Diana Hudson Reflects – Try Different Things

I hoped some of you would comment and say what you remembered about your first ever painting and how it made you feel. And perhaps why you did or did not continue. I find it strange that on two occasions mine were inspired by illness; once as a child;  I was so proud that I could copy the colours of the dressing up doll clothes and again as an adult. It’s so easy  when taken ill to slip into depression, thinking of nothing but the pain. Art completely takes over your conscious mind and you have simply no time to think about the pain or how bad you are feeling. Even drawing a cup and saucer takes such concentration that you can’t think of anything else.

Never think that you can’t draw or paint or create something. You can- everyone can.  Can you bake a cake? Can you stick pictures on a greetings card?  Can you knit or embroider; can you do needle felting? You’ve created a work of art.

DSC00548 (Small)

gloves (Small)






Art doesn’t have to be just watercolour or oils. The first thing I bought when we moved house was a huge chest of drawers for my art materials and I was horrified that I  filled it so quickly. There are watercolours, oils, acrylics, pencils, watercolour pencils, brushes by the dozens, palettes, numerous easels, charcoal, pastels paper and mounts. Who else would send their husband to Aldi to buy 6 rotary pencil sharpeners when they were on offer? Next to it I have a large box with sewing machine, threads, half finished  embroidery and several massive bags of wool and needles. Half of my wardrobe is filled with  bolts of fabric for quilting. I’m now learning how to knit model dogs,


knitelkhound (Small)






and recently knitted a jacket out of the fur from my own dogs. Next on the list (I think we need a bigger house) is a spinning wheel and lessons. Do they all get used? Of course not. I recently gave away a set of interactive paints- the sort that  can be reworked by spraying with water. They just were not for me. My pastels haven’t been touched in years because they gave me asthma; the same with charcoal but they stay in the drawers because one day, maybe one day!!!! The box full of acrylics that I won last year hasn’t even been opened yet because I’ve been concentrating so hard on other media. The embroidery that I started 20 years ago is still on its frame but the Millennium cross stitch picture that I started 6 months before the turn of  the century finally got finished 2 years later..


millen pic (Small)






I still have bags and bags of fabrics for patchwork and quilting  but haven’t done any for about 3 years. I will get round to it again. A change is as good as a rest. Last Christmas I started to  practice with a completely new medium. More next time……..

by Diana Hudson

… and then …

A  blog ago I put up a sketch I had done, on my favourite allotment site, of a well used and pruned tree. While I was there I did some more looking at and photo taking. From this has come my most recent studio work. I call it ‘Three Horseshoes’ as these are hung on the tree by a useful small branch. I have worked them into the centre of the picture and in full view although, in truth, they are so far round to the side that they would hardly be visible.  This is ‘artistic licence’ of course. We paint what we want. If you want it to be exactly exact then use a camera.

Allotments 14:3  Three Horseshoes

Talking of using photos I do use them regularly but they are always ones that I have taken myself. I would never base a picture that I intend to exhibit on some other photographer’s work as this would be stealing their expertise, artistic vision, lifetime’s work and so on. I would look at photos in general if I wanted an idea before starting or if I wished to find out some precise detail like the weather vane on a cathedral perhaps. I have to confess that I sometimes used my Dad’s photos and one of my son-in-law’s but I did have their permissions.

I was in Cambridge yesterday waiting for granddaughter to buy a Prom dress. This meant a 2 hour-plus wait so I did a bit of sketching using an ink pen. I often colour these up the following day using visual memory. As you can see this wasn’t such a good idea on this one as I had not realised that the pen in my pocket was not my usual water resistant one. I stopped adding blue almost immediately and just used a little pure water on the bridge and I don’t think I have lost too much.


And now to finally sort out my entries for the EAC competition and get them off.

Sam Hall in the Lofoten Islands

I was commissioned to paint a picture of Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands, Norway, a popular destination for cruise ships. The town, like most places in the islands, is dwarfed by mountains and I was fascinated by the contrasts of the massive and the delicate elements of the painting. The extraordinary thing was that I managed to paint the mountains in three days – but it took six hours just to paint two square inches of some red houses and a channel marker (bearing the number 07). The picture, incidentally measures H13.5” x W23.5” (H34 x W60 cm).

2nd July

2nd July

The mountains I could ‘feel’ and ‘grow’ as I painted and I loved painting in the tiny white stones to give detail. But the red houses and marker were a real challenge because they were so small. Even using a 00 brush, it was almost impossible to hold my hand steady enough – which is why it took so long.

7th July

7th July

8th July

8th July

The other contrast is that wonderful blend of green and red. Someone once told me that if you use those colours in which one or the other is dominant, they work beautifully together – but if you use them in equal quantities, you end up with a horrible, irritating clash. It’s true – and the mass of green really shows off the tiny specks of red at the bottom of the picture. I used acrylics, pen & acrylic ink on MDF (Masonite) panel.

17th July

17th July

by Sam Hall

Getting to know Florencia

There’s a simple message to this blog:  I think it is important for me to get to know the person I am painting to achieve more than a technical likeness of a sitter. I’ll illustrate this with three successive portraits of the same model, all made within seven months.

I first painted Florencia in a life class, an Easter school week at the Slade art school in 2011. The life painting was a failure – a collection of body parts that didn’t cohere as a whole – which I destroyed.

I went on to paint a portrait (more in my comfort zone) and there was only room in the studio for a profile view. I enjoyed painting her, but the personality in the portrait seems a bit remote – I don’t think it is because it is a profile. Maybe the dark red lipstick is too hard – perhaps I should have used my discretion rather than copying.FlorenciaSladebest


I met Florencia again at the Hampstead School of Art in September when she modelled for our clothed portrait painting class, and in this small group I got to know her better. Her family were exiles from the Argentine. I think she is very beautiful.


We were lucky enough to have her again as a model in November, and she chose a more difficult pose, resting her arms on a chair back covered with a colourful Mexican rug. This time Florencia looks much softer and happier. Has she relaxed, or is it an illusion of the artist?


I find portrait painting a mysterious business. I just find that my portraits of family and friends are better than those of strange models, although the process of painting them seems just the same.

by Lynn Bindman

Spring begins

I know it has begun because I was (metaphorically) dragged out of doors, into the car and off to an allotment site in a nearby village. All this by the agency of SUNSHINE and BLUE skies. In 2013 I visited this site regularly and made about 22 pictures in all. Some just sketches and others paintings of varied sizes. So now I begin again all springified!

Allotments 1-14  The old tree