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Today's themed art trail is 'Into the Woods'. Lots of birds and other animals in the video today!

'Camping in the Trees' 12" x 12" Oil on canvas panel

In keeping with today's theme here is a painting I did before lockdown based on a photograph from our last overseas holiday in Croatia. How I'd love to be there again amongst the trees, shaded from the hot summer sun. Instead I'm looking out of the window into grey skies and wondering if it is going to stay dry long enough for me to finish edging my lawn and weeding the borders.

I should have realised an open studio event involves more than framing and hanging paintings, especially when it is being held in your own home. Still, it is a good excuse to finally be sorting the garden out after a couple of years of neglect whilst the house was renovated. At least the house doesn't need much work to make it presentable!

Just 6 days now before I open so the show is coming together. Paintings have been varnished and labelled, and greeting cards ordered. A lot of the paintings are now framed though I am still waiting for a few frames to arrive - hopefully before Friday!

I have a COVID risk assessment in place and have ordered some spare facemasks in case people forget to bring one, though it feels weird not having one on these days!

Hope you are having a chilled weekend, I'm off outside to brave the elements x

Today's video themed art trail is 'Oxford's Dreaming Spires', and you can view it here - some great paintings today!

Despite living close to, and working in, Oxford, I actually have no paintings to show today linked to this theme! So instead I thought I would share a short video I just made about my painting process. I paint in oil using the 'alla prima' technique, which basically means the painting is completed before the paint dries. For the larger paintings I like to paint with pallet knives to lay the paint on thickly, providing lots of texture that may not be evident from photographs.

Hopefully a few of you will be able to come and see the paintings in person during Artweeks - just a week until my studio opens! Fingers crossed I have everything ready by then - should be fine as long as there is a break from the wind and rain so I can finish tidying the garden :)

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Sky blue sparrow, oil on canvas panel 30cm x 21cm (A4)

Today’s Artweeks theme is 'Degrees of Abstraction' and you can view the themed art trail here:

I don’t consider myself to be an abstract painter, so I thought I’d use this opportunity to introduce to the second painting in my new bird series instead!

Populations of house sparrows across the UK have fallen from about 12 million pairs in the 1970s to between 6 and 7 million pairs today, with a greater reduction in urban and rural areas than in suburban ones. As I child I used to see whole flocks of them pecking for crumbs on the lawn after we had thrown out the bread we didn’t want, but I haven't seen many at all in recent years. I'm sure you have noticed the same.

On a positive note though, I have seen a few more in the last year, with several roosting in a nearby bush. Perhaps the lack of human activity caused by the pandemic has helped their numbers recover - or maybe they just prefer my new garden to the one in my old house!

What do you think?

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