Wednesday, 30 November 2016


James and Halina have been away in London for a few days and brought us back this beauty which we are sharing with friends. Fabulous, thanks both.

Morning and Evening

Minus three outside the studio this morning and the pipes were frozen but I soon had the Jotul blazing away and an early morning stroll had me spellbound by a couple of roe deer standing on the edge of the wood and for a moment, staring straight at me; then, levitating over the fence they bounded off over the South Lawn to the distant wood.

Evening Light

Sunday, 20 November 2016

New Painting

New painting - 'Evening Cathedral, Ripon', mixed media on canvas 5ft x 5ft

And here I am working on it when it was to be a summer painting:

Uncovering the past

The delightful Peter Ryder shows us some of the architectural features of Norton Conyers House and gives a clue to its age.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Friday, 18 November 2016

Norton Conyers Apple Chutney

The apple harvest at Norton Conyers has been huge this year and despite large quantities going into the making of Norton Conyers apple juice, they are still abundant so in order to help out a bit and despite not having a clue what I'm doing, I've decided to make some apple and sultana chutney. This, I discover, entails an inordinate amount of peeling and chopping; not only of apples but onions too and my......don't you need a big pot! My enthusiasm to get started means that I had failed to consider the subject of containers for all this chutney and half-way through the process I realise I'm going to need some jam-jars; but where to get them; and the recipe says 'cover as usual', what does that mean? I'm going to have to do some unexpected Googling and no doubt, another trip to the shops. This could turn out to be very expensive chutney!

The finished product.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

New Painting

New Painting: 'After The Harvest', oil on canvas 100cm x 100cm. The painting is part of the 'A Summer's Lease' project which charts my summer at Norton Conyers - a kind of visual diary from May to October.

It will soon be made into a full size, limited edition canvas print and is also the image I'm using for the exhibition invitation:
If there's anybody out there reading this, do come along.

Art Classes

The first students of the winter term arrived yesterday morning. It was nice to get back into teaching again though I have to remind myself every time that I DO enjoy it - every morning of a class, nerves kick in and I wonder why I’m there but as soon as I start, all is fine. Even the weather held out for us so we could start with some drawing outside. One brave soul even spent the whole day in the walled garden painting.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Winter Cometh

On the day that Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States, winter comes to Norton Conyers, both arrive on the scene with an unexpected bang - the former somewhat less welcome than the latter. Snow has fallen throughout the morning and in an effort to keep the studio at a workable temperature, I spend most of the time feeding logs into the wood-burner. By lunch-time, though the snow continues to fall, it’s clear that a thaw has set in: clumps of soft, wet snow flop from the trees and the sound of trickling water seeps music into the day. I pull on my wellies and head for the woods - I’ve been thinking of making an autumn woodland picture so I had a wander round with the camera yesterday to gather some ideas. The woods were full of spectacular colour from canopy to leaf littered floor and now I re-visit and see what overnight changes have occurred.  The changes wrought are subtle and delicate - a powdering of snow has filtered through the canopy and dusted the woodland floor and the sky has a steelier look to it but still the autumn holds on. Pheasants call throughout the wood, sometimes flushing from beneath my feet and a woodcock zips between the elephant’s legs of beech. On the way back to the studio I stop to watch the sun go down and as I stand a dog fox slides onto the track and stares me in the eyes.