Looking back I don’t seem to have achieved much this month. We finally got our raku efforts finished off, well what survived the first firing and indeed the final firing. It was interesting to see how the glazes reacted to he various elements with unexpected results. I now have a flotilla of three boats on the front door step and two dodgy looking bowls. Wouldn’t mind giving it another go though.
Been busy sorting work out to show at Inverewe as well as getting some new cards printed.
Don’t know if it’s just me, I suspect it’s not, but as an artist I get quite despondent about my work. Anyway had a boost last week when one of the Black Isle Abstract artists phoned up to say he had been looking at my work on line and really liked it. Hope this might lead to greater things but if not it certainly raised my spirits.
As well as painting I am building up a collection of small collages which at some point I would like to show as a body of work. Using torn and cut paper or whatever else I find to make interesting abstract colour and textural images. These sometimes also work as studies for larger paintings .
Nearly at the end of February and the days are lengthening. Have been busy sorting out work for exhibiting and framing and now need to think of getting some new cards printed. Had a brief encounter with printing here in my own studio. I must say it wasn’t very successful but with a bit more patience and perseverance I might get somewhere.
As I keep saying I need a bigger studio, as I soon realised that to make any headway I need a designated table/space for printmaking even at this basic level. Needless to say it has taken a back seat at the moment as I have piles of torn paper out for making some collages and then of course the paints are at hand for a painting I have on the go as well. So all in all not only do I need more space but a few more hours in the day would be handy.
Speaking of collage I recently came across an article about Francis Davison one of the original St Ives artists who worked with torn paper. He was not interested in exhibiting his work so never really came into the public eye. I find his work interesting as it is something I like to make myself. I like the looseness of torn rather than cut paper.
Another highlight this month was the delivery of Art North a new visual arts magazine from Scotland and the far north. Nice to have a publication relating to not only the North of Scotland but also embracing art from the Outer Isles and beyond. This issue has an interesting piece on Faroese art as well as an article exploring the different responses of five artists during residencies in the Arctic and much more. At last a magazine which brings together news and articles from far- flung areas where artists can feel quite isolated sometimes.
The last day of January at last, looking forward to longer daylight which is already apparent. It’s been a quiet month but quite productive in the studio trying out various ways of painting but always returning to my love of intuitive abstract painting and collage. I sometimes feel I’ve lost my way as I do tend to paint in a variety of styles as the mood takes me but at the end of the day it’s all creativity.
I have been reading up on how to make prints using a pasta machine as a printing press so watch this space! Wish I had a bigger studio it seems to be filling up rapidly. Recently (last weekend) I met up with some fellow art school students who I last saw in 1969. We met in Edinburgh and after a leisurely lunch and catch up we strolled along the Waters of Leith to the gallery of modern Art. It was lovely to view work by Eduardo Paolozzi and Andy Warhol with like minded people, exchanging views on the works as we went. I returned home all inspired ready to tidy up the studio and have a good clear out and a fresh start. Only managed to get rid of three old paintings but the studio does look a bit tidier….at the moment!
Looking forward to the coming year and any exhibition opportunities which might arise.
I seem to have missed November altogether , where did it go? We had some spectacular days in November which counteracted the early dark evenings. Taking advantage of the good weather we had a trip up North to Durness enjoying the beautiful scenery on the way. A visit to the craft village at Balnakiel made me think it would be great to have a studio there for two or three weeks, a change of scene and time to immerse myself in some new work. Will have to look into it.
A few years ago I took up spinning wool so decided to try and make something from the far from perfect results. Anyway that doesn’t really matter as I was experimenting with texture. The first piece is knitted randomely onto which I have stitched and darned. The second piece is similar but I have added twigs and a leaf. I like the fact that the wool is undyed and mixes well with the other natural materials. Something to do during the dark evenings.
I am still experimenting with landscape following on from the David Tress residency and find the work is getting smaller and am tying to make it more atmospheric. It is not really working as I imagined it might as I find myself unable to keep the application of paint as loose as I’d like. Need to work bigger again and possibly apply the irregular shapes of the overall painting to my abstract work.
Well October seems to have slipped by as it is now November as write this. I really enjoyed the David Tress workshop and in spite of heavy rain every day we managed to get out to make some preliminary sketches (and get soaked). I feel his teaching has helped me to consider a more limited palette as well as not to over dilute the paint (acrylic) in order to get more intense colour and texture. He also encouraged us to be more vigorous in our application of paint using large brushes which is certainly something which I need to practice. I have, for some time, been interested in the idea of creating shaped paintings and was looking forward to seeing how David created the uneven edges of his work which is done by adding collage to areas as he feels the need to extend the painting and also build up texture. As I work on my own most of the time I really enjoyed the company of other artists and could feel the creative energy in the studio.
My exhibition at the Perfume Studio is now over and am happy to say that two works have gone to new homes. I have had two paintings accepted for the Winter Exhibition at North Lands Creative up north at Lybster.
It’s been a busy few weeks. Unfortunately was unsuccessful with my submission for the Palimpsest exhibition but have work on show at the An Talla Solais members show in Ullapool as well as one piece submitted to the Torridon Centre for the Autumn exhibition.
I spent three days at Inverewe learning about Raku and got a shot a throwing a pot as well as making coiled pots and building pieces from rolled out slabs of clay. Very enjoyable but not sure how functional my efforts are. The weather turned against us making firing the pots impossible but that is scheduled for next week so all is not lost (I hope!) We are going up north to visit ceramicist Lotte Glob’s studio so will be paying particular attention to how she has made her work now that I have a better understanding of the processes involved.
My work has become quite abstract which is what I have always aspired to but sometimes I have to look at other abstract painters to tell myself that it is ok to paint this way. I really enjoy applying colour,texture and shapes which don’t represent any particular object or form. I suppose this is what’s known as lyrical abstraction. I do feel that my surroundings as well as the weather do actually play a big part in what I produce. I am also aware that most commercial galleries prefer to exhibit figurative work which appeals to a wider audience. I’ll just go with my gut feeling and let the paintings evolve naturally. I’m really looking forward to five days painting with David Tress whose atmospheric landscapes I greatly admire. Hopefully I will learn a lot from him. The course is at the end of October at Loch Kishorn so there should be plenty of atmosphere about in the wild landscape in this area.
Oct 1st but still haven’t been able to get he pottery fired due to the weather and the trip up North to Lotte Glob has had to be postponed but still something to look forward to.
Well this month has flown by. I’ve still managed to be creative in between visitors though. I enjoyed another visit to Inverewe Garden and was interested in the idea of depicting one of the lovely walled garden gates showing the landscape behind. I decided the best way to do this was to make a lino print to super impose over a painted surface. I haven’t tried this method of printing for many years but was keen to get started, so keen in fact I totally forgot to reverse the image for printing! Nevermind it gave me an idea of what it could be like. I only have a rough image but am keen to get back to this on a larger scale and with more planning this time, I think it has potential.
I mentioned in my last blog about having a pop up exhibition. I transformed the dining room and the hall into a gallery space to show my work as well as my daughter’s, creating a nice mix of lino prints (not mine!) and paintings. Although we both had sales it was a very quiet week with no visitors from Monday to Friday but a lot on the last day I wondered if folk don’t like the thought of going into someones house to look at work. In spite of this the last day Sunday was pretty lively and I enjoyed talking to the visitors about the work and indeed about theirs as well.
I have submitted a painting for consideration for a future exhibition next year at An Lanntair, Stornoway. The subject is Palimpsest so fingers crossed. Keeping it under wraps for the time being but see my newest work here: Paintings
Looking forward to the next Artists at Inverewe get together and a visit to Lotte Glob’s studio at the end of September.