Edge of Glory is one of my favourite works, I enjoy making the design and looking at it afterwards. I was recently asked to revisit it using a hotter colour palette than the original blue version. I’ve been experimenting with an orange which works well alongside Cadmium Red, and in the past few days, I got the mix right.
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.
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!
I’ve agreed to give a short talk on resilience at a conference next week. Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to say yes to something when you don’t think about it first? Gulp! I want to approach the subject using a mixture of art and the experience of myself and others. It is tempting to see resilience as a kind of armour – something off which life’s projectiles can bounce. I prefer to see resilience as something more flexible, adapting to the challenge rather than resisting it. During the talk I will explore grief, vulnerability, wabi sabi and more.
Wabi sabi is a Japanese concept, beauty that is impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete. Wabi sabi has a connection to a practice known as kintsugi, or kintsukuroi, the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The idea being that the cracks are now a part of the imperfect work, not something to be hidden away, or covered.
I am finding the preparation for this talk quite stressful. I am recalling bereavement and other tough times, and I can only stand to absorb so much of this stuff. I needed a release.
I drew a pot – using pencils and a small watercolour brush. I then drew a crack into the pot which I filled with gold.
I found it hard to know when to stop, not very wabi sabi of me! I’ve settled now – it’s good enough. I can see imperfections, incompletions – so to that extent – the art represents my current work well. I’ve titled the piece, ‘You Broke My Heart. I Tried To Fix It, And You Can Still See The Cracks’, and I will hold onto this piece for the Carshalton Artists Open Studios event this summer, which I am excited to be taking part in. I’ll let you know how the Art of Resilience talk goes soon, too.
This is a small series of abstract works, designed to consider movement. The pieces are layered, each layer representing a different element of movement.
I started with wet paper to which I added graded shades of water colour, the idea was to represent the drift and movement from one colour to another.
Once that dried, the next layer arrived as paint splashed from the brush, a much more random movement. Finally I blew some gilding paste across the surface of each piece, then applied some gold leaf. It took more readily in certain areas than others.
One of the finished pieces featured in the ITV News article about my free art project, and was given away near Beddington Park. Another piece has been given away in Wallington and a third has been gifted. The remaining pieces in the series are sold.
If you have even the vaguest interest in football, you’ll know that Sutton United meet Arsenal in the 5th round of the FA Cup this evening. Sutton United are based a couple of miles from my home, and over the weekend I responded to a suggestion to make an extra free art drop to commemorate the occasion. Inspiration took a while to strike, and as I sat staring at the club crest, it finally hit me.
I chose to reference the two keys and the gold and silver discs on which they are placed.
Tools at the ready, I began to draw. Ink and paint flowed, gold and silver leaf was pasted, and here’s where I ended up. As you can see I made two versions of the art work – and these will be placed somewhere in Sutton later today. Finders keepers.
I heard some very sad news this week. Tim Kitchin, a friend and colleague is no longer with us. I first met Tim back in 2008 when I still inhabited corporate life, and we both had strong interests in sustainability from a business perspective. We stayed in touch and I was the beneficiary of his smart, critical thinking, and his humour, on many occasions. I was very excited when he joined the Ethos partnership of which I too am a part, back in March 2016. This gave us the opportunity to work closer together. That’s over now, and I miss him.
This week’s free art drop is a work made to acknowledge how I am currently feeling about this loss. A couple of people who know Tim and who have also seen the art, say the colours remind them of his warmth. That works for me.
Part of my purpose in the free art project has always been about learning to let go. This particular art drop will be the hardest one I’ve had to let go of so far.
I’m taking part in the 64Million Artists January creative challenge. Each day of this month a challenge is set, and you take part, or not. It’s up to you. I’ve had a go at most of them so far, and this week I made my first painting in response to the following:
Just Imagine …
The great Albert Einstein once said that: ‘Logic can take you from a to b but imagination can take you anywhere.’ Children draw orange trees and blue grass and yellow elephants – they draw what they want to see. Inspired by this, today we would like you to unlock your own imagination and:
Get to the highest point you can, either in your house or office or school or outside, wherever you are. Look as far as you can. Draw what you can imagine there – be as fantastical as you like. Or realistic. Look out and imagine who might be standing there looking back towards you.
This is my response.
How high could I get? In my mind I climbed high enough to see the curvature of the earth, and painted what was in my imagination. Edge of Glory. Acrylic and gold leaf. This painting will be given away this weekend as part of the We Are All Artists free art project.