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April Showers bring May Flowers & some June Jitters.

I am writing this early to ensure that I am ready for my first ever open studio event throughout the whole of June. We are beginning to get some colour in the garden this Akebia is always the first to flower and has a wonderful perfume and the clematis are flowering in sequence despite the rain and biting winds. The promise of a colourful May and June is on the horizon and I am getting a little apprehensive, but hopefully the weather will be glorious and all our visitors will leave happy and inspired.

I had a big birthday in April and celebrated by having my waist length hair chopped off. Imagine my surprise when Carron my lovely hairdresser told me my straight hair was now curly instead of a straight bob, I now have a mass of curls and am delighted. I have made the plait that was cut off into brushes and done some experimental painting with them, they work really well and my reel on instagram has proved very popular. Why not take a look, the link is at the bottom of the page. I am up to 45k views just on the one reel, I can't believe it.

You may remember I mentioned an online course in my last newsletter called Creative Shift designed and run by the very talented artist It stretches over 10 weeks and is proving to be everything it promised. I am only three weeks in but already feeling a change in my approach and I have had several light bulb moments. It is not a technique course, there is a lot of soul searching and analysis of how to approach our own creative practise. I hope when I do get back to painting there will be a noticeable shift in the way I work but only time will tell. I am not sure when I will get back to my painting because after my open studio in June the space is being renovated to make a bit cosier, so I can use it through the winter. I will report my progress as time goes on.

It is also the time of year when gardening comes to the fore, particularly this year as we are also opening the garden at the same time. I shall be making several visits to my favourite flower nursery and have already planted 4 new clematis. Sadly my favourite crab apple tree "Red Sentinel" has died - apparently they hate wet soil. My gorgeous weeping buddleia is no more, but I have been given a beautiful magnolia to take its place. I love this time of year when the wild flowers start to appear, the ransoms flower down by the stream and the perfume of lilac and wisteria fills the air. It won't be long before the ox eye daisies are in full flower closely followed by cow parsley and meadow sweet, all plants that need no attention and multiply year on year. I am a wild gardener and love to let nature do its thing, within reason.

I have already begun planning the hanging space in the studio and am busy painting frames, waxing paintings and making sure everything is priced and labelled. The studio will display my books, cards, collages and smaller paintings, all will be available to purchase and take away on the day. The gallery is accessible through the garden and will exhibit my larger paintings that are also for sale but they will remain in situ until the end of June when I can arrange delivery or collection if you wish to purchase.

I am participating under the umbrella of South East Open Studios, their guide covers the whole of Kent and the Surrey Sussex borders. There is also a local group called Art in June which runs concurrently for the first 2 weeks of June and I am part of that also. If you want me to send you both guides please drop me a message with your address and I can pop them in the post, they are due to arrive imminently. If you are planning to visit you might want to make a day of it and take a look around Winston Churchill's house at National Trust Chartwell. Longmeadow used to be part of the Chartwell estate and is just a stone's throw from Winston's beloved home. If you bring your walking boots there are some delightful country walks to be had up to Chartwell, Toys Hill and Crockham Hill and plenty of room to park in the paddock at Longmeadow Studio.

Just in case you have not seen my flyer, here it is again. We (Ken and I) are hoping to welcome many visitors from 1st - 30th June, we will be open from Thursday to Sunday 10am -4pm. There will be an eclectic mix of art: large and small mixed media paintings, collage, drawings, a variety of artist books, handmade sketchbooks and cards. I shall be demonstrating various paper craft techniques including explosion books and blind embossing. You can also take a leisurely stroll around our large country garden that is at its best in June and find my larger paintings displayed in the gallery up at the house. If you want to linger for a cuppa and some cake in aid of there will be a refreshments area in the paddock just outside the studio. Everyone is welcome but please ensure children and dogs are supervised at all times. Please remember to bring cash for your charity donations and the small items on sale. I have not been able to acquire a card reader for a variety of reasons that I shall not bore you with, but I can accept BACS payments for larger purchases, although cash is always easier due to unreliable internet and phone signals. We are hoping for warm sunny weather and lots of visitors and look forward to meeting you and having a chat over a cuppa. See you in June.

Best wishes JaneS.

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