ending the year on a high …

I’ve had a couple of lovely surprises, regarding my art, this last few weeks and it’s been great to finish the year on such a positive note.

First of all I was selected as ‘one of 50 finalists out of thousands’ by Artists & Illustrators magazine Artist of the Year 2016 competition, for my painting ‘Flight’ (below). 


As one of the finalists ‘Flight’ will be exhibited in the Mall Galleries, London, in February. There will be several prizes awarded, including the Readers’ Award, which is still open for voting, which I’d very much appreciate.

I also found out this week, that I’ve been accepted for Cley Contemporary 2016, which is part of the North Norfolk Exhibition Project (NNEP). This highly-regarded contemporary annual art festival is held in the beautiful St Margaret’s Church in Cley-next-the Sea, showing artwork by a selection of national and regional artists. I’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past to get in, so I’m delighted to be accepted this time. Especially as the guest curator for 2016, Hugh Pilkington, has said:

… I thought it would be interesting to identify what is the contemporary art being made in Norfolk today, how large is the audience and who are the patrons that might support that work. 

​Who are the artists who could make up a new Norfolk or Norwich School? Who are the successors of Cotman and Crome; of Self and Ackling; of Emerson and Payne Jennings? Who are the landscape painters? Who are the abstract painters? Who are the sculptors? Who works in other interesting and challenging formats? …

We will be given the brief for the work for Cley Contemporary in February. The work will be site-specific which will be an interesting challenge as Cley has a beautiful stretch of Saltmarsh coastline – one of my favourite subjects, as you may have noticed on this blog!


Areas of Light. One of the images in my submission for Cley Contemporary 2016. Mari French 2015

Areas of Light. One of the images in my submission for Cley Contemporary 2016. Mari French 2015

Cley Marshes. © Google Maps.

Cley Marshes. © Google Maps.


Lastly, I’d like to wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year! See you in 2016.

water water everywhere …

Private View, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014.

With my work at the Private View, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014

A warm Thursday evening last week, found me in London at The Mall Galleries for the Private View of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, in which I was a finalist. It was a busy night, with many exhibiting artists, guests and the sponsors Smith & Williamson. The standard and variety of finalists’ work was very impressive, ranging from photo-realism to semi-abstract and the full spectrum of watercolour media including pure watercolour, ink, acrylic and gouache.

Private View, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014, Mall Galleries, London.

Private View, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014, Mall Galleries, London.

We met and chatted with some interesting people, including cityscape artist Janet Kenyon and her partner Bob, who had travelled all the way down from Carlisle. Janet’s stunning city skylines (see below) have won many awards, including the RWS/Sunday Times 2009 Smith & Williamson Cityscape prize.

Janet Kenyon, Cityscape artist

One of two entries by Janet Kenyon.

Among many other entries, ‘Cloud Study, Loughborough’ (below) by graduate Phlip Clarke also caught my attention, with its intensity and depth and urban foreground.

'Cloud Study, Loughborough' by Philip Clarke

‘Cloud Study, Loughborough’ by Philip Clarke


The exhibition now travels to the Guildford House Gallery, 155 High St, Guildford GU1 3AJ where it will be on view from 14 November to 3 December. After which it will be exhibited in Smith & Williamson’s offices up and down the country.


final round…

yayy! my painting ‘Duality’ (see previous post) has been selected as a finalist in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition! It will be exhibited at The Mall Galleries in September along with other finalists, from which the winner will be chosen.

I’m just so delighted to have got to this far! I met with a lot of cynicism along the way, from some fellow artists re the futility of entering these big competitions, when trying to decide if I should go for it. But a big thanks are due to everyone who encouraged me to enter and especially to enter this piece. 

I suppose there’s an element of chance about these things – there are so many entrants for the judges to choose from after all. I just try to see it as part of my annual marketing strategy, but I’m still gobsmacked! 🙂

Duality. Watercolour on paper. Mari French 2014

Duality. Watercolour on paper. Mari French 2014