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Me and the much beloved at the start of the awards night
 Spoiler alert - I won Enterprinsing woman in business! But here's what happened at  SWBOYA 2019
A few years ago Phil came home from the South Wilts business of the year awards and said to me "You should enter next year". I thought he was crazy, after all he works for Porton Biopharma which is a multi million pound company and there's just little old me, a sole trader and an artist to boot. What an earth could I do at a business awards?

These brilliant awards, attended by over 800 people are organised by SpireFM and FSB.

Last year I entered without expecting much and was delighted to become one of the finalists. This year, I felt a bit more confident and wanted to really push myself.
The tension mounts as participants take their seats.
The process is actually quite a pleasant one. I was interviewed at The Enterprise Network by Amanda Foster. Her positivity and enthusiasm about women in business is absolutely infectious and far from being a chore it was an absolute delight to be able to talk to her and tell her about the innovations and developments I've made in my business over the past year. I was also entered into a second category Marketing excellence, sponsored by Unstuck design and my interview with Bexi was just as supportive and interesting. I came away from both interviews really enthused and excited about my own business and rather proud of what I have achieved.
 The awards night is great, you're greeted with photos, a glass of bubbly and a chance to network. Networking has turned into a dirty word, but it shouldn't be - it's just making business friends. And it's nice to support each other.
Once we were all seated in the auditorium of Salisbury city hall, the opening act got us all going. It was the rather brilliant James Morrison no less. What a start to the night.
Then the awards start, each category has a short list of finalists, followed by the winner being announced, the judge for that category presents the award, with a few words about why they won.
When it came to "Enterprising woman in business" my heart leapt. Hopeful I might be a finalist again. Then Karen pointed out this category had the highest number of entries and was hotly contested. My husband squeezed my hand; you'll be alright.
I was thrilled. I'd made the short list. Then my name was read out again as the winner. Fantastic. I can't believe it. Then the dreaded walk down the stairs...I don't wear heels often, they weren't high but even so, its remarkably hard walking down stairs!
Collecting my award from Amanda was just wonderful. It is just so good to know I'm doing something right. I work hard in my business and it's great that that has been recognised and rewarded.
There was an added surprise to my night, as I was a finalist in Marketing excellence. The winners in that category were Chalk valley history festival, where I'm exhibiting next weekend. Wow, two winners in one field...I might have to take my trophy with me!
After the awards are completed I felt as if I was at the Oscars; lots of photos, a couple of interviews and plenty of congratulatory hugs.
A quick drinkie in the Old ale house to round off the night was lovely too!
So what have I learnt through all this. I have to balance my time carefully. Part of my life I'm working on my art. Sometimes just making it, sometimes making it better, but it's painting and I love it. Part of my time I'm working on my business, website updates, SEO, blog posts (!), events, doing the books. And thirdly, and this shouldn't be underestimated, I'm working on my mindset. Having a positive outlook, working on those little demons in your head who say you're not good enough, and replacing them with angels who say you are! It sounds woo woo, but it works. It's got me here. 
I'm chuffed to bits.
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Do you share your life with a creative?
Is a member of your family pursuing the arts?
Maybe your best friend has just jacked in her job to finally lead a truly creative life?

Can they be a right royal pain in the backside at times? Don't worry, you can make them happy very easily with my top tips - I guarantee they'll appreciate your efforts.
1. Creatives can be sensitive!
That doesn't mean shower them with false praise! But try to be gentle if criticising their work; it can  be tough. However, in my experience creatives are very able to take criticism about other aspects of their business, so if you know a better printer, courier service or accountant, tell them - they'll want to know!

2. They're doing lots of things you can't see.
Creatives are often "one man bands" and do everything. I'd love it if every day was pure painting! But whatever it takes to keep business going, that's what they're doing. So if you feel you can't really  talk about their art then talk about their business. They'll love it and again you might have some useful insight that they'd really appreciate.

3. Online is good, bad and everything in between. And it takes up time.
Creatives need to be online, and sell online, and know what their competitors are up to too.  We need to have a presence online - and here's where you can really help the creative in your life: 
                     Like, share, heart, retweet whenever you can!
Facebook business pages don't have the same reach personal profiles. So
everytime you click 'like' on my business page, it tells Facebook that my post is good and groovy and it extends the post reach to others.
Everytime you share or comment, it pushes it even further. All for free. And boy do I appreciate it. I really do. Even better, if you have bought my work, prints or anything else post a picture in situ...wow I love seeing my work  in situ!
4. Give them a testimonial.
Pop them an email with a nice quotable sentence.
I really appreciate the friends who have, over the years, bought work from me, attended  my workshops, seen my exhibitions and visited my studio. And indeed, the new friends I've made by selling work or doing workshops. When they've written a little email with how much they enjoyed it, or how  much they learnt, or how much they love my painting - it's worth its weight in gold. It not only helps me through the tough days ( and that alone is great) but it helps fill a folder of testimonials, that help other customers develop trust in me, my work and my business..

From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
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All the artwork is dry; there's nothing else to worry about? If only. Read on to find out what really happens the week before an art fair.
"Stag in the frosty dawn light"
This weekend sees a brand-new Art fair at Newbury racecourse.
It is in fact my fourth art fair so far this year!
So surely I have a well oiled machine that enables me to prepare for an art fair with no stress or hassle - Well,  I am pretty organised these days so here's my insight into what I’m doing this week to get ready for the fair.

  1. ​1. The artwork. Obviously! For me, as an oil painter I have to plan ahead as I have to allow enough time for the artwork to dry. That can be as little as a few weeks after completion and as much as a several months! Once the artwork is dry if I'm going to hang it unframed it's simply a case of adding some D signs and hanging cord to the back, if framed I have to get it to the framers allowing enough time for the work to be done and for me to collect it.
  2. Packing the work. At art fairs you’ll see bubblewrap, felt folders, sheets, cardboard boxes,  wooden crates…all manner of what-have-you can be used to packpaintings. I use silver insulated bubble wrap. You can buy these pre-made by brilliant company called Stiffy bags or you can make your own. It's not exactly environmentally friendly the first time you use it; but you can use these bags again and again and again at so there isn't  much waste. In fact by using these bags I've reduced my plastic waste significantly​.
Some of the luxurious mouldings at my framers.
Work packaged in silver bags ready to load up the car.
Its great when you sell its also great when your stand neighbours are lovely, funny friendly artists. What a weekend we had!
3. Tools for the job. I need a trolley, a stepladder, drill, screwdriver, screws, spirit level, tape measure. These are just the bare minimum of items that you will need to set up your stand.

4. Prints and print racks. Most art fairs only allow limited addition fine art prints. So another important job leading unto the fair is to mount and wrap the prints so that they look super shiny and are protected when folks flick through them in the browser.

5. Labels. Oh my goodness; labels are the bane of my life. They take a disproportionate amount of time. I like to mount my labels onto foam board so that they look super professional. And this takes time. Does it really make a difference? I'm not sure, but I know I like the look of them next to my work. I like putting red dots on them too!

6. Stand box. My stand box is little Aladin's cave of extra stuff, my labels, red dots, business cards, pen, spare pen,  postcards, card reader, spare card reader, glasses, scissors, lucky gonk, blu-tak, Bach’s rescue remedy, mints, memo pad, guest book…you name it.
My all important stand box for all my bits and pieces
My cut out and keep stand plan!
7. Stand plan. Some folks don’t do a stand plan at all, some sketch it out, some do it on photoshop. I create mine in Mac pages, then print it out, then cut it out and stick it back to gather again! This is so that I can make adjustments and when I sell work, it's easier to plan which new piece will go on the stand. I love have a little re-arrange on Saturday morning or Sunday morning, if I’ve sold well. I use this little plan to play with with an early morning cup of coffee before heading in to the show.

8. Website and social media. I’ve been making sure all my new work is added to my website and that I’ve been posting pictures on facebook and instagram of what will be on my stand, ensuring a key hashtag or two.
9. Car jenga! You gotta fit in all in somehow. I have a big estate car which can pretty much do the job, (though for some bigger fairs I borrow my brother's van). But I have to be very strategic in how I load my paintings for maximum space with zero damage!

10. Look after your feet! Oh yeah I ought to think about what to wear. It's not too much of a hassle but broadly speaking  it needs to be fairly smart, but also needs to look nice with comfy shoes! On the PV night you’ll occasionally see me in heels, but definitely not for me on Saturday and Sunday when I'm on my feet all day.
So I’m nearly good to go.
Why not come and see how I get on, I’m on stand 45. See you there.

Contemporary Art fairs Newbury. Private view, by invitation only Friday 10th May,
​open all day Saturday 11th May and Sunday 12th May.
​​
"Bran" the highland cow, will be on stand 45
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I have felt for sometime that creating art is an emotional journey; in turn finding and viewing art you love is emotional too. So, is buying art actually deep personal connection between art and viewer?
Last weekend I was one of the demonstrating artists at Fresh Art fair in Cheltenham
I’ve been to Fresh the past couple of years and each time I have been on the stand, selling my work, this year at Fresh my work was represented by Park gallery, which afforded me the luxury or spending a day painting. My painting demo was of a lion. I had absolutely no idea how many people have been on Safari in various places throughout Africa. But believe me I met a lot of them on Saturday. I was enjoying our conversations immensely as I will be heading off to Kenya in September to go on Safari in the Masai Mara. People get very emotional when they see my lions, I try to put emotion into all of my animals,  for me it’s definitely all about the expression in the eyes.  I love the way the animal comes to life when I start painting the reflections and the glint in the eye. I even received around of applause when I put the glint in my lion's eyes during my painting demo. Later on in fair a lovely lady bought a big lion from the Park gallery stand. And it turns out this was an entirely emotional response. This lady had worked in Botswana and South Africa on various different reserves, and understandably loved lions. Truly madly deeply. She said to me of the painting “That lion’s face just blew me away”. She told me that so often when people are trying to create the strength and power behind a lion that they make them ugly, but mine was majestic and handsome. [The picture above shows the painting I was working on that day, her painting is his big brother!]
Setting up for a day's painting at Fresh Art fair
Recently I have been creating some entirely new work, away from my animals collection. This isn't because I don't like painting animals, quite the reverse I love them. But I always think it's good to challenge and push myself further as an artist. But I also wanted to really explore this concept of emotion. Was it time to leave strength and power behind and work on something more delicate and subtle?
 During the Easter weekend I found myself sitting at the bottom of the garden where we have a little orchard. It's a very special place for me. Under one of the apple trees is where my husband proposed to me nine years ago. Next to it is a cherry blossom tree which he planted on our first anniversary. Whilst I was sitting on the grass in the sunshine the wind blew and the cherry blossom tumbled to the ground. It looked like it was raining pink. In the same moment I thought of dear friends of mine who were married in Japan. Aya looked so beautiful in her stunning wedding kimono. And the chord was struck and I started thinking about how I could possibly create that image in paint. It took quite a few sketches and quite a lot of reference photographs to put the combination together but this is what I came up with. 
The Kimono and the Cherry Blossom
The kimono and the cherry blossom. I'm absolutely delighted with this piece; it's incredibly emotional and I'm certain that whoever the buyer is, they will have an emotional response to this painting. 
suitably inspired by this more delicate approach I went on to create a Thai dancer. When I visited Bangkok I was struck by how much gold there was everywhere! Very modest  little buildings sit cheek by jowl next to bejewelled temples. The palaces are covered in gold and my goodness there is such  a lot of vibrant colour. One evening we were sitting in an open air restaurant by the riverside and we watched a traditional Thai dance and this painting reflects that evening. The light glinting on her costume and the gold sparkling.
Dance at the Anatara
I don't know whether these pieces will ever become as popular as my animals, or whether it will lead to a whole new collection or merely be a dalliance in something different. But it doesn't matter because each painting I paint is a lesson, a journey and an emotional response to what's happening in my life. And I believe the people who look at my paintings go through a similar journey. 
All these paintings will be on my stand, Number 45,  next weekend at Newbury art fair.
Detail of "Ostentation" peacock feathers
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I’ll be sharing my secrets, tips, and techniques on how I paint at this week's Fresh Art fair.
Fresh art fair, viewed from the Balcony at the Centaur building.
Fresh Art fair is at Cheltenham racecourse and runs from 26th-28th April. And on Saturday 27th I will be one of the demonstrating artists in studio 2 at the fair. And I simply can’t wait! There is a real joy about demonstrating. Sometimes people come to an Art fair simply to buy art, it saves them lots of time from trawling from one gallery to another; instead over 60 different galleries, representing 500 artists are all under one roof.
However there is another reason to attend an art fair like Fresh. And that is the presence of the demonstrating artists. At Fresh, up on the balcony of the Centaur building, there are two studio areas where artists will be creating their work for visitors to see. Usually they’ll be three different demonstrations each day, there are also some talks going on as well.
So why does this appeal to the average art buying customer?
It gives them an insight, a behind the scenes look at how artists create.
Sometimes the world of art can be unfathomable and it can intimidate people. But at Fresh you need not worry. This is because if you see something you fancy simply approach the gallery that has the painting that you’ve fallen in love with, and have a chat! The galleries are knowledgeable about their artists and they’ll be happy to answer your questions. My work will be on stand 34 with Park Gallery. This is a beautiful independent gallery and Steve and Clare will be happy to chat to visitors about the work they exhibit and the artists they work with.

The artists like me, being one of the demonstrators,  get a chance to talk to visitors about how we approach our work.
I will be working on two canvases during my four-hour demonstration. This is because I’m in oil painter and I don’t want to risk overworking one canvas. The outlines and very light underpainting have already been created and are currently drying in my studio ready for me to take to the fair on Saturday. 
This is because these early stages are less interesting to watch as I make slow progress as it has to be  just right. I really have to concentrate and I’m not very chatty during this stage.
However the stage that visitors will see me working on is much more interesting.
I will be showing people how they can create form with a tonal painting using dark diluted paint. Next I move on to adding colour, followers of my blog will know I use colour in creative ways and anyone watching me during the demonstration will see just how I make those decisions about colour and bring the animal to life.  Lastly I’ll be working on some highlights. This won’t necessarily be the very end of the painting but it will give people an insight into what happens when an oil painter adds white to their mix! It’s a very exciting time for the painting. With four hours at my disposal it means you'll have a chance to watch me paint, go for a wander round and have a look at some of the other galleries and then come back and see how I’ve got on! There’s so much to see at Fresh and a warm welcome awaits you. So if you’re free next weekend I heartily recommend you come along and see us.
Click on the button below to find out more about Fresh art fair
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Last week, I took the train up to London to visit the Sorolla exhibition and it was truly an inspiration.
A few times a year I make the effort to go and see exhibitions outside of my locality, usually in London, often at the National or the RA or the Tate. And this Spring saw me heading back to my old favourite the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square to see the Sorolla exhibition.

Sorolla is Spanish, working at a time after Goya and before Picasso was famous. He has the weight of Velezquez on his shoulders, along with more than a passing hint of English portraiture influenced by Sargent. He had 19th Century realism and early 20th century impressionism at his fingertips. He was brilliant. And yet I know nearly nothing about him before I went.
Something I have always admired about the Spanish painters and something that I've never managed to conquer myself is the use of black and red! Spaniards can use black brilliantly. When I use black it sucks all the energy out of the painting when a Spaniard uses black it adds drama and creates atmosphere. The room with the portraiture had echoes of Velasquez all around it. 
But this exhibition was entitled Spanish master of light. Where is the light?
The light took my breath away. The  monumental painting" The return from fishing" was a sight to behold. I stood and sketched it, I love sketching in exhibitions, but sometimes it's difficult to do when there are loads of people. But it's always worth it. Sketching improves our art but it also improves our eye. I loved this painting all the more for my experience of trying to capture just an essence of it in my sketchbook

In the same room, another monumental painting was "Sewing the sail" People literally gasped when they saw it. 
I could feel the mediterranean sun.
​Sun so bright it blinds you.
It was truly glorious. No amount of photos can do these justice. This one was taken from a double page in the exhibition catalogue. It merely gives an an idea. I could have stared at it for hours.
When presented with such mastery of light in oil painting, sometimes written notes in my sketchbook became as important as the sketch.

When studying "The pink robe" I found myself utterly transfixed by how realistic and well painted the figures were, yet close-up the brush stokes were broad, the paint thick and unctuous. I kept going up close then retreating back. My notes remind me, when back in the studio "don't be afraid of huge brush strokes"
There was so much there, I haven't even touched on "The vision of Spain", or his beach paintings, or his story telling. There's only one way to really get inspired by Sorolla; go and see it for yourself. 
I think you might just see an influence in a few of my next oil paintings!
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“Do you do it from memory or just make that up out of your head?” I was asked this recently by a lady looking with admiring eyes at my latest horse painting “Waters edge”. I wasn’t quite able to explain in one sentence, but I’m going to try here. 
"Waters edge" Oil on linen, Louise Luton
No I didn’t do it from memory, or just make it up. It may come as a big surprise to anyone who is not involved in art, but making stuff up out of your head is surprisingly difficult. Even abstract artists have  a rigorous methodology that they go through, albeit different to mine. So if you’ve ever assumed that artists work entirely from memory, or make it up out of their heads I’ve got a little experiment for you to try at home. Without scrolling down and seeing what happens next in this article I want you to draw a £10 note from memory.
No cheating!
No peaking in your wallet first
. Just grab a piece of paper and any old biro and just draw anything you can remember from one side of a £10 note.
Give yourself about five minutes.
How did you do? How does your £10 note from memory look? Don't worry, mine is rubbish!

So here is my £10 note from memory; some recollection of Bank of England written on it, the Queens head in profile,  and a few squiggles. A vague idea of the layout and no detail whatsoever!
biro sketch from memory
Now here’s my £10 note from observation. A £10 note in front of me. It still only took maybe 10 minutes at the most, with a biro, so no rubbing out, and there are plenty of mistakes and wiggles and errors. But you can see the difference. This is what happens when you have reference in front of you compared to working just from memory.
biro sketch from observation
I have no problem in admitting my horses from memory would not be very good at all! There is another part of the process as well which I find really enjoyable which is all the sketchbook work. Whenever I do demonstrations people are often more fascinated to flick through my sketchbook than they are with the demonstration itself. And that’s not surprisingly as lots of the decisions have been made in the sketchbook. Sometimes there are decisions about the angle, the composition, my palette, the level of detail and the source of light. 
Sketchbook experimentation
Stag in Oil on linen completed after sketchbook work.
 In fact, many artists I know refer to a formula for work, which is for every 20 minutes you’ve spent on the canvas there have been three hours worth of experiments in the sketchbook.
So for me by far the best combination is some reference photographs, loads and loads and loads of sketches all surrounding me and my easel and then I can try and create my masterpiece.
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I've been asked loads of times about the art fairs I do, by folks who haven’t ever been to one before. I’m so sad that some people don’t come because they’re worried they might look like a numpty and get something wrong. So I thought I'd jot down my top 10 tips for anyone considering buying art at art fair this year - there is no need to be nervous and you're going to have a great day out with my easy guide.​
This is my stand at last year's Contemporary Art fairs, Surrey.
The Wey gallery stand at last year's Fresh Art fair. The Wey will be at this years' Fresh at Ascot.
 Amongst the most famous art fairs in Britain are The Affordable Art Fairs, and Fresh Art fairs. These are “gallery only” art fairs and as a buyer you get an opportunity to see the work of hundreds of artists from dozens of galleries all in one place. It's incredibly convenient and really exciting. Last weekend was Battersea affordable art fair which is busy and large and wonderful. There are other types of art fairs too, where you can buy directly from the artists too. Amongst my favourites are Contemporary Art Fairs who host Windsor, Surrey and Newbury art fairs. This weekend is Surrey art fair held at Sandown Park racecourse.

1.Research. If you get a chance to go to the Art fair website before you visit. This way you can see which artists are exhibiting. You might also be able to get a discount on tickets in advance or even find the artist on social media to gain private view tickets on the opening evening.

2. Do a lap. 
Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming wandering around. I recommend you do a lap first. Have a relaxed wander around, collect the business cards from the artists you are interested in then go to the café for a cup of tea and decide which artists you're going to have a chat with.

3. Don’t be afraid  to talk or not talk!  Whichever you prefer.
Personally I believe lots of people really like to browse before they engage with the artist. Feel free to do that. Some artists will greet you with simply a nod and a smile, others will introduce themselves. If you are uncomfortable chatting straight away then simply say “we’re just browsing” or indeed say “we are on our first lap”. All the artists will know what you're talking about and will leave you to browse with out any hassle.
"Talash" my latest tiger will be on stand 50 at Contemporary art fairs Surrey this weekend.
4. Don’t take photos without asking. If I have been chatting to someone for 20 minutes about a particular painting that they love and then they say to me “do you mind if I take a picture" I will always say yes. However there are times when people wander up to the stand and just take a photo without asking. Some artists find this really difficult to cope with, maybe it's because they've been copied before.
Sometimes GCSE or A-level students want to take photographs of my work. If they speak to me first and pick up one of my cards they can then have access to my members page on my website - on that page they will find tutorials and all sorts of helpful things for their coursework. So sometimes speaking to the artist means they get far more freebies than if they just surreptitiously take a photo. So don't be afraid of asking…most artists will say yes but only when you ask first.

5. Relax. I think there are lots of programs on telly with art critics that don't appear to speak the same language and make the art world unfathomable for most of us. This is not the case at an art fair -  If you are buying a beautiful work of art for your home you need to be happy and relaxed. Maybe you want to hear the story about how the art was created, maybe you don’t - you’re the one that wants to buy the art; you're in charge.
6. Take a break. Art fairs can be overwhelming as there's just so much to choose from and sometimes you really can't take it all in. So do feel free to stop off at the café sit down and have a nice old chat and a cup of tea while you work out what you want to see next. 

7. You can't like everything!  Walking on by when you’re not interested in a stand isn’t offensive to the artist. We understand.

8. Decision-making. This is a tricky one I think it's perfectly reasonable for somebody to want to go home and think about buying a work of art if it's a large piece or if it's an expensive piece. However I have seen the pain of somebody going away to think about it and coming back to my stand and seeing the piece they’d fallen in love with was sold. I have noticed a rise in recent years with people buying work after the fair directly online. The choice is yours.

9. Have an open mind. You might surprise yourself with what you like. You might also be surprised at the high quality work you can get at affordable prices. 

10. Enjoy yourself. Buying art should be a pleasure. Enjoy it all.
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There is buzz as I arrive at an art fair. Friendly,  full of anticipation and the joy of seeing plenty people after a few months of flying solo in the studio creating new work. Many artists on the circuit know each other and have done for years. Whilst unloading our cars and vans laden heavily with canvases, sculptures and passpartout, there are hugs and kisses abound as everyone says hello and makes their way to their stand - Their home for the next few days. 
Here I am with fellow artists, Carole, Dianne and Alce celebrating our love of colour with Super Slacks Sunday.

The artworld has undergone a drastic transformation in recent years. More and more people are getting in on the art act and now you can too. 
People are becoming comfortable buying original works of art, and developing their own tastes and styles. Art fairs are a great way to spot emerging talent, there are many hidden gems to be unearthed. You’ll be able to  buy high quality artwork at an affordable price and have a good day out in the process!

This year, the first art far on the calendar is Bath Art fair as it turns out, it's my most local fair and I'm delighted to be a part of it.  Bath Art fair has been going for a few years now, but this year we have a brand new venue in the heart of Bath, at Bath pavilion. The private view is on Thursday 28th Feb and the fair continues through 1st and 2nd March.
Creating the perfect stand, regardless of its size. Curating your own work by allowing each piece enough room to breathe whilst maximising your space and meeting your customers is what is an art fair is all about for an artist.

There is something indefinably wonderful about meeting your customers and explaining the work to them. In fact one of the great pleasures about attending an art fair is being able to speak to the artists, find out what their inspiration was, and how they created their work.

​You don't have to worry if you've never been; It's a lovely way to spend a day, browse the artworks, chat to the exhibitors and try to work out a short list of your favourites.
If you want to take the plunge and buy, you can do so directly from the artist. Most artist have their own card readers and we'll get your work wrapped up in bubble wrap for you so you can leave with your beautiful new artwork straight away if you want to.
This is my stand at last year's Surrey art fair at Sandown park racecourse.
My next art fair on the calendar is Contemporary Art fair, Surrey.  This is also a "young" fair in it's second year, organised by the experienced team behind Windsor and Reading art fairs.
I had a wonderful time last year and I'm hoping for a super year again this year, with the added bonus that the Private view, on 15th March just happens to be my birthday! I'll see you there with a drop of fizz!
 So whether you're an old hand at art fairs, or whether you've never been before, why not make this March a truly arty affair? You might just find the perfect painting to complete your perfect room.
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Yesterday I delivered some paintings to the beautiful Ytene gallery in Brockenhurst, right in the heart of the New forest , Helen is busy preparing and I'm so excited that my solo show opens on Saturday.
Preparations in full swing at the Ytene gallery
Over the years I've met a few artists that are represented by the Ytene gallery, and I first came across them at the New Forest show a few years ago. I was really interested in getting my work into this beautiful gallery.
Last year I got my wish, and they took a selection of  my paintings in the Autumn, along with some limited edition prints. The gallery and their customers liked my vivd oil paintings on subtle linen background and the pieces sold really well and before we knew what was happening just two of my pieces were left in stock! Helen, the gallery owner, and I were delighted.
Morgan the Stag in Wild Woodland, oil on linen,
So last year we discussed the possibility of creating a solo show in February, in time for half term and when visitors start to return to the New forest. 
I delivered a whole selection of work inspired by the New forest. 
Residents and regular visitors know that animals have priority in the New forest and can roam freely. Some of my favourite reference sketches and photos come from long walks in the forest, usually involving a pub lunch. My other photos come from pulling over on the side of the road, getting out and reaching for my camera, while a beautiful highland stands in the middle of the road watching the world go by. In fact A whole herd of cows tootling along the road is not uncommon when travelling through the forest.
Walking in the New forest in search of inspiration
New forest pony in the winter sunshine
New forest traffic jam.
The stags and deer are understandably more cautious and usually involve a longer lens to capture them! But again, regular visitors know the they are seen all the time.
'Wild woodland' celebrates the beauty of the animals in and around the New forest, the colours of the seasons and the joy of capturing these gorgeous creatures on canvas. The Ytene gallery can be found in Brookely Road, Brockenhurst. It's easy walking distance of the Carey's manor and Clouds Hotel (both wonderful places to eat or stay)  and of course plenty of New forest pubs for those of us wanting a longer walk. So why not make a date during the half term holiday (and for a few weeks afterwards) to pop in and see some beautiful paintings in this lovely little gallery. A warm welcome awaits you.
"Leaps and bounds"
Here I am delivering my work for Wild woodland
"Balmoral"
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