Having taken a 12 mile stroll along the River Wandle recently, our local river is on my mind again. I’m enjoying making panoramic art at the moment, and playing with slightly watered down acrylic paint. This piece will be my next free art drop.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Over the weekend I took my block of Aquarelle Arches panoramic paper, and loosely recreated the scene from the photo.
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.
This is a work in progress, you can see the two art works together here for comparison purposes.
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.
I recently spent a lovely evening in the company of Samia and Paolo Tossio on their excellent Knit and Mix Facebook Live mash up. Samia talks and makes art with a guest while Paulo plays some excellent house music. You can visit Samia’s art page, and watch the recording, it’s a good blend of chaotic tuneful fun.
My plan was to make a free art drop live on the show, integrating some of my favourite artistic themes (the elements, movement, and impermanence), with wool, one of Samia’s favourite materials. Over the course of the two hours we spent together – three pieces of art emerged.
It had originally been my intention for this week’s free art drop to be the art work in the top left of the above photos. I had provisionally titled it ‘Wandering and Wondering’, and overnight – as the images wandered and wondered around my mind, my thinking shifted. Instead I was drawn to the tall striped piece – and this morning i added a koi fish to the painting.
The koi represents good luck and abundance, and as this koi appears as a simple outline, I decided to call the piece ‘The Ghost of Good Fortune’. This will be the next free art drop – keep an aye out for it if you live in the Wallington and Carshalton area.