Little Devil


I saw Adam from Hulton Art pottery today, which is based at the Spode pottery site. I bought a wall mounted bracket  (which is still wrapped in bubble wrap) but along with it he gave me a terracotta tile of what looks like a cheeky little devil..

I can’t  help liking his wide smile, the twinkle in his eyes, his spikey, possibly flaming coat, (the tile, not Adam!).

I asked if it was OK to paint this little guy, because he made me chuckle with laughter. It looks like something mediaeval that could have been a gargoyle on an old building. Adam told me it was made in about 1997, soon after he had completed his training in pottery, so it seems really special.  I feel privileged to have something that has age and character. This cheeky little devil is probably going to find a home on a window ledge somewhere.

I feel like he is related to the green men I have been painting over the last few years. Maybe they all have a feeling of spirit of the Earth in them. An old hidden life that we have lost as the world becomes ever more urban around us. I like the idea  of faeries and little people getting up to mischief.

I remember one if my favourite paintings when I was a teenager was Richard Dadds’ the Faeiry Fellers masterstroke. He was put into a mental asylum because of ‘madness’ but I don’t know his history apart from that. Dadds’ painting has amazing tiny details. If you can try looking it up on the net.

Anyway I might post a follow up picture of the little devil if I ever finish it.



Breaking the block!

Going to an arts group is a great way to start painting again when you are struggling.

I’m a member of a couple of groups so I spent a few hours today doing a couple of little paintings, a view of a hill with a sunset adapted from an old magazine photo and a green man or woman (not sure yet) from my imagination, but taking the eyes , mouth and nose from a face on a leaflet at a local fire station where we hire a room once a month.

As usual I’m concerned with colours, trying to get them right…is there too much brown in the green person painting? Is the sunset too dazzling in the  hill and lake painting (which is only about 1 by 1 and 1/2 inches).

I started discussing skies with other members of the group. Trying to think through how to render the light on clouds as the sun sets. To be honest when I get my hands on a paintbrush and paints I soon start creating again. The friendly support of the other members of the group just gave me that lift I needed.

If you can join a group I would recommend it. Each person had a unique idea of what they wanted to paint or draw. We all have our own styles, and some people wanted to use pastels, while others were using oils or acrylics. Each make marks differently. It’s wonderful to take a walk round the room and watch the progress of the artists there.

So…….the block is broken. There may be a mass of pictures coming this way soon!

Yesterdays Art


Some paintings I have worked on and a Mini Mona Lisa. ..

The first four are recent paintings that I have worked on because I was not happy with them. Water and Earth are both part of a series (including Air and Fire) I also want to improve them.

Leaves was originally a single leaf but it was very simple and I wanted to add more to it. The leaves are from my imagination. I sometimes use art as a way of helping my memory. If I can remember what something looks like I can use the memory for other paintings and not necessarily use reference photos. I dont have a photographic memory but I sometimes describe an image to myself, like the way a gutter and drainpipe are attached to a house. If I can describe it I can draw or paint it.

Autumn pottery is based on a “pot bank” the kilns that were used for firing pottery in the past. Now they use gas tunnel kilns. The plants are roses and cotoneaster. They are to represent vegetation growing around old, derelict pot banks. The blue background could be sky, or the water from local canals.

The final painting was a quick copy of the Mona Lisa, taken from a very old book on anatomy for student artists. I know it is wrong, the face is too thin, the smile is wrong. But for half an hour’s work its not bad. It’s on a tiny canvas about 1 inch by 2 inches.

So there you are, more paintings, its something I do.



I have had some cards and prints done!

The top painting is of a light at Spode. I was pleased with the prints that came out. The tones are good, and the image is clear. I’m glad I used a local fine art printing company.

The second card is of a painting similar to the green man above. It was a second version I had done, without the curves at the bottom of the painting. (I don’t have a photo of it).

The green man is on a gardinere in salts mill, saltaire, Yorkshire. It was an example of Victorian pottery. I took a photo with my phone and used it to work from.

I will be trying to sell them at a few craft fairs over the spring and summer. It’s hard to judge if people will buy them, but you have got to try !

Industrial art

One of the things about having a studio at Spode is you get to look round the site.


These two paintings are based on photos taken around the back of the site. The round window is easier to find. The globe light on a bracket is further round down a bit of a path that leads to the back of the visitor centre.

In another town they might have been removed and sold as salvage, as it is they are still there.

So then how to paint them. I dont have a printer so I was forced to work off the photo on my phone. That’s fine but I have to keep a thumb on the screen to try and stop it switching off. So it’s a bit if a juggling problem.  Also I like the image close to the canvas so I ended up holding both the phone and canvas in my left hand while painting and mixing with my right. Sometimes leaning the painting on a chair to support it.

I intend to do more.

Old patterns, New paintings

When you live in an old pottery city you are surrounded by designs and patterns.


The amount of creativity around here in the past, and still happening here is amazing.

I have been inspired by old pottery designs to paint a series of tiny canvases based on some of the old plates and pottery found around here.

I like the floral patterns, but also old picturesque architecture.

The main difficulty is finding a fine enough brush and also the quality of the little canvases. They can have quite a strong woven surface and the paint catches in the tiny dents on them and does not lie as neatly as it would on cartridge paper, for instance.

I am using tiny canvases, about 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches (3 by 5 centimetres approx). They are then painted with acrylic paint. I suppose I could use oil paint but this takes longer to dry although it might blend better.

So there you go….more ideas, I do love art and craft.



Red and white


I like building up images in an app called layout.

In this case I took close ups of the lettering of the word Spode that I had painted in red and white which is on the entrance sign to the Spode site.

Using layout I created a six section image, which, because of differences in exposure gives it a 3d effect.

The image was further duplicated into a 3×3 grid and rotating the images to give the effect above.

I also used filters to change the colour of the final image slightly.

I think I may use these images as a design on some cards I am getting printed in the near future.