Tagged: Painting

Le weekend x


With the lockdown starting to fray, we wanted the kids to experience the stillness of London before it’s officially bubbling again, so we biked through the virtually empty roads all the way to Trafalgar Square, a 20 km round route (I have saddle arse to prove it).  The only thing to interrupt our peace were the all the gear, no fear mamil brigade, the blinkers of self-interest firmly down.  I saw three almost accidents, their speed seemingly taking precedent over a slower decision maker ahead.  Given the freedom of the roads, the nature of the situation, it felt greedy and uncalled for.



Trafalgar Square felt like a movie set from a post apocalyptical film.  It wasn’t just that there were no people there, the pigeons had left as well.



The weather wasn’t great, so I painted inside.  Since completing Carla Sonheim’s online class on flower portraits, I’ve become obsessed with painting all things plant.




I think I want to do a proper painting, a large one:  The dark filtered light down below, the open sky above.


Can’t for the life of me think what it represents…


Laters, Kate x

The Sitting Room x


Charlie, The Husband and I went to Twickenham on Sunday to see England v Wales (cr*p kicking but a great match).  Before we left there was a huge discussion about the weather..hot? Cold? Rain? Snow? The general consensus was if the sun was shining it would be hot…but it wasn’t…so we dressed for winter.  We got there…the sun came out…and we all fried like sirloin steaks on a barbie.  Today, in contrast the heavens have opened and we’re probably getting the months rain in one day which means we’re all stuck inside as it’s half term.  I’ve declared it a creative day, with my creative project being to paint the sitting room.


(I’ve been desperate to paint these velux windows white since they first went in)


The walls also need a lot of work where we had a leak (all fixed by the builders) and general 10 years of wear and tear.


I’ve surprised myself by sticking to brilliant white but it works on multiple levels: The ceiling with all it’s variation in height is blended together with the eye drawn to the highest point, the skirting board radiator that runs round the edge of the room disappears, and finally..there’s a fairly eclectic mix of furniture in this room that the white pulls together (spot the latest edition..my seventies table light..probably deserves a separate post).

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I did all the prep work for half the room yesterday..I’m hoping I can get it all finished by tomorrow.


 Not easy when the kids are off school for half term..for instance, I couldn’t find my phone yesterday – not a huge hardship as we’re not biologically linked.  But it eventually turned up in Bella’s room, tuned to You Tube and a video about ‘Women making graffitti for the first time’ …if you’re mentally away..the mice play..


Laters, Kate x

Progress x


It’s the painful part of the cellar renovation…painting all the bookcases.  Probably more so than usual because they started off black…and they’re going..off black.  The reason is the shelving is an Ikea Billy hack – using basic Ikea units to look more than the sum of their parts – and that requires a layer of camouflage paint.


At least I have the TV to keep me company.


But it’s still slow progress.


The hunt has been on for the perfect pink for the stair wall.


And I think I’ve found it via the felt our tap came wrapped in.

Now to get it colour matched..

Laters, Kate x

First Day..


It’s the very first day without our builders today – I waved them off yesterday to a fanfare of thank you’s for doing such an amazing job.  I’ve been through four big builds now and know how rare it is to finish a project and still have a smile, but Pavel and Jack were exceptional from beginning to end: They knocked down walls, dug out the cellar, laid the parquet, created our kitchen..and even managed to hang some pictures for me. They are the only builders I’ve ever known to bring their own sponge for the bathroom to a job…and use it. Bravo to them!


…Not that they’ve gone far..they’re at my parents now!


So now it’s down to me..and whilst the building works look spectacular (pictures will follow soon – I’m just missing a table!), the rest of the house resembles a bomb site covered in a thick layer of multicoloured dust with nothing in it’s right place: Many of the rooms need painting and the whole house needs unpacking.  And the kids break up on Friday for Easter..what fun! But first job is to get our dining room table up and running just so I can take those god-damn pictures – and have a proper meal at it. Because of various water stains we sanded it down a few weeks ago (don’t worry – it wasn’t an antique!)…


And it looked absolutely stunning..


But there were a few white marks where the bubbling of the water stains had cause the veneer to raise up which meant it got sanded to the wood below.


So the plan has been to re-stain them and add darker tones to merge everything together. It’s now ready for it’s final sealing coat.


My Aunt – a very knowledgable lady! Gave me some wonderful tips regarding what oils to use.  In view of possible nut allergies with guests I’m opting for olive oil..could be interesting.  After that the legs need painting…

Along with most of the rest of the house! Where’s my paintbrush??

Laters, Kate x

Ceilings x


Probably the coldest morning of the winter today – the perfect conditions for clearing the garden of Molly’s now solid brown presents. Makes me wonder if someone has invented a poo-freezer yet…no! not somewhere to store her daily offerings! but something Ghostbuster-like to make the job even slightly more fun..a bit like the paint I tried on the ceiling this weekend.  I hate painting ceilings..but there’s more of a twinkle if it’s an ever-so subtle shade of bubble gum pink..


What do you think? A design step too far??


Good job it turns white after an hour…hehe!


In principal it’s a great idea..but does make you realise how hard/long it takes to paint cornice properly..

Laters, Kate x

It’s all black and white..


The good news is I’m off this morning to pick up our platform ladder from my sister…which means the serious renovation decoration is about to start.



The bad news is it’s all going to get done by paintbrush wielding me.

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The good news is I like to get my hands dirty: No pain, no gain.

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(All pictures Pinterest)

The bad news is…it tends to be more than just my hands..

Laters, Kate x

General Mayhem..


This is what I normally do on a Thursday..an engrossing, soul-enhancing, spirit-lifting art class in the sanctuary of a wooden hut on the green, leafy, quiet Common..


Today, this is my reality…it’s half term…so I’m at home..with the kids..and we’re working (??)(*&^%^%$£@!..hindering??) on a Top Secret project..which always seems like such a good idea in the abstract…

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 A happy worker!


 I’ve now learnt that black gloss, children and white, blind dogs really don’t mix…pray for me..and my floors..and possibly my sanity..

Laters, Kate x



 From this..


To this..I finally finished it last night.  I wanted the colours to be stronger, the contrasts greater, more representative of Sam alive than as a memory – I felt I was being a bit careful, almost precious before.  Little things have been added – there’s roses in her hairband, and the red of her lips was from a picture of Kate Moss in a red see-through dress, her nose smoothed out.   But it’s all a balance – I’m now looking at her eyebrows thinking there’s a big contrast between the black of the first picture and this one.  But that could be the different light and the camera as I haven’t changed them, possibly the photo sucking in the matt density of the paint rather than the charcoal – her face also looks whiter, except it isn’t..however I can’t control the urge  to go and check all these points out…sometimes the hardest thing is knowing when to stop..

Laters, Kate x

P.S. More information about the history of this picture here.

A Modern Icon x


I have a new state-of-the-art heroine and her name is Dr. Victoria Bateman.  For her birthday she and her husband decided to commission a painting of her by the Artist Anthony Connolly.  In the nude.



What do you think when I tell you Victoria is also an Economics Fellow at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge?




In many ways it’s really such a simple thing – a naked body – but what she has done has sent blasts through so many mental walls.  It’s a beautifully observed and performed satire on perceptions, maximally liberated and impeccably crafted introducing a huge pink elephant to hang languorously in the air….that society does not believe a nude can be an intelligent, academic woman, comfortable in her own skin.


Victoria says: ‘When I first came up with the idea I thought it would be a conventional portrait but the more I thought about it, I realised that doesn’t really represent the truth about me.  The more I went through the artistic process, the more I began to think about women and their role and portrayal in society. At the age of 34 I am comfortable in my own body. Reaching a certain age and realising that life is not infinite, I wanted to capture a moment in time.  Initially this snapshot was going to be conventional.  But the more I thought about it, the more I could see the value in creating a work that was both ‘honest’ – that showed me comfortable in my own skin – and that, as in my academic work, was not afraid to break through the pre-existing barriers and to raise important questions.’




Unlike so many historic nudes there’s a different power of suggestion and behaviour in her portrait.  In the past many poses have been of women caught unawares, captured in an unwitting moment, an onlooker peeking round a door.  But here Victoria stares directly out giving the painting an extraordinary force.  She chose a natural, relaxed  pose, beyond the superficiality of a TV soap, which says more for female body confidence than any written word ever has.


My view is that we will never eradicate the overtly sexualised images of women – they will always be profitable to produce, as well I understand as an economist.  instead I feel that the best way of providing an antidote is to also make sure that we show women as they truly are – it is a confident, relaxed, natural and of a named woman who is not being objectified with fake additions and photoshopping.’

‘Some people might say I’m not better than a page 3 girl but the message behind it is I am not just a body. ( And conversely – I’d say – that she is not just an academic – she has a body)  ‘I wanted to show that each woman has a female figure that literally walks around with her every moment in her life – it’s not simply sexual.’


Victoria Bateman has weilded the power to defy industry moulds and underline herself as an individual.  I love her because too many people let who they are become secondary to what everyone else wants them to be and it’s then that we build up walls for ourselves and others.


Bravo Victoria! Brave, courageous and brilliant.

Laters, Kate x