About mari french

I am a full time artist, living and working in a small village in Norfolk, UK. I enjoy experimenting with mixed-media - an unpredictable and exciting process, resulting in a distillation of my experience and a loose, atmospheric evocation of place. In 2016 I was a selected artist for the Royal Institute of Artists in Watercolours (RI). I was a finalist in Artist & Illustrator Magazine 'Artist of the Year 2016'; and was featured in The Artist magazine in June 2016. In 2014 I was a finalist in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. I am an elected IEA Member (Provisional).

Art in another barn!

Last Friday’s private view of ARTWORKS annual exhibition at Blackthorpe Barn near Bury St Edmunds was mobbed! The general consensus from visitors on the night (and in the visitor book since), was that this is the strongest ARTWORKS show yet.
ARTWORKS are a group of 30 East Anglian artists who exhibit here each year. I’m one of the new ‘guest’ artists and have eleven pieces of work on display and several unframed browser works, plus cards. The barn is a huge impressive space and there is a wealth of contemporary art and stunning sculpture on display. There’s also a great little cafe selling tea/coffee/cakes and a shop with art cards and small items of artworks, jewellery etc. for sale by the artists.
The exhibition is on every day (10am to 5pm) till 1 October, with demonstrations by artists most days and is well worth a visit. Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham, nr Bury St Edmonds (just off Jct 45 of the A14).

Early autumn sketching at Thornham reedbeds…

Another recent walking and sketching day at Thornham on the Norfolk coast. This time I concentrated on the entrancing light, colour and movement in the reedbeds as they subtly change with the approaching autumn.

Looking over the reedbeds towards Holme church from the raised banks around Ragged Marsh is one of my favourite views. The wind rustling through the silvered stems and purple-grey feathery heads is very calming. I used mainly watercolours with just one abstract using the brush pens that I mentioned in the last post.

I also did a watercolour sketch of the otherworldly ‘stumps’ looking out over the creek and marsh.

I remembered my camera this time and even caught a starling murmuration as well as the odd rusted artefact!

Creative colour… sketching with brush pens


On Monday I enjoyed a few hours sketching and walking at Thornham, north Norfolk. It had been a few months since I'd last sketched here and this time I'd decided to try out a batch of newly acquired Pentel brush pens, which are convenient to pack and use. With a small clip on metal dipper filled with water, I was able to achieve some of the wet-in-wet effects I like to play with. I love their versatility so I'll definitely be packing the brush pens on my next sketching holiday.

Because the colours I'd bought were limited (vibrant pink, bright yellow!) it forced imaginative use of what I had with me, but the resulting quick brightly coloured sketches of the beach, for me, more effectively captures the heat, the warm wind and the liveliness of the waves.

No photos this time, I took my camera but halfway along the walk discovered I'd forgotten the batteries!

Below are studies I made of light-filled creeks in the marsh from the sea defences, before the tide went out, with water soluble graphite pencil and with the brush pens again. Some sea lavender still bloomed.