Monday, 10 February 2014

Studio time

Today I am mulling over the amount of time spent in my studio.  Or rather the lack of it currently.

Other artists will concur that once in 'the zone' having faffed with the paints, brushes and spent an hour pondering over the last work you did, it is a joyful, frustrating, wonderful place to be. Painting makes me truly happy, and that motivates me to continue. However, I do find that because I also work full time,the time I get to do this is rather slim. Don't get me wrong, I do actually enjoy the variety that working this ways gives my life, but I do find that my two days off in the week which are usually Sunday and Monday are often swallowed by the day to day chores of life: the food shopping, cleaning, exercise (yep I manage a bit of that!) and other day to day jobs.

My Studio is a 15 minute walk or a 4ish minute drive away, rather than being at home, so I find that in summer I feel motivated by the light nights to go of an evening, but in winter I confess I struggle to motiviate myself...

So I ask, how do you motivate yourselves to go to the studio when life is getting in the way?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

It's all in a name..

Quite often when people discover I'm an artist, the first thing the quite rightly ask is 'what kind of work do you do?' A branding of the practice it seems is quite an important tool in the quest for understanding it would seem...

You'd think that this would be easy, but quite often I find it quite a tricky question. I find myself being generally descriptive 'Big bright abstracts' or 'Really textural abstracts, with spray paint, glitter and enamel' but feel these are quite an inadequate way to try to encapsulate my work, particularly if I'm trying to describe it to an audience with a bit of art knowledge.

I usually then simply show a picture as an example which resolves the problem.
However, it has bothered me that whilst being able to talk at length about other artists work, I find myself baffled by my own practice, one which I should know best of all!

Having spent years writing about my work, cogently and with joy, I have realised how easy it has been to get out of the habit of talking about my work, and how self consciousness can lead to a 'dumbing down' attitude.
I recently re-read my MA thesis which was basically a mapping excersise, based on contemporary painters in line with my own practice. It has inspired me to reengage with the academic side of my practice a little.

So over the next weeks and months, I will try to put together a way to describe my work, a short but sweet 'abstract' of you will.

How do you talk about your practice? Do you have any self conscious trouble?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Joy of Pinterest

One of the most powerful tools I use, and perhaps one of the most simple, is Pinterest.
I have been known to be a little behind the times with technology, mostly because I enjoy the old fashioned things like books and pencils, however, Pinterest is something I was immediately drawn to as it caters perfectly for the visually minded. It also links up beautifully with twitter  (see, I'm down with the kids)

Essentially a great big internet sized pin board for ideas, it does what a mood board used to do for me when I was studying my A Levels. I have filled board after board of things that make me tick, over the past year or so, predominantly artwork that inspires me, but also, nods to my childhood and hobbies like baking and sewing....

This isn't an advert for Pinterest before you say, and they're not paying me or anything! I just think it's a great tool for the creative brain.  A way to put down ideas, to find colours, concepts and to meld them all together in one place. A place I can check freely in the studio whenever I find myself flagging.

Just seeing the artwork that has excited me makes me refocus on my own work, and so I'll leave you with an insight into my brain, mapped out in all it's slightly quirky glory for you via the channels of Pinterest...


Bye for Now

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

My Muse

What better way to re-start blogging than to talk about my Muse.
Over the years, my inspiration has come from all over, from other artists, from the media, from books, films, all kinds of places. However there has been a constant force that never fails to get me excited.

I give you Fiona Rae.

Look!! Look!! Look!!
oil and acrylic on canvas, 2006
84 x 69 in / 213.4 x 175.3 cm
© Fiona Rae

I've been to two Fiona Rae shows, once at the Timothy Taylor gallery in London, and once at Leeds Art Gallery. I can't even tell you, I become a kid in a candy store.
Visual bliss they are, just spectacular, vibrant, cute, and yet at the same time oozing with slightly sinister hints, the odd face of a beast, perhaps a dragon; a throwback to her background in Japan perhaps. Running paint that hints of dripping blood, whilst dancing deer, or sometimes collaged cats and dogs peek out at you.

Her ability to take modern imagery, popular culture and manage to unite this with a very painterly approach, to create a formal language in paint astonishes and delights me.
Her colour palette is perfection in my eye, not abashed about using garish street colours against beautifully harmonised taupes, browns and blacks, her ability with colour is phenomenal. If I could attain even a fraction of that in my work I'd be pleased

I am in awe of her work, go and see it if you get the chance, I certainly will be going again.
The next one, hopefully at Nottingham Castle. As you can see by following this link, she's scheduled to do a joint show with Dan Perfect in Spring. Can't wait!

You can check out her website here: http://www.fiona-rae.com/

Bye x

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A change of pace

It's been a very long time since I blogged, and I've realised why...
The blog was focusing on my own practice, my scanty competition entries, works in progress etc, but when you work full time, your artwork naturally develops at a slower pace that were you working on it full time and so, I ended up with big gaps in my blogging whilst I built up work to talk about.

However, I now hope to change tack a little and blog about art in general.
Working as I do in the arts sector and enjoying my practice alongside, I live and breathe the subject daily. There's also a whole host of craft projects that I enjoy; sewing, baking and anything else that takes my fancy. so I will make a promise to write more often, as I do have plenty to say!!

Hope you'll come along for the journey :)


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

John Moore's Entry

"You can do anything you want to do, this is your world"

Well, I did it, I submitted on time for the John Moore's. I've already posted this on Facebook etc so apologies if you've already seen it, but I did promise to keep my blog up to date more this year. I'll firstly just post below what I posted on facebook for continuity...
As promised, here is an image of my newest piece for the John Moore's painting prize. After entering twice before in 2010 and 2008 with quite serious pieces, I decided to be more playful this time. I've been working on a technique I used a fair bit during my masters in 06, experimenting with it on and off as I love the effect and have lots of fun using it. The piece is really a celebration of all things painterly and is a bit quirky as you'll see from the image. Fighting the whole 'Painting is dead' notion with a piece based on a quote from the marvellous Bob Ross, "You can do anything you want to do, this is your world" It's a cheeky little dig at the stuffier side of the art world...

So it was a little diversion from my usual work, but with links to techniques I dabble with every now and again. The thick squiggles of paint give me more enjoyment than you'd probably imagine- they're very satisfying to make!

Also, I will talk about the little lady in the middle because you might be wondering...

For literally years, I have been on a rambling directionless mission to incorporate some simple figurative elements into my work, and particularly like the idea of actual people, like the scale model figures you can by for model railwaying. I have dozens of these little figures, gathered from wanderings in model shops, looking rather out of place amongst the hardcore of role playing model makers and narrow gauge miniature railway enthusiasts, I lurk around the tiny people section and peruse quietly. I have couples, cyclists, people sitting, people standing, the usual stuff, but also a small selection of stranger pieces, including a naked fairy, a clown with balloons and the charming lady lifting her top so confidently that I have included in this piece.

I have to say, that I laughed out loud when I saw her on the rack (no pun intended) and had to buy her immediately - even though at the time I had no clue what to do with her. She would join the many other plastic figurines until I found a purpose for her. (Just next to her was a figure of a police man pointing a gun at his victim's head, and an escaped convict in his orange jumpsuit.. A little more sinister - I may have to find a use for them too at some point)

So said lady has been attached to a piece of paint, not unlike the paint now adorning this piece, for ages, stuck in a box in my studio. It was only when painting this new piece that I really felt it needed some embellishment that the thought struck me that she would be perfect. Bingo! The thick sculptural paint was perfect for standing my little lady in. She had a purpose at last.

So she will enter the John Moore's competition as a cheeky and fun display of painterly loveliness that is pretty and colourful and all things that 'serious artwork' probably shouldn't be. The reason being; I'm tired of the dreary and academic manifesto's associated with 'Fine Art' that seem to sap the pleasure out of contemporary painting.

If there's one thing I've learnt from working with commercial artists is that they get to do what they love for a living. They love what they do and have fun doing it, and that is surely the point of art? To bring a bit of joy

I have fun painting, and this painting is about 'The Joy of Painting'.

God Bless Bob Ross

(rant over)


Monday, 30 January 2012

A little Challenge

Every post I make seems to start with 'So it's been a while'.. My new New Years resolution must be to blog more! 2011 has actually been a bit of an artistic black hole for me with one thing or another.

Those who know me will be aware of the family trauma's we've had, and so every day off work has been spent travelling and hospital visiting rather than painting. However, fingers crossed that that period is coming to a close, due to the ongoing recovery of said family member, and so I have set myself a bit of a challenge to get myself motivated. Not just to blog more, oh no! To paint an entry to submit into the prestigious John Moore's painting prize again this year. No pressure or anything, I've got til the 6th of February to submit my images... And I've paid £25 for the priviledge of submitting, so I'd better get on with it!

The temptation of the £25k top prize is too much to resist, along with the prestige of being in what is one of the biggest painting prizes in the uk....
So watch this space. I will post the pictures up soon, hopefully before the 6th of feb!!