‘Essex Field: January’

By Sally Pudney on 24th January 2020

Here is the first painting in my new series, depicting Martins Field at Aldham!

Essex Field: January

I finished it a couple of days ago, but it has been so dark and gloomy here this week, that I was unable to photograph it until this morning.

I’m now planning on a small painting of some of the seed heads I found in the field . . . .

And then when – IF!! – it brightens up a bit, I would like to make a proper start on my Towers and Spires in the Trees series, but at the moment it is misty and drizzly and doesn’t tempt me to go out drawing.  I did a small painting of Dedham church tower across the fields in the first few days of January, when I was messing about in my studio waiting for the weather to be suitable for my first field visit, but I wasn’t very happy with it so will re-do this later in the Spring.

Anglian Arts Project: Our planning for the 2020 exhibition has come on a long way since the 1st January when I told you all about the new venue. We had an extremely useful visit to The Naze Centre last week, meeting Max, the Assistant Centre Manager, who was very helpful and enthusiastic about our plans. Graham and I are both very impressed by the positive reaction we have received, and especially by the amount of free publicity which our show will be given by the Essex Wildlife Trust. While we were there we were able to measure up the room, getting out tables and working out possible positions for various types of ‘stall’. We will be able to comfortably fit twelve artists and makers into the space, six ‘hanging’ artists – painters and printmakers – and six makers – jewellers, potters, textile artists, etc. I already have thirteen potential exhibitors on my list, and will start contacting them next week. I’m just looking for one more maker . . .

Friday again! – and only one more week of January! Hope you enjoy your weekend 🙂


Visiting the field – January

By Sally Pudney on 13th January 2020

This morning I made my first ‘official’ visit to the field at Aldham which is to be the focus of my main 2020 painting project Twelve Months in an Essex Field. If you are new here you can read all the background to this in my last post.

It was a bright sunny morning, with a little cloud on the horizon, but an icy cold wind. And the mud was epic! I can see that I shall be wearing Wellingtons on every visit until May!

The field I am focussing on is called Martins field, but all the fields have names. I walked down the side of Broad field, to the lovely old brick bridge over the branch-line which runs between Marks Tey and Sudbury – only to find that the gate was chained up! But this wasn’t going to stop me, so I climbed over, as close to the hinges as I could.

I did some drawing, took some photos, and walked a little way down the field towards the river. Lots of birds were in evidence – I heard a green woodpecker’s cackling laugh, the coughing crow of a pheasant, blue-tits twittering, and – much to my surprise – a skylark singing! I saw a redwing, a nuthatch and a beautiful buzzard which was soaring on outstretched straight wings. It glided over the field, circled over the hedge trees, over the next field, and vanished behind the treeline.

Walking the headland along the line of the railway cutting there were lots of knapweed and wild carrot seed heads, and one bush of field rose with brilliant red hips. I walked out of Martins field, and along the edges of How Hill and Walls fields, before crossing the railway line and walking back up the lane between Clamp field and Stable field. This is a better route to the field I’ve realised – no gate, and a bit less mud! The wind was really strong by now, and the clouds were building up.

It was a very successful visit, and I’m looking forward to making a start on my first painting tomorrow. But I was quite glad to get home and warm, with some hot coffee and the very last piece of Christmas cake! 🙂


Happy New Year 2020!

By Sally Pudney on 1st January 2020

Yay! A new year, and an exciting new start. I have lots of plans for 2020 which I can’t wait to share with you!

My BIG painting project for the year: I’m calling it Twelve Months in an Essex Field. After driving miles in all directions painting the coast of Essex and Suffolk last year, I am doing the exact opposite this year!

I am going to focus on one field at Aldham, only about four miles from where I live. It is called Martins field and is 11.78 hectares of arable land, planted this year with oil seed rape.  Around it are hedges with many mature trees and wide field margins with lots of wild plants and flowers. It is on quite high ground, with far reaching views to Marks Tey and beyond, and it slopes down to the Roman River which forms its southern boundary. The little branch line from Marks Tey to Sudbury forms the northern boundary, and there are badgers’ setts in the side of the railway cutting. I am very grateful to Sue D’Anna who introduced me to the farm owners, Adam and Catherine, and I am extremely grateful to them for reacting to my proposal with such enthusiasm, and for being so welcoming and generous.

I aim to do one large painting a month, documenting the field changing through the seasons, plus small paintings or drawings focusing in on ‘findings’ of the month – leaves, seed heads, flowers, feathers, blossom, berries, whatever there happens to be.

Here I am, doing a recce of the field in the week before Christmas.

Towers in the Trees: my secondary project – quite simply, painting Essex churches in the distance across the fields . . .  I aim to start with Dedham and Great Bromley, and have had two suggestions from Instagram friends, of Ulting from the other side of the River Chelmer, and Boreham church from a footpath near the river. And just yesterday I was delighted to get a suggestion from one of my newsletter recipients of All Saints church at Brightlingsea. So if you have a view of an Essex Church which you think could make a good painting, do let me know!

Open Studios: Big change here! (Read my reasons in yesterday’s post!) I shall be having two Open Studio events in the year which will not be linked to Colchester and Tendring Open Studios.  The first one will be on the 18th, 19th and 20th June – a Thursday, Friday and Saturday, open from 11.00am – 5.00pm each day. The second one will be 26th, 27th, and 28th November, again, a Thursday, Friday and Saturday, open from 10.00am – 4.00pm daily. Put the dates in your new diary!

Anglian Arts Project: In 2020 our exhibition will be held at the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Naze Centre at Walton on the Naze. We are hiring their large education room for eight days, from 5th – 12th September, open from 10.30am-4.30pm each day. The big advantages for our visitors will be the EWT’s lovely café just a few steps away, and the car park just outside. The room has glass doors in one wall, opening onto a seating area outside, and has room for more exhibitors than we had last year. We have already drawn up a list of exhibitors whom we would like to invite to show with us – a few of our ‘regulars’ but many new artists and makers too.

I’m looking forward to getting started and sharing with you here, through my newsletter, and on Instagram where you can follow me @sallypudneyartist.

I hope January gets off to a good start for you! 🙂


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All images © Sally Pudney 2020