This is the 50th consecutive week I have made and given away art. Coincidentally it is also the week in which Chloe Ray releases her new EP, titled Reprise, and Chloe and I have been talking about how we can jointly celebrate. The last track on the EP is titled ‘Not Giving Up’ and we decided I would make a painting with the same title. The title of the work resonates for me because the free art project is partly about not giving up.
This week, I asked the community for ideas to inspire the art, and I received many replies. Among the suggestions were light at the end of the tunnel, sunrises, and much more. Initially I thought about stylising the local landscape in some way to incorporate some of these ideas. However, I’ve also been experiencing a lot of stress in parts of my work lately – and I needed a release. I realised the initial landscaping idea wasn’t going to cut it in my current mood – so I upscaled. I took a large canvas outside and really threw myself at the work. What has emerged is a much more abstract image, one for me which captures the spirit of the ideas people shared, captures the song title, and expresses some of how I’m currently feeling.
This art work will be on display this evening for Chloe’s launch event at The Brook, before it is hidden for you to find somewhere in the neighbourhood this weekend, along with a signed copy of Chloe’s new EP.
Thank you to everyone who supports the free art project, it is nothing without you. Thank you Chloe for inviting me to collaborate with you on this special occasion.
Preliminary sketch for Not Giving Up
Having made some extra free art earlier in the week, I took my foot off the gas, and forgot I needed to prepare something for this coming weekend. Yesterday afternoon, with not much time left to make the work, I took to Facebook and asked for some inspiration. Ideas came in thick and fast – as Storm Doris blew all around us, in our case literally taking the roof off, well a piece of it anyway!!
So it was settled – the theme for this week’s art was to be…wind. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to draw wind – but trust me, it’s not easy. I thought for a while – and here’s what finally emerged from the pencil and the paint brush.
I painted onto rough, handmade recycled cotton rag paper – and I like how the texture of the paper adds to the overall effect. This art will be placed somewhere in my local community over the weekend. Finders keepers.
I made this poppy sketch last week, it’s inspired by a previous work of art painted by our daughter when she was just a few years old. Here is the original piece, framed and waiting to be hung on our wall.
Keira’s art, and poppies are some of the enduring inspiration I take with me on my artistic adventures. They resurfaced again recently as part of the free art project, and several people have kindly bought poppy sketches from me over the past year and a half (have I really been selling art for that long already?).
The free art project has been the most fascinating part of my art adventure so far. Since April 2016 I have painted and given away well over 50 small art works. I make them, and leave them in the local area for people to find. There are a few exceptions – pieces made and left on my travels – but nearly all the art works have been placed in and around my home town of Wallington, and neighbouring Carshalton, Beddington, and Roundshaw. The project has caught on, with me and other folks in the area in a way I still find hard to imagine. In its own small way it connects me to the community in which I’ve lived most of my life, in a way I’d never previously thought possible.
One of the ways our community chooses to stay together is through something called The Spirit of Wallington awards. They take place tonight, and the free art project is a finalist (still can’t quite believe it). I’ll be in the air – heading to Dubai for a few days to work, so I will miss the event this evening. Thankfully, Carole and Keira have kindly agreed to go on my behalf and join in a celebration of good people and good things, which bring us together. Thank yo to everyone who supports the free art project, I appreciate the motivation and encouragement. I hope everyone has a fantastic time this evening and I look forward to hearing all about it when I get back.
A quick stop off at the ‘printers’. I’ve used this monoprint technique a few times now, and I like the blend of intent and surprise it brings. One of the nice things about this method is that it produces two similar images. Getting the positioning and quantities of paint right on the first sheet of paper is a matter of trial and error, then you press the two sheets together and pull them apart.
The tension in the paint as the sheets of paper separate creates an interesting network of ‘veins’, you can see them more clearly in this (poorly lit) close up photo. I enjoy experimenting with this basic method of printing, more to follow.
This pair of art works has been sold.
This piece of art is a continuation in my experiment with my three new Winsor and Newton paints. I’ve used just two colours this time, Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Yellow.
Work in Progress : First Stage
I wanted to achieve a gradual shift in tone, and I made this happen by painting onto wet paper using a blended orange paint I mixed, to which I gradually added more red. This is a small art work and the shift in colour is quite subtle, especially in the photograph, but it is there.
Once the paint had fully dried, I applied some gold leaf.
Initial feedback to this work has been really encouraging, and I am going to make a series of pieces using different colour shifts and different gold leaf applications. For the first time I will also be inviting people to commission their own versions of this work. You will be able to choose the colours, and the gold leaf shape, and the size of the finished work.
This piece of art is sold.
I wanted to experiment further with the abstract ‘river’ patterns I’ve been playing with recently. My intention is to try different colours and materials too. I was curious to see how gold leaf would sit alongside acrylic paint, so I mixed up some reds and yellows and painted them randomly onto a pencil grid I marked out on this canvas board.
Once the paint had dried, I applied some gold leaf to a few of the coloured panels.
Here is a close up and another view with the canvas board titled so you can see the gold leaf more easily.
This painting has been sold in my Etsy shop, and a donation will be made to the Arts Emergency charity from the proceeds.
Update : March 7th 2016. I have received a photograph of the finished piece, safely in its new Californian home. Here it is.