Five Years

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Dad’s death, and though he is much missed, I’m choosing to use today as a day to reflect on many good memories.

Something I admired about our Dad was his deep sense of responsibility towards the local community. He was well known in his local area for helping others and for getting stuff done. After he died, Dad was remembered with the planting of some trees in Littleheath woods, a place we often visited as a family when we were kids.

I’ve yet to visit the tree planting, and it may yet be a while before I do so. The weather’s been awful in the past few days, and I expect the woods are really wet and muddy. Maybe I’ll toddle over later in the week and take a look…we’ll see. For now – I’ll make do with an impression of what the woods will look like on a clearer day once Spring begins to show.

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Shining Angels

The angel making experiment continues…

These pieces were drawn and painted in recent days, using pencil and acrylic paints on water colour paper. They are fiddly to make, and require a steady hand, I’m really enjoying this phase of making, and seeing how the images change depending on how the light plays on them.

The green/blue piece will be the next free art drop, and I am considering entering the golden pair into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

When Angels Visit Us

Following on from the Angelic UpstArt sketch I posted earlier, I’ve made one or two changes to the larger angel canvas. Here it is in its ‘before’ state:

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And here it is again after some more marks have been added.

This work is on an 80cm x 30cm canvas and I used Liquitex Heavy Body Professional paints.

Whilst I like the overall design – I’m personally not 100% sure about this one, and I’ve learned not to rush, so I’m sticking with it, for now at least. If you would like to buy this piece, you can contact me for more details via doug dot shaw at wgalimited dot com.

 

Thank You

After some encouragement from good people in my network, I designed a 2018 calendar featuring some of my free art project work. Over 40 were sold, thanks to everyone who purchased a copy.

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In today’s post – I received an important piece of paper, namely the receipt for a charitable donation of £176, paid to the good people of Wallington Animal Rescue, which was made possible through sales of the aforementioned calendar.

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This has been a fun thing to do. Curating the art work itself, compiling a set of notes telling the story of the art, and finding a way to make the product has been an enjoyable challenge. On the last point, I learned enough to ensure that if I repeat the experience, I should be able to deliver a similarly good quality product, at a slightly lower cost. That means I can offer the calendar slightly cheaper, or alternatively, raise more for a charity next time.

Thank you to everyone who supported the calendar project, and thank you Wallington Animal Rescue for the excellent work you do.

 

Angelic UpstArts

Where to start the artistic adventures of 2018? I had an idea for a larger canvas over the 2017 Christmas period – and following some good advice from Carole – I began with a developmental sketch, seen below.

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From there I scaled the idea up and went from monochrome to colour. I’m not convinced by the larger piece yet – I think I need to make the figure looser, somehow. I’ll keep playing.

The canvas is 80cm x 30cm and the paper is 25cm x 10cm. The dessert spoon is shown to help you get a sense of the difference in size between the two pieces.

The two pieces are currently untitled – and I am grateful to MJ Carty for putting the blog title idea in my head, thank you.

Update: The monochrome sketch has now sold.

In Cod We Trust

This is the fourth piece of art I’ve made so far in 2018 (some of the other new pieces will appear on the blog soon). The adapted dollar bill, made using Posca paint pens and Pebeo silver acrylic paint, emerged a few weeks ago and the backdrop was made today. I’ve decided to make this the first free art drop of 2018, so if you happen to live in the Wallington/Carshalton area – keep an eye out for it this weekend. Happy New Year!

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Here’s the art with the dollar bill pressed and fixed into place – looks a bit tidier now. I liked making this – I may well do a series of these.

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Cat’s Eyes

A friend was in touch several weeks ago asking if I would accept a commission to paint two members of his family. I’m not known for my skills as a portrait artist – and when my friend Chris gave me some more details about what he was looking for, I decided to go ahead and accept the challenge. The painting is to be a gift, and the two family members are cats. Black cats.

Chris and I exchanged a few notes about my approach to the work – and we agreed this should not be a portrait in the traditional sense. Chris gave me a sense of the personalities of the two cats, and it was over to me. I spent ages thinking about how to represent these two family members in an appropriate way, something which would both resonate for Chris and Paula, for it is she who will receive the gift, and be a satisfying challenge for me as the artist.

The more I thought – the more my nerves heightened. Chair and Paula love these cats, what if I fail to capture a good likeness? Portraiture is a really tough art form, but I kept plotting, until my ideas formed into something I felt would work. I decided the best way to represent the cats was to try and let their personalities show through, and in order to do this – the cats themselves needed to be largely invisible. Here’s what I came up with.

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Chris and I arranged to meet so I could show him the work in real life. I was nervous heading for our rendezvous…what if he doesn’t like the work? On my way to the meeting I stopped off to hand over some watercolour postcards to someone in my network and I showed them the painting. ‘If he doesn’t want it – come back here and I’ll buy it off you’. OK – I’ve captured something here, that feedback settled my nerves a little. I went on to see Chris, and I’m pleased to say the picture has been signed, framed, and handed over.

I’m truly grateful to Chris for asking me to do this. It was a challenge and it was fun, and the end result really works. It’s great to see what can be done in a supportive environment when working with a willingness to try something new.