It can’t be too difficult to hang a few pictures up I hear you say, or at least I imagine it. Nothing could be further from the truth! 2018 was the last time I was able to take part in this event and I am painfully aware that I am not as young as I used to be. There are pictures to be unpacked, edges to be painted on new works and hanging fittings put on, browsers to be mined out from the depth of the garage and filled up. Price list up dated, cards priced, and on top of everything else the house to be cleaned. Emerging from the burrow of lockdowns and coming blinking into the daylight one is suddenly aware of all those jobs left undone over the last couple of years, As well as all this there is the endless job of feeding us, mowing the lawn and tidying the garden and studio ready for visitors. The trail starts on Sat. 30th and is on for the first two weekends in May including bank holiday Monday. Wish me luck!
Whilst distressed and angry about current events I decided to work more on an idea I had a couple of years ago. I did a small digital sketch with a view to working it into a painting later, then covid happened and threw a spanner into my creativity. Now with this charcoal rough sketch I have made a start towards turning it into a large painting. It’s called ‘Oil man’ though I may find a better title later, the main thing is that I’m making a start so watch this space for progress.
I started this painting at the start of 2020 after the distressing forest fires burning in Australia and other places in the world then covid took off and lock downs happened and somehow my painting dried up in favour of growing vegetables. At last I have started to work on it again though its quite a daunting task as it is a very big canvases big I have to stand on a small stool to reach the top. So far I have had two sessions on it and have made progress but there is a lot more work to do. Watch this space!
This last couple of weeks I have started painting again. It all dried up during the stress of the covid outbreak with all its accompaniments leaving my studio littered with several unfinished works. I have now reduced that to one which is very large. This painting of part of our garden was the first to be attacked and now after several sessions seems to be finished. Summer Garden, oil on cotton box canvas 80x80cm.
At last I have managed to get down to work in my studio again. This is stage two of this one. I have used lovely Prussian blue for the background and as I’m using alkyd paints it shouldn’t be too long before I can add the gold stars with my new paint stick. There are other things to add on the figure too.
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.
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!
I think, like me, every artist has a corner of their studio where dubious works they thought were a good idea at the time skulk leeringly demanding some sort of action. Now the sensible thing would be to acknowledge when one is beaten and bin them, but somehow I can’t bring myself to throw them away so last week I took this small abstract experiment and collaged it with random cuttings. Here is the result, a work entitled ‘Random’.