I Just Can’t Sleep

Why I can't sleep‘And Another Reason Why I Can’t Sleep’

oil on hardboard

For the last few weeks Kea has been struggling with getting to sleep.  Nearly every night I am spending my evenings going up and down stairs because of some crazy reasons as to why he can’t sleep.  It’s been driving me slightly mad.  All the reasons appear to be so trivial and seem like just an excuse, but each reason is taken very seriously.  It seems a vicious circle, he knows that he is tired and needs to get into bed on time but then stresses out about sleeping, school, friends, swimming and sometimes doesn’t get to sleep until gone past midnight.  You name it, he stresses about it. I know its starting to become a habit and it’s proving to be a hard one to break. Even the cat is fed up with it!  So sad that a 9 year old is such a worrier.

Any suggestions?


No Sales

Sadly the last exhibition that I was in wasn’t a great success.  It still amazes me the quality of art work that is entered into these shows in Essex.  The price ranges differ so much which means that people have an option to buy from around £25 a picture to £500.  In some ways this is good I see as there is something for everyone’s  budget but sadly this doesn’t help those who are trying to make a living out of painting.  I thought that the quality of the work would have been better as it was a charity event but I was sadly disappointed.  I don’t feel too bad as my entry fee went to a good cause.

Never mind, you can only know if you take part.  From listening to other artists and what they have achieved this year I’ve come to realise that you have got to have a go at everything.  Put your name down for everything and you may then be pleasantly surprised and it can help you get noticed and found.  So from now on guys it’s yes to everything!

Here is a preview into a few of the pieces I’m thinking of putting into the exhibition in September.  I need to make my mind up about what to put in the show by the beginning of August.  Yes or no to these pieces?

New Watercolours

I notice that it’s been a long time since I last wrote.  Life has been busy with various things going on, a few changes and some holidays. Sorry.

I have been working throughout this time. I have work up in The Stores cafe in Great Waltham, had an exhibition with the Great Dunmow Art Group (DAG), exhibited at the Great Waltham Art Show and have been working towards another exhibition happening the second weekend of June.

With all this going on its been an eye opener as to what people will pay towards work.  Living in London and going to shows and exhibitions, it seems the going rate for a small oil painting framed would be around £375.  This is definitely not the case in areas outside London – certainly not in Essex.  Pricing work is really hard and getting people to understand the price is even harder.  Having spoken to various local people about my prices for my work it appears they are far too expensive even though I have priced them way lower than London prices. It seems they don’t understand the time it takes to paint and then the cost of the materials on top.  I understand that many things these days have become cheap because of mass production but when you are trying to paint for a living you have to calculate the cost of your time.  Many people exhibiting with me at the DAG show are keen hobbyists and weren’t particularly interested in a good price for their work.  This makes things difficult for me.  I am trying to earn a living.  Sadly when you are stuck in a room with very different prices from yours, your sales suffer.

Understanding the amount people were willing to pay at the show made me think that it would be a good idea to perhaps try something else that was quicker to do and less expensive.  My crows were popular and so I have decided to enter completely different work for the exhibition on the 7th and 8th June.  Staying on an animal theme.  Tell me what you think.

These are smaller pieces of work and have been done with watercolour which is a much quicker and a cheaper way to work.  These will be priced from £80 – £125.

Selling Work

The process of painting, making mistakes and trying new things is great fun but in the end it comes down to how much your work sells and how popular you are especially if you are wanting to make a living out of it.  Selling your work is one of the hardest things I have found.  I am very grateful for websites such as Esty which are a great platform for selling work and I have been successful there but somehow many people don’t trust buying work unless someone else says its good.  I realise that if you aren’t represented by a gallery then many people don’t recognise you as an artist.

My aim this year is to try and find a gallery who is willing to put their neck on the line and support me.  It is a very tough world out there and already walking around the area I live in, the amount of rude and hard knock backs I have had is quite an eye opener.  It’s that chicken and egg situation where they are not interested in seeing work that has been sold (even though it represents the work/style I paint) but are more interested in work that is available which then puts you in a difficult position with work hanging around your studio that you can’t put anywhere to sell.  They also have this air about them claiming that THEY find you and not the other way around.  How do I get found?

Being in a gallery also brings it’s problems as they charge around 70% per painting which hikes your prices up meaning that displaying or exhibiting in cafes etc will become more of a problem.  Sadly this isn’t a hobby for me – something I need to try to make a living out of.

This year I’m determined to work as well as I can and get some pieces ready for any gallery to take me.  It’s the Affordable Art Fair next week where I will go around and find galleries where my work might fit.

This year a gallery, next year competitions.  I have my work cut out!


Here is a little picture for those of you who were celebrating St Davids Day.  Framed and ready to go on my Etsy site AlicesArtHouse. £200 (painting is 40cmx40cm).

Beautiful Winter Skies

London has been rather cold and damp these last couple of weeks.  It’s been a great time to sit and stare out of the window.  The skies have been amazing.  The pink evenings have been incredible, the morning moon so big and bright and the dramatic after storm clouds have been rolling in which has made this last week really inspiring.  Being able to look out of my loft window at the skies makes me feel so small in this huge world that is so beautiful and never stops changing.


The skies out of my loft window after a storm.  20cm x 20cm oil on board.


The morning moon outside my bedroom window. 20cm x 20cm oil on board.

Over the week I’ve been trying to capture these skies in a series of paintings which I’m hoping to get framed and will go up in Il Molino in February.  It’s been hard trying to capture the colours, light and texture of the beautiful skies.  I have one more to do.


Sunset outside my kitchen window. 40cm x40cm oil on board


Let me know what you think.

The January Blues

Happy New Year! I have been so lucky having had the opportunity to spend Christmas with my family in Kenya.  We had the most amazing time. I didn’t want it to end.  My sister was amazing at organising some lovely exciting experiences while also giving us a lovely chance to relax.  I didn’t manage to bring out any art materials as my bag was full of Christmas presents.  I did however get some lovely materials as a present from my sister in law which went down a treat and I had a go at sketching a few things between the madness and fun.

A tree while eating breakfast,  hippos coming up for air, milk churns with water and our bell tent.

Goodness it’s awful being back now in London.  The mornings are so dark and the skies are so very grey!  Having had 3 weeks off painting it’s hard to get back into it so I’m taking it slowly to get my eye back in.  I have a portrait to finish but felt that it would be best to get my eye back in and start with something simple.  A simple rose in a vase.  Obviously this is for sale so get in touch if you are interested.


A one stem vase. 10″x12″ oil on board –  £100

Happy New Year!  Let’s hope 2019 brings lots of fun and laughter.

My Website is Live!

I’m feeling rather bad as I have sent my son outside in the pouring rain to play football for a couple of hours while I sit in a rather lovely warm cafe with a nice hot cup of coffee.  What a horrible mother!  Let’s hope he doesn’t hate me when I come and pick him up later.Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 09.37.04I’m really excited to say that my new website has gone live.  There are a few teething problems with it still but it’s up and running and most of it has been done.  I really hope you like it.  It has taken me a really long time to do.  I had no idea that it would take so long but I’m pleased with it now so please take a look. www.alice-ridley.com.  There are also some potential Christmas presents there!  Please do get in touch.

I hope you all have a lovely first day of December.


It’s Nearly Christmas

I’ve been beavering away this week with my website which I’m dying to share with you but sadly it isn’t ready yet.  It’s coming up to Christmas and has been a really busy time for me with various things like getting the Christmas Market happening at my sons school and finishing my website and just everything in order for potential buyers which I hope will come my way over the next few weeks.  One thing I am happy that I have managed to complete and get ready are my new postcards.


I’m thrilled with my new cards that arrived a week ago.  They have some of my favourite flowers on and the finish of them is really excellent.  I can’t wait to start selling them.  As soon as they were delivered I had my first order which was fab and always makes me feel like it’s worth while.

Anyhow here is a picture of the new postcards.  If anyone is interested in buying any please do get in touch.  There are 5 different cards in a pack and cost £5 including postage and packaging (around the UK).  Spread the word.


Something Different

Sorry it’s been so long since I last wrote on my blog.  It’s been a mixture of being stuck ( having broken down) in France over the holidays and being incredibly busy with the PTA at my son’s school.

Well I’m back now and with something slightly different.  I have been given the opportunity to display my work with two other artists in my local cafe in Clapham/Battersea called Il Molino.  Their will be a collection of work up during November and December,  pieces that are affordable for easy Christmas present options for local customers.  This has given me a great opportunity to do something slightly different.

I visited The Mall Gallery last week with a great friend and was thoroughly inspired by some beautiful work on wildlife.  The artists there captured their subject so well, showing all the wonderful characteristics in so many different mediums.  I have a great interest in wildlife and this exhibition gave me the inspiration to try something different.

London is full of crows.  However much people dislike them there is a huge presence everywhere you go.  They have a sinister beauty about them.  Their vicious beaks and sleek dark feathers give them an evil edge but one that deserves respect.  The exhibition at The Mall Gallery and walking through Clapham Common inspired me to have a go at painting these wonderful birds.  I really enjoyed working with some really inky blues and wonderfully deep dark blacks.  I was pleased with the outcome and very chuffed to see that others liked them too on Instagram.  What do you think?

crow 3 web

I’m going to explore some more in this medium and subject matter in and around my normal work.

Cafe Work

Over the last month, this month and the following month my work is in The Stores in Gt Waltham in Essex.  I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to display and sell my work.  Many people have been very sceptical about the idea of selling and displaying work in cafes.  They have been very negative about whether or not people manage to ever sell their work that way.  I decided to give it a go and see what happens – it can’t hurt can it?


The second month’s display of work at The Stores in Great Waltham – sorry about the slight shake to the picture!

I’m thrilled to say that I have managed to sell 3 paintings from The Stores!  I am so very excited about it and the fact that one was bought by someone and she liked it so much that she came back to buy 2 more is wonderful.  This is a huge encouragement! This weekend I’m getting myself ready and finishing things off so that I have more to put up on Monday.

I have decided to approach one of my local cafes in London to see if I can display my work there and they have said yes which is brilliant.  I thought this could be a perfect opportunity to display some of the work that comes from the school around the corner that I’ve been going to for a morning a week. The idea would be that a group of artists  would rotate each month. Some of my friends see it as a good idea but I’m so surprised and saddened by others who again have this snobby feeling that it is a cheap way of selling work and not prestigious enough.  I feel as long as you are realistic about your work, perhaps don’t put it in amazing frames to keep costs down,  you can make your work accessible to everyone.  One thing to remember is that people seem to have a habit of surprising you.  Just have a go.  Let see what happens…….

Fingers crossed I manage to sell more paintings this month.

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