Prints available at the Burnham Museum

As well as my exhibit at venue 16 I have some unframed mounted prints available at venue 1, The Museum. Regardless of whether you are interested in my prints the Museum is full of interesting work by other artists. I particularly loved the work of Sandy Sykes who is exhibit some large mixed media pieces from her The flying itself series. There are also lots of prints from many of the other trail artists.

Sundown in BurnhamCrabbing in BurnhamBouquetZebra Longwing ButterflyFrogs


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Burnham Art Trail 2014

Saturday sees the opening of this year’s Burnham Art Trail which is now in its tenth year. I will be exhibiting at venue 16, The Studio 4 Witney Road, Burnham on Crouch. The Trail opens on Saturday 21th June and features 47 artists working in many different media so there is something for everyone. Here is a preview of my exhibits I hope you like them.  I’ll be posting more details about my exhibits over the next week and will be at the venue on Saturday afternoon if you happen to be in the area.

The show runs until Sunday 29th June and it should be a really interesting event with 34 different venues in the town taking part.  I also plan to put some unframed prints in the Burnham museum and have very been busy in the studio lately and have lots of new work to share with you soon. So thanks for stopping by and I hope you can make it to the Art Trail. You can download my exhibit brochure here: BAT2014 brochure

BouquetZebra Longwing ButterflySmall Tortoiseshell ButterflyBarbary Macaque IBarbary Macaque IISunday Afternoon



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Five weeks with Lilla Rogers


Why I went back to school

There comes a times in every artists life when starving in a garret no longer appeals, and it’s time to get serious and actually make a living. So what do you do about it? The answer for me was to take the Make art that sells (MATS) course run by the fabulous Lilla Rogers, art licensing agent extraodinare.

What’s it all about?

It’s a course that breaks down the various markets that license artwork on all kinds of products. Next time you’re in a shop take a look at the products in that shop and notice all the great artwork on the tissue box, note books, fabric, wallpaper, plates, the list is endless. The great thing is that all these images had to be designed by someone so why not me?

The tools.

Over the course of 5 weeks Lilla covered a different market giving us all the inside track on what’s hot and how to present your work to maximise your chances of selling it.  It is hands down the best course I have ever taken. There was so much information and great advice as well as a weekly product brief and a critique where Lilla really told you why a piece worked and was ready for market or how it could be tweaked to give it to that extra pop. More than that she gave advice for how to keep going when the going gets tough and how to make contacts in the industry. In the space of 5 weeks the group created nearly 700 pieces of art, that is pretty amazing.

The community

The most surprising thing was the amazing community that has developed during the course. The sense of community amongst my inspiring classmates has been highly motivating and truly supportive. Now the course has finished we still connect as a group and this post is part of our first blog tour. It has been such a privilege to meet such a talented group of people. I have to admit I was pretty intimidated at first as most of the class are professional illustrators or designers already working in the industry, but I needn’t have worried as they are a generous and tolerant bunch, and I hope to keep going with our group for a longtime.

The work

Below is a piece from each week two by me and the rest by my classmates who are also blogging about the class today, I hope you enjoy it and please stop by their blogs to check out their fabulous work.

Week One: Bolt Fabric by Deb TrevittDEB_TREVITT_VERYBERRIES_2A_WEEK1

Week Two: Home Décor by Nic Squirrell


Week Three: Book Cover Design by me

The language of the birds book cover Melinda Hopkirk


Week Four : Wall art by Nic Squirrell



Week Five: Gift market by me



So if this has caught your interest and you would like to view the creations of my class mates please stop by their blogs. Tomorrow the tour will be hosted by Danielle McDonald and Jennifer Appel.

A full list of the MATS tribe blog tour follows

Aisha Khan –

Linda Tordoff –

Martina Lenhardt –
Melissa Doran –
Sarah Gager –
HungYu CHEN –
stephanie corfee –
Son Atwal Sonia Atwal –
Rachael Schafer –
Sarah Ehlinger –
Jordan Vinograd Kim –
Jen Burbridge –
Carolina Coto –
Eva Marion Seyffarth –
Anna Whitford –
Mary Tanana –
Melinda Hopkirk –
Renske de Kinkelder-

Bari Palles Ackerman

Tina Koyama

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New work Flora & Fauna

In preparation for the Maldon Art Trail I have been working on a new series called Flora & Fauna. Four of the new pieces are posted below and these are the ones that can currently be seen at Wenlocks in Maldon, where my exhibit for the Trail was installed yesterday. I hope you like them.

Flora & Fauna Series

Dark OrchidThe Heart of a RoseSmall Tortoiseshell MonotoneSmall Tortoiseshell on Buddleia

Posted in New things, Studio news Tagged , , |

Is archival ink worth it?

Look on any site selling prints and you may come across people saying that their prints are made with archival ink (including me). But does it really make a difference? I did a lot of research before I bought a printer which was specifically dedicated for making prints and about a year and a half ago I decided to invest in a printer that used archival pigment ink (Canon 9500 MkII in case you were wondering). It was quite an investment and every time I switch it on I feel like weeping as I hear it merrily going through a cleaning cycle and washing away £££s of ink, a set of genuine ink cartridges costs around £90 so not cheap.

So last year I decided to conduct a little experiment to see if it really was worth the money. You can see the results below:

non brand dye ink versus Canon Lucia archival pigment ink

non brand dye ink versus Canon Lucia archival pigment ink


I printed two similar pictures, the one on the left was printed on my office printer which I only use to print invoices and documents on. I use cheap but good quality non brand dye based ink cartridges on this printer which is perfectly fine for office documents. The one on the right is printed on the big daddy printer using Canon Lucia archival pigment ink. They were printed in April 2012 and have been tacked on a wall in a sunny location. The picture was taken last week. They started off pretty much the same colour but within about 3 months the dye based ink had faded dramatically and continues to do so.

Now I am not a chemist or an ink expert but I know what my eyes are telling me.  Prints really should never been kept in direct sunlight but even so I can’t really detect any significant fading with the archival print. So this is why I choose to use archival pigment ink. According to the manufacturer a print should last a lifetime if kept in the right conditions (unlike these poor prints!). There are archival dye inks available but I have not tried those, and I have not tried any other brands so I can only comment on my experience.

So, in conclusion, it may seem tempting to save money and use cheaper inks for your prints  but in the long term,  apart from the obvious differences in quality when first printed (trust me they look really different),  if you want your print to last it is worth using archival ink. In my humble opinion if you are selling prints,  you really owe it your customers to use it.

Posted in Good to know Tagged , |

Procrastination Project 1

Procrastion Project 1

You know those days where your to do list is so long you could wallpaper your home with it and yet some how you find your self doing something entirely different that does not seem to have any relevance to what you actually need to get done but you do it any way, I call these my procrastination projects.

So the first example is my friend Salome here, she was once a very sad plaster bust with peeling yellowing paint, and frankly she really should have been sent to the tip, but the person who gave her to me is very dear to me and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so she got a makeover instead.

How Salome got her makeover

  1. Peel off any loose bits of paint. Use medium grade sand paper to even out edges of chipped paint to the plaster underneath, then fine grade sand paper to take the shine off all over. This creates a surface for your paint to stick to. Wash down all over with a damp cloth and leave to dry thoroughly.
  2. Paint all over with a coat of chalkboard paint. Leave it to dry for about four hours. I used Rustins, instructions for other brands might differ slightly. Don’t use your best brush as the paint does seem to stain the brush even after lots of washing.
  3. Once dry lightly sand all over once more and wipe clean with a damp cloth. When dry add one more coat of chalkboard paint leave to dry and voila your done.

Salome now lives on the kitchen window sill and compiles my shopping list for me, she now looks a lot better and has a purpose so she can stay for as long as she likes.

What are your procrastination projects?

Posted in Procrastination projects

Maldon Art Trail 2013

I am really excited to share with you that I have been accepted as an exhibitor at this years Maldon Art Trail. The event runs from 28 September to 5 October. My venue is Wenlocks which is in the high street in Maldon and is a lovely furnishing and interiors shop so my work will be in good company. Maldon is such a pretty town with lots of nice individual shops, not just the large chains, it also has a marina with boat trips and a lovely park so well worth a visit if you’re at a loose end. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing new works I have made in preparation for the Art Trail so be sure to check back soon.


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Writers Month at Free Range Humans

So August has been crazy busy but during all the various things that have gone on I’ve been participating in the Writers Month event organised by Marianne Cantwell at Free Range Humans and it has been absolutely fabulous. The event was wide ranging with all styles of writing covered and the daily inspiration emails were one of my favourite things. There were workshops, seminars and lots of great advice and resources. It also made me join facebook something I have resisted for so long and now I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. I met some fantastic free rangers and happily we are going to continue our group. So maybe my writing will actually be readable someday! If you get the chance to participate in future events with Marianne I highly recommend it.

So in the spirit of Writers Month here is a piece I wrote in response to one of the morning inspiration writing prompts: ‘Find a photograph that captures a little moment of your life over the past 12 months. Tell us about it.’ So here goes:


The Conversation UMweb squareThe first piece I ever sold:

I am in the shop window polishing away the imaginary dust from my progeny as proud as any parent on the first day of school. I see the young couple in my peripheral vision on the other side of the window as I adjust a particular picture just one more millimetre to the left and back again to the right and I notice them focus on a photograph at the front of my display. It is called ‘The Conversation’ and it shows two empty seats opposite each other overlooking a river.

They recognise the location where I shot it, they gesture in the direction where I hovered and snapped it, an after-thought, at the end of a glorious spring afternoon.  I can’t resist going outside, after all I really do need to check the window display again.

Outside I glance at the window, smile and introduce myself.  ‘Yes I am the artist’, there I said it I AM THE ARTIST, it’s out now, the first time I have ever made this declaration – out loud – with actual human ears listening.  I adjust my skin to this new title, it feels strange, I roll the words around in my head once more to see how it feels and go back inside to micro-adjust my work and look for more dust. He comes in, hesitant at first, he asks how much it is, my mind goes blank, I struggle to remember;  for goodness sake I just glued the damn price list up. Panic fear elation and then doubt. Perhaps he just asked the time and I misheard.  I smile (rictus), croak out the price and hold my breath bracing for the dismissal, that look that says you’re not worth that. He looks at her, and she gives a little nod, ‘we’ll take it’.

I feel a flood of … uncertainty, what do I do now, what comes next I’ve never done this before I wasn’t really expecting people to buy, I’m only beginning, I’m not ready for this. I breathe out and slowly in again. ‘Great …’ and then the rush of adrenaline, I rummage about in my huge shopping bag full of pliers, packaging, tape and wire and find a pen and paper (hurry, hurry, before they change their minds). We exchange details and I wave goodbye. I am so high I could give away the World. I forget about the polishing and just revel in the realisation that someone I don’t know bought something I made. But it is more than that, I feel like I touched a memory in their lives. I imagine perhaps they sat in those seats when he proposed or perhaps that is where they met for the first time or maybe they just sat there at the end of a similarly glorious afternoon, looking out across the river together. My mind runs through a dozen scenarios that led them to buy my work. I float home and realise I left half my stuff in the shop and have to go back.

The shop girls give me ‘the look’ you know the one, the ‘smile and nod because she looks a little crazy and we’re going to be kind and humour her’ look.  I don’t care because today I am just a little bit crazy and it feels great because today I am an artist. I will keep this memory in a little box and on those days when I can’t say it because it feels like a lie I will open that box and drink it in.



Posted in What's the story

Welcome to Crouch River Studio

Welcome to the new home of Crouch River Studio, which will officially launch during this years Burnham Art Trail. (I’m artist no 29.) The Art Trail officially runs from 22nd June to 30th June and many local artists will be exhibiting their work in the shops up and down the High Street. My exhibit will be viewable from Saturday 15th June until Saturday 6th July at my venue One Place in Burnham on Crouch.

Trinity Buoy face

Detail from the Trinity House Buoy by the Eastern Boathouse, Burnham which forms part of a Tryptch on show at One Place

I love to capture little details from the everyday objects found while out and about in Burnham and my current work focuses on scenes taken from around the Dengie Peninsula, which is a constant source of inspiration.

Father & Son

Details of cogs and gears on the boat winch on the riverfront Burnham

This is a place where I hope to share my work with you and how I create it as well as things that interest and inspire me. I hope you’ll stop by again soon and perhaps visit the Burnham Art trail, it should be a fun week.

Crabbing in Burnham

Crabbing in Burnham

Posted in New things, Studio news Tagged , , |