This blog is moving!
At last I have discovered a way to have my website and blog all in one place.
So from now on all new blog posts will be on my new website.
I'm still writing about the same sort of things, and you can still find the old posts on this page.

Friday, 30 May 2014

When Inspiration Strikes or Things to Do Whilst Cooking Soup or Painting Inspiration.

If there's one thing that gets me it's that inspiration for a painting comes at the most inconvenient of times. Furthermore  I don't even know if it deserves the name inspiration, more of a case of "that'll make a nice composition if I just do this, or tweak that a bit." And away you go in a little day dream and something else on the domestic front doesn't get done properly.
Mary Kemp. French Jug. Oil on board .

My very favourite painting called "French Jug" was born one autumn day as I was doing the washing up, and just happened to look at the early morning sunlight through the kitchen window. I left the washing up and worked all the design out on a piece of paper as quickly as I could because I knew the sun would change.
If only inspiration would come when you're poised in front of a piece of paper or a nice white canvas, and away you go....... Another day dream.
Today I was cooking soup for lunch. The weather is awful, dark and damp. It's not dreadfully cold but it's the sort of day you feel you need the heating on, and a nice cuddly jumper and a bowl of soup.


I looked over to the kitchen table, and there, against all the rules was our ginger and white cat Ginger ( we don't go in for originality on the name front) curled up on the table by a vase of flowers. Not only that he was sleeping on my painting smock !
Mary Kemp. Drawing.
"That'll make a nice composition," I thought. So I grabbed my trusty Galaxy Note, and did a quick drawing, and also took a photo. It's strange how photos rarely match the picture you see in your head. But I think I have enough to paint a picture from this. I can always put some different flowers in the vase for that part, and I'm sure the cat will sit for me in the same spot again.

Here's a picture of Ginger's brother Zebra painted last year.

Click here for info.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Holiday Sketching - Why?

Passport. Check !
Tickets. Check !
7 sets of undies and something to wear if it gets cold. Check !
Book to read. Check !
Sunglasses. Check !
Sketching kit. Check.!
Oh goodness me, I nearly forgot the money. Check !

Mary Kemp. Galician Coast.
Freedom from everyday life. Throw off the shackles, forget your responsibilities you're on holiday. A week in the sun, lots of sightseeing to do, a mountain of different food to consume and loads and loads of glorious unfettered guilt-free sleep to be had in a bed that you don't have to make yourself.

So why, with this severance from ordinary life would you want to sketch when it's something you do as part of your job. Does an engineer start fiddling with engines on holiday? does a cleaner indulge in a little light polishing while abroad ? does a nurse start looking for someone sick to care for?

And yet as I looked at these examples I realised that for many people what they do is something that is ingrained in them and something they enjoy. I'm married to an engineer and he's always looking to see how things work, and given half a chance will take them apart !

So it's not unreasonable to sketch on holiday. Thank goodness for that !

Mary Kemp. Sea at La Corunna.
This time I didn't do many detailed drawings of ships and buildings. It all seemed a bit like hard work, especially after a glass of vino tinto with lunch. So I concentrated on the feeling of the holiday, of finding the colours I saw and when I looked through my sketchbook today I thought, yes, that's what I experienced. Sometimes I get caught up in producing a drawing or painting and not capturing the moment, so on this holiday I did very little but did catch a fleeting feeling or two.
Mary Kemp. View From the Hotel. 


Mary Kemp. Portuguese Seaweed.

But the answer to why do I sketch on holiday is...

Because I enjoy it of course.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Three Things to Do Six Weeks Before Open Studios.

It's about six weeks to the start of our wonderful Peterborough Artists' Open Studios.
It's getting horribly close and this artist is getting both excited and worried, because after all it's a big thing opening up your studio to the paying public.
And here's three things you can do to get to opening day with a job well done and a sigh of relief.
1. Get together that list of people you're going to invite.
Do you know who they are?
Do they know who they are?
Have you given them information already that this is coming up?
Are they as excited about it as you are?
Have you planned what you're going to say in your call to action  invitation and do you know how you're going to deliver it? Via email? via snail mail?
2. Assemble your publicity material .
Posters? Directories/brochures. Your personal invitations. What about a banner?
Our Peterborough Open Studio Committee has produced some wonderful material this year which represents real value for the small fee we pay for being under their umbrella.
Check out this picture !
Banner and brochures.
There's postcards and a poster too !

3. Keep producing art!
That's why you're doing this. After all the whole idea of open studios is to show your artwork to the world, so you'd better have something to show!
Do you know what you want to share with your buying public?
Does it look good ? Do you know how much you will ask for it?
Does it show you as an artist at your best?
Does it represent the little snippet you put in the brochure?
Here's what I put in our brochure.
Mary Kemp. Half Term at Southwold.
Oil on canvas panel. 50 x 40 cms.
Best of luck everybody!
Click here to see Peterborough's 2014 open studios website.

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Six Primary Colours You Can't Do Without.

Colour excites me!
I'm the sort of person who goes to B&Q on a Saturday and gets lost in the paint aisle, collects those lovely little sample cards and lines them up at home just to look at them.

 And in this post I'm going to share a few thoughts about six primary colours.

OK I know there are only three primary colours, red, yellow and blue. But here I will tell you about the six true primary colours that you really can't do without and show you why.

When I first started painting I had problems mixing colours. 
I couldn't understand why red and blue didn't always make a true clear purple, yellow and green produced some dodgy greens, and why a red, yellow mix sometimes resulted in a muddy orange. 
Of course in some ways this is the joy of colour mixing,  but I wanted to make sense of it all.
I simply homed in on the colours that appealed to me and soldiered on from there.

It was not until I discovered Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green by Michael Wilcox, that it all fell into place.

So here's my interpretation of his theory, explained I am sure much better in his book, as well as in this video.

  • There are no pure 3 primary colours.
  • For the purposes of mixing there are 6.
  1. Lemon yellow
  2. Cadmium yellow.
  3. Cadmium red
  4. Alizarin crimson
  5. Ultramarine blue 
  6. Cerulean blue. 
Each one produces a clean mixture with one other primary colour.
Thus the pairings are:
  1. Lemon yellow and cerulean blue = green.
  2. Cadmium yellow and cadmium red = orange.
  3. Alizarin crimson and ultramarine = purple.
Mix them up any other way and you loose the purity of colour. Mix them all together and in theory you should get black. In practice you get sludge or brown.

I have found Michael Wilcox's book of great value, and well worth a read.

When you've read it you'll realise why 6 primary colours is not such a mad idea after all.



Monday, 5 May 2014

You Don't Have to Visit an Art Gallery to Experience Art or The Girl at the Bus Station.

Sometimes life just serves up a nice little surprise, a little taster that says there's more to the daily grind than just getting by.
Art comes in many different guises, not much of it imprisoned in a frame in an art gallery.
I was waiting for the number 36 bus , in the bus station, surrounded by hoards of noisy school children and tired workers. It was raining and steamy and damply cool.
My brain kept saying "Cup of tea and biscuit., cup of tea and biscuit". I wanted to go home.
Then I saw this girl.
Now I'm not a man, so it wasn't like that, but I am a closet fashionista. 
I believe that all life is art, and some people generously make themselves the art and so it's there for us all to enjoy.
And the girl was waiting for the bus, in full make up, with a stylish black beret, tweed coat and mid calf skirt, so immaculate, and tights with seams down the back letting very tattooed legs show.
She was such an curiosity in the drab bus station. So I came home and drew this picture.
Mary Kemp. Girl at the Bus Station.
Digital drawing.
I hope you like it !

Friday, 2 May 2014

Welland Valley Art Society Spring Exhibition 2014

This years spring exhibition at the Welland Valley Art Society is a real joy.

I don't know what it is about a spring exhibition but it seems to bring out the best in artists.
It's as though the world is full of new beginnings and we artists are out to prove it.

What did I like about this exhibition?
As usual the hanging was excellent, everything was visible and harmonious and your eyes were drawn along the pictures to rest on your favourite works of art. This year the sculptures were put close to the wall underneath the pictures instead of in the middle of the room. Much safer I though as well as easier to see.


Welland Valley Art Society Spring Exhibition
in the gallery at Stamford Arts Centre.

Prize winners were well chosen and richly deserved.
Winner of the best in show Gillian Durno for an exuberant acrylic painting White Lilies. I loved the joy of this painting. Check out her website.
Commended were :
Joanna Crawford "Little Peninsular"
Barbara Allen  "Warm Enough to Sit Out"
Chris Isley  "Another G and T Darling"
Anne Lindley "Dog"
Judy Merriman "Gambian Tomato Pickers"
All of which I liked very much.

But my personal favourite was:
Mark Green's oil painting of "Near Colleyweston".
Mark is one of the few painters who depicts the countryside as it truly is. His painting is honest and direct.
Please look at his website.

If I were to sum up this exhibition I would say it is a very pleasing display of competent and sometimes exceptional paintings and sculpture. Held in the Stamford Arts Centre it reflects it's venue of Stamford and is no worse off for that.
Many people from the town as well as tourists visit the exhibition.
It is a well supported  part of the cultural life of Stamford.
The Welland Valley Art Society has a long history and this exhibition does it credit. It is definitely worth a visit.

On until May 10th.