Well well well

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I’ve just about completed my Wales painting now, although there are some small details to fiddle around with, such as the direction of the shadows, and the figures. Here it is to date. My next painting may well be another watery Welsh landmark – watch this space.

The ancient tradition of well dressings are a feature of the Peak District in the summer months, and, although Clowne is just out of that area, we have one every year too. The colourful floral display board is erected wherever there is (or was) a well, and many villages have several.

Here's ours: it depicts the railway station that was once in the village and even includes a small working clock, set to the correct time when I photographed it.
The well dressings are made by a small dedicated team. The process begins by wet clay being spread in a wooden frame with a board at the back. The water is well mixed with the clay, and the clay has to be kept damp throughout the process or it would crack.

The design is then pricked out using a paper pattern, and then thousands of flower petals are pushed into it. Often other materials are used too, such as straw, or small pebbles etc . Ours seems to feature dried “everlasting” flowers this time, which will last longer. Normally the flower petals die within about a week.

The decorated board is displayed upright near the well, and a short service is held to bless it. If there is more than one well in the village, each has its own service.

The nearby village of Elmton recently had its well dressings, using only materials from within that village. Elmton has a sort of mini festival around its well dressings, featuring craft displays in the church, and other small fund raising events around the village.

For more pictures and information on well dressings, follow this link: http://www.peakdistrictinformation.com/features/welldress.php

The summer holidays are upon us once again, and I have been at home with my young son for the past couple of weeks. We have discovered various artists on You Tube, particularly the work of Simon Tofield. Any cat owner who sees his very funny “Simon’s Cat” films will say, “That’s just so true”. http://www.simonscat.com/films.html. On a more offbeat note, the short film “Man in a Cat” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8hBjT2EekY&feature=related had my son asking if our cat had a man inside her(!)  It really is one of the strangest things I've ever seen.

Grounds for Sculpture is an enchantment. Go through an arbor and find yet another startling contemporary sculture. The garden itself is lush and don't forget to eat at Rats. Yes, Rats, one of the most romantic restaurant I've ever been to.



A Friend Indeed

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I have been reading Trudy Friend’s book, “Landscape Problems and Solutions”, to help me do my seascape. So many art instruction books are more about the artist showing off their work than telling you what to do, but Trudy Friend actually guides you through it properly. Her books are always about drawing and watercolours (although this one has some information on gouache). Perhaps one day she will wrote one about how to use oils or mixed media.

I have continued to progress with my Welsh seascape, and have more or less completed the sky. Isn’t it colourful? I’m glad I’ve got a good range of watercolours now. I’ve made a start on the sea, headland and boats but there is more to do, especially on the sea. This picture doesn’t show the whole painting, as I have scanned it in to save time. Once I complete it, I’ll photograph it and show you it properly.

At art group, we have continued to debate a suitable place to visit for a painting day. People have also begun to bring items in to put on display at the forthcoming St John’s church fair, on 13th and 14th August. I am taking my own table in this time, to add to the ones they supply, so that we can have a larger display than last time. The club decided against buying any folding display stands, which would have been helpful in showing our work, because they are so expensive. No one wants to exhibit in this area, other than our once a year exhibition, as they would not expect paintings to sell in the current economic climate.

On a happier note, here is one of my 4 year old son’s paintings “a fairy” – do you think he has inherited any abilities from me? Or should I be learning from him? Answers on a postcard …

Motivation to Send Out Your Work!!!

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So, you send out your work, get it back published in a magazine, an anthology, possibly without pay. Is that the end of that? Never!!! Once your work is published, any good thing can happen with it at any time. I just got a Facebook request from an editor for permission to use my poem, Friends for Life, that had been published in an anthology at least five years ago, in a dramatic reading. The editor's last dramatic reading (the subject is a friend's bout with cancer) raised $1500 for cancer research. Who knows what this reading will raise? For all kinds of reasons, get your work out there.
Here's my poem that an actor will read for the fundraiser:

Friends for Life

You’re 34, a year younger than the age your doctor believed
a woman should be tested.
Like malicious gossip, the cancer spread
from your breast to your lymph nodes.
Instead of 2 pert breasts, your chest now sports a mediport
to pump chemo in. Every 4 weeks for 6 more months,
you’ll be filled like your SUV at Amoco.

Listless, cake-lipped, nauseated, you lie in bed,
resting for hours to have the strength to read
a few pages of Harry Potter to your daughters—5 and 7.
The oldest hears the scream beneath your soft voice,
pulls herself back as if she’s happened upon a wicked sorcerer.
Her friend’s mother died last year even though the “C” word
was never said in her house either.

The doorbell. A flood of friends and neighbors
bringing self-help tapes, macrobiotic cookbooks,
the names of shamans and Rolphers, a brochure from a healing spa
in Romania, a gift certificate for you to fax your prayers
to the Wailing Wall, a subscription to Prevention.
I see your eyes blaze.

After you make your excuses,
we go back to your room.
“It’s always the healthy,” you say,
“who are expert at getting well.”

The phone rings. It’s your husband.
“He’s staying late at the office again,” you tell me
as you have each night since you’ve been home.

I lie in your bed beside you, running my hand over your scalp.
You look naked without your long blonde hair.
What can I do? What can I do?
I get up and make you soup.
I run the water for your children’s’ bath.

(P.S. Lisa survived and her fifth year checkup turned out fine!)


A for Art and Fame at Last #2

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This week, I decided I needed some new watercolours to do my New Quay painting. I needed a better variety of colours than the basic 10 or so watercolour tubes I already had (plus Naples Yellow), so cue a visit to “A for Art” in Chesterfield. While I was there, I enquired about having a display of my paintings in their window. I have to take some examples of my work in to show them, and then there is a 13 month waiting list, as paintings are exhibited for four weeks at a time.

Cotman studio set - 40 different colours and built in pallettes - a bit of luxury for a change.

I‘ll probably go again when I’ve completed the painting I’m doing at the moment - by then it’s likely I’ll need to go to Chesterfield anyway for something else. There are certain things you cannot buy in this village, such as shoes, and the chocolate robots my son likes, which come from a specialist shop. Also there’s only one bank.  A for Art do craft demo days, listed on their website: http://www.aforart.com/

On Kevin’s advice, I also bought a frame for the painting before starting it, as it is a “wide angle” one, and a suitable frame may be hard to find once it’s completed. It does mean I am forced to complete the little beggar, for better or worse. I have gradually been progressing it today, and the colourwash for the sky, which is several different colours, has blended together nicely, as has the sea. I have been painting the clouds, and will be making them paler. I haven’t painted the headland yet, as you can see.

At art group, a man and a woman from the local council came to present us with a small grant. She took a photo of him presenting it to Maggie, and asked to photograph some other members too. As I’d washed my hair that morning, I agreed to be photographed next to Elizabeth. I tried to put a bit of “lippy” on, but didn’t get much chance, so I ended up with just a bit in the middle, reminiscent of Hilda Ogden on Coronation Street many moons ago. We might be featured in the local papers, so watch this space for a “Fame At Last #3” post.

Versatile Blogger Award - conditions

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Just a quick post to summarise what you have to do if you receive a Versatile Blogger award:

1. Thank the giver

2. Share seven facts about yourself

3. Pass the award onto 15 other people

Masking fluid debacle

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At last I’m back at art group after a three week absence, and today I’ve been trying out some masking fluid (a Christmas present) to help me do some fluffy clouds for my Welsh sunset (see previous post). We are having a heat wave in the UK at the moment, which didn’t help matters. Right, here goes - masking fluid on for clouds, colour wash applied evenly to create sky, so far so good. Time to remove the fluid now – oops! I have removed the top surface of the paper as well. Ocean going cock up. “Masking fluid doesn’t keep long!” explained Kevin. His preferred method is to lay a colour wash, then use some tissue paper to remove some of the colour. I had another try, and, as he pointed out, the clouds needed a hint of colour – at that time of the day they would not be white any more. I therefore tried Naples yellow – a very pale beige yellow – or the nearest approximation I could mix. Gill had some oil paint in that shade, which I tried to copy, and I hope to buy some proper water colour paint in that shade soon.

So, I’m calling this a practice for at what I hope will be a larger painting. The sky at the bottom right is a bit of a bodge – but it’s just an experiment – I’ll get it right on the actual one. The headland will be in softer tones, and the sea will have a small wave at the front, gently crashing onto the sand. I hope I can convey the tranquil beauty of the scene. I also need to practice waves (watch this space).

Kevin was a great help, as people often are in the group – all have their different strengths, and I do find being in a group beneficial. I think Kevin is talented enough to run his own class. Talking of which, I have been following the local artist Matthew Palmer in his watercolour painting series, in which he teaches a beginner some basics. I was very impressed at how he got a passable landscape from the slightly nervous beginner. He used a simple technique and three colours, to keep things as easy as possible for her. For UK viewers it is on the Sky Painting and Drawing Channel, 4 pm Sundays.

Anyhow, onto my Versatile blogger awards – first of all, seven things you didn’t know about me.

Favourite animal: cat; I passed my driving test at 2nd attempt at the age of 21; favourite colour: lilac; I have lived in three cities, two towns and one village; I have traced my family tree back to 1570 when records began; favourite actor: Jeremy Irons; my left foot is a size bigger than the right one. Favourite film: Shawshank Redemption. Sorry I’m not that interesting. Will that do?

My winning blogs for versatile blogger:

Art and Crafts:

www.justaddwatersilly.com/ - Jennifer McLean has a degree in psychology and a burning desire to paint in watercolour. Follow her progress, whether zentangles or flowers.

http://web.mac.com/johnorsue/ODENHEIMERS_DUSTN_LINT/Blog/Blog.html - woodworking blog.

Erin Basset’s CreativitE: www.erinbassett.com/


http://itssoverycheri.com/ featuring crafts from many different people.



www.ohhonestlyerin.com/ - share her ups and downs.

http://www.nannygoatsinpanties.com/ (yes I know). Interesting articles including goat item every time.

http://gaywarfare.blogspot.com/ - Wry humour, provocative and pretty to look at – not just for gay people. I immediately sympathised with his inability to manage without concealer.



http://scotlandhereandnow.com/ - a variety of articles from a Scottish correspondent.


www.joythebaker.com/ delicious looking recipes.


http://ideasbubble.com/ - Peter, a 15 year old Australian kid blogger has some impressive blogging knowledge and thoughts to share. Good links too.



http://bloomingonbainbridge.blogspot.com/ - join the delightful Teresa, husband Greg and dog Doogan in her lavishly illustrated blog, enjoy watching her diverse interests and hobbies, described with great enthusiasm.

Bye for now,


Call for Submissions

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Submit to:
Ohio Childhood Poems. Send via DOC attachment AND pasted-in text. Email Address
Ohio Childhood Poems. MUST HAVE spent at least five years of your childhood in Ohio.
Poetry (4 poems MAX)
Ohio Childhood Poems

Submit to:
Pockets. Lynn W. Gilliam, Editor. PO Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0004
Jealousy. MUST BE appropriate for 8- to 12-year-old Christians.
Poetry (20 lines MAX), short stories (1,000 words MAX), and essays (1,000 words MAX)

Submit to:
Rattle. Send via email attachment (1 file) or pasted-in text. Email Address
Mental Health Professionals
Poetry and essays (5,000 words MAX)

Submit to:
The First Line. Send via MS Word or WordPerfect attachment. Email Address
Every story starts out the same: Three thousand habitable planets in the known universe, and I'm stuck on the only one without ______________. [Fill in the blank.]
Short stories (3,000 words MAX)
The First Line

Submit to:
Creative Nonfiction, Attn: Immortality, 5501 Walnut Street, Suite 202, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Essay (5,000 words MAX)

Submit to:
Dream of Things. Submission Link
Various topics based on one of 15 themes. See http://dreamofthings.com/workshop-2 for more details.
Personal essays (500-5,000 words MAX)
Dream of Things

Submit to:
Hunger Mountain, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
Responses to stage and screen
Manuscripts (10,000 words MAX) or a video submission
Hunger Mountain

Submit to:
Slipstream, Dept. W-1, Box 2071, Niagara Falls, NY 14301.


It's all happening! Exciting news

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I am just having a “knock me down with a feather “ moment, as I have just – to my surprise – been awarded a “Versatile Blogger” award, by Chris J, author of “At my soiree” http://atmysoiree.blogspot.com/ A big thank you to Chris, and I recommend her articulate and varied blog, which I think will mainly appeal to women. I now have to think of 15 other bloggers to pass it onto, and have been making a shortlist tonight.

My e-book featuring some of my early blog posts, together with paintings and photos, has also just had 5,000 viewings, according to “my e-book”, who published it online about 3 months ago, so that feels like an achievement too. I am planning a second volume, once I have enough material.

My Clowne Montage painting, (on the Flickr widget, right), has now been featured in Chesterfield 1st magazine, an advertising magazine for this area. I sent it in with the text and photos of the landmarks that I used to do the painting, as I thought it might interest Paula who owns it – she had been looking for photos to feature on the front. It was very exciting to actually see it in print at last. The painting itself is still in Buxton after the Derbyshire Open Art competition and I will be collecting it in early September. This is why I haven’t put it for sale on my online gallery yet. I have to say that I was impressed by the amount of people who looked at the gallery site as a result of that feature - Chesterfield 1st must be a good place to advertise, and thank you to Paula if she reads this.

By the way, the press release has yet to appear anywhere, but it might yet do, who knows …

I am now beginning a painting based on two photos of New Quay harbour in Wales, at sunset. I started to sketch it out tonight.

This week, as per last week’s post, I have completed a green knitted square for the world’s biggest cardigan (the Aberteifi Cardigan), and sent it off to Lisa Hellier yesterday, only to receive a reply to my e-mail today, explaining what was needed. So if any of you knitters out there would like to send in a knitted contribution to the cardigan, here’s what she says,

“You could knit some river, or a field, or hedgerow, or some wooded areas all bobbly and bumpy (yes this sounds mad) depending on your experience. If you have cream wool we will be dying it up at Castle Henllys so it gives you more freedom. If you can do cable stitch you could use any design in your knitted piece. Cable will be featuring throughout the whole cardi. However if you are a beginner you could just knit a 6-8 inch rectangle and we will be stitching a portrait onto it. You could also knit a dolphin or a fish. whatever takes your fancy, and any scale or shape will do. Have a look on www.myspace.com/knittedaberteificardigan.

What she doesn’t tell you is where to send your knitting, so I just sent mine to the Tourist Info where she had her display and wool for people to take, which is at Cardigan Tourist Information Centre, Theatr Mwlda, Bath House Road, Cardigan, Dyfed, SA43 2JY. After looking at some of the contributions on her “My Space” page, I am thinking about trying to do something more impressive to send.

Finally, I am starting to watch a short series on Watercolour painting, hosted by Matthew Palmer, a local artist. He would like some feedback, so perhaps I will get my brushes out and try and “paint along” with him and see how I go. I might have the TV on “pause” quite a bit to catch up, though.

It’s all happening isn’t it?!

Fame at last - press release!

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This week, I wasn’t able to go to art group as I was ill with a virus – I’ve missed three weeks now, what with being on holiday as well. I am now better, but it means I haven’t got any artwork to show this week (I’d hoped there would have been a Welsh sunset in progress). In the meantime, I’ve noticed a small advert in the local freebie - Barlborough group are having an exhibition at Harthilll in August. I have put the details on the front page of the main website - click “buy our work” to view it). Sue, Maggie and Gill are all members of Barlborough, as is Donna Lowe-Fowler. I am hoping to persuade our group to have a stall at Clowne Gala in September, to help recruit new members (they don't know this yet) but it will have to wait another week now anyway.

Several weeks ago, a press release was done about me and Amanda, another mum like me. I thought you might be interested in reading it, as it tells my story. It doesn’t seem to have been published anywhere yet, and I keep buying all the local newspapers to see if I have been featured.

Derbyshire mums mean business thanks to Euro project

Two mums from Derbyshire are now running their own businesses thanks to coaching and mentoring support from a Euro-funded community project.

Julie Baugh from Clowne and Amanda Pennington from Whitwell signed up to the project, run by Clowne Enterprise Ltd, as they wanted to get back into work. Julie now runs a website selling local artists’ work, www.artistsofderbyshire.co.uk and Amanda has her own mobile Aromatherapy service, Cura Personalis.

The scheme, funded with £9,000 from the European Social Fund (ESF) and Skills Funding Agency, is aimed at people whose personal circumstances may make it difficult for them to take on a full time job such as parents, carers or people with illnesses or disabilities, or those who may lack the qualifications they need to get a job.

Each individual goes through one-to-one coaching to identify their aims and goals and work through any personal barriers to achieving their dreams, before moving on to more practical sessions around business planning and marketing.

Art enthusiast Julie (45) stopped working when she became mum to four year old Kieran, but is now turning her love of art into a business to sell her work and that of other artists, which she runs when her son is at nursery.

Julie said: “The idea for the website came from a discussion at my local art group in Clowne as a way to promote our work. Being quite remote makes it tricky logistically and expensive to exhibit our work, so a website seemed like the best option.

“I read about Paul Davies from Clowne Enterprise in the local paper and thought I could benefit from his help. I have had a great deal of support from the project - it has, for example, given me the opportunity to link my website to and from other members' sites and it has been brilliant getting together with people from other businesses and swapping ideas."

Former nurse Amanda (40), has had an interest in natural health since having her children, now 10 and seven, and completed a Level 3 Diploma in Aromatherapy in May 2009. Keen to make a business out of her passion she set up a mobile service, but wanted some additional help to take the business further.

She said: “It can be tricky finding jobs which fit in around my busy family life, so when I heard about the project I knew I could use the knowledge and experience of the advisers to take mine to the next level.

“The coaching has really given me the confidence to market myself and know how to take my ideas forward. Knowing there is someone there to support you when you need it is just so valuable. I look forward to taking the business from strength to strength over the coming months.”

Paul Davies, Enterprise Coach for Clowne Enterprise, said: “The project is already proving to be a great success and we are delighted that Julie, Amanda and many others have been able to make their dreams a reality.

“We have found that there is no substitute for locally based, one-to-one coaching, and that is exactly what we are able to provide through this project.”

Amanda added: “The scheme has also been great for meeting people in a similar situation to me. The informal monthly meetings are great for sharing ideas and good practice which really helps along the way.”

The Enterprise Coaching and Mentoring Project runs until 30 September 2010. For more details please contact Paul Davies on 07973 522 772 or visit www.clowne-enterprise.org.uk.

The community grants programme is funded by the European Social Fund 2007-13 (ESF) with the aim of giving small, not-for-profit groups an opportunity to access funding through a simplified process.


Notes to editors

Photographs of Julie Baugh are available on request, please call the number below.

For information about Cura Personalis, please call Amanda on 01909 724 715.

Given the current economic climate, an extra £12.5 million European Social Fund (ESF) and Skills Funding Agency has been made available in the East Midlands to help those under notice of redundancy or who have been made redundant. Adults over 18 are being offered training to help them find sustainable jobs. It is hoped that 15,255 learners will benefit from R2R in the region.

The main ESF programme for England 2007-2013 is investing £376 million in the East Midlands. More than 50 providers across the region are already offering over 90 projects designed to boost skills and job chances for individuals.

ESF is focusing on the following priorities:-

Local communities – helping to cut unemployment, up-skilling communities and helping them to become more sustainable in the long term, particularly those who have lost their jobs because of the current economic downturn.

Social minorities and excluded groups – helping long term unemployed, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, lone parents, the homeless, ex-offenders and people lacking the basic skills needed to get a job aim to develop a highly and appropriately skilled workforce.

ESF is managed by four co-financing organisations in the region – the Skills Funding Agency East Midlands, Department for Work and Pensions, and a Local Authorities Consortium (Lincolnshire County, Derby City, Derbyshire County and Leicester City councils) and NOMS.

Government Office for the East Midlands oversees the programme.

For general information on ESF see www.esf.gov.uk

Issued on behalf of ESF by COI News & PR. Media enquiries to Gaby Hateley on

0115 852 4357 or gaby.hateley@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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