Thursday, 22 November 2012

'Colours of Autumn' - an exhibition and an interview with artist Sarah Goffin...

This post should've gone up far earlier...! But there is still time to come and see this vibrant collection of new work by local artist Sarah Goffin. Her watercolours are full of light and movement and very evocative. We posed Sarah some questions to describe her work and the inspiration behind it:

Q: Your paintings evoke a sense of a great love of the natural landscape -  what is it about the Somerset countryside in particular that inspires you in your work?

A: I've lived in the area for 13yrs, love the soft rolling landscape, plenty of ancient hedgerows and woodland, the secret places and cosiness of Somerset.

Q: The wild and the woodland speak through many of your paintings, the tangled thicket, the fruited hedgerow, what are the qualities you seek most to capture in your paintings of woodland landscapes?

A: The peace when you stand still and really look at beautiful details such as crimson bramble branches, the rhythm of trees and how twigs fragment the sky, feeling enclosed and sheltered.

'Glorious Jewelled Thicket' - watercolour by Sarah Goffin

Q: There is a vibrancy and energy to your work that really brings the paintings alive - what techniques and materials do you like to use to achieve this?

A: Lots of water, lots of watercolour, some resists like gum arabic/masking fluid and paper masks when splattering colour with a toothbrush, have favourite colours for shadows and varieties of tree barks.

Q: How do you know or how do you decide when a painting is finished?

A: When I think a painting is finished I will leave it on board and prop it up so I can walk past it several times a day, then if anything seems neglected or needs adjusting I turn the board round so I can't see it for a week, to check I'm right and come to it with a refreshed eye.

Q: If you could sit and paint anywhere at all of your choosing, what landscape would you find yourself in?

A: I would love to go to Highlands and paint stormy skies.

Q: The changing seasons can be very evocative in the landscape as can the changing light and colours of dawn or twilight, do you have a favourite season or turning of the day you like to explore in paintings?

A: September and October are favourite months, also hazy summer mornings. I enjoy familiar landscape changing constantly, even when its raining.

'Ammerdown in September' - watercolour by Sarah Goffin.
 Thankyou to Sarah for agreeing to be put on the spot and giving such interesting answers! If you like what you see then hurry down to our gallery for a closer look!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

An Exhibition of Three generations...

We will be holding a special exhibition from the 15th to 29th of September spanning three generations!
The artists will be myself, showing some work from my children's book illustration portfolio, my mother Heather O' Brien who paints wonderful oils on canvas of light filled gardens and landscapes with some still life and etchings as well, and my two daughters Elora and Elswyth aged 5 and 8 yrs old!
It will be a celebration of the thread that runs through us all both as close family and as artists, showing each of us at different stages of our own creative paths...  "passing the paintbrush on down the line!"

There will be an Opening Day Celebration on Saturday the 15th from 2-4pm with refreshments, cakes and live music, so come down and join the fun!

'Oranges and Chestnuts' oil on canvas by Heather O' Brien

Here's a bit more info from our press release in the Midsomer Norton and radstock Journal:

"...Heather O’Brien, based in Mells, Somerset, has painted for many years, studying at Rochdale College of Art and Corsham College of Art. She has exhibited widely selling her work in London and the South West of England. She works in oil on canvas, painting verdant English gardens and luminescent French landscapes, as well as still life paintings and etchings.
Heather works from her studio set in the midst of the beautiful acre of garden that is itself an extension of her paintings...

“For me, making a garden is about creating a harmony of colour, shape and texture and watching the changing light add another dimension bringing it all to life. My love of gardens and gardening are primarily the focus of my work on canvas. It is the uplifting qualities of the interplay between light and colour that inspire me. I aim to allow those qualities to create the dynamics within my paintings.”
Heather’s daughter Carrie Osborne who runs the gallery with her husband Tony, is an aspiring children’s author and illustrator, showing for the first time a selection of illustration work from her portfolio including some roughs and examples of sample picture books. She will also be showing life drawings, unusual customised portraits and some paintings outside the children’s illustration field.

“Growing up with an Artist for a mother meant that drawing was almost like breathing for me, I could not imagine life without a sketchbook! It will be lovely to share an exhibition with my mother and also with my children, almost like passing the paintbrush on down the line...”

Carrie’s two young daughters will also be taking part, Elora aged eight and Elswyth aged five, who both enjoy the chance to paint in Grandma’s studio or to make picture books of their own invention.

“I believe there is a naturally creative soul in every child, and to nurture that creativity whether it is in the form of art, music or language, should be held dear. Children create for the sheer joy of it without fear of judgement or self consciousness, something we adults could learn from! My children are growing up surrounded by art and music and I am so pleased to be able to include them in every aspect of it and see their undampened enthusiasm.”

Illustration from 'Windsongs' by Carrie Osborne

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Lest we forget....

Armistice Day has come and once again it is so good to see so many people wearing poppies and taking the time to acknowledge what it represents.
We see a definate increase at this time of year of orders for Medal sets to be framed, often to be passed down to younger generations which is very encouraging and so important to keep these family stories alive and present.
I've said often to customers and I really mean it, that we feel it to be a real priveledge to be asked to frame these collections and to be entrusted with such personal, often poignant family heritage and their many amazing, sometimes tragic stories.
We hope that our customers are reassured that we always treat these precious family heirlooms with the greatest respect and care.

Here are a few examples of some of the Medal sets we have framed for our customers...
A Royal Marine collection, all painstakingly stitched onto the mount with invisible thread...

More cherished family medals...

Below, a most unusual collection of very rare medals including a Waterloo Medal! And most astonishingly a Crimean War medal showing clasps for the Battles of Balaclava and Sebastopol - the Charge of the Light Brigade of course, where the soldier was apparently shot and captured by the Russian army... and many other rare medals that we will be unlikely to have the chance to handle again.

This fragile embroidery stitched by a wounded soldier in his hospitol bed, had too little fabric for the lacing needed to stretch it flat, so in this case I carefully stitched on linen extension pieces all the way around...
And then laced it carefully over a layer of wadding and conservation board...

It was then mounted and framed with UV protection conservation glass to preserve the colours of the threads and protect the fragile fabric.

Here from a different customer, below is another beautiful piece of soldier's embroidery, this time made whilst he was a Prisoner of War, using only his cap badge as a guide... an amazing piece of history rightly cherished by his family.

There are some more examples on the medals page at the top right hand side of the blog, and some more will be added soon.

Wear your Poppy with pride!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wildlife Art Exhibition with Martin Rumary and Paul Matthews

Don't miss our October exhibition starting on Saturday the 8th!
Both of the Artists will be demonstrating at the gallery from 10 am on the opening Saturday, a great opportunity to see these two talented artists at work, to have a chat and put your questions to them!

Martin Rumary specialises in wonderfully detailed paintings of birds, here's a few words about him and his work:

Heading Down Stream

Born in London, Martin moved at an early with his parents to the heart of the Somerset countryside where he developed a keen interest in the surrounding wildlife.

The birds local to his home on the beautiful Mendip Hills provide the subject matter for his paintings; the semi-moorland down to the wetlands of the Somerset levels giving a wide choice of habitat for inspiration.

Observations and sketching in the field preceed each painting; a great way to earn a living, although every work inevitably goes through a period of angst and indecision in trying to achieve the desired affect. Originally working in oils and then gouache he now paints exclusively in acrylics.

Widespread success in the UK has enabled him to established a considerable reputation through galleries and organisations such as The Wildlife Art Society International and The National Exhibition of Wildlife Art where he has had a sell-out for the last four years.

And a few words about L. Paul Matthews and his work:

Paul lives in the village of Puddletown, in heart of rural Dorset, surrounded by farms and beautiful countryside with its wildlife. This provides alot of the inspiration for his paintings of domestic animals and British wildlife. He also has a passion for African wildlife having travelled to Botswana and Kenya on sketching and reference trips, acompanied by his partner Annie, whom takes care of the photography.

The majority of Paul’s work is commissioned paintings and portraits, both animals (including pets) and people. He also works on wildlife paintings and has been in the final of the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, for the three years it has been running.

You can find out more about the artists on their websites:
L.Paul Matthews online gallery

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Old Bakery Artists Summer Exhibition 2011

Following the success of the Old Bakery Artist's Arts Trail back in May, which we very much enjoyed taking part in as one of the venues, we are delighted to be hosting their Summer Exhibition here on the High Street!

Popular local art group, the Old Bakery Artists, are exhibiting a variety of exciting new work at our gallery from 8th to 20th August - Monday to Saturday, 9.30 - 5.30pm. There will be an eclectic mix of paintings, from the abstract to the traditional, plus 3D objects and cards and prints for sale.

There will be two 'Meet the Artists' sessions on Saturday, 13th August and Saturday, 20th - 2 until 4pm. Among the artists calling in to talk about their work will be the well known Midsomer Norton artist, David Fisher, and Caroline Thatcher, who was recently featured in the BBC 2 series Show me the Monet.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations go to Rebecca Burton, the lucky winner of our Medieval prize draw!
Thank you also to all of those who popped in to comment so kindly on our window display, we had great fun pitting it together and good to see so many people enjoying the fayre too!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Medieval Fayre Day, 25th of June - come and enter our Free Prize Draw!

Midsomer Norton has re-instated its Town Midsummer Fayre day and the first one is to be a Medieval Fayre! So if you're around on the 25th of June do stop and have a look at our medieval themed window complete with replica Edward III sword and seal as well as a few Pre-Raphaelites for good measure!
We will be giving away a beautiful framed print by Blair-Leighton in a free prize draw at the end of the day's events, so if you would like a chance to win drop into our shop and enter!