My passion for painting trees started when I set a topic as a teacher.
"Do your own version of the Tree of Life", I instructed them. I joined in the project.
The resulting Tree of Life was sold on the first day of my Cambridge Open Studio
back in July 2011. I love the mythology and the folklore that surrounds trees. I wrote a list of titles for new tree paintings and never looked back. The intricate detail and decorative quality means my trees are far from realistic even though many were based upon some of the trees I saw in Cambridge.
My trees have been exhibited at Byard Art, Williams Art, Rheebridge, Samovar Tea House, Michaelhouse, the Plough, Cambridge Open Studios and as a solo exhibition at Addenbrookes Hospital. TheTree of Knowledge is on permanant display at Hughes Hall Library after it was bought and then presented by a Life Fellow to the college.
Some of the trees have been made into limited edition giclee prints. I have also made mono prints of some trees which give an entirely different effect.
I love Cambridge. The colleges, the parks with their wide open spaces, the people and of course the cows that live in the centre of our city.
It gives me endlass inspiration for my paintings.
I paint the whimsy of Cambridge, many of my paintings are like puzzles with lots of details to find. My Tree of Cambridge and Tree of Discovery epitimise the knowledge that that people living here have of both Town and Gown.
The Parker Library
It was suggested that I visit the Parker Library at Corpus Christi by a visitor to my Open Studio. I cannot thank her enough. While I was on my visit, led by a Cambridge Tourist Guide, I asked the librarian if I could come along and draw from the iluminated manuscripts. He suggested I applied to become a reader and within a week I was turning the pages of a facsimile of the Corpus Apocalyse. I was hooked and am now a regular visitor.
I take a sketch book and copy some of my favourite illuminations. Bliss! I have started to turn them into paintings and hope one day to have an exhibition and perhaps my very own Illuminated Manuscript.
I love going urban sketching and I join other like minded people at least once a month and draw from some of the wonderful places in and close to Cambridge.
I also go to the museums either by nyself or with some of my students and draw some of the fabulous items on show in Cambridge. And I join an 'Urban sketch a day' group in May where it can be a struggle to find not only the time but also a subject to draw for 31 days on the trot!
My sketchbooks are on show during Open Studios and you can buy a few of the sketches.
July Open Studios
I shall be opening my studio during July 20 & 21 and 27 & 28 from 11am to 6pm. I am open at other times by appointment.
My paintings are about colour, detail and ideas. They are magical and surreal.
I start with an idea, a flash that comes out of the blue, in a dream, as a thought or sparked by an image. I play with the idea in my imagination until I start the first sketches invariably accompanied by words and lists. I leave the idea to grow and ripen. Later, maybe a few days, a week, several months, I play with the ideas again refining, changing, thinking, scribbling.
When I am certain I want to paint an image I apply several layers of gesso onto a finely woven linen canvas. I block in the main shapes of the background, leave it to dry and start painting. I build a painting from the background up and as I paint the original image in my head yet again changes and evolves. The copper or silver leaf is added over the background and dried before I start the intricate detail. This is the part I love. Listening to the wonderful dramas on the radio 4 iplayer I slowly cover the foreground in layer upon layer of tiny intricate details using small sable brushes and oil paint mixed to a buttery consistancy. It is hours of work.
The resulting oil paintings are very decorative. Set against a night sky, often with a glowing moon, they are inspired by Medieval Art, tapestries and Indian miniatures which gives them their richness and allows me to add gold, copper or silver leaf.
I exhibit with at Byard Art: https://byardart.co.uk/artists/maureen-mace/
I have recently become a reader at the Parker Library at Corpus Christi in Cambridge. This has many medieval books with the most amazing illuminations. I have been drawing from these fabulous books and they are information the progression in my art.
I give tuition for all kind of media in my studio. To see samples of the work produced by my students or for more information visit: