Back in the UK again

Hello everyone, I hope you have had a good summer.

It seems pretty pathetic to be saying I have been really busy, as I know everyone has.  I do post more on my open Facebook page.  It just seems easier somehow and of course I don’t want to repeat myself!

The last two months did tend to revolve around my studio, kitchen and bed!  In the beginning,  I spent a fair amount of time in my garden, trying to get it into shape, but then suddenly realised I only had about five weeks left, so I spent most of the time in the studio after that.  Thank goodness for swamp coolers.

One of the things I had to work on as soon as I got to New Mexico was a demonstration article commissioned by Steve Pill, the editor of Artists & Illustrators, here in the UK.    Below is a nice mention  and if you are interested you can buy the magazine online here

Here is the painting that I produced for the demo.

The Bridge 12 x 16 Oil/Linen Panel

By the time the two and a half months were up I found that I had really loosened up and I seemed to be enjoying the paint a lot more.   I guess it’s an obvious progression.  I would love to hear if others find this to be the case.

I managed to get my pieces finished for the two Museum shows (National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma and Albuquerque Museum), which was good, plus lots of paintings done for my galleries.  On my return I heard that I had two prints accepted into the Pushing Print exhibition in Margate in October, so that’s exciting.  

Barry and I spent a lovely three days camping in the Devil’s Garden Campground in Arches National Park just before I returned.  It was a full moon and quite beautiful.   I love that place and did some drawing whilst I was there.  There is something really special about climbing up rocks and finding a good place to draw!


Arches National Park – Devil’s Garden


I am off to the beach next week for a few days to sit by the sea and to make some decisions about my final MA Project… lots to consider.  At the moment I am ‘hovering’ (!) around dragonflies and rocks!

Flame skimmer – Male (I think)

Bye bye for now. 

Since my arrival…

It’s been all go since I arrived in New Mexico on the 6th June.   Paintings to finish, article to prepare for,  (more on that when it’s published),  tending to our somewhat overgrown garden and the very occasional foray into DIY!  In addition to which I have been catching up with dear friends and family and my lovely husband (Barry McCuan) of course.  It’s been eighteen months since I was here last and it’s lovely to be back, but it is also quite strange and takes a little getting used to, a little like a parallel universe!  Driving on the wrong side of the road certainly concentrates the mind for sure!

Spending the odd half hour in the hammock under our Black Locust trees has certainly helped me slide back into New Mexico life.  The warmth of the air, (the heat of the midday sun), the cool evenings and mornings feel so good to me.

Here are a few photos to start with…   The dust devil photo was taken on our drive back from Albuquerque on the day of my arrival.   Amazing to watch, as it slowly made its way across the arid landscape.   I have been enjoying taking photos around our house.  The strong shadows created by our coyote fence have particularly intrigued me and one of our Agave plants flowered in my absence, leaving a most beautiful ‘living’ sculpture.  The wildlife has been making their presence known and I love the way the moth matches our adobe walls!   However, I am rather glad that the fierce looking Assasin or Robber Fly stays outside. (Thanks to Russell Stebbings at the Zoology Museum, Cambridge for identifying this creature).   It’s the first time I have ever seen one in New Mexico.  

I have been to the Santa Fe Etching studio only once so far (yes, Eric, we will be back this week!), where I created a tiny soft ground.   I will leave you with the view from my hammock! 

End of my second year

Meandering River and Meadow – Diptych 8 x 16 Oil/Panel

Well, that’s the second year over and done with.  We all handed our portfolios yesterday and then went to pub!  After an hour or so of being there, I couldn’t stop thinking about my portfolio and whether I had actually handed in the correct one!!  (I have two similar portfolios).   I found myself wandering back to the Print Room to take one more peek!  Very silly of me, I know, but once 5 pm had passed it would have been too late!  Of course, I had submitted the correct one.

Now I am getting back to some serious painting, packing up from Cambridge, going home to spend some time with my Dad and Aunt and then off to New Mexico until the end of August.  I am looking forward to New Mexico, but shall miss being in the UK for the summer…  the luscious overgrown green.

May is here and it’s still cold!

Well, the essay is handed in and what a relief that is!   It felt quite odd not to be spending all weekend writing.  Now I just have to sort my portfolio and hand that in on 20th May and that’s my second year over.  What a life changer it has been.  The third years are leaving and I am very sad.  They are such a great bunch.  I shall miss them so much.

Below are some photos of some of the things I have been busy about, besides the hotel painting commissions and essay writing!

On June 6th, I am boarding a plane for New Mexico for a couple of months to get some big paintings done.  I am looking forward to that for obvious reasons, but also to warm my bones… spring has barely arrived here and today it’s blowing a cold wind… 

Waterways i soft ground etching 7 x 7 cm

Lake i soft ground etching 5 x 15 cm

Fen with monoprint on Tosa Washi chine collé  7 x 7 cm
Field and Stream soft ground etching 5 x 15 cm

A painting..

Tranquil Pool – 20 x 20 cm

I suppose this is what you call a distraction from writing my essay!!  .. updating my blog.. catching up really as I did this painting a while back but didn’t post it. 

I have booked my ticket to return to New Mexico in June and will be there until the end of August, which will be lovely.  Anyone who contacted me before asking about workshops in New Mexico, please email me and  we can arrange something.  I am really looking forward to getting lots of painting done and feeling the heat of the sun!!  Now back to the essay…

Two weeks

I can’t believe that I have been back in New Mexico for two whole weeks now. I haven’t managed to get much painting done, but have done taxes and sent off my papers for my citizenship which is a huge achievement because I have been dithering about this for the last four years, mainly because of money, but now it has cost me more. The moral of the story is, don’t procrastinate!!

I have also managed to do a fair amount of cleaning! For some reason this just didn’t get done in my absence! I wonder why? I did feel somewhat compelled to at least clean the studio because some lovely collectors came to visit through our gallery in Taos to see what else we had and Barry made a sale, which was very welcome.

I must say it is lovely to be back in New Mexico and see some good friends and I have posted the photo from our recent day out in Abiquiu. Barry and I lived in Abiquiu for seven years next door to Rick and Lori (click on Lori to see her wonderful whimsical work) and I spent many a glorious hour or so down by their riverside. When I was struggling being so far away from my family I would go down there and ‘contemplate my navel’, but other times I would walk down simply for a break from painting and would lie on their wooden bench and watch bald eagles do their glorious dance in the sky.

Amazingly Dad is doing very well without me, which is good news.

Now to some painting…