I challenged myself this year to apply for Cambridge Drawing Society. Big challenge indeed for me – I  had to enter four framed paintings that went together well, all the same size and framed in the same way.

So … what to do … well I decided to work on all four pieces of work at the same time. Initial loose watercolour and acrylic ink washes. Let them all dry and then over time, looked at each one carefully to do what I call ‘finding the story…’ by which I mean looking at each one and seeing what picture is just waiting there to emerge. I discovered that each one gave me the feeling of being within a West Country landscape, where I grew up and which will always remain my true home.

Further washes were applied, followed by careful marks using paint, inks and watercolour pencils. And the results?

Tor to Tor


Windswept hawthorns on the Cornish coast


Estuary blues

West Country greens

I submitted my entry online, duly took my work into the Pitt Building on 30th March – no mean feat carrying four paintings into central Cambridge on the park and ride, and waited in town all day to get the result. Went to see the wonderful Hockney exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum in the afternoon. Feeling increasingly nervous, and  fully expected the call to be one of’ thank you for submitting this year but unfortunately …..’ But! At 4.30pm when the call did come through, I was completely amazed to learn that my work had been accepted! The judging panel of nine existing Cambridge Drawing Society Members voted in my favour and it was decided to exhibit all four of my paintings in the exhibition! I was truly shocked! I really didn’t expect to be successful on my first attempt to join CDS. And even if and when in some future year I might have been successful, I would only have hoped to have had one or at most two pieces chosen for display.

What a wonderful boost to my confidence this has been. Thank you to all those family, friends and fellow artists who have been so supportive and encouraging of me to give it a go.

And now I am proud to say that I am a full member of Cambridge Drawing Society. And as long as I continue to live within 30 miles of Great St Mary’s church in the centre of Cambridge, I can continue to remain so!


Wow! Cambridge Drawing Society had a public voting box throughout the exhibition for visitors to vote for their favourite painting! Imagine my surprise when one of my paintings, ‘Windswept hawthorns on the Cornish coast’ was tied as the winner alongside ‘Boy’ by the fabulous artist Andy Dakin!