I’m clearing the old office out, to make it into a summer studio and a gallery for Open Studios, which starts next weekend (27th May). I’m opening studio and garden for 3 days the first weekend, as it’s a bank holiday Monday, then the next two weekend just Saturday and Sunday. I had the old photocopier removed for recycling (expensive!) and amongst the old paper carrier bags and wrapping paper tucked behind it was a watercolour I painted in 2001.

I painted a series, and when I looked in the plan chest I found five more, two red, and two blue the same size, and bigger square red one. I remember enjoying how the pure colours behaved on the paper, sometimes drowning in water, sometimes very intense, and planning the bare paper areas. lovely paper to paint on too.

four are mounted, the first red one has gone to the framers. it is going to be very expensive, using clearglass because it makes such a difference to the colour.

then I found something much older. I went to Norwich Art School for summer school in 1985 and got very involved in the print department, especially etching. they had a fantastic etching studio, with a very big press, and I was liberated by two weeks of life-drawing before I started on these.

the three make a triptych. obviously Picasso’s Vollard Suite was a big influence too, but previous to this I had made a huge painting on a roll of brown paper of human figures with animal heads, more influenced by Assyrian bas-relief.

these three coloured etchings are one-offs, artist’s proofs, but I also have an edition of 25 in black.

I have to mention a particularly pleasurable outing, in The Rialto, one of the most respected poetry magazines. This is the cover, which is lovely; they always have great covers. I have FOUR pages and a mention on the back! wholly amazing and wonderful. I would encourage anyone interested in poetry to buy the magazine, and subscribe, not because I want you to read my work especially, although of course that would be very nice, but because it is a wonderful and beautiful publication, and the Arts Council’s support depends on there being more subscriptions and sales.

meanwhile I’m still walking solo, although in six days that will no longer be the case. as she will be on the lead you won’t see Bimba trotting ahead like Tilda. we shall see how her recall and attachment to me progresses, but when a dog goes off after something it’s seen, one’s heart is in one’s mouth, and I am less prepared to take the risk this time. This photo interestingly echoes the stormy etchings above.

I caught a few drops that time, but this cloud looked like soaking me for most of the walk.

lastly, a rare find in the churchyard

meadow saxifrage

rare because there are so few unsprayed meadows with ancient turf left

after a very dry spring we have had rain at last and there are plenty of puddles reflecting the sky!

even so the ash trees are only just coming out.

a weeks ago the oaks had very young leaves still but now they are well covered

in my garden the buttercups are replacing the cowslips

for Open Studios most of the pots for sale will be in the garden. I hope to see plenty of people. Bimba is arriving on the first afternoon, which will be interesting – she is an easy dog, sweet and affectionate, so although I will have to keep her on a lead while I have the gates open for visitors, it will be good to have her meeting lots of humans.