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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

One giant leap, I hold my breath and jump

It was a privilege and a delight to paint an oil painting on board of Bexhill Beach for Zoe and Dan's leaving present.
Zoe and Dan Smith oil painting gift.
Zoe has been a massive support to me as I have begun to make time to draw again and always has good concrete suggestions together with just plain old fashioned friendship and encouragement. Thanks Zoe!

Not to mention all the friends that chipped in and helped make it a matter of work for me as well as pleasure. Thanks for having faith in me. This is the more traditional aspect of me.

On the other hand I am beginning to break confidently right away from the traditional to a new place of form, surface, colour (a whole new palate, fantastic!) The last 4 commissions have given me confidence and the practise to get on with more personal development of my practise and to rely less on what others might think and more on my own instinct.
cuckmere haven
This has always been my prefered style but I have struggled to own it and defend it more completely until now. Its quite a strange time, one minute I feel quite vulnerable and the next when I make a break through I am elated. Even while creating work I find myself feeling nervous and then holding my breath as I see new possibilities emerge. This journey is very affirming and each step even the difficult ones tell me that it is my journey and worth making.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

East Sussex Contemporary Art Fair

I have got through the selection process for the East Sussex Contemporary Art Fair - this is a great boost for confidence and a chance to get involved and to meet people. yipee! I sent in 3 images of paintings I had done on canvas using acrylics.
this is one of my favourites  and is work developed from my first collage series 

view from Galley Hill - I love this for the cliff  and the sea coming in

shadows on the Long Man work from a series of b/w drawings

Now I need to think about getting business cards and or postcards made, how to hang pieces and what to charge...lots to think about and research.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Blow me down...

Sandra Blow's work and her approach to her work resonates with me so strongly.,165,AR.html I think we would get along pretty well! When I read about her it feels like I am reading about myself in another life. (if that's not too preposterous to say) The way she worked, the collaging, the scale, the need to get the right fit - even some of the shapes she has used I can see in my sketch books. Work I did way before I had ever heard of her....

I have spent a really frustrating and yet powerful day breaking into new ground with my painting. I am working on Cuckmere and have some great sketches I want to build up into bigger more substantial works.

Looking back to Blow's work I was so excited and inspired I wanted to make about 10 paintings all at once, I tried keeping it to 4 and am still struggling to narrow down ambition  and slow down my mind sufficiently for me to be able to do anything at all.
I was literally paralised with fear and excitment not knowing where to begin. 'just do something' kept ringing in my ears and I pushed on through.... days like these are great when they are over but exhausting, mentally and emotionally. I keep falling in love with marks and colours as they are and find it difficult to break free from them in order to move the piece on.

Its weird how into the accidental I am one minute and then paralysed, poised on the edge of being able to move forward the next. I put that down to time, space and fear constraints and a touch of too much self awareness!

Sometimes I wish I could be a hermit just able to get on with the development of my ideas ....

Saturday, 7 May 2011

catch this slowly emerging thief!

All great ideas are stolen from someone else and I have a good friend and artist Victoria to thank for inspiring me to follow her example and get myself a mentor. I plucked up the courage and asked a friend and professional artist Colin Booth.

Simple but terrifying!

Now my commitment will be tested my soul will be laid bare and I run the risk of someone I respect giving me analysis of my creative development. How else will I be able to move forward?
I have this argument with myself often....

So to prepare for this I got the urge to clean up my work space and reclaim it from the usual deposits of family life, power drills, old computers, worn out trainers, rawl plugs etc.... Its a bit of art in itself actually this clean space is full of organised works and I can see my progression in some cases and links in work over many years in others. For example I drew the meandering curves of the river Okavango tributary in Botswana many times over about 6 years ago and now I find myself contemplating a similar piece for the Cuckmere project.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

introducing me and my blog

This blog is part of my journey to find different 'ways of seeing', exploring art and experiencing new and challenging things or places. I am currently developing my practise as an artist, it is with this in mind that I blog my thoughts and emerging interests, exhibitions I go to, artists I come across people/places I find inspiring. Moments of clarity and moments of fog alike!

I read John Berger's 'Ways of seeing' as an art student years ago. Its a text that has stood the test of time and that highlights how culture has changed, for me its one of those books that I dip into and and get a sense of the shift in my lifetime of what role art plays in life. All art reacts to the culture in which it was made.

I find that I see nothing if I don't look. It takes effort to make progress but once you do it can feel like you're buzzing that's when you know you're alive and kicking.

I went to some drawing workshops a while ago at and was asked to draw without taking my eyes off the subject. It was terrifying but brilliant and was probably one of the single most influential moments in my creative journey so far. It taught me by example (the best way) that shutting off the left brain can open up amazing new ways of seeing via the right brain. Try it you will be surprised how accurate you can be with your brain communicating directly with your eye - no internal editor trying to skew what you are seeing - just what's there and your marks being made simultaneously. Obviously most people find it more comfortable to look now and again but if you practise you begin to find your own 'seeing time' this is the critical balance between not looking and looking to achieve freshness and accuracy.

By the way I also have a young family of 3 boys so they may feature now and again..

the seven sisters

There's a competition running for art work on and around Cuckmere Haven, Cuckmere is destined to return to the sea as its sea defences are left to the elements.

We took a chance and loaded the car with the boys, a picnic, flask of tea, sun hats and sun cream, raincoats and woolly jumpers, camera and sketch book.

I was using a family trip to explore Cuckmere Haven. It could have gone either way with 3 boys aged 2 to 7yrs and no prior knowledge of the area. So we drove off into the unknown, boiling in a car with a broken window stuck in the up position and the air con not working only to find the breeziest of walks and the most stunning of landscapes. As we crested the cliffs that roll up to Cuckmere Haven we were almost literally blown away by the beauty of the Seven Sisters majestically lining the edge of the land as it meets the sea. I sat with my 7yr old and we drew. It dawned on me this was a great moment of connection. Jago drawing opposite me on the same sketch pad from memory and me drawing looking at the seven sisters edging out before us.