Tuesday, 25 November 2014

There are no mistakes

 Expressive Painting Workshop
Wednesday 26th November 10am – 3pm
One day workshop. For novice and experienced painters alike. A chance to spend a day painting in a spontaneous and fearless way, using basic painting techniques in an innovative and self-expressive way. Sarah Baird will facilitate throughout and give a short talk at the start on use of colour, mark making and encouragement on exploring the process. Sarah will also give a handout sheet with the basic principles so that you can continue with this exciting work at home.

Donation to The Mill Room
To book a place call into The Mill Room Studios. Or find us on facebook:  The Mill Room Studios

What you need
Bring a large canvas or board to work on. The bigger the better. 70cm is a good size to start ! No smaller than 50x50cm.
A good selection of acrylic paint colours.
A selection of cheap brushes inc a fine brush.
A sense of fun is essential and please leave all preconceived ideas of what a painting should look like at home !


This is where it all began a few weeks ago. Faith and I spent a very lovely day painting intuitively. (There was some angst that needed exorcising!) People wandered through the Mill Room as we painted, some more interested than others at our mad workings. The general census of opinion was that we should hold regular workshops there and encourage painters and non painters alike to have a go. 
So here we are holding our first workshop of this kind, tomorrow. I will be facilitating and am looking forward to it. We already have 8 people signed up but can take a couple more. Alternatively wait for the next one in a month's time.

Our Mantra:    There are no mistakes.

After 5 hour's work we have propelled ourselves into a whole new way or working. Things will never be the same again.

We  will offering workshops once a month which will include mixed media and collage, paper making and much more. Keep an eye out for what's going on at our facebook page. If anyone is interested in learning wood turning techniques let us know. We may be able to offer this in the New Year.

Friday, 14 November 2014

As The crow flies

How time flies... back again into November and the weather is still warm. It feels like a blustery English summer and I am dressed as if I was holidaying in Cornwall. Big warm jumper, scarf and shorts !
The light is fab at this time of the year and I just can't help taking pics on my evening walks.

A very lovely footpath that leads from Mgarr Harbour and along the cliffs to Xatt l-ahmar.

Numbers are growing at The Mill Room Studios and we now have a proper little community of artists, dreamers and healers. The next exhibition we are working on is called 'Six Winter Tales' Our art works will be based on folk or fairy tales and how we interpret them. I shall be working on a triptych on canvas....any guesses as to the cautionary tale ?   The exhibition will begin on 3rd December @ 6pm everyone welcome. 

The usual building up of layers to give texture then a layer of gesso before I start to paint.

Not yet finished, a few cautionary words to be added and some more detailing to be done.

I am itching to do a big abstract piece and have been trawling through a couple of books sitting on my shelf for inspiration. Both these books inspire to get out of a creative rut and just let the paint flow. So that will be my next project and I can't wait to get started. My 'unlocking creativity' workshop I ran in UK was loosely based on these ideas and I think I may revamp that workshop to fit in with my studio at The Mill Room. If you are interested just msg me on my facebook page. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Inside The Studio

I am always interested in how other artists work, or at least in the environment in which they work. It's a real insight into their psyche. That's why I love open studios and encourage people to come to mine. I tend to work in a fairly messy way and don't clean up until a project is finished, but after the work is done I have to have a purge on tidying up. I can't start a new work until the studio is immaculate and I can start afresh.
These are the studios I have been working in over the last 10 years. All lovely airy spaces with lots of light. My current one at the Mill Room needs a little storage space but the space has great vibes.

If you are interested in reading about my artistic life before Gozo click HERE

A mixed media workshop in my studio.

Some famous studios. For more pics click
Work spaces of famous artists

Can you hazard as guess as to who's they might be ?

.... and for a really sneaky peek take a look at this Facebook page where artists paste their own pictures of work spaces....fascinating ! Click  A peek inside artists studios

We have been experiencing what it is like to be in the eye of a cyclone for the last 24 hours..... mad is the answer. Sadly I didn't get any photos of life inside a washing machine !
This was what is was like this morning down at san Blas after the storm had passed....absolutely beautiful. Searching for driftwood !

Thursday, 6 November 2014


Another week of the current exhibition left to run. So if you haven't yet had a chance do go and have a look, We installed some great changing coloured lights. The works are completely transformed with the different colours, an interesting aspect. The Mill Room is open every week day and Saturday from 10am until 1pm. 

My work

Richard Bourne

Faith Vinal Pollina

Petra Le Clarc

I;m not posting very clear pictures on purpose, to encourage you go and see them for real !

We are now working on a new exhibition to be launched on December 3rd. Our take on a Winter Fairy Tale. We have two of our other artists joining in on this one, a Mad Hatter and a Wood Turner, so look out for some interesting work. Go to The Mill Room Studios facebook page for info on forthcoming events.

Thursday, 30 October 2014


I am working on a large canvas for my own home. I have large white walls, which I like very much but a space looking through an archway begs out for a painting.
I want to keep the canvas light with just shades of grey and some metallic. I had initially thought about a mandala or Buddha's head but decided they may be too fussy for the space. In the end a zen enso seemed to fit the bill. Something medatative, 
When I have worked on this kind of thing before I have used either a Chinese calligraphy brush or one I have made from horse hair. Neither of which are available on Gozo . A pigeon sat on my studio window sill preening itself and throwing feathers all over the floor. Aha , just what I needed.

 ... not quite as flexible as horse hair but gives a nice stroke.

As in other mixed media works I have glued layers onto the canvas to give texture over a gesso base. 

However my circle was not a single brush stroke, like a true enso but many, applied over and over again. Dipping the feather in paint and making the sweeping stroke and repeat..... I worked like this for about an hour and a half without stopping. I could have gone on longer as I was 'in the zone' with my strokes but a couple came into the studio and wanted to chat ! The distraction was not a problem just part of the day. I'll work on it again another time.

After the storms last week I found some nice bits of drift wood. I spent a morning sawing to size and glueing together pieces to make something large enough to work on. Using ideas and sketches from my note book I I got cracking this morning laying foundations.

An interesting bit of drift wood with a padlock still hanging on lends itself to something decorative.

Some gessoed fish waiting for the colour to be applied.

Saturday, 18 October 2014


 My plant dyed paper project incorporated the essence of Gozo. A little part of this island deeply embedded in the paper. I look forward to the rains bringing the earth alive again after the heat of the Summer so that I can start on some new work.
In the meantime I am working on a mixed media project. Elements of Gozo.  A series of small works on the same sized boards depicting, in rather abstract form, the elements that I feel describe the island best..

The parched earth of Summer

The fire in the beautiful sunsets

The fierce electrical storms 

The sea, within which this jewel of an island is held

....And the lush green of the hillsides when nourished by rain

A birthday treat and a picnic on the tiny island of Comino. We took a little boat over the water to the even smaller island sitting between Malta and Gozo. Much visited by day trippers, the famous Blue Lagoon is busy and sadly rather over done. So we took the boat further around the coast to the little bay of Santa Maria. The perfect place to spend the day lying on the sand on the edge of the water. Nothing to disturb the silence except the lapping of the waves. Glorious.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Birgu and Qbajjar

An early morning 7.30am ferry to catch the Birgu weekly market this week. It probably wasn't worth the effort despite the huge number of stalls. Sadly all selling exactly the same things, fruit and veg, cheap clothing and the odd mop. It seemed to be hugely popular with the locals but not really the bric a brac I was looking for. Maybe the Sunday market would have been better.
Still....it was another chance to wander around the very lovely Birgu waterfront and marina.

The Grand Harbour

Storms brewing over the Citadel.

 Still no rain to speak of. It was all out to sea.

I am starting on a new project, a collaboration with the other artists at The Mill Room Gallery. A series of 5 canvases each using the five elements of Feng Shui as a theme, (long stoary....for another day). Water, Fire, Metal, Wood and Earth. We are all very different in our styles and it will be interesting to see how they turn out. There is a record launch held at The Mill Room at the end of the month so we have a few weeks to work on these. 
Inspired by the horizons and colours of this island my works will loosely be based on the strong horizontals and diagonals of the landscape. More on that soon.

A pot of gold somewhere out at sea ?

Small dog enjoying the cooler weather. Actually those rain clouds did amount to the heaviest down pour I have seen for some time. I was rushing around on the terrace last night at about 2.30am , rescuing tables and chairs from being blown down the road.
As I drove through the bay this morning the digger was busy putting the beach back and a posse of workers were clearing up the debris. Mountains of bamboo has been washed under and over the top of parked cars..... The start of the winter weather is with us.