Thursday, 11 December 2008

Ex Arte Equinus II - Art Horse Magazine Competition

For the first time ever, I have had the privilege of receiving comments from the judges regarding my paintings. It's a rare thing to hear what other artists and judges have to say about your work so it's very exciting to read, and a great way to learn how I can improve or what I'm doing right! You tend to get very little feed back as an artist so all comments are greatly appreciated!

Here's what they had to say:

Director's Selection Award: #155_1: Alert, 2007 -This painting embodies all that I had hoped to see in this competition. The technical ability in using the medium is unquestionably expert. Although I am generally not drawn to work of such photo realistic expression, Ms. Lancaster has in this piece, and in fact in all of the pieces that she submitted, used the distortion in the photo reference to convey the expression and temperament of this horse in a way that is undeniable. In doing so, she has stepped way beyond what we expect in equine portraiture. I commend and celebrate her boldness, as well as her achievement.

Judge's Comments:2nd PLACE, #155_1: Alert, 2007, Acrylic on canvas, 18x14"-- The artist has created an interesting and innovated composition in "Alert" that shows a strong confidence in their use of medium and craft. I feel a disturbing element in the painting and can sense the horse's alarm at something that is out of the frame or is it maybe the viewer who is alarming this horse? The artist's use of negative space and use of a skewed viewing angle adds to the drama of this stellar painting.

7TH PLACE #155_5: The Stare, 2008, Acrylic, 18x14" I love this one. How often I have seen this very view of my horses! Sometimes after falling off! The image is well done. This artist is very confident of his/her medium and has great drawing skills and an interesting take on composition. I loved all the work submitted by this artist! This artist has something to say.


Monday, 8 December 2008

Art Horse Magazine - International Equine Art Competition

I took the decision earlier this year to enter lots of competitions and it turned out to be a good idea! A few months back I entered some of my paintings into the International Equine Art Competition held by the Art Horse Magazine and today I found out that my painting of Alert won the Directors Choice Award, it also came 2nd in the painting category and my painting of The Stare came 7th! They're also going to be including my painting of Meandering in the book that they publish after the competition and my images will be in their magazine!! Very exciting!! Click here to go to their competition page and also see the other amazing artists that I am very humbled to be amongst.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Still here!

Once again I haven't been posting on my blog in ages. I've been busy working on my Christmas commissions which I, of course, can't post on here.

What else have I been up to? I've currently got 3 paintings in an exhibition at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists which is running until 24 December. Then I will be starting preparations in the New Year for future exhibitions, including one that I will be running with some fellow equestrian artists in March during Cheltenham Gold Cup race week.

We have also recently moved house which did upset the painting for a couple of weeks so I'm desperately catching up, but hopefully will be done in time. Slowly settling into the new house although we did have to settle for a house which doesn't have an outside workspace for a studio so I will have to wait until next year some time before I can properly build and set up a studio. Meanwhile, any visitors coming to stay will have to make do sleeping in amongst all my art stuff in the spare room!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Busy Time of Year

Oops, I hadn't realised I'd left blogging so long, it's been nearly a month! I haven't been able to post my latest commissions on here as they've all been Christmas or birthday surprise presents but I've been busy working away on them all. And I'm excited to say that we're finally moving into our own home next week. It could have been better timed but luckily I've figured in the move into all my commissions so it will hopefully all work out okay. We've rented houses for years so I can't wait to be a home owner but fingers crossed things don't start to break once we've moved as we'll no longer have a landlord to pay for repairs!

I'm also hoping to put some paintings into some exhibitions that are coming up so once I've found out whether they've been accepted, I will post about where and when the exhibitions are.

Monday, 6 October 2008

2008 Canon and Art Business Today “Print & Win” competition

I decided recently that if I want to get seen I should start entering competitions as well as exhibitions and after winning the acrylic paints, I got an email yesterday to say that I was one of the 25 shortlisted artists for the 2008 Canon and Art Business Today “Print & Win” competition! I put forward the image of "Silhouette" and as one of the 25 shortlisted, I have been invited to participate in a special exhibition at Canon’s prestigious London showroom on 20 November. For further information about this event click here. I'm going to start entering more competitions as this has given me a lot more confidence!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Catch up

I haven't blogged in a while which is terrible of me! I would love to say I've been busy swanning off to exotic hot countries but as is the norm, I've been sat infront of my easel wishing the cold and windy weather would ease up for a while. I don't know about others but with all the depressing news about the economy at the moment and the terrible weather, it's been playing havoc with my moods. Are you sure that we humans aren't allowed to hybernate through winter? It would certainly solve a lot as I sure feel like sleeping all the time!

It's the time of year when Christmas commission enquiries are coming in. It's strange thinking about Christmas in September but when you do this job, you are constantly thinking and planning at least 3 months ahead of yourself. It also means I rarely know what the date is! :-D We're also trying to figure out if we can take a week off in January as it's good to have at least a week away from the easel, refresh your eyes and mind, and come back with a new vigour having rested. Sorry, I'm daydreaming about foreign shores!!

We're also very close to buying our first house which is extremely exciting. It's amazing how patient you have to be, our mortgage company are being really slow, you'd have thought that they'd be desperate for the work right now! We were hoping to sign contracts this Friday but it's now been put off for another week. I'm silently stamping my feet in frustration but I know we'll get there. We'd better as I no longer have the room in our spare room/studio to swing a mouse let alone one of our cats!

Well, back I go to my latest commission. I will hopefully be able to post a couple of commissions on here once I've taken decent photos of them so keep an eye out for them.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

I'm a winner!

Makes a change from me normally being a loser! :-D I got an email today from the Society of All Artists to say I had won a set of the new Atelier Interactive Acrylics which is very exciting! Luckily the competition I entered wasn't dependant on my painting ability, instead I had to say in no more than 100 words why the new acrylics would benefit my art (I think that was it anyway, it seems like so long ago that I entered it!) and all I can think is that no one else entered the competition because I won one of the sets of paints! These new acrylics don't dry as quickly as old acrylics, allowing for more working on the canvas, better blending and reworking areas of the painting. I can't wait to get these paints and start to use them - I love working in acrylic, it's because of the medium that I am able to produce such detail but I do have certain issues with the immediacy of the drying time, I have to paint over certain areas that need changing instead of just reworking and blending can be tricky to master so I hope that these new acrylics will be the answer. This is the second time I've won some paints - the first time I was at school and entered a painting competition with Kellogs Cornflakes and won some paints. It's still as exciting winning today!!!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Latest Commissions

Here are my two latest commissions, Callan at the top and Bert below. I don't get many greys to paint so Callan was a challange with all the markings but very enjoyable. I'm also starting to try out different coloured backgrounds now I have worked out how to do so in my computer mock ups! I've put off experimenting before because playing around with different colours on the canvas is extremely tricky plus time consuming. If it hasn't turned out right, you have to wait for the paint to dry and start again so now I know how to decide on the correct colours on the computer, it will hopefully be a lot easier and quicker, hopefully!
I'm also in the process of updating my website. I've noticed that people miss my prints in my shop so I'm going to make them more accessible on my front page. I'm also tidying up my website a little bit, I say I am, it will be done by hubby when he gets the time! Also with my prints, I'm going to start selling two different sizes of each print, giving people the option of buying small or large versions for different prices.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Exmoor Pony - Take Two

This is the other of the two Exmoor Pony paintings I produced. I completely forgot to take photos during the work in progress and it's taken until today to get a photo as it's been raining non stop for days now. I quickly ran outside whilst the sun appeared for five minutes. I didn't realise but there's a shadow at the top right hand side of the painting which I can only assume was one of our cats who followed me outside when they realised it was finally not raining and they wouldn't get wet! Izzy, our girl cat, is especially useless when it's raining and you know that as soon as it starts to drizzle, she'll be in through the cat flap within seconds.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Gathering

I've finally finished the painting after spending most of the week fiddling with the background! Many thanks to Laura for your help and input! I think I'm finally happy with this painting and can now get started on the next one. I have called this painting The Gathering partly to do with the grouping of these ponies but it is also the name of the exhibition so tied in nicely.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Nearly there! I've just a bit of the front pony to finish and then I can concentrate on the finishing touches in the background. I haven't quite decided what those touches will be but I wanted to get the ponies in and done first so that any background extras would grow around them. That nearly sounded quite artistic and like I know what I'm talking about!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Here's the second stage of the painting. It's still quite a mess as I'm working on the ponies at the back first. They are well highlighted by the sunlight but at the moment, because I haven't the shading on the pony at the front, this is quite hard to tell and they just look grey!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Exmoor Ponies - Take One

I've been invited to submit to an exhibition in October celebrating everything Exmoor at the Dulverton Guildhall. I'm producing two paintings with Exmoor ponies as the subjects and here is the beginnings of the first. I put down the background yesterday and have let it dry overnight allowing me today to block in the colour on the ponies. I won't be able to tell if I'm entirely happy with the background until the painting is complete but it's currently how I had envisaged.

Latest Commissions

Here are a couple of my latest commissions, Tabu a Rhodesian Ridgeback at the top and Thomas, a very handsome chestnut underneath. Both colourings were quite challenging as they involve mixing a lot of different colours and getting a strong tonal value takes a lot of experimenting. A touch of yellow mixed in seems to bring them out stronger as they can end up a bit flat otherwise.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Heythrop Hunt

This is a painting of Heythrop Hunt who were at the 3 Counties Show. I wanted to make the painting more about the hounds and horse but brought in a bit of the coat to show their hunting colours. I'm trying to do a few more paintings that have action in them and that are not entirely about the horse, especially portraiture, so hopefully this will be the first of many.

Aaaaand relax!

It's been a busy few weeks, juggling trying to buy a house and painting and then over the weekend was a 4 day event, the Mitsubishi Horse Trials at Hartpury College and all I can say is what a disappointment! This year has been up and down at the best of times and everyone is feeling the pinch moneywise but I sold one print and 4 cards during the 4 days! All I can hope and pray is that I get a commission from this weekend or I am seriously out of pocket but being the type of business this is, I need to plough on and plan for more shows, spending out more cash than I might bring in purely to get my name out there and my paintings seen. The weather wasn't much help either, wind and rain most of the time, even forcing us to open my tent on a different side on the last day as the wind had been blowing straight into it and making it very unsafe. Lots of the stands packed up early but we thought we'd stick it out incase anyone wanted to spend their left over money but as soon as the prize giving had finished, the heavens opened and people ran for their cars. Oh, the joys of an English summer!
Yesterday I dropped off my paintings at Obsidian Art Gallery, Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire for the Horse In Art exhibition which starts on Thursday 14 August and runs until Saturday 13 September. I don't have high hopes for this exhibition, but I never do for any exhibitions as it then makes it a nice surprise if I sell something! Again, it's great publicity and Trisha even very kindly used one of my images again this year for the promotional poster. It's always extremely exciting seeing one of my paintings in print elsewhere!
It's now time to get on with my commissions and fit in some of my own paintings, I've so many ideas for paintings and so little time! I really do need to learn how to organise my time better!!
By the way, I have no idea why sometimes this blog allows me to have spaces between paragraphs and sometimes, like today, doesn't!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Festival of Dressage

Over the weekend I had a tradestand at the Festival of Dressage. It was quite a quiet affair, mainly attended by the competitors and a few members of the public so tradewise it was pretty slow. As with all shows though, time will tell how many commissions I make but sales of prints and cards were definitely down. Luckily I had a good view of the outside arena and was able to watch some top class dressage all weekend. Very impressive but with my riding skills, I should definitely stick to hacking out! The weather was VERY windy with a few showers so there were a few hairy moments sat inside my tent. It managed to stay put all weekend... until we emptied it on the Sunday afternoon and, because we live quite near, we drove my prints etc home and left the tent to take down later. We arrived back to find the tent in a crumpled heap on the floor after it had apparently taken off across the field!! Very embarrassing and sadly there's a couple of holes in my new tent but here's a photo of it at the beginning of the weekend when it was in one piece.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Latest Commissions

Here are my latest commissions. From top to bottom - Percy, Pearl & Tom, montage of Coco and Dillon.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

3 Counties Show

So, I survived my first ever tradestand experience! Here I am in the stand on day one:

It was an enjoyable 3 days. Friday morning I was a bag of nerves, not knowing what to expect. Luckily a member from the pet portraits forum that I belong to turned up to say hi and we wandered off to see the horses and that calmed me down a lot. Hi Dawn!

Sitting and working on a painting with people watching was a very strange experience. I never quite got used to it over the weekend but I'm sure that, in time, it will feel a bit more natural. I certainly hope so! I even had a couple of art groups asking if I'd like to come and do demonstrations for them but I had to turn them down as I'm really not at that point yet! I had a lot of wonderful comments about my paintings which has helped my confidence and I'm now wishing I'd started doing tradestands a long time ago as I might not have taken so long in believing in myself!! A lot of flyers were given out so fingers crossed I get some commissions from this weekend but it was definitely worth the experience and we're now thinking of doing other agricultural shows next year too. Being my first tradestand, we've learnt a lot over the weekend that we will use for future tradestands and we've also been surprised by a lot of things, such as the fact that people are more willing to spend extra to buy a print framed so they don't have to worry about getting it framed when they get home. Chris also took a poll as to which was the people's choice painting and Meandering came out on top.

Sadly though, I can't now relax and recuperate as I have 2 paintings I need to get finished by the end of the week but we might take off a week in September, when we finally have some spare time, and relax then!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Tradestands, the saga begins

Tomorrow will be my first ever tradestand and I've decided, not sure whether foolishly yet, to go all out and have it at the 3 Counties Agricultural Show which covers Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire! I spent all day yesterday getting the last bits and pieces done, mounting and framing prints for display etc and today we took my stuff over to the show ground to set up my stall. All I can say is that it's been one of the most stressful and tiring things I've ever done and I haven't even spent a day there with customers yet! Seeing my little stand next to those with lots of money lavished on them made me feel a bit inadequate at first but I reminded myself that I'm self-employed and can't afford the best of display equipment, and I'm sure people won't really notice. As it is, this foray into tradestands has cost me an astounding amount so far, not only did I have to pay for pitches, but also get all the equipment together and get my prints and cards made up. I'd better sell some things and get some commissions or I'll be majorly out of pocket and in the bad books with hubby! It still makes me chuckle when people assume that us artists make lots of money, if only they knew the truth!! Now I just have to get the painting I'm going to work on started, tweak another painting I finished recently and then I think I'm all set. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Cambridgeshire Art Fair

Over the weekend I had 4 paintings at the Cambridgeshire Art Fair on a stand run by Nicole Langstaff Fine Art. It was held in a large hall at Chilford Hall Vineyard and attended by lots of incredible artists of many different styles. I sold one painting which was wonderful and paid for the weekend (that was hubby's main concern!) but whilst over in Cambridgeshire we also took in a short tour at the National Stud and it's reminded me how much I want to expand my art to take in racehorses but to try and change people's opinions of racing art and make it slightly more contemporary. Knowing that a lot of the racing industry like their traditional paintings, this could prove to be tricky to break through but I'm always up for a challenge!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Commission - Angus and Tara

This was a birthday commission for Angus, here with his favourite lab Tara. This was painted on a canvas size 12x10". I chose to blend in the edges of the background to make it a bit more painterly, plus, to be honest, I'm not the best landscape artist so it helped make sure I didn't make too much of a mess of it!

Final preparations are under way for the Three Counties Show next week and I've just received my Fine Art Cards. I have had 8 designs made up and these will be in my shop on my website as soon as hubby adds them, might take a while!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Latest Commission - Carragh

Here is my latest commission Carragh. She's a Thoroughbred x Shire and this was a really enjoyable painting to do, a slightly different pose to usual and certainly a different size painting, this painting is 20x30".
Things are getting really busy for me right now. I've had to select which of my paintings to submit to the Society of Equestrian Artists annual exhibition this year and have just sent off the CD with the images on for the preliminary judging. I will find out during June whether these have been accepted and then we all travel to London to hand in our paintings for a second judging and get the final yes or no as to whether they will be hung. It's such a different format to most exhibitions but there are so many entries and so much variety that they are extremely stringent so it's always extremely exciting when your paintings get accepted.
I'm also nearly ready for my first tradestand in June at the Three Counties Show in Malvern. I've just ordered my fine art cards to be printed and then it's just the final touches needed for my tradestand and I should be set. I imagine there will need to be lots of improvements to my stand over time to make it more appealing to customers and to have more stock but I'm looking forward to learning about the in's and out's of tradestands and fingers crossed I sell some things! Don't forget to come and visit me!!

Friday, 2 May 2008

What a week!

This has been a week of highs and lows. At the weekend we were at a friend's wedding in Ireland, having a great time catching up with friends from around the world. We all met 10 years ago in a hostel called the Ozi Inn in Perth, Australia and it's such a privilege to still be friends with these wonderful people after all this time.

Sadly, however, when we got back from Ireland late on Monday night, we found out that our 18 month old boy cat Dan was seriously ill. He'd been fighting kidney failure for 4 weeks after eating a shrew or vole that contained a bug that attacks cats kidneys. At his age he should have fully recovered but sadly, his body couldn't cope with the toxins in his system and on Tuesday morning we had to make the extremely heartbreaking decision to put him to sleep as he was never going to recover. Luckily we still have his sister Izzy and she's certainly making the most of having all the attention.

Onto business matters, two more limited edition prints have been added to my shop, these are Alert and Meandering.

Have you got June's edition of Horse & Rider magazine yet? My website has been chosen as one of their favourites of the month on page 8! How exciting is that?!

Also this month I am taking part in an exhibition about Animal Art at Parkfields Gallery, 4 High St, Ross on Wye. It is running from 26 April until 2 June and I have 6 paintings on show. If anyone is in the area, please pop along.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


Here is my latest commissioned portrait, Jazz. He is such a stunning horse, so powerful and I loved painting in the muscle tones. The painting is size 18x14".

Monday, 14 April 2008

More exhibition work

This is my latest offering to my original paintings. Called 'Meandering' it's for an exhibition starting 26 April at Parkfields Gallery in my local town of Ross on Wye. Even I'm happy with this painting (I'm very self critical!!) and will hopefully add it to my list of limited edition prints soon. The painting is size 18x14", again in acrylic and is in the framers as we speak.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Latest Commission - Ru

This is Ru, a gorgeous chestnut mare who was a pleasure to paint! The size of this painting is 12x16" and I worked from a photo taken by myself which allowed me to incorporate a high amount of detail. Please click on the photo to see all the strokes making up the fur and colours in the coat.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Cotswold Life

Here is the article about the Equine Art Exhibition in Cotswold Life, very exciting! Top left is me and my lovely friend Xanthe, it's quite strange seeing us in a magazine! Here's hoping it encourages lots of people to go to the exhibition and buy my paintings... we're running out of space to store them here!

Limited Edition Prints

I have two more Limited Edition Prints available which will hopefully be added to my shop tonight if Chris gets time. They are The Grey and Silhouette and will be individually signed and numbered by myself so please stop by my shop if you'd like to buy one and also view the others I have available. More will be joining them when I can afford it!

Monday, 24 March 2008

Honey & Cassie

These two are Honey & Cassie who are sadly no longer with us. This was quite a tricky painting as the photo was quite old and lacked in the kind of detail you can capture in digital photography so I wasn't able to put as much into their fur as I normally like. Also, in the original photo the white fur had a green tinge which I have removed and tried to replace with a more natural colouring. I'm very much a paint what I see kind of person so always struggle when I have to change things. I wish I was more creative!

Monday, 17 March 2008


Here is Reggie, my latest commission. I normally include all the neck and chest but realised I'd made a huge mistake when taking the photos for this painting and had forgotten to get Reggie's stable rug taken off! So, to make my life easier I decided to crop his neck and chest slightly with a soft edge.

I always take photos of my paintings outside in decent light. Our house is cream in colour so I stand my easel at a slight angle facing the house so that the sunlight bounces back from the house onto the painting, but the angle means it's not direct light reducing the chance of light reflection. Also, now that I varnish my paintings (thanks Laura!! :-D) with matt varnish, this has dramatically decreased the problems I had with light reflection as I take the photos after at least the first coat of varnish.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Another exhibition

I got a call today from a local gallery inviting me to exhibit in an animal related exhibition starting 26 April. That'll be exhibition no 7 this year! Very exciting but I now desperately need to find some horses that have been clipped so not all fluffy and for it to be warm and sunny enough for them to be out without their rugs so I can get together more photos to work from as I've run out! And some extra time would be helpful too as I need to fit in doing more exhibition paintings around my commission pieces. Hmmmm......

Monday, 10 March 2008

Latest Commission

Here is my latest commission, Holly and Freddy. They are such gorgeous Springer Spaniels and it was a real pleasure doing this painting. I handed the painting over on Saturday and the owner is extremely excited about giving it to his wife as her birthday present today.

Today I have started on my next commission of Reggie, a very handsome horse. I'll hopefully be able to post the finished painting by the end of the week.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The Exhibition Press Launch

Yesterday lunch time was the press launch for the exhibition and I was so nervous! I'm not the most confident person in the world and because my husband was in a meeting, I had to go on my own and couldn't even take advantage of the free champagne because I was driving. Luckily, when I turned up the other artist Elizabeth Armstrong was there already and then a lady from Cotswold Style appeared to take our photos so I didn't have too much time to worry about it all. Cotswold Life and Gloucestershire Echo also turned up to take photos so I'll keep an eye out for the publications they featured us in. I'm also terrible at small talk and never know what to say to people so I managed quite a few stilted conversations with different people but let's hope I didn't put them off my paintings!!

Saturday, 1 March 2008


At last, I finished the final painting last night, just in time as I went to hang the paintings this morning! Sadly this was the best photo I managed to take but you get the gist! I really struggled with this painting but could not figure out why. I found getting the colour strong enough whilst adding highlights really tricky but at least I got there in the end! And now I can concentrate on the commissions I have lined up, a lot of which have birthday deadlines, 3 in April, so I won't be taking it leisurely with these either.
The press launch and opening day is Monday 3 March for this exhibition so I'll let you know how it goes. I've always been part of larger exhibitions with lots of other artists so it feels a bit strange seeing my name as one of the headline act! The other two artists involved are Elizabeth Armstrong and Alan Beers, two fantastic artists making me feel a little new to the game but I'm sure I'll settle in soon.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Power and Grace

This is no 5, Power and Grace, a stunning Andalusian. The photography was beautiful, many thanks to Linda on Wetcanvas for letting me use her image for this painting. A lot of detail was involved but I haven't had that much detail to do on my last paintings so really enjoyed all the little fiddly bits! The size of this painting is 12x12" on a box canvas.

I'm currently on the last painting but my motivation still hasn't turned up so I am struggling a bit. It's probably because it's so close to the deadline and I'm subconsciously panicking but I'll hopefully get it done!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Anyone seen my motivation??

I'm getting near to the end of these paintings, I finished no 5 yesterday which I need to get a photo of and started the last one today but I seem to have mislaid my motivation! I sometimes find starting a painting difficult because, before it starts to take form, I just can't visualise what I'm meant to be doing so this morning has been spent sitting, staring at the painting, adding a bit of paint, coming down to check my emails, then repeat. I've got this afternoon and 2 whole days left in which to finish this painting and varnish it as it's hanging day on Saturday. Please, if you see my motivation wandering past you, return it to me as soon as possible, I miss it very much!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Slowly getting there...

Here is no 4, currently unimaginatively titled "Chestnut" because I really am rubbish at titles! It was a bit tricky to get a photo of as I normally get help from my hubby, one of us holding the painting straight and the other sorting out the camera on the tripod but on my own, it's trickier mainly due to my lack of patience! The only space we have outside for setting up my easel and tripod is a very uneven concrete patch, the painting is fine to set up straight with the help of blue tac but the tripod is a different matter! But I think it came out okay, not too much light reflection. I can now get these 4 off to the framers as the other two canvases already have frames so that isn't a worry.

This painting only took me a day which I was very surprised about but I was helped by the fact that yesterday we had no electric all day long due to works going on in the village and it's amazing how much you can get done when you don't have the distractions of the computer and take a lunch break infront of the telly. Don't think I'll try it again though!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Two more.

Here are the latest two paintings for the exhibition. The sizes and titles are the top one "The Grey" at 16x20" and the bottom one "Silhouette" at 22x16". I managed these much quicker than I had expected so the stress is starting to ease slightly. I have to decide on one more image to use and then the next three paintings will be under way.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

One Down...

... five to go! This was quite a tricky painting for me and took an entire week. It's 16x20" as I like to paint large but I find making an image blurry with acrylic very difficult because it dries so fast so thanks to my water spray, I think I pulled it off. The background has also darkened because I wasn't happy with the first attempt. Now I just have to think up a name for this painting. My brain tends to be mush by the time I've finished a painting so trying to think of a title seems to be a hard process for me! Any ideas are always gratefully appreciated. I'd better also get this painting off to my framer tomorrow and grovel to her to check she'll be okay framing all my paintings ready for the exhibition in such a short space of time. Perhaps I should go armed with a bottle of wine....

Friday, 8 February 2008

Exhibition No 2

I have been offered the amazing opportunity of exhibiting my work with just one other equestrian artist in Cheltenham from 3 March til 19 April covering the Gold Cup Festival. It's to be held at the Spice Lodge restaurant but the main problem right now is that I have no paintings to show! All my work is currently in another exhibition until 9 March so I'm busy painting away in the hope that I will have at least 6 pieces for this exhibition. Above is the beginnings of one painting which I hope to have finished by the end of today. I also have several commissions lined up, one with a deadline of 10 March so it's going to be a very busy time, but well worth it. I will update my paintings as I go so please feel free to comment on them.
With regards to this exhibition, I also have to attend a press launch on 3 March in which there are going to be local papers etc to advertise it so I need to make sure I remember to put my make up on and not blush too much! I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

At last...

As you'll have noticed my shop if finally up and running on my website. I mean finally because it has taken months to get that far!! Part of the problem was finding the money to start investing in getting the prints and cards made but hopefully now I've started I'll have to continue so keep an eye for further choices in the future. The other "problem" is that my webmaster is also my husband so, believe it or not, I don't feel I can nag him to get the work done like I could someone I was paying. But hasn't he done a fine job?!

I've had a couple of weeks off from painting, one week away and this past week catching up on household jobs, giving the house a good clean, getting the website updated, visiting the exhibition at Iona House etc but it's also given me time to think of ideas for marketing, paintings etc. I'm desperately thinking of ways to market myself and my work with the least outgoings possible so I'm going to approach as many local magazines and papers as possible to see if anyone will do an article on either me or my portraits so keep your fingers crossed.

I'm also searching for inspirational photographs to use for paintings for exhibitions and to sell. The weather here is still too bad to go out with my camera and the horses too woolly so it's tricky finding good photos. Also, being quite new to this area I'm unsure as to where all the horses are hiding so I need to ask around and find out if anyone minds me "borrowing" their horse for a photo session. You never realised there was so much involved in being an artist did you?! Honest, it's a hard life. Who am I trying to kid???

Saturday, 19 January 2008

First Exhibition of the Year

Exciting news! From January 26 until 4 March there is to be an exhibition called Only Dogs and Horses at the Iona House Gallery, Woodstock, Oxon and I will have 5 paintings displayed. Below are the paintings I have for sale at the exhibition so please take yourself along as there will be paintings from lots of the UKs finest artists... and me! Details for the gallery can be found at

Monday, 7 January 2008

Welcome and Happy New Year!

Welcome to my first ever blog! It's the beginning of a new year and time to start planning the year ahead and also remember the past year. 2007 was a very exciting year for me. I entered quite a few exhibitions to get a feel for them, find out which exhibitions can work and also find out which didn't! On just my second year exhibiting with the Society of Equestrian Artists I received the great honour of winning the Darryl Nantais Prize for the Best Work in Any Medium by an Artist Aged Under 35. This was extremely rewarding for me as my Equestrian Art is a passion for me so it was great to find out that other's enjoy it too!

Entering all these exhibitions, however, does involve a lot of travelling around the country, dropping paintings off, going to Private Views and then picking up paintings again. I was lucky enough to sell a couple of paintings, one at the Society of Equestrian Artists and one at the Society of Feline Artists which is a great start but I definitely want (and need!) to increase my sales! It's such an incredible feeling knowing that on a wall somewhere is an original Sally Lancaster painting!

I was also lucky to be approached by Tidal Wave Gallery in Hereford asking if they could showcase my paintings. This is a great start for me as getting represented by galleries can take a lot of time and searching. It also means I don't have paintings stacking up in my cupboard at home!!


I now have to plan my year ahead. You'd be amazed at how much of an artist's time is taken up with marketing, planning and paperwork, it's not all just sitting and painting you know! My main plan is to increase my commissions at the beginning part of the year. This is notoriously a tricky time for artist's with people mainly commissioning for Christmas. Sadly we all need money to live and I intend to one day make my living entirely from my art.

I have also applied to have a trade stand at the Three Counties Show in June which is very exciting, my first time showing my work on my own and hopefully gaining lots of commissions and selling lots of paintings!

On recommendation of a wonderful fellow artist Laura Hardie, I have written down my goals for this year and it'll be great to see how many I have managed by the end of the year!

1) Produce prints I am already in talks with a wonderful man called Terry at about producing prints of my original works to sell on my website and also at shows.

2) Originals I love producing my original equestrian art so I am hoping to increase the amount I produce this year, not just limiting them to entries for exhibitions.

3) Make a living from my art! I would love to have a year of not constantly worrying about money and lack of.

4) Manage my time better I need to learn time management! I read some great advice from one artist that you should spend your morning on marketing, paperwork etc and the afternoon painting but if only it was that easy! Before Christmas I was painting every minute and therefore paperwork fell behind. I still have commissions lined up now but the pressure is off so I tend to faff more so I need to learn to not spend so much time on the computer "researching" and more time being productive. I have a year planner up on the studio wall, I just need to use it!

5) Exhibitions I will be concentrating mainly on equestrian based exhibitions this year but if I have the time, I will also be trying for a couple of other big exhibitions, one being the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. Entry to this Society is via judging only so I have to decide whether I have the time to produce at least three paintings by the end of February, risking the chance of my paintings being rejected and once again driving all the way to London to pick them up! Watch this space.

6) Use my camera more I have a wonderful camera but limited knowledge! Portraits are pretty straightforward so one thing I am offering from this year is for me to go out to take the photos for customers, also meaning I will have better reference photos to work from. However, I'm terrible at remembering to take my camera out with me at weekends etc and take photos of things around me that could be good for future paintings.

7) Shows I want to try and enter a few shows this year to get my name more widely known. As mentioned before, I am hoping to have a stand at the Three Counties Show in Malvern but I also want to attend some bigger horse shows.

8) Sell more originals I love doing my original paintings but they do tend to stack up in your house if you don't sell them! The gallery is slowly selling my paintings but I'm going to find more opportunities to sell my originals as it's best to have several outlets around the country, meaning more people will see my work.

9) Learn new mediums For Christmas I got my first set of oils! Having taught myself how to use Acrylics I thought it was finally time to try out other mediums, starting with oils. I love working in acrylics, because of it's fast drying time I'm able to do the finest details but this drying time also means it's incredibly hard to blend colours. The oils I have have a faster drying time than normal oils so I shouldn't have too many paintings hanging around our tiny cottage (we have a serious lack of space issue!) plus blending should be much easier but there are lots of 'rules' to learn so fingers crossed. I also want to try coloured pencils and pastel pencils in the future so keep an eye open for later posts concerning these.

10) Gain confidence! I love painting and have over the years learnt to be confident in my artistic abilities but it's a very isolating existence so when it comes to dealing with customers, being face to face with people and also promoting my painting, I feel I lack confidence. It's going to be a year of challenges but hopefully they will all make me better at self promotion and confidence. Let's see if I repeat this goal next new year!!!

Well, it's time to get off the computer and to start managing my time better!

Good luck for 2008 and enjoy!