Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Visitors From Holland

Last Wednesday my dear friend Corry and husband Ted paid us a visit.Corry had a painting in the Artist exhibition at Patchings. So on Thursday we went to the show. So many artists offering their wares and there were demonstrations in every media. The exhibition itself  was a very high standard as usual. Corry was delighted to win a prize for her pastel of a new born calf. Well deserved too.
It was a good day out and I can home with a new supply of Rosemary brushes and Michael Harding paint.
The following day Corry & Ted went to Norfolk to stay for a few days. .I Joined Corry on the Saturday to go and paint at Felbrigg Hall

Felbrigg Gardens 8" x 8"

The Dove Cote. Felbrigg 8" x 8" oil

The gardens were full of visitors but I managed to stay tucked in out of the way. I returned home early Sunday morning (before either Corry or Ted were up) as Frank and I were visiting friends in the North of the county for lunch. I managed to sneak into the studio first and got another painting done for my forthcoming exhibition.
Monday morning I was back on the road for Norfolk. Corry and I went to Blakeney as the tide was high 

High Tide, Blakeney

From here we went to Wiveton Hall of the 'Normal for Norfolk ' fame (BBC series) I painted chickens whilst Corry painted Chloe 102 year old mother of Desmond, the Halls owner.

Wiveton Hall, chickens. 8" x 8" oil

Tuesday was much cooler. Our first stop was Salthouse. I had to tape my pallet to my easel as it was so windy 

Salthouse 10" x 12" oil

Coffee time took us back to Wiveton Hall. It was very busy as the TV program had aired the previous night. We met Chloe and Charlotte walking back from the cafe and made arrangements for us both to paint her.
Corry managed a brilliant portrait in between her nodding off. I chose to paint the sleeping position as it was more constant 

102 year old Chloe enjoying the sun

Charlotte that cares for Chloe liked the picture and as she was such a kind and generous lady I gave her the painting. 
I look forward to going back to paint at Wiveton. I was made to feel so welcome. Looking forward now to the next episode of Normal 4 Norfolk 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Demo for Peterborough Art Soc

This 14" x 18" was the oil demo that I did for Peterborough Art Society a couple of weeks ago. 
Pin Mill boats. 

Gunby Hall

On 1st July I headed off to Gunby Hall to do my share of stewarding for the Art On The Map exhibition which continues until the end of July 
I got there early as I was keen to paint first and also to see my friend Haidee who was also painting there that day

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Royal Norfolk Show

At the end of last month I was invited by the Paint Out team to paint at the Royal Norfolk Show. The sun was shining at the time so I said yes.
The day arrived and it was throwing it down, cars were stuck in the mud and roadways were flooded.
Not deterred I headed out to find my subject. The fairground took my attention so I set up with an umbrella positioned carefully over my canvas and pallet.

'Not So Much Fun at the Fair' 10" x 10" oil on canvas board

I did enjoy painting this in spite of the rain but I wish I'd had a £1 for every time someone said "Are you painting watercolour?" I tipped the inch of water out of the box easel and moved to another spot.

'Judging the Pigs' 10' x 10" oil on canvas board

This again was fun but I decided that I was wet enough and went off to find somewhere a bit drier for my next subject

'Waiting to be Judged' 10" x 12" oil on canvas board

Well it would have been drier had I gone into the tent but as the rain had eased off a bit I stood outside as I liked the feeling of being able to look through the tent.

Day Two

Hurrah, no rain.
It was still a bit soggy underfoot and I went with Haidee to the chicken tent. The prize winners were all in their cages with the rosettes and made a great subject, I left Haidee painting those and chose this slightly different view with artist Paul Alcock in the background.

'Which Came First?'  -  sold

My next picture was a picture asking to painted. I saw it and had to stop. These fine bullocks were waiting to go into the ring, they weren't there long so had to rely on memory, the picture needs revisiting in the studio maybe to slightly adjust the shape of the animals

Waiting to go into the Ring 10" x 10"

We had to be back at the Paint Out marquee by 3pm for prize giving. There were 13 of us artists in total and the sponsers had given cash prizes for those pictures they judged the best. First prize went to Robert Nelmes for and amazing painting of the farriers at work and second prize went to Tom Cringle for, again, another wonderful painting.

11 happy and now dry artists

At the end of the day, another prize was awarded - The Spirit of Plein Air. Imagine my surprise when it was awarded jointly to myself and my buddy Haidee-Jo Summers

'Spirit of Plein air'

All round it was a good experience, would I do it again next year?? Maybe I'll check the long range weather forecast first

Morston Group

Every year for the past 12 years the Sheringham Art group have hired the village Hall at Morston in Norfolk for me to run a two day workshop for them. In the early days we would have 15 artists attending but due to ill health of many members, numbers have dwindled so this was to be the last year.

High Tide, Morston

I always start off with a demo to get people in the mood, I try to get people working on the quayside to paint but most prefer to remain in the Hall. I managed to get down there for a bit myself first and it was a beautiful high tide.

Low Tide, Morston

I have enjoyed teaching and getting to know this group and will miss them. I have decided to hire the hall myself for the same period next year and to invite artists to join me with the emphasis on Plein Air

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Loss of a Parent

On Saturday 6th of May my lovely Dad passed away. He was 92.

Dennis Osborne 1924 -2017

Unfortunately I was not with him. He'd had a short spell in hospital and was due to go home on the day that I left for Dubai. I went away confidently thinking that he would be settled back into the care home that he'd recently moved into. Two days later I had a call in the night to tell me that his death was imminent. I knew I'd never get home in time. The nurse told me that he was still in good spirits and had asked for a milk shake and that she would stay with him. Half an hour later he'd gone.
I hadn't realised how much time I had spent caring for and thinking of him, it has left a big hole in my life and an ache in my heart.

He was not a religious man so the cremation service was a simple affair. I was strong enough to read the eulogy which I shall copy below .

Dad had a long, healthy and happy life. In fact you could say it was a charmed life.

1941 was a bad time as living close to Northolt Aerodrome the air raids were heavy, Our grandfather was an Air Raid Warden as he was unable to join up due to injuries sustained in WW1 in France.

Dad at 18 was helping out the Wardens, when a bomb exploded in the middle of Dulverton Rd. a few doors away; he was soon doing traffic control. Another night both dad and his brother Bill stayed outside the Air Raid Shelter in their backyard as they thought they may have to dig Mum and younger brother Bob out. He showed courage.
 He joined the RAF at the age of 19 and went on to train as a pilot in South Africa, where he gained his wings at 21. He had a good war as he never went into combat but was based in England maintaining the planes.

On one occasion he was part of a squadron that had to fly 18 Mosquito planes over to Australia, at the last minute Dad had to pull out, none of those planes that left ever reached their destination, it was not dad’s time.

Dad spent a short time as an instructor. I hope he didn’t teach his pupils to do the things he did like flying down through Cheddar Gorge, chasing rabbits, flying under bridges and playing hide and seek in the clouds.

For his 70th birthday Peter and I bought him a flight in a Tiger Moth. The first thing he did was to ask the co pilot if he could loop the loop and do a stall turn. I won’t repeat what Mum said at the time. She did phone me a few days later and say that ‘he hadn’t shut up about it’

He also managed to walk away from a motorbike crash, a car accident and then there was the time he had to crash land a plane. An eye witness to the crash later was talking to dad in the pub and commented that the poor pilot never stood a chance, dad just agreed and drank his beer.

It was during this time he met Freda, our mum. With 3 of his mates on his motor bike he went to the local pub He walked into the bar and spotted mum, he went over and finished off her drink, which I’m sure did not go down well and as he left the pub he told his friend that he was going to marry that WAF. And he did in 1949. Mum and Dad had over 60 years of wedded bliss.

On leaving the air force, dad was undecided as to which direction to take; it was either the Police force or become a teacher so at the flip of a coin he went into teaching. In 1951 he took his first job of woodwork and metalwork teacher at Hillingdon, near Ruislip and then promotion took him to Bridgewater in Somerset.

In 1961 Westhaven, a new residential School for children with special needs at opened in Uphill near Weston-Super-Mare and dad got the job of deputy head with Freda at his side as deputy house mother. Mum and Dad spent 7 happy years working along side each other at Uphill and when the position of Headmaster and Matron of a new school in Spalding was advertised, they applied. Again lady luck was on dad’s side and in 1968 the family moved to Spalding.

Dad had a knack of getting what he wanted for the school, basically he did what he wanted and then asked permission, not sure if he would get away with that today. He and Mum together held many successful dances at the school to help raise funds for equipment. Being a residential school we lived during the week at a flat adjoined to the school and Peter and I often went down to the common room in the evenings. It was like having an extended family. I later went on to teach at the school and had to do night duties and the atmosphere was always happy and friendly.
Dad was offered and took an early retirement, This meant he was able to spend more time doing the things he loved, woodturning, pottering in his greenhouse and enjoying holidays and cruises abroad where he and Mum made many good friends

Dad certainly had a wicked sense of humor.
When Pete was young dad took him canoeing, Pete turned round to see Dad on the bank with tears streaming down his face as Pete was bravely paddled like mad against the tide – going nowhere.
He also thought it highly amusing to give me as a baby, a feather with honey on it. And watch the bemusement on my face as I tried to get rid of it.
Once on holiday mum had to stop him from swapping the signs over on the toilets, which he thought, would have been highly amusing. I could go on
I look at our own children and I am pleased to say (I think) that they seem to have inherited Dad’s sense of fun.

His memory will live on.
Dad at 21

One of the hardest things is clearing his house, all the personal things, and things he and Mum had bought that no one wants any more.
I now have one final task and that is to reunite him with Mum by placing his ashes with hers.

I found a lovely poem which my niece read at the service:
Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017


I have been rather neglectful of my blog of late. Life has a way of filling your days, just when you hope to start taking things a bit easier.
I intend filling a few gaps of my activities over the next few posts.
so, to start.

Way back in April I was lucky enough to travel to Portugal as the guest of David Bachmann with 11 fellow artists. The weather was very kind to us and we went out every day to various locations in the Algarve.
From left around the table, Tony Dakin, David Pilgrim, Karl Terry, John Stillman, Andrew Roberts, David Bachmann, Me, Haidee-Jo Summers, Valerie Poirlot, Tim King and (still painting) Michael Richardson

Morning Light 8" x 10"

Ponte do Piedade

We were quite high up painting this but it gave a great perspective with the tiny figures

Lagos - It did rain whilst painting this but we all persevered in true plein air spirit

            As you can see there were lots of stacks in the water which I found fascinating to paint.

Praia da Cordoama

Praia da Cordoama  

We were very lucky to have an exceptional cook for the week. Li prepared some wonderful meals. One day on getting back to the villa, she had just prepped the fish for the evening meal. Two enormous sea bass. I asked how long before she put them in the oven - we were given 40 minutes - easels were up and brushes flew and this was the end result
Supper 8" x 10"
Li loved it so much I gave it to her. I haven't painted fish much before but now I always eye up the fish counter when I walk by looking for a likely subject.

It was a great week in great company. The work produced was astounding, not only in volume but in quality as well. We decided as a group to exhibit our work and have now booked a venue in London for 2018 - watch this space!!  We will shortly have our own web site