Monthly Archives: June 2010

s is for seeing, a sign

Monday 28 June 2010

chanced upon, in the ‘city’, the discarded ‘trim’ of a payslip – it is, after all, that time of the month

i was there to attend a workshop, and even with a map to guide me there, i was looking more at the pavement, equipped with my camera in the hope that the textures of the city might ‘provide plenty of opportunity for the development of aesthetic sensibility’… i arrived at my destination three slides into the standard-format-for-training-purposes powerpoint… and came away three hours later with many paper-based resources, all conveniently collated in a file…

so, a brisk walk through the city’s streets turned up some more found drawings… perhaps this is becoming rather repetitive but, in this stone wall, exhibited within each block, was a very different and unique drawing, in the mark-making, colours and textures; i liked the composite grouping…

around the corner, an entirely different wall, made of flint… curiously appealing in its suggestion of the natural environment and yet an entirely functional building material, the breeze-block of its day…

later, some vertical shutters… not really a found drawing or painting, but seemed worthy of a snapshot…

and then later still, as if by magic, came a message came from beyond the grave – tony hart beckoned, in the form of an art book found in a charity shop – a positive ‘must have’ when discovered deep within the reduced box at just 50p… delightful ‘light reading’ for the journey home…

i do have quite small hands, all i really need are some big ideas…

upstairs, downstairs

Saturday 26 June 2010

i have spent the last few days preparing for my little open studio weekend, as a new participating artist in the Suffolk Open Studios.

i probably left things a little late as usual, having got bogged down with other work, and thus i have not promoted it very well at all… the issue being that when i decided i would participate it was back in november when there were no exhibitions on the horizon…

so, a bit of a declutter was required downstairs, and out rolled the large paintings (at which point i realise it would be so very nice to live in a much larger house), paintings which i have talked about in this blog, but they rarely get a public airing together – i am hoping some of these edgescape paintings will go into a show that is coming up soon…

here are four square farmscapes, shown here formally separated and re-modulated, as a sequence – it wasn’t them, it was me… i just didn’t gel with the long, wide enclosure of a frame.. this was a bit of a grey period in our relationship, but we’re all fine about it now – yes really, it’s all worked out very much for the best… i envision a continuous line of these, perhaps spanning all fours walls of a room – but yet again, i am just day-dreaming…

it’s a curious thing the artist’s open studio; in the days before the advent of commercial galleries, they were places in which to court with rich patrons and art collectors, large rooms decked out with their finest examples of work, fancy drapes, chairs, screens and so forth, with a nice tipple or two, the social hub of the life of the artist… for some reason, artists moved from the luxury of the downstairs studio parlour to upstairs in the attic, perhaps on the floors up establishing their own art school or academy (eg. Rembrandt). the artist seemed to get a tad existential cooped-up in the attic all day and night – absorbed with the self, still lives, views from the window, the resident model or muse… i guess that one doesn’t need the perfect artist studio in which to create; take Francis Bacon for example… and Jeremy Deller’s ‘studio’ looks more like a teenager’s bedroom…

anyhow, i had a small flurry of very nice visitors this afternoon – if i knew they were all coming i would have baked a cake (i do have a penchant for tea and cake)…  had a bit of a ‘creed’ moment with the blu-tac whilst talking about my work… i also had to remind myself it might be unwise to say etchings and upstairs in the same sentence, even though my etchings were indeed upstairs… here is a sneaky peek into the print room

some prints and small canvases found new owners, which has done much to lighten my despondent moods of late… i have also, this past week, begun work on two large canvases (although i would prefer to work on panels, if such a choice were financially viable), based on lichens; expect my knowledge of latin plant names to improve considerably…


some interesting textures on canvas…

here is another supersize print-out from one of my lichen photographs…

i had a fantasy/idea that i would like to do each square at a metre wide. clearly, Mr. Hockney is exerting great influence on me, as he has done since i was a teenager – the first art book i ever bought with my own money was David Hockney by David Hockney… i’m not elitist in my art reading; i recently bought this 1962 art instruction book from a charity shop (seems to be my favourite haunt these days) for the princely sum of £2…


[some required ‘light’ summer reading…]

this ‘basic course in art’ aims [to present] a course of studies in creative work which will deal with various aspects of sensory experience. If rightly used it can provide plenty of opportunity for the development of aesthetic sensibility’… i just love the use of language; for example, in the chapter ‘experiment with textures’, the author stresses: ‘It is still true that insensitivity to surface qualities tends to be a defect of those who live in cities and this is an aspect of art education that should not be neglected.’ i’m quite safe then, as a naturalised, country bumpkin…

i actually think it’s rather good, taking its lead from the formalist teachings of the Bauhaus but within a more experiential discovery mode of learning… and it comes highly recommended by Herbert Read, no less: ‘What the student learns in a basic course is a new language, a language of forms. It is nobody’s business to teach him what to say in this new language. Having learnt the language, he should then use it to communicate his own vision.’

found, out and about [found drawings]

Friday 25 June 2010

witnessed in the course of a walk through town yesterday, some freshly discovered or found drawings… please allow me to explain…

the object in question (the receptacle for the accidental, found drawing, the surface, the substrate) is a metal seat or bench, probably made of alluminium, covered in a powdery black mould, which made it rather undesirable or unsuitable to sit on, especially if wearing light-coloured summer attire…

here, in the first snapshot, one can see the pre-formed grooves in the metal seat, which serve to make the metal bench less slippery to sit on but they also echo the wooden slats of a traditional bench, which are further emphasised by the dark, weathered patina of black mould, here containing the accidental drawing as a series of negative mark-makings between the two sets of parallel lines…

in this second example, the accidental dints and scratches in the metal have been subsequently colonised by the black mouldy mildew, forming a positive mark or trace…

and here, in the final image taken, is a more formal composition, zoomed in to accentuate the visual contrast between the parallel grooves and the more free-form, expressive scratches or incisions below… i almost see a signature in the lower right…

now, my only quandary here is, are these just more found drawings or an example of some creative, found printmaking(s), given that the grooves, the engraved marks, the incised traces, those made unintentionally, are later inked in by nature, and the myriad tones of accumulated mould or mildew (seen most clearly in the first image) are reminiscent of a coarse, hand-applied aquatint…

in fact, had i not explained that these are just photographs, one might reasonably conjecture that they are the result of a process of intaglio printmaking, an etching or drypoint engraving…

lastly, the bench also exhibited the usual marks of graffiti, some lewd symbols, words, names and numbers… but these were not so interesting in this context…