All posts by Marion Derrett

Summer 2018

Oils have been my medium of choice again this summer, with an emphasis on florals and animals. Mostly I find them a real struggle, though there is the occasional one that seems to “paint itself”.

Deep in Thought

Deep in Thought

This painting of an orangutan, “Deep in Thought” was one of those struggles, more because of the drawing than the use of medium. Strangely the hand went very well, even though hands can often be very difficult to get right. The problem here, however, was the lower face that turned out not to be in line with the upper face – I did not realise this until I had repainted the mouth several times. The orangutan kept looking sad, which seemed like a mouth problem but, eventually, I realised it more to do with the positioning of the mouth than the mouth itself.

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Deep in Thought

Deep in Thought

 

 

 

 

“Robin Lookout” and “Hungry Blue Tit” also went through several alterations, particularly where background was concerned.

Robin Lookout

Robin Lookout

Hungry Blue Tit

Hungry Blue Tit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I often have to change the colour of a background, and the stages of this floral painting show  how the background colour changed drastically.

 

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Floral Fireworks

Floral Fireworks

 

 

The turquoise blue background here gives the flowers so much more power.

 

 

 

 

 

Most of my paintings go through several stages, with an underpainting being the first layer – this applies to both oils and pastels.IMG_0185 Resized

Blue Himalayan Poppies

Blue Himalayan Poppies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stock and Peony

Stock and Peony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rising Red Phoenix

Rising Red Phoenix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pink Roses

Pink Roses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst visiting New Jersey, I returned to Artspace Studio in Morristown and painted the two following pastels:

Wye Valley Bridge

Wye Valley Bridge

Still Harbour

Still Harbour

 

It was nice to paint in pastel again, though they are a nuisance to frame!

Spring 2017

For the last few months I have continued working in oils, mostly working on florals. I am very happy with the bright colours I can achieve, though sometimes the paint brush seems to run away with me – unlike pastel sticks that I find much easier to control.

A Trio of Daisies Oil painting 30cm x 42cm Unframed £70

A Trio of Daisies
Oil painting
30cm x 42cm

 

This painting has an acrylic underpainting in very bright colours that peep through in places. It also has patterns in a texture made from a thick layer of gesso. I used star-shaped pastry cutters to make some of the patterns.

Poinsettia Winter Joy Oil painting 46cm x 61cm Unframed £150

Poinsettia Winter Joy
Oil painting
46cm x 61cm

This is a large painting of the poinsettia I had over the Christmas period – this may well become next year’s Christmas card. I really enjoyed painting all those bright reds!

Lillies in a Jug Oil painting 41cm x 41cm Unframed £80

Lillies in a Jug
Oil painting
41cm x 41cm

I found these lillies quite a struggle with their many different petals turning in different directions.

King of His Realm

King of His Realm

 

I can’t stay away from animals for long and this stag was calling to me. It took me a long time to complete, and several times I had to put it to one side of the studio and let my brain slowly decide where I needed to go next. It has had a complete change of background, but I am quite happy with it now.

Water Hen, Bali

Water Hen, Bali

We went on holiday to Bali early in the year and, whilst there, visited an old friend in his home on the island. I was delighted by the water hens that lived at the bottom of his garden by a pond, and took several photos. This may not be the last water hen painting!

White Roses

White Roses

Since then there have been more florals, including these white roses.

Oil Paints take over in 2016

For the last 3 months I have been working solely in oils. Will I return to pastels? Yes, certainly, for I love working in pastel, but I do find the fact that they have to be framed behind glass rather a nuisance.

Pink and Yellow Petunias oil painting 15 x 30cm

Pink and Yellow Petunias
oil painting 15 x 30cm


Purple Iris Oil painting 20 x 25cm

Purple Iris
Oil painting 20 x 25cm


“Threesome”
Oil painting 36 x 36cm


I am enjoying using a paint brush, though I find fine detail harder with the brush than with a pastel stick. In some ways that is a good thing as it has allowed me to loosen up.
I have still been working mostly with florals, and have taken another Nancy Medina brilliant colour course. I have always loved working with bright colours, and flowers allow me to push the colour to extremes.

“Poppy Circle”
Oil painting 36 x 36cm


I continued working on the painting “Cow Pals” that was in my last blog, and this is the result.

“Cow Pals”
Oil painting 50 x 41cm


I recently applied to and was accepted as an artist by the online art gallery Artfinder.com. This has allowed me to put my work up for sale online – easily done from the comfort of my computer. As yet I have only sold one unframed pastel, but at least it is a venue that allows for unframed work to be put on sale. It is early days, and I hope for more sales in the future.

“Sisters at the Seaside”
Pastel painting


I still have work hanging in Green & Jenks in Monmouth, and recently sold a floral pastel painting there.

“Hollyhocks”
Pastel painting


I have also been making an effort to use more social media to promote my work, and now have a new Facebook page for my art. It is called “Marion Derrett Art”, and I would appreciate anyone, who hasn’t already done so, to like and follow this page. I have also started using Twitter and Instagram for promotion, so can be found on all these sites.
Pink and White Daisies Oil painting

Pink and White Daisies
Oil painting


“Daisy Power”
Oil painting 35 x 35cm

Pastels and Oils

In my last blog I mentioned a portrait commission. It was an interesting one, and different from the norm, as I was asked to paint a back. It was a very beautiful back, belonging to a very beautiful young women. It was to be her birthday present from her new husband – so romantic!

When he saw it completed, he was not entirely happy with it as I had painted purple curtains and, apparently, she does not like purple. We discussed what colour the curtains should be – a hard choice as I had chosen purple to tone with the purple that I had put into the shadows of her skin, and eventually decided on a dark red.

Later, when I changed the colour of the curtains, I found that it completely jarred with the skin tones, and even some of the background. What I had thought would be an easy fix, turned into quite a test. However, I redid it to both our satisfactions, and later heard that she was “wonderfully happy with it”. So nice to know my painting can give such pleasure!

Below are the two versions, though I’m not sure the camera has done justice to the colours. The one above is the first with purple curtains, and the one below is the final version.

Back Portrait 1

Back Portrait 1

Back Portrait 2

Back Portrait 2

Since completing the portrait, I have taken a course with Nancy Medina on flower painting in brilliant colours. I much admire Nancy’s work, and had been trying to paint florals in oil, but was unable to get that beautiful glow of clear colour that I could see in her work. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and was able to produce florals that were much improved on anything I had done before.

Peonies

Peonies

White Hydrangeas

White Hydrangeas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pansies and Geraniums

Pansies and Geraniums

Since the course ended, I have been practising  putting my new skills in oils into practice and trying to find my own voice with the florals. I have even taken the brilliant colours into a painting of cows!

Cosmos Elegance

Cosmos Elegance

Cow Pals

Cow Pals

Recently, I was asked to give a pastel landscape demonstration to the Ledbury Art Society. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to both paint and talk at the same time, but it seems that I can! My intention was to show that a landscape doesn’t have to be all greens.

I enjoyed the morning tremendously, although I didn’t feel the painting was one of my best pieces of work. I may go back to it sometime, as it needs some refining, but I will have to take care not to “overdo” it.

 

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Larger Landscapes

Back in May I was asked to display paintings in a gallery above a gelato house/restaurant in Monmouth named Green & Jenks: www.greenandjenks.com. (By the way, they make their own wonderful ice cream on site, and serve the most delicious food.) At the time they were promoting a floral theme to celebrate Chelsea Flower Show and asked me, in the first instance, to hang some florals. I had a dozen ready to hang, but they were rather small for the space. The owner asked me to add to these, in the future, with some larger local landscapes, and I was pleased to have a project to complete.

I decided to work in oils as these might be quicker to complete than pastels and, most importantly, would not need to be framed behind glass – rendering them lighter in weight for transport. I also had quite a few 16″x 20″ canvasses, so this was the size I used. By the end of June I was ready to hang, and now have 21 paintings on display at Green & Jenks, 5 oils and 16 pastels, both florals and landscapes.

Here are the recent oil paintings, some of based on previous pastels:

Golden Light at Tintern

Golden Light at Tintern

Hillside Shadows

Hillside Shadows

Horses at Sunset

Horses at Sunset

Monmouth Gateway

 

Poetic Tintern

Poetic Tintern

Since completing these landscapes, I have been given a portrait commission. It is now complete, but I will wait to publish it since it will be a birthday gift in August.

 

 

 

 

Spring 2016

It is a long time since I last blogged, but that doesn’t mean that I have stopped painting! I have been trying out some new techniques with oil painting that I am not yet ready to share.

I did, however, paint these two farrier paintings, one in pastel and one in oil.

Farrier at Work 1 and 2

Farrier at Work 1 and 2

 

I posted them on Facebook and asked people to tell me which they like best – there were varied opinions, some preferred one and some the other. Let me know what you think, and why. Can you tell which is the pastel, and which the oil?

There have been a variety of florals that seem to be one of my favourite subject nowadays – it probably coincides with my other passion, my garden.

Happy Hellebore!

Happy Hellebore!

Pansies

Pansies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also love to paint animals, and was pleased with the looseness and movement I achieved with these white horses.

Two White Horses

Spring is such a wonderful time here in the Wye Valley in Wales that I can’t resist painting some of the landscapes around me, and the beautiful bluebells that flower in the woods just a short walk from our house.

Fishing the Wye

Fishing the Wye

Bluebell Woods

Bluebell Woods

 

Finally, also inspired by the locality, I painted one of the views of the inside of Tintern Abbey. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful piece of Gothic architecture on our doorstep!

Tintern Abbey Cloisters

Tintern Abbey Cloisters

Summer in the Wye Valley

I am preparing paintings to be displayed in the Tintern Old Station, week commencing 10th August.

Many of the people who visit the Wye Valley come by motorcycle or bicycle, so I will be including these two recent pastels:

Riding the Wye Valley

Riding the Wye Valley

Cycling the Wye Valley

Cycling the Wye Valley

The foxgloves in my garden gave me inspiration for these pastels:

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I also painted another roof slate with acrylics – as the slate was so long and thin I decided to use a previous successful composition of echinacea flowers:

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I am quite pleased with this slate, and plan to do more in the future.

New Venues

Since my previous blog I painted another two scenes from Wyndcliffe Court Gardens:

Wyndcliffe Court Gardens  1

Wyndcliffe Court Gardens 1

Wyndcliffe Court Gardens 2

Wyndcliffe Court Gardens 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then had an appointment with the curator/artist at Wyndcliffe (pronounced Wye, not Wind, as the name is taken from “Wye and cliff”, as the house is situated near a steep cliff above the river Wye). I decided to take along some florals as well as the Wyndcliffe paintings as none of them were framed, and so easy to transport. He liked my work, particularly my use of colour, and he said he would like to show all that I had taken. We had a good chat about art, which I enjoyed very much as I don’t get to see many other artists these days.

These are the florals:

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Proud Iris

Proud Iris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dancing Coneflowers

Dancing Coneflowers

Purple Tulips

Purple Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Floral Ballet 2

Floral Ballet

Floral Ballet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Clematis

Purple Clematis

Daylillies

Daylillies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks

Since then I have been very busy framing, as my husband/framer has been away sailing. It took a while, but I was able to deliver all twelve paintings yesterday in time for the holiday weekend.

I also have a week booked in early August to show my paintings at The Old Station, Tintern. It is a popular tourist venue for visitors to Tintern, and there is a shop inside an old railway carriage where my paintings will be on display. I have decided that small local scenes are probably most likely to sell there, so I have painted a couple that are each only 5″ x 7″ in size:

Tintern Old Station View Across The Valley

Tintern Old Station View Across The Valley

 

Teatime At Tintern Old Station

Teatime At Tintern Old Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I already have some unframed paintings that I might display at The Old Station, and I will need to paint some more. Watch this space!

Spring!

Here is some recent work:

Cyclamen

Cyclamen

The cyclamens have been in flower since before Christmas, and are still looking good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw these hollyhocks in a local town last year.

Hollyhocks in Usk

Hollyhocks in Usk

It’s rather fun to paint food – this smoked fish platter is delicious, and served in a Smokery by the river Severn, not far from where I live.

Smoked Fish Platter

Smoked Fish Platter

 

 

 

 

 

A view of the sunset over the river Severn estuary as you cross over the M48 bridge into Wales – in the distance is the M4 bridge that also crosses from England to Wales.

River Severn Sunset

River Severn Sunset

This painting is not a pastel, like all the others, but an acrylic painted on a roof slate. It is an experiment to see how well paintings would work on the slate. I am pleased with the look of the slate, but I think I would have done a better painting in pastel – my favoured medium. However, I will persevere as the slate is interesting, will be easy to hang and not need framing.

Floral Bouquet on Slate

Floral Bouquet on Slate

Finally, I was contacted by Wyncliffe Court Gardens who found one of my paintings of their garden archway online. They wanted to use the image on their website and sell postcards. They are also now hanging the original for sale in their gallery, and may be interested in some more.

Archway at Wyndcliffe Court Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another of the house that I have painted:

Wyndcliffe Court House 1

Wyndcliffe Court House 1

January 2015

It has been a long time since I wrote to this blog, mostly because I haven’t been painting. However, I have decided to write a non-painting blog so that my followers, who do not use Facebook, will know what I have been up to.

In November we had a holiday in South Africa. We had a great time, and I include here a few photos of some of the things we saw. There are penguins, a views of and from Table Mountain, a sunset, the fierce Atlantic Ocean and a great white shark from when we went diving with sharks.

Penguins at Boulder's Bay

Penguins at Boulder’s Bay

 

View of Table Mountain from Cape Town Waterfront

View of Table Mountain from Cape Town Waterfront

View from Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain

Langebaan Beach Sunset

Langebaan Beach Sunset

Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean

Diving with Sharks

Diving with Sharks

A couple of days after we returned from Cape Town there was the opening reception for the Christmas art show. This went well, and several of my paintings sold.

By this time it was December, and we were well into all the Christmas festivities. Charlotte was in a dance show and played Mary in the playgroup nativity. Isabelle had her school Christingle, as well as singing carols around the Christmas tree.

Charley's Dance Show

Charley’s Dance Show

Charley as Mary

Charley as Mary

Christingle

Christingle

Christmas and New Year were great fun with lots parties. The girls had fun opening their Christmas presents!

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The Wye valley looks just as beautiful in winter as it does in summer.

Tintern

Tintern

 

 

 

Some of the pictures above may be used as ideas for paintings in the future. At the moment my studio is having a make-over in the form of a new floor – it will soon be finished, and I look forward to getting back to the easel.