Saturday, 8 August 2015


This post is aimed at those who have chosen to follow this blog.  I am sure the vast majority of you are painters, and as such, would prefer to see posts specific to the world of the painter.

Sadly, I have not written many such posts recently, and feel I owe you an explanation.

I have been a painter, and painting tutor, for many a long year...but in recent times, I have developed a condition called "Essential Tremor" which means that when I try to concentrate on sketching, my hand shakes uncontrollably and the sketch is often badly affected.  I have done battle with the condition for a couple of years now, and finally decided, after binning the last lot of images I produced recently, to accept the situation more gracefully, and instead of drifting into inactivity, try to celebrate the fact that I can still type without problems, so am able to share my knowledge ....and can manage, strangely, to work with my enamels and with glass, which does not involve the use of a paintbrush or pencil and does not require concentration on detail in the same way.

Learning new skills is time consuming, and I now spend long hours studying,  experimenting and honing my abilities.  Which has meant that blog-writing has rather been pushed to the background.  But I will try to be a little more consistent after I finish my next OPEN STUDIO - which is Herts Open Studio and begins mid-September, continuing until the 27th -( visitors welcome, do check the dates and times with me if you would like to come along.)

I will be showing my work with glass, and with enamel on copper.  Some of that work will be framed pieces, so I have not totally abandoned 2D work!  Here is a new enamel on copper piece:

This will be on sale for approximately £95.  (I deliberately try to keep most of my framed pieces available during Open Studio events for less than £100, to make them properly affordable.  They would cost far more in a gallery).

Although I may not have used a stick of pastel, or paint and a brush to create this image, nevertheless all the important painting principles apply - tone, colour, shape, mark-making, atmosphere - without a painting background, working two-dimensionally would be much more of a challenge.  I have also had to find new methods and ways to work which are less physically problematical - another challenge.

The glass work is coming along nicely - there is lots to discover, but working with "hot glass" can be really gratifying.  Here is a new piece I like a lot, such rich, yummy colours:

The chocolate and ivory parts are opaque, and the blue strip is transparent.  Again, an understanding of what contributes to strong design plays a big part in the creation of such a piece.  It is a fairly large platter, one of several I've made in similar colours.  Here is another, a shallow, large bowl, but displayed as a piece of art:

So folks you now know why I have been somewhat absent recently - but rest assured that when time allows, I will drop back in with some thoughts for you.  In the meantime, let me just say this. 

Creativity can take many forms.  What stifles creativity is depression, wishing for what cannot be,  lack of energy and enthusiasm.  If you are to achieve anything worthwhile, as an artist of any kind, you need to rise above setbacks and disappointments, and simply SOLDIER ON, trying new things, allowing yourself the opportunity to discover new outlets for your creativity.  If you allow yourself to drift into inactivity because of an obstacle in your way,  and if you find that inactivity miserable, then recognise that YOU are the only one able to make things change.  Just DO something positive about it.  You may just surprise yourself by reinventing yourself.


  1. Jackie, I heart you! I had to change artforms because of massive disasters to husband's health a few years ago and found a new path in textile art! It's all art and all the same principles and same joy. Good for you and thanks for explaining. Great lesson there!

  2. I'm sorry to hear you can no longer sketch and paint Jackie. I applaud you for finding a different medium for your artistic talents which you are able to use despite your condition.

    I love fused glass and know that lovely effects can be produced with it.

    I thank you for all your past contributions and I wish you all the best for the future.

  3. Sorry you have gone through all this - but so great that you have managed to channel your artistic ability into another medium. They look great. Hope all goes well and look forward to some more blogs as and when you have time.

  4. Your glass pieces are lovely!! Thanks for sharing and showing us there are always new ways to be creative.All the best on your new art adventures.

    1. Jackie, I have followed your work for decades and bought nearly all your books. I just hope that if I ever have to cope with a change in my life like you have, that I will have as much determination and the commensurate positive attitude that it takes to refocus myself into another, equally exquisite, art form, as you have done, so very successfully. I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful work!
      Marsha Gilliam

  5. Jackie, does this mean that pastel is now absolutely impossible for you? If so, I am deeply sorry because I and so many people have been encouraged in our pastel endeavours by looking at your work, over the years. I am glad though that you have been led to a new medium, it is true there is no end to creativity or the ways in which to do it. Glass is very beautiful, I hope you will continue to find great joy with it.

  6. I,too, am sorry that you have had to go through this. Your honesty and character are so openly displayed that I feel that I have had a glimpse of your heart. This is one of the most inspiring posts that I have ever read. The last paragraph was very meaningful to me. Thank you and best wishes.

  7. Thank you Jackie for your continued efforts to help your fellow artists. I love your new direction in glass; it is truly beautiful. One thought that occurred to me and it's just a thought. Have you considered embracing the shake, taking the shake and incorporating it as an element of style so to speak. It would be a marked departure from your other work, but it might produce its own magic.

  8. Well done on accepting to your disability with more cheerfulness than I could possibly muster by taking on new artistic endeavours and challenges. I wish you well in your new venture which already look quite accomplished.

  9. Take good care of yourself....I'm a fan of alternative medicine, hoping you're feeling as well as you can. I LOVE your glass pieces and the enamel piece. Inspired by your positive energy, enthusiasm and creativity. I may have to branch out too. All the best to you always.

  10. Thank you for telling grandmother had this condition, skipped my mom and at 59 I've been noticing that when I sketch, I can't keep my lines straight. They just don't go where I want them or expect them to go, not as they used to. I've been thinking it's probably the start of those tremors. And I get not a little upset....hearing how you're coping is heartening and I appreciate your honesty. Thank you so much!

  11. thank you all so much for your heart-warming responses. No, Chris, it does not mean I will give up being a painter completely - it just means I have to find a different approach, and at this present moment, I am enjoying learning about glass and giving my energy over to that means I have less time and energy for painting - it is much harder to paint something worthwhile, than to make a plate! I am, however, discovering interesting things from my 2D enamel images...they have surprised me, I find I have to stop "earlier", which means they are often rather more abstract than my paintings, and I have to make allowances for what happens inside the kiln...I have less control. All of which means often the work is surprisingly more atmospheric. I believe I need to learn from this, and apply it to my work on canvas or paper. This may well happen when I have some time and space to devote to it.

  12. You are an inspiration and there is a elsson for me to learn from your experience. Thanks for sharing all ypur knowledge that has been invalubale and the new direction in your creative journey, keep up the awesome work.

  13. Hi Jackie, sorry to hear of your trouble. I have had an essential tremor from birth - (a very long time) and it can be very annoying. You may have it more pronounced than I do but it hasn't stopped me spending my life doing paintings with a great deal of detail and I only recently decided it was time to loosen up a bit.. Try not to let it beat you.


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