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

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!

Walk With Me

In rebooting myself after more than two months of NOT painting, I have recently become interested in the work of the black American artist, Richard Mayhew who began exploring his feelings of identity through his use of colour. Mayhew also appeals because Nature is the centre of gravity in his art.

“What I do with landscapes is internalise my emotional interpretation of desire, hope, fear, and love. So, instead of a landscape, it’s a mindscape.” His expressive forms might echo trees or clouds or canyons, but they only exist in the terrain of the imagination. His African American and Native American ancestry also informs his spiritual connection to the land. Mayhew doesn’t start his paintings with a plan. He doesn’t work from “en plein air” sketches or photographs. He is guided by intuition.

Though known for his landscape paintings, Mayhew is also a skilled draftsman and portrait painter. At the age of 96, he is still painting.

Walk With Me. Acrylic and ink on canvas sheet 40 x 51cm


Paintings can take weeks or months or sometimes years. I might put them to one side and go back to them, maybe add a new element. It’s an incremental, emergent process. I’m constantly searching for something in my own mind that feels right. It’s a kind of mood, a feeling of rightness that I want from the painting. When I get to that point, it comes close to being finished. Still trying to “talk myself up” as the late artist John Hoyland once said.

Finally starting to build up a body of work for Surrey Open Art Studios.

Searching. Mixed media , resined on Panel Board 84.5 x 59.5 cm £375

Natural Symphony

“My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddlestrings and harps, drums and tamboura I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony.” Fernando Pessoa

Natural Symphony. Acrylic, resined on Dibond 80 x 30 cm £325

It is not the silence that relaxes us in nature, but the soothing sounds we hear when noise is left behind. Even though it’s been cold lately, it’s still beautiful walking in the countryside.

I first discovered the poetry of Portugal’s most famous poet, Fernando Pessoa on an orientation walking tour in Lisbon. We were taken to the Livraria Betrand, the oldest operating bookshop in the world.

More spectacular, still, is the bookshop in Porto, the Livraria Lello. The author, J. k. Rowling is rumoured to have drawn from the new-Gothic and Art Nouveau for her novels during her stay in the city whilst teaching English.


“After some time your vision changes, you see with a more Japanese eye, you feel colour differently. I’m also convinced that it’s precisely through a long stay here that I’ll bring out my personality” Van Gogh

Fusion I. Acrylic and copper leaf on canvas 61 x 61 cm £275

This piece evolved from experimenting with copper, rose and gold leaf. Pleased with how this turned out. The tree shape definitely has echoes of Japanese art. I do like my work to embody dynamism yet stillness.

I’ve always held a deep fascination for Japanese artwork, from the oldest surviving silkscreen painting, the magnificent 18th century woodblock prints, to Japan’s most famous modern artist, Yayoi Kusama. We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy exhibitions of Japanese art here in London, Kyoto and in Tokyo. And who doesn’t love a Japanese garden!

In Japan, an image of a natural scene is not just a landscape, but rather a portrait of the sacred world. Japanese artists often left the middle ground of their compositions empty while the objects in the foreground were sometimes enlarged. They regularly excluded the horizon, too or abruptly cropped the elements of the picture at the edge.

Van Gogh wanted to respond to a more modern, more primitive type of painting. Japanese prints with their expanses of colour and stylisation, showed him the way, without having to give up nature as his starting point.

When Time Stood Still

I love my garden which consists of several rooms on different levels. Throughout the seasons, the garden fills me with such pleasure whether when reading, painting or just gazing at the wonder of nature. Such a fabulous, visual retreat.

I started this painting in early January  when snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark pine trees, that one could imagine nothing more than the sheer beauty of it all. I began with collages of papers and photos, together with various mediums to create layers.The focal point of this painting is one of our garden tables which provides the only notion of realism.

When Time Stood Still

There is so much going on. Contrast, tone and depth are perhaps the key. As many of you are aware now, I do love texture. Here, it adds shape and balance to help guide your eye through areas of interest. The famous gardener  designer, Gertrude Jekyll, was a great fan of using warm and cool colours to highlight different areas. Hopefully, this artwork has achieved that! I keep tinkering but decided last night, it was finished.

When snow falls, nature listens….

Simple Snow Scene

Is it only a week ago that snow carpeted the SE of England? For many young children, this was the first real snowfall they’d ever seen, Those of us in the countryside gazed out of their windows with admiration for the Narnia landscapes that emerged within hours.

A Kind of Magic

What is it about snow that makes people regress to their childhood, casting aside any inhibitions and inciting a sense of play?

Winter without snow feels grey, dull and miserable. Yes, there’s beauty in any weather, but it’s not quite the same as a landscape coated in white. Yet nature seems so fragile, too, as I’ve depicted in this painting. Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.

The first snow is like the first love. Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity. There is something so peaceful about watching the snow fall. It’s like we’re all living in a snow globe and someone just gave us a real good shake!

On mornings when I felt weary after staying up late marking student essays, I used to play upbeat tracks in my car to energise myself for the timetabled day ahead. “A Kind of Magic” by Queen would change my mood dramatically as I drove through the school gates, remembering to lower the unsociable volume just in time!

This was a big song on Queen’s 1986 Magic tour which was the last with the original members, since Freddie Mercury would be diagnosed with Aids the following year and was too sick to tour after that. Remember the white slacks and yellow jacket combo, which became his signature look!

Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year

“The only journey is the journey within”. Rainer Maria Rilke

Yet another well kept secret in the eventful Linney 2020 archives, but not as exciting as the December entry. I can now reveal that I was selected as Reserve for the pods in tonight’s first Heat of “Landscape Artist of the Year.”

Miss James’s Walk – My entry that caught the judges eye

All the contestants turned up so, to my relief, I wasn’t needed, as the reality had made me very anxious for days!

This meant I could participate as a Wild Card. There are so many Wild cards who participate in each heat, that it may be the one time being Black, but short, may serve as an advantage for a “Where’s Wally” moment in tonight’s episode!

All said, it was a huge privilege to have been selected, considering the number of applications. And I submitted my application with five minutes to spare before the midnight deadline, whilst downing Malbec by the glass!!

The whole day was an amazing but challenging experience!

“Contentment” – a commission

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”

An IG artist told me last year that I should accept Commissions and stop rejecting them, and to regard the mission as a way to improve my skill, build an audience and share my developing talent with others.

It’s easy to become swept away with flattery, but there is a lot to keep in mind before accepting a commission. Historically, I don’t handle flattery well but making my account public in May has helped me to accept praise with more gratitude rather than suspicion.

Logic cannot explain why I decided to accept this commission for an ex-colleague’s 40th birthday present from her mother.

A commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone. In my case, I was lucky. I was pleased that the painting needed to be reasonably large to provide a focal point in the room. I struggle with smaller artworks. This is BIG for me!

My client’s main specifications were twofold: the painting should be a landscape to reflect the walks she enjoys; to include some of the purple found in the curtains of the recently renovated lounge.


Close to me, is an area dear to us – The National Trust’s “Devil’s Punchbowl” where the heathland and light change with the seasons. I opted for a view of the early flourish of heather on one of the hillsides. Once, I did some planning, to my surprise, I found I was enjoying it. I had also been given free rein to employ any style I wished.

I slipped between my two eclectic stools. I had thought the end result would be an abstract but knowing my client’s more conservative leanings, the palette knife instinct prevented me.