Friday, 29 October 2010

Sudeley Castle Wedding Fair

Hello, On the 21st November from 10am till 4pm Sudeley Castle is opening a Wedding Fair. There will be Photographers, florists etc and me....' we like to think of Katie as our own resident artist' quoted by Lady Ashcombe in The Cotswold Life. I have painted and drawn a selection of original pen and ink drawings and some bright acrylic paintings of the lovely gardens at the castle. I'm not really used to sitting by a stall but I will be giving it a go. I was asked by the castle if I would be interested in producing original pictures that could be purchased for Wedding gifts..I can only show you a couple of the coloured paintings at the moment because I've not photographed the large pen and ink pictures.

If you are interested in going it is a free event but you need to book ahead for tickets. They are available from

Now that all the leaves are being blown off the trees it has been good to look back through photos of the gardens in the spring and summer....shame the pictures are not scented !

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hailes Farm Apple Day

What a great day ! You should have been there..perhaps next year..make a note in your diary ! The weather was bright and a good crowd turned up. Happenstance performed some entertaining dances...their stick dances were quite phallic and very had to be there. I know a lot of Morris dancing is rather dull but the team have a real ball and its quite, I'm not actually going to start dancing. I did all that in my teens and I'm more into Flamenco now. Anyway, Bev gave guided walks and talked about the history of the Orchard. When it was planted it was one of the biggest mass fruit tree planting in the country. There were lots of apples to taste and people were bringing in apples for them to be identified. At the end of the day everyone popped into the Tea rooms for Tea and Cake and right on Queue the rain poured down. I painted the sign on the Tea Room almost twenty years ago, It's lasted brilliantly...but I do think the paint was much better then, probably terrible for ones health but the paint lasted. They are taking it down shortly for me to rescue it...I wonder if it will last another twenty years !

Friday, 22 October 2010

bespoke framing

Today a friend suggested that I paint and make my own frames for my pictures....yes lovely idea but to be honest when framing one of my pictures I use a good framer. From the pictures you can see that I did used to paint my own frames. One a flamboyant frame around a self portrait of myself and my old dog Megan..who is no more..and the other a gilded and painted mirror frameOf late I only seem to restore frames keeping an older appearance and restore lacquer mirror frames. This week a local framer called Lee Crew from Toddington framed a large black and white line drawing I had completed of Sudeley Castle. He made a really good job and was is a simple black frame but looks the business !
The idea of framing a picture has been around for centuries. Many wall paintings had decorative borders long before the use of a wooden frame. Originally frames were specially made for the individual painting but as the pictures changed hands the frames were also changed to suit the fashion of the period. Frames were also made to suit the decoration of the particular room, linking period decorative features. Until the mid seventeenth century English frames were mainly of Oak and were painted Black. Later 'leatherwork frames were popular, carved and gilded. Next were French frame designs covered with mouldings and highly polished water gilding . These frames were almost better works of art and craftsmanship than the paintings to be put into them. The Grand Tourists imported new styles of frames from Italy and Rome. Greek classical ornament followed in the late eighteenth century. Later in the eighteenth century many frames were produced decorated with mouldings. The ornament was applied directly to the frames and were much cheaper to produce than hand carved. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood preferred simpler water gilt frames and gilding directly onto oak rather than mass produced frames.
In the twentieth century many artists reused old frames or simply decorated their own. The modernists often rejected the frame altogether. At this time some museums also removed frames from both modern and Old masters thinking that they interfered with the integrity of the picture. Framing has a long history and specially made frames especially for a painting isn't really common but going back to the start of my blog, if I could I would love to specially make and decorate individual frames for each of my paintings.


Friday, 15 October 2010

Apple Day

Apples are red,

Nuts are brown,

Petticoats up

and trousers down.anon.

My sketch of little apple tree next to old piggery.
Tomorrow the 16th October, Hayles Fruit Farm are having an Apple Day, from 12 o'clock onwards. There will be walks, tastings and dancing by Happenstance, Winchcombes very own Morris team. have a look at and .

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Hello, This week I am feeding the hens and ducks at the railway museum. We used to have a flock of hens, three cockerels and a couple of geese, but we had to find homes for them when we moved...I'd love to still have some but I think the neighbours might complain. Two of the hens buff Sussex were ours so it was good to see them, not that they recognised me. The railway museum in Winchcombe is well worth a visit. It has now closed for the season but will be open again around the 22nd of April next year.
Back to chickens, reminding me of the saying " rare as hens teeth". A newly hatched chick actually has an egg tooth, used for chipping it's way out of the egg. It falls off after a short time and is virtually impossible to find, I've looked ! If you have ever wanted to check the age of eggs try submerging one in a glass of cold water. If it lies horizontally at the bottom it's fresh, If it tilts slightly up it's about a week old. Once it starts to float up the glass it's just about OK for baking, but when its floating at the top it will be that one for some of the politicians! The air pocket in the egg gets larger as the egg gets older because the egg shell is porous and the air increases inside the egg.
They kindly said I could have some of the eggs so I'm going to pickle some. Here's a recipe..
Hard boil the eggs and simmer some white wine vinegar with some white peppercorns and some root ginger. ( about one and a half pints to 18 eggs). Peel eggs and place into a jar, strain vinegar and pour over. Leave for a couple of weeks before starting them. I love them but not to every ones taste!
Meanwhile with all these chickens I've been crocheting egg cosies in the evenings....On November 27th Toddington Village Hall is having a Vintage Sale so I'm sorting the attic and shed out to do a stall....padding it out with greetings cards and egg cosies. The last sale was lovely with lots of beautiful stalls and a kitchen selling good cups of tea and homemade cakes...a good way to spend a Saturday.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Cotswold Life

This month in the Cotswold life is an article written by Lady Ashcombe about the Ghosts at Almsbury Farm. Well this is the month to write about ghosts,so here goes. For a while we lived there and did experience some ghostly carrying on. The main one was the sound of a screaming baby, we heard it three times and although it wasn't scary the poor child sounded extremely unhappy. It wasn't until later that I discovered that others had heard it and it had been written about. In the 1700's a baby called Cunosa Almsbury had been left for the pigs to feed on her but the dogs had protected her. Unfortunately the baby was later drowned in the river Isbourne. She is supposed to be buried in St Peter's graveyard. I believe that the anniversary of this is on the 18th October. On the morning of locking up and leaving the farm all the lights inside and outside flashed on and off in no particular order ! a friend later said that they must have been saying goodbye. I loved being there and would happily move back straight away. We have many local ghosts including a lady collecting firewood on the Gretton Road, monks walking down Cowl Lane and Orbs. To be honest I'm not sure about orbs but have a look at if you are. Soon there are to be ghost walks in the town which should prove to be very popular !
"Old Nick went out upon a prowl,
An' cumed to Winchcombe, thuck dark 'ole,
But a got stuck fast in Sudeley Lane'
So swore as e'd never cum thur agyain "
Reminds me of a massive loory with the driver using sat nav and totally ignoring road signs getting stuck fast as he tried to turn right going up Castle Street onto the main Road !

Laurence Fish

Yesterday I was invited to coffee by Jean a lovely local lady that I have known for years to see her late husbands paintings and prints. My mate Jane from also came along. What a great morning and so inspiring, I just wanted to go home and get my water colours out but I had to finish gilding first. Laurence Fish should be more well known, he was a prolific artist. In the early days he was asked to make drawings of the mechanisms of explosive devices in a manner that everyone could understand...what a responsibility ! His draughtsmanship was exceptional. He later painted graphic posters for many transport companies. Posters such as 'Life is gay at Whitley Bay' are fun and capture the hey day of the period. You might find if you try to search him that the spelling is sometimes Lawrence Fish...with a W. . I only chose this particular poster because that's where some of my relatives are from , he also did a great poster for Weymouth that had a part portrait of a blond with reflective sunglasses on..very Diana Dors. Laurence's later work can also be seen at Thank you Jean for a really lovely morning. Jane is getting ready for her next show opening next Monday. There are some good pictures ,some beautiful pottery birdhouses that really caught my eye and a birdbath with a hidden will know what I mean if you go to see it !


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