This will be my new workspace. It just needs some sorting out. At least the contents are out of boxes. Moving house has taken over my life. Now we’re in, I can’t wait to get painting again.
We visited the Turner prize 2011 show at the Baltic, Newcastle last weekend. Loved it. I can’t decide between the exuberant wallpaper and bath bombs, or Shaw’s sublimely morose paintings. Glad I’m not on the judging panel.
Walking into Karla Black’s installation, we are faced with sheets of polythene liberally smeared with paint which has dried and flaked off, the flakes of colour piled up on the floor. It is like walking into a magical grotto. Glimpsed through these painterly curtains, you can see the sculptural mounds and caves of what looks like crumpled wallpaper liberally coloured with bath bombs (judging by the number of bath bombs lying around). The effect is unexpectedly joyous, stimulating a bubble of sudden giddiness. I want to get down on my hands and knees and scribble. I want to put my hands in the piles of pastel dust and smear them around the floor. Most of all, I want to PLAY. My husband was affected similarly, he thought it was great fun.
By contrast, George Shaw’s paintings inspire a more sombre emotion. The paintings themselves are sublime, with their perfect composition and rendering of sub-urban Tile Hill in Coventry. The enamel paint gives them a soft shiny gloss that makes the surface as perfect as china. But the paintings seem to hint at loss, whether loss of people, places or a lost childhood it is up to us to interpret. There is a good review with pictures on the Guardian website.
Working towards various exhibition opportunities this Autumn. Here is a sneak preview of some of the work I’m doing. This is a monoprint, and is based on an image of myself layered together with a childhood image of Diana (yes, that Diana).
Life has been somewhat hectic since I finished the BA. I have got a new job, moved my studio out of Northlight and into my spare room, and been on holiday to Cornwall. All of this has left little time for painting, but FINALLY today I got my paint brushes out again (which reminds me, I must go and clean them).
I brought my work home from Rochdale yesterday. The art trail attracted a lot of visitors who wouldn’t normally look at art, and there were some great comments in the book. People seemed to appreciate having something different to look at in the shopping centre rather than the same old shops. There were over 600 visitors during the two days, and many comments about doing the same again next year. I enjoyed the opportunity to have my work viewed by a new audience, and hope they enjoyed my work.
I am now preparing for the next exhibition of my BA group at Bankfield Museum in Halifax, which will be opening on 4th September. I’ve made a painting especially for this exhibition, and I am even beginning to have faith that it might dry! The folks at Winsor and Newton technical department have been very helpful when I had a query about drying time. I just realise how much there still is to learn about the technical properties of the materials we use.
Until now, I have resisted entering any competitions – let alone those where you have to lug your work in, only to have to lug it home again when they don’t select it. However, I have finally decided that it is important to at least try. If I don’t work at ways of getting my work out there, no-one will ever see it. So yesterday, I took this painting for a ride on the train to Leeds, and we walked together in the rain up to Leeds Art Gallery to enter it into their Open Competition. It may not be selected, but I am recording it here because I think the ‘backshop’ work we do to get our work out there (whether it is writing, art, music or whatever) should be celebrated. So let’s hear it for doing those irritating jobs and taking a few risks.
Brilliant day today walking the Wayside Arts Trail around Burnley, taking in two of the pianos as part of the ‘Play me I’m yours’ project in Burnley and Blackburn – www.bbstreetpianos.com. One of the pianos is sited by the amazing Singing Ringing Tree which makes haunting music as the wind blows through it. There was also a bird’s nest wedged at the top of the tree (well, that’s where birds do nest after all).
After our walk, we travelled to a third piano at Thomson Park. This was a bit of a pilgrimage, as until about three weeks ago this piano was in our living room. For a few years, it had been relegated to a kind of badly-designed piece of storage furniture. So when I heard about this project, I decided to give it a new (albeit temporary) home.
Another glimpse into my studio … these are tiny, 5″ x 5″ oil paintings on paper. I’m playing with painting on a small scale using a very loose style of painting. I’m not sure whether anything is drying at the moment though. It’s so cold in my studio that I only managed an hour today before I had to give up the attempt and go home for hot soup.
Thank you to everyone who came to the Open Studios. I hope you enjoyed it! We did well as a studio group, making sales from our exhibition downstairs, and selling lots of the ceramic Christmas decorations that we had made during one of our group artists’ evenings. As promised, I had my new paintings on display, and was encouraged by the amount of interest that people showed. Making work is rewarding, but being able to discuss it with other people is even more rewarding. Many of my visitors saw their own childhood photos in my paintings, and quite a few people commented that the lack of face makes them more universal. More paintings soon – I’m experimenting with a change in scale – you can just about see a sneak preview to the left of the photograph below (beside ‘Nets’).