Category Archives: Mixed Media

The Free Art Project : Week 52. Anniversary

This week marks the one year anniversary of the free art project, I’ve been making and hiding art in the local area, every week for a whole year. Time flies when you’re having fun. This week I’ll give away the 76th art work, and this is what it looks like.

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The work is titled ‘Anniversary’. The painting represents a Chinese red envelope – traditionally used to contain money as a gift for a celebration. We’re looking down onto a carp fish, a symbol which represents abundance, and the characters on the left hand side of the painting represent the word anniversary.

Thank you to everyone who supports this project. I appreciate your ideas, feedback, participation and encouragement more than you know. I’m grateful to Carole and Keira for the many good ideas they share with me, and most recently, thank you to the poet Adrian Thirkell who has started writing verse to accompany some of the recent art works. I’d love to experience more collaborations as the project continues to develop.

I’m really excited to confirm that the free art project has recently been awarded a grant from Arts Network Sutton. This grant will help me develop and extend the project through some community events. Watch this space!

 

Edge of Glory : Revisited

A few weeks ago, I made a piece of art titled Edge of Glory. I painted it in response to this invitation:

Get to the highest point you can, either in your house or office or school or outside, wherever you are. Look as far as you can. Draw what you can imagine there – be as fantastical as you like. Or realistic. Look out and imagine who might be standing there looking back towards you.

Edge of Glory became part of the free art project. It attracted a lot of attention at the time, and I was pleased to be commissioned to make another.

As you can see, I made two versions, and invited the person who commissioned the work, to choose their favourite. They opted for the one on the left.

I had intended to sell the one on the right too, then I met someone after my recent talk on the Art of Resilience, who spoke very movingly about the recent death of his father. I had the painting with me at the time, and felt compelled to offer it as a gift. It was accepted.

I’ve recently had some calling cards made, and I chose to include the original Edge of Glory in the set.

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This is a design I enjoyed coming up with, and I enjoyed reprising it too. I can see this being revisited in different colour palettes too.

 

Morning Coffee

The past week has been really tiring. Preparing for, and delivering the Art of Resilience took quite a bit out of me, and in addition, work’s been tough this week. We’ve been analysing the fallout of an unexpected, and pretty toxic resignation from a partnership I work with. More of that another time on my other blog.

I arrived at the end of the week feeling drained, yet needing to make art for the free art drop. Inspiration had I none. In conversation with one of my colleagues, I said I needed more coffee, and Jenny suggested that maybe, the coffee pot should be my subject this week.

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I took a few minutes to look at the pot in situ, before bringing it to my desk, and drawing it.

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I was concentrating on my observation skills – I took my time over the drawing. On reflection – it’s a bit tight. I was trying too hard to capture the detail of the pot, and you can see this in some of the lines – they lack confidence and directness in places. I’ve also drawn the pot taller and narrower than it is. This observation stuff is hard work!

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I added some silver leaf to give the effect of age, and added in some fineliner to make one or two elements stand out a little more (this photo was taken before the fineliner was applied. This art has since been hidden and found as part of the We Are All Artists free art project.

It’s not my usual style of work – but I like it, I might make another to hang in our kitchen!

 

Seven Years

Our local gift shop, Calladoodles, is about to turn seven years old. I enjoy supporting local independent traders, and I have designed and painted some art to help Calladoodles celebrate.

This art is representative of the red envelopes which are often used to contain money, and given as gifts at times of celebration as part of Chinese culture. I have attempted to overlay the Chinese characters for ‘seven years’ in gold leaf. I hope they are at least reasonably accurate.

Calladoodles will be including one of these art works in their celebration treasure hunt next week, and the other will be given away as part of my free art project.

The Art of Resilience : Kintsugi

I’ve agreed to give a short talk on resilience at a conference next week. Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to say yes to something when you don’t think about it first? Gulp! I want to approach the subject using a mixture of art and the experience of myself and others. It is tempting to see resilience as a kind of armour – something off which life’s projectiles can bounce. I prefer to see resilience as something more flexible, adapting to the challenge rather than resisting it. During the talk I will explore grief, vulnerability, wabi sabi and more.

Wabi sabi is a Japanese concept, beauty that is impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete. Wabi sabi has a connection to a practice known as kintsugi, or kintsukuroi, the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The idea being that the cracks are now a part of the imperfect work, not something to be hidden away, or covered.

I am finding the preparation for this talk quite stressful. I am recalling bereavement and other tough times, and I can only stand to absorb so much of this stuff. I needed a release.

I drew a pot – using pencils and a small watercolour brush. I then drew a crack into the pot which I filled with gold.IMG_3405.jpg

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I found it hard to know when to stop, not very wabi sabi of me! I’ve settled now – it’s good enough. I can see imperfections, incompletions – so to that extent – the art represents my current work well.I’ve titled the piece, ‘You Broke My Heart. I Tried To Fix It, And You Can Still See The Cracks’, and I will hold onto this piece for the Carshalton Artists Open Studios event this summer, which I am excited to be taking part in. I’ll let you know how the Art of Resilience talk goes soon, too.

 

Free Movement

This is a small series of abstract works, designed to consider movement. The pieces are layered, each layer representing a different element of movement.

I started with wet paper to which I added graded shades of water colour, the idea was to represent the drift and movement from one colour to another.

Once that dried, the next layer arrived as paint splashed from the brush, a much more random movement. Finally I blew some gilding paste across the surface of each piece, then applied some gold leaf. It took more readily in certain areas than others.

One of the finished pieces featured in the ITV News article about my free art project, and was given away near Beddington Park. Another piece has been given away in Wallington and a third has been gifted. There are three post card sized pieces remaining in the series – if you like the look of any of them – drop me a line, they are for sale.

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Two Keys : Sutton United

If you have even the vaguest interest in football, you’ll know that Sutton United meet Arsenal in the 5th round of the FA Cup this evening. Sutton United are based a couple of miles from my home, and over the weekend I responded to a suggestion to make an extra free art drop to commemorate the occasion. Inspiration took a while to strike, and as I sat staring at the club crest, it finally hit me.

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I chose to reference the two keys and the gold and silver discs on which they are placed.

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Tools at the ready, I began to draw. Ink and paint flowed, gold and silver leaf was pasted, and here’s where I ended up. As you can see I made two versions of the art work – and these will be placed somewhere in Sutton later today. Finders keepers.