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    The Story Behind Sarah Pye's 'Sunshine Hare'

    The Story Behind Sarah Pye's 'Sunshine Hare'

    'Whilst sitting in the car one day, waiting for my son to return from work experience as a tree surgeon , I found myself staring dreamily across the open fields on this particularly warm summer's evening. I was lost in my own thoughts of cow parsley and wild grasses and how  beautiful they were, bathed in the low evening sunshine .

    Suddenly, right in front of me, this enormous hare stood up on his hind legs and surveyed the scene around him. I remained motionless in the car, transfixed by his stature. Even from a distance I could see that he was a good 3' tall and his face wasn't soft and fluffy like a rabbit,  but angular and alert. Having decided that he was alone and safe, he sat down and began to nibble the grasses surrounding him. I was transfixed,  this was a rare sight for me indeed.

    I collected my son and my thoughts, then found myself rushing into my studio. Hours later and surrounded by images of hares and an imagination full of wild flowers - far more than had actually been in the field - Sunshine Hare emerged onto my canvas, basking in the evening sun and surrounded by a cacophony of tasty flora. ( It's the artist's prerogative to wildly embellish 😊). I'd like to say that I painted him, but he actually painted himself and I just contributed the floral feast !😊'

     Sarah's Greeting Cards

    The Story Behind Mig Wyeth's 'What A Beautiful Day'

    The Story Behind Mig Wyeth's 'What A Beautiful Day'

     'This is a picture of pure fiction. It combines my love for drawing, together with my interest in gardening and the enjoyment of having a go at tackling the weekend cryptic crossword.

    It’s all a dream because as gardeners are well aware, our expectations and hopes are not always met and we constantly battle with garden pests, diseases and the inclement weather. It is true that the plants and flowers in the picture can be found on my allotment but not necessarily growing so abundantly all at the same time, in the same year!!

    That would be pure fantasy but I thought it was a good idea from which to create a picture.

    Not far from my plot a fellow allotmenteer keeps bees. On a warm Summer’s day I love hearing the bees gentle hum and watching them busily at work on the lavender.

    It makes a good excuse to take a rest from weeding and have another glance at the Sunday crossword.

    9 Across is proving to be a bit of a puzzle…..‘environmentally friendly, small smooth stone.’ 5,6 !!

    Answers to Green Pebble!'

    Mig's Greeting Cards

    The Story Behind Claire Brierley's 'Waiting Patiently'

    The Story Behind Claire Brierley's 'Waiting Patiently'

    "Waiting Patiently was inspired by Max, my friend Kate’s border terrier.

    Max is like a baby to Kate and they have been on lots of adventures together but Max is no longer a baby; he is a bit of an old man who sometimes needs to travel in a back pack when they are out and about as he can’t keep up as well as he used too.

    The painting is based on a photo of Max in his younger days, sitting waiting patiently to go to the beach or a long walk through the fields and woods. Max has a companion called Friar, a big German shepherd who is also very gorgeous; together they have won lots of awards at dog shows and local fairs, don’t be surprised if sometime soon he too features in one of my paintings.

    For the background of the painting I have gone for the retro wallpaper look. These take a while to paint and require a lot of patience, but are very satisfying to do.

    When I start a new dog painting I draw the subject onto the canvas with pencil. I then apply the first layer of paint, roughly adding some detail. After this I paint the background colour and leave it to dry.

    I use acrylic paints as these dry very quickly, so it is not long before I can add another layer. I keep layering the paint onto the background until I am happy with the colour, then I add a pattern. It may be big or small spots, flowers, stripes, retro or something a customer has asked me to do. I have painted a dog called Poppy who had poppy wallpaper and a Labrador who loved eating digestive biscuits so had them painted in the background.

    I then start adding detail to the dog, usually beginning with the eyes as this brings the painting to life. As I add more detail the brushes I use become smaller until I use my smallest pointiest brush for the fur.

    When I think the painting is finished I will pop it on the wall in my studio where I can keep having a quick look to check I am happy with it and usually get Crispin, my husband, to take a look too ... as well as anyone else who happens to call by!"

    Hello Handbag Heaven!

    Hello Handbag Heaven!

    Once you've held one of our chunky little flip books and felt the lovely, soft-touch covers, we don't think you will want anything else. Perfect for carrying with you, these little note books with blank pages are ideal for writing down lists, notes and phone numbers. Plus, the pages tear off cleanly.

    They're a great little gift idea, especially since all our colourful covers started as real paintings and prints.

    Which begs the question: will you be able to part with them once you have held them in your hot little hands? We shall see!

    They're small, chunky, scrummy and useful. A touch of 'feel good'.

    View our range of flip books

    The Story Behind The Image

    The Story Behind The Image

    Sunny Day, By Joanna Padfield

    "I love to walk around the stubble fields near the pretty village of Hempstead in Norfolk. The colours of the yellow stubble mixed with the green grass that has crept up in between the rough cutt-off stems, are so vibrant.

    I came up with the idea for Sunny Day after a lovely walk around these fields. It was a breezy day, but the late summer sun was out. Wispy clouds were moving in the sky. In the distance I could see two sweet hares sitting beside one another.

    A perfect scene for a new linocut. I started sketching ideas as soon as I got home and was soon carving into a block. For this linocut I used 2 blocks. One for the background, which is not carved into, but rolled with multiple hand-mixed colours and different sized rollers. The second block was for the black layer which I printed last.

    For the background I wanted to show the vibrancy of the blue sky, the stubble and the grass. Using small rollers meant that I was able to move the colours around the block, creating movement and depth.

    I always enjoy carving a block. I draw my design onto the lino, so that I know where to carve, and add pattern and shapes by using different marks with various sized and shaped tools as I’m going along. This way I create an image that’s playful and bold.

    The swirly clouds and pattern suggest movement. The two sitting hares are resting, enjoying the view and each other's company."



    Windmill In The Field, By Jane Dignum

    Unlike most linocut prints, Windmill In The Field is a combination of several different prints, collaged together. Here, Jane Dignum explains how she created the image:

    "In York, there is a striking black and white windmill which has recently been carefully restored by volunteers. It is a fascinating local landmark that I love and so I created a linocut print of it against a deep blue night sky.

    The shape of the building is so simple, with its slight curves which contrast against the complex, linear structure of the sails. As you can imagine, the sections of the sails were fiddly to carve out of lino with my cutting tools.

    The background was inspired by different scenes. On my daily commute, I had noticed lots of ploughed fields which were often dotted with attractive cylindrical hay bales. Also, I loved the way tractors sculpt the soil into furrows and wanted to explore the pattern these made. They were very satisfying to carve into the lino.

    I also enjoy the subtle light and beautiful colour of autumn and so created colourful linocut prints of ploughed fields containing the bales and with ears of corn in the foreground. I was fascinated by the way in which the wheat bends gracefully. I realised that I could use these images as backgrounds for a variety of things.

    With this in mind, I decided to collage together the black, white and blue image of the windmill onto a print of autumnal fields. I particularly wanted to create a new landscape that, although inspired by real places, does not actually exist. To achieve this, I carefully cut out sections and composed the new image.

    The difficulty in composing the scene and then transferring it across to the final piece of paper onto which it will be glued, is that the composition changes every time I do it. I can be indecisive and change my mind even as I am sticking on the final pieces. It is like creating a jigsaw puzzle, but there is only one copy. On the plus side, each collage is unique!"


    Windmill in the Reeds by Vanessa Lubach

    "The idea for this linocut grew from a memory of a sketch I made one autumn over 20 years ago.  We had just moved to Norfolk from Brighton and the beautiful bleak North Norfolk Coast seemed such a contrast to the cream Georgian facades of the now tree decimated - post hurricane -South Coast. I sat on the high path, in the sea of reeds and sketched the iconic Norfolk windmill.

    The colour pencil drawing that I made that day hung on our wall for a long time but has now been mislaid.  I always remembered the mood of the sketch though, and this year I had the idea of trying to recreate it as a linocut. With that in mind, I returned to Cley-Next-The-Sea in early autumn 2016. I wanted to capture the sense of fading evening light at the turn of the season."


    The Smallholding, By Hannah Giffard
    The Smallholding
     By Hannah Giffard

    "I painted this picture of the house and animals for two ladies who had a smallholding. The original painting is about 30 X 24 cm. They loved these little pigmy goats, their bees and their two little scruffy dogs, one of which used to have a habit of poking her tongue out all the time. I went over there one day to photograph the place so that I could try and convey the feeling and atmosphere of it. The house is tucked away in south Norfolk, in a quiet, secluded spot behind the river Waveney." 


    The Blue Swimmer
     By Sue Richardson

    "I love a beach when the sun is going down; the sand is still warm and there are only a few people left, just watching the sea.

    I sketched this woman in a blue swimsuit introducing her baby to the sea, standing on the edge of  the waves. He was lodged on her hip as women the world over carry their children. It was a very rapid sketch and I added a swim cap as I wanted to keep a clean line between the two of them. I painted it as soon I got back to Cornwall while the image was fresh in my mind.

    It’s my favourite painting and the one most commented on. I can still see them."


    Rolling On The Rug By Catriona Hall

    "Rolling On The Rug was inspired by my own cat Edward, who is the pretty son of ugly Hamish, my other cat. Both were rescue cats from the appealingly-named village of Dove Holes in Derbyshire, though sadly Dove Holes was once voted the Ugliest Village in Britain.  

    Edward has taken a while to become less timid but now is more than happy to have his head stroked and then immediately rolls over to bare his tummy. I borrowed this pose for Rolling on the Rug and painted it with the cat's paws in the air. It seemed to cause some anxiety when I hung the picture like this, as a lot of people thought I'd got it upside down. I have hung it both ways now and the jury seems to still be out as to which was looks best, but oddly Edward is completely unconcerned by all of this.

    A short sighted lady seeing 'Rolling on the Rug' hung with paws in the air did ask the rather surprising question as to why I'd painted a dead fox!"


    Robins By The Chapel By Therese Urbanska

    "When I am in my kitchen doing the washing up, this chapel is what I see every day from the window. It is no longer used, but I have clear memories of seeing the lights on in the evening and hearing the congregation sing hymns that used to drift in through my kitchen window.

    I use card to create the shapes of the buildings, and to bring out the windows, doors etc so that they are relieved from the surface of the painting. Once my collage work is dry, I use acrylic paints that are built up in lots of layers. A toothbrush comes in handy too, to create the stars and snow!"


    By Mary Collett  

    "Spaniel was the first wood cut that I created on a course at West Dean College in Sussex.  

    West Dean is an amazing 19th century building which was left in trust as an educational community so that the techniques of craftsmanship can be preserved and taught, whilst new art works can also be created.

    Our tutor was Merlyn Chesterman, whose woodcuts I had admired for some time. Amongst other ideas, I had taken with me a full-face black and white photo of a spaniel taken in beautiful light and shade which I had intended to be quite subtle.

    I drew the spaniel's head out very roughly and just started to experiment with the cutting - pretty much like I would with lino.  I found I really enjoyed the sensation of cutting through the wood. The tools were beautifully sharp and the wood is easy to cut in straight lines.

    And so the background, which I was initially going to print black, just disintegrated into a mass of free-form diagonal lines which were very satisfying to cut.  This dynamic background also seemed to give the spaniel more life, which seemed rather serendipitous!"


    Kitty by Tessa Newcomb
    Kitty By Tessa Newcomb

    "Sometimes the stories come to me when I'm painting but sometimes something happens that just  has to be painted. In this instance, I was thinking how difficult it was to put up the Christmas tree and decorations on my own when I turned to see the cat had dived into the pile and had come up with tinsel around his neck. He then trailed it round the house as if to say, 'Get on with it'. Christmas had started. Now to dress the tree and get the decorations up before the family arrived!"