karen pittaway

Welcome to my blog


Artist, specialising in oil paintings of towns, historic buildings, human activity. Grew up in Cambridge, went to London University, moved to Kenilworth in 1984

By karen, May 20 2016 06:48AM

So I have decided to show off my new work space by taking part of the Warwickshire Open Studios. It seemed like a good idea at the time of entry. However, with four weeks to go and very little work accomplished I am now beginning to panic!

I am best known for my 'Lowryesque' style of painting but as these paintings take weeks to complete and also because I wanted to show I can do other things, I am busy painting all manner of different subjects, using different techniques... mostly quick painting with a pallet knife and lots of paint. It's fun. I am enjoying myself. But I'm not sure what my followers will think of this departure from the norm.

Here are a couple of examples which will be on show in my studio from the 18th June - 3rd July.

By karen, May 20 2016 06:27AM

Major surgery required!

The joiners have arrived to fix up my studio... yippee! At least that was my first reaction, now I am feeling anxious as the rotten timbers are cut away and the extent of the decay is revealed (along with some small worms and some truly enormous slugs!). One corner is being propped up to stop the building collapsing completely whilst the essential repairs are undertaken. I am trying to keep the faith but my studio no longer looks the lovely inviting space it did only yesterday, it now looks like what it really is... a sadly neglected building requiring a lot more than some cosmetic tweaking from me.

I have asked my very nice joiners to perform life saving surgery and they have promised to try, although I think I may also have promised to do a dog portrait for one of them in a blatant attempt at bribery and coercion... I have very limited funds to work with!

To add to my troubles the weather forecast this week is for heavy showers and thunderstorms! I am beginning to regret my rather hasty decision to install a new carpet prior to the work being completed... never ask an artist to project manage anything! Imaginative flair and hopeless optimism are not the kind of practical qualities that will guarantee success in a building project it seems.

I wrote this entry in a state of high anxiety and forgot to publish it. But I am glad to say my studio is looking nice again. A bit patched up and 'shabby chic' but mostly water tight and solid enough not to worry about the roof collapsing in on me!

By karen, Apr 9 2016 06:53AM

The Studio

About a month ago I took on the lease of a rather sad looking conservatory situated at the rear of a commercial building very close to my house. The situation of the building for a working studio was perfect, the building itself was not! Read any article on how to build the perfect artist studio and you'll find light is the prime consideration. The general idea being that you want plenty of natural light but definitely no direct sunlight. I have plenty of light in my new studio and ALL of it is direct sunlight!

So the first challenge (after relocating about a million spiders... sorry spiders, had to be done!) was to devise clever, and essentially cheap ways to block out some of the light. I can't afford fancy blinds so, after some headscratching, I came up with some cunning ideas!

About 10 years ago I did a job for a hotel in the north which ran into financial difficulties, leaving me in pocession of about six large marine ply boards, fully painted with tropical beach scenes... these have been clogging up our cellar ever since, awaiting some useful purpose. And now they have their purpose... they are my sunscreens around the south facing side of the conservatory, and can be moved or removed easily... perfect! Makes me feel like I'm on holiday when I enter the place, which is, after all, what we all want when entering our place of work. The next problem was the ceiling... also glass of course... SO much glass! My current solution is about 10 paper parasols with hooks which I hook onto other hooks in the woodwork of the ceiling (bit fiddly but also quite fun, like that kids game when you have to hook a fish), again I can move the parasols to where the light is causing a problem. It's all a bit 'Heath Robinson' but I like it.

The studio is a 'work in progress' so I will continue to blog about it. There is a small kitchen and toilet at the back and these need some attention too. Also the outside woodwork is rotten in places and is going to be made good, hopefully quite soon.

There was a small tree growing on the roof of the toilet! The building was empty for nearly 15 years so needs some serious TLC... I intend to give it plenty.

Still much to do but I'm enjoying the process... love having my own space.

By karen, Apr 6 2016 11:23AM

The habit of blogging.

Since relaunching my new website I haven't got back into the habit of blogging, something I used to enjoy before my previous website decided to stop functioning without considerable intellectual effort on my part... I'm not an intellectual and effort doesn't come easily either!

So, thanks to my friendly web designer and social media man, Anthony Johnson, I am now able to start spouting my pearls of wisdom to all who have nothing better to do than read them.

As it turns out I appear to have very little to say apart from 'Where the hell did Spring go!?' It's freezing and wet again and I still have to walk the dogs... urghhh!

I should say this Blog is just an experiment to see if I've listened to my mentor and understood the process... if you are reading this then presumably I've done something right and will try to find a more interesting topic to talk about next time... promise!

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