Tag Archives: art

A Parliament Of Owls

This week I hosted the latest We Are All Artists free art workshop. The event was held at The Wallington Arms and materials were kindly supplied by Arts Network Sutton.

One of the things on offer that evening was for our guests to make an owl drawing or painting, and contribute it to the free art project. Nine of our guests kindly obliged, so I now have a parliament of beautiful owls, waiting to be hidden in the local area.

You may have spotted there are in fact ten artworks here. I made one of them which has already been given away, I’ll do a remake for the art drop. Keep an eye out for these beautiful owls over the coming days.

We Are All Artists

Saturday 19th August, Midday. I’m unloading (what feels like) a ton of art materials at The Wallington Arms, to get ready for our first We Are All Artists community art workshop and exhibition. Jon, Rachel and the rest of the staff are on hand, the doors are opened and the set up begins. Carole and Keira come down early to help – that’s much appreciated. Will anyone show up? I’m quietly confident that there are enough curious people in and around town to make this a worthwhile afternoon. We’ll see…

We are due to start at 2pm, and just before then, our first guests arrive. They are quickly followed by more, and more, and more. In a short time – the huge room is full and we are busy playing a drawing game called Finding Lines. The game loosens people up for a brief conversation about community and what that means to our guests. We ponder a while – share a few ideas, then get down to work. Our intention is to create art for our own evening exhibition.

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Artists at work. Thanks to The Wallington Arms for this excellent photo.

The pub very kindly provided some snacks as people worked, and boy did they work. The room became an outpouring of colour. Acrylics, water colours, Sharpies, pastels, crayons, pencils and more came to life across the room as the art works began to emerge. Jason Goldrick kindly demonstrated a technique involving water colours, salt, clingfilm and a hair dryer (you had to be there). There seemed to be no end to our creative experiments – credit cards were used as brushes, so were fingers and hands. 4pm arrived in the blink of an eye – and our guests departed. We now had just two hours to turn the room from a fully functioning workshop, into an exhibition space. No pressure!

With more help from Carole, Keira, Helen and Aissa, the transformation began. We worked hard, and once the clear up was finished we then had the job of curating the work. I think we did a pretty good job – I hope you will agree.

The exhibition opened at 6pm and our guests had a great evening viewing all the art and having conversations about community. I met Lindsay who recently guessed the location of a Spanish art drop which I was able to hand over, and Stacie came to the exhibition with a piece of free art which I placed in Spain a year ago. She correctly guessed its location at the time – and it was a lovely coincidence to spend time with two people who had both found Spanish free art. The project is full of lovely coincidences like this.

We closed up just after 8pm and I’m heading back to The Wallington Arms in a while to finish taking everything down. I expect the two large murals will stay on the wall for a while, why not pop down soon and take a look at them?

Thank you to everyone who came and made art, and attended the exhibition. Thanks to Carole, Keira, Helen and Aissa for helping with preparations. Thanks to Rachel, Jon and all the staff at The Wallington Arms for being such great hosts, and thanks to Arts Network Sutton for supporting the free art project and providing a grant so this event could take place.

#WeAreAllArtists

The Ghost of Good Fortune

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. IMG_4256.jpg

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.

Cards On The Table

I recently spent a really interesting day at my local college on a “Preparing for Professional Practice’ course. The day was full of good ideas, and I may well blog a summary at some point. For now – I want to focus on one particular question raised, that being ‘What’s the most important part of your marketing strategy?’

Much discussion about websites, flyers, and galleries ensued. Once we were all talked out, our tutor asked, ‘Who here has a business card?’ There were seven of us in the room, and only one of us could answer this question positively. Our tutor suggested that the humble business card is that most important part of the marketing strategy.

Initially I felt underwhelmed. I can’t remember the last time I ordered business cards, they’ve become somewhat unfashionable in many business circles I currently move in. The idea stuck in my head, and over a few weeks, it stayed stuck – niggling me. I decided to explore the niggle, and found myself looking through loads of my work, searching for images which might look good as a business card. I chose, rejected, rechose, rejected, again and again and again. In the end, I settled on five images, each of which tell a story as well as making a visual statement.

You’ll find all these images, and a variation of the one on the bottom right, elsewhere on the blog, so I won’t retell the stories here and now, but next time you see me, ask me for my card, and I’ll happily tell the tale behind the image.

I used Moo to print the cards which are made with super thick 600 gsm paper with a lovely blue seam sandwiched in between the layers.

Will the humble business card become the most important part of my marketing strategy? Time will tell.

Green Silver-lines

Where do good ideas come from? I often make art with a title or a theme in mind. Often, and not always…

I’ve been busy this week and my free art will be placed a little later than usual, it’s going out on Sunday this week. I’ve been experimenting with my elemental art theme again – and been looking at and thinking about Spring. I made these two small sketches, slight variations on previous designs, and once complete – I wasn’t sure what to call them.

Googling the words green and silver, I learned of a moth called Green Silver-lines. This woodland moth is green with three white lines crossing its wings. I have three silver lines on my green design – so now I have a title for this work.

I haven’t yet decided which one to place, have you got a preference?

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!

 

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!