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!
There is a value in keeping a painting you think is finished hanging around the studio where you can see it because it will talk to you sometimes screaming until you pickup a brush and correct the offending area. This painting was such a one. It didn’t look right and had a sort of empty space in the middle. I had tried to keep the area with the golden marjoram in the centre clear but just ended up with a hole so I decided to extend the white umbels using oil pastels instead of paint. I won’t work on it again however loud it tries to make itself heard I have had enough it.
Oil on Block canvas 80x80cm
When I started a series of paintings called canopy for my Hotham Park residency I thought it was a good idea until I started this. Its only just begun but I’m already thinking of painting it out and starting again or using the nice canvas for something different. It looks a mess right now and I’m not sure I’m using the right medium for it. I’m working in acrylics and I think I might be better with inks. I’m not one to give up easily so will give it another go. Watch this space!
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.
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’.