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.
Two trips to Inverness in one week to deliver a painting for The Lonely Arts Club exhibition at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Inverness campus. Second trip for the preview and meet up with the other artists which is always enjoyable. This exhibition is on until the 26 July if you happen to be in the area.
I spent an enjoyable day at An Talla Solais (Ullapool) studio creating a small storybook from drawings of random objects. This was led by Rebecca Brown who also had some of her ceramic work on show in the gallery as part of Northbound | Nordgående, an exhibition of contemporary ceramics, drawing and performance with a focus on process and place. It is the work of a group of artists from Scotland and Norway: BIOSENARIO, Ingeborg Blom Andersskog, Jenny Mackenzie Ross, Kjersti Sletteland, Rebecca Brown, Siri Brekke and Tone Boska. This interesting show has now moved on to Thurso and will also be travelling to Shetland I believe.
I enjoyed the workshop and think it is good to try out as many different approaches to making art as possible. Using some miniature animal ornaments I created a simple story about friendship. My resulting book is quite naive but I think the idea would appeal to a young child and for a change I chose to colour in my rather hasty drawings with coloured pencils rather than paint.
As a result of my visit, last month, to Inverewe with Artists at Inverewe I have made two paintings, one of a gateway in the walled garden which I enjoyed making but feel it doesn’t really have much atmosphere in it and can hear my former tutor in the back of my head telling me not to paint scenes, so see it more as an exercise, the other work inspired by the small succulents in the glass houses has been more of a challenge. Now looking forward to the next visit in August. Although I really love to paint intuitively making abstract work I feel it is really important to keep drawing and observing.
Speaking of August I am planning an exhibition in my own house showing my own work alongside my daughter’s lino prints. A Pop Up gallery so to speak so hope we get some visitors even if just to browse and chat.
It has been a busy month of visitors and painting. I spent a lovely day at Inverewe Garden as part of Artists at Inverewe sketching in the garden as well as having access to the glass houses. It was a great opportunity to meet other like minded people as well. I find the twisted trunks of some of the shrubs very sculptural and endeavored to draw these lovely shapes as well as paying attention to the negative spaces. Unfortunately I am unable to upload my photos and sketches from this visit.
The glass house was full of cacti and succulents which are also very sculptural in their own right. I particularly liked a small bowl of four cacti which I would like to incorporate into a still life at some point.
I seem to be painting more still life subjects at the moment and have just completed a jug of ox eye daisies on a Marimekko serviette.
and hope to submit to their open members exhibition at the UHI Inverness in July.
My solo exhibition at the Torridon Centre is now finished but I submitted two paintings to the group show, Night and Day. So if you are in Torridon over the summer holidays this gallery is well worth a visit.