Autumn Closing In

I spent some time cycling and walking in The Peak District last weekend, Autumn colours are everywhere right now. I wanted to develop a new artwork to follow on from the recently published Autumn Leaf, which I’ve sold two versions of already. I spied a leaf on the ground, a mix of yellows, browns, pink and orange – this one just stood out in the crowd. I picked it up and studied it for a few minutes, before replacing it, and finishing my walk.

On my return to the hotel – I set to work trying to create a sense of Autumnal colours in my work. I enjoy the challenge of working with watercolours, I find them very unforgiving, and at times I lack the confidence to go all in. That feeling was absent this time, and I played with different techniques on different parts of the paper. This piece was completed over a two day period, and is now available to buy on my Etsy shop.

Heartbreak Beat

A couple of weeks ago a few of us went to see The Psychedelic Furs at the O2 Forum. This was the first time I’d seem them for decades – and you wonder, don’t you…how are they going to sound after all this time?

The band were in great form, the gig and the company was excellent. Since the performance I’ve been revisiting some of the band’s music – and the song Heartbreak Beat keeps sticking in my mind.

I made this piece of art in response to the song title. It shares the same name as the song, and hints at some of their mid-career visual imagery. This piece will be my next free art drop.

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Autumn Leaf

A simple design. Regular visitors to the blog will recognise the various elements which make up this image. I enjoy blending watercolour from one shade to another, it works really well as a background for a strong design. Th leaf is a shape I regularly doodle, and the gold leaf, whilst being a pain to work with, is one of my favourite materials to look at. Once everything was dry, I sprayed a coat of varnish on top to protect the metal.

This design sold very quickly, and I’ve already been asked to make another. I may well add that second one to the blog post once it is complete.

Autumn Equinox

My friend Callum Saunders shared a reminder on Facebook that today marks the start of the Autumn Equinox. His post spurred me to action and I made an abstract landscape work using a background of green and yellow, overlaid with more autumnal colours of orange and gold.

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The more I looked, the less finished it appeared, so I added another note to reflect the harvest. I kinda like the way the wheat is leaning toward the setting sun. This will be the next free art drop.

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On The Tiles

A few weeks ago I spent a very enjoyable morning making a design for a ceramic tile in the company of Judit Matthews. Judit is an illustrative artist who lives and works near me, who recently offered to run a workshop on tile painting. Keen to try something new, I signed up and went along.

Judit’s studio is a lovely light filled room with loads of windows, and very high ceilings. It’s a great place to work. There were six of us in the workshop and with Judit’s guidance, we all managed to finish a piece of work in the two hours we spent together. Here’s mine.

I have plans to make further tiles using leaf and other designs, I just need to source the raw materials, and find the time! This piece will be placed locally over the weekend as the latest free art drop.

Update. Someone has asked me how you might frame a ceramic tile. I have fixed a small folding hook to the reverse so you could hang the piece unframed. I also mocked up a deeper section frame idea as an example.

If I was going to frame it like this, I would remove the hook (it is glued on and would slice off with a sharp knife) and fix the tile to the back of the frame with strong glue dots.

About The Weather : Further Developments

Since finishing and placing the Sunshine and Showers free art drop, I’ve continued playing with the basic design and colours in my mind. This weekend I decided to scale the idea up from last week’s 10 x 25 cm study, to a 40cm x 50cm canvas.

This time I chose three shades of blue – which I initially applied with different size brushes straight from the tube, before gradually mixing the shades together on the palette and adding white, creating more variations as the work progressed. I worked on an overpainted canvas – from memory I think there were about four layers of paint previously applied before I got to work on this latest one.

I like how the previous paint layers have added depth and affected the most recent one – and the continuous blending and mixing of the three shades of blue has produced a tonal variety which I’m enjoying looking at. If you would like to purchase this artwork, please get in touch.

Layering and Masking

Layering and Masking. Letting go of the need for certainty. Working on something knowing it can and will change, as it emerges over a period of time. We rarely make time for this kind of thing, yet it often helps us think and do things differently.

During a recent two day art meets organisational development workshop in Berlin, we carried out a number of experiments. One of them involved layering and masking, building up and changing a piece of work over several iterations. Each person in the room was given a blank canvas, and encouraged to develop their work in layers over the course of the time we were together.

I chose to be quite orderly in my attempt – first masking out three lines across the canvas, then applying the first layers of paint. I used different tools to get different paint effects, and each time I returned to the artwork, I re-obscured most of the lines, and added more paint. Here are some photos of the work emerging over a 48 hour period.

Stephanie Barnes was a member of this group, and she produced a completely different work using a variety of different tools, including scrapers, bubble wrap, and a rubber comb to apply paint. I love how this artwork changes throughout the process – barely any traces of the original layer remain.

This was a really enjoyable process, I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to experience something emerging and changing over time in an improvisational way.