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Which art materials do I need?

The artist’s essentials I am often asked about the materials I use when making my artwork and I have written around this topic before but having been asked again this week by someone very new to painting, I thought I would revisit the subject. My first piece of advice is always to use the best…
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Goal setting and journaling in 2021

Blog 110 Goal setting (continued from 2020) Planning out what your “big ticket” goals are and how you can fit normal life around achieving them is not as daunting as it might sound. I love the expression, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” That is how to approach this if…
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Featured Artist – Heather Tobias

Your nameHeather Tobias Where do you live?Watford, Hertfordshire What is your background?I left school and went to Drama College; I had the opportunity of Art School but went the drama route. I have worked professionally all my life as an actress. How did you learn your craft, i.e. college, self-taught and what did that entail?…
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How to set and realise your goals

Setting and realising your goals Last week we looked at letting your imagination and goal setting run wild and the week before we looked back at 2020 and the major positives and negatives of the year. This week, I want to help you with setting your goals and making them happen. Don’t panic if you…
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Think big for 2021

Thinking about 2021 and dreaming big. What do you want? Because of Covid, life as we know it is unlikely to ever feel the same again, or certainly not for a long time. But please don’t fret about it; you can’t change it, so it is far easier for your own wellbeing to simply accept…
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How can I make sense of 2020?

An annual review It’s that time of year when people are gearing up to look back at the events over the past 12 months. Obviously, Covid-19 is going to be the main feature but as anyone who knows me personally will confirm, I always look for the silver lining to any event and there will…
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Featured Artist – This month it is Miriam Brady

Your name? Miriam Brady Where do you live? I currently live in Kent, England, but I am originally from Dublin in Ireland. What is your background? With a background in the scientific arena and a PhD in immunology, I have worked in academia and in the commercial environment as a project and product manager and…
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Book binding and hand made journals

My adventure into this fabulous craft. Earlier this year, when some kind of normality was allowed and ‘real’ classes were running, I took the opportunity to spend the day with my dear friend, Teresa. Together we attended a book binding course at the wonderful Ardington School of Crafts in South Oxfordshire. (https://www.ardingtonschool.com/#/) Janina Maher was…
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Making a Christmas art list.

Christmas is coming I have really battled this week to come up with a topic to write about which a) you will find interesting to read and b) could be beneficial too.Then I hit on it.I have been struggling like mad trying to figure out what to buy Mr. S for Christmas but realised that…
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Being positive about your art and life

Let’s be honest, this Covid-19 crisis has had a huge effect on all of us. Trying to stay positive is difficult but believe me when I say that being negative will make things even worse. Like attracts like, though I don’t understand quite why I find myself having to deal with so many people who…
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Arts v Crafts

Sadly, there still exists in the UK, a huge amount of snobbery around being an artist versus crafter or craftsperson. It is a snobbery I have never understood and, having lived in the mid-west of the United States, I can say it is a snobbery which doesn’t exist over there. It is also a snobbery…
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Featured Artist – Tracey Elizabeth Downing

Your name?Tracey Elizabeth Downing Where do you live?Carshalton, Surrey (nowadays part of the London Borough of Sutton) What is your background?I was always good at art at school and it was my best subject in High School. My teacher encouraged me to think about going to Art College, which is the path I took. I…
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Getting started with making video lessons

What I have learned making my first few videos of my art demos and classes Whilst Covid-19 has caused huge problems and great sadness there are always good things which come out of bad. And personally, I do love to find the silver lining to bad situations. In the art world, and certainly among the…
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Art Galleries

Selling your work through galleries – the pros and cons I am regularly asked why I do not approach galleries to show my artwork  and I have many artist friends who love nothing better but before I give you my answer, let me break down the pros and cons for you. Having your artwork shown…
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Art Words and what they mean

Art words and what they mean Every profession has their own language, possibly designed to make people within that profession feel special, elite even and to make outsiders feel inferior, excluded or simply uninformed. It is a practice which has been going on for hundreds and thousands of years, and the art world is no…
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Featured Artist Lee Caller

Your name Lee Caller Where do you live? Shepperton in Surrey What is your background? I grew up at a time when the home computer was starting to appear everywhere (before Microsoft and Apple took over the world).   Although gaming was its main purpose you could also program on it. I would sit there for…
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More about Screen-printing

Earlier this year I said that I would share more information with you about other types of screen-printing technique. Exposed screen-printing method If you are lucky to live near a print studio (there are many of them up and down the country) and you want to learn more, they are well worth joining. You need…
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How to display your children’s artwork

During the lockdown many of you will have spent time filling your days with your children or grandchildren making art. And now you have tons of it and don’t know what to do with it. I expect for some of you your fridge door is overflowing with it all stuck up using fridge magnets, but…
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How to take care of Artwork.

How to take care of Artwork Paintings You have spent many hours and a huge amount of energy to make your art so you really should think about what will happen to it once it is finished. Not least because anyone buying your work could ask all sorts of questions and if you can’t provide…
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September’s Featured Artist

This month’s featured artist is Lin Chatfield. Read her interesting story here. Your name?    Lin Chatfield, though for a time I did use my middle name, Louise, when I was in Sussex.  It got rather confusing when we moved, so I reverted back! Where do you live?  I now live in Rutland in the East…
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Certificates of authenticity: What they are and why you need them.

I was asked to write this blog post by a very dear Hungarian friend. She wanted to know more about them and how best to go about getting them for her own artwork.  So, what are they? A certificate of authenticity is a document which proves that your work is genuine. If you have even…
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How safe is it to be taking part in art exhibitions in 2020?

I am sure many of you are wondering the same thing: Should I take part in that exhibition or should I just walk away? Currently, there is no definitive answer but let’s take a closer look. Many artists I know are taking part in exhibitions which are being put on, and staffed by, commercial companies.…
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Why you should show your artwork to the world.

I was listening today to a podcast called Art Juice which, if you haven’t listened to it, you really should. The fabulous Alice Sheridan and the equally fabulous Louise Fletcher produce this weekly podcast and talk about all sort of art stuff and have really interesting guests on, too. Well worth a listen. Anyway, this…
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How to be confident in your art making.

How to be confident in your art making. How to avoid mistakes which could or have already destroyed your creativity and learn how to put fear in its place. I am pretty sure that we have all heard the expression “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. It is the title of an excellent book…
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August Featured Artist – Gill Edwards

I do hope you enjoy reading about this months featured artist and please do send feedback to me for her. Your name?    Gill Edwards Where do you live?  Southwell, Nottinghamshire UK How did you learn your craft i.e. college, self-taught and what did that entail?   I did a Foundation course at Manchester Art College and…
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How to Experiment with Colour

I would like to bet that, like me, whenever you go into an art store, you are seduced by the colours on the side of paint tubes or pots and you have lots of different colours to experiment with. I know that I have been, and I know, too, that none of us need all…
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Art Education and the Funding Argument

Or trying to understand the anti-art education movement This week, I am sounding off on a topic I feel very strongly about: the anti-art education movement. What do I mean by that? Well, those people you meet who love nothing better than to complain about art education in schools and who think we should cut…
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How to – Work Smarter Not Harder

Although we are in the middle of a pandemic, speaking to my friends and family we have all remarked that we can’t understand why, with all this time on our hands, we are actually busier than ever and don’t know where the weeks are going. Even before this crisis, being busy had somehow become a…
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Featured Artist – Zoe Ashbrook

This months featured artist is the lovely Zoe Ashbrook. Your name: Zoe Ashbrook Where do you live? Gloucestershire, UK. What is your background? I have always been creative and had a love for wild, rugged, worn landscapes. At school I loved art, pottery, and textiles but in terms of a career path I opted for…
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Getting ready for the art world to re-open.

I know it doesn’t feel like we are ready yet but I think we artists need to be planning for being part of exhibitions again when the world does re-open its doors. I have two on the horizon that I am preparing for. One is a huge, fairly slick operation run by ‘The Contemporary Art…
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Writing an artists Bio

Writing an artist’s biography. The first thing you need to bear in mind when writing an artist’s biography (usually shortened to bio) is that this is a short statement about you, normally written in the third person. Let’s break that down. You want this piece of work to be appealing, you want people to read…
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What is Ginger Cactus Art?

A new online exhibition group born out of Covid 19

How to become an artist

70th blog should an artist listen to the “get yourself a proper job” advice. Chatting to an old friend last weekend about how she is coping with the lock down and what she did to celebrate her birthday, she told me that she had decided to try out the watercolour paints I bought for her…
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Featured Artist Anna Clarke

This months featured artist is Anna Clarke. I have known Anna for a few years now and we have exhibited at the same locations on numerous occasions.  I hope you enjoy readying this lovely ladies story. Your name: Anna Clarke Where do you live? Bookham, Surrey What is your background? Whether I’m trying to capture…
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How to cope with artists block.

How to cope with artists block. I know that many of you during this Covid crisis are suffering from the inability to create any artwork at all. If you are, please know that you are not alone. I haven’t produced any work myself for weeks now. So, I too need to put aside all the…
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Finding inspiration in Covid times through trying collage.

Collage adventures. Someone sent me this photo and I just had to share it with you all. It is beginning to get tough now but this is the most crucial time and so we must all find a way to get through this. Not going out means that, for many of us, there is nothing…
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Tips for working at home during covid 19

I am sharing my tips for coping with working at home during the Covid 19 crisis. There are plenty of other tips and tricks out there if you just want to Google them, but these are mine from an artists standpoint. Working from home and social isolation during the covid pandemic. As artists we are…
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Featured Artist Sue Roberts

I am re-posting this months featured artists blog with a huge apology to Sue Roberts as I had used the wrong photos.  Please take a look at her fabulous artwork and big apologies for messing up.   Your name?    Sue Roberts Where do you live?  Goostrey, Cheshire What is your background?  I come from a…
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Online courses during Covid 19

Thinking about taking an online course during the lock down? It might be worth reading this first. In these unsettled times, one thing I have noticed is the huge increase in online courses being offered, particularly those promising to teach you how to market your artwork. Most of them will tell you that they made…
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Printing at home during covid 19

Mono-printing at home during the covid 19 lock down. If you have never tried printmaking before this is a great project to do yourself and this is a really easy fun project to do with your children or your grandchildren. And what’s more, you don’t need any specialist equipment at all. Mono-printing is a form…
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Art project ideas during Covid – 19

looking for art projects for yourself, your children or grandchildren?

Featured Artist Carol Gillan

This months featured artist is the wonderfully talented Carol Gillan. Your name?Carol Gillan Where do you live? Ashtead, Surrey What is your background? When I was growing up my parents travelled widely to countries in the middle and far east. I used to appreciate so much when I came back ‘home’ the greenness of this…
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How to learn how to start sketching

  As I’m sure you are all aware, here in the UK we are now on hard lock-down. Don’t let this frighten you. This is the perfect time to try something new, improve existing skills and remind yourself that you have skills you haven’t employed for some time. I am talking specifically about drawing. Regardless…
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Covid – 19 How will you let it affect you?

How to make to most of the time Coronavirus Covid-19 will give us. I know; you are being inundated with emails from a plethora of companies telling you how they are going to support you through this crisis. Broadcasters will be supporting children at home by providing special TV programmes for them and many suppliers…
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How to make Lino Prints

Lino printmaking has its roots in a cheap floor covering created in the 1800s. Previously wooden or metal blocks were used but they were expensive to buy and very time-consuming to make.  Not only was lino cheaper to produce but it was an easier surface to carve, especially when warmed. Apparently, the word “linoleum” comes…
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March Featured Artist

This months featured artist is a wonderful lady who I have only recently had the pleasure of meeting. Her story is really interesting as is her work. Your name? Gwynne Penny             Where do you live? Shepperton, Surrey, UK     What is your background? I studied Art and Ceramics…
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Screen-printing more interesting uses.

Some more ways to make interesting screen prints. A few weeks ago I wrote about screen printing using stencils.  This week is about producing painted mono-screenprints. The process is very similar to the stenciled screenprints but let me recap here. The first thing to do is tape up the edges of the screen. Using parcel…
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5 important lessons I learned from organising a professional group art exhibition.

I know I have written about putting on an exhibition before, but bear with me, this is different. In the past I have exhibited with large organisations where you pay for your space, hang your work and hope that people come and buy from you. I have also had played a major part in the…
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The benefits from connecting with other artists.

As many of you already know, I set up a group last year called the Exhibition Collective. This group consists of over 60 artists throughout the UK who are either working as professional artists or working towards being professional artists. The idea behind the group is that we find suitable venues in which to hold…
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