After my grand rant in the last post I have girded up something or other and begun a new project in my studio as the only way to start is to start.
Last year I took a series of photos looking up into the trees in Hotham Park and my aim is to produce a series of fresh work based on these. As Artist in Residence for the Park I’m always looking for new ways to represent it. Here is the first stage of the first painting and it was good to get going again.
It doesn’t seem long since I started this blog over a year ago and its time for my annual Marathon, not running, but getting ready for the trail. ‘It can’t be too difficult to hang a few pictures up’ I hear you say. Weeeell, you would be surprised how much there is to do:
Cleaning the windows, we live near the sea and get salt blown on them during storms and there is no point hanging pictures if folks can’t see them. Then there is the matter of my very dirty house, as cleaning seems to come at the bottom of my list of interesting things to do. Mounting and framing mono-prints and pastels, labelling them, making sure I have an up to date inventory as there is nothing worse than having to make up prices and details on the spot. All that is before I take down all our paintings ready to hang mine. Unpacking the paintings from my studio which is a log cabin the garden and turning four rooms in our house into temporary galleries. On top of all that I need to get my studio tidied at least so that folks can get into it. Not much to do really!
I am yet again taking part in the annual Chichester Art Trail. I am right on the outer limits of what is a very large trail so tend to get fewer visitors than those venues clustered together in Chichester. I open my working studio to the public and unpack all my stored paintings to turn our house into a temporary gallery. Its a huge amount of work so I am glad to see visitors. This year my messy studio has the honour of featuring on the trail guide cover and the poster below. More details can be found on the trail website: http://www.chichesterarttrail.org
Recently I decided to use my Alkyd oil paints. I don’t usually bring them out in the winter as they do need good ventilation. They dry overnight but are workable for about six hours. If you want to work again in a hurry without the week wait with normal oils they are useful.
As its been a while since I used them the first job was getting the lids off; enter a bowl of hot water. With the lids successfully removed I found the openings blocked with hardened paint with the nice fluid stuff quite clearly evident below. My trusty steel meat skewer made a bit an opening but it was still like a strong man competition exercise to get more than a minute blob out as the hard stuff would block the hole again. When one is itching to get going this can be VERY frustrating so with several I resorted to cutting the bottom of the tube off and exiting the paint that way. I figured that I was going to have to use up the older paints quickly anyway.
I did finally get going but had to repeat the process every time I came across another blocked tube which does rather disrupt the creative flow. At least I can be grateful they were not acrylics which would have dried on my palette whilst I messed about with blocked tubes. Below is the in progress painting I was trying to work on.
Having trouble getting going with fresh work but have managed to finish this today. It started life as a quick demonstration on the theme of ‘Storm’ for my little art class. As its on a good sheet of heavy acrylic paper primed with gesso I felt I had to at least finish it off. Managed to do it without getting too fussy which pleases me. Below is the quick pencil sketch the painting was taken from. I like working from sketches if I can.
Well I’ve made a start using my new Intuos Graphic tablet. As I said in the last post I want to use it for doing some book illustrations but first I have to master at the least the basics. Here are a few of the first things I’ve done. Permission given to fall about laughing!
The other day I took the plunge and bought myself a small grapic tablet and pen. I wondered if this was a foolish move as it will be another lot of 21st century (ish) tech. that I have to get my very 2oth century mind around. It’s the very basic model as I thought it was best to start small to see if the thing was any use to me. I have been pleasantly surprised how easy it has been for me to adapt to using this tool. Though this gadget will never replace getting my hands dirty with paint and other messy stuff I am delighted to have a back button when trying to produce illustrations. My motive is to illustrate my husbands diary about the winter we spent on the Greek Island of Symi some 20 years ago and you never know, I might decide to blog it!