Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Stone cut letters

I visited Hay on Wye at the weekend and along with all the nice art, craft and up-cycling was Caitriona Cartwright's stone cut lettering objects in The Haymakers which re-kindled my interest in stone letter cutting - as I did a course in Lincoln and still have the tools. My love of lettering really started with the Foundation Year and Reigate School of Art which was very craft based and had calligraphy as well as graphic design classes.

I later visited Tewkesbury Abbey and was admiring the old stone cut lettering all over again...

The idea of doing small single letter or word pieces as a side project (and therefore practicing the art) is an appealing one....

Running for sticks

June 24 Saturday before last I managed to visit artist friend Anna-Marie Buss as she was taking part in South East Open Studios. She's been really progressing with her very original paintings and getting some serious interest as a result of putting in the work and going for it. There was a great creative energy to the Town Court Farm artists, all with strong personal styles and motivation. She said she had started out by deciding to say yes to every opportunity and committing to delivering.

Having read many motivational and 'getting things done' books in the past, the advice always boils down to the same thing:

Set a target, then work out a path to get there - in other words -

'Throw a stick and run for it'!

On Sunday I was able to visit another couple of Open Studios.

Ann Bridges who had some very inspiring work from sketchbook journals to multimedia originals. She uses some wonderfully diverse techniques to achieve unique textures and results. Making relief print images by debossing thick paper (eg. chomelux) simply with pencil and printing cut out areas on to the painted image. Also using stencils and masking areas to apply colour often using printing inks with rollers. Removing layers of oil-based ink with spirit to reveal underlaying colours which suggests a real depth. Concertina sketchbooks continue a theme over time. Exciting, experimental work but with confident intelligent ideas. Left me quite fired-up!

Tanya Paulo has been doing daily sketch or painting and some Urban Sketching which I was interested to see and gain inspiration from. Daily paintings are all about not being afraid to just do it and moving on. I could really see how it helps your painting to develop with experience. Similarly with joining Urban Sketching events. By the nature of them your time is limited and you have to learn to work quickly to capture what you want.
For SEOS visitors she had produced a 'Interested in Having a Go at Art Yourself?' leaflet listing courses and resources she had used which was a great idea. Very useful.

All these artists are making their way by getting things done - which is what I should be doing more of!

I need to delve into my basket of metaphorical sticks, throw one and run for it!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Looking for directions

Seems I'm not the world's greatest blogger or productive artist but the more I worry about what I'm not doing, the more I procrastinate, so need to draw a line and move on.

I've been getting some quick sketches in and slowly progressing some 'end-grain constructions' as well as getting to grips with my web site which I'm not best pleased with the look and content yet but better that than nothing. And as it progresses I'm getting a better idea of what I do want.

At the moment the daylight hours are short and the workshop is freezing which doesn't help progress!

Some project directions which I'm thinking about are:

Doing more marine theme acrylics with palette knife to develop as a more complete body of work and become more confident through experience.

Try more sketching techniques. I love the look of architectural and urban sketchers. Particularly pen and wash. I never seem to have enough time to wait for layers to dry when sketching. So do I need to train for speed or just find more time?

Get back to more relief printmaking, lino and woodcuts. Again time and expense of materials hold me back. On a practical level I'd like to learn how to sharpen tools properly.

Work on my collection of end-grain constructions. I now have a fairly large collection of plank ends with painted colours and stencils etc. which can be collaged together to make interesting visual and textural constructions.

Back in last September I bought some cheap oil paints with the intention starting to getting back to using oils and learning how to control the colours. There a several pleinair artists out there whose work I admire that work in oils quickly and achieve wonderful results particularly the interplay of shadow and lit colours which I'd love to master. - The oils are still unopened!

Get back to experimenting with monoprints too. It's a process I used to use quite a lot, applying ink to glass and drawing/scraping directly in to it before printing a one off. Nice for landscape and may be urban - I'll have to give it a go.

Another painting idea I thought of before winter set in was 'gutter still lives'. When cycling around the lanes you can't help but notice the litter and detritus on the verges. Every object has a story and a life of it's own usually over looked but making interesting visual compositions in their decayed condition. A set of enlarged still life paintings would make an interesting gallery (I think).

I'd also like to return to creating digital art/illustration as I love the Illustrator/Photoshop techniques and it's a medium which has more scope for sales than one off paintings.

As ever, the way forward is to stop thinking and writing and just get on with it!!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Pintar Rapido 2016

Where does the time go! Third year running and I'm starting to feel like an old hand at this but it I never feel more confident. If anything, after selling the last 2 year's paintings, I was more apprehensive.

I arrived early - for the first time - and chatted to some other waiting artists (two from Holland) over coffee before the doors opened for registration.

The previous week I had driven over Albert Bridge in a van and noticed the view with the boats tied to the pontoons(?) and wondered if the view worked from the bridge path so I walked there with my kit and walked up and down looking for 'the view'.

The wind had very strong gusts so I ended up leaning the easel and canvas against the bridge for support - which mostly worked.

I tried a freer approach than normal. I wanted to broadly block in underlaying shapes and work in which for the most part I did. But there comes a point with the palette knife where there's almost too much paint underneath and the marks can become too fragmented.

I boldly carried on and there were a few moments where a fierce sun broke through and kept baking my palette dry but I fought through it and reached the point where to do anymore was going to be counter productive packed up my gear and headed back to the Chelsea Old Townhall HQ.



On Sunday I returned to see all the paintings hung in hall for the exhibition. What an exciting spectrum of images. It's truly amazing the variation of vision a group of artists can have. I stayed for the prize giving (nothing for me, although I was pleased that the I had shortlisted in my head the pictures that the judges had chosen - and couple they hadn't) and after another good browse headed off the see the BP Portrait awards and the National Portrait Gallery. And it was whilst there I got the call the say my picture had sold. Phew!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Windy Whitstable

This picture was painted after I visited Whitstable back in February 2016. It was a lovely sunny day and I packed the painting gear with the intention of painting plein-air but after doing a quick reccy found that although the sun was out it was far too windy to set up easel, there was a nasty wind chill too. I had a good walk around looking for view points and took a few photo refs non of which captured what I wanted so back in the 'studio' I created this from memory and refs using my usual outdoor kit of palette knifed acrylics.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

2015 Pintar Rapido

Here's a couple of pics of the picture I painted at the Pintar Rapido London 2015.
It sold at the exhibition the following day which was pleasing except the only record I have now are these photos.

Looking back at it from now (Nov 2016) I'm quite pleased with it!


Friday, 10 October 2014

Talkin' 'Bout Giant 2 Colour Hand Prints



After ordering a roll of paper big enough to take prints from the Talkin' 'Bout Regeneration woodcut which I did for the Steam Engine printing - I cut a few sheets from the roll to 1m square.

Trying anything this size in my workshop is fraud with problems. Where to hang the prints? Can I make a surface big enough to print it? Will I be able to juggle printing two colours at once with only one good inking roller? Will the ink stay wet enough to print? Will I be able to apply enough pressure by hand over such a large area? etc. etc.

Part of the reason for doing the 'Yo' Welcom'' print was to see if the paper/ink combination would work okay - and it did. I'd previously done a two colour test area print which also worked well.

It took half the morning to prepare the workshop by creating a hanging ladder and bulldog clip arrangement for drying. I found a large sheet of toughened glass from an old lightbox to use for inking. Moved the plan-chest away from the wall and put two large sheets of paper together to rest the block on and mark the alignment of the paper - then I was ready!



Inking one colour with a comparatively small roller takes a lot of effort, constantly having to add more ink to the roller and trying to keep it wet and even. With the turquoise background inked I had to clean the roller and roll out the black on the slab before inking the black block. Same effort involved, then I had to pick up the wet block and position it in the jigsaw space of the turquoise one. Then there's the problem of handling a meter square piece of paper in a confined space and aligning it with the jigsaw block before letting it down on to the inked surface!



Now the workout begins! I first rubbed over the whole block with my hand to stick the paper to the block and find the edges. Then I used a thin, round cornered coloured pastels tin to burnish over the whole print. This allowed me to find the open areas and watching the sheen on the back of the paper, see where the design was 'coming through'. It may have been okay at this point but to be sure I then spent the same time again burnishing with a hard rubber roller (my usual technique).

Very pleasantly surprised how well they've come out generally. The first one was a bit light - before the ink built up - but still works well giving a more distressed look which suits the design well anyway.

I had thought I might struggle to get three or four done in a day, but in the end I managed a respectable edition of 6 before the cleaning up marathon!

All signed and ready to take to Pie Factory Margate tomorrow where I will be in the gallery...