At last I can let you all know what I have been up to.
I am very excited to get to tell you all about the work I have been doing for Michael Caines’ new hotel Lympstone Manor.
I am always amazed by the power of social media. I sold one of my hare watercolours to a lovely lady whose husband worked for Michael and hey presto… several months later I got a message asking if I would be interested in doing some work for him.
Not knowing then what I know now I said yes immediately (I may not have been so keen had I known how many paintings I would need to paint). I am so very glad I said ‘yes’. They had to wait for planning permission before they knew everything was going ahead… but once they got the green light I was given my brief…
Each of the hotel bedrooms is named after a bird that lives either on the estuary or in the countryside nearby. Some were very familiar to me like the heron and the king fisher.
others less so like the wood warbler and the wheatear.
There are 21 bedrooms and I was asked to paint 52 paintings in all!!!
Oh my where to start …just one painting at a time I thought. The work began last summer, and through the autumn. Some paintings just flew off my brush others were trickier. I painted the heron in flight and two magpies dancing in the air...
I tried to show the beauty of the arctic tern diving for food, and my nemesis was the Merlin, he took several attempts until I was finally happy.
It is safe to say my knowledge of birds grew steadily, as did my pile of paintings!
I kept Michael updated with progress, working for such a high-profile project was a new experience. There were meetings in site offices, it was amazing to see progress from the very beginning, we talked through the paintings and I made changes where needed. I even ventured into watercolour inks to add vibrancy in places, I was learning and progressing too. Michael is keen to have a sense of place and I think the birds painted by a Devon artist are all a part of that vision.
Here is the kingfisher reprinted from the original and bursting from 3 frames up in the kingfisher room....
It was a huge sense of achievement and relief when all the work was signed off and handed over.
Then another request came, could I paint wallpaper??? Err I could have a go! I painted bigger pieces than I had ever painted before, views of the estuary in pale blues and greys to go up the staircase and in the reception area, and views of Lympstone parkland to go in the fine dining room. Wow, my work would be seen downstairs too, in the public areas. Another deep intake of breath and I got started…. these pieces were scanned and printed as wall paper with some of the birds added to give that important sense of place.
Finally, Michael asked me to paint a map of the hotel in the grounds and I completed that just last month.
Three huge challenges and three amazing opportunities, I never imagined my watercolours would take me to such places but I am very grateful they have .