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Monday 15th November 2021Blog from the Edge - 17

Here's the latest blog from Alison, with news of our how pool is progressing, our travels on the island - and my current painting.
Pool Progress and Paintings
Since my last blog, family and friends have been and gone and all are much missed! When they are here, it’s the perfect excuse to get out and about and see more of this beautiful island.
I actually can’t believe that Christmas is just around the corner, mainly because the weather belies what is in my mind. It’s so different to what I am used to.  Nights are definitely cooler now and the days often have a cool breeze blowing, although the temperatures are still warm at around 24C. On our last trip to the mountains, it was definitely more autumnal, with brown ferns and autumn leaves everywhere.
Work continues on our pool, but will be on hold from the 26th of this month until the new year as Jose has a job with Bar Rio, manning a Christmas stall in Funchal. The guys all work so hard.  Paul’s main job is to keep the beer fridge well stocked!  
Jose comes up with some great ideas: for example, the smaller of our two Levada water tanks is down at garden level and we don’t really need it. Jose suggested it be emptied and used to house all the workings for the pool.  It took 2.5 hrs to empty it. (The banana plantation below us got a bonus soaking 🤣.) The space is enormous, so we are also going to use it as a potting room and Paul’s DIY tool den.   This frees up the two cellar rooms on the pool terrace, which we are currently using for this purpose. Ideas are forming to transform them into a pool bar and rest room 🤗. Because of lack of access, a makeshift chute has been erected from the top and down through the orchard ready for the concrete.  The pool at the moment resembles an iron cage as per photo!
While the pool work is going on, Paul is busy painting. At the moment, he is working on my sister’s two commissions.  
We have become acquainted with Kate and Jay, a lovely couple from London who live close by and who have been here for over a year now. They got stuck here on holiday during Covid and just decided to stay permanently, buy somewhere and work remotely.  They know other ex-pats so we are all getting together on Friday for a meal in Calhetta which we’re looking forward to.
Next week sees a meeting with our lawyer to try and sort out our residency situation 🤞. Once this is done, we’ll be able to travel back and forth from the UK - Brexit changed all the rules!

Posted on November 15th 2021 on 02:42pm

Monday 30th August 2021Blog from the Edge, 9

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 9 from Alison, as we readjust to normal life after our family visit and I start to paint a new window.


Painting and Produce


Well, a bit of a quiet week here, folks, and a slight anticlimax after our first family visit to Madeira last week.


The weather is so hot still in Ribeira Brava, with a temperature ‘feel factor’ of 29-30C. We had about 30 minutes of light rain one night this week - just the 2nd shower since we arrived!


Our pots of geraniums are blooming. Here’s a tip I read about: soak banana skins in your watering can!  We picked Paul’s peppers today 😊. I can’t believe the rate everything grows here! I have all of the produce - basil pesto/mint sauce/fig jam and tomato sauce - bubbling away on the hob!


The big news this week is that Paul has started a painting - a window image from a derelict house in a little village close to Porto Moniz which we visited last Sunday.  This means that the cave project has been put on hold for a little while!


To finish this week off, we had an invite to our neighbours’ place for a traditional meat and pasta family meal - a lovely night was had.

Posted on August 30th 2021 on 10:55am

Thursday 30th January 2020Tyne Valley Express Feature

Thank you to the Tyne Valley Express for this piece about my work and my appearance on BBC's Countryfile.

Posted on January 30th 2020 on 01:03pm

Friday 15th November 2019One to Watch, Living North

Thank you Living North for choosing 'Frosty Morning, Knitsley' as a One to Watch and writing this piece about my work and gallery in the magazine.

Posted on November 15th 2019 on 01:20pm

Saturday 27th July 2019My First Prudhoe Art Trail

 I very much enjoyed the first Prudhoe Art Trail, and the businesses all along Front Street really got behind it. Dozens of people visited the gallery every day and walked along the trail, enjoying paintings, wood turnings, glass and sculpture displayed in many of the shops and cafes.
Prudhoe Painters
Thank you Claudia Quayle, artist, for the photos of Prudhoe painters in my gallery. Claudia is on the right of the photograph below of the launch event.  The other photos feature artists in other Prudhoe shops and cafes.
We hope that this will become an annual event in the town. 
Prudhoe Art Trail Launch, Cafe no 22

Friday 10th May 2019Gallery News and Gallery Bed and Breakfast

 Thank you Tyne Valley Express for the latest article about 'Pithead, Grove Rake Mine' and the Gallery Bed and Breakfast.

Posted on May 10th 2019 on 12:13pm

Friday 09th November 2018Ruined Cottage, Allendale

Just after changing my cover photo to ‘Ruined Cottage,’ I received this photo from friend Jennifer, who has recently seen the cottage as it is now, after coming across it on a walk. The cottage in Allendale is surrounded by mine shafts, and seems to be sinking and crumbling into the earth.
Thanks to Jennifer for sending me the photo.

Posted on November 09th 2018 on 04:35pm

Thursday 05th July 2018Inspirations: Ivan Shishkin – Mast Tree Grove and Dead Forest

I don’t detect paint when I look at Ivan Shishkin’s work, I detect light. The care he has taken is phenomenal. Like Andrew Wyeth, Shishkin could paint light on surfaces beautifully.
I discovered Shishkin’s work after creating my etching ‘The Pathway’ – and he had been making forest etchings almost 200 years earlier – he was a Russian Itinerant Artist. His work is well crafted and has real integrity and authenticity and the detail he excelled in helped to influence my own paintings, such as ‘Rhododendron’ and ‘Plantation Pathway.’

Thursday 29th June 2017Teaching in France - Seventh Time

 Holiday coming up for my UK students and a real change of scenery for me - I have just been invited to teach in Correze, France, for the 7th time, staying in this beautiful chateau, 31st July to 9th August. Alison and my sister Lynn and other helpers will be holding the fort at the Prudhoe gallery for me - looking forward to the journey.

Thursday 29th June 2017Great North Art Show, Ripon Cathedral

Other good news this month - I have been accepted to show six original Windows paintings at the Great North Art Show, so they will be hanging in Ripon Cathedral in September. I'm really looking forward to that, and pleased to be chosen, though I'll have to rearrange the gallery in Prudhoe. It's always interesting to see my work in a new setting - and this one is very special.  
Great North Art Show have chosen six of my Windows paintings to be exhibited - 'Bedroom Window, Ruffside Farm,' 'The Blind,' 'Swallow's Nest,' 'The Blue Room,' 'Pantry Window, Ruined Cottage' and 'Garden Room'. Look forward to seeing them in such a beautiful cathedral setting in September.

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