Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Resolutions, Happy New Year ... and a Green Man

The Green Man, black and white photograph: Vivien Blackburn

This is a photo I took in local woodland - a perfect naturally occurring 'Green Man' of the woods in the bark of a tree, with hooded eyes, a hooked nose, eyebrow ridges/horns, high cheekbones ......

I know roughly whereabouts I took it but sadly the light has never been right to find him again, though I've looked.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with New Year and Resolutions .........

.......... but it's that time of year - what are my goals going to be? what do I want to achieve?

Because of some very serious family health problems this year I didn't do as much painting as I would have liked . It was a pretty horrible and very sad year so here's hoping next year is better.

to do list:
  • Revamp website: I plan to revamp my website - which a friend truthfully described this week as a being rather like a scrapbook! True, because it isn't well organised and is a mix of available and sold work and work that I don't intend to sell. So I must reorganise, give my images more space to breathe, de-clutter and show available work more clearly with an archive of past work.

    I created it mainly in order to show my work to galleries but now I need to decide whether I want to sell from it as well or do I simply want to keep it as a display gallery - directing all sales via bricks and mortar galleries or Etsy - or Imagekind for prints and Blurb for books. If I want to sell from it or a blog - how difficult is it to set up paypal?

  • Increase Internet Sales: I do want to work on selling via the internet as I've not done badly there this year without really putting much effort into it. I would like to build that side up. So ... via the places named above plus website? I think maybe not - separate blog? concentrate simply on Etsy? I don't want to turn this blog into a sales site I'll keep it as it is.

  • Bricks and Mortar Galleries - get work out to galleries I've shown with and to new ones - organise a schedule, contact new galleries

  • Continue working from the sketches (++++) of the coast, working in oil on canvas, with pastel, watercolour, mixed media etc in a variety of sizes on paper.

  • Continue with the Waterways Project - interrupted because of problems mentioned but a project on local waterways, canals, rivers, pools etc, sketching plein air

    Aylestone Meadows - a sub category of the Waterways Project - looking at a small area repeatedly through changing light, times, seasons and weather. A project which will link to our new Watermarks group blog, where Katherine will be visiting and revisiting a pool in her local park and Lindsay a particular stretch of her local waterways. Other members are giving some thought to repeatedly visiting some local water.

  • Do more photography - get out and about with my camera more. I'm really interested in photography and simply don't make enough time for it

  • Blurb books - create further Blurb books of work and maybe one on sketches/sketching

  • organise my studio - this one didn't get done last year, total failure here! so this year I must do it

  • Printmaking - do more printmaking - monoprints, linoprints, consider investing in a small etching press so that I can also do collagraphs, one of my favourite forms of printmaking

  • Painting Holiday - get away with friends painting for a week at some point

oh dear - looking at last years resolutions I failed on a lot! I didn't do any sewing or get the sewing machine out, sort the studio or several other targets :>(

I did do a lot of sketching at the coast and quite a few paintings and have a rich resource to draw on.

I did make a start on internet selling. I started a new group blog with friends and coped with some tough life situations . I took part in 2 international sketchbook exchanges which were great fun - one is leading to an exhibition in the Spring this year in Belfast.

I feel I learned a lot - which is always satisfying - and still have a lot to learn! which is interesting and challenging ...... I hope I manage to do all of the above this year and to you all ....

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

changing light

I'm taking a Christmas break but having shown you the photographs of this beach in Cornwall in changing light, I thought I would show you just some of the sketches and paintings of the beach in different weather and at different times of day.

for a longer write up please visit our group website watermarks :>) where I'll go into more detail about limited palettes, working plein air, size and medium, light, time and tide ......

I hope everyone had a great Christmas

I got some lovely new art supplies to play with :>)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

that list of things to do

Katherine sent me this list of 'things to do' and it's popping up on everyone's blog at the moment! so here's my take on it - some of the list seem weird choices to me!

1. Started your own blog - yes
2. Slept under the stars - no, I like comfort!
3. Played in a band - no, sadly no musical talent :>(
4. Visited Hawaii - not on my list of things I want to do
5. Watched a meteor shower yes
6. Given more than you can afford to charity - yes

7. Been to Disneyland - NO!!!! and no wish to!
8. Climbed a mountain - yes - Cader Idris
- and does going up Snowdon on the little train count? no? well it was brilliant anyway!

9. Held a praying mantis - no
10. Sang a solo NO
11. Bungee jumped NO WAY!!!!
12. Visited Paris - yes and had a brilliant time - saw the Marmottan museum, the d'Orsay, the Jeu de Paume, the Orangerie, the Rodin Museum, the Pompidou Centre and more :>)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea Yes :>)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch yes

15. Adopted a child - no
16. Had food poisoning - yes :>( and was very ill
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - no but my dad did
18. Grown your own vegetables - yes we used to grow lots
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France no - we skipped the Louvre in favour of paintings I like better
20. Slept on an overnight train - yes when leaving Scotland to visit family in England, en route to living in Malta
21. Had a pillow fight - yes with the kids
22. Hitch hiked - yes when I was young and foolish!
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill - yes but not for years
24. Built a snow fort - no, we don't get enough snow
25. Held a lamb - yes, lovely
26. Gone skinny dipping - no I wouldn't inflict that on the world
27. Run a Marathon NO
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice - no but I'd LOVE to
29. Seen a total eclipse yes a year or two back, very strange light
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - often :>) and painted them too

31. Hit a home run - we don't play baseball here - it is baseball is it?
32. Been on a cruise - no, not my scene - been on boat trips!
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person - no
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - yes
35. Seen an Amish community - no
36. Taught yourself a new language - no but improved my French before revisiting France and I'd love to learn Italian and Spanish
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - no :>(
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person - no
39. Gone rock climbing - NO chance! I'm not good with heights - or balance
40. Seen Michelangelo's David - no - but I < whisper > don't actually like it!
41. Sung karoke NO Way
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt - no but I'd like to
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant - no
44. Visited Africa - no but I'd like to
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight - yes :>) fantastic
46. Been transported in an ambulance- yes but only home from hospital with daughter 2

47. Had your portrait painted - yes, by me :>)and that was only because we HAD to for a uni project
48. Gone deep sea fishing - no I don't do hunting/shooting/fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person - no
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - no but I'd like to
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - yes to snorkelling in the Mediterranean(Malta)
52. Kissed in the rain - yes
53. Played in the mud - yes but only as a child
54. Gone to a drive-in theater - no - I've never lived where they had one
55. Been in a movie - no
56. Visited the Great Wall of China - no but I'd like to
57. Started a business - no, I don't want to
58. Taken a martial arts class - no, I don't want to
59. Visited Russia - no, I'd love to
60. Served at a soup kitchen - no
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies - no
62. Gone whale watching - no, I'd love to
63. Got flowers for no reason - yes
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - no
65. Gone sky diving - I don't like heights so they'd never prise my fingers loose from the door!
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp - no, my daughter visited Auschwitz and was powerfully affected by the visit
67. Bounced a check - no
68. Flown in a helicopter - no but I'd like to
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - yes I did for years but no longer
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial - no, nor do I want to!
71. Eaten Caviar - yes, not keen
72. Pieced a quilt- yes but oh so slow, not something I did again!

73. Stood in Times Square - no , not something on my list of wanna do
74. Toured the Everglades - no , not something on my list of wanna do
75. Been fired from a job - no , not something on my list of wanna do
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London - no , not something on my list of wanna do
77. Broken a bone - no , not something on my list of wanna do :>)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - no , not something on my list of wanna do
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - no but I'd love to
80. Published a book - yes my book of paintings :>)
81. Visited the Vatican - no
82. Bought a brand new car - no
83. Walked in Jerusalem - no
84. Had your picture in the newspaper - yes but I try to avoid it
85. Read the entire Bible - no
86. Visited the White House - no , not something on my list of wanna do
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - NO way
88. Had chickenpox - yes
89. Saved someone's life - no
90. Sat on a jury! - no I avoided my call up because we were going on holiday
91. Met someone famous - yes, several painters
92. Joined a book club - yes and what a mistake! getting OUT of bookclubs isn't easy!
93. Lost a loved one - Yes :>(

94. Had a baby - x2

95. Seen the Alamo in person - no , not something on my list of wanna do
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - no , not something on my list of wanna do
97. Been involved in a lawsuit - - no , not something on my list of wanna do!
98. Owned a cell phone - yes, it's very useful :>)

99. Been stung by a bee - no - does a wasp count? I was once stung by a wasp
100. Read an entire book in one day - often!

a curious list - lots of more interesting things that could have been there

101 visiting prehistoric Cave paintings in France - (yes) a really fantastic experience and more meaningful for me than Disney!

102 visiting South America and Aztec?Inca ruins - no but I'd love to

103 having grandchildren - yes, just the one but it's fun :>)

104 moving back to Cornwall into a house on the clifftop - no :>( but when my lottery numbers come up .......

105 visit China - no but I'd LOVE to

and lots more I'm too tired to think of now - perhaps you can?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone :>)

A combination of the flakes I made at the snowflake cutting website and slide :>)

my card

Paula Pertile put this tarot card link on her blog

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

it sounds good after the lousy year I've just had :>)

What are you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


posts might be a bit erratic until after Christmas - and then I have to get some serious painting done - my new years resolution!

so in the meantime, another snowflake. :>) Sherrie you have a lot to answer for! this is addictive

Monday, December 15, 2008

Russian dolls update

Today I varnished the Russian Dolls - you can see them here

As they were done experimentally in felt pen line with Polychromos coloured pencils to add the colour, I was a bit worried in case the varnish smudged them. It didn't at all :>) They were absolutely fine.

They need another coat and then they can be wrapped.

What have you made for friends and family for Christmas?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mawgan Porth: Changes, Time, Tide, Weather and LIGHT

What interests me in my work is the changing light - in England it changes constantly with passing clouds, changes in the weather and season and time - from minute to minute to the light can vary enormously.

Above is a look at a Cornish beach - Mawgan Porth - near to my childhood home and still very special to me. When I win the lottery there is a house with the view shown in several of these photos that I want to move into! These are just a few photographs but they - I hope - give you an idea of why this is one of my favourite places :>)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Sherrie at Brush and Baren gave a link for this fun site to cut your own snowflake - this is my effort :>) Have a go here (- warning it's a bit addictive!) I've never managed one so neat and perfect with real paper and scissors!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

North Norfolk photographs

Lindsay did such a great slide show on our new Watermarks blog that I thought I'd show one of one of the areas that I paint. This is the nearest coastline to me at 100 miles.

You can see an aerial view of part of the north coast of Norfolk on Paintmap, showing where some of my work was done.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Watermarks launches today

Sennen Cove, digital image, Vivien Blackburn


Our new group blog Watermarks launches today! You are cordially invited to come and take a look. Members are a really talented, interesting and varied group from around the world.

Watermarks is about seascapes, rivers, canals, lakes, streams, ponds, fountains and more, and the different mark making we all use to describe what interests us in our subject matter, light, the people there, a sense of place, abstracting from the subject - all of us with different intentions, media and visual language.

We plan to show work, talk about work in progress, artists that interest us, materials - anything and everything to do with our work about water.

So come and visit Gesa, Laura, Lindsay, Jeanette, Katherine, Ronell, Sarah, Tina, and I and welcome :>)