Back to Ickworth

This morning was the perfect weather condition for painting; dry, yet overcast and a bit squally. There was so much movement in the trees and paint was drying really quite quickly. Whilst Stephen was finishing his beautiful depiction of the little Summer House down by the lake, I decided on a study of the large tree that stood proudly above us. I’m still using the handmade paper and have adjusted my painting style to suit the surface. There is no option for blending at all and I enjoy that in a subject such as this.

However this is the best place to start… a painter should always work in a full stomach!


A little film of the work in progress….

The finished study after an hour and a half or so

This was painted using primary colours only; French ultramarine, Prussian blue, Cad Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and a tiny bit of Vermilion. Good to have ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ primaries. Cad yellow being warmer than lemon yellow for example. They give better options for mixing all the colours you need.


A few sketches from a while ago…

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I thought I’d begin to build up a little archive from older sketchbooks. Here are a few pencil and biro sketches from a few years ago. My son had a tutor session each week for an hour an a half, so I used to draw whatever was To hand at that time and quite liked the limited time.


Ickworth sketches


Here are a couple of sketches done at this fabulous property in Suffolk this Summer. They are on the most extraordinary handmade paper, leather bound and given to me by my wonderful husband, Stephen. I’m finding it best to use for ink sketches, as it’s not sized quite for watercolour – it seeps straight in like blotting paper! The texture is sublime though and I am enjoying filling its pages…

We are back at Ickworth today, though it’s grey and dismal out there. We like the stillness and the atmospherics of a little precipitation. Pac-a-macs and a flask at the ready and will post results later.

Ickworth Park


Each year my husband makes a point of producing a painting at the glorious Ickworth Park in Horringer, Suffolk. Last year I joined him for the first time and fell in love with its astounding beauty. It has a grand house certainly, Italianate gardens beautifully ordered and clipped, but for me I love exploring the quieter, more understated areas.

This year we have focused on the lake by the Summer House. There is no understatement there either, but my eye was drawn to the magnificent oaks that hug the water opposite and the incredible variety of colour and form in the wild grasses, flowers and marginal plants in the foreground. A quick sketch today in my lovely leather bound book full of handmade paper, before the drizzle set in and we retreated for tea. I will explore this on a larger scale I think.