Category Archives: Acrylic

Lavender’s Blue?

Preparations for the Carshalton Artists Open Studios are in full swing here, aka panic mode! I’ve been working on a larger (80cm x 30cm) canvas for a while, with a local theme in mind…

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I’m currently torn between the River Wandle and the lavender fields which our area is well known for. I’m keen to work up this canvas and because I am unsure where to go next, I’m currently experimenting with some patterns on smaller pieces.

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The intention is to offer up some cut shapes containing various colours and patterns to the larger canvas, and see how they do, or do not work. Earlier in my painting career I’d have blundered on with the main canvas and maybe ruined it. Now – when I get to a point where I feel experimentation is required, sometimes I do it in such a way as to preserve something good and as yet unfinished. Also – by working like this, sometimes I get the added bonus of a free art drop emerging out of the experiment.

Shades of Grey

Siobhan Sheridan shared a photo on Instagram a few days ago. It depicted a grey sea, a grey sky, and some heavy, grey clouds. It’s a lovely moody picture which stuck in my head long after I finished looking at it.

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Over the weekend I took my block of Aquarelle Arches panoramic paper, and loosely recreated the scene from the photo.

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I really enjoyed the ragging technique which I used in the upper third of the image, so much so that I’ve started on a much larger scale version.

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This is a work in progress, you can see the two art works together here for comparison purposes.

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Green Silver-lines

Where do good ideas come from? I often make art with a title or a theme in mind. Often, and not always…

I’ve been busy this week and my free art will be placed a little later than usual, it’s going out on Sunday this week. I’ve been experimenting with my elemental art theme again – and been looking at and thinking about Spring. I made these two small sketches, slight variations on previous designs, and once complete – I wasn’t sure what to call them.

Googling the words green and silver, I learned of a moth called Green Silver-lines. This woodland moth is green with three white lines crossing its wings. I have three silver lines on my green design – so now I have a title for this work.

I haven’t yet decided which one to place, have you got a preference?

In Motion

Last Friday was a very special night. I was at an event at the famous revolving restaurant on the 34th floor of the BT Tower. After enjoying an excellent dinner, we had the opportunity to make art while the restaurant obligingly did its thing, offering us an ever changing view of London. I couldn’t resist the opportunity and took a wide panoramic canvas (80cm x 30cm) and started work.

I painted what I saw, as it appeared in front of me, and as the view moved, so did what appeared in the painting. I ended up with an abstraction of the view over London at night. This is the painting in situ, just after the restaurant stopped moving.

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Here’s another view, looking straight at the canvas. I really enjoyed making this art work, it has real pace and movement to it, and I quickly realised I had to go with the flow, and let London appear, and appear, and appear. I am really enjoying scaling up my work.

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Japanese Cherry Blossom

There’s a tree outside my window, currently full of blossom. On Sunday I went for a walk in the neighbourhood and saw blossom everywhere. On returning home, I remembered I had a winter tree sketch made a few weeks ago, sitting in my ‘unfinished business’ pile. I mixed up some pinks, whites, and reds, and carefully brought the winter tree into a new season.

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I shared this new Spring tree on Facebook, then put it in my Etsy shop, where it sold about fifteen seconds after I’d listed it. Head spinning stuff! I’ve since listed a short run, limited edition print of 30 which have started to sell too. Maybe it’s just the timeliness of the image, but whatever it is, I’ve not experienced such a strong and fast positive reaction to my work before now. Thank you to everyone who has shared this image online, and given such encouraging feedback. I appreciate your support.

Distress Call : A Portrait

Along with colleagues, I’ve been helping to soak up a stressful situation at work lately. It’s been hard – trying to look out for one another and look out for myself too. Over the weekend I ran and gave away some art, spent some lovely time with family too, yet in the background, the stress remained.

On Saturday night, still looking for a release, I opened a few tubes of paint and using only my fingers, I painted a portrait. Portraiture is alien to me, as is not using a brush, and I struggled to make an image.

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Unhappy with what I’d made, I nevertheless left the portrait to dry overnight.

On Sunday I felt no happier with the work in its original form, and I returned to it. After a few more fingerfuls of paint, here’s where I got to.

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I shared this image on Facebook and was a little surprised by the favourable responses. I had been looking to paint a distressed face – what I see is something more stern, more resolute. Although I felt a little happier with this adapted version, I was still mindful to overpaint this canvas, obliterating the distress call.

The day went on. I slowly relaxed, and as I did – I felt closer to the image on the canvas. By Sunday evening I had decided that this canvas should not be overpainted, not for now at least.

This last photo shows the canvas framed by shadow in the Monday morning sunlight. In this photo you can really see the scars in the face, which are a coincidence left behind from a previous painting onto which I painted this one.

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My distress call will remain in the studio for now. I certainly feel a lot better for having him around.

Footnote

I mentioned the distress call portrait is painted over another image. I thought you might be interested to see what lies beneath…

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Elements of this earlier work were initially inspired by a visit several years ago to the Picasso Museum in Malaga. A friend remarked, ‘the [earlier] painting had me thinking about how Picasso and others around the turn of the 20th century were inspired by African artefacts and masks. Maybe they were meant to be together…?’

Departure

I heard some very sad news this week. Tim Kitchin, a friend and colleague is no longer with us. I first met Tim back in 2008 when I still inhabited corporate life, and we both had strong interests in sustainability from a business perspective. We stayed in touch and I was the beneficiary of his smart, critical thinking, and his humour, on many occasions. I was very excited when he joined the Ethos partnership of which I too am a part, back in March 2016. This gave us the opportunity to work closer together. That’s over now, and I miss him.

This week’s free art drop is a work made to acknowledge how I am currently feeling about this loss. A couple of people who know Tim and who have also seen the art, say the colours remind them of his warmth. That works for me.

Part of my purpose in the free art project has always been about learning to let go. This particular art drop will be the hardest one I’ve had to let go of so far.

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