I really meant to post more on this blog but somehow what with trying to source groceries online, worrying about my very vulnerable spouse, getting a raised bed up and running for the first and time tidying the rest of the garden after a very wet winter I didn’t manage to get anything finished in my studio. It has been a difficult time for everybody but for me at last I have managed to clear the back log and got into my studio to finish off this triptych started in response to the Australian fires which seem a long time ago now.
The other day I took out a plastic container with pigment in but was alarmed by my finger going through the plastic lid which had denatured and turned brittle. I soon found that all the others were the same so ordered some lovely glass jars from a company called EcoRefill seen on line. This new little company also delivers dry goods as well as glass containers and even reuses the packaging which is sent back to them. I will be buying more of these containers which come in a variety of sizes. I will be ordering some of my dry groceries from them too which will reduce the amount of plastic packaging going into my rubbish bin.
On a whim this morning I decided to sand and repaint a little side table I use every day. It was in need of a quick freshen up as it had began to look like something Paddington bear has been using. Easy little job, just sand it, clean it off then apply a fresh coat of chalk paint. Obstacle number 1 the chalk paint has gone hard. Having got the bit between my teeth I decided to use emulsion. Obstacle number 2, enter the large tin that has not been opened for couple of years. Then ensued a battle that many of you DIYers out there will be familiar with, getting the tin open. Having tried unsuccessfully for 15 minutes to prize it off I resorted to giving it a gentle bash on the floor which I did with caution as in the past I have had the lid come off and the tin vomit its content all over the floor. Still no movement.
As an artist I often have to deal with stuck lids and a quick emersion in hot water usually works so I decided to try this. I boiled water lay the tin in the sink on its side and poured the water round the rim then I turned the tin Poured more hot water over it upright and began to prize the lid off. The tin had a more spectacular show in mind and explosively blew the lid off sending it across the kitchen splashing the paint collected in the rim all over me, the floor, my hob and units. Jackson would have been delighted!
Today I’ve added one or two more collaged bit of paper and covered the picture with a a glaze of Indian Yellow which gives it a more orange appearance and unifies it as a whole. I think its finished though I may add one or two thinner lines in the background but at the moment I am leaning towards leaving it as it is. This not a very good photo as its too wet and windy to take a canvas outside to photograph.
I am still mentally reeling from the the images of the devastating Australian bush fires and here is another picture started in the firestorm series this time collaged paper and acrylic on canvas. In progress. 50x70cm
Yesterday I posted some digital sketches on the theme of the Australian bush fires. This painting in oils is called ‘After the fire’. It is 80x80cm on coarse Jute canvas. I used black oil stick to create the tree lines which worked well on the jute though used the stick up rather quickly.
As some one who believes passionately that we need to take the issue of climate change much more seriously than we are doing I was filled with anguish and horror at both the burning Amazon and the terrible bush fires caused by drought in Australia. As an individual there is very little I can do but as an artist I can try to put some of this distress into my work, This probably achieves nothing but at least it gives me some relief.
I have been using my new iPad to produce sketches which I will turn into much larger paintings and here are a few examples.
I’ve just realised that I never got round to posting the finished version of this painting so here it is.
A while ago I shared my work on a painting called Sea Kale which had languished in my studio for a couple of years. Having just registered for the 2020 Chichester Art trail I decided I had better get on with finishing it. Its always hard stopping and starting a painting with long gaps between work and as I began I realised just why it was the painting got pushed to the back of the pile in the first place. As I started I wondered what fit of madness had made me attempt the thing in the first place but I have a thing about finishing things so gritted my teeth and got on with it. After a while I began to feel chilly as I did not have the heat on though I did warm the studio, a log cabin in the garden, before I began. Oil paints make fumes so its not a good idea having a heater going whilst working with them. Before you get your violins out, its long way from the starving artist in a garret and I do retreat to the warm house when I get cold. Any way the painting progressed though its not finished and there are many hours of frustration left in it!
I was so distressed at the sight of the burning Amazon forest and all that means for the animals trees and humanity that I got a large, 100×120 canvas on my easel to express what I feel. In the end I settled for covering the canvas with red, orange and yellow alkyd oil paint diluted with thinners. I allowed the paint to drop from the top edge rather like tears then took a cloth to wipe out the shapes of trees using photos of the forests as shape guides to make them appears negative images, like ghosts. Alkyd oils are quick drying and can reworked again after six hours especially when thin. The next step was to turn the painting upside-down and dribble black paint down the canvas wiping the trees clean again after. I’ve added some grey and one or two white bits. This makes no difference to the forest but helped me with the grief I feel.