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).

Reedbeds and reflections…

River Wensum at Sculthorpe Nature Reserve © Mari French 2017

River Wensum at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve © Mari French 2017


Delighted to discover a new reedbeds landscape this week, this time at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve, just outside Fakenham. It’s only 8 miles from my home but although I was aware of it, I haven’t visited before (a mistake), as I normally head for the north Norfolk coast and the saltmarshes and reedbeds there. 

Sunday was a blustery and changeable early spring day, with scudding clouds and more bright sunshine as the day unfolded. The reserve is larger than I thought with extensive winding boardwalks providing comfortable and easy exploration. Lots of benches too. I had my camera with me but no sketchbook, which I’m going to put right on my next visit (soon). 

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017

Birches embracing, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Birches embracing © Mari French 2017

Mere and reedbeds, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Mere and reedbeds, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Reflections and bridge, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Reflections and bridge, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017


I loved the variety of habitat – white birch trunks standing out against the furze of woodland, the meandering river Wensum, its banks lined with pollarded willow, catkins already out, reedbeds and open meres (with great views from several hides). Lots of birdsong, which you’d expect in spring in a place popular with birdwatchers. Speaking of which, the peace and quiet was more noticeable and welcome given that any visitors encountered were talking fairly quietly being there mainly for the birds and wildlife.

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017


Movement of wind in the reeds and bulrushes, sparkling sun on the water, movement of branches, reflections, fenceposts punctuating the reedbeds … these obviously all fed into my subconscious because a few days later in the studio, after some experimental markmaking, I produced these mixed media on paper pieces, which I’m rather excited by! (And yes, I did see some interesting birds).

thinking ink…

Having fallen behind with posts last couple of months, I’ve a fair bit of catching up to do. These are my latest playing around pieces, with inks, carried out in a rather cold studio this month.

The first two below also use paint pens, ink pencil and acrylic paint.

Untitled. © Mari French 2016

Untitled. © Mari French 2016

img_0383

Untitled. © Mari French 2016

I already use acrylic ink in liquid, pencil and block form in my mixed-media pieces, but I bought a few of the new Muted range of Liquitex acrylic inks recently and enjoyed experimenting with them. I did find that, for me, the muted ‘grey’ (purple really) and the muted violet (purple) need to be combined with other colours to bring out their beauty, but they’ve increased my arsenal so I’m happy. I also got the muted turquoise, which isn’t that muted and a bit garish for me, but never mind.

Winter, saltmarsh. © Mari French 2016

Winter, saltmarsh. © Mari French 2016

Oh, and they also mix successfully with acrylic paint too.