After some time on the canal, I’m spending this month travelling around in the van, fitting in family events along the way. I’ll be sketching as I go, so will hopefully be posting as I can, or more likely catching up here later in August.
Currently I have work on display still in Northern Ireland until the end of the month, and was really delighted to receive the award of ‘ Highly Commended Whole Submission’ from the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists for all three Fieldwork prints, currently on display as part of the Friends Exhibition at the RBSA gallery in Birmingham until the 16th July.
More about the inspiration and the making of the prints here and here.
My pastel painting ‘the pathless wood’ has been selected for the Weston Park national open art exhibition, showing for the month of August in the Granary Gallery. When I started exhibiting two years ago, this was the first gallery to accept my work. I was very pleased to receive their support then and now, a great confidence-booster and a fabulous exhibition to visit.
My ‘urban reflections’ linoprint is on display in an online exhibition here at ONPAPERCONTEST 2016 as part of the 2nd International ON PAPER printmaking competition, organised by the Barcelona-based artists’ organisation, Sala Ramona.
12 artists have been selected for the final exhibition at Trongate 103 Foyer, Glasgow in August this year. My print did not make the final exhibition, but I am very happy to see it displayed as part of the online exhibition alongside the wonderful work by all the other international participants. On Paper will be showing participants’ work as an online exhibition for a year.
By taking part, I have met some lovely people, I have some international exposure for my own work and can attempt to assess it in relation to the work of others. As well as that I’m now in contact with artists I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I’ll be following up the links to their work and websites.
Applying to exhibitions and competitions can be hit and miss, but is always worthwhile, particularly in the printmaking world where the emphasis is almost always on forging links and providing mutual support as well as honest appraisal.
‘uphill’ iscurrently at the framer’s in readiness for the RBSA Prize exhibition in Birmingham, from 4th May until 4th June, 2016. I’m very pleased to have had it accepted. I love working in pastel. It’s such a fresh and direct medium. For me, it’s a great complement to my printmaking, which is just about as indirect as you can get.
This little painting started as a quick sketch of a West Shropshire hillside near the cottage of a friend. The track winds uphill to their house and beyond. The landscape is a working one of low rolling green hills and meandering valleys, with open views to the south and east towards the wildness of the Shropshire Hills, Long Mynd and the Stiperstones.
Resisting a strong tendency to try to draw everything, I focussed on what had originally attracted my eye, the double-curve of the track and the hawthorn tree and shadow just to the right. I worked the composition lines in later. They helped incorporate a sense of the lay of the land in the finished painting; I kept the square format, worked well into the canvas board for the colour and texture but omitted the sheep. I’ve been thinking in green for a while now. Must do some more.
I have just finished these three small reduction linocuts, based on some quick watercolour and pastel sketches I did in Wiltshire last year. The open landscape there is one of rolling downs, long bare ridges dotted with copses of trees (‘hedgehogs’), slow rivers, ancient market towns and stunning neolithic and medieval monuments.
The soil is chalk-based, providing glimmers of white to pewter shining through the crops and grasses; the cloud shadows and sunlight fold across the contours of the land adding subtleties of colour and tone. Endlessly changing but eternal.
I printed them on my much-longed-for, brand-new etching press from gunning arts. There’s no stopping me now.
Two of the prints have been accepted for the Seacourt International Mini-print Biennial at the Centre for Contemporary Printmaking in Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, showing from 7th April to 20th May 2016. I hope to get over to see this exhibition, very much looking forward to seeing the work of all the participating artists.
Over the winter, I spent some time trying to force a reconciliation between the work I do as a printmaker and the work I do as a painter. Both start from direct observation and resultant sketchbook work. But then they diverge.
In my printmaking, I tend to work from a monochrome start, and get very interested in form, pattern and composition, mostly inspired by urban landscapes around me, often reflected and distanced in some way. My painting tends to the experimental in mixed media, inks, colour and pastel, inspired by landscapes with which I have a personal relationship.
There are many ways we create blocks to our creativity. This is one of mine. The pursuit for consistency, a ‘voice’, whatever you want to call it. So, I’ve decided to be more relaxed generally about any perceived ‘split’ in subject and media. All reflect my interests, all resolve well (or sometimes don’t) in the different media and processes involved. I get a lot of satisfaction and pleasure from both printmaking and painting. Maybe some day they’ll come together, maybe they won’t… in the meantime, I’ll keep sketching and exploring wherever my fancy takes me.
I have work in exhibitions in three countries this summer. Very exciting, and great to be able to connect with other artists both locally and elsewhere.
I’ve had two works accepted for the Prize Exhibition at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists gallery in Birmingham. The exhibition is on show until 13th June. If you’ve never been to the gallery then it’s well worth a visit. There are exhibitions on three floors, with work from artisan designer-makers and fine artists.
I was very pleased to have work accepted for this exhibition.
Here are the two works framed and ready to be delivered:
On the right is ‘Birmingham reflections’, relief print, 20cm x 20cm. I talked about this in some detail in my previous post here.
On the left is ‘Hillscape1’, monoprint, 20cm x 30 cm.
When I’m out sketching I alternate styles depending on how I wake up that day. Sometimes I like the challenge and the satisfaction of drawing what’s in front of me, usually in my sketchbook. Other times, inspired by a workshop I attending last year with Lewis Noble, I take a board, A3 paper, charcoal and inks and work loosely trying to capture the landscape around me without spending too much time on the detail. Sometimes I mistake the day and end up in a right mess, other times it works. Comments from passers-by tend to be a bit bemused; ‘well, it’s a start…..’
I have been working on abstracting from these quick field sketches into artist prints and monoprints. Due to the semi-blind nature of the monoprint process, and concentrating on the main elements of the subject and the mark-making, the work mutates into bold images. Some are successful, with life and depth; others are shelved for more development.
This one has been built up in layers; direct printing using masks, pressure, scratching and blind drawing using black and blue Caligo inks. The original was a sketch done whilst near Dovedale, where the bones of the land are sculpted by running water, and the underlying rock structures seem to bulge, crack and burst through the moorland and grass. There’s a tactile quality to the landscape that lends itself to rough treatment.
The annual exhibition of the Dudley Society of Artists is on display until 10th January in the top gallery of Dudley Museum and Art Gallery. I joined the society this year and very much value their quiet, supportive and inclusive approach. A typical weekly meeting includes members drawing a life model, others doing their own thing, a themed display of members’ work along one wall, or the work and sketchbooks of one featured member, and also regular workshops and appraisal evenings. There is a tradition of quiet in the first hour or so of the meeting, relaxing to general chat in the second half. Professional artists are very generous in sharing their experience, newcomers are appreciated and made welcome. No hierarchies and no cliques.
The work on display is well worth a visit. There is opportunity for visitors to vote for a public favourite, and in typical DSA fashion, the prize of £25 does not to go to the artist but instead to one of the people who have voted for them.
My prints are now ready to send to the Sketchbook Project Print Exchange. The exchange involves 500 printmakers across the world. Each will send an edition of 12 prints to the Brooklyn Art Library in New York, where one will be exhibited, another archived and the remaining 10 distributed to 10 of the participating printmakers. I will then receive 10 different prints selected from 10 of the participating printmakers.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to exhibit and also to meet like-minded artists across the world. I’m very much looking forward to the surprise of receiving the 10 prints. It’s very unlikely that I’ll be able to travel to the exhibition but I will hopefully be able to see the photos of the works online.
I’ve been considering the ‘just a second’ theme for a while and decided to interpret it (perhaps rather obviously) as an interpretation of ‘two’ and was exploring various ideas. In the interim various life events have intervened, so I needed a quick decision this week in order to prepare and print the required edition of 12.
I’ve just been in Angus where these striking birds are found in parks, on golf courses, on traffic islands and rooves as well as in their more natural habitat on rocks and beaches by the sea.
In flight they fly on point, fast and swooping, a flash of black and white wings with a hint of red on legs and beaks.
I’ll be sending the submission this weekend. The exhibition will take place in the New Year.
The Shropshire Open exhibition opens on Monday 13th October in Shrewsbury at Gallery3 in the Gateway. There are about 70 works on display in a variety of media. A very interesting show and worth a visit.
I was delighted to have two works accepted and attended the private view last night.