The mostly disused station building, (apart from a nice cafe and a part time ticket office), is almost derelict. The windows have been boarded up with chipboard and the peeling paint tells you how long they have been there. It was a sad state of a building and when travelling by rail, is the first impression arriving in Burnham on Crouch, Essex. Beyond the platform and out to the car park and Station Road, are thriving gardens, planted and developed by volunteers who have already made this a more beautiful place.
The 10th anniversary of the Burnham Art Trail and 125 years of the railway to the town, became a celebratory community art project and refurbishment of the station.
Young people age 6-18 were asked to put forward a design they would like to see on the boarded windows on the theme of Travel – past, present and future. Winning designs could be painted by the designer or if very young, the painting was done by a volunteer artist.
I painted this board from a design drawn by a six year old girl. The expressions on the faces were a delight and I was conscious not to change essential elements so it could remain as close as possible to her original idea.
If you would like to see more images of painted window boards visit http://www.burnhamarttrail.co.uk
Burnham Art Trail 2014 Venue no.32. The trail map can be seen at http://www.burnhamarttrail.co.uk
Jacaranda in Station Road, is my allocated venue for this years art trail. It is a beautiful florist shop created and run by Sam Adams who generously gave up window space for the art trail week 21st June – 29th June.
If you would like to see what has been happening and upcoming events please visit
My solo exhibition plans allocated February as time to select and frame artwork for Colchester Library’s Les Livres Gallery. When you have a solo exhibition, everything is down to you to organise, put in place and communicate. Help and advice from other people is invaluable, whether they agree to place posters, put information on web space they manage or as a good friend did, look over my press release and suggest improvements. The revised press release reminded me how you cannot only promote the artwork but must also give something about the person that made it or a least a bit more of the back story relevant to the exhibition. In marketing terms is this where you sell the sizzle not only the bacon?
I now also seriously believe the importance of getting an exhibition reviewed. Whether this is a critical review or a question and answer session the result can be part of the documentation about something that happened in a public event and not only recorded in someone’s curriculum vitae.
I intend to encourage other artists I meet with in Essex, to engage in the practice of reviewing and publishing as I think this will be mutually beneficial, raising the profile of the visual arts in Essex.
The image shows some of my low tech framing equipment, hand under pinner and clamp.
The frames are hardwood ash – more durable and resistant to dents and knocks which can happen when handled by other people.
What is your experience of art marketing?
I had passed this Agapanthus a number of times, noting the yellow and lime green stems and seed heads almost glowing on grey days. I resolved to draw it before the black seeds dropped or the stems pushed over, but it was the forecast of more heavy rain that made me get on with sketching. Drawing in a winter garden for the sake of not missing something sounds dedicated? Fortunately the plant is in a large pot, (a cropped copper water cylinder), just outside my studio window.
‘Agapanthus winter seed head’ will be exhibited at Colchester Library Gallery, Les Livres, March 2nd-31st.
Art exhibition ‘Creative Flow’ at Farleigh Hospice Gallery 7/1/14 – 27/2/14. Art work supplied by Activate artists.
The Hospice welcomes visitors to view artwork in the gallery during Lantern Suite opening hours, (Monday-Friday 9.00am – 4.00pm).
Activate is an independent voluntary group set up in 1999 to bring together and offer support to professional artists living in and around Chelmsford, Essex.
We have a pro-active membership whose work covers a broad spectrum of disciplines including Painters, Printmakers, Ceramicists, Sculptors, Textile Artists, Digital Artists and Community, Public and Environmental Artists, and always welcome new faces and new ideas.
Activate meets at the United Brethren Pub, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 OLF; 7pm -9pm on the second Monday or Wednesday of each month for discussion on personal and group projects as well as an opportunity to share skills and knowledge and to get involved with current activities.
More information about Activate Arts is available on http://www.activatechelmsford.org.uk
Information on visiting Farleigh Hospice can be found on their website http://www.farleighhospice.org
Unripe Medlar fruit seen last October at RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Essex. The fruit is usually bletted, softened by rot, before it can be eaten. As I was painting this from a pen sketch I realised the fruit reminded me of something else. I have since discovered Medlar, (Mespilus germanica), was known in medieval times as the ‘dog bottom tree’.
For more gardening information and recipes visit
Painting using acrylic ink and indian ink.
Thumbnail size fungi, (depending on the size of your thumb), in wood chip mulch at RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Rettendon, Essex. At first I saw only the silvery empty cups and wondered what they were. Then on closer inspection I could see more but with ‘eggs’ that had not been dispersed. A fungi hunt in autumn led by an expert mycologist opened my eyes to the range of common fungi, but I still wonder how I have not noticed these until this year. Field Bird’s Nest – Cyathus olla.
I used silver acrylic ink for one thin wash before adding more layers of orange and blue. Silver ink can give a grey tinge but it worked well for this subject giving a subtle metallic sheen.
The plantain on the path grew flat where it had been walked on, or maybe it was a plant survival tactic to avoid being pulled up easily. Thinking about it now, it could still be there.
This is an old garden with generations of lost, broken and discarded items. When the ground is disturbed or rain washed, small objects can emerge.
Marina di Chioggia fantastic pumpkin, fleshy folds of dense nutty sweet orange flesh, originates from Chioggia, Italy. I use it for coconut and pumpkin soup or oven baked vegetables for pasta or rice.
Initially I added this to the list of regulars grown in the vegetable garden because of the connection to Italy and memories of a good holiday in Venice but I now know the value of the fruit and it is there on merit. (Just as I wrote ‘fruit’, I had to check to see if it was fruit or vegetable).
Definitions of fruit and vegetables –
This is an oil pastel sketch for development into an ink painting or print.