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!
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.
I took a few minutes to look at the pot in situ, before bringing it to my desk, and drawing it.
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!
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!
A few months ago I painted a small sketch titled Passing Strangers. The picture was intended to represent the fleeting, impermanent nature of the many relationships we experience as we pass by each other. Maybe there is eye contact, maybe a smile and a greeting, maybe just the tiny, shared disturbance of atmosphere.
Since first painting Passing Strangers, I’ve thought more and more about transition and impermanence and as I’ve continued to think, I have made more versions of this work.
Passing Strangers II : I made this and left it in my local town. It has since disappeared. Maybe it has a new home, maybe it ended up in the bin? I don’t know, and it has transitioned.
Passing Strangers III, IV, V, and VI : I made these using pages from an old book, a marker pen and some chalk paints. The book pages have some fragility about them and the chalk paints are easily smudged. There is impermanence in these works. Number 3 is sold and now resides somewhere in the UK, numbers 4, 5, and 6 have also been sold and are together in the USA.
Passing Strangers VII, VIII, IX, and X : These four pieces are made using acrylic paint, pencil, ink, and gold leaf. Numbers 7 and 8 were left in my local town, numbers 9 and 10 are currently available to buy in my Etsy shop.
More to follow?
I recently ran a creative workshop titled ‘The Art of Wellbeing’ at the Wellcome Collection in London. It was an interesting experiment, made even more so by the fact that the event is promoted only on the day, and whoever turns up, turns up. So there we were, around 20 strangers, gathered together for a creative inquiry. I’ve made some notes and taken some pictures of our work which you can find by clicking on this lovely sketch of the workshop, made by a participant.
After the session – I kept thinking about the idea of passing strangers, and how we had come together, talked and shared openly. I made a few sketches before settling on this one. To me, the image represents an exchange between persons unknown, to us, and to each other.
This piece of art is sold.
I wanted to experiment further with the abstract ‘river’ patterns I’ve been playing with recently. My intention is to try different colours and materials too. I was curious to see how gold leaf would sit alongside acrylic paint, so I mixed up some reds and yellows and painted them randomly onto a pencil grid I marked out on this canvas board.
Once the paint had dried, I applied some gold leaf to a few of the coloured panels.
Here is a close up and another view with the canvas board titled so you can see the gold leaf more easily.
This painting has been sold in my Etsy shop, and a donation will be made to the Arts Emergency charity from the proceeds.
Update : March 7th 2016. I have received a photograph of the finished piece, safely in its new Californian home. Here it is.
A few days ago I shared a sketch I made during a drawing workshop. The sketch was of a bookcase and was drawn ‘blind’, which is to say that I only looked at the subject while drawing, not at the paper. The drawing was completed using a single line, and as luck would have it – the finished work fits nicely into a postcard sized mount.
I enjoyed drawing this and wanted to play with the shape some more, so I traced the outline onto some card using ink this time instead of pencil. Next I added some watercolour and more ink to the picture before mounting it.
Here they are side by side.
Update : This artwork is now sold.
This week I visited Cass Art in Islington for a drawing workshop with Jake Spicer. Jake’s a friendly guy and an accomplished artist. He spoke briefly about what he thinks the important basics are to help you draw and in time, draw better. I didn’t take notes at the time and here’s what I recall of his suggestions.
Time : Find some, it doesn’t always have to be a lot, but enough to practice regularly
Subjects : Don’t get hung up on what to draw, choose something and draw it
Materials : Keep a small sketch book and pencil to hand, don’t let the absence of stuff to draw with be the excuse for not drawing
Confidence : Grows with time and practice, and part of the process is about making bad drawings and seeing what you learn from them
We then tried drawing something using a continuous line while looking at the subject all the time, not at the drawing. I found this process really enjoyable – here is a sketch of a bookcase.
I had no way of knowing what the final picture would look like until it was finished and I’m really pleased it ended up being a good size to fit one of my small mounts. I’m tempted to trace the basic shape a few times before adding some small details – I might make another small series of images in a similar way that I recently created Stained Glass.
Jake showed us the basics of how to draw a head in profile before inviting us to find a partner and draw them. I’d never made a life drawing of someone else before…there’s a first time for everything.
I can clearly see areas for improvement and at the same time I am happy with this as a first attempt. I really enjoyed Jake’s class – it helped me realise I need to make more drawings, and the basic process is simpler than I thought.