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ANN’S BLOG


  • Dartmoor

    After the  hectic events  this year I needed a break and we have just  spent a few days  on Dartmoor. Walks through moorland, ancient woodland,  gushing rivers, ferns, lichen, moss- it’s a painter’s heaven. But not just that- in three days we met so many interesting , alternative, friendly and artistic people that I can’t wait to go back. Admittedly, the sun was shining, we had more than our fair share of cream teas and  it’s my favourite time of year but even so- this place has a special and unique magic. ( Actually -it’s horrible- don’t go- I want it all for myself). So now I ‘m back in my studio, replenished and looking forward to a few month’s creativity – starting NOW!

    Here’s some photos.

     

     

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  • John Blockley exhibition- update

    It was terrific having  an exhibition of my father’s artwork in the studio- drawings and paintings that had either been stored away for many years or contributed by members of the family.  Thank you to  so many of you for coming and sharing your many stories about how he had influenced or even totally changed lives- both from a  personal and creative perspective. Members of the ‘Blockley Group’ came from as far  afield as Australia- especially to see the work  and get together. Many other well known artists  came to visit- I loved  in particular having coffee with Shirley Trevena in my kitchen and swapping tales. ( I should say that I’m sorry to name drop- but I’m not really!) My father had a great sense of humour and loved to draw cartoons- and so does Shirley.  She sent me a copy of her hilarious  booklet of cartoons when she got home, describing the terrors and joys we all share in our artist’s lives.

    I was asked if I felt sad to see some of John’s artwork  from my private collection go- but it was actually the opposite. Between us, the family have a lot of  paintings and it felt very uplifting to let go of some of them and think that they were to be enjoyed by someone else. It has been a really cathartic  experience doing both the exhibition and book (which I am happy to say is currently being reprinted in  a second edition).  However,  it felt  fantastic getting my studio back to normal and re-installing my own work. It feels like  the start of a new era and my priority now is to start work on  paintings for the RI exhibition next year. No more procrastination… (but will just have a coffee first).

     

     

     

     

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  • John Blockley – Retrospective Exhibition September 2018

    John Blockley RI PPS RWA NEAC  ( 1921-2002)

     

    I have  been getting ready for the exhibition that I am curating at my studio  of my late father’s work. I  had always wanted to put together a retrospective book of his work and this came to fruition in July. An exhibition was the obvious  follow up.  A large quantity of work had been stored in a plan chest or in cupboards for  over sixteen years   and it seemed a crime  for them not to be  seen. Hopefully, some will end up on people’s walls-  but also it will be lovely  for fans to simply come and enjoy looking at this collection. There is a range of different images for sale  some of which are featured in the recent book but lots of other work  too and a wide range of sketches and drawings that have been arranged in  portfolios according to subject, place or other related matter.

    Pembrokeshire cottages by John Blockley

    This year has been busy to say the least.  ‘Watercolour Workshop’ was published in March this year and ‘John Blockley – A Retrospective’ in July .It was the publishers request to do them so close together and it has certainly kept me on my toes!  What I had not realised was that this year was also going to be the year I  made it into the RI ( Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour). My father was elected when I was a child  and I can still remember my parent’s excitement when they found out- it was like he had been made king!

    I attended my very first RI exhibition as an exhibitor in Tenby, Pembrokeshire in Wales this July. It was held in the  Naomi Tydeman RI gallery .  She asked me to send her  one of John’s book. In it  there is a painting that  he did  in the very early days when he was first learning to paint. I  did not know where it was so simply called it ‘fishing harbour’. Naomi immediately recognised it as being Tenby and I felt ridiculously pleased to discover this.  It had almost certainly been painted on a family holiday and somehow , with the RI connection , it felt like something had been completed.

    I  deliberately planned a  series of events  this  year  which would eventually lead to a quieter , more contemplative time of creativity. I am so looking forward to  this John Blockley exhibition-   It will be an informal event and a one off opportunity to see this work in the flesh.  After that – it’s  ‘Me time’.

     

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  • Online exhibition- updated

    I have just updated my online exhibition taking all the sold paintings off and adding  ten new  images to the collection.  Other than some large paintings  in a few art  galleries   and exhibitions around the country that are taking place  right now or reserved for gallery events in the autumn these are the only original paintings now available. It has been a crazy year!   The image shown here  called ‘through the gate’ is another loose  interpretation of a painting that  I  featured in my book ‘Watercolour workshop’.  I came across this  old bent iron gate   wedged between large stones  when exploring a magical mountain lane in Wales.

     

    ‘Through the gate’ is now available from the online exhibition  at £275 plus p&p

     

     

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  • Arborealists and other artists- John Davies Gallery

    The exhibition by members of the Arborealists and other artists has begun at the John Davies Gallery in  Moreton in Marsh . I went to the private view at the weekend and was blown away by the quality of the artwork.  All the paintings  celebrate trees and nature but in a huge array of styles and mediums.   Some of the usual gallery artists  were invited to contribute to the show including one of my favourites, David Tress.  I am feeling very proud to be exhibiting alongside these incredible artists-

    John Davies has said  of the current exhibition “These are paintings to truly contemplate. They are works of art that can slow us down. ” I hope that this will be one of the most absorbing exhibitions that we have ever staged at the gallery.”

    The exhibition is featured in this week’s Country life as their pick of what to see in the UK  and my painting ‘Green Tree’  has been used to illustrate this ( it sold at the pv!) For further information please visit www.johndaviesgallery

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • ‘Finding Me’

     

    I thought  I was the butterfly

    fluttering against  the pane

    to seek an opening through

    and hide  my deckle edged wings

    among spotted  ragged leaves

    in a tangled land  of bramble

    I thought I was the moth-

    a kind of butterfly goth,

    strange outlier of the night,

    waiting for the light,

    unfurled  at last from my cocoon

    And reaching for the moon

    I thought I was the bee

    in a shape shifting swarm,

    searching for a new place

    where I would feel at home-

    A hive filled with the golden hum

    of sweetness and activity

    I thought I was the tree

    with bare and broken bough

    But where the wind tore

    parts of me away I saw-

    the tiny buds of hopeful  leaves

    And a different story grow

     

    I thought I was a metaphor-

    that I could metamorphose

    into something more,

    and with morse code marks

    create an allegory.

    But I reached another page

    and realised  after all-

      that I was simply…  me

     

     

    Ann Blockley 2017- A first poem

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  • Online Summer Exhibition

    Lots of people have requested that I do another online exhibition  and so I have decided to do it now  whilst I still have a few  of the  original paintings left  that are in my ‘Watercolour Workshop ‘ book.  They are mainly smallish pictures but one or two large pieces too.   I shall send them  without mounts or frames to make  delivery  easier and they can be sent to most places around the world. For some reason there is a glitch with Sweden. I’m sorry about that but do please email me if you are from Sweden and we will  arrange something outside the usual system- it’s nothing personal I can assure you!

    It’s too hot to paint this week with my watercolours drying as fast as they hit the paper and so I have really enjoyed  having a blitz in my studio, clearing stuff out . After two years of working on books  I feel that I am building up to start afresh quite soon. I know I am always saying that!   However,  I suppose it is in  the nature of an artist to always want to  look around at  creative possibilities and explore options. As I write this it reminds me of the poem that I ended my book with called ‘Finding Me’. It was a bit of a cheek really, including one of my first poems  in a published book but I thought back to when I did my first books on watercolour and really I was only just learning to paint myself! And so I decided that it was ok to include a first poem in this  recent book too.   You can find it in the  separate post- ‘Finding me’.

     

    ‘Dragonfly’ is featured in ‘Ann Blockley’s Watercolour Workshop’ and is now for sale in the online exhibition.  

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  • John Blockley – a retrospective. NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE

    I have spent the morning packing up copies of John Blockley- a retrospective. It is the new book that I have compiled about my late father’s life and work, published by Batsford. Publication date is actually July 5th but my advance copies have  arrived and box loads have gone off to the post office in the back of my husband’s truck to begin their journeys  around UK and as far as  New Zealand , Canada and USA.  It is a really  exciting moment for me  because this is a last stage in a long cherished project.  He died in 2002 so  the world is a very different place now but somehow  the  images he produced with such integrity and passion are as fresh  and meaningful as ever.  I am glad that I have had such warm feedback from people saying  that it was a lovely way to honour my father and give back .

    He has been a massive inspiration to me and many other artists around the world and  his  influence  has been incalculable.  I am really proud to have   been able to put this book together showing  the many different subjects, mediums and  ways of interpreting that he progressed through as his work changed and developed over  forty years of painting. As an untrained artist, who only  became a full time  painter in his fifties, his story is as inspiring as the paintings themselves.

     

    Fishing boats-Dungeness , G.John Blockley, c2000

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  • Book launch exhibition-

    The exhibition is hung  and  although I say it myself – I think it’s looking good!  I am prouder of my latest paintings than ever before so I really hope people will like them- as it’s rare for me to say that!  The barn where the exhibition takes place is  a really inspiring venue- being grade 2 listed medieval tithe barn.  The different areas within the barn lend themselves to different subject displays. Some huge, towering walls contain my latest large watercolours of hedgerows  and  trees. Bird paintings fly up the stairs leading to the balcony where my latest prints are hung.  The   country wall series  look appropriate on the lovely Cotswold  stone walls of the barn  and there are separate areas for water and meadow paintings. The cafe walls have a medley of  more intimate, smaller works – largely from my book Watercolour Workshop.

    The good news is – the weather is looking good- although  even in warm weather the barn can be chilly.  If you think you might be tempted to take  a painting home-  please bring a blanket for wrapping  and save the planet from its sea of plastic bubble wrap.  You can always wear the blanket  if you forget your jumper! Also- a reminder that  I don’t have a card facility in the barn so bring cheque book if possible- Sorry to be so old fashioned.  Failing that – just come along and have a look – the gardens   are looking fab… and let’s not forget the cakes…. Hope to see you!

    ‘By the light of the silvery birch’ one of the original paintings in the exhibition

     

     

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  • Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours

    I am thrilled to be sharing with you the news that I have just been elected a member of the RI. This has been a life long ambition of mine and I feel deeply honoured to have been accepted into such a prestigious group of diverse and excellent painters. I am really looking forward to my involvement  with the society over the years to come.  The portfolio of paintings that I submitted as a candidate has now been returned and I shall be framing some of these paintings for inclusion in my forthcoming exhibition. I will write a longer piece about my  long journey towards this moment once my exhibition is over- but for now- I’m off to share some champagne with friends!  www.royalinstituteofpaintersinwatercolours.org

     One of the paintings submitted in a portfolio to the RI to support my candidacy

     

     

     

     

     

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