Working on the works paintings

Just so you know that I really have been working – even though I have not posted much of late. I am still not sure how I want to tackle the actual paintings so have been doing some more experiments, working bigger this time (about A3 size).

I started with a layer of old sewing pattern collaged onto heavy watercolour paper with gel medium. This gave me some text and lines, much like the graffiti that is all over the works buildings. Next I put on really loose washes of Golden Fluid Acrylics, with no real scheme in mind. Over that I added more lines, this time using ink and a fine needle, courtesy of our vet clinic! Once all that had dried I started adding more colours, making some of the colour a bit more opaque, thinking about where the light and shadows are. These are still really only just beginning, but I think I may have found a direction I like…

Making Christmas gifts: farm dog painting

Some of my close friends and family will be getting home-made gifts this year. This is for a good friend whose farm dog likes nothing better than to sleep in an old armchair in the corner of the lounge. Done in acrylics, the matted size is 25 x 21cm. I love the black and white coat of Border Collies; in this case I have captured it in purples, white and a little blue. I took serious liberties with the wall colour behind her, but I’m sure the owner won’t mind!

Crusade #35 – what’s your sign?


Over at Michelle’s GPP Crusades blog, this month’s challenge is to document your sign. Michelle says “The signs I’m talking about are images or things that make you think of a loved one”. My instant thought was “I can do that, possibly even without crying”. And I did. Because I needed to write so much I have created my journal page in Word and Photoshop and will be printing it out to glue into my journal as a reminder to myself.  So, come on, why not join the Crusades too, and tell us about your sign? (By the way, documenting my sign turned out to be more imporant than doing something artsy this time. I didn’t even pick up a paintbrush!)

dad show me a sign copy

Lots of little trials

Yesterday I spent a few hours doing more than a dozen 16x10cm tests on Bockford paper using fluid acrylics, pencil, pen, oil pastels, pastels and Indian Ink. As usually happens, I started off quite tight, drawing what I could see. Then, as I got used to the image and the shapes, the works got looser. There are a couple that are heading in the direction I want – both have at least some of the hazy, layered quality I am looking for.

These were all based on just one of the photos so there are more samples to come before I get to a stage where I am heady to bring out the canvases. Not that the paintings will be based on the test runs, but these wee works will certainly inform what I do, and help get my brain and hand familiar with the subject matter.

Looking at the lines, ready to start drawing

fe 2fe 5I have been looking at my inspiration wall of photos for a couple of  days now. Today I chose about 20 favorite photos and used the “find edge” function in PhotoShop to have a closer look at the lines in them. It’s interesting what turned up; I have shared a couple of them so you can see what I mean.

Tonight or tomorrow I will start drawing them in Indian Ink and pastels, concentrating on the lines and the bigger shapes. At the same time, I am rereading one of my most-used books on abstract art, thinking about the theory behind what I am doing. Thinking about the words, the layers of meaning and what I am bringing to this project.

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Some big art decisions

A few days ago I wrote the following to a trusted online friend – a successful artist I admire (no name because I have not asked her permission) –

[edited] “I have been in a bit of an art-funk recently; not sure if I should keep going, paint just to be happy, try to market better, what? This morning I went back to the start of your blog posts in ’05 and re-read through to mid 2007, at which point they felt like much more familiar territory. And you know what? It worked! Thank you. Am I cured and on a roll, ready to take on the world? Nope. But I am sure that there is a market out there and that I need to make some decisions, instead of waffling round. Decisions like – pick a series and really go for it, have a sizeable body of work to show a gallery etc. Get out there and meet some people, don’t expect them to come to me…”

I got a lengthy reply back and really appreciate the time she spent in doing so, and the sensible advice and support offered. I dwelt on it for a couple of days, much of it reinforcing what I already knew deep down. From there I have made some decisions … the main driver behind them being that I know it is time to get more serious and business-like.

I have taken my work off most sites, leaving behind a message that basically says “see you on the 1st of Jan with new work”. I want to concentrate on starting a body of work without thinking about what is (isn’t) selling.  I will keep on with social networks like Twitter.

Come the 1st of Jan 2010 I will have new work ready to promote . I’ll only load works that fit with whatever body of work I come up with. Which of course leaves the question of what to do with all the random works I have lying around. I think I will go through them and see what ones fit together as small series already. Then with the rest either sell off cheap through a local website or re-use the canvas if that seems a good option.

I’d already bought Alyson Stanfield’s “I’d rather be in the studio” and as part of all this will work my way through it producing a new artists statement, bio etc so the whole package has more cohesion. I’ll also keep better records from day one with the new work so I know where it is listed and so on, so that details are the same from site to site, and I can update things more easily. That should take some stress off!

So, that’s where I’m at. Today I made a start in my visual diary with ideas about what the body of work can be, knowing that I need 20 to 30 works in the same size, style etc. More on that later…