Apologies for the delay in writing my blog, time seems to evaporate.
I have been kept busy over the last few months creating artwork for my latest book for Search Press. Details are still under wraps and we will publish the title and medium at a later date.
The bulk of the manuscript is now being worked on and the five day photoshoot is booked for April.
We have spent part of the winter down the field bringing back to life another section of hedge. It must be 50 years since it was last laid and the satisfaction of turning decay and neglect into a rejuvenated part of nature is a great feeling.
As with art, there are certain tools of the trade that I use, a trusty family billhook, my chainsaw, protective gear and the much needed Kelly Kettle for our cups of tea.
My Dad was a talented hedge layer and I always regretted not having an interest when he was here, hope my achievements so far would make him proud.
Team work is a huge part of this transformation and Louise does a magnificent job clearing and stacking all the brash, without her help this would take so much longer.
Very pleased to announce that the Patchings Festival of Art, Craft & Design is going ahead from July 14 to 17.
Its one of my highlights of the year, meeting up with other artists, talking to visitors and demonstrating my art.
Louise and I are already making plans for my stand in the artist marquee.
Friday 14 July, I will be doing a one hour demo in the Search Press marquee.
Sunday 17 July, all day in the Artist and Leisure Painter marquee demonstrating 5 free demonstrations and there will be subscription offers and free gifts available.
Time during lockdowns seems to have just evaporated and all the plans I had made seem to have gone astray!
It seemed the ideal opportunity to get tasks done that had been on my agenda for several years, however this did not happen
My wife Louise is convinced that an artistic brain is like a butterfly, fluttering from one thing to another.
The very kind husbandly gesture of "would you like a cup of tea" rapidly turns wrong, as a cup of brown, stewed tea is presented to Louise, who is a very light Earl Grey lady !
This is due to the fact that whilst tea making is in action my mind flits to something else in the garage or studio and before you know it 30 minutes have magically disappeared.
I have been doing a myriad of things since my last blog, the easiest way is to condense them to a list for you….
Written a new six month series for the Leisure Painter on painting with palette knives and written a test report for the Frazer-Price palette.
Tutored for two days at the Broadway Arts Festival in June, great venue.
A solo exhibition at the Patchings Art Centre, in July and August.
Three caravan trips in between lockdowns.
Renewing some fencing at home and down at the field.
Growing fruit and vegetables both in our front garden potager and at our field just outside the village.
Collecting reference material and collating ideas for my fourth book for Search Press.
Filming a short art video promoting the release of my republished, revitalised edition of the Perspective book.
This proved fun, competing inside with a lively Freyja, who reacts very noisily to the doorbell and scratches and digs in her bed…just as filming commences. The outdoor filming in the village proved fun too, a mixture of trains passing by and lawnmowers and car repair technicians, working in just the spot you had decided to film from.
Multi tasking seems to have been order of the day over the past few months and I am thoroughly looking forward to returning to the White House near Burnham Market on the 5 September. This will be my third visit as a tutor for Big Sky Art courses. Set in glorious rolling North Norfolk farmland. Close to my favourite painting locations of Brancaster Staithe, Burnham Overy Staithe and Wells next the Sea. Its a fabulous area to teach art and sharing my rapid sketching techniques and water colour painting.
Big bonus for Louise… she doesn't have me making the tea !!
Bye for now,
Firstly I must apologise for the time between putting a blog together, time seems to have flown since October 2020.
Life is still, as I type uncertain, but the progress with vaccinations already given makes the future more hopeful.
The Fisher household had a simple Christmas due to lockdown with Freyja the dog getting plenty of walks.
We have recently had quite a bit of snow and Freyja has enjoyed walking in that much more than the over the ankle deep, sticky mud we usually meet !
She's quite a princess and its quite amusing to watch her deciding the best route to avoid the mud.
During the lockdowns, I have been kept busy working on ideas for the latest book I have been commissioned by Search Press to write. Details, medium and subject will be announced later.
My editorial meetings to plan out the book usually take place at Search Press HQ in Tunbridge Wells. Here, the ideas I have are mapped by my editor onto a layout detailing content and chapters.
This took place virtually (like much of the world in 2020) via online screens.
I have also been asked by the Leisure Painter to write a new 6 month series and glancing at my calendar my first deadline looms for early March… where did January and February disappear to ?
We own a 6 acre field just outside our village here in Leicestershire and I really enjoy being there chopping wood for the log burner, sorting the poly tunnel and all sorts of other jobs.
Usually the first part of the year sees us tackling a new section of hedge and sorting 50 years of not being laid.
Hedge laying is something I really enjoy doing, its so satisfying to watch a jumble of overgrown hawthorn being tamed into shape. The process is a bit of a mixture of art and chess, you decide where the cut should be to lay the branch and fingers crossed it doesn't snap off.
Well, the weather this year so far has been a combination of extreme wet and snow, so this far we have not started a new section.
I am hoping to start soon and will update you on future blogs. It is fascinating to watch a newly laid hedge spring into life and after a few years it becomes sturdy and secure once more.
The photos below show me in action February 2020. The first view sees the February 2020 section next to the part laid some 9 years before. In the distance you can just see how overgrown the hedge was originally, quite a task !
Louise, Freyja and I have just returned from my latest painting holiday organised by Big Sky Art Courses, staying at the stunning White House.
Even though this is the second time I have tutored here, the approach to the accommodation through rolling farm countryside still takes your breath away.
The White House has been restored from dereliction and is the most beautiful, luxurious place to stay. It is situated on the Sussex Farm estate and the view from the house towards the stables greets you each morning from the breakfast room. It`s a working farm and there are lots of fascinating subjects to paint close by.
The weather was mixed and we managed a day painting plein air acrylics at Brancaster Staithe ( a real favourite location of mine) and a day capturing subjects around the White House. The rest of the holiday was spent in the warm, well appointed Barn Studio.
As I mentioned the accommodation in the White House is amazing, take a look at their website. Breakfast was super with plenty of choice each morning to set us up for the day ahead.
Canapés, followed by dinner, which again was delicious, outside caterers Burn Valley Catering certainly deserve a mention for the meals they produced each night.
I am delighted to be returning again next year September 5 to 10, 2021 and this time we will be painting Watercolour, Line & Wash. It`s a chance to join me, learn my unique rapid sketching techniques and use them to develop paintings in this very painterly part of North Norfolk.
Delightful location, luxurious accommodation, painting every day and the company of other artists…. its well worth booking.
The past few weeks have been busy as my art has been very VIRTUAL ! I have been doing some Zoom online tutorials in association with ShopKeepArty. The 45 minute tutorials are free to watch on their YouTube page, if you would like to learn tips and techniques with watercolour pencils, Alternatively the second one shows how you can create a painting with a flat 3/4 inch brush and three watercolours. Hope you have a go.
On the home front, after many, many hours in the garage the bespoke shed is now complete. Each palette board planed and routed meticulously, using my new woodworking machines. Louise has painted it cream and light green, very beach hut like.
Now for the first time all the garden equipment has a home and the garage has more space.
At our field the new poly tunnel is producing well, in fact we are having problems keeping up with the cucumber at present. It is glut season at the moment, courgettes almost overnight turn into Zeppelin size marrows ! Louise made a chocolate courgette cake with the excess.
Beans, chillies, squash, carrots and rhubarb are all doing well.
Moving back to art, I am delighted to have signed the latest contract with Search Press to write my fourth book for them. Medium and title are yet to be finalised, this project will keep me busy over the next year.
Due to the ongoing situation life as an artist has changed with bookings year nearly all postponed.
However with excellent Covid 19 protocol in place, I am delighted to be returning to North Norfolk in October tutoring for a Painting holiday with Big Sky Art. Its a beautiful location, plenty of space staying at the luxurious White House.
We will be learning my techniques for painting plain air with acrylics, so looking forward to it.
Louise and I are becoming quite accustomed to filming in the studio, recently submitting a pastel painting demonstration for the "virtual" Patchings Art Festival last month for Painters Online. We will also be filming some short painting technique videos to be showcased on the Painters Online website.
Take care, stay safe and I will blog again soon,