paintings 034-002Due to time restrictions I have decided to concentrate on my art. But I thank all of you who followed Pictures and Patisserie over the past year. I would like to take this opportunity though to inform you that I am still writing a blog all about art and arty things on my website I do hope that you can find time to take a look. Thank you.

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Pure Pleasure


Diane x


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I decided recently to give portraiture a go – I had never painted a portrait before so it was quite an experiment. I had no intention of trying to be like the great masters – there was just no way at a first attempt that I was going to produce paintings like those of my top ten favourite portrait artists. And in no particular order here they are:

  1. The great Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is listed first simply because his work always springs to mind first. Maybe because I discovered his colourful paintings way back when I was an art student. He completed many self portraits, often revealing the tensions he felt with life. All his work – later work anyway – have a vibrancy I feel is unmatched by many – full of colour and large paint swirls. And I don’t know many people who have not heard of Van Gogh.
  2. Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was probably the most influential twentieth century artist and probably the most famous artist of modern times. He was able to artfully use many different styles, but probably became popularly know for his cubism which he invented along with his friend Georges Braque – a style he used in many of his portraits which were distorted and fragmented with rigid paint strokes and in strong colours, but at the same time most captivating. Picasso moved to Paris in 1901 and was to spend most of his days in France.
  3. Another great artist of the twentieth century was French man Henri Matisse (1849-1954). A talented man who trained as a lawyer, but found art to be his vocation. The south of France was a great attraction to him and he settled in Nice in 1917. He had a great skill in use of colour and was a fluid draughtsman. Matisse would often use bright and unnatural colours in his work rather than showing things as they really looked. By the mid 1970’s and with a declining health he could no longer paint in the traditional way and so he took to painting with scissors – as he would say – but we refer to them as cut-outs!
  4. Another of my favourites is English artist David Hockney (b.1937) who over the years has spent his time residing in the UK and America. I love the strong, expanse of colours and strong distinguishable shapes that he has sometimes used in his work and in particular in a lot of his portraits. Many of his portraits feature the whole environment and not just the head and shoulders which brings out the character of the individual or individuals – he sometimes painted more than one person in his portraits. Fascinated by people and how he could represent them in art Hockney has been a consummate portrait artist since his teenage years. On his return to Los Angeles in 2013 he set out to paint as many portraits as he could with the subject sitting on the same chair and with the same blue backdrop and all on the same size large canvas in acrylics. Seventy seven portraits have been completed with stunning complexity revealing each persons character. Hockney has stunned the world of art with other great works too, but his portraits are what stand out for me!
  5. The Viennese creator of rich, decorative paintings Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) often shocked the people of his day with his bold use of nude figures. But later he started painting jewel-like and bright landscapes and portraits for which he became much sought after. His inspiration for adding gold leaf to his pictures came from ancient golden mosaics that he discovered in Italy – the most famous of his works being ‘The Kiss’.
  6. Closer to  present day and much more graphical in style is American artist Andy Warhol’s work (1928-1987). He was most recognisable for wearing a silver ring and sun glasses. But far exceeding his persona were his bold, brash and commercial creations revealing his great fascination with celebrity.  Towards the end of his life he focussed on painting portraits for the famous. His most famous portrait being that of the actress Marilyn Monroe.
  7. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was probably one of the most prolific artists of the seventeenth century who was not only a great portrait artist but a brilliant scholar and diplomat. He was born in Siegen in what is now Germany and lived for a while in Antwerp. But after a trip to Venice and seeing the work of great artists there he settled in Italy. And in honour of his love for the country he would often sign his name in Italian. On returning to Antwerp upon his mother’s death he was persuaded to stay to see out his days. His portrait paintings were famously big, bold and quite extravagant. They were almost photographic in style and while that is not to my taste I admire his great technical ability in creating the true-to-life.
  8. One of the greatest British portrait painters is how I would describe Lucien Freud (1922-2011). His portraits were often muted in colour but there was great draughtsmanship in the strong brush strokes. Paintings and drawings of people were quite central to his work as he wanted to bring drama to his paintings and he believed this would be achieved through portraiture as the smallest of human gestures showed drama.
  9. Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) was an Italian painter and sculptor who worked mainly in France. He had a magical way of elongating the face without losing the freshness of the individuals. Sadly, for him, his style was not appreciated at the time and it was only after his premature death that his portraits became popular.
  10. Most artists are known by their surname but not Rembrandt (1606-1669) – Rembrandt was actually his first name! His full title was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn which is self-explanatory on why his first name was adopted! Probably the most successful Dutch artist of the time famous for his powerful portraits. He was born in Leiden and then moved to Amsterdam where he was to see out his years. He was a great master producing many fine art portraits to almost photographic detail. They were often dark and moody.

There are two additional artists that I must add to this post – firstly the most universally acclaimed portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and his portrait is probably one of the most talked about portraits of all time; and so he should not be excluded from the list of great portrait artists. He was not only a great artist but an excellent mathematician who worked with great precision in striving to create perfection.

And of course the twelfth name is me – okay, I know there is a little difference between them and me but we all have to begin somewhere! All the portraits seen here are acrylic on canvas board and all by me:

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Diane x


Just a few recent artworks by me. And just to let you know that I will be opening a shop here very soon. All the paintings below are acrylic on canvas board. Originals and prints are for sale – until my shop opens please message me from the about page.

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My eldest daughter recently had a birthday and instead of making the usual birthday size card I thought I would paint a birthday picture (12×16* – approx. 30x40cm) from when she was a little younger! And doing what little children enjoy – splashing about in the wet sand on a beach in Cornwall; and from memory, I believe it was the glorious Sennen Cove.

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I had some left over paint from my daughter’s birthday painting and a vase of flowers close by – and not wanting to waste the paint – I thought I would create a still life.

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The Blue Vase (12×16* – approx. 30x40cm)

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With a little editing I created a very simple image below for wall print and greeting card designs. I used one of the cards recently as a thank you note to a good friend.

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Finally, a little something different. I was so inspired one day to paint an elephant that I did – don’t you just love elephants? I had been to Paignton Zoo a couple of years ago and used my elephant photographs for reference.

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Big Grey (24×20* – 61x52cm) on a creamy/beige background. Various sizes of prints will be available soon from my new online shop – coming very soon!

Diane x


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Newlyn Art Gallery’s Sir Terry Frost exhibition – Green Below, 2003, the last painting by the artist

I felt so privileged during the Christmas break to have visited a most wonderful – and certainly colourful – exhibition of works by leading modernist painter Sir Terry Frost (1915 – 2003). It was a treat for my birthday and would have been a treat for any occasion and for anyone in the vicinity of Newlyn and Penzance – two very popular resorts in the extreme south west of Cornwall. The exhibition was divided between the two galleries – Newlyn Art Gallery exhibited his later work and Penzance’s The Exchange was showing some of his earlier work – bringing together some of his most acclaimed paintings, sculptures and collages from public and private collections across the UK. There were works from his life in St. Ives in the early 1950’s, his time away from Cornwall and his return to the county when he took up residence and a studio in Newlyn in the 1970’s until his demise in 2003. And all was organised by the Tate St Ives in consultation with Sir Terry Frost’s estate and in collaboration with Leeds Art Gallery and the two galleries in the south west. He was one of the artistic greats of his time along with fellow artists Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, Roger Hilton, Mark Rothko, Victor Pasmore, Adrian Heath and Barbara Hepworth – all of whom were his friends or colleges.

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Autumn Rings Andueze 

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Resting Orange 2000

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Purple and Green

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Sir Terry Frost’s Sunburst framing Clemmy

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Blue Winter 1956

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Red, Black and White 1955-6

I have admired this great mid-twentieth century artist for a long time and felt lucky that I had the opportunity to see some of his original work and prints. I love the way Sir Terry Frost used colour and simple forms to create impact with his paintings – they impart an energy and intrigue. And continue to be admired by many well into the twenty first century and I foresee will continue to influence art of the future. Sir Terry Frost and the other great names of that era were bold innovators of form and colour and they have most certainly impacted upon my art works.

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High Yellow, Yorkshire, by Sir Terry Frost c.1955

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Walking Down the Quays by Sir Terry Frost, 1954

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A Sir Terry Frost display at The Exchange in Penzance

Sadly, the Sir Terry Frost exhibition has now ended in the SW but the Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange continue to offer some exciting works by local and national artists – and in such great locations too – who could possible resist calling by!

Both galleries have there own cafes but the Old Coastguard in Mousehole is a treat with sea views in which to dine too – we did and we were not disappointed – I can recommend the Sticky Date Pudding with brandied prunes and hazelnut ice cream; and the crème brulee and the lemon verbena panna cotta where also good enough to die for!

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Contemplating Force 8 (1960) at The Exchange, Penzance

Diane x


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A slice of strawberry cake!

For those of you who don’t already know there is this great online site called Bloglovin’ that allows you to connect with many established and new places offering information relevant to your interests; there is something for everyone. You can connect through facebook or create an account. Good luck with it!

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Diane x


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I was so inspired by all the strawberries that have surrounded me recently that I felt the urge to paint something relating to strawberries: the form, the colour, the joy they bring. Sadly, not much joy for me, not to eat anyway. Back in the days before marriage and children, before serious education and a career, I worked on a strawberry farm in the county of Shropshire. There I weighed the pickers’ strawberries, and all those fruits that were not quite so perfect or those that over split the punnets ended up in my mouth. You see; I love strawberries and for some unbeknown reason to me I became allergic to them. Apparently, so a kind pharmacist informed my father, I had over dosed; yes, I had over dosed on strawberries. It is a common problem,  so I have read many times, yet I am the only person I know and have ever known to have the condition. Not being medically or scientifically inclined, I am more the arty type, I  have learnt that the allergic reaction is something to do with the proteins that are in this most wonderful fruit. The proteins that ripen it, giving the fruit its captivating red colour and making it look enticingly delicious; but is so poisonous to me. Having children made matters a little complicated in my strawberry-banned world as they love them. Before my daughters arrived I was able to avoid strawberries, but now I buy them every week and almost every day I wash them and serve them as an after school fruit bowl snack. And every day I drool over them, just dreaming of those long lost days of strawberry pleasure. Friends and colleagues have frequently served strawberries and I have to politely decline. This always results in a long conversation about how irregular it all is and what happens to me if a do eat the forbidden red fruit. My reaction to the fruit is more discomfort then severe. A red, itchy rash appears across my jaw line, neck, up my arms and across my back, and I feel nauseous with a pounding head. They make me feel exhausted and sleepy. Handling strawberries is fine, but a big bowl of strawberries and cream results in a very unwell me.To help me understand my allergy I decided to do a bit of research and actually discovered that there are quite a lot of people like me; and that, in its severest form, strawberries can kill, but I have never heard of anyone succumbing to a strawberry. Putting my ailment aside, strawberries are packed full of goodness that help to decrease the possibility of heart disease, they have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of cancer, inflammation and hypertension and can help lower cholesterol. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and high in manganese; a nutrient that very few people know about;  but one that helps with normal bone formation and helps us to metabolise protein, carbohydrates and cholesterol. So it appears that I am missing out big time; not just that they are so delicious but in a bizarre way I am less healthy than I would be if I ate them, that is if they didn’t make me so ill if I were to eat them! For those of you who are like me and just cannot consume the heavenly fruit you’ll just have to enjoy looking at them instead.

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Just Strawberries stage I

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Just Strawberries stage II 

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Just Strawberries stage III 

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And for those of you who can eat strawberries have you tried them dipped in chocolate? I imagine them to be delectable. Simply break some chocolate (milk, white or dark) into chunks and place them into a glass bowl which is over a saucepan of gently simmering water and leave until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat. Holding the strawberry stalk dip the fruit one by one into the chocolate until half to three quarters coated. Set aside on a tray lined with baking paper and allow to harden. Eat and enjoy, if you can!

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For those of us who cannot eat strawberries we could try dipping other fruit into chocolate instead. I expect raspberries and dark chocolate will be divine, so tomorrow I will be off to the shops to grab some ingredients. After all, why should we be excluded from a fruity chocolate fix?

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Diane x


The sun makes most of us feel cheerful and I am no exception. I woke to the warmth of the early morning sun bursting through the bedroom window a couple of days ago and I just had to race outside to capture some of its glory; just in case it was a brief visit. I found the plants starting to flourish in the garden and birds singing from the tree tops. I started to think of flimsy summer dresses, straw hats and my daughters heading down to the beach with their friends like a gaggle of excited geese. But, we are not quite there yet; even though I did put on my lime-coloured cotton dress and starlet sunglasses; unfortunately, teamed with sensible boots, rather than bare feet, to cut through the dewy spring grass. I strolled through the garden and circumnavigated the much larger front lawns and orchard; those very same fields that will soon be bustling with visitors. We open up our large front garden to summertime camping; when the usual chaos of family life bubbles more fervently with joyous chatter, children giggles and rustling of canvas; oh, and we must not forget the glorious smells of smouldering barbeques and sounds of sizzling sausages. And this brings me to the matter of food; but not merely that of fuel, that of pleasure; cheesecake pleasure. Pure indulgence with a hint of summer on the way.

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To enjoy this simple but tasty treat, you will need:

  • 20cm (8inch) round loose bottomed cake tin, buttered and base lined
  • 75g (3oz) butter
  • 125g (4.5oz) digestive (or other plain) biscuits, digestives do work well though
  • 150g (5oz) white chocolate
  • 350ml (12 fluid oz) double cream
  • 450g (1lb) cream cheese
  • 100g (4oz) icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g (5oz) raspberries or other soft berry fruit

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To begin, chop the butter into chunks and place in a small glass or ceramic bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave for approximately 20-30 seconds until almost runny. (Alternatively, the butter can be melted over a saucepan of warm water). Meanwhile, crush the biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs. This can be done in a food processor, but I prefer to do it manually, by placing the biscuits in a large food bag and rolling over and over them with a rolling pin, until all are crushed. The kids love doing this one.

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Then, add the biscuits to the butter, mix together thoroughly and tip into the prepared tin. Flatten down with the back of a spoon and pop this into a fridge to harden and cool.

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In the meantime, break the chocolate into its pieces and place in a glass bowl. Place over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water as the chocolate will burn and turn grainy. A smooth cream consistency is required. Set aside to cool slightly.

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Whilst the chocolate is resting, place the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla essence into a bowl and stir to slightly mix; fully blended is not required here.

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Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl and whisk until just starting to thicken; it will hold its shape if pulled by the whisk. Tip the cream cheese mixture into the cream and whisk again, or simply stir through, until well blended this time. Add the chocolate and stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

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Wash the raspberries and allow to drain.

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Remove the tin from the fridge and scatter the drained raspberries over the biscuit base. You can increase or decrease the quantity of fruit to taste.

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Spoon over the cheesecake mixture and smooth the surface to level. Place the cheesecake, still in the tin, back into the fridge to cool for at least one hour. Almost there!Food 055

When ready to serve remove the cheesecake from the tin by easing a knife around the edge of the dessert to loosen and push the base upwards. Slide carefully onto a serving plate or board.

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Dust with icing sugar or sprinkle over white chocolate flakes to decorate if so desired. This cheesecake is good enough to serve on its own, but for extra richness it can be accompanied by pouring cream, soft berry coulis (puree) or a scattering of soft berries; or all three options, as I do sometimes, for a truly delightful experience!

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This is a treat to be enjoyed inside or out; on your own, with the kids or with a gathering of friends.

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It can be packed in a tin and transported for picnics; or served at home for afternoon tea, an after school snack or dressed up on fine china for a special dinner date.

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Sometimes, for a sweeter alternative and for longer keeping (even though having to keep it very rarely happens),  I abandon the fresh fruit altogether and place the filling directly onto the base. And when I am ready to serve, I top it with a high fruit jam or preserve; the children love strawberry or blackcurrant, I prefer cherry, but it could be tried with apricot or marmalade too! If topped with marmalade I wonder if it could be categorised as a breakfast staple?

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Easily makes 10 tasty portions.

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And the only things left to do; are wash up and ponder at the artistic creation before you!

I say artistic because this cheesecake reminds me of summer and the richly coloured in the park paintings created by French post-impressionist artist Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859- 1891). His most famous picnic interpretation being that of ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’, 1884-86. He used the method of applying tiny dots of rich coloured pigment to the 3 metre wide canvas, to be optically blended by the observer; this method is known as chromoluminarism and pointillism.


And I imagine ruminating by a pond; a pond celebrated as much as those painted by the French impressionist artist, Claude Monet (1840-1926). I would have my blanket spread across the grass whilst savouring the delicateness of raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake, washed down with a delicately floral Muscat dessert wine. I have my own acrylic on canvas interpretation of water lilies; but I am not sure if it matches up to that of Monet’s? I never intended to paint lilies in water, but the colour that was evolving on the canvas was so reminiscent of the those much adored Monet  creations, that the content could be no other.



Art and cooking are not so different really, both are created to be viewed, relished and remembered. x


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FRUITY (acrylic on canvas)

A good friend suggested I take part in an art show in her local Oxfordshire village this weekend, the 15th-16th May. It is the first time that Cholsey village has held such a show and so, I thought, why not? Each artist can submit up to four framed pieces and four browser mounted pieces; and I decided to enter the maximum I could to maximise the sale potential. Not having done this for a number of years and with very different creative works then, I thought this would be a great opportunity to see what the art market demands in style and price. It has been a bit of a stab in the dark as I know neither the village, comptition or pricing expectations. I guess I can only keep my fingers crossed and hope that I have pitched it correctly. I have submitted a mix of styles and varied the value; but what value do you place on art? Each viewer sees something different to the next, and there really is no right or wrong. I can only hope that I can have some positive feedback. Here are some of my framed paintings in acrylic on canvas.

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TWO GREAT PEAR (acrylic on canvas)


RED BOAT (acrylic on canvas)

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SUMMER (acrylic on canvas)

And the browser art works: two acrylic on canvas, one art print from an acrylic painting on canvas and a textile artwork.

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Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend myself, but my dear friend will be there at some point. I shall be waiting eagerly on her verdict of both the setting (in the Great Hall, Fair Mile) and the art on display. I hope that Cholsey Art Show passes successfully and that this one will pave the way for many more. Having been an event organiser myself, one of many tasks in my previous life in public relations, I know that it is not easy to stage such an event; especially for the first time. Good luck to the village, the organisers and the exhibitors. x


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And the colour name originates from the fruit. In nature not only oranges are orange, but sunsets, sunrises, sand, fire, fish, marigolds, sunflower centres, tangerines, clementines, pumpkins, carrots, autumn leaves, mango and cats, especially tigers. In the not so natural world, orange is used for traffic cones, in traffic lights, life rafts, warning signs, life belts, racy cars, visibility vests and children’s toys. It is synonymous with Halloween and other festivals, marmalade and the sun. It is a popular colour with many, but not all, there are a few who find it threatening, brash and gaudy. We must remember though that the colour originates from a fruit that is packed full of vitamin C, a nutrient we very much need to keep our health and vitality. I hope that my recipe for Succulent Orange and Chocolate cake will bring a spring to you step.

As in the picture above and those below, I have used this fruit and the colour orange to represent exuberance.

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This simplistic piece relies on the colours for its appeal.

One artist who is famously known for painting with orange pigment is the abstract artist Mark Rothko (1903-70). He used great areas of canvas to paint blocks of bright colours, often shades of orange, red and yellow that seamlessly blended into each other.

Every piece of orange artwork stands out from the crowd and makes an impact whatever the setting..


This is a Henri Matisse stylised bowl of fruit executed by my daughter with a little assistance from mum a little while ago and she just so happens to be called Clementine, honestly!

Orange has been such an inspiration to me that I have included not only the fruit in some of my artwork but also the colour.

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This piece is one of a series of four abstract works based on different colour gates.

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A simple, but colourful interpretation of oranges on a white cake stand. I love the contrast between the cheerful oranges and purity of the white stand against the neutral grey background.

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Orange works so well with blue and especially so in this impression of reflections in water of the sun setting.

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This is a print I created using shades of orange and a section from one of my artworks of sailing boats. I love the simple  combination of the orange and white which, for me, symbolises joy and vitality.

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I will let you decide on this one because this abstract picture evolved out of the love of the colour combinations rather than objects. The orange is so uplifting against the more sombre background that, hopefully, it can only energise the observer and bring a smile.

Orange brings a warm glow!



I just thought that I would share with you a few recent dabbles with acrylic on canvas and all appear to be predominantly blue; not deliberate!  

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I am still very much experimenting with colour and paint techniques, finishes and forms; hopefully soon, I will find what is right for me. x