During a recent trip to Spain my mind wandered back home. At the time the lavender would have been in full bloom, just about to be harvested. Usually we would see the harvest taking place but this year – the early hot weather had brought things forward.
I made a sketch which I shared on Facebook. The sketch was spotted by someone in my network who was about to be married. Lavender was the theme of the wedding and the person asked if the sketch was for sale. I said they could have it as a gift, I brought it home, mounted it and this lavender went on its journey.
Prior to going away I had made three lavender waves. Two were given away in my local area as free art drops, the third I took with us on holiday.
I photographed ‘Third Wave’ in Parc Guell, Barcelona – someone in my network correctly guessed the location and this art work is now theirs.
The final holiday related lavender art work is this one.
I particularly enjoyed making this piece – it has a looseness to it which I sometimes struggle to achieve. Since returning home I’ve had it made into a greeting card, and you can see the original in a frame here.
Casting my lavender mind back a little further – I made a small sketch in May which became a free art drop, and which led to a larger (20″ x 16″) canvas. I’m not sure the latter is finished yet…
My head was filled with images of roses whilst on holiday in Spain recently, prompted by a line from John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell’s cover of ‘Spanish Harlem.’
This little sketch was the first image to emerge from brain to paper. It’s a bit messy, and recognisable as a rose, I think?!
I let the shape of the flower rest in my mind for a day or two before first putting pencil to paper to create an outline. Next I worked in several shades of red, intentionally leaving the pencil lines visible. The stem, thorns and signature followed.
This finished piece will be my next free art drop.
A huge lightning storm rolled over our town (and much of Southern England) this week. I slept right through it! Subsequently I’ve seen a few photos of dark purple skies crackling to life in the storm. I thought this would make a good subject for this week’s free art drop, so here’s what I made. Watercolour and silver leaf.
I’m fortunate to live near lots of public open spaces. One of my favourites is Beddington Park. I enjoy walking around it, and sometimes use it as the location for my free art drops. Some friends are organising a Big Lunch event in the park on Sunday June 4th, and I’ve made this free art drop to mark the occasion.
The background is a graded watercolour wash, subtly shifting from green to yellow, representing the move from Spring to Summer. The gold leaf represents the many meandering pathways across the park, and the River Wandle, which flows through it. This work will be hidden somewhere in the park this weekend. Finders keepers.
Anne McCrossan has many talents – and the one I want to highlight today is her work as a ceramicist. Anne works in Cornwall using local clay to make a range of fascinating objects. Through a clever use of digital iconography in her work, she blends the art of making with a nod to the online world in which some of her other work inhabits.
I admire this connection between making with our hands and interacting in a digital workd, and for some time I’ve wanted to explore this intersection through my visual art. I dropped Anne a line yesterday to see if she was OK with me pursuing this. She is, and after I woke very early today, and couldn’t get back to sleep – I got to work. My intention was to create a simple backdrop through repeating a technique of wet on wet watercolour I have used previously, combined with a gradual addition of a second paint pigment. Here are photos showing how I set up my workspace, and the finished, graded watercolour washes.
I had to make all four of these pieces simultaneously – gradually adding measures of red paint to the yellow as I move down the sheets of paper.
Once the paint was dry, I pencilled an outline of the icon I wanted to use, applied some gilding paste and gold leaf, then waited…
I had to apply the gold leaf three times, trying to fill in gaps where it hadn’t stuck to the paper properly. In the end – I got a close enough representation.
As a first attempt I am pleased with the result – I particularly like the tonal shift in the watercolour. This piece will be the free art drop this weekend, given away a little later than usual. Note to self – don’t leave it so late in the week to try a fiddly new experiment next time!
A few conversations this week have brought to mind the importance of spotting patterns in our work. One off events have their place, and what else do you notice through repeated observations? Is my behaviour today out of the ordinary, or is this how you normally experience me? Should you or I do anything differently as a result? These conversations got pretty deep at times, and as I began to surface, I thought about an artistic interpretation of what had been spoken.
But what to paint? I looked to nature first, the greatest pattern maker of all.
The bottom row emerged first, hints of something floral? The top row came next. Plant life of some sort, maybe coral? I enjoyed watching the paint strokes interact, each overlapping movement creating a darker shade than the original stroke. Mixing slight variations from my paintbox – not identical patterns, just exploring similarities.
I’m enjoying working on panoramic paper at the moment so I cut a sheet from a larger piece, and reworked the patterning.
This time I mixed my shades from liquid watercolour, blending alizarin crimson with cerulean blue and cadmium yellow. Slightly bolder tones, the basic shape the same, the overlapping, darkening shades. This piece of patterning will be the next free art drop. If you live in my neighbourhood, keep an eye out for it over the weekend.
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.
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.