Category: Create

Ideas on inspiration and where creativity comes from

B side social live painting

The B side Social was set up by a group of lovely people, mostly friends of my son Tom who wanted a very social event which has the festival vibe though only for one night . It’s held as a monthly event of dj vinyl, food, Tom’s rum bar, guest beers and art.  Starting at 6pm and ending at 11pm on the dot, it gets lively very early and the party atmosphere doesn’t stop.

This year an 8ft square plywood board is in place which is painted by guest artists every month.

After a busy summer I was asked if I could do the September slot which  coincided with their special ‘girl takeover’.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but have never painted quite on this scale before.

Don and I prepped the board the night before with a brown ‘Truffle’ paint.  A great opportunity to get a feel for the scale of it and I quickly upscaled the size of my brushes!.

I wasn’t even really very nervous and decided to go with the flow.  I had seen Jen Dixon working the board before looking very relaxed so took a leaf out of her book and she said I was going to enjoy it, so I was determined to do so and let it be.  I luckily had some emulsions to work with which cover the board quickly and dry fast.

I painted intuitively with a limited palette with  two pop  colours I added for ‘pop’ and they really added the ‘Wow’ factor.  A luscious copper metallic acrylic I have never used and a vibrant pink emulsion I had been given years ago.  ( goodness knows when that was ever used!).  The music led my painting and movements too.

The boys on the Sharps beer bar kept my going with great comments and I had lots of the punters coming up and saying how they loved it.

It was difficult to stand back from it because of the crowd, the light was fading fast and I was up and down that pair of steps more times than I can imagine, but I loved it.  The music was brilliant and keeps you jigging about.

After three hours I called it a day, but wanted to make it special to BSide and Emma helped me come up with a hashtag. Although some were mortified that I put writing over it, it felt right. This was  temporary piece of art, so I hashtagged it #BsSideGirlTakeOver in the brilliant pink.

Danced the rest of the night away and the painting was packed away in the shed for next month’s event.  Yay.. awesome job done and I loved it.

Agan Fordh a Dro Bude Roundabout project

The roundabout coming into Bude has never looked very inspiring and when the council removed all the planting in 2016, close friend Jane and I saw our opportunity.  We had  always joked about wanting to guerilla garden it and give it a make over.  Building had started on the massive Bovis Shorelands estate and with that came the other evil of an out of town shopping centre.

It seemed even more important now to claim this roundabout and make it unique and reflect Bude and the town.  We shunned sponsorship which would come with corporate signage and working with the local highways, Cormac Cornwall, the Bude Stratton Town Council and a small band of volunteers, we came up with a plan and designs.

Originally we were going to have them made from wood, but after a chance conversation at a wedding with Clive Woodward who owns a large company in Bude, we had an even better long lasting larger offer of steel fabricated sculptures which would rust over time and set in beautifully.

Over the period of a further 6 months, the designs were finalised based on Jane and I’s original drawings.

We wanted surfboard shapes to reflect the culture of Bude and the sea and each one had a cut out.  A wave with a fish on the top, a sunshine as Bude regularly tops the charts for most sunshine and the iconic barrel rock.


They weighed in at a whopping 180kg each.  Some local guys from the gym offered to help and unofficially some of the local highways guys came after work to lend a hand.  Health and safety was a priority but we didn’t have time to go down all the regulatory routes, so it was hi vis jackets, torches and lots of care to halt traffic on the roundabout.  We prepped it, laid down matting, made support holes and spread several tonnes of stone and chippings over it.

It’s only when you are up on top of it, you get a sense of how big it is.

The transformation seemed to happen overnight and the next morning, there were calls from Radio Cornwall, the newspapers and lots of tooting and whooping from passers by.

We did it!!

We never did get a chance to publicly thank everyone involved.  Life took over with family commitments and work.

So a big thank you to anyone who may be reading this.

Our volunteer group,  Annie, Kim, Sarah, Tim, Karen, Deb, Liz, Sharon, Stu, Roger and Geraldine.  Brommells for advice and expert driving skills to deliver dumpy bags of materials.  Cormac and local highways for always coming up trumps . Councillors Pete Labroy, Nigel Pearce, David Parsons, Bob willingham etc. and of course to Clive and David Woodward and their team from Bott Ltd for organising, making and getting the project to fruition.  And to the public who supported our crowdfunding actions and also tooted as they passed or dropped off plants, drinks and cash.

In March 2018 we added some planting.


As a footnote, in November 2018 Jane and I were nominated Bude Hero’s and received an award for the work we had done to improve the nature of the entrance to Bude, claim it as our own and the whole project cost less than £1500.



I believe in Me

People feel a need to create, whether it’s art, gardening, cooking, DIY.  “How do you get the confidence to sell myself” is a question I’m often asked.  Well, it’s simple… I believe in ME.

That is Being ME, Doing ME and sharing ME.  Present and future.

Painting for me personally is a metaphor for living. It’s listening to intuition, your heart, trusting in your ideas and being brave.   This is all built on a strong foundation of remembering what excites me, going back to simple things and what and who make my life amazing.  This is what gives me confidence and a passion to keep creating an ‘Expression of myself ‘.

I had no idea how to make this painting. I just let it come with a feeling of trust, bravery, excitement and some frustration too. It wasn’t easy, but I always have faith that it will come ok in the end. It’s all part of the journey in art and life.

cornish abstract seascape

It’s very easy to be comfortable with what we know. We have an inherent trait to protect, defend  and  fear the future and what we don’t know. But it’s far more exciting to let things unfold, discover the new, break boundaries, meet new shiny souls and once in a while take a risk.  No regrets and all that.

Held my first Art Workshop; discovered I know some ?

I have been asked several times if I do art workshops.  I have always said no, but when approached for a one to one and share some of my techniques, I thought I’d give it a go and record it in my art blog.

If I’m honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it.  My lady sounded lovely but I had no firm lesson plan. Was this a good idea?

I have been on several workshops myself in large groups and understand that they need to be structured but a one to one was always going to be a more personal experience.

I decided the most important thing was to listen, be patient (not my strongest point) and for Cath to go away with something at the end of the day; hopefully a near completed painting albeit small.

I knew that she wanted to learn about painting seascapes and loosen up.

I looked at Cath’s work too and hope I provided an encouraging critique. After loosening up with some bamboo and ink sketches outside, we worked on some composition and tonal thumbnails.  A brief introduction into colour and techniques using the shapers and palette knife along with other devices, we decided on an image which had some foreground but also the sea.

Working alongside step by step Cath completed a wonderful little masterpiece, full of colour and movement.

At the end of the day, tiring as it was, it was incredibly rewarding.  It wasn’t only Cath that had learnt a lot. I had a  total realisation of the amount of knowledge I have and the style and technique I have developed over the past years which is totally unique to me.  The pressure of the brush, the weight of the paint, the angle of the drag and that spatter is really hard to control unless you have my hands.

Art workshop in Cornwall with Sue Read

There may well be more so if interested please get in touch.

Baamfest 2016 Community festival – Painting a Seascape

The weather held off and Baamfest 2016 enjoyed some sunshine. I had co ordinated over ten workshops to happen at the event and although most were undercover, the weather makes a big difference in displaying all the work made. Around the theme of the beach, we made over 50 beach huts, 40 windmills, 70 printed seaweed bunting sheets, 80 milk bottle people on sticks, lots of paper cut out beach huts, textile bunting and painted pebbles.

While all this was happening, Pottery box created pottery tiles with beach inspired stamps, Steve Pinchess and Steve Bielby oversaw over 200 people create a scribble board in sharpies and I encouraged over 40 children to have a go at painting a seascape on a 8ft x 4ft ply board.

Having some emulsion myself, some donated and some extra acrylics to create more colours, the kids set to covering the board in paint. There were small delicate waves, splatters from the more confident and lots of hand painting and big brushes with swirls from the younger ones.

The sea came and went, waves appeared and were partially painted out.  Not taking control was hard and letting go of some lovely areas even harder. After day one, I wanted to say ‘lets leave it there folks’ and maybe do another one the next day, but as an art therapist who was doing a workshop said ‘just let it go’ and ‘let it become something different’.

I did and the result was brilliant.  The kids all signed the back and I now just have to find somewhere to display it.


The lovely people at Grosvenor Guest House in Bude have bought it from Bude Arts and Music and it is now taking up the end wall of the their dining/breakfast room for all their visitors to enjoy.

Pictures from the rest of the weekend.