Lots Going On

Frantic time at the moment preparing pieces for various exhibitions:

Excited to be exhibiting at the fabulous West Horsley Place at the The Surrey Hills Christmas Fair on 26th-28th November. On sale will be a number of works including these new pieces:

Surrey Artist of the Year 2021

Presentation Evening

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.   Life is about creating yourself.”   George Bernard Shaw

I am absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the runner-up position for the 2021 Surrey Artist of the Year along with Sophie Artemiss who creates beautiful pop-up books. Sophie’s doing a limited edition run at the moment, so have a peek! (@sophie.artemis). Massive congratulations go to the deserving winner, Jessica Stroud who uses traditional stained glass working techniques , dating back to the 7th Century, but which are sadly dying out. Hopefully, the publicity which will regale her will encourage others to come on board; or at least to take interest. She is appalled that Sheffield, the only University offering a stain glass course had to close the course down this year because only two students applied. Preserving our heritage and its associated skills is so important.

I am so proud to have achieved so much in the short time I have been painting. Thanks to all those who supported me, the New Ashgate Team (@newashgate) for the opportunity, and especially to the Independent panel: Cllr. Alan Earwaker, the Mayor of Farnham, Caitlin Heffernan ( Surrey Artists Open Studios) and Tina Newton (Surrey Life Magazine) for making the final selection.

Note my favourite protea flower (the National flower of South Africa) in the bouquet. Because of the fascinating myth that it comes with and its one of a kind charm, the Protea flower is known to symbolise a beauty that stands out, embracing uniqueness and diversity, and also the boldness to create and accept inevitable changes. All bodes well! Happy Days!!!


“Roots are not in landscape or a country, or a people, they are inside you.” Isabel Allende
The name alone is evocative: Roots. There are so many phrases and colloquialisms that remind us of the connection we supposedly have to our roots. Never forget your roots, we are told in so many ways in so many words. My thoughts go beyond this, because as Mother Theresa said: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Roots, Acrylic and mixed media On Dibond, 60x60cm

I’m looking at ways of embodying the figurative and symbolic elements into my art as part of an ongoing narrative of my coming to terms with my identity, both in terms of heritage and self. This will remain part of an ongoing conversation with myself, others and research. What I love is the power of art to tell stories, communicate ideas, and promote understanding of the world around us.
As artists, so much informs what we do. Here, I’m sure, the ‘decorated caves’ of Lascaux were a visual resource. As you know Lascaux is famous for its Palaeolithic cave paintings found in the Dordogne region of southwestern France which we have visited a few times.

The past is in my head: the future is in my hands.

The anonymity of the androgynous figures in my painting sits well with the start of my series which will take time to develop. The older I get, the more wisdom I gain. However, I nearly overworked this by introducing a pop of complementary hot pink and tried orange. Neither were successful.

In trying to choose colours to decorate a bedroom, I’m embarrassed to admit how many “Little Greene” tester pots I used, so put them to good use here! They will feature in future work, too!

The Land that Time Forgot

I  suppose I’m missing our long distance travel destinations where you embrace the unexpected.  We travelled in South Africa and Namibia in 2008.  I tried painting this several years ago and was determined to try again. Think I’ve improved on the first attempt. Just realised that I forgot to add close-ups photos of the land.

Nothing prepares you for the expanse of the Namib desert . Sossusvlei is a blanket term for the area which includes the haunting and spectacular Deadvlei. The name Deadvlei means dead marsh (from the English dead and the Afrikaans vlei). What once was a marsh, is now a dried white clay pan, surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world that have literally rusted over thousands of years, giving them their fiery complexion. What is more eerie are the 900 year old charcoal tree skeletons (petrified acacias) trapped in a white clay marsh.
It doesn’t sound that appealing, but this vista has to be one of the most dystopian on the planet.
And all is still… very still and yet so beautiful. It is indeed the land that time forgot

Surrey Artist of the Year – 2021

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?“

These beautiful words, from Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘The Summer Day’, remind and inspire me. They remind me that, first and foremost, my life is entirely what I make of it.Students I taught often used to  worry that they didn’t know which career path they should be following. I worried about the word “should”. I would say, in jest, that I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. We all grow and change with time.

For most of my life, I got so caught up in what the world thought I should be and tried to be that person, that I gave up on becoming the person I should have been and wanted to be. No regrets, though as it’s part of the process. This is my journey.

And here I am, doing the one thing I love and was banned from doing as a teenager: Art. It’s become my raison d’être in processing who I am and learning more about the world.
And here I am at the age of 70 with 15 other amazing Finalists for the Surrey Artist of the Year Exhibition! Such a wide range of practices from paper cuts, stained glass, sculpture to paintings. This feels very grown up!

This painting, “When Evening Falls” is used as part of the press release.

Visit the @newashgate exhibition in Farnham, Surrey if you can (its on until 6th November). It’s an amazing gallery space! Enjoy the breadth of talent, and vote for your favourite artist! The winner will be announced on October 22nd! The artwork is also available online on the Gallery’s website:

One of my pieces for sale at the gallery

Surrey Artist of the Year

Very surreal to learn recently that following visitors to the recent Surrey Artists Open Studios, I have been shortlisted for Surrey Artist of the Year. Three artworks will be on exhibition at The New Ashgate in Farnham.

I have to confess that my initial response was shock and embarrassment. Never dreamed of being in a position like this!
What an honour!!

Dispora Exhibition

I was fortunate to be asked to be part of the “African and Caribbean Diaspora” exhibition at The Forge Artspace in Shere, Surrey. The work was curated by Rachel Oteng- Lartey of Wills Art Warehouse and the art space owner, Uthayla Bray. I am exhibiting alongside the above established artists.

Uthayla is very passionate about putting on this exhibition. As many of you are aware, the erasure of blacks and other minority cultures from art history has been demonstrated through a lack of presence in major auctions, museums, galleries and art history curricula. It encompasses not only an absence of minority figures in the art itself, but black artists as well. The issue isn’t that black art is rare or that black artists are less talented.

Regardless of the medium or subject matter, black art is almost always treated as a commentary on race. It’s almost as if, in order to be successful black artists, they must perpetually create art that speaks on black culture and racism. It’s not important for an artist’s race to be apparent just by looking at their work but, knowing that there are an increasing number of black artists being featured in museums and galleries, is important.

Although museums do seem to be making an effort to collect more work by black artists and promote them, the system is still clearly flawed. This exhibition is part of the drive to address that on a local level.

The Forge Artspace is a beautiful Lutyens designed building which until recently was a fully functioning forge. It has been sympathetically renovated to create a bright, airy space which lends itself to being an art gallery.

Guildford Institute

Guildford Institute have chosen one of my artworks: “Birches” for the cover of this autumn‘s brochure . How cool is that!! Surreal to think that after retiring from teaching nine years ago, a painting of mine is being used for the cover of a brochure to introduce educational courses!