Tag Archives: open studios

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.’

art SOS

Friday 14 May 2010

SOS is an acronym for Suffolk Open Studios, a collective of some one hundred and fifty artists from across the county, that, as the name suggests, open their artist studios and creative workspaces for a weekend (or two)… this is my first time as an exhibiting artist with SOS (taking a hiatus from the HWAT collective) – below are three small works that I have put into the SOS members’ group exhibition, which opens this weekend at the historic and spendid Blackthorpe Barns


siam, maroc and cretan 2010, mixed media intaglio collagraphs on paper, mounted on canvas, 5″ x 5″ x 1.5″ – part of a new and ongoing series inspired by virtual travels and colour associations…

There are some strange light effects in the barn; tiny holes in the barn’s framework where the sunlight squeezes in, scattering unusually bright ovoid lightspots across the artworks…

here is one of the aforementioned intaglio abstracts on canvas…


siam, 2010, mixed media intaglio collagraph on canvas, 5″ x 5″ x 1.5″


siam, detail

Siam, alluded to in the textured striations and the greeny gold. Siam, now known as Thailand, is a country ravaged by natural disasters, and now in even deeper turmoil with much political and social unrest in its capital, Bangkok… these landscape images seem to make for nicer stories… I try to imagine what it must be like to experience such a deeply sculpted landscape – it is so flat here…


Thailand, rice fields

I have also put in a large blue-green abstract painting to convey a cool, minimalist, all-green ambience to my slimline wall exhibit in Blackthorpe Barns… the SOS art exhibition is open daily 11am-5pm, until 24 May 2010..

I have been continuing with the quick observational studies in my sketchbooks… am wondering if I should pursue my virtual travels through sketchbook studies too?…

drawing comparisons

Friday 3 July 2009

i’ve collated some of my notebooks and sketchbooks, for the art trail… the smallest sketchbooks (the type that i always carry with me) are really notebooks with only occasional sketches… the studio sketchbooks i treat more as scrapbooks and fill with mixed media studies on paper, collage, and a place to work out compositon ideas… i’ve realised how few sketches are from the real world, although i often sketch directly from the collages and paintings around me… which is a little retrospective, in retrospect…

studio artist sketchbooks

i’ve also been doing some quick pen & ink sketches in a landscape format sketchbook, inspired by my recent trips to north norfolk… i really need time off from the square…

sketchbook - landscapes
[field, norfolk 2009]…

i don’t plan on going figurative just yet, but there is something very rooted and therapeutic in the process of drawing, the movement of the pen, traversing the surface of the paper, slowly mapping out the territory, surveying everything in turn but leaving some of it out, a gesture rather than a documentation, a visual sensation that just doesn’t happen in photography…

salthouse 09 : 2 july to 2 august 2009