Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Studio Unusable - time for research and a new blog

My studio is currently unusable because I have trashed it, but in a positive way - all the shelves have been emptied, contents now residing on the floor and I am awaiting the construction of my storage units.  I have contacted "Kingy" the chippy, who has been working on our house and asked him to come out and give me advice and a rough idea of how much it will cost me to improve them.  

The units are currently a series of open shelving that used to reside in the sixth form college I worked in for ten years.  (They were going to dump then when the new purpose built studios were built, so I requisitioned them, to the detriment of my car's suspension!) Each shelf is large enought to take an A1 portfolio. Being in the department, which was dry they had no need of a backs or cupboard fronts, which is what I now need to protect the contents from the damp and dirt in my old converted farmbuilding studio.  I am still getting grain falling from the ceiling rafter gaps as well as the usual cobwebs and insects and it is very damp during winter months.  I am also planning to have the height reduced to allow for putting the sections on casters.  The units, if in roughly 1m widths and on casters will provide me with flexible work space that can then be trundled up a ramp onto a van if I ever move to another space.  That's the plan anyway; I have most of the timber we'll need so I just hope it won't cost me too much!

Meanwhile, I have been catching up with some Ryedale ArtWorks business, welcoming potential new members and planning future events with the upcoming funding from Ryedale District Council in mind.  

New Blog!
I have also begun a new blog on the Artists Talking section of the much improved an website:
I confess to not fully engaging with the an site up to now, despite being a paid up member, it was not that easy to use and I always ended by giving up when trying to access information. (I am very impatient with web sites!)  However, it has been much improved and I am feeling more confident that I can access what I need, which is a good thing because the site is indispensible for any aspiring, serious artist.

In my first post I have provided a brief context for my situation as an artist starting out on a serious programme of art making and exhibiting so very late in the day.  From there on, I shall document my progress as I develop new work and try to find new exhibiting opportunities.  I figured that having my blog within an artists community, I am more likely to encounter like minded creatives and develop my network of contacts.  The opportunities pages are also something I really need to keep a closer eye on from now on.  

This renewed sense of purpose has in part come from being selected for the prestigious SKETCH 13 exhibition.  It seems to me that it is the first tentative step on the next rung up to being considered a serious artist.  I know that I will still suffer the enormous frustrations and periods of self doubt that seems par for the course for artists, but by documenting my experiences, and progress, I at least will be able to reflect back and learn from the whole bloody process!

Note: the new an publication Signpost is a really very useful source of information, I have read it from front to back and recommend it heartily, especially to newly graduated artists.  

The flip version:                        

Or the pdf version:

I am using the time out of the studio to read, read, read: other artists' blogs, interesting articles about painting, anything that is relevant to my current situation that might be useful.  

I am very much hoping to get back into the studio and begin new work within the next couple of weeks. Watch this space.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The incredible tightness of being. . . an artist

What I call "the other life", i.e.: family commitments, paid work, is an enormous work deflector.  

It causes such a break in my train of thoughts and their physical manifestations - drawings, paintings, that, when the intensely busy period is over and I am finally able to turn my attention to the studio and the endless search for further exhibiting opportunities, I find that if I am not careful, I freeze, unable to do anything!

Is this a common problem?  Anyone?

Even the little triumphs that happen along the way, the recent selection for Sketch 13, in my case, does nothing to avert the awful nagging, looming cloud of self doubt that seems ever present, waiting to engulf me the minute my thoughts become in any way unsure.

So, today, instead of worrying about this, the need for more work space, the fact that I have not seen my parents for ages, (I could go on but I won't), I shall make a positive move.  I shall fill my car with some of the stuff that needs to go out to my studio and go out there and spend some time organising the space, ready to start developing some of the prints that I have had in mind for a while.

At least then I will have done something positive with what is in danger of becoming a falling off the cliff of self doubt day!  Actions always make me feel better, and once started on the reorganising of the mess that has become my studio space post solo exhibition and moving of storage units out there, I'll be in a more positive frame of mind to actually start the new work!

And with that statement, I shall go. . . . .   I'll muse on how it went later.  I would be very interested to hear how other artists feel about this too, so if you read this, please post a comment!

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

HUZZAH! My book has been accepted for SKETCH 2013

I am delighted that my Chinese sketch book, entitled "Control, Chaos, Counting, Dreaming", has been accepted for SKETCH 2013.

It is the first time I have entered this prestigious open submission and I am excited that the exhibition will tour.  

It opens at Rabley Drawing Centre, Marlborough, Wiltshire  on Monday 16th September and continues until Saturday 12th October.  

From there it goes to Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome, Somerset in January to February 2014 and finishes at Plymouth College of Art from 17th March to 11th April 2014.

To see devlopment shots of this book click on this link to my facebook page:

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Look What's Arrived in the Post!

I am very excited that my sketch book for the Sketch Book Project arrived in the post on Thursday!  

I am now pondering on how to fill it.  
I think I might do some stream of consciousness drawings and a bit of print making, but we shall see. . . .

I have opted for full digitisation and chosen the Central tour for my book.  For information on this project, go to:

AND they sent me a free eraser!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Gallery 1 - Paintings

At last, I have some decent photos of some of the work I have uploaded in earlier blogs.  So here is a gallery of some of the work that is or has been out and about so far this year:

A series of paintings on paper based on the seasons, each painting started exactly the same with successive layers added to each new piece, one for each month.  (If that makes sense!  Suffice to say, the last painting was much heavier and thicker than the first).













These twelve paintings currently adorn the walls of my local hostelry: The Ashfield Country Manor Hotel, Kirkbymisperton.  They serve good beer and the food is really, really good!

Finally, some better photos of the paintings that were in my solo show "Marking Time", earlier in the year, in The Gallery, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton le Hole.

Large Paintings on canvas:

New Beginnings (Spring)  7' 5" x 5' 8"

Many Endings (Winter) 7' 5" x 5' 8"

History Painting,  11' x 5' 2"

Smaller canvases 2' x 2':




Winter (Sold)

Small studies on paper - 1

Spring Tally

Summer Tally

Autumn Tally

Winter Tally

Small studies on paper - 2:


Summer currently waiting to be uploaded.

Autumn (Sold)


Small studies on paper - 3


Summer (Sold)

Autumn (Sold)


I will upload the prints and drawings into another Gallery blog soon!  Please feel free to comment or ask me questions about my work.

All images copyright the artist, all rights reserved.