Patchings Art Festival….

Yesterday, Friday, saw myself and my other half take a trip to the Patchings Art Festival held at the Patchings Art Centre near Calverton, Nottinghamshire. Despite it being a cloudy, blustery day the marquees were full….

…there was music playing..

…and the sun did eventually make an appearance..

It was interesting wandering around the marquee where the artists had their stands and where some were doing demonstrations…..

Subjective as art is, there was obviously some work I preferred to others…. I particularly liked the approach and mixed media work of Ken Hurd…friendly guy and very generous with his tips and advice…. Claire Botterill was another artist whose work and techniques interested me.  I also watched Laura Boswell demonstrate her Japanese wood block printing… I particularly liked her linocut prints. Couldn’t figure out where I knew her name from until I read that she writes a regular column for the Artists and Illustrators magazine…I did purchase a couple of cards from her…as they say ‘every little helps…’

We also watched the Ann Blockley demonstration in the St. Cuthbert’s Mill ( I can’t seem to get the link to work here… their web address is stcuthbertsmill.com) Marquee…and very enjoyable and interesting it was too!!

There were also other exhibits/demonstrations going on around the ground for the long-suffering, not-so-art orientated partners including some beautiful bonsai trees..

..and glass-blowing..

..and an interesting Landscape Photography talk by RK Photographic

All in all….a good day….and, yes, I spent far too much….

 

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Channelling……

Inspiration for my work comes from many sources…..number one is the countryside, both the coast and and the hills/mountains…

…the large scale…

…and on a smaller scale, from my own garden…

I just love the colour of this plant – Santolina Lemon Fizz… the nearest shade in my selection of watercolours is Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold….so I decided to channel, not only the colour, but also the memories of late evenings in Norfolk…the sunlight filtering through the reed beds…

….so here’s my effort…

…I really like the initial wash so am loathe to add any more to it – perhaps just intensify the colour?

Inspiration also comes from literature…. At the moment I am reading ‘The Running Hare: The Secret Life of Farmland’ by John Lewis-Sempel. Included in the book is this quote from Richard Jefferies’ autobiography, ‘The Story of My Heart’:

‘I want to be always in company with the sun, and sea, and earth. These, and the stars by night, are my natural companions.’

Sounds like my kind of guy!!! This love of the landscape is something I try to convey in my work – whether  I am successful remains to be seen…

Having said that…I am pleased to report that, in the first week of the Exploring Place exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire, I have sold FIVE paintings….

 

 

Paths……

‘Paths are the habits of a landscape’…..Robert MacFarlane

….bit of a ‘Richard Long’ feeling here….

Reflection has been at the forefront this week and I have come to certain realisations about my work, but mainly about me….

…realising is one thing, addressing and dealing with them is another….

 

Possibilities……& Deadlines……..

Yesterday brought an exciting invitation – to take part in an exhibition at Blue Owl Art in Grantham, Lincolnshire!! The theme of the exhibition is the landscape and I will be showing some of my most recent ink, watercolour and charcoal works….

I am continuing to produce my ‘Six in Twenty’ series; hopefully I will retain the spontaneity of this work and won’t be hampered by the knowledge they will be shown publicly….

So, along with producing new work, I will be considering which of my recent work to exhibit, producing a ‘catalogue’ list, sorting frames, artist statement….all the admin stuff…..

I will keep posting my progress and further details about the exhibition nearer the time….for now I am happy and nervous in equal measures!!!

 

Reconnecting…..

I am finding myself more and more inspired by nature, the landscape itself and by the language and writings concerning the natural world. I have recently finished reading ‘Meadowland: the private life of an English field’ by John Lewis-Stempel, and this book introduced me to the writings and poems of Thomas Traherne (1636 – 1674), an English, poet, religious writer and theologian. Traherne wrote about his spiritual discoveries in ‘Centuries of Mediations’, and the following excerpt, highlighted in ‘Meadowland’ really resonated with me –

‘You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself flows in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars, till you so love the beauty of enjoying it you are earnest to persuade others to enjoy it too.’

Although I am an avid used of social media, I find myself more and more, longing to be out in the landscape, to reconnect with what is really important….and to that end I have recently spent the weekend in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park – partly a birthday celebration, partly time ‘to stand and stare’….

…and although I am not presumptuous enough to imagine my artistic efforts will persuade others to enjoy the landscape, I hope, in some small way, they convey my love for the natural world.

 

Reflective Whisperings…

Monday finds me in a reflective mood… among a myriad of people I follow on social media, one is the artist Lucy Marks. Every Friday she posts a vlog/blog highlighting areas of interest, a topic for discussion…..and a couple of these posts have made me question myself…

One vlog was concerned with finding your own style and anyone who follows this blog effort of mine will know this is an area I struggle with. Influences abound in the art world; we have all seen artist’s work that we love, and one trap that we, as artists, mustn’t fall into is that of slavishly copying. Techniques, colour palettes, media… these can all be adapted, but it’s finding your own way of utilising them that makes your work unique, recognisable…

Bowed But Not Broken

As you can see from this small selection, finding my way is ongoing…perhaps I should think of it as ‘growing as an artist’….

….and, at the moment, I quite like where the ‘path’ is taking me…

The other vlog of Lucy’s that piqued my interest was about why we paint, what are we trying to say, what is the philosophy that underpins our work….

Now, no way do I profess to be a deeply philosophical thinker, (some of that stuff at uni, such as why is a table a table, went straight over my head…) but even I recognise that, as artists, we are all trying to say something, even if it is ‘this is what I can see in front of me’…

For my final show at uni I produced an installation that incorporated sound called ‘Connecting Threads’..

Connecting Threads…apart from the odd sketch which was more of a diagram for the aforementioned, I did no painting whatsoever….and although, I successfully justified/situated the above Threads, I find categorising my painting more difficult….or perhaps I am over-thinking things – why do I have to label my work at all?

Much easier for me is to say what interests me….

I have always loved being outdoors;  lately I have become fascinated with the literature and language we use to describe nature and the landscape…. and have found the books of Dominick Tyler (Uncommon Ground) and Robert MacFarlane a joy to read – for me, Landmarks transports me to the high mountains, the fenlands, the woods, even those in-between areas…I think I have said in a previous post about how his writings have made me stop and look at the details in the landscape, and having a language to describe it makes life so much easier…so, with all this reflecting taking place, and spring having sprung, I took myself off for a walk by the River Soar…

…the reeds stood like giant cotton wool buds….

…the warm weather had brought out the narrow boats and dog walkers, all shouting good morning – lovely how the sun brings out the best…

I sat and listened, church bells, a distant cockerel – a little late in the morning perhaps – the ‘flap flap’  silent soar of the pigeons, a lonely mallard squawking…the gentle flow of the river, ripples glinting in the sun…and as I walked along the desire path – so much better than ‘shortcut’.…I blew a kiss to the two magpies I disturbed – is that part of a song or an old wives’ tale – and watched a butterfly dance along… The path was springy underfoot, in fact, in some places it was definitely squelchy…

…but as I squidged and squelched I thought of a poem by Vicki Husband… called Desire Paths – I am never quite sure about copyright so I am not posting the whole poem, although an image of it is available on her twitter page @VicHusband – but the last lines are beautiful…

‘where every desire path reaches for its vanishing point

before heading off to shortcut a rumoured route between the stars’ ….

The poem even has its own desire path….

I am not sure that my work could every conjure up an image as poetic as that, but I keep trying…perhaps it’s the magic, ethereal, contradictory landscape that I am attempting to capture…

…and on the subject of language and words to describe features of the landscape..is there a word for the seemingly silver-tipped blades of grass, glinting in the sun…..?

 

Small Victories….

Another day, another attempt at  Jean Haines ‘no pressure’ washes… and as before, all the pigments used are by Daniel Smith, apart from the Cadmium Yellow…

image

The LH wash is Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Cadmium Yellow and lots of water, resulting in the normally stubborn yellow almost disappearing. The RH wash is Perylene Red and Cascade Green with subtle clingfilm effects. I love the Cascade Green, but (and maybe this is my application…) I seem to get muddy effects from it under the clingfilm…..

The middle wash is Carbazole Violet and Quinacridone Sienna with…..salt…

image….and here is my small victory for the day…I’ve actually managed to get some half decent effects…woo hoo!!

From there, I practised some exercises from Jean’s book ‘Paint Yourself Calm’…as it has been a rather damp start here in Wales, I thought I would recall warmer days with no pressure landscapes and a loose poppy (yes, that’s what they are supposed to be!!) wash….imageimageimage

imageI am finding that Jean’s way of working up to more serious pieces is beginning to work for me…I know that my first washes are not going to be masterpieces, so immediately I don’t get anxious if things go awry…

From there, I returned to the rose wash that I am slowly building up….

image

The colours are darker in reality…. but I am reasonably satisfied with this… if only I had painted it on heavier paper – (it says it is Archival Quality Extra Heavy Weight Cold Press Paper 180lb) the edges have curled and there is slight buckling with the amount of water I used. However, as this was supposed to be just a study, I shouldn’t be too disappointed…

I even have another effort on the go….

imageso we will see how this progresses….