Get ready for festivities

18th September 2018

It's never too soon to start thinking about the festive season.

Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice, which has just launched its 2018 Christmas card range, is suggesting people move quickly for the new limited edition designs if they don't want to miss out, as previous ones have sold out well before Christmas. With proceeds going to the charity that supports children and young adults whose lives are just too short, this year's cards feature two original scenes of Clumber Park in the snow. Both have been painted by award winning Sheffield-based artist Margaret Ellis, who has been commissioned by Bluebell Wood for its' Christmas cards for the last four years. Margaret, who lives in Ecclesall, was an art teacher in schools across Dronfield and Sheffield before retiring in 1997. She now tutors adults in small group classes and holds demonstrations, holds day workshops in drawing and watercolour for art clubs and groups, and runs short painting holidays. Margaret said: -I was pleased and flattered when Bluebell Wood got in touch a few years ago to ask me to do their charity card. I'm delighted to hear that they sell out because it means more money is raised for the hospice, and I'm pleased that so many people like my work. -I always ask people what they would like me to paint and then do my best to meet their requirements. For this year Bluebell Wood asked for a painting of Clumber Church in the snow. I did two and they chose both and decided to put the two designs in each pack. -Each painting probably takes about five or six hours to paint, but the preliminary drawings, photographs and sketches and research can take up to three weeks. I also love painting buildings, street scenes, seascapes, people, animals and abstracts. Most of all I'm inspired by literature and poetry and music lyrics. I love illustrating ancient legends and stories. Margaret has some advice for budding artists. She said: -I always tell new artists not to be timid and nervous. Take chances, experiment and try things out. If it fails, it doesn't matter. Next time you might succeed. I believe in the saying 'If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always got.' "With landscapes, whenever possible, try to get outside and paint what you see from life. If you haven't time to paint the whole picture outdoors, then just do some small compositional sketches and take a photo for reference and work from those at home. Only use photos for inspiration. Never ever try to copy them exactly". Sunny Allison, Bluebell Wood's Head of Retail, said: -We're so pleased that Margaret agreed to paint another beautiful scene for our Christmas cards again this year, as they always go down a storm with our supporters. We're letting everyone know they're on sale now, so that anyone who missed out last year has a chance of getting some this year. All the proceeds from these will help our families to make special memories, whether they have days, months or years left together. To order your 2018 Christmas Cards please visit

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