Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I even have a Brandy Toreador

Brandy Toreador Fiesta, 16 x 17cm, pastel on  paper, 
I didn't go to the carboot sale today, instead I put together some of my carboot sale spoils along with the first zinnias, nicotianas, daisies, carnations, and bachelor buttons.  When I painted with Alex Fowler and Tessa Coleman recently, Alex's technique of putting coloured paper to break up the spaces was something I thought I'd try at some point.  What a good trick, now I don't need to rely on the fabric I own.

The brandy toreador was one of someone's collection, hawked at the car boot.  It still has a little brandy to the glass figurine's knees. The book in the front is something I will alter one day; the embroidered shirt is something my mum brought back from Mexico and all the other things I've gathered here and there.

The drawing isn't very big and I worked on it all day so that thing where even when you erase and the colour doesn't want to adhere happened. Still I was pleased with the overall depth of colour and the way I created surfaces .  I had to change a plane because the reality was disturbing, though. 

** If you read my last post you might be wondering why I am back to pastels.  Actually I have been working in pastels all week but I guess I'm feeling a bit less determined to stop working the way I do, here and there, with this media and that because another person I respect (the husband of the other person who gave me advice) told me not to worry, to just keep drawing in whatever way I want to…

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Exploring egg tempera landscape

Walking Around the Island I, egg tempera on panel, 16 x 23cm
Walking Around the Island II, egg tempera on panel, 16 x 23cm
At an exhibition opening this week I had a conversation with someone I respect who asked me the reasonable question… 'who is Rebecca Guyver going to become?'  She went on to point out that what I was presenting was going in lots of different directions at once and she wanted to know which way I would choose to go.

Unsurprisingly I found it difficult to declare a direction and as I stood in that uncomfortable place, knowing someone is right but not wanting to narrow, I remembered my conversations at Stanford.  Was I going to declare english, photography or painting and drawing? and would I please just focus on one with all my stamina and energy.

I woke up the morning after the exhibition opening with the task of making something based on the sea because I wanted to submit (something within those parameters) to an open call. Based on feedback lately, I decided to work in egg tempera. I had been to Manningtree recently and felt that would be a good place to start.  I had no drawings so I drew from a photo in the first instance and then worked from general to specific, trying to get my egg tempera muscle memory active.

The resulting image is OK, (not included) but I knew that it wasn't what I wanted.  I worked from morning until dinner on it … I may return. Since then I have made  two more but these are based on a place that is important to me, a place where I have lots of drawings and memories (above).

Drawings below are how I got started and are some of the resource material I used.
Walking Around the Island II,(preliminary) pastel on paper, 11 x 16cm
drawing in book (last summer) to information

preliminary oil pastel for Walking Around the Island II

Walking Around the Island II drawing for earlier painting 23 x 30 cm
Walking Around the Island I, oil pastel sketch, 12 x 18cm, 
So I guess I have a direction.  None of this was easy for me.  The egg temperas are always a struggle but for now the feel like a way to do and say what I am interested in. While I can't imagine forgoing the impulse to feel weepy about colour and form in a bouquet while using soft pastel (in an altered book) I think I can run with this and it will give me a focus
Deben, egg tempera on panel, 16 x 23 cm

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Second Pull Isn't Always the Ghost

Back at Home, Monotype: Akua Intaglio on Heritage Paper, 6 x 8 inches
When there is something on the etching plate, even just a hint of something (like there was when I returned to this), I  find I am more patient.  Today's second pull is crisper than yesterday's ghostly first print. It is hot and yesterday the ink was drying as I worked  - today I rolled the release agent on to begin with so the ink moved better and I used more blending oil.

In a way the way that edges blend is what interests me most of the time in monotypes, There isn't much of that in this… I may have overcompensated for something that bugged me in yesterday's print - the fuzzy, dark middle of yesterday's print - I was careful to make things intentional (sharper) where two colours met. 

I'm not sure, does this feel more like an illustration than a print… I was thinking Fairfield Porter and Alex Katz as I worked today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Based on Home

I'm back in the studio after two weeks going down to London almost every day. My computer is dying and I had a grey screen all last week. 

There are  few things I need to make work for, but I also have some ideas I want to test, lots of ideas. There has been so much input recently that I need to explore my own responses to things, and play.  Today and tomorrow I have set aside for monoprints - above is 6 x 8inches and the first stab at going back to my starting place, the combination of landscape/figure, inspired by my most recent studio visit.

Last week I visited Bridget Moore. Bridget was in my original group of people I really, really wanted to visit but it was tough to organise and it is not an understatement to say that it lived up to my expectations and was worth the wait.  You can see a little of her work here:

Bridget was a generous visit, feeding me and then letting me look through her work myself and showing me piece after piece, and explaining the context. I saw her gouache plate, her tubes and some absolutely exquisite paintings and drawings. We talked about using memory, drawings and old photos, something I used to do but have lost the confidence to do, these days. We talked about that and she is a role model for working that way.

What happened when I got home is that the things that I look at daily (or DON'T look at) became visible - I had never noticed how mysterious almost iconic, a semi detatched house can be, until Bridget showed me. She likes silouettes and the light around the edges.  So do I.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Private View New English Art Club

Private View,  Mall Galleries, In front of the 'Scholars Wall' my work (12 small pieces) on right
People kept asking me if I was nervous before the Private View. The answer was 'no'. I hoped the work would speak for itself and all the members were so kind to me I was just excited and trying to enjoy every moment.

My day began by rendezvousing with Jane and Jo on the train. We made our way to the The Mall Galleries, arriving by noon. The atmosphere was wonderful.  There were many people and more red dots were starting to appear. I had sold the little egg tempera of Dawn at the 'first sight' exhibition on Tuesday night so had already exceeded my expectations!

I went over to Messum's to meet Annabel and Patrick for 3pm.  Rose Hilton's vibrant work was wonderful to see even though they were busy adding other artists to the exhibition.  I was wearing my exhibitor badge and David Messum kept looking at me so I explained.  He had been at the critics' lunch the day before (as had I) and had been trying to think how he knew me… it was all rather surreal. When I told Paul Wuensche (other scholar), he and I joked that we should make a habit of wearing exhibitor's badges as a rule.

Pauline arrived 5 ish and she went straight to my wall and was very excited to share that I had sold another piece, this time it was the image that is in the catalogue of Tiziana, labeled 'untitled'  Pauline, Annabel Patrick and I made our way to the drinks table and clinked glasses. Figgy, Jonny, Livvy Padfield and Kate Hills joined our convivial group. 

At 6:30 Richard Pikesley, president of the NEAC, then Sir David Clementi (Chairman of the BBC) addressed us, awarded prizes and the new scholars were announced.

I had many wonderful conversations with members and visitors between Monday and Thursday but perhaps my most thrilling was when Melissa Scott Miller came to find me to tell me that Anthony Eyton wanted to speak to me. According to Melissa he had spent a long time looking at my wall and when I spoke to him he spoke encouragingly and enthusiastically about my pieces, calling me a 'really wonderful artist'. He told me his work was up high at the RA Summer Exhibtion this year and I promised to look for it. Nothing could have prepared me for that encounter. 

Sir David Clementi at Mall Galleries NEAC exhibition 2018

And there is an afterword: On Friday I met Lesley and Ian en route to Wales from Rome to bring them to the exhibition.  I took an early train down and went to see Gabriella's exhibition in Fulham.  Gabriella is one of the new scholars. As I was preparing to get off at South Kensington to change to the Wimbeldon train, I locked eyes with someone I recognised… it was Anthony Eyton again, on his way to the V&A about a commission! He remembered my name, having as he said only 'met me in the past 24 hours' and repeated all the nice things he'd said about me and my work to the man who was accompanying him to the V & A. I had to pinch myself.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Countdown to the New English 2018 Exhibition

Today was the hanging of the New English Art Club's annual exhibition, and I was there! It was great fun to see how the show gets hung and to meet a few more of the members. Paul (the other scholar) and I will share a wall and we arranged our work and affixed labels to the back. All the while members were carrying paintings from one place to another to see what worked best. It was amazing to see how fabulous the little wall looked hung and slowly other walls appeared.  I left before our was hung but will be back tomorrow to see it completed!

I picked up a catalogue while there and was obviously delighted to have my work and some words in it!