• Karen Thomas

Painting Holiday Part II - John Yardley

The second week at Dedham Hall was my yearly attendance alongside a group of fellow friends of John Yardley. This group have been together many years now, and it takes the form of companionable painting together rather than any formal, tutored arrangement. It's always a pleasure when the group assembles again!

I was, as you can probably understand, keen to put my art through its paces after such an intensive previous week, and see what had 'shaken down'. The group usually start arriving in the afternoon, which gave me a lovely quiet day in the studio to revisit some of the photos from the previous week. A pose struck by my fellow painter, Louise, had caught my imagination, sat with her sketchbook seemingly lost in her own thoughts, in a hat and silk scarf protecting her from the sun. A challenge! So I set about painting her ...


Feeling that my week with Amanda had probably raised my game a bit, I joined the group for dinner feeling quietly pleased.

The next day I stumbled upon the hens in the back garden at the Hall, and couldn't resist reverting to form. One of them was a striking grey colour which I hadn't seen before, so I kept revisiting her to check it wasn't the result of a vigorous dust bath!

"Dedham Girl"

There followed some glorious weather days where I managed to get out to paint plein air with various members of the party. A firm favourite was Woodbridge - first time I've been there - but I also went and painted by The Stour on Dedham Vale, and drove out to West Mersea.

"Thames Barges at Woodbridge"

"Favourite Bend In The River"

"Boaty Happenings at West Mersea"

John painted some truly excellent demonstrations, as always, the memories of which are stashed away to carry me through another eleven months absence from Dedham!

An inclement day tempted me to stay in the studio again, and I referred back to a photo I'd taken just before 6am on one of the first days. Sunrise over Dedham Vale is such a beautiful time if you have the energy to get up and witness it ...

"Sunrise Over The Stour"

I feel as though I've painted some of my best work during this stay, which is a testament to the inspiring company and the encouragement from Amanda on the first week and John on the second. This feeling seems to be confirmed by the fact that a number of my paintings sold during the trip to fellow painters.

Roll on next year!