just for personal use and not intended for public viewing. The more I practice, the more my skills will improve, leading to increased confidence in my abilities.

2. Focus on the Process, Not Just the Outcome:
Insecurities often stem from fixating on the end result.

Focus towards enjoying the creative process itself. Self-expression, exploration, and experimentation. When the process becomes the primary goal, you can find fulfilment in your work regardless of external judgments.

3. Seek progress, not perfection:
Imperfections are a natural part of the creative journey, and learning any new skill will be a series of jumps in progress and self-reflection on how much there still is to learn.

When following a course, the aim is just to follow the steps.

“I can’t see a way through,” said the boy.

Can you see your next step?


Just take that said the horse.”

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Macksey

I have two portrait courses that can help guide you through.

1: Acrylic Portrait Course (suitable for beginners)

Acrylic Portrait Course

The focus of this course is simple, natural colour mixes to help you create realistic skin tones.

The concern for many beginners is that portraiture feels too challenging and would be above their current skill level. So I’ve designed these portrait courses to be as user (and fear) friendly as possible.

We learn about lighting, colour theory and create colour swatches before even starting the portraits. There are line drawings to work from, and we start slow with just a four-colour painting palette.

(You can see some student results here.)

So, will the course be a challenge?


Will you feel like a ‘portrait imposter’

You will, but only until you start painting.

If you stick to the lessons and follow the steps, you’ll gain huge confidence in what is achievable.

  • Creating Realistic Skin Tones, learn the secrets behind mixing and applying skin tones that appear natural and lifelike.
  • Gain insights into the nuances of capturing subtle transitions in the skin, from shadows to highlights.
  • Material recommendations.
  • How to master the Zorn Palette, the amazing power of a limited palette.
  • Colour theory, colour strings, and palette choice.
  • Lighting theory to create accurate colour mixes for your portraits.
  • Paint application & brushwork, from scumbling to palette knife.
  • Poster study using a more direct Alla Prima style.
  • Includes over 4 1/2 hours of video instruction, three self-study painting assignments, materials guide PDF, and downloadable reference images to paint from.

2. Oil glazing portrait course (suitable for intermediate or have some drawing experience with portraits)

Oil Portrait Glazing Course

This course is a more advanced portrait course teaching a classical painting approach based on multiple layers of painting (called in-direct painting)

It needs patience and more time commitment.

It’s a method that seems counterintuitive. Paint your portrait first in black and white and then apply colour on top.

The art of combining the classical technique of grisaille (black and white) with the mesmerizing effects of colour glazing creates stunningly lifelike and captivating portraits.

  • Mastering Grisaille Technique: Learn the foundation of grisaille painting, using monochromatic tones to create a strong value structure and achieve realistic shading.
  • Creating your own painting medium (traditional and modern materials)
  • Completing a value study painting using the planes of the face.
  • Discover the art of colour glazing, layering translucent colours over your grisaille underpainting to achieve luminosity and rich tonal variations.
  • Explore the magic of transparent and semi-transparent glazes to enhance the vibrancy & learn about glazing mediums.
  • Completing two head portrait paintings.
  • Includes over 6 hours of video instruction, two self-study paintings, materials guide PDF, and downloadable reference images to paint from.

P.S. – If you have done either of the portrait courses and have any encouraging words or testimonials for other artists who might be at the point where you were before starting the course, drop me a comment below!

Continue ReadingThe Insecurities of Becoming a Portrait Painter

7 Step Guide: Achieving Realistic Reflections with Acrylic Paints

Morning Class,

This week, I’ve been working on a Spritz cocktail painting inspired by one I enjoyed in St Mawes.

This subject offers an excellent opportunity to practice capturing reflections in water and exploring how coloured liquids can challenge our visual perception.

While painting the background and the surface around the glass might be relatively straightforward, the real challenge arises when we start painting the cocktail itself. Your mind will naturally begin to second-guess what you’re seeing. Thoughts like, “That’s too dark for a lemon,” or “The straw should be white, not grey,” might pop up.

You’ll be craving a cocktail yourself after tackling all these tricky reflections!

Without the straw, the image falls apart.

I painted a 15 min colour sketch before beginning the actual piece, and this taught me a lot about the subject.

Without the straw, the image falls apart.

This small test painting, more like a thumbnail impression, plans out the composition. I found that without drawing the stem and straw, the painting looked unclear and abstract.

Arranging the Composition

I’m using an 8 x 10 inch (20 x 30cm) canvas and wanted to see how it would work best on this ratio.

Using my iPhone, I zoomed in or out to find the right crop. However, I noticed that the top of the straw was too long, and it interfered with the balance of the composition.


The straw is key to the composition, but interferes with the balance of the 3:4 ratio

I wanted to keep the straw in, as it connects the viewer to the idea of being a drink with ice; it went off the end when cropped closely, ruining the overall look. To address this, I used a little artistic license and shortened the straw in the painting. With a shorter straw, I could then zoom in, making the drink more central to the canvas.

Preparing the Canvas

The Galeria paint range has a nice paintable consistency straight from the tube, but I’m going to add a little water to achieve a mix with a slightly thinner consistency.

Pale Umber. A pre-mixed light umber created from Titanium White and Burnt Umber

For the ground colour, I’m using Pale Umber from Winsor & Newton; this is part of their student-grade paint collection Galeria. It’s basically a mix of Burnt Umber with Titanium White, so you can easily create your own mix if you haven’t got his particular one. It gives a nice neutral base for the woody colours in the background and provides a warm starting point for the rest of the painting.

To apply the paint, I’m using a 25 mm decorator’s brush. Before I start, I dip the brush in water to moisten the bristles slightly, making the paint flow better on the canvas. This paint is a bit more fluid compared to standard heavy body paint, so it goes on smoothly straight out of the tube.

Reference Image

You can download the reference image below to follow along with the lesson.

The photo can be downloaded and printed out (opens in a new tab).

Painting Materials you will need:

  • 10 x 8 inch (25 x 20cm) cotton duck canvas

You could create the painting with a more limited palette, but these were the colours I used.
All the paints below are from Golden Heavy Body Acrylics,  unless otherwise noted.


  • Titanium White
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Pale Umber (Winsor & Newton – only available in the Galeria Range)
  • Burnt Sienna (Winsor & Newton)
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Cobalt Violet Hue
  • Cobalt Blue Hue
  • Phthalo Blue – Green Shade
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson (Winsor & Newton)
  • Cadmium Red
  • Naphthol Red Light (a tiny touch)


Palette Knife

  • Size 45 – RGM Palette Knife

Acrylic Medium

  • Glazing Liquid Gloss (Golden Paints)

Step #1. Drawing Out

I use a 0.5mm HB mechanical pencil to draw the initial outlines and a straight edge for creating the gaps between the boards on the tabletop.

I’ve drawn the abstract shapes within the reflections and shaded where the darkest tones will be.

Then I added more details using a fine-tip paint marker filled with fluid high-flow acrylic paint in sepia from Golden Paints.

Step #2. Underpainting with Burnt Umber

Underpainting is essentially a base layer for your painting.

I used Burnt Umber on top of the initial Pale Umber ground. By adding these dark tones first, I can gain an understanding of the construct of the subject without the distractions of colour.

Once I’ve got the darks down, I use Titanium White to block in the lights. I change the opacity by adding a little water (noticeable in the larger brushstrokes at the top of the painting) and then go thicker for the brightest highlights.

Step #3. Painting the impressionist background

Once I’ve blocked in the dark and light areas, I introduce Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Violet Hue, and Cadmium Yellow Light onto my palette, in addition to Burnt Umber and Titanium White I already have. I focus on the outer edges of the painting, capturing the purplish and bluish shades on the left and right sides to indicate the shadows of a person and the curtains.

I’m using the flat Isabey Isacryl paintbrush and standing at arm’s length from the canvas. This helps to be more gestural. Using your whole body rather than being up too close to the surface.

I’m following the dark values of the Burnt Umber and matching those values, but now adding colour. So constantly observing the different shades and how they change around the composition.

Bounced light on the centre of the table

Coming through the door frame is a cool evening light hitting the back of the glass. (Daylight will cool in colour temperature as the day gets later) When this light hits the wooden table, notice how the colours around the glass turn to warmer greens and muted blues.

Once I’ve blocked those in, I look again at the colours in the background.

Into the grey mix I used on the figure, I added a touch of Cobalt Violet Hue to paint the more saturated fabric in the top left. This was then lightened with white to capture the folds in the light.

Lastly, I painted a mix of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna for some of the warmer hues on the right side of the tabletop. I vary the consistency by adding water to create a wash and give a glow.

Step #4. A String for a straw

For the blues in the doorway, I use a Cobalt Blue Hue, Titanium White and a touch of Cadmium Yellow Light to shift towards a more turquoise note.

I begin by mixing a lovely inky blue as the darkest blue. You can see the darkest blue on the edge of the door frame. I slowly add more white into the mix as I move across the doorway to give that sense of the light transition into the bright outside.

For the straw, I add a tiny bit of Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and then mix that with Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Blue to create a colour string for the range of blues on the straw.

When you’re painting the ‘white’ of the straw to give that sense of it being backlit – it’s darker than you think!

I mixed a yellow with some Cadmium Yellow Light, White and Burnt Umber. Once you have the darker notes down, I paint along the edge with white to give three-dimensional volume.

Step #5. Mixing Oranges for the Spritz

I’ve got Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Alizarin Crimson (from Winsor & Newton) and Burnt Umber.

Using these colours, I mix a range of values, creating a warm colour string, and I start with the darkest value.

Painting in the deep red, I use a smaller square brush, a Golden Synthetic from Rosemary & Co. I then jump up the value of the colour string to the next orange hue. I work between the muted yellow colours in the lemon that’s floating in the drink and the rich oranges.

The darker area of the white straw submerged in the drink can be a little harder to judge.

Because you know that it is white, but it looks dark, and then it’s also got the colour of the drink!

Block some colours as close to it as you can to start with. Take for first best guess. Then creep up on the colours.

The ice on the top of the glass has a soft pink/purple hue. It balances nicely with the stronger purple in the top left of the curtain that we first painted.

Make sure you’re happy with the values and saturation before you start to refine any of the colours.

Step #6. Reinforcing the Lightest Lights

Painting in thicker Titanium White around the top of the glass emphasises that sense of reflected water. Also, a few dashes of white within the drink.

Step #7. Glazing

The final step is to get the drink to ‘sink’ into the canvas.

I’m using a Naphthol Red Light with some glazing liquid and just blushing it lightly over the surface before reinforcing the stronger colours to give more of that illusion that we’re looking through a veil of colour.

Then a couple of final tweaks on the highlights, and we’re done!

Summer Spritz in St Mawes, Will Kemp, Acrylic on Canvas, 10 x 8 inches.

I really hope you enjoy the lesson, and look out for a video course on this demo coming soon!

Continue Reading7 Step Guide: Achieving Realistic Reflections with Acrylic Paints

New Still Life Sunlight & Shadows Acrylic Painting Course

Morning class,

Get your pencil case ready and sharpen your brushes, as I’ve been busy in the studio adding the finishing touches to a NEW Acrylic Still Life Painting Course.

In Sunlight & Shadows, we focus on a couple of sunlit terracotta plant pots against a lovely pink wall. Vibrant hues and the mesmerising play of colourful shadows can add so much more variety and intrigue to a composition; imagine capturing the essence of these elements and bringing them to life on your canvas.

Shadows can totally transform a scene. We sometimes think of them as dark, but they don’t have to be dull.

I’ve developed this painting course to teach you the skills and techniques to create a stunning painting. We’ll cover the preparation of your surface, drawing out, exploring colour groupings and blocking-in.

Discover the secrets of a split primary palette, enabling you to achieve the widest range of hues and expand your colour knowledge.

Create an illusion of reality, turning a form following the light fall and experiment with slow-drying acrylic mediums to manipulate and blend colours with ease, enhancing the realism of your painting.

You’ll learn about underpainting, using warm and cool colours to evoke a sense of natural light. When painting the greenery, we mix colour strings and observe value and colour shifts, most importantly, looking at the concept of how the shadows are key, actually as important as our main subject.

Working through this acrylic still-life course, you’ll learn to capture depth, richness, and texture while learning classical painting techniques.

And in the bonus Lesson, The Palette Knife Edition, we start to simplify it even more, learning how to expertly wield a palette knife, adding texture, expression and freedom to your artwork!

New Still Life Sunlight & Shadows Acrylic Painting Course

What’s in the Course?

  • 1 x Terracotta Pot Still Life subject from start to finish, based in the studio working from a reference image.
  • 1 x BONUS palette knife edition.
  • 6 LESSON COURSE, study at your own pace (with lifetime access to these recordings)
  • Step-by-step instructional videos so that you can follow along at your own pace.
  • Each stage is a detailed yet easy-to-follow process.
  • DRAWING TEMPLATE – line drawing to follow to help you overcome the blank page
  • LIFETIME ACCESS to video lessons, download on separate devices, keep forever.
  • Downloadable Tools and Materials List
  • Downloadable jpeg reference images and reference line drawings.
  • Printable Class materials list, over 3+ hrs of detailed video instruction.
Continue ReadingNew Still Life Sunlight & Shadows Acrylic Painting Course

7 Tools & Techniques Every Artist Can Use to Check Their Own Work

Painting is all about perspective.

The shifting nature of our perception can be a huge obstacle when learning how to paint.

Have you ever seen your artwork as a masterpiece one moment, only to label it a disaster the next? I know I have!

The first step to advancing your critical judgment skills is to realise that there probably won’t be a moment you see your work with 100% clarity.

We can all be swayed by various cognitive biases of creation.

A cognitive bias is a tendency to make decisions or take action directed by emotions rather than by careful thought. They can subtly skew our judgment and we can become influenced by our own personal preferences, beliefs, or feelings caused by our values and experiences. When viewing our paintings we tend to place excessive value on pieces we have crafted ourselves or have sentimental attachments to certain scenes or memories.

Or you may just been standing at the easel all afternoon, trying to mix the exact colour for too long and you can’t see it anymore!

The importance of self-checking your own work as an artist.

Do you find it easier to notice flaws in other people’s artwork compared to your own?

When you’re so concentrated on your own painting, it can be challenging to assess your work and identify areas that need improvement. This is because you are seeing others’ work from a fresh perspective every time. You’ve no idea of the time it took them to paint it, the struggles they faced with the materials or the entire backstory behind the image. You just have a single image to look at. That’s why having an art tutor or going to a class with live feedback can be so helpful.

So if the success of our paintings is based on the way we can critically view them, what can we do to be more objective?

I’ve put together a list of 7 small but helpful tools and techniques that I use in my painting practice to help me and hopefully, they will help you too.

Painting is repainting.

Continue Reading7 Tools & Techniques Every Artist Can Use to Check Their Own Work

Vermeer in Amsterdam: Exhibition Review

Vermeer - Girl With Pearl Earring - Amsterdam

Back in the summer of 2021, I read the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, were planning the biggest-ever single collection of Vermeer’s paintings for a Spring 2023 retrospective.

Johannes Vermeer (1632 -1675) is one of the great 17th-century Dutch masters, best known for his tranquil, contemplative scenes depicting everyday life.

February saw the opening of the exhibition, and last week we were lucky enough to experience the show!

What I love about Vermeer’s paintings is how he captures the sense of light fall; it feels like there’s a natural volume. He uses different paint handling to express a different quality.

From subtle gradations in the shadows as light streams through a window and drops away. To sunlight falling onto an object so convincingly, if you put your hand in the painting, it would be warm.

Not only did he capture the light, he told a story.

Continue ReadingVermeer in Amsterdam: Exhibition Review

How to Paint a Moonlit Harbour: Step-by-Step Painting Tutorial

Morning class, this week we’re going to look at how to paint this beautiful moonlit harbour scene using acrylics in this two-part painting study. It’s of Smeaton’s Pier in St Ives, Cornwall, and the reference is a photo taken on a full strawberry moon.

This tutorial is all about colour perception.

Painting landscapes in low light, dusk or evening, makes judging colours tricky. The value range is much more compressed, and we have to overcome our perceived ‘memory’ of an object which can be very strong.

Instead of painting the sand ‘yellow’, we have to paint it a dull purple. And what we know as a bright white sail is now a mid-dusky blue in the evening light. It’s a bit more challenging to focus on what the colours actually are, rather than what you think they should be. It can result in paintings that are too light, too contrasting and not subdued enough.

Continue ReadingHow to Paint a Moonlit Harbour: Step-by-Step Painting Tutorial

New Still Life Peaches Acrylic Painting Course

Morning class, “Market Day Peaches”, my NEW Acrylic Still Life Painting Course, is now available.

This is the third project in my series of short courses inspired by morning paintings. All are easy to follow and completed in just a few 1hr painting sessions.

Each one follows the same approach.

  • A single painting from start to finish.
  • A limited colour palette.
  • A handful of brushes.
  • A small canvas.
  • A simple subject.
  • 4 x short lessons (under 45-minutes each)

Simple Impressionistic Brushstrokes

I recently came home from the local market with these amazing-tasting peaches and just dropped them in a bowl on the kitchen table, and they looked good enough to paint. The placement felt more casual, like a snapshot of everyday life, which inspired this painting.

In this third short course, I’ve taken all the principles of a traditional still life but kept the composition informal.

This subject has expanded from the first simple modern still-life painting course of a jug and three pears; we’re now introducing folded fabric, adding glass, a vase of flowers and a bowl.

We’ll cover the preparation of your surface & drawing out, mixing colour strings and blocking in.

So although we are expanding our horizons a little bit, the course has been designed with simple learning blocks—clear step-by-step instructions to keep you on track.

We’ll only use six colours, including white, and if you’ve been following some of my other courses, you will already have most, if not all, of the colours.

The focus of this piece is those beautiful colourful peaches, but I’ve designed the lessons so you approach them last.

We start with just two colours, looking at the subtle shifts between the cools and warms, building up the shadows and shapes so that when we get to the peaches, and you extend your palette, all of a sudden they’ll come together so real because you’ve spent the time doing all the supporting work up to that stage. (The counterintuitive approach for this painting is to spend more time with the first stages to balance our form and tones.)

So find a comfy seat, grab a brew and a biscuit and let’s get painting!

What’s in the Course?

  • 1 x Market Day Peaches Still Life from start to finish, based in the studio working from a reference image.
  • 4 x downloadable video lessons, split into separate chapters that follow sequentially. Step-by-step instructional videos so that you can follow along at your own pace.
  • Each stage is a detailed yet easy-to-follow process.
  • You have lifetime access, downloadable on separate devices.
  • One-time payment
  • Downloadable jpeg reference images & reference line drawings.
  • Printable Class materials list
  • Over 2.5+ hrs of detailed video instruction.

(You will need a printer or print shop for the reference image) 

Learn more about the course here: Market Day Peaches Acrylic Still Life Course

Continue ReadingNew Still Life Peaches Acrylic Painting Course

Studio Notes // 005: Lucien Freud

…Death of An Artist and New Course coming soon!

Every few weeks, I share my top art inspirations I’ve read, experimented with or listened to. Here’s this week’s edition of things I’ve enjoyed, hoping they might inspire your own work too…

New exhibition

EXHIBITION: Lucian Freud: New Perspectives National Gallery, London, until 22 January

There is a new Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Gallery, London. This video gives a great insight into some of the iconic pieces at the show.

And if you can’t make it to a live exhibition, no worries; this research shows how 3-minutes of online art viewing can significantly increase your well-being!

I’ve been listening too…

Continue ReadingStudio Notes // 005: Lucien Freud

7 Ways to Sign Your Paintings

…Without Ruining All Your Hard Work

After all the concentration and effort it takes to create a work, you’d have thought the final signature would come easy; we sign our names all the time, right?

But there can be so many choices, full name or first name? Initials or motifs? Month or Year? Paint or Pen? Filled with hesitation, we’re left wondering if our final mark on the canvas will ruin the piece.

Here’s a guide to help you decide, practice and sign your work confidently.

Blame it on the Renaissance

Craftspeople have been signing their artworks for thousands of years. In Italy, the most dramatic shift in the use of signatures for painters was during the Renaissance; previously, they had worked within a group guild system.

Guilds (Arti)
In most of Europe, crafts and professions had been governed by guilds for centuries, ever since the expansion of towns and cities in the early Middle Ages. These sworn associations controlled trade, limited outside competition, established standards of quality, and set rules for the training of apprentices. Membership was usually compulsory—only guild members could practice their trades within a city and its territory.
Italian Renasissance Resources 

Artists wanted to be known for their creations, so the signature began to be used more frequently.

It allowed Patrons and collectors to show ‘who’ painted the piece, a chance for work to be seen and admired. The signature became as important as the artwork itself, and in Italy, this change began to elevate painters from craftspeople to artists. So much so, Dürer commented on how he was perceived whilst travelling there.

“Here I am a gentleman, at home a sponger [dauber – a crude or inartistic painter].”
Albrecht Dürer 

1. Signing your work, overcoming the tipping point

When you’re first learning to paint, there can be apprehension about whether to sign your early pieces or not. If you’re not super proud of your painting, it can feel a little presumptuous to sign ‘like an artist’.

The first decision is a balance between embarrassment and pride. I feel it’s on a sliding scale…

Continue Reading7 Ways to Sign Your Paintings

Controlling Your Light is Key to Painting Realistic Florals Outside

Monet in his garden at Giverny, 1921 – Musée d’Orsay, Paris Photo ©

Monet had a real dedication to gardening as well as an obsession with colour. He designed both his flower garden and water garden at Giverny, France, which became his greatest source of inspiration. He painted his water lilies over 250 times, capturing light and texture with effortless ease.

“I perhaps owe it to flowers that I have become a painter.”
Claude Monet

Flowers are always a fascinating subject to paint. I got chatting to a beginner painter at a recent visit to Arley Hall, who was expressing their frustration because they couldn’t seem to recreate a realistic study of the rose garden in paint.

They had gone out in the midday sun because they wanted to capture the garden in its best light.

The colours of the rose heads in front of them seemed impossible to match with their paints. Their pigments didn’t seem to have a high enough chroma, and they couldn’t see the detail in the petals because the sun had blown the highlights out.

They had come back the following day at more or less the same time to take more photos to capture it because they were disappointed with their previous efforts with paint. This is when we struck up a conversation about how the photos on their phone just didn’t capture the range they could see with their eyes.

So we had a beautiful subject, brilliant sunshine, but not necessarily perfect conditions for painting a realistic rendering.


Continue ReadingControlling Your Light is Key to Painting Realistic Florals Outside

The Art Studio Renovation Diary – Phase 1 Completed!

After years of painting trips, holidays and a rollercoaster of a property search, we’ve finally found our dream studio in Cornwall.

Leaking roofs, copious amounts of whitewashing, numerous skips, and an epic space once the working studio of Royal Academy artist Sandra Blow, in glorious St Ives.

I’ve been taking lots of photographs and Vanessa has been writing a monthly journal following our highs and lows of creating a studio and new life by the sea (with 12 short videos of the progress). The Renovation Diaries, 12-months in 12 minutes

Phase 1, The Garden Room, (formerly the Annexe) completed

Continue ReadingThe Art Studio Renovation Diary – Phase 1 Completed!

Traditional Gardens & Modern Art

This week I visited Arley Hall & Gardens in Cheshire.

There’s a special exhibition of over twenty works by artists including Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Isamu Noguchi, Cerith Wyn Evans and Danh Vo. Sculptures dotted around the historical grounds, in ponds and deep in the woodland groves, courtesy of the White Cube Gallery and it was fabulous to see the contemporary works within this setting.

garden sculptures

modern sculpture

Play sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. I love how striking the red feels next to its complementary colour green here, it has almost a reverberation to it.

“I like to think of playgrounds as a primer of shapes and functions; simple, mysterious, and evocative: thus educational. The child’s world
would be a beginning world, fresh and clear.”

Isamu Noguchi, A Sculptor’s World

Continue ReadingTraditional Gardens & Modern Art