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Diane Kettle Studio News
ē  New studio   ē 

This is just occasional news from my studio and definitely not a blog. I would much rather be painting than sitting here at a keyboard, so the updates to this page will never occur on a daily basis! My own working studio is open most weekends or when Iím around during the week, but if you are making a special journey to see me please phone first to make sure Iím in and not down the dale painting! 

January 2016
Hello again

I hope that you will  have or had a lovely Christmas.   I shall be decorating my barn studio for Christmas as it has lovely lofty beams.

My grandaughter Purdy has won a double scholarship to the Kings High in Warwick so I am extremely proud of her.  My son in law Heath Greenslade has filmed the Potter of the Year competition in Stoke on Trent which has been interesting viewing on T.V.

Classes will start again in March when the weather and day light is a bit kinder.   I will be spending some time in Cornwall where the temperature is a bit warmer.   I will be attending some art classes in St Ives and Newlyn.  I  discovered the various life drawing sessions and venues last year so I will be practising hard.

July 2015
I hope that you have had a lovely summer.  
I enjoyed some really good workshops in St Ives and Newlyn whilst I was in Cornwall for the whole month of February. Also attending lots of life drawing sessions at these schools of art.  
Going to Spain, on Tomís art course, kick-started me into oil painting again.  
Iím still painting in oils in my barn at Middleton.
This summer I have taken out the camper van to the Cotswolds and I plan a Ďfestivalí week in Suffolk.
Later in the summer I plan to go back to some of my old haunts in East Anglia.

a few old posts to this web page ....

Studio finished !!!
I'm really pleased to say that my new studio is now in operation.  Each day I walk along the lane to the studio with Molly and Tilly and enjoy the peaceful ambience of this private space.  The Derbyshire wildlife is abundant all around.  The space is perfect for painting, light and airy. with such a high ceiling. It feels so good to have achieved a lifetime ambition in such a beautiful place. Thank you to all my friends who have helped to make this dream a reality. Your contributions of your time and various materials and furnishings will always be appreciated.  You can see from the photos below that I'm already making use of the space and enjoying every minute!

New roof with insulation. New windows and doors. External walls pointed leaving holes for nesting birds and bats.  Electrics installed but not connected,. Internal walls rendered giving an open airy feeling to my new work space. Many artists have told me that moving out of the home environment into a dedicated artist studio space promotes new creativity. I can't wait. 

A stable car parking area exists but my real proposals for the natural landscaping will have to wait until  next summer.







My main arty news is the purchase of a redundant stone barn which will eventually become my art studio.   It is about a 10 minute walk from my house in a lovely location overlooking fields and just
above Kenslow Wood.   The roof had fallen in and that has just been repaired so it is just about water-tight ready for this winter.   A lot more work has to be done on itÖ.a floor to be put in  a bat loft to be constructed !   drains to be laid   Doors and new windows put in.   It might be finished by next summer.   So then I will have plenty of room to paint   I will even be able to use my big studio easel and stand up to paint.   I shall feel like a real artist.

PAINTING IN SPAIN Sunday 28th April - Saturday 4th May 2013
Last February 2012 half term I visited Tom Browns Studio in Spain for another painting courseÖtaking some students with me.   I am going again with students in 2013 .. Tom will create a special course according to the needs of the students - CONTACT ME FOR DETAILS, This my fourth visit - need I say more. If my course is full there may be other weeks and other courses at Tom's where I guarantee you would be made very welcome.

During May and June I had exhibitions in Middleton and Youlgrave during the well dressing times.   The Middleton well dressing was a portrait on the Queen.   I have sold most of my coastal painting that I did last year from my travels around the coast line of Britain.   This summer I carried on my journey from Bristol around the coast line to Fowey in Cornwall.   So I have spent many a happy hour drawing and sketching around Somerset ,Devon and Cornwall.   We have such a beautiful coast lineÖwhy go abroad ?  I only had three really rainy days when I couldnít draw out of my whole summer holidays.

This summer I completed two coastal trips in my camper van. The camper was custom built for me as an art studio and has living space for my two dogs.  For many years Iíve been intending to travel the coastline of the UK. I miss the sea, living as I do, in the middle of England.  I wanted to see my island home and be able to travel the coastline of the British Isles, painting and sketching on the way.

My sketchbooks are bound cartridge paper about A5. Using watercolour pencils, paints and ink pens I filled a few books with drawings and notes of my travels. Often I forgot to take a digital reference picture, photography is something Iíve not come to rely upon yet but the memories reinforced with sketching are good enough.   In practice, the day to day task of living and travelling meant that I didnít complete any large paintings on site on any trip. Now that I am familiar with the camper and process of moving home every hour

 Iím sure that future trips will less rushed and offer quality time for larger paintings of the coastline.

The first foray started at Cardiff and ended at the Solway Firth four weeks later.

Then I enjoyed North Norfolk to Dungeness in Kent

If you have experiences of travelling the coast with painting in mind then I would like to hear from you ... get in touch ....

Iím expecting to take three or four summers on this project.

Group Exhibition at Gallery Topp
Some of my contemporary landscape works were displayed in a group exhibition called 'Survey' at Gallery Topp at Rowsley, Derbyshire.

14 July 2009 Molly had pups
My daughters and 3 grandchildren visited and played endlessly with 5 black cocker spaniel puppies. What a houseful! I was exhausted when they left. Predictably, I have kept one pup and named her Tillie Kettle. A painter of the same sounding name, Tilly Kettle (1735 - 1786) was a well known portrait painter in his lifetime and the first English painter to work in India. He was born in London, the son of a coach painter. I fondly imagine he was a relation of mine and hope to come across him in my ongoing genealogical research of my own family, who lived in the same area in the same period. Watch this space!

Learning the recorder
I've always enjoyed traditional folk music and this year I felt I should do something new-  outside my comfort zone, as they say. A friend gave me a recorder and a tin whistle so I set about learning to read music and play the instruments. After several months of weekly lessons I have made some progress but it is really hard going for me. I'm quite sure my visual perception is more developed than any auditory abilities! Molly my cocker spaniel still hides under the table as soon as I put the school sheet music on the mantelpiece to have ten minutes practice before my next art student arrives!  My daughter Rachel demonstrated on her recent visit that she can play much better than I can, even though she hasn't played since school about fifteen years ago.

Open Art Derbyshire
I opened my studio and gallery for this annual summer event and met many friends and talked to all visitors about my methods of working.

Youlgrave well dressing week exhibition
I took over the entire Methodist chapel for an exhibition of over a hundred paintings and prints during the well dressing week. 

Middleton Well Dressing
The theme this year was 'Sounds of Middleton' for which I designed the central panel. Some of my students came to help and had a go at petalling. A real labour of love, thousands of petals go into to making the well dressing.  Making artworks that involve the repetition of small marks and gestures over a long period of time can be a very satisfying experience. Each tiny petal is insignificant, but every one contributes to the final composition. The process of building a picture from thousands of tiny strokes and movements of the hand gives opportunity to watch how such a picture or composition emerges over days of work. Impressionist painters often used small brush strokes to interpret their scenes on canvas. These small steps are in contrast to the sudden emergence of drawings that are created in life class where we may work quickly with large decisive mark making.

In March 2009 I returned to abstract painting attending a course tutored by Brian Ryder in Norfolk. I completed a couple of large pictures but predictably I was not pleased with them.  They were based on the theme of 'Holiday' I pursued the idea of a map incorporating some collage words. I take these small steps in abstract painting each year.  Perhaps I will get there eventually. Satisfaction in abstract painting is elusive for me but I won't give up. Realism is a comfortable hat to wear and sells well here in the Derbyshire Peak District.

Oils revisited
I've raked out my old oil paints again and managed to get the caps off the tubes with the help of hot water.  Something fresh to work with and a different medium for new works. 
A day with John McCoombs NDD, ROI, RBA, FRSA, MAFA inspired me to make this move. It isn't often that I get the chance to take a whole day to myself and work on something new in the company and tutorship of a Royal Institute of Oil Painters guru.  The weather was rough so we all painted inside the gallery at Saddleworth using John's landscape photographs. At least the lighting remained the same all day! No cows to lick the paint from the board. Inspiring is a word overused by artists but that is how I felt on leaving for home that day. I've replenished my stock of oils, bought a pochade box and intend to keep it in my car for landscape sketches whenever the opportunity arises.


life drawing class

life model

My own tutored life drawing classes in Bakewell and Ashover  are ongoing. Check the schedule

Sometime I'll photograph or scan some student work and get a page or two published on this website so that you may see the standard of work achieved. We enjoy a great variety of age, gender and physique with my regular models .

All day tutored sessions allow more complex works. Book your place now for the next session! 01629 636763

We often have a man and woman team pose together for us at the Bakewell class and sometimes at the all day at Youlgrave.  This is always well received and inspires some great drawings and paintings from students.  

Diane abstract painting

Abstract again - After a Chatsworth sculpture visit , a group of my associates met in Youlgrave for an afternoon workshop on the principles and theory of abstract painting.  Our tutor was Tim Rose, a British artist who in a former life was an abstract painter. He is now a highly regarded  watercolourist whose pictures depict mainly architectural subjects. However, on this occasion he and we pursued his fondly held idea that anyone could produce an acceptable abstract painting in an afternoon using basic principles of dominant and sub-dominant shapes, colours and tones.  Eveybody went home with a completed abstract painting that day. Most of these treasured works were completed in acrylic on card in about an hour. Acrylic paints dry quickly on card so we had plenty of time to make corrections and inspired enhancements to our masterpieces!


Remember to email me if you wish to be on my mail list for occasional reminders and updates.


I organise painting weekends and days where Peak District  holidaymakers and painters are accommodated in bed and breakfast locally, with personal tuition in my own studio at Middleton by Youlgrave, Derbyshire . They agree a few hours tuition with me, spread out over their time on holiday, and paint in or near the village.  Couples or small groups can share the tuition time. Additional tuition can also be arranged. Everything is very flexible. More information on the painting on holiday page.


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best wishes - Diane Kettle