Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Determined to make the most of The First Rose of Summer

The First Rose of Summer, pastel on paper 16x16cm

The garden has dominated my days since I've been back from Maine. I can't just leave the garden to fend for itself. It needs me, so I go and do the things that need doing now and for the future. Sometimes I go with a cranky spirit because there are other things that I want or need to do too. Everything jockeys for my time. The garden has a loud voice and it is so needy. The thing is, once I am there I am transported in the same way that I am when I draw, to shapes, colours and an inner monologue that I don't listen to. 

It's too easy to miss the garden because I'm so busy attending to it, so yesterday, in the middle of planting out a few more seedlings and planting a few more seeds then judging the Stowmarket Art Group Exhibition, I picked the first rose of the summer, one of the remarkable purple ones,  (Rhapsody in Blue).  I cut back most of the hellebores and made a little bouquet with those and a few other things that were abundant enough to take. 

The other thing I did yesterday was to prime a few 20 x 20 panels and begin this little drawing.  I had to quit drawing before I'd finished to judge the event and it was only working in places.  Today, after taking down my Dining on Plastic work from Craftco in Southwold, I came back to it. 

More roses are out today.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The land, the land!

Turqoise of Barn, pastel on book page
I'm recently back from Maine where I go annually to rake and dig and weed and haul garden debris with my brother, sister and mother. The weather was mostly fine this year.  We had the gamut: downpours, incessant rain, sun, whitecaps and overcast sky. One night Ben photographed an amazing sunset that I missed because I was glued to the news coverage. The temperature was really quite cold to unseasonably hot. I tend to draw early or just before I begin preparing dinner and I chase the light across the grass. 

Suffolk Pink and Rapeseed, Akua Intaglio on paper - monotype 10 x 7.5cm
Back in Suffolk, those intense fields of yellow rapeseed are now leggy and fading. There is a prevailing scent of brassicas and it's warmed up here, now.  But I remember the yelow! This is my first monotype in a while and it feels bolder and brighter than usual, less subtle, but maybe that's the rapeseed?

Kantha, Limes and Daffodils, pastel on book pages
 On the morning after we all arrived in Maine, before we had even reached Cranberry, we stopped at the Job Lot store (a family tradition). I found a haul of vintage kanthas and we bought a few.  The patterns and colours provided me with a backdrop for this visit.  There are plenty of objects to draw, but I was restricted by the flowers available.

Kantha and Rhododendron, pastel on book pages

Kantha and New Vase, pastel on book pages

View from the island, pastel on book pages

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Downtime mail art making and letting go

When I had just graduated, my father offered the advice that I should never give anything away because doing that devalues what the artist makes. It made sense at the time.  Luckily I came to my senses! 

My mail art is a way to unwind.  It's playful and as I make it I am thinking about who I should send it to. The who is it for, makes we work differently.  In general I never think I'll do this this time because someone might buy it. I (most artists?)  just don't work that way.  With mail art there is human connection and rather than taking away, for me this adds a dimension, allows me empathise in another way.

Above are twelve quickly worked pieces (postcard size) which I began with mounted photos I had found at the car boot sale and then cut up a few years ago as postcards to make mail art on. The black and white textures and shapes provided an intuitive base for playing with shape and colour.  

I owe lots of mail art and I never make mail art that I don't like myself or that I don't like making.  I gave myself yesterday evening to make some mail art and made four of these postcards.  (They are arranged in order with the first at the top).  I gave myself a few hours this afternoon again. Inevitably I will keep some. But they are mail art and most will be mailed away and only this photo and the process will remain.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Struggling with Green

Green Vases Flowers and Bowl, Oil on canvas 40 x 50 cm
Getting Green right in a painting and in reproduction seems to be tricky. A long time ago I remember telling my father that I thought green was the hardest colour. It went something like this:  I had been making a monoprint of my mother (bent over gardening) between the house and the barn.  It was late in the season and the grass was fading but I decided the grass should be a yellow green. My dad walked by and I was in that tormented state when nothing seems to fit with anything else in the picture. I asked him what colour he thought was the most difficult to make work.  He asked me in reply and I told him, green. 'I thought you were going to say that,' he said. In the end I reconciled the green in some way and the monoprint hangs in the bathroom, reminding me of the conversation and him. 

For some reason I challenged myself to work through colours for the month of May.  From experience I find yellow and lime green are tough to make work in any quanity in a picture so I began there.  The sketchbook page, below, works better for me than the painting above. I painted all day yesterday and in the end wiped down large areas and changed the composition.  The colour isn't quite what it is.  The green on the right is deeper.  It's quite wet after working back into it this morning, so it needs some time before I can think about it again. I came across Annie Williams on Pinterest https://www.royalwatercoloursociety.co.uk/artists/109-annie-williams/overview/
and had been thinking about her work as I put things together to draw.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Making the most of an opportunity

Green Vases and Bowl, 24 x 22 cm, pastel on paper

I wasn't able to start drawing today until too late to finish before the light disappeared . I'm not sure if I will return to this or begin another version. Today was about green.

It's been a busy few weeks and it feels as if I have had no time to do anything other than tie up loose ends: framing, typing up bios and price lists, putting together a portfolio, picking up work, and then hanging two exhibitions and attending them.

When I can't spend all my time making work it can feel frustrating, but that is ridiculous!  All of that other stuff is part of the whole and I've learned that if I see time as opportunity then it's easier to feel good about the non-painting activities.

Last month I made three opportunities.  I took a pre-selected pastel down to the NEAC annual exhibition for final selection.  I put together a portfolio and submitted it for the New English Drawing Scholarship and I submitted an altered sketchbook for the Annual Radley Sketchbook Exhibition (Parker Harris) and one of those three opportunities was successful.  You just never know, and I find that by making the opportunities I apply myself differently and with zeal and that makes new opportunities.

The exhibition at Craftco is exciting.  I love seeing my 2D work (plastic collages) with ceramics.  Since I know Caroline's work, I have been thinking about it as I've worked and I am pleased with the way it looks hung and together.

Craftco , Southwold, Exhibition through May 30th