Studio Changes

23659337_10155438569721622_989152824306459069_nHOW I CHANGED MY STUDIO INTO A MULTIFUNCTIONAL SPACE

Now that the rest of the house is finally coming together, I’ve been able to empty my studio of boxes and reclaim the space.

 

My studio is on the first floor and it used to be used as a bedroom by the previous owners, and so it was always hoped that this space would one day become a comfortable place where we could have guests come and stay.

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I had thought about getting a sofa bed for this space, but in the end, gave up on that idea when I looked at the measurements and I realised how much floor space I would lose. Not only that but access to my storage space would be compromised. So I had to go back to the drawing board and think of another solution, which would give me maximum studio space, while easily transforming into a guest bedroom.

 

23658872_10155438569761622_6034597169133208799_nI also needed a picture shelf so that I could have more display space for my work while it waited to go to various galleries, and so the design had to incorporate this too.

 

 

We also still had the old massive bathroom mirror leaning up against my studio wall, and while I didn’t really want it, I thought perhaps I could add this to the guest room part of the design.

 

 

23659242_10155438569746622_8715002907309882517_nMy solution:

1 Bought picture shelves from Ikea.

2 Bought foam mattress.

3 Put up black picture shelves at exactly the right height to hold the mattress in place when it leans against the wall when the room is in ‘studio mode’.

4 Put up mirror so that it became a headboard when mattress was down in ‘guest room mode’.

5 Styled the space with my artwork/

 

23755273_10155438569806622_7552387372564934029_nSEE PHOTOS: The first 3 are of my room is ‘studio mode’ and the last 3 are of it in ‘guest room mode’.

 

I’m really pleased with the result, it works really well as both studio and guest room with minimal fuss.

 

Our first guest slept on the new mattress last weekend and we have guests coming to stay this weekend too, so I’m glad we got this room sorted into it’s multifunctional state. I wonder what our new guests will think of the mirror headboard?! :) 23795548_10155438569816622_4134351175500236933_n

 

And I’m really pleased with how my artwork looks on the new display shelf. It’s about time I had somewhere to display it!

Inspired by Interiors

INSPIRED BY INTERIORS

Hello again. I know it’s been a while since I wrote anything here, so I thought I’d update you with what I’ve been up to.

As you might already know from my news page, I’ve been having building work done in our house over the past few months. This meant that my studio was full of boxes from floor to ceiling and I couldn’t get any work done for a time, and so instead, all my creativity went into creating a new interior for our home.

W-NIGt4gI like the way that new creative challenges always seem to feed into my other creative work, so I thought I’d share with you my current creative process.

For interior decorating inspiration, I turned to Pinterest and Instagram for ideas. It was there that I discovered some great interior bloggers, such at Lisa Dawson, Rebecca (Malmo and Moss), and Reena (@hygge_for_home), and how I discovered the great interior designers and influencers such as Abigail Ahern (pictured) and Sophie Robinson. I absolutely loved the dark romantic style of Abigail Ahern’s home, almost theatrical in scale and drama. I loved the can-do attitude of Lisa Dawson as I followed her progress on her own revamp project, even sanding the floor herself. I was inspired by how Reena managed to keep posting such amazing images of her home with such style, despite having three young children to look after. I loved watching Sophie Robinson set up a photo shoot in her own home and learned a lot about colour and styling.

21106730_10155224466281622_2908073385694526739_nReading their posts, gave me confidence in my own design decisions for our own home, and I realised that I could apply the same confidence I have about my artwork, to a room. So that’s what I did.

I love a neutral palette, but for me, in order to not become to wishy-washy, they need to be balanced with very intense areas of dark tones, and a few pops of colour. A bit like my artwork really. It’s all about creating a space that is calm and easy on the eye, but at the same time, gives your eye some surprises to feast upon, and details to keep it interested.

The kind of details I love, are objects that have some sentimental value to us, or that contain some kind of story. For example, my husband and I went and spent a romantic weekend away in the old town part of Hastings this summer, and while we were there we found a number of things we loved and brought home with us: a beautiful hand woven rug for the living room floor, a beautiful prayer plant (pictured below), a cushion and some fabrics to make other cushion covers. We were tempted to buy an old letter ‘E’ that had once been part of a sign, but decided against it in the end.

22089258_1563985990325423_4818532900152569776_nLater on my husband found the letter ‘S’ in a flea market near Southampton while he was taking a break at work, which was perfect because it’s the first letter of our family name, so this is how the S came to live on our living room wall. I love the way it really ‘pops’ against the dark dark green wall (Studio Green by Farrow and Ball).

The picture poster of The Moon which is framed on the same wall, has a story of it’s own too. My late father-in-law was a rather obsessive collector of National Geographic magazines, and he had the entire collection filed away, from the very first issue. After he died, unfortunately, not realising their value, they were given away before my husband had a chance to look through them, so he was perhaps already keeping an eye out for them subconsciously when he saw a big pile of them being thrown out and stacked up by some bins in the street one day. So he claimed them immediately. 21768470_1563985993658756_4628809763584523655_nWhile I was unpacking the magazines into our new house, I was leafing through them and came across this picture of the moon, dated 1969. I immediately realised the significance: the whole world was focussed on the moon that year because it was the year that we finally landed on it. It was amazing that this poster had survived so intact for the past 48 years and here I was, holding a bit of history in my hands!

So, our house has gradually been curated into an entirely new space, and I have loved every minute of it. It’s been a very organic process, but while using a set of design criteria that my husband and I both agree on, and have collaborated on.

22405940_1578156975574991_6498442902340970920_nAnd this interior design process has fed back into my artwork. Perhaps it’s the influence of Abigail Ahern’s dark interiors or Cowboy Kate’s Instagram posts of her own dark moody own home, but I decided to try doing a night-time canvas of the Harbourmaster’s boat tied up at the jetty in Salcombe, using some sumptuously dark midnight-blue linen. And the feedback I got through social media was overwhelmingly positive, so I think I’m going in the right direction.

So if you’d like to see more of the ideas behind my work, then do follow me on Instagram, where I give regular updates into my creative process. And get the latest pictures of my new work also on my Facebook page

Summer in Salcombe

SUMMER IN SALCOMBE

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get into my studio to work because it is currently stacked floor to ceiling with boxes! We are re-working the whole of the ground floor of our home in Lewes at the moment, and my studio is full of all the furniture and kitchen stuff that had nowhere else to go. 19224766_10155011725376622_4273505787211155585_nI’ve been landed with the role of project manager, co-ordinating all the different contractors doing various jobs, and although it’s creatively rewarding to be able to redesign our living space, it means there’s been no time to get on with my own creative work, and I’m missing it!

Anyway, I thought I’d take some time out from the busy building work to tell you about our latest adventures in Salcombe. We were able to get away for a long weekend before the main building work started in June to restock Gallery5 with my trees prints, and to see about exhibiting somewhere new. We were lucky enough to find a good Airbnb place to stay this time, in Salcombe town, so that most things were in walking distance. And we were also very lucky with the weather, which was scorching hot, so we had plenty of opportunity to relax on the beaches too! unnamedHurray!

Gallery5 were pleased to receive a couple of trees prints ‘The trees at Sharpitor’, and one of these sold within a week. So I think I’ll be having to return with more in future!

I’d also been messaging Bo’s Beach Cafe through Instagram, because they were interested in showing my work there. It’s a fabulous little beach cafe inside the old Lifeboat house at South Sands – the perfect spot to be showing my work of the Sea Tractor, and ferry, and of the lifeboat house itself too of course.19274977_1467987369925286_8157972615004882169_n

 

 

It was a fun day out going to meet Kimi there, as I had to carry my work on the South Sands ferry from the town (what a lovely way to commute!) because there’s nowhere to park at South Sands.

And while I was on the ferry I noticed the advertisement in the ferry window advertising the sale of my postcards, so I introduced myself to the crew (Bernie and Derek) who were delighted to meet me and gave us a free trip!19225145_1467993516591338_5979741438399581644_n

Kimi took the three pieces of work and mounted them above the bar, and we had a drink there before spending the rest of that glorious day laying on the beach before heading back on the ferry. She then messaged me a few days later to let me know that one piece had already sold, with a lovely picture of it’s new owner, which is always very lovely to receive as an artist. I love knowing that my work has been appreciated and has gone to a good home!safe_image Thanks for the picture Kimi!

Salcombe will always be close to my heart, particularly since my father died because it brings back lovely memories of being there together as a family, playing on the beach and sailing. I’m so glad I have a good excuse to keep going back there and having the opportunity to build up new relationships with the local people. It was wonderful to meet Lizzie, the lady who owns the Airbnb house we stayed in, and who very generously let us stay another night for free! So we were able to have one more glorious day laying on the beach, this time at Sunny Cove. We had such a wonderful time that I sent her a small piece of work of the South Sands ferry as a ‘thank you’. I look forward very much to going back!

Follow me on Instagram where I post pictures daily: @flo.snook

And find me on Facebook here

Snowcats!

SNOWCATS!

As you may be aware if you are following me on Instagram and Facebook, I am taking part in another charity auction event called the Brighton Snowcats. I, along with around 25 other Brighton artists, were given a paper mache cat to decorate with our own artwork. I was quite excited to be taking part because I now have two cats of my own – Talli and Eve – and I wanted to support the cats rescue charity – I’ve become a cat-lover!18486157_1435936036463753_7805805245944854897_n

The first stage was to paint the cat with a white primer, as you would with any canvas. Then I decided to paint my drawings of local Brighton landmarks onto the cat, using it like an irregularly shaped canvas. I have been hatching a new idea for my work in the last few weeks, which involves painting my drawings onto canvas on a large scale, in black and white with the hint of colour that I usually add to my embroideries. I’ve even got an over-head projector so that I can project my little 20x20cm drawings onto the canvas at a much larger scale. I think they’ll have a kind of pop-art feel when this happens. Anyway, I’ve not started with that yet (I’m still debating whether to use canvas or wood to paint on) but this Snowcat project was just the opportunity to have a go with my new overhead projector.

18527530_10154898372611622_2394478154559982212_nI had imagined I would be painting something much larger (like the ‘Snowdogs’ last year) but my cat turned out to be, well, cat sized. Anyway it was still possible to project the image on this small scale, and so I did.

I decided to paint the front of my cat with my drawing of Brighton Pier, and the back has the old West Pier collapsed painted onto it. Up the side I have painted my signature in red like I do on my canvases. And I was pleased with the result!

If you would like to attend the charity auction then you’ll find it at the Dover & Castle in Hanover in Brighton on the 20th June at 6.30pm. Or if you can’t attend this, you can send your highest bid to moggymeowscatsitting@yahoo.co.uk

Good luck!!

Find me on Facebook here. And find me on Instagram: @flo.snook

Back in Salcombe

BACK IN SALCOMBE

Well here I am back in Salcombe and I just love being here so much! There’s something wonderful about being here out of season, because we get the beaches to ourselves.unnamed Perhaps it’s because I spent many happy childhood holidays here that I tend to feel childlike as soon I return? I end up playing around like a kid; climbing on rocks, watching the waves gush in and out, and following streams and waterfalls as they cascade down the beach. Even though the weather hasn’t been kind to us, we’ve still had lots of fun in our waterproofs, exploring various areas of coastline. Salcombe still looks pretty even in the rain!

I’ve been able to restock Gallery5 with my new work, and they were very well received. In fact I’d barely left the gallery when I got a call from them, asking me to return to help a couple of customers make a decision on my biggest piece: ‘The trees at Sharpitor’. 17352468_1368710963186261_2170484212493987619_nThey wondered if I had another similar piece in the same frame. I didn’t, so I ended up getting a new commission for a similar Salcombe view through pine trees, to be framed to match the other one, so that they can sit side by side on the customers’ large grey wall. They’re going to look great together! I can’t wait to get started!

Finally, I met up with the lovely Peter, who manages the Sea Tractor at South Sands. We’d been working on an idea together to create postcards of the Sea Tractor and South Sands Ferry, so that they could be sold there, all throughout the holiday season. The idea finally came together recently, and I managed to get the postcards printed just last week. 17203036_1364085516982139_921490418509229914_nSo when I met Peter this weekend, I was able to give him the first batch of postcards. So fingers crossed people will love their ride on the Sea Tractor and Ferry this year so much that they’ll want to buy a souvenir. The postcards will be available from the start of the season; 1st April (weather permitting) for £1 each. So do look out for them if you come to Salcombe and take the ferry to South Sands – they will be exclusively sold on the ferry and sea tractor.

So that’s where I’m up to. Tomorrow looks set to be pretty wet, so we’re planning a visit to Overbecks’ National Trust house. I love the house and gardens, they always inspire me with their interesting plants and views of the estuary. Fingers crossed I can actually see the view tomorrow!

New work for 2017

NEW WORK FOR 2017

I’ve been very busy making new work! I have lots of projects on the go and so I thought it was time that I told you about them.  16266132_10154590016626622_4269348189590297309_n

I am preparing to go back to Devon to replenish the Galleries there with new canvases. I’ve so enjoyed making some new pieces with a slightly different colour palette to include some stronger colours of green, pink, limey-cream and khaki too. I’ve also been creating some new drawings developed from my photos of my last visit to Salcombe. I love the way the little boats are jostle together when tied up at the jetty – they have so much charm! I’m really looking forward to going back.

All these new canvases will be appearing in Gallery5 (which has just doubled in size in an exciting new development) in Island Street near the boat houses. You can find their website here.unnamed-3

I’m also creating some new work of my local town of Lewes and surrounding area. These will become mounted works which will be on sale in the browser of a lovely little framing shop in Lewes in Fisher street which also stocks a fabulous array of industrial lighting. If you find yourself in Lewes and fancy having a look at some really stunning paintings, then do have a look in here (it’s called Fisher Frames) as they are currently exhibiting the work of an elderly lady called Anne De Geus. And right next door is a lovely little second hand clothes boutique too. You can find Fisher Frames’ website here.

16472918_10154631654986622_49112757592236571_nI’ve also been developing my love of trees even further with starting a new little project with watercolours. I am fortunate enough to be living in the middle of the South Downs National Park, and there are a wonderful number of characterful trees in my local area. I love to go walking, and while I’m out I take photos of the trees that I feel an affinity with. The ones with the most character tend to attract my attention. Then I stand with them for a while until I feel I get to know their character. When I return to my studio, I paint them and allow some of that character to flow out of my paint brush. I’m loving the result so far. It’s something I might continue with as I find it very therapeutic, and it feeds my creativity in a new direction.

unnamed-7I have also been drawing trees in my local area in pen, and I look forward to creating some new Trees prints as the two I’ve created so far have been so popular. The Trees prints (featured in my previous blog here) have been selling in the Laughing Dog gallery in Brighton Marina. They are now in the middle of a re-fit and so if you pop in there at the moment I’m not sure whether you’ll be able to see much of my work there, but I’ll keep you posted.

By the way I’m now on Instagram where I post pictures of what I’m up to daily. Follow me: @flo.snook

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Focusing on creativity is certainly a brilliant antidote to all the crazy politics happening in the world right now! It works for me! 

 

For the love of trees

FOR THE LOVE OF TREES

13669789_10154093360026622_4044240899020319338_nThere are two views of trees that I’ve grown to love so much, that I’ve spent hours studying them and then eventually drawing them. Now finally I am creating a series of tree prints of my two favourite views:

The first is called “The Dryad Trees” and was a view visible from the front window in my old house, where I would watch these majestic Beech trees in all seasons.

The other is called “The trees at Sharptior, Salcombe” and is a view which is typical of the Salcombe coastal landscape, with it’s beautiful tall Scots Pines. I have grown to love that particular view, as it is from the house where I have been able to stay and create new work, and also reminds me of my childhood holidays there.13669655_1137633639627329_4393608157913893571_n

I love the shapes that trees make against the sky when they are in their skeletal Winter forms. I especially love the way they become silhouetted against the changing movie screen of dusky Winter sunsets, of crisp Spring mornings and of deep blue post-dusk clear evening skies.

Trees always astound me with their structural complexity. Yet when I look hard enough, the pattern of the branches seems to make sense to me, and I feel like I can see into the mathematical fractal formula that underlies the Universe. They mirror the branching patterns of our lungs in reverse. They are the lungs of the Earth; they breathe in the carbon dioxide that we humans exhale, and we breathe in the oxygen they exhale. 13686598_1138151766242183_2643755433282977113_nWe need each other. We are symbiotic partners in a dance of exchanging gases.

Trees are majestic in their maturity, great beings who have lived longer than any human can. I wanted to honour them with my new work and find a way for others to connect to them too.

Please contact me if you are interested in details about sizes and prices. All prints are on cottons and linens and are mounted and are all available for sale in black frames. Thank you.

 

 

Evolving

EVOLVING

13339508_10153968389996622_6518527959015211870_nMy style is evolving. I like it when it happens so naturally, without even realising. I noticed that with my new pieces of work I was putting together for my new exhibition in Laughing Dog gallery (in Brighton Marina – for the month of June) that I was using more colour than I’ve used for years.

 

I still do like a bit of a monochrome palette but when I was working over the past few weeks, I kept realising I was choosing delicious colours like indigo blue, lime green, or sage green, instead of the pale blues, greys and colourless neutrals I usually go for.13327401_10153965940921622_350380992073185258_n

 

Perhaps it’s because of the riot of Spring colours happening out my window; the beech trees coming into leaf with that particularly fresh kind of green you only get in May? Or the indigo blue skies I notice just after dusk when down by the sea? Whatever it is, I like it. A lot.

Another change is that for this exhibition I’ve been working mainly on a format of larger mounts and then framing them in black frames. This makes for a very graphic looking presentation; the impact of the black and white images with the coloured backgrounds. It also gives each image a wonderful feeling of space around it too.

If you are in the area of Brighton then do come and see the work. Here is a link to their website. They have informed me that they will put my work onto their website, so that if you can’t make it to their gallery then you can still view and buy online.

In my studio this week

IN MY STUDIO THIS WEEK…

702ad5f8-073d-427f-874e-ec5d1e410f99So this week I’ve been cracking on with finishing the commissions I had left. I’ve been really enjoying embroidering details onto the three canvases which are views of Praa Sands and Hendra beach in Cornwall. It’s so satisfying to turn a drawing into a unique piece of artwork with applique and little hand stitched details. It’s hard to see in this photo but I’ve stitched the little cliff top flowers in yellow and pale pink threads.

 

 

13179011_1086588278065199_8203044289155960301_nI’ve also been organising my mounts and frames in preparation for a new exhibition in June in the ‘Laughing Dog’ gallery in Brighton Marina and for a new gallery in Totnes in Devon. I decided to paint a couple of frames in ‘off black’ farrow and ball paint – and they look fabulous.

 

 

 

 

13096351_1088668761190484_3084598423026560677_nAnd I have been experimenting with new sizes of frames so that I can frame larger pieces of work such as this silhouetted view of trees I created a while back. I think this size works really well for this landscape view – I love the feeling of space that the mount gives it. I’m quite excited to be planning to do various landscape views with trees on this format in future.

 

 

You can now find me on instagram here.

And find me on twitter here.

Retrospective

RETROSPECTIVE

Since coming back from my fabulous week in Salcombe I’ve unfortunately been stuck in bed with a virus and a flare up of the Fibromyalgia. However, I’ve managed to keep myself entertained by looking back at my old work and the progress of my unique style.

11034305_863462830377746_1644943098459846239_nBack in 2003 I had finally got back into the studio after my twins started school and was designing cushion covers for a shop called Kume in Brighton’s Bond Street. It was the first time I’d used the muted palette of natural linens inspired by the colours of our nearest beach, and marked a distinct change away from the vibrant colours I’d been using before. There was something about the misty blues and earthy neutrals that felt so right, and continues to do so today.

The first canvas that I sold was through an interiors shop called Vanilla in Ship Street, Brighton. It was a simple hand sewn and appliqued piece of the seafront lights 65 x 40cm.

As time went on I became aware that I couldn’t continue to hand stitch every detail, because I was getting joint pain in my shoulder and elbow, so I began to screen print the main image and hand sew details on top. 1606866_863462643711098_1920092419333129044_nIn 2004 I particularly enjoyed focussing on images of the West Pier as it became more and more skeletal after each fire. A few of the canvases I created of this were large – 180 x 70cm and were all sold through Vanilla. Occasionally someone will tell me that they visited someone in Brighton with one of my large West Pier canvas in their living room – it’s good to know that my work is still on the walls and much loved!

11012611_863462727044423_7653681354428307961_nIt was around this time that I was going through my old sketchbooks from the time when I was doing A level Art, and creating new work from the drawings I found of old people sitting in deckchairs on Worthing seafront. I still love this image and I have the very first print of this behind glass.

It’s nice to look back and honour the creative journey I’ve been on. Every step has led me to where I am today, and I plan to continue developing my work of the British coastline and improving my skills along the way. As usual I have far more ideas and images I want to develop than I have energy for, but I’ll keep on going and step by step I’ll get there. For more images of my work, check out my Facebook page photos here.