One Great Easy Way To Bring Nature Into Your Work Life

Outdoor life

Creative thinking out of doors

Do you find yourself sitting in front of a screen for hours, hard to tear yourself away because of the endless trails of ‘research’ it can lead you on? Do you worry that that you spend too much time in meeting rooms and offices? Is the only opportunity you have for outdoor time at the weekend and even then there are too many jobs to get through you miss the chance?

Here’s a great idea which I guarantee will benefit your outlook, perspective and health. I experience this way as often as I can and it’s very rewarding.

Here’s an example from this week. A brainstorming session was required and idea generation was the purpose of a meeting with two other artists.

We decided to meet at Attingham Park National Trust instead of an office or studio space. The snowdrops were calling. Here we were, three practising artists with different but complementary practices who are involved at Boundary Way Project an allotment site in Wolverhampton which aims to bring arts and health to the community in a natural setting amongst other exciting activities.

As an experiment with meeting venues we met up in the lovely courtyard cafe at Attingham and obviously needed some analytical warm up discussions regarding the excellent quality of cake and coffee first. Then we got down to business.

It was very quiet at 10am and there was excellent easy to access wifi to help us to share links etc. Not many people around, even on a sunny day until 11.45 when the lunch crowd arrived but even then it’s such a huge group of rooms there’s plenty of room. We still had loads of space around us and there’s no background music thankfully.

The clincher

After the main body of the meeting we took a walk for half an hour together. THIS IS THE CLINCHER IN MY VIEW. This distinguishes the experience from meeting in a coffee shop.

During the walk many other ideas emerged and were discussed in a more creative way. I’m sure this is to do with fresh air, moving our bodies and feeling the spaciousness and freedom. Also visual stimulation (especially for artists, but I believe for all) can provoke new thoughts of course.

Thank you to Moya Lloyd and Anne Marie Lagram  for your huge creative input. We have many exciting plans.

We will definitely meet this way again – maybe at other National Trust properties where there are similar facilities and stimulation – not to mention great sticky ginger cake!

An opportunity for you to get outdoors with me

If you would like to experience an outdoor environment (with good indoor space if the weather is not so good) and try your hand at easy art making, please have a look at this event in June this year CLICK HERE and consider joining me at Boundary Way. No experience needed but you will go away refreshed, artified and with a beautiful book to take home.


For other workshop opportunities with me in my lovely Victorian studio in Wolverhampton:

Please go to the Workshops page of this site

Wrekin Crows

The Crows, The Plot and The Wrekin 12″ x 12″ SOLD



Two Art Galleries in Liverpool You Must Visit For Inspiration


If you think Liverpool is a good place to shop you are right but it also has several wonderful art galleries and it would take a stay of a few days to visit everything on offer.

Two galleries are outstanding: Liverpool Tate and The Walker

Today I visited both. Five minutes walking distance from Liverpool Lime Street Station, the Walker Art Gallery has a labyrinth of rooms and many famous paintings. I was particularly struck by this Monet

‘Ice Breaking Up On The Seine Near Benecourt’ which was painted in the same chilly conditions as today in freezing January conditions. Monet, like most impressionists, painted outside and he complained of the bitter cold during the painting of this which may explain his longer and more hurried brush strokes than in most of his paintings.

What I really wanted to see was the work submitted for the John Moores Prize but it’s not quite on show at the moment but there is a good selection of paintings which have won since 1957. My absolute favourite was this by Peter Doig

He’s a favourite painter of mine. This piece is called ‘Blotter’ and is of the artists brother standing on a frozen lake in 1993. It’s a huge piece of work and features this brilliant lilac colour….this photo doesn’t do it justice at all.

There are also twenty or so Lubaina Himid pieces from her collection ‘Naming The Money’ of 2004 scattered through the gallery. She won the Turner prize last year (power to women over 50 for a change!). In Room 9 there is a selection of artworks curated by her. The installation ‘Naming The Money’ was gifted by Lubaina to National Museums Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum. It addresses how Europe’s wealthy classes spent their money and flaunted their power in the 18th and 19th centuries by using enslaved African men and women. Groups of the figures are positioned around the gallery in positions determined by the artist.

The Walker Gallery are very relaxed about photography (as long as there’s no flash), unlike the Tate Liverpool. The staff are very helpful and want you to get the best from your visit. There’s a cafe and a children’s experiential room plus lots of talks and tours. Entry is free.

I also liked seeing the Lowry paintings in real life and several others, particularly Matisse. Also there’s a fabulous collection of outrageous Grayson Perry dresses – well worth a giggle.

On to the Tate Liverpool. I was there particularly to see John Piper’s work – a large and well documented exhibition with work ranging from his pre student years right through his life, including his War paintings (he was employed as a War Artist in the 1940s), stained glass, sketchbooks, publications and landscape. There were quite a few of his collages and some of Picasso’s who inspired him immensely. I love his lithographs in particular.

– I loved these… So good to see in real life. The mark making was inspirational. I love to make collage myself and I can definitely take ideas away from seeing such a great collection.

This exhibition is on until March 18th and costs £10 although is free with a Tate Friends card which I think I would consider buying.

The cafe is superb, big plate windows overlooking the Albert Dock and excellent food including vegetarian and gluten free breads. There’s a small but well stocked gift shop with very friendly and helpful staff and the whole place feels like a wonderful and inviting place to visit.

Here is The Albert Dock which you see from the cafe. A lovely place to wonder and almost deserted on a cold January day. The Liverpool Tate is about 13 minutes walk from Liverpool Lime Street Station.

All in all an inspiring and eye opening day in Liverpool – I’m definitely going to make it a regular place to visit.

Where will you go for inspiration?