art projects and exercises, art ideas to try

This time of year always sparks a desire to freshen things up a little; often accompanied by a need to declutter and tidy my home and art studio. This year I’ve been accompanied by the #sparkjoy approach to decluttering of Marie Kondo who has been all over Netflix with a new series. 

How is this relevant for art? When I tidy my studio, I’m creating space to work clearly, and find what I need NOW to make the art I aspire to. If this is important to me then it’s also important to create work space which feels energised and inspiring.

Creative spaces can be messy – and at times should be! But I know many artists who have this seasonal refresh  so I wondered if the Marie Kondo approach would help me tidy…

How to kon mari your art studio

Everyone has a different tolerance level, especially in a creative space. You may be happy in your creative, inspirational pig-sty, but sometimes it’s annoying to stand on a tube of paint and squirt it across the floor, or spend ages looking for the staple gun and have to go and buy another one. 

I’m not naturally tidy or at all minimalist, but I am conscious about what comes into my home; careful about adding clothes, going through papers as they come in. I feel calmer when at least parts of my home are ordered. Clearing the decks domestically gives me a calm path so I can go and focus on making art without that hangover feeling. 

The studio however can easily disintegrate into a muddle. There has been so much discussion about whether the Kon Mari method aka “the life changing magic of tidying up” works, so I thought I would draw some comparisons as I tidied my creative space.


KonMari step 1: start with the vision

Tidying isn’t about tidying. It’s about having the life you want; not wasting time looking through clutter for what you need or getting grumpy as you trip over more shoes. 

There is a mistaken idea that Marie Kondo’s approach is about minimising or limiting. In fact it’s about your vision of the person you are becoming.

My version: I agree!

The options in art are endless and extensive. That’s partly why we collect so much stuff – for inspiration, for future projects; just in case.

Being an artist isn’t about doing it ALL, it’s about making choices. Is that hard? Of course it can be. But this is good practice! If you can make decisions about the objects you are keeping then decisions which help progress your art work will follow on more easily.

I recommend creating a mood board for your art. You can find how to do this here. I also spend time setting some intentions for my upcoming work. The main question I ask is “What am I interested in bringing to my artwork this time?”

Art quote

Think about the artists you admire. Can you visualise the kind of artist you want to become? What kind of projects will stretch you and excite you? How would your space have to change to accommodate this? Write these down until you have a sense of what you would like to move towards. Keeping your ideas forward looking rather than backward looking is a key realisation that has helped me. 

Use the pinboard or a notebook or whatever works for you. Knowing why you need some clear creative space – and what you intend to create within it will help. 


KonMari step 2: move through the categories in order

In the Kon Mari method you don’t tidy by location, but work through your possessions in a particular order; clothes, books, paper, ‘Komono’ (miscellaneous & huge! bathroom, kitchen, garage, hobbies) and sentimental. 

I go through my studio usually twice a year. Many things in there cross all these categories: art clothes, books, paper and certainly when I first did it, a lot of what I was sorting would come under sentimental. The space had just evolved from a study and storage area. In that sense it’s been a long process, but that’s OK. Things have changed a LOT over that time so be forgiving of yourself. 

To do the whole method they say to allow 6 months. That’s a big task, especially when we really want to be creating, not tidying! If you find it difficult to sort then using the system may help, but otherwise….

tidy art desk for making collage

flat surfaces are my clutter magnet… tidying these first always helps!

My version: start with what will make the most difference

You may want to begin with another small area within your home. I find that our art-related spaces often have strong emotional ties. That’s kind of obvious – they need to. There is a reason Marie Kondo leaves sentimental objects until last – it can be much harder to see things objectively. Starting with something you are less attached to is like training your de-clutter muscle and will ease you in gently. 

Think of ONE place you know you could improve in a short space of time. Start there; it will  motivate you to keep going.


KonMari step 3: gather everything together!

You are supposed to gather all the items in that category in one place. I can’t imagine anything worse and this seems a lot of work.

It feels like a LOT of moving things around needlessly. To have everything heaped together must be kind of overwhelming. I think it would make me feel exhausted before I even began and turn to chocolate eclairs instead.

If you haven’t done anything like this before then I can sort of understand. After all it’s a kind of shock tactic; “I have HOW MUCH stuff?!” But doing this on your own, unless you have a good amount of time, there is a danger that you begin, and then grind to a halt as it takes longer than you anticipate. Plus, in a studio space it ties you up and stops you doing any work! Which kind of defeats the purpose.

My version: start with what is most important  – or least

If our focus is on just our creative space, it’s OK to leave the most sentimental objects until later. Instead look at areas of your studio you use most – and least. 

What do I mean by that? 

What we use most is part of our current practice. Disordered is usually an understatement once I get into the flow of painting; messy rags build up, cleaned brushes get randomly brought back in to play, pastels end up scattered on the floor, strips of tape hang from the walls, mixing bowls stack up with dried layers of colour. 

If you can make an improvement here it will help your work flow hugely. 

storage tips for art studio

I use an old wooden drawer liner box to keep scrapers and tape as a pull-out tray near to my painting station.




What do you use least? 

The chances are these items are part of a “someday/maybe project” or you are keeping things because you have spent time or money on them.  We can have a desire to keep everything as it’s all been part of our art journey. At one point I had huge piles of large A1 drawings from life class. They represented hours of learning and some of them were pretty beautiful. It was difficult and some might say a waste to let them go, but that’s not the direction I wanted to move forward with my work. I had done the learning. It felt great to let these go (see step 4) and reclaim the space.

What bothers you the most about your creative space?
Is there one thing you know you would like to improve?
Do you need storage for raw materials?
What do you trip over? Is there a stack of boxes in the corner you don’t even know what’s inside?
Which one thing, if it’s done today, will bring a big improvement?

Maybe it’s a task-based thing. I recently realised that when I need to wrap a parcel I have to collect items from 3 different rooms. Stupid and not necessary. I haven’t yet worked out how to persuade my husband to keep the giant roll of brown paper in the dining room, but it’s on my radar and I can now easily gather all the other items I need for that task together and make my life just a bit easier.

In part the method is about awareness. Life changes and shifts all the time – this is a way to re-asses and re-set what’s important for you. 

Don’t have all day? Make it easy on yourself and do just one shelf or cupboard at a time. This is manageable in short time blocks and unless you really have things in the wrong place it makes sense. You could even do this for 10 minutes at the start of each studio session as a way of re-acquainting yourself.  I do like to take everything out from that one place, sort what I need to keep, clean the shelf or cupboard and then replace.

Once you’ve done this you have fewer items which you can actually see and it encourages you to continue. If you need to move and re-arrange later, it’s easier to do because you know what items you are dealing with.

The aim isn’t to get rid of everything. My aim is to have a home which feels personal, works for us as a family, is welcoming and comfortable with things we enjoy and need. I like to have books and objects (and art of course) arranged, including strange nerdy Go-Gos (playground craze from 10 years ago) yelling up at a model of the Eiffel tower in my bathroom.

Is this practical? Not particularly, but it does make me smile – it’s a memory of a family trip to Paris and reminds me each morning the children won’t be small forever. (Note: they’re not small now – the big one is 17!)

The same is true in my studio. If I gathered everything it would be daunting and delay actually doing the creative work. I don’t want tidying to become a means of procrastination. Shelf by shelf it’s easy to look at what you have and if you still need it. Which brings me to: 


KonMari step 4: Sort first; keep what “sparks joy” and let things go

There is no point in organising your stuff, buying containers, moving things around if it’s no longer relevant. Marie’s advice is to hold each item and feel if it “sparks joy”.

This can be pretty hard to judge. After all, many things are purely practical rather than filling you with a well of emotion. She also advises you to thank each item as a way of moving forward. 

My version: respect

Maybe it’s personal, but the spark joy phrase seems a bit twee to me and I think it puts a lot of people off. Creative spaces are busy, messy places; just as they should be, and often need to be. Not everything is beautiful. But, I agree that we need to feel inspired within our space.

A few years ago my studio could become the dumping ground. It’s on the top floor with the only access to attic/eaves storage, and boxes sometimes got left “in transit”. I don’t often clean up there, but the dust and general dirt gathers and when it gets too much the space can feel neglected and sad.

I think of this part as showing your creative zone some love and respect

If your art is important to you, or you would like it to be, then honour how you do things and what you keep there.

questions to help you tidy your art materials

Keep to hand only what you need for your current work practice.

  1. Throw away anything you clearly no longer need. Check any lids, caps, dried up paints. No point keeping those! Rubbish, tatty paper.
  2. Does it make your heart sing or sink? If you are only keeping it because you feel guilty (it was a gift or you spent money and never used it) then the idea of thanking it before you let it go is worth experimenting with.
  3. Do you need it? With art materials, if I don’t know what’s in a cupboard or box, that means it needs re-housing or placing somewhere else or probably I don’t even need itInstead of thinking about how to store all these material, think about what you need in order to create the art you want to make now.
  4. Will you use this? Either make it a priority or accept this is not for now.
  5. Check for duplicates; do you have more than you need of certain items? Would duplicate items be more convenient in another place?
  6. Do you love it? Some things we keep in our creative spaces because they do honour our journey or inspire us. They deserve to be recognised – more about this below. 
  7. Will I really miss this if it goes?

Letting go of items you no longer want to keep

If you find this tough, have a ‘maybe’ box and postpone the decision until later. Once you’ve made some headway and can see the benefits of keeping things clearer it will be easier to decide what you no longer want. If art materials are in good condition, pass them on to a school or donate them.

In practice this gets swifter. You may not achieve Zen levels of de-cluttering but, just as Marie Kondo leaves the sentimental items to the end, I’ve found over the years that sometimes I need to keep things for a while. Having considered them once and given them a reprieve, I find it far easier the next time (Spring or back to school Autumn) to acknowledge that project probably isn’t going to happen and I can let things go more easily. 

I find the idea of thanking objects helpful. Nope, I don’t say it out loud, but acknowledging that stack of life drawing pages and being thankful for the classes definitely helped me to let them go.

Still finding this hard? Yearning for a bigger studio? ( I don’t know an artist who isn’t!) Just imagine what could you do with the space you currently have allocated to storage/materials you don’t use. No creative space is ideal, but you can make the best of what you have.


KonMari step 5: …THEN organise

Now you have what you love or need you can organise. I find it helps me to think less about where I put things, but about knowing where I can go quickly to find things.

how to organise your art materials

A few tips I use to organise:

1. Group similar together and think by task
eg collage material together. I try to keep all my spare and ‘waiting’ panels stacked in one place rather than dotted around. All my finishing materials are together in one place. Items I use to ‘grab and go’ when I want to take paints outside are kept together in the bag I use for that. Items for hanging at shows are kept in one moveable box. This is one place I keep duplicates, tape measure, screwdrivers, blu-tack – it’s all in one place so I don’t have to search and gather.

storage containers in art studio

So much easier to grab what you need when you can see it. Having items a similar size helps eg if you re-use plastic tubs for mixing paint, find one size or shape you like, and stick to it!

2. Divide into boxes
One thing I have been doing for years is to re-use boxes to store smaller items (it’s not rocket science is it?) Divide drawing materials by colour and use low height boxes on your work surface. My paint tubes are sorted into three shoe boxes on my trolley: one for white, black and neutrals, one for blues and greens and one for reds, oranges yellows. This has worked well – quick enough to chuck the tubes back in quickly, but also find what I need.

Shoe boxes with lids can be great for keeping like items together and stacked on shelves. 

3. Store vertically where you can
Or at least so that you can see and remove items easily. Don’t over-fill spaces so you can’t see what’s at the back or stack bottles too deep to get them out.

4. Label things
The cupboards in my work space house things I don’t use on a daily basis. Maybe just because I’m visual, once something is in a cupboard I can easily forget what’s in there. For quick labels I write on masking tape. You can tape a sheet of paper inside a cupboard door with what’s inside if it has lots of small items. I do the same with drawers. 

TIP: If you don’t want the labels to be visible you can add them to the top of the drawer edge as you open the drawer – this works for papers in a desk I have in our living space. 

5. Use your space in creative ways
I work in an attic conversion so I have sloping ceilings. I’d love to have more wall space but cupboards in the eaves are great for keeping squash-able bubble wrap, and I have created a false wall on one side and behind there I keep poster tubes for sending prints and smaller paintings ‘in waiting’.

We tend to ‘move in’ once and then not change how we keep things. In reality our process is changing all the time. Think creatively about what suits you now.

6. It’s not all practical – refresh your inspiration
Find places for the things which inspire or motivate you. I have a small mantelpiece and a shelf where I keep certain items. I see the shelf on the way out of the studio every day but we get used to seeing the same things and glaze over them. Refresh your pinboard, or postcards from exhibitions, or gathered natural objects or collections of colour…. whatever you gather to inspire you.


Keeping it this way…

Will my socks stay folded? This may be one area where my husband is right; maybe life is too short for this. However I did find 6 odd socks, pairs with holes in the heels I was keeping but never wearing and it doesn’t take any longer to put them away this way. We’ll see.

Will my studio stay tidy all the time? I really hope not! Getting messy is a natural by-product of making art. The last thing we need is to hold ourselves accountable for an immaculate work space.

Creativity is like a gas: it expands to fill the space available for it.

We can help by making sure that space is available as intended, so we can do the work we really want. 

Doing a major de-clutter is a big undertaking, but this is actually about the same thing all artists do – paying attention; looking at what’s important, for you, at this point. It’s inevitable that things build up, but the large printmaking studio I used to work in only functioned because everything had its place – and things went back or you were in trouble!

Tidying can bring a lasting change to your work space and help you keep on track with the art you intend to make. Going through this process maybe twice a year becomes easier each time and helps me appreciate the space I do have.

I’d love to know your views on an ordered/messy work space and please share any tips you’ve discovered in the comments below. If you’d like to see and share photos of your work space come over and join us in the Art Explorers facebook group  where we shall be using the hashtag #tidystudio to share tips and motivation. 

One of the joys of my ‘job’ as an artist is seeing people fall in love with art and deciding they want a painting to enjoy forever.

But it’s not always so straightforward. If there are two of you, you have each other’s taste to take into account, or there are more practical matters like “Should it match my walls?” or “Will it fit?” And choosing art as a Christmas present? At once a brilliant idea for the spouse who has everything, and yet potentially very easy to make a mistake.

Art can make an amazing gift at Christmas but how can you get it right? Smaller paintings are easy to fit in but for larger works it can be hard to imagine how a painting might look in your home.

ART GIVING TIP 1:  to help you visualise the space; measure out the size using sheets of newspaper stuck together. This one is for if size matters!

Galleries can totally throw your sense of scale, because, let’s face it – few of us live in plain white boxes! Simply measuring with a tape measure only gives you a linear dimension so the newspaper trick allows you to see the full area the painting will fill. But don’t play too safe; grouping small works together in a ‘gallery wall’ lets you add to your collection, and larger pieces in smaller spaces can have great impact. 

(featured painting: Bloom click for details)

There are two of us showing original paintings and prints from today until 9th December at 1of1 Design in Teddington (click for map location). Two different ‘Experiences of Landscape’ Nadia Day creates paintings from local park and river scenes: Windsor, the Thames and Richmond.

Hanging work in a different space had it’s challenges for us too, so you are not alone in figuring out things will fit! But we did it and it looks terrific!

I do hope you will come and visit. The gallery is open every day, but if you’d like to meet me there, then come along on ‘Lights Up’ night from 5pm on Thursday 29th November when we shall be there (with bubbles!) or send me an email.



ART GIVING TIP 2: If you are thinking of buying for a gift from an individual artist – do ask them what they recommend. Many artists will let you have work on approval for a short while. Last year I created bespoke gift cards for a husband who wanted to gift his wife a painting, but wished to let her choose. That way she had something to unwrap on the day and he knew she could pick the one she really wanted. 

ART GIVING TIP 3: A painting doesn’t need to match your walls! Choose it because you love it and you will never get bored. An art collection can grow with you and bring personality to your home. Listen to your instinct – when you get that slight tingle, you know it’s right.


If you’d like to order a print online as a gift, please take note of the following order times:

Order by Thursday 6th December and prints will be sent out on Wednesday 19th December, courier services allowing. It’s a bit more complicated this year as I’m away 7th-17th. All prints are made to order, and I need to be here to sign and send. Click here to view prints

See more of Nadia’s work at

Part of this post was originally a guest feature on The Chiswick Calendar website

Of course, with the same first name, how could I resist? I first met Alice a year ago at The Other Art Fair and we’ve been in touch since then via Instagram (her and me).  We recently had brief exchange about the importance of titles for abstract paintings and I suggested we get together and try and record a “Creative Conversation” for you.

I visited Alice at her London studio in Woolwich and we talked about how work changes over time. She shares where her inspiration comes from, how people respond to her paintings. And we get the giggles.

You can see her work on display at The Other Art Fair in London, 4-7th October 2018 and sign up for her newsletter for a complimentary ticket code here:

I hope you enjoy this, and that it may be the first of other conversations between artists. I know I love listening to conversations such as this. Let me know what you think!


Discovering your favourite art and artists can be a tricky business. You can visit art fairs and meet the artist or see what your favourite gallery has to offer but it’s good to see innovative ways to bring art buyers and artists together.

So I’m thrilled to be part of a new art event curated by The Auction Collective, coming to London this Autumn.

Inspired by John Masefield’s 1902 poem of the same name, Sea-Fever presents 50 sea-inspired artworks direct from 27 contemporary artists. Starting bids begin from £60 and there is 0% buyer’s commission so this is a fun alternative to online or art fairs – you don’t even have to leave home (but there’s ice cream and drinks for you if you do!)



They have selected a wide-variety of skilled and exciting artists, and have brought together a group of beautiful seascapes and sea-themed works of art. “Photographs, paintings, prints, collages and sculptures make up this auction to celebrate how the water around our island continues to stimulate the artists of today”

The sea isn’t a major focus of my work so I have just one piece showing, but the underlying themes of exploration and open space totally apply. They interviewed me for their blog which you can read here to find out my favourite place by the sea.

inspiration for sea painting

secret place by the sea – yes, it looks cold, but we did swim!




And of course I wanted to invite you along to the event – which is going to be a fun night out:

It’s happening at the Hoxton Arches, E2 8HD
September 13th starting 7.00 pm (and the auctioneer goes fast!!)

You can bid in one of three ways:

  • In person, by coming to the auction on 13 September (I’ll be there, watching nervously!)
  • Through absentee bidding, which closes at 6.00 pm on 13 September
  • Via the telephone on the night of the auction

Visit the Auction Collective website to see the range of work on offer and register.


I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Visit the Auction Collective website now

And let me know – where is your favourite sea view?


Every month I talk to my friend Judith. She didn’t start out as friend, but by now we have both vented, cried, laughed, talked politics and replied to messages later in the evening than would usually be considered polite. I feel she knows me and trust she has my best interests at heart and always speaks plain truth. What more could you want in a friend?

She is also a business coach. Terrible expression and something I had no need of back in 2014 when I didn’t even have a business! But something made me realise it would feel good to have this woman on my side. She didn’t seem to fit the norm and I didn’t want a formula to follow.

Recently Judith has pulled all her wisdom (actually it probably doesn’t even touch the sides!) together in a book which answers 52 questions about creating “Your Biz Your Way” and I have been invited to take part in a blogfest to celebrate the book – and hopefully introduce it to new readers (that’s you!)

My biggest driver was that I didn’t want to go back to ‘work’ and be at someone else’s beck and call. I wanted to work totally on my own terms, even if that was an area which might take me the rest of my life to master – if mastery is what we are looking for? Our early conversations were more “life coach” and gave me the courage to follow what I really wanted to do; which was to make art my business, not just a hobby.

How do you run Your Business Your Way?

Finding my confidence has come through a series of small decisions. Very often these have been against the accepted wisdom of the proper way to do things; proper artists only show their work in galleries and don’t sell directly to the public; proper artists keep a sense of mystery and don’t give away their processes.

Reading ‘Your Biz Your Way’ on holiday in Costa Rica!

I went against both these – being open and approachable feels good to me and I know my buyers appreciate being able to speak with me first or meet me when I take work to their home.

Early advice seemed to be that I should offer art workshops to supplement painting sales but I felt time squashed already and I didn’t want to get sucked into a side-line teaching others which would also need to be promoted. Doing it My Way and concentrating just on my own work felt selfish at first. So much business advice is about creating something to serve others; working out what people need and then supplying it for them. But you simply can’t approach making art that way – it has to come from you.

Social Media My Way?

I’ve learnt that being open and honest about what I’m learning and when I’m stuck really helps.  It’s so much easier to just be yourself! I started sharing my work on Instagram because I kept running out of space for photos on my phone and it has become the most supportive place, both for me and for others.

I don’t schedule or plan much beyond the next post. I show something when it feels like I have something to say, I spend far too much time there – it’s not about marketing efficiency but being part of a creative community and has brought me in touch with so many inspiring people.

I accept that ALL of it is a work in progress; the website, branding (what branding?), how I write my newsletters. Newsletters are a great lesson in letting things not be perfect – once it’s sent you can’t change it. Yes, some have gone out with wrong links, or typos. I’m human.

It’s OK to ignore standard advice if it doesn’t feel right…

I still don’t have an opt-in freebie, or ‘lead magnet’. Apparently I should do. Do you want one? If I had one apparently more people would sign up, but I figure if you really like my work and want to see more that will be enough incentive… Or would having a PDF of 5 Art Secrets to Improve Your Home be something you’d like?!

Accept my own body clock and routine

It’s taken me a while to figure out a seasonal rhythm which suits me. I’m not an early starter but I know now how to make the most of my time and when to prioritize and when it’s OK to let things drop. I am away from the studio during the holidays, then I can recharge with sketchbook work or take more time to read or review where I am, or figure out the next bit of tech perhaps.

My Way has definitely changed over the past few years. I used to need to know all the answers in advance – to know what pieces to put in place. I still debate with myself but now I’m more likely to listen to my instincts, make a decision and figure it out along the way. I had been debating the pros and cons of opening a Facebook group for a while, and one Saturday morning it just felt right. Now that’s the way to do business – in bed, Saturday morning, cup of tea in hand! Art Explorers now has over 500 members in just a few weeks. When it’s right, it seems to just work.

The book is the best guide I have found to trusting yourself based on Judith’s years of helping small business owners.

Your Biz or Your Life? You don’t have to choose

Working with her has also taught me more than I care to acknowledge about general life skills. I think I am a better parent now. I am more forgiving of myself; I no longer see time to rest as a weakness. Decisions are easier; if a question arises I take time to sit with myself and the answer becomes clear. I am happier. 

Treat yourself!

You can get the book here on Kindle, digital or in a proper paper copy. It’s beautifully laid out, packed full of links, space for notes and easy to read in short chunks. But it’s a proper 192 pages of wisdom!

I knew I wanted to elevate my art practice, but I wasn’t sure what I needed… I had been looking at learning how to improve my website, or should I take an Instagram course? Instead I joined Nicholas Wilton’s CVP (Creative Visionary Programme) in March 2016 the first time he ran it. Why?

In my heart I knew what I wanted. I wanted to really spend my time on making my art better. The best it could be.

I had been reading and enjoying Nicholas’ weekly emails and something made me feel this would be a Good Move.

This programme has truly transformed the way I work and many of you have been asking about it, so here’s my honest review of CVP to help you decide if it’s the right thing for you, your life and your art. For two years in 2019 and 2020 I was a coach on the program so I know it well and have seen from the inside the results it brings for people.

What exactly is CVP?

CVP is a three-month programme that’s all about making your art stronger and unique to you. It’s not a join-and-watch-in-isolation course (although you can do it that way if you prefer!) There is a huge amount of personal interaction. You will be working alongside the other members (artists at all levels) on your own paintings and will be able to upload your work as it develops, see paintings adjusted so you can really see the principles in action. It’s run by Californian artist Nicholas Wilton, and a strong support team of other practising artists.

(Beforehand you can join the FREE Art2Life workshop for a small taster to introduce you to some key ideas to improve your art.)
In 2023 this starts on 13th February and you can sign up HERE now.

Across 10 modules, CVP helps artists get clear on their own path – what really sets you alight – and moves on to the six Art2Life principles of Design, Value, Colour, Texture, Risk and Soul and finally Launch. This program provides a solid foundation to build a sustainable, enjoyable art practice and create a significant shift in your work. It’s not a business course – it’s about making the core of your art practice enjoyable and rewarding. It’s this sense of ease and exploration which felt such a release for me.


My 100% Honest Review of CVP

CVP came just at the right stage for me. I knew my work could be better, I just wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get it there. Working on my own perhaps made me more hesitant – it was easier to feel my way slowly in small steps and CVP gave me the approval that it was really OK to dive into what I really wanted to create. More importantly, it showed me just how to do that.

My feelings changed from frustration to excitement as I started working with a wider sense of freedom and exploration. When I enrolled in early 2016, I had a website and a small following. Since then I’ve seen my work take off. Other people seem more drawn to it (and importantly now I have more understanding of why) and perhaps my confidence has grown so that taking steps towards bringing it to a wider audience feels easier. Honestly, I feel sick if I think about not having taken the program…

So do you have to be a professional artist?

No – we are all creatives together and this course will include artists at all levels. Wherever you are on that journey (and wherever you want to take it) you will find these principles will help.

If you are just beginning, then having this understanding will take you forwards in larger leaps than figuring it out by yourself. The information is presented in easily understandable short chunks, with clear demonstrations and a practical way to put the ideas into practice and see the work reviewed.

If you are more experienced, this is an opportunity to refresh and invigorate your art. If your art is authentic and in alignment with what inspires you, it becomes more desirable and much easier to share with others and sell. The course helps clarify your artistic expression and reignite your creativity and excitement. It has given me a way to review and ‘crit’ my own work against a hierarchy of principles I decide to be important. That means I rarely get stuck, and waste less time – very precious when I’m working within a busy family life.

Is it for you? Well, it depends…

How CVP works

The Art2Life CVP Program is a twelve week program, plus one rest week in the middle. You access the lessons each week with videos you can watch anytime and anywhere. Each week there are 7-10 short videos (about 2 hours total) plus time needed to do the exercises / continue your panels (about 2.5 hours) And however much time time you choose to spend within the group discussing what you are learning.

Every week there is a group call with Nicholas (about 1.5hrs) which you can join live to ask questions, or submit them in advance. These are recorded so you can watch them later. There will also be an extra coaching session during the week by the Art2Life team coaches which give extra support. You will probably find others asking the same questions – and seeing their problems resolved is often and easier way to ‘see’ how you can learn from the same issue.

This content needs to be heard and then re-heard, in some cases multiple times. If you really want to shift your art, it only can be accomplished by fully understanding the areas in art making that you were never taught.

It’s very practical – you learn as you create a series of paintings during the course. This practice is something you may be familiar with as a way of working, or something you later keep within your own process, but it’s designed to teach you by experience so you fully learn the content. You can then apply this understanding to your own process – whatever that is for you.

NOTE: In 2022 CVP was redesigned to give an even better experience. I didn’t take part that year, but now in 2023 I’m re-doing CVP for the first time – as a student again – and I’m excited to be part of it again!

Who I think CVP is perfect for

CVP is perfect if you have the feeling you need something ‘more’ in your art. Maybe you’ve been working the same way for a while and you want to explore a new direction. Maybe you know you can make it better, but you’re not sure what to try or you don’t know where to push it – and where to relax.

If you are frustrated with your own progress, or want to learn with others. This is unlike anything I’ve ever taken. I didn’t quite believe it could work online – but it does because of the commitment of the team behind it. There is a depth of understanding and a genuine desire to help which really comes across.

Who I think CVP is not for

It’s not for you if you are wedded to your way of working and are not prepared to experiment in order to learn. There is a degree of trust involved – I remember wondering quite where it was all going to lead and feeling frustrated at times that it didn’t seem to be ‘coming together’. Like any new learning it can take time to integrate. You will have the support of the community.

I don’t paint abstracts – is it for me?

Nicholas’ work is abstract (but it hasn’t always been) and many, but not all, people taking part are here to explore that. But many of the examples in the weekly teaching calls are representational so you can see the principles at work. There will be plenty of people working this way too.

Whatever your style, the principles still apply. The practical element may feel a little unusual. But be prepared; this may bring a radical change – or show you the small differences which can really elevate your work.

What CVP won’t give you…

Clearly I’m a big fan of CVP as it had a huge impact on my own art practice, but this is not a step-by-step tutorial to make paintings that sell.

A fulfilling art practice (and career if you want that) takes time. It takes a lot of YOU, which is why it’s so helpful to have input and support from others who just ‘get’ exactly what you are talking about!

It’s not a business course. It won’t teach you the nuts and bolts of building your website, but I have found that the principles of what makes us attracted to things, knowing your own vision and understanding how things are viewed together has helped me with everything from how my Instagram feed looks to being bolder in my choices about my home and even travel ambitions. Weird, I know.

me in my large studio 2019 after taking CVP



Frequently Asked Questions about CVP

Here are some questions you may still have. If you don’t see yours or are still wondering about your unique situation, feel free to email me ( – or we can arrange a time to talk.

When does enrolment open?

The 2023 program will be open in late February, but first….

You get to join a free taster workshop HERE


How much is it? Is it expensive?

CVP is $2397 if paid in full. There is one time payment and extended payment options available.

Is that expensive? Compared to what? Only you can decide that. Considering the breadth of the program and how this can impact your work for years going forward, I think it’s great value. It did feel like a big investment (ok, huge) for me; but it made me up my game and I thought about how I could cover the cost with painting sales… I’m so glad I joined, but if you do and then decide it’s not for you – there is a 30 day guarantee.

What materials will I need?

You will need 12×12” wooden ply panels to work on and acrylic paint. A full list is supplied, but much of it you will already have to hand. This size is chosen so that you can cover the space on multiple pieces relatively quickly. The faster and more frequent the changes on your art, the faster and more efficient you will understand this new learning.

Do I have to work in acrylics?

The program suggests you work in acrylics. There is a reason for this – the speed of drying and ability to work in layers with both opaque and translucent paint keeps you moving and learning quickly. Nick’s larger paintings are in oils and the principles apply to all mediums, although some of the shared practical processes (primarily in the texture section) are more applicable to acrylics.

Working in watercolour or collage in my sketchbook has been helped by taking these principles on board – knowing what information I want to record or what will be most helpful or most of interest. It’s a way to filter all the visual knowledge you have. Even if you don’t want acrylic to be your main medium you will find these exercises will inform your main one.

Should I take this or get my website ready first?

Sharing your work with others (and helping others) is a key part of what Nicholas teaches. But having great work you are confident about is the first cornerstone of any of the more “business-like” elements of your work.

But I already know the theory of art – what will I gain from this?

I thought I knew colour theory too. But sometimes hearing things presented in a different way, means they really sink in. This isn’t dry theory, but a practical study which leads you through these principles. The Risk and Soul elements may not be as visibly strong, but it’s the combination of the whole approach which really make this quite unique and will bring you such a signifiant shift.

Many people say they learnt more on this program than years at art school.

I’m too busy – I’m not sure I have time

One of the first teaching modules in the program is about mindset – how to make your practice a relief from a busy life, not an additional burden. For the first 2-3 weeks there is very little painting – an intentional gentle start as we lay the foundations.  If you can allow 2-3 hours a week for painting that will be enough (although I admit I was just a little obsessed and probably spent longer!) Many people take the programme alongside a full time job.

During any long program most people have other family or work commitments, or holiday plans during the program (I missed 10 days right at the start) – you can catch up at anytime and go at your own pace. You will have access to the portal for a full year. Much of the content is also supplied as audio which you can download and listen while you are driving or working.

Can I join later this year instead?

The program only runs once a year – the next chance will be in spring 2024. Just think where your art could be by then!


Phew! I hope that helps…. If you want to ask more you can ask in the comments below which may help others, or email me with your questions or we can find a time to talk


Thank you x

One of the things which helps me in the studio is a ‘mood board’  for my art. It’s good to refresh this and I had become so used to looking at it, that my eyes passed over it and it was no longer serving its purpose.


So what’s a mood board?

You’re probably familiar with interior design mood boards – designers use them to bring together ideas for a new room scheme – they can include swatches, visuals and samples. In this sense a mood board gives you a way to guide the choices you make. It may not contain details, but it gives you an overall feeling and a visual way to play with what you would like to create… things which will make you feel proud and excited to create!

Why does this help?

In art the possibilities are endless, so having a gentle way to keep you aligned can be a big help. It acts a reminder – in a big visual, always visible way – of what interests you. And if you keep following what interests and excites you, then you won’t get bored.

Yes, we can do this in sketchbooks too, but they get left in bags, or the cover is closed and they go back on the shelf. A mood board is a big visual, the overall approach and feel.


If you feel stuck, you have a tangible object to come back to to reignite your ideas, perhaps see what’s missing, or where you have become stuck in familiar territory rather than following your new year excitement. (PS – you can do this anytime!)

Here is my previous board – you can see I have pieces of fabric, photos of road markings, images from magazines and some older pieces of work which I wanted to refer to.

If you like this idea what’s the best way to go about this? There are a few tips which may help you the first time if this feels unfamiliar and you’re not sure where to begin…


Don’t start with pictures!

I like to start with writing. If I go straight to images I end up choosing from what’s available so the choices are coming from outside me. What I’m looking for is my own internal guidance and writing helps with that.

There are a couple of ways you can approach this:

ONE: like morning pages as recommended in The Artists Way; simply write longhand whatever comes to mind about your work until you cover three pages. Julia Cameron advises that you don’t go back and re-read them, but for this exercise I would go back with a highlighter and mark what seems relevant. You may end up with some specific things like “work bigger” or you may find more emotional ties – like a frustration that you never find enough time for your creative work or you are stuck within a particular style.

You won’t find a totally clear answer straightaway – this is a process which can be repeated – and you can adjust your board accordingly.

THE SECOND WAY: is to mind map with single words which feel important. This is faster. If you keep following the spider-arms and questioning what it means to you, you will end up pushing your ideas further. This can be challenging, but being more specific will help your ideas. Instead of ‘work in a series’ what does that mean to you? Will they all be the same size or are you finding links across different mediums.

The answers may not all go onto your board, but could start to create different creative projects for you to focus on.

What materials do I need?

I like to use a cork board and pins. That way you can rearrange and adjust; add and remove elements as you move through the year. I painted my board with leftover house paint – just a pale neutral colour, but you could go for bolder or dark… most of it will be covered, but I don’t like that dull brown as a starting point!

You could also use normal card and stick or tape the elements down.

What should you put on it?

Anything goes, but here are some suggestions:

  • images from magazines – think about the kind of home your work would look amazing in, or use fashion magazines and adverts are especially good for backgrounds with beautiful colour variations. YO could look for intresting textures and shapes in travel magazines. I find it helps to pick magazines where the photography is inspirational or more ‘arty’ or design led – the images are more distinctive
  • fabric strips
  • colour swatches – either from paint sample charts, or paint your own.
  • images of other artists’ work – but think about WHY it inspires you – be specific about what it has which you would like to bring to your own work in your own way.
  • images of your own work – which pieces were pivot pieces for you? What can you learn from them? Those moments deserve to be recorded and reminding yourself that……
  • photographs you’ve taken, or copies from your sketchbook

I also like to write words. Sometimes visuals can be too specific where words give me a looser direction to follow. Cut the letters from magazines, use a stamp, print using your favourite font on your computer or just write by hand (the quickest way!)

You can collect from anywhere, but you are looking for things which raise your excitement level. We want this board to be something which fires you up, which fills you with energy and enthusiasm.

Once you’ve made your board, where should you put it?

I have mine on a shelf just inside my work studio. It’s not directly in front of me while I’m working so I can still concentrate on the painting I’m doing. But it’s still visible all the time. This is something you want to be reminded of, so find a place you will notice it daily.

  • where you will see it when you wake up
  • the room you spend most time in
  • if you are easily distracted, how about putting it where that happens to remind you of what you would really find fulfilling? Prop it in front of the TV, or in the kitchen so that after dinner you spend time on your creative projects.
  • you can even take a photo of it and use it as your screen saver on your phone!


So, what’s on my board for this year?

Overall it’s more spacious – there is a clarity which hasn’t been present before. It feels more single minded. That’s not to say work is fixed or that it won’t deviate from now onwards. Remember this is flexible guide for you, not a rigid set of instructions!

I’ve used small parts of older paintings and visualised them at a larger scale to remind me not to clutter the space. I found the word EDIT in a magazine, and the colours aren’t guides for paintings so much as reminder to play within colour families.

Some things have carried over from last year – that inky streak with the sharp cut out because it reminds to make bold moves, and the list of text…. those are things which interested me last year and still do – what……..(list sample)


What do I need to add?

Something to do with photography…. my iPhone is wonderful, but I would like to use a proper lens more this year to give me more control over the images. I want to collect more of the urban space around me and find a way to use this in my work.


What else could you use this for?

I mentioned this first on Instagram and some people liked the idea of creating a board for each series of work, even each painting or perhaps seasonally would suit you. If you have a go – please tag me so I can see what you make, and let me know below if you think this will be helpful for your own work – or what you might use it for…. holidays? planning a room? things to add in your life?

Here is one I made just exploring autumn colours for a previous painting I was starting. It’s not a formula for the painting, but it’s a good way to explore what you are attracted to and want to include before you pick up the brush and fall into familiar habits of colour mixing!

Want more tips for your art?

Come and join the free Art Explorers group on Facebook where we will be exploring different ways to strengthen your art practice – and how to get it out into the world.







The children rarely hop up and down with excitement when it’s time to take the Christmas decorations down. There is a hesitation to say goodbye and fewer volunteers for this job than the excited unwrapping of the lights and re-discovery of favourite ornaments earlier in December! To me, the house always feels combination of fresh – and a little bit empty. While it’s good to clear and find space, it also feels a little bare and sad for a few days.

This year I’ve kept a set of decorative lights around a favourite painting by Craig Shuttlewood. These are no longer Christmas decorations you understand – I have decided they fall in to the category of mood lighting. Essential!

Candles are the same. We still have a good few weeks of winter to come and anything which keeps spirits high and lets us enjoy the darker evenings is a good thing.

Walking the dog yesterday I saw all the trees stacked up in the park, waiting to be collected and disposed of. The irony is that this is the exact same location they were sold from just weeks ago. How quickly some things can go from being carefully compared, chosen and carried home and then lovingly decorated…. to wasted rubbish.

Thankfully now the children are older there is less temptation for wasteful tat for presents – we were away for Christmas so no one has actually had presents yet! My husband chose himself a new weekend bag – a quality leather one he had had his eye on for a while.

Far better to choose well and pick something you know will appreciate for a good while to come.

I love this time of year for taking stock. I have a list of decorating and maintenance jobs in the house. Some are bigger projects, but making changes to just small items is enjoyable when suddenly the house is clean and clear again.

Moving pieces of furniture, making sure you get photos in frames, a new blanket bringing colour to the arm of the sofa. I’ve moved a few pictures around and have a collection of small art works I’ve purchased which are now ready to be framed and grouped together. ( Simon M Smith, a Mark Charlton collage, an original print by Kathy Hutton and some tiny stiched pieces by Gill Boulton)  Little jobs which are satisfying and make a difference. Things taken care of.

click image to see details of this painting

I’ve also been planning the year ahead… some paintings are currently on show in Laveli bakery in Chiswick ready for anyone looking to fill a bare space on their own wall and the next big event is Surrey Contemporary Art Fair 23-25th February. If you are on the mailing list you will receive links to tickets closer the time.

My wishes for this year?

• a bigger working space
• creating a group or programme to support other creatives
• exploring ways to incorporate photography and more graphic elements back in to my work

I’m not entirely sure yet how any of this will evolve. Maybe you are the same with your plans? If you don’t already, I encourage you to write them down somewhere. Somewhere you can review them in a year’s time – perhaps a journal or the page at the start of your diary.

I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s quite incredible how things you write have a way of coming true. Including: unexpected travel (an unplanned trip to Japan), to be featured in a magazine (twice!), in January 2017 I wrote “explore making videos” and there are now more than 26 videos on my Facebook page (click here to view them) which have had 26,000 views!

That’s pretty fun results for an experiment and I’ve had some wonderful conversations as a result of them. So if that’s you, thank you for being part of my year and let’s welcome in new experiments and explorations for 2018.

Do let me know your intentions for the year. In fact a better question may be to complete the sentence and write in the comments below:

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if….”


Art fairs are a fabulous way to discover new artists and to buy exciting original art for your home, but they can also be overwhelming. I often see visitors wandering with a slightly glazed expression as there can be so much to look at.

So a few tips to make sure you have a great visit, especially if you are looking for art to bring back home…

affordable art fair

1. Pick the right fair

Fairs where artists show directly to the public are a great opportunity to discover emerging artists who are prepared to invest in their career. If an artist has created a solid body of work, paid for space, invested in framing you can bet they are committed to their practice and growing their art career. You could discover a new talent!

Some fairs (such as Frieze or the Affordable Art Fair) allow only galleries: this gives you the benefit of a prior authority approving their work, however galleries vary according to taste and it does generally mean the prices will be significantly higher. They can be more visually daunting as 100 galleries each showing work from say 10 artists, means 1000 different styles! So it helps to be clear about what you are looking for.

2. Find advance tickets

Get free or reduced entry by joining the mailing list of the organisers or one of the galleries or artists involved. Printed tickets are not usually posted out as a matter of course so make sure to open your emails in the run up… and put the date in your diary as reminder to check!

3. Have an idea of how much you want to spend

Having an idea of how much you want to spend is helpful. Prices can vary hugely depending on how established the artist is, but there are many ways artists try to offer alternatives. You may be fixed on wanting a large original painting, but perhaps a drawing could have the same impact, or a reproduction print?

If you fall in love with a particular work you may be prepared to be flexible about your budget. Remember – that exact painting is a one-off and it won’t be available again – now is your chance! Art can feel expensive so put in context with your spending on furniture if you are redecorating a room, or how much you would spend on an evening eating out with friends. See no.8 for other ideas to help spread the cost…

4. Get out your tape measure before you leave home

If you are looking for artwork for a particular place, be prepared. Take measurements of the wall where it will hang, take photos on your phone so that it’s easier to visualise the artwork in place. But if you fall in love, be prepared to adjust your ideas – small paintings can be hung in groups for impact on a larger wall, and a small space can look amazing filled with a larger painting.

5. Do a fast first route – with a pen in hand

If you give a lot of attention to every stand you will feel wrung out before you’ve covered even half of what’s on offer. My tip is to do a fairly swift walk around the whole venue – certain pictures may catch your eye but don’t stop too long now. Mark artists you like on your map. Once you’ve looked over everything you will have a better idea of the work on show. Maybe your ideas have changed, maybe you feel stronger in your conviction of what you are looking for. If you feel that you haven’t yet seen anything you like you will certainly have a clearer idea of what you don’t like. The second time you will be more attuned to visually pick up on work which appeals to you – and may spot something you didn’t notice at first.

6. Revisit your favourites and talk to the artist!

The second time round you are revisiting particular paintings or artists you liked before. Does it still grab you on a second viewing? Maybe this time the work feels more enticing? Listen to your instinct. If there is a piece of artwork you are interested on, talk to the artist or gallery and let them know. This is the most exciting part of an art fair – you get direct access to the person who made the work so ask away.

Feel free to ask more about the piece. If you feel it’s the one for you – go for it! If you are still a little unsure then find out if they will hold it for you. The last thing you want is to come back and find it just sold to someone else! It’s unfair to ask an artist to reserve a painting for you indefinitely, after all they are there to make sales, however most artists or galleries will give you time to consider.

7. Take a break and restore your energy

Don’t be surprised if you find your energy flagging – its a visual feast but it’s a lot to take in! Take a break, find somewhere to rest your feet and have a coffee. It’s easy now to feel overwhelmed and head home without making a choice – but then you will just be back to square one. Go back to stands you spoke to and let them know your decision – either way. They won’t be offended, no one will try to persuade you, but there may be a way to help you out with some of your considerations….

8. Ask about paying in instalments

Many of the big fairs offer payment plans through the Own Art scheme which allows you to spread payments over 10 months. But even individual artists may be open to this idea for larger work. I have taken payment for work in three parts. Just discuss terms and remember you are both trying to get to the same solution – a way for you to own a piece of work you love!

9. Keep in touch

If you have found an artist whose work you like – congratulations – that’s like a needle in a haystack! You don’t want to lose touch and forget they exist. Even if today isn’t a buying day, what about your birthday coming up, or an anniversary to celebrate? You can always contact them after the art fair too – I can promise they will be delighted to hear from you!

Even if you never plan on buying it’s worth getting on to gallery or artist’s mailing list – in my experience they rarely bombard you with too many emails and it’s a good way to see more about how an astist works, or how their work is developing. And of course, get free tickets for next time!

10. Take home what you love – and have fun!

Last and most important is to choose what you like. Don’t be swayed by your friend who prefers flowers. A painting doesn’t need you to stay the same dress size to continue wearing it. You can’t lose half of it like a pair of earrings. It isn’t something you enjoy just for an evening or a week, like the theatre or a holiday. All those things are wonderful too, but I continue to get great enjoyment from the paintings I have bought over the years. Some remind me of a certain time in my life, or wake me up in the morning, or remind me just to slow down a little and notice the details. Buy what you love and you will never go wrong.

I will be showing new paintings at Windsor Contemporary Art Fair 10-12 November 2017. Join my mailing list below for Free Private View and reduced entry tickets. If you come along be sure to stop and say hello.

Nadia Waterfield Fine Art is a leading art gallery near Andover, Hampshire specialising in contemporary paintings, sculptures and bespoke furniture. Coming soon is their bi-annual Art Fair which draws collectors and interior designers.

Twice a year Nadia builds a collection from artists all over the country and displays them in the Old Dairy building where art is shown alongside painting and furniture. This really helps give you an idea of scale and how a piece may look in your home.

The next event is coming soon:

Autumn Art Fair
Wednesday 11th October – Saturday 21 October 2017

Preview Wednesday 11th October – 6.30 – 9.30pm

  > request an invite <

The exhibition will be open every day from 11.00am – 5.00pm

If you would like some personal guidance she also offers a bespoke art consultancy service to help you select and arrange the best paintings, sculptures or ceramics to suit your home and reflect your taste, need and pocket. They can rearrange and rehang existing art collections, source and acquire new and original art to suit your taste and guide you making those tricky decisions of which pieces will really feel at home in your home.

“Our aim is to work with you to make the most of your love for and investment in art and to create the ‘feel’, impact and atmosphere that you wish to achieve.”

I love the careful approach Nadia takes to find the right selection of work – she focuses on showing new and exciting artists along with more celebrated names so it’s always a varied but carefully collated mix.

This is the second time I have been invited to show work and she has chosen four paintings of mine from this large centrepiece painting down to more intimate pieces.

From Autumn 2017, Nadia is expanding her gallery and will be open three days a week so if you’d like to visit please find directions here (and tips for tempting local places to eat) or drop her an email.

If you would like my help choosing art for your home, maybe you are tempted by one of my paintings but you’re not sure if the size is right, or the colour would look good in your room, then you know where I am. I understand it can be hard to imagine what will work best so let me help. You can always get in touch with any questions and I will get right back to you. You can even send me a photo of your room and I can create an image like the one above so you get a better visual sense of how a painting will look. Fun, right?





When I paint, I never know where a painting will end up. Sometimes I imagine the home it may go to, or a room I think it would be well suited for. Usually though, I’m just figuring out the painting itself.

This summer I was asked by a stylist if she could borrow some paintings to use in a photoshoot. The timing and location suited me, so I agreed. She was styling rooms to launch a new range of wallpapers by Harlequin, part of the Sanderson group of design and textiles for interiors. I knew the company, but I had no idea how my work would be used. Fun!

When I delivered the work to the location I realised what a big deal this was – there were two vans of furniture and accessories and teams of people. I was certainly glad I wasn’t co-ordinating the whole thing! Three days later I collected my work and waited….

I had a sneak preview of the images but was under strict orders not to show them until they had ‘gone public’. And here they are!

photo credit Andy Gore photography for Harlequin

It was such a thrill to see how the photos came out. Of course the wallpaper is stunning, the room is amazing and everything is so elegantly put together! That’s why she is a stylist and my house never looks like this 🙂

In my mind ‘Tangent’ is a rather calm and quiet painting. It has its strengths, but ultimately that blue is rather peaceful. Perhaps that’s why it works well within such a riot of pattern and gold, and lamps, although I like it in a more gentle setting too. It would be especially serene in a bedroom I think….

blue abstract painting by Alice Sheridan

‘Tangent’ painting 50 x 50cm


photo credit Andy Gore photography for Harlequin

The other image shows ‘Drift’ which is a fairly large painting. At 90 x 90cm in most rooms this would make a pretty striking centre piece – it just shows you what a large space this was. It’s almost camouflaged against this wall, but below you can see the painting itself.

Drift abstract landscape painting by Alice Sheridan

‘Drift’ 90x90cm

Even more exciting was seeing the image printed within the pages of the October issue of House and Garden magazine. I had imagined the photos would be used mainly on those hulking great sample books, so seeing it a glossy interiors magazine was a surprise bonus.

‘Tangent’ is available here and if you choose to make it yours I will send a copy of the magazine too – just so you have the thrill of seeing it in print and can show it off to your friends (who possibly won’t be quite as excited as I am!) ‘Drift’ is due to go off to a gallery show, but if you are interested to know more about owning either of these pieces, please get in touch.

If it’s the wallpaper you love more (because I know you will ask and I’m honestly not offended!)  you can find it here.




ukHandmade is an amazing online publication which features artists and makers from many disciplines – find great textiles, jewellers, potters, illustrators and artists. Actually it would be a great starting point if you want to buy unique and special gifts but don’t know where to start.

I was thrilled when they got in touch and asked to interview me and sent me some wonderful questions…. I’ve included three below which touch on ideas about how work evolves from different influence and the importance of handmade to us as humans…

(PS. this is not me!)

Your work has a strong, graphic feel, how has your training influenced your painting style?

The problem solving element of design always appealed to me. The idea of setting a brief I find helpful too – with art the possibilities are endless so it can be very helpful to set some guidelines for yourself. Limitations encourage you to explore. For example, I have filled a sketchbook with colour notes and small paintings done from only three colours when I wanted to learn more about the mixing properties of different paints.

A couple of years ago I spent time working with different printmaking techniques. In a way it didn’t suit me well; creating an etching plate can be so time consuming and the idea of simply reproducing multiple prints didn’t appeal at all! Some of the more unpredictable processes such as spit-bite (where you paint with the acid) I enjoyed and now bring that freedom back to my painting where I now feel more comfortable with welcoming unplanned elements into the work.

I also included elements of pre-printed graphics within the prints as chine collé (the paper is collaged into the paper as the print is being made) and this has now become part of my practice – both in a small collage sketchbook I use to create compositions, and I include collage within the early stages of many paintings just to break the surface.

Overall my work has become edgier in the way I use colour and tone, and I seem to like paintings with clear definition. At the start I’m always thinking about placement and this reminds of balancing a page layout. Towards the end, the changes I make become increasingly subtle and careful and I think this attention to detail amongst the more expressive marks brings a real focus and feeling of attention. That attention to detail definitely comes from my design background.

What does the term handmade mean to you?

It means someone has put something of themselves into it. I think as we grow increasing digital with our interactions there is more need than ever for something which feels human. People have a strong desire for things which are unique and handmade objects or works of art can be intensely satisfying for people. We need that tactile connection which can be missing from much of modern life. I think there is a move away from mass produced items as people make more conscious choices towards things which they treasure and enjoy.

What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do?

The most rewarding is collecting work from the framer. I love the process of working through a painting, but as they near their end it becomes more anxious for me. That moment when you say “there, that’s finished” you are also saying “that’s as good as it gets” and it’s open to judgement. It can be nerve wracking. While they are at the framer I often dream about them, I forget what I finished, I forget the detail… but unwrapping them I have a sense of distance which really allows me to see them fresh and enjoy them. Hanging them at an event and seeing people’s enthusiastic response is always wonderful of course.

What’s frustrating can be all the associated technology we need to know now. My image storage system really needs some work! But getting to grips with all this stuff makes you feel more empowered and I’m stubborn and stick at it until I get what I need. A few years ago I had to track down a photographer for my work and now I have someone I trust and I’m so pleased with the quality of prints I can offer as result. So the headaches are usually worthwhile.


We also talked about advice for those starting a creative business, how to clear creative blocks and how always learning new skills is important to keep fresh. Great questions always make me stop to think – if you have any for me, please ask below or join me over on Facebook 

You can read the full magazine here, for free! Look for the Autumn 2017 edition, and flip to page 58 to read the interview with me. Plenty more wonderful artists and makers to explore so I hope this has also introduced you to a new and inspiring resource.