I must apologise to everyone for not posting in my blog for a while. I decided to concentrate on finishing off some of my paintings and getting ready to update my online portfolio. This year I'm also getting married, so some of my spare time has been spent planning the big day!
It's been such lovely weather recently I've also taken the opportunity to wander round with my camera. Experiencing nature and taking photos keeps my creative mind fresh and perpetuates new ideas for artwork.
I'll be posting new artwork on my website soon, but in the meantime here are some of my photos...
Finally, this weekend there was no snow and the sun came out! Already everyone I know is feeling more bright and positive as Spring is finally arriving.
I spent some of my weekend repotting some of our houseplants into bigger pots as they were doing so well. Our patio area is a little suntrap so I decided to do this outside and get a good dose of vitamin D. I also surveyed the frost damage on my garden plants! I find caring for my collection of plants really relaxing and their shapes and colours often give me artistic inspiration.
Visiting local gardens and green spaces with one of my cameras is one of my favourite weekend things to do too. Having a wander and looking for subject matter for photos on my own is so useful for me, as it gives me some quiet time and often produces some new subject matter for my art.
Here's some of the photos I took last year at Newstead Abbey....
Whilst painting this piece I looked at pink quartz. These beautiful stones have all different shades of pink and I was interested in how the light comes through the cuts of the stone. I felt that I didn't want just a pretty pink painting, but something that showed off the different shades and shapes of the rock. To do this I decided to use my palette knives as much as possible to make sure the paint went on in blocks, with straight lines and smooth paint to reflect the cut edges. I wanted to use as few layers and detail as possible so I didn't lose the effect of stone. So, I kept stepping back and considering the picture as much as possible. I'm really pleased with this piece of work and think I will do more like this.
This painting is called 'Swell'. I was thinking of the movement of water under waves and a pull upwards when you're underwater. My favourite part is the mixture of grey and dark turquoise in the bottom right hand corner. The biggest challenge when painting this one was trying to keep a balance of detail and large mark making.
I think one of my next paintings will be a mixture of soft greys.
To mark International Women’s Day today, I thought I would go through the women who inspire me. Thinking of these wonderful women and all they've accomplished makes me so happy.
Developing as an artist and putting yourself forward is challenging, but so empowering and fulfilling. It's great to think of others who have done so successfully and how they would have had to overcome their own personal obstacles.
In clockwise order:
Shirley Manson is a Scottish musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. Manson is known for her rebellious attitude, distinctive voice and formidable stage presence.
Georgia O'Keeffe was an American artist best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes. O'Keeffe has been recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism".
Juliette Lewis is an American singer and actress who was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Her work in television has resulted in two Emmy nominations.
Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was an English artist and sculptor. She was one of the few female artists of her generation to achieve international prominence.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist whose work has been celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and Indigenous traditions, and by feminists for what is seen as its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.
Yayoi Kusama works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan.
Of course, there's many more, but these are who I think of frequently.
Nottingham experienced quite a lot snow last week as well as the most of the UK. Luckily I had already booked the week off as holiday so spent quite a bit of it just watching the snow coming down and the garden birds. It was very quiet and beautiful.
I thought this poem captured it....
Snow by Louis MacNeice
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses
My partner and I treated ourselves to a trip out to Hodsock Priory to see their snowdrop display last weekend. It was a clear and sunny day. The Whispering Wood Folk outdoor theatre company were also performing a mix of storytelling, live music and thrilling aerial acrobatics in torchlight in the evening. So we thought we'd time it, so we could walk around the grounds and then see them when it got dark, which worked well. The grounds are not very big so you don't need a whole day there but it was pretty. The theatre was all about the start of Spring and it felt nice to break away from the Winter and look forward to the warmer weather.
I took some photos while we wandered around. Here's a few:
As part of my love of nature I watch quite a few nature programmes and there is a quite a few David Attenborough DVDs in my collection. Whenever I feel I've been hibernating in my home too much and haven't been outside enough I find inspiration from these programmes and I push myself to wrap up and get outside! I take quite a few photographs especially when I go for walks or visit nature reserves and find it useful as part of my studies of nature to pick out colours and patterns. When I was a child my family and I often visited woodland and National Trust gardens at the weekends and I enjoyed being surrounded by wildlife.
I've managed to catch BBC One's 'Wild Cameraman at Work' this week, which I would recommend to anyone interested in nature and photography. It covers five of the best nature cameraman who all live in Scotland and how Scotland has helped them hone their skills. Here is the link to the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p014hqgz
There are so many memorable clips and I don't think I could pick a favourite subject.
Picture from Radio Times page: http://www.radiotimes.com/tv-programme/e/wyj4v/wild-cameramen-at-work--s1-e1-ice/
I am pleased to call the city of Nottingham my home. It is in the heart of England and combines the modern and old well. For example, we have the historical venues such as the Castle and the Caves mixed with the modern Tram and Nottingham Contemporary. It is also perfectly located for travelling to other parts of the UK.
However the best part for me is how multicultural and creative the people are. There's also loads of events throughout the year and lots of large green spaces. You shouldn't get bored in Nottingham!
As an artist, living in a large city gives me more opportunities to exhibit. There's also art groups and societies for support. Being an artist can be lonely as you are working on your own a lot so it's good to be part of a larger network. During my degree I enjoyed discussing each others work so much. Giving and receiving ideas, critiques and encouragement if needed was very fulfilling.
Here's some photos of Nottingham....
I've just finished these two paintings - Burst and Glacier. My inspiration was from sunlight and bird wings for Burst and the flickers of colour I've seen in pictures of ice for Glacier. There is so much of the natural world that I'd like to capture, and I feel like I'm just beginning a huge collection of some kind. I don't think I'll ever struggle to find inspiration.
Before painting I tend to put up a mix of references from my photo collections on my wall and sit in my big office chair thinking about what I want to paint. While painting I concentrate on the mix of colours and pattern I want to use to create the mood I'd like to invoke. I tend to work on at least two paintings at a time as I leave them to dry between each bit of painting. In the mornings while brushing my teeth before work, I have a look at their current progress and think about what I'm going to do next. Breaking up the painting time and these small periods of reflection have helped me make more considered decisions about what to paint next and avoid mistakes.
Yesterday evening I took part in the latest Drink and Draw at Rough Trade in Nottingham. 'The Drink & Draw Social encourages all artists of any ability to come with materials and simply draw, exchange ideas and socialize with the group.
It was really busy when I got there so had to take a pew in one of the surrounding booths. The evening was lively and I left a picture with them. They often set a theme and this time it was cubism. Some people don't bother sticking to the theme but I quite like to, as I think it pushes you to do something a bit different.
Here's a photo from their website which gives a good idea of what the tables look like once the evening gets going:
During the evening a chap I was speaking to, mentioned the artist Georgiana Houghton. I'd never heard of her so I've done a bit of research.....
Considering what a character she was and her striking work I can't believe I haven't heard of her.
She was born in 1814 and was a Spiritualist medium who, in the 1860s and 70s, produced a series of abstract watercolours. I'm not convinced at all that she was channelling and expressing communications with spirit entities but I find the work remarkably complex and their bold colours and fluid forms deeply absorbing especially considering the time she was painting them in.
There is an exhibition tour this year, which includes the Fitzwiliam Museum in Cambridge Oct-Dec so I will try and make a visit.
Here is one of the paintings: