PAOTM – Grayson Perry

Seven members took part in our Portrait Artist of the Month challenge this time, with Juliet drawing two beautiful portraits and Steve rising to the challenge and creating three portraits, an incredible feat!

Grayson Perry is a fascinating person to paint or draw as he is famous as himself, but he also dresses as Claire at award ceremonies and parties. Philippa, his wife, has an interesting face too, with her glasses and two-tone hair. Alan Measles, Grayson’s beloved teddy bear, makes an appearance in our portrait gallery, but sadly Kevin the cat wasn’t painted by anyone.

At our Saturday session at Chalk Church last week Cynthia painted Grayson in watercolours. The detail and subtle colour changes that she painted around his eyes is incredible.

At the same session Doreen worked from a black and white image but used colour to create her image of Grayson.

Juliet drew portraits of both Grayson and Philippa, using pencil to make light strokes and heavier strokes to make darker lines, both giving depth and texture to their features.

Steve’s three portraits are in three different mediums and show his skill in each. The portrait of Grayson is in pastel, on Canson 160gsm pastel paper.

Philippa’s portrait is in coloured pencils with white acrylic highlights, on 140lb watercolour paper.

Alan Measles is pen and watercolour on 140lb watercolour paper.

Angela D used water mixable oils, taking about 5 hours for her portrait, where Grayson is giving an intense stare to the viewer. His hair looks so real with many colours combined.

Dot had the brilliant idea of using two images of Grayson/Claire, folding them in half and joining then down his/her face. The resulting portrait is very clever and striking.

Tracy liked lots of online images of Claire, because she is usually bright, bubbly and smiling. One image was different in that Claire is staring away from the camera , not smiling, but looking very thoughtful and almost nervous. Someone can wear a lot of make-up to cover their face, but caught off guard they can look vulnerable. Watercolour on Hobbycraft 300gsm watercolour paper, taking about 2 hours.

Detail of Claire’s eyes. There were lots of eyelashes to paint!

Dot’s paintings

Dot has kept busy painting during the last few months, creating many images with different themes. Here are a few of her acrylic paintings. Keep up the excellent work, Dot.

These three paintings show that you can easily paint what is in front of you, as you don’t have to travel far from where you set up your art equipment. Your mug/water pot is a real statement piece!

Just sitting in a garden has brought pleasure for many whilst we’ve had to stay at home, so why not get your paints out and capture the view? Beautifully painted, Dot, the colours you have brought together here are very harmonious.

Chalk Church August 2020

Saturday saw 18 eager members meet at Chalk Church, some who came last month and others coming along for the very first time to paint outdoors in the church grounds. We had about 10 minutes of very light rain, but after that the clouds melted away, the sky lightened and we had a marvellous day.

The grounds look so lush at the moment, the greens of the trees are really intense. As you can see we all managed to keep our distance from one another, yet be close enough for a good natter!

A huge thank you to everyone for all your donations to the church fund and I’m very pleased to say that your contributions total £101, a very good sum.

Some members carried on with paintings they’d started last month and others started something new, either from their own reference photos or of views in the grounds. Mediums used were watercolours, acrylics, oils, coloured pencils, sketching pens, graphite pencils and mixed media including inks and skeleton leaves. There were a few pictures of Grayson Perry, but they’re not shown here, they’ll be put on the blog at the end of the month.

Rosie’s paintings

Rosie has been busy painting in acrylics and here are her three latest paintings.

Firstly she has painted a beach with a lone sandcastle left by visitors. Rosie might add a tree, umbrella or people to the painting.

Here is a colourful, autumnal image of a couple walking through trees.

Rosie calls this painting “Stormy Souls” and says “it’s about emotion and how sometimes you feel like you are swamped and drowning with anxiety.”

They’re all beautifully painted, Rosie, with the final painting being especially thought provoking. Well done!

Tracy’s poppy and beach paintings

No one has sent me any photos of paintings they have done this month, so I’ll show you what I’ve painted recently.

I absolutely love poppies and have painted them many times. Mainly as ‘weeping’ poppies at Remembrance time, with the red of the poppies bleeding into watercolour paper and with a quote dripping from the poppy’s black centre.

This time I painted poppies on a lighter theme, being inspired by a couple of photos on the IgersKent photo account on Instagram, where photos of Kent are posted every day.

The first painting is a bee flying to a poppy and the second is a view across a field of poppies, near South Foreland Lighthouse. Both are watercolours on Bockingford Not paper, 300gsm, 5” x 7”.

I’ve also painted a few beach scenes lately, so here are my favourite three.
Greatstone beach in Kent, where I went on holiday every year with my parents until I was 15 and which I still visit regularly with my own family. Watercolour on W&N Not, 300gsm paper, 8” x 10”.

A beach umbrella on sand, just out of my head. Acrylic on W&N Not, 300gsm, watercolour paper, 8” x 10”.

Sunset from the beach in Arenal d’en Castell, Menorca, on our holiday last year. Watercolour on Bockingford Rough, 300gsm paper, 5” x 7”.

Finally a painting I did last year of waves coming in on a beach. It is something you could do with your children or grandchildren, by collecting sand and shells from the beach. The close up photo shows I used newspaper, sand, shells, metal foil and gold paint for the beach. The sand stuck well with PVA glue but after the shells fell off I glued them on again with clear multi purpose glue and they stayed on. It was fun to do and easily done with younger members of your family.

Please send me any photos of any paintings you have done this month!

August 2020

We cannot access the parish hall again this month but we should be having our 4th Saturday session at the church on 22nd August. There are 5 Saturdays in August but we always meet on the 4th one. Watch out for more details nearer the time.

Steve, Patrick and Tracy met at the hall the other day with a couple of hall committee members to discuss when it will be opening again. With government guidelines as at the moment, the hall should be opening in September but with new rules about social distancing. We have come up with a new layout for tables and chairs and about how to keep apart during our sessions. Once details are finalised we will let you know, but if guidelines change again then we will have to rethink. Watch this space!

Here are some ideas to paint this month, if you’re struggling to think of subjects. Please send any paintings you do to me (Tracy) by email, WhatsApp, Messenger or text, on the mobile number I have emailed to you previously. Don’t forget to tell me the medium, paper used, the inspiration, how long it took etc.

If none of these ideas take your fancy, then paint something else and send it to me, we’d love to see what you’re painting at the mo. About 20 members haven’t been heard from since March, 5 months ago, what have you painted during lockdown?

Portrait Artist of the Month (PAOTM) – Grayson Perry/Claire

Many members watched Grayson Perry’s series of tv programmes during lockdown and thoroughly enjoyed them. Now is your chance to draw and/or paint Grayson Perry himself or his alter-ego Claire. You could also paint Grayson’s wife Philippa, who he had a great rapport with during the programmes, or his first love, his teddy bear Alan Measles, who means so much to Perry.

Lots of photos are online so show us what you can achieve. Any medium, any size, any interpretation, you have a whole month to create your picture, so you have plenty of time.


The official flower of August is the poppy, so paint a poppy or poppies in a vase, in fields, as the symbol of remembrance, in a hedgerow etc. There are so many ways to paint poppies in their various colours, so please get painting.


Even though most holidays aren’t going ahead, I’m sure you can paint a favourite beach that you have been to or one that you’d like to visit. Use any medium or used mixed media to include sand and shells to make your painting 3D.

PAOTM – Dame Vera Lynn

Only 5 members took up July’s challenge to draw or paint Dame Vera Lynn and all also took part in the weekly PAOTW on Sky. A portrait is obviously something that we feel confident to tackle now, from picking up lots of advice during the Sky programmes.

Come on everyone else, it only takes an hour to put pencil to paper to hone your portrait skills! Look out on 1st August for another PAOTM, a person that many of you have seen on tv recently and said you have loved their programme.

Dot painted with acrylic on textured paper. She drew and did the basic colour at Chalk on Saturday, then finished the facial features, medals and poppy another day, taking another hour.

Juliet used pencil, watercolours and pastels for her portrait. Using more that one medium has given her portrait a liveliness and sense of depth.

Steve used acrylic on hardboard and took about 5 hours to achieve a very good likeness in his portrait.

Angela D used pencil and then colouring pencils for her portrait of Dame Vera from her 100th birthday, taking about 3 hours.

Tracy found this stunning black and white portrait of Dame Vera, in the style of film stars from the 1940s. The plan was to used charcoal and pastel pencils to create a similar style, but after a recent art equipment sort out, she couldn’t find the box with pastels and charcoal in. Going for a polar opposite style of bright colours in a pop art-ish style, it took about an hour.

Chalk Church July 2020

For our first session in 4 months it was absolutely wonderful to welcome so many of you to paint ‘en plein air’ at Chalk Church. Twenty enthusiastic members came along and we were so pleased to see each other that quite a lot of chatter went on all day! The weather was a little drizzly at first but after huddling under brollies and trees for a little while it soon brightened up.

Thank you for bringing along your own snacks, drinks and water for your brush pots and then taking everything home again to clean. It meant that whilst a lot of us were there, we didn’t need to crowd together at the beginning and end of the session, we could keep apart.

You will see from the photos that we managed to spread ourselves all around the grounds near the pond and also under the covered area near the barn, keeping a safe distance from each other.

There was such a variety of paintings produced in a few hours, either new ones started or finishing current projects. Some painted or sketched the church and grounds in front of them and others worked from their own photos or references pictures . It was such a good day and if you haven’t painted at the church before it’s hoped that these photos might persuade you to join us next month.

Tracy’s cyanotypes

I created some cyanotype prints at an online workshop, run by Rachel at ‘I Printed That’, a studio in Rochester where she runs cyanotype, linocutting and screen printing workshops. As there are no actual face-to-face sessions at the moment, Rachel is hosting them online and I found it easy to log in and follow the 20 minute session. The next online cyanotype workshop is in August and you can buy the papers through her website at, where I paid £7.06 for 5 round sheets of paper.

Cyanotypes were first created in 1842 and are still popular today. Objects of your choice, but preferably quite flat, are placed on paper impregnated with chemicals. The objects are held down on the paper, in my case with a sheet of glass and some pegs, then exposed to UV light outside. I exposed the papers for 7 minutes in direct sunlight, but on cloudy days the exposure can take up to 30 minutes apparently.

After exposure I removed the objects and you could see the outlines. The paper was then washed in cold water to remove the chemicals and to fix the image. I was very pleased with the images I created, but the faeries were really fast and quite difficult to catch! ;o)

I had created 2 more images the evening before, using paper from a friend who bought the rectangular shaped cyanotype papers online. You can see where I accidentally moved some grass part way through the 10 minute exposure, leaving a much lighter shape. The final picture is an actual cyanotype created in 1853 and which featured in a photography magazine this month.