Tag Archives: janet mary robinson

Inky Cats

Probably the most fun I’ve had with my art classes for a while! We spent much of last week drawing cats in ink. I love how expressive ink is, particularly Quink ink. As long as you apply enough water first, it does a lot of the work for you, conveying the fluffiness of their fur beautifully. If fluffiness is even a word.

The second drawing is of my friend Meg’s Bengal cat. He has the most piercing stare.

Ink Cats

Ink Cats

 

Bengal Cat, Indian Ink

Bengal Cat, Indian Ink

 

Doon The Water

Here are a few sketches from over the summer. I’ve been sailing, (doing my Day Skipper course, with Scotsail based at Largs on the Firth of Clyde, who I really recommend). I forgot to take any Paynes Grey or blue watercolour paint, other than Cerulean (sky blue). Most of the landscapes I saw were either basically grey, or blue, so I had to do what I am always trying to teach i.e. focus mainly on tones of light and dark and not worry about ‘accurate’ colour, just use what I like. I also forgot all but one useable paintbrush and I didn’t have any watercolour paper. It has reminded me that to sketch you really don’t need much at all, and also, how rubbish I am at packing.

Burnt Islands, Kyles of Bute

Burnt Islands, Kyles of Bute

Two watercolours from the Kyles of Bute. We’d sailed north from Largs to Port Bannatyne, (accompanied by porpoises much of the way), then up the east Kyle and anchored in Balnakailly Bay. I sketched these while we had a boat barbeque. We didn’t make fast progress because we were doing our Sailing Drills along the way, i.e. practising picking up moorings, practicing messing up moorings, practicing diving off the end of the boat and retrieving the tangled moorings from around the rudder, and so on. This was the only day of bad weather. Bad weather is so much more interesting to paint though, in my opinion. I enjoyed the challenge of perceiving/inventing nice colours out of the smirry dreich drizzle. (Scots is so much better than English for describing rain.)

Balnakailly Bay, Kyles of Bute

Balnakailly Bay, Kyles of Bute

Porpoise

Stunning photo of one of our porpoise friends

Boat BBQ

Boat BBQ

Me sketching

Sketching in the Smirr

The rest of the trip was lovely weather so I concentrated on sailing and didn’t do any more drawing. I painted the following afterwards when we stayed in a cottage further north in Argyll, based on photos and memories. We saw a few noteworthy other boats while sailing. This ketch (two masted sailing boat) was just really pretty, near Portavadie at the bottom of Loch Fyne. We saw the Waverley Paddle Steamer on a day out ‘doon the water’ from Glasgow. And a nuclear submarine near Arran.

Ketch

Ketch, near Loch Fyne. I had no ‘blue’ paint (cobalt or ultramarine) so had to mix purple and caerulean.

The Waverley

The Waverley Paddle Steamer

Smoke on Arran

Smoke on Arran

Arran is a stunning island, the hills are really imposing.

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Sailing Boats, Brodick

Sailing Boats, Brodick. Our yacht, Kitmar, is on the right. Not that you can discern anything other than a white blob.

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At Portavadie Marina. This is our sailing instructor Andy in front

The following sketches are from further north in Argyll after we finished sailing. I’m a skipper now, woo hoo!

West from Dunadd Fort

West from Dunadd Fort

Sketch from the top of Dunadd Fort, looking west towards Taynish Forest and Loch Sween.

Wee house, Keillmore

Wee house, Keillmore

Sound of Jura

Sound of Jura

Paps of Jura

Paps of Jura

Jura from near Kilmory

Jura from near Kilmory

Collaborators wanted for river/flood related art exhibition

As I have mentioned on my blog previously, this year I’ve been working on a series of paintings connected to the River Lune and the floods of last winter. I’m planning to exhibit these to coincide with the anniversary of Storm Desmond (5th/6th December) – or thereabouts, in the Lancaster area. I’m looking for others who may have been working on art/writing/films/poetry/whatever related to floods or the River Lune or climate change more broadly and may be interested in also exhibiting their work or collaborating in some way. I’m also looking for somewhere to show my paintings. I have a couple ideas in mind but have not decided anything yet. 

If you are interested in collaborating or have any suggestions, please get in touch at jmr@jmr.org.uk. I am away for a couple of weeks until early September but I will get back to you as soon as I can.

High Water on the Shortest Day. River Lune, December 2015. Oil.

High Water on the Shortest Day. River Lune, December 2015. OIl.

Skipton Art in the Pen

I’ve just spent the weekend at Skipton Art in the Pen. Here’s a couple of photos of me in my cattle pen 🙂 I would love to share lots of shots of some of the other stalls but sadly barely got a chance to see any of it. Lots of very enthusiastic visitors though. Many thanks to everyone who came.

Me-Skipton-Art-Fair-web

Skipton-Art-Fair-3Skipton Art Fair 2

Open Studio Weekend at Halton Mill Sat 23rd & Sun 24th July 2016

Come and visit our shared artists studio at Unit 2.9, Halton Mill.  The artists will be there between 10am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday 23rd and 24th July. Original artwork, prints, and cards for sale. Browsers welcome. Halton Mill is located on a beautiful riverside setting with lovely walks. The cafe will be open serving teas, coffees, home baking and lunches. You can find directions to the mill here, scroll to the bottom of the homepage: http://www.haltonmill.org.uk/

Open Studio, Halton Mill

Lune Year: Sycamore and Flood Grass

A short lived spell of warm sunny weather in the past few days has finally brought a touch of green to the trees. This sketch is of the brand new sycamore leaves opening, the grass from last December’s floods still wrapped tightly around the branches.

Its mixed media; acrylic and pastel, on a watercolour background.

New leaves of Sycamore with Flood Grass, mixed media

New leaves of Sycamore with Flood Grass, mixed media

Spaces available on Tuesday and Wednesday morning art classes at Halton Mill

There is currently one space available on my Tuesday morning art class, and three spaces available on Wednesday mornings. The classes are from 10-12.30 and you can read more about them here.  The classes are open to anybody*, from complete beginners, to experienced artists. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch.

This lovely pastel drawing was made this morning by Carol Gaston who attends my Wednesday morning art class. You can see more of Carol’s work here.

Girl on Beach by Carol Gaston

‘Girl on Beach’ by Carol Gaston

*Aged 12 and over

Lune Year: Buddleia and Flowering Currant with Warlocks Whiskers

These drawings are of buddleia and flowering currant bushes growing alongside the River Lune in Halton, outside my studio. They are just beginning to bud, and I wanted to record the budding leaves and blossoms tangled in the ‘flood grass’, or warlords whiskers, as a friend calls it.

Buddleia & Flood Grass #1, mixed media

Buddleia & Flood Grass #1, mixed media

Buddleia and Flood Grass #2. Mixed media

Buddleia and Flood Grass #2. Mixed media

Flowering Currant with Flood Grass. Mixed media

Flowering Currant with Flood Grass. Mixed media

Without really planning it, I’ve embarked on a project I’ve called Lune Year. I am drawing and painting the river, and the riverside, for twelve months following the ‘big flood’ of December 5th, 2015. I’m fascinated by the way that the riverside has been so profoundly changed. From late November until mid January, give or take a few days, the river was in spate. On the night of 5th December, the river flooded to unprecedented levels. The environment agency recorded the flood on 5th/6th December as follows:
The River Gauge at Caton on the River Lune recorded the highest ever flow on an English river as 1742 cumecs (m3/second) – That’s 1742 tonnes of water flowing down the river every second! The flow peak was recorded at 00:15 on 6th December 2015 following the intense sustained rainfall from Storm Desmond.

The river throughout December and early January was pretty scary to be honest. However, it was also utterly fascinating. I spent a lot of time filming and photographing it, at different points within walking distance of my studio, and I began my series of paintings and drawings. I’m planning to exhibit them next spring, once the twelve months is up. In the meantime, I’ll post some of the work on my blog.

Museum Inspired Exhibition at Lancaster Museum

This exhibition has just opened at Lancaster Museum, showing a series of work by myself and four other artists: Milan Ivanic, Fay Collins, Gill Aiken, and Rosa Mackinder. The artwork was made in response to the museum collection.

Here’s my two paintings.

Gerrard Street Ginnel, August 2015

Gerrard Street Ginnel, August 2015

Looking around the museum I was fascinated by the old photos of the city. I saw how much some aspects of the town and surrounding landscape have changed in the last 200 years or so, yet how little others have, at least outwardly. Photos of Lancasters’ back alleys, or ginnels, in the late 1800’s do not look much different than they do now, the chief difference as far as I can tell being the wheelie bins, which have to be carefully parked so they don’t roll down the hills. This is the ginnel (alley way) behind the street I used to live on, and I wanted to try and capture the somewhat timeless feel of the place. It was August when I painted this, although there are no trees visible, and the flat grey light of a rainy day looks pretty much the same in summer and winter.

Coromorant and Lune Bridges, Halton, November 2015

Coromorant and Lune Bridges, Halton, November 2015

There are several paintings showing the River Lune and the Lune Valley in the museum’s collection. Joseph Mallord William Turner painted ‘Lancaster, from the Aqueduct Bridge’ in 1825, when the aqueduct was being constructed. I decided to paint the River Lune today with the new Lune West Bridge under construction at Junction 34 of the M6. My studio at Halton Mill is just upstream from the new bridge, and I have watched the progress of the bridge over the last year or so as I walk along the riverside. I wasn’t really sure how to go about painting such a large-scale subject. I looked time and time again at the bridge over the course of 2015, looking for inspiration. I even canoed underneath the bridges in search of an unusual angle! I thought that the huge yellow cranes would form an interesting composition to paint. In the end, however, the inspiration behind my painting was a fleeting moment on 12th November when I watched a cormorant fly under the two motorway bridges, reflected in the still water of a perfect autumn morning. I found the simple beauty of the bird, the trees and the water far more interesting than the vast bridges. My painting reminds me that in spite of the expanding and changing human landscape, the river will always have to flow downstream, and the cormorants will continue to dive for fish.

Retrospectively, what I find most interesting about this painting is that it represents one of the last days of a long dry spell of weather, before the seemingly never-ending rain of most of November and all of December. The floods of December 5th were monumental, and have really changed this part of the River Lune – large parts of the bank were washed away, the trees are now adorned with debris several metres above the river level. It looks odd, carpets, black bags, hay bales, twisted gates, electricity pylons, and rubble, everything out of place. New islands have been created, trees uprooted. A shipping container from the building site of the new motorway bridge I painted was washed down into Lancaster, damaging one of the bridges there. The river rose to 8.5 metres at Caton, over a metre above the highest previous record.

I’m now working on a series of new river paintings – I’ll post some images of them shortly.