Thursday, 19 November 2009

New Prints

I've now opened a Society 6 store to deal with prints which I cannot manage myself.
The first 2 prints are Fox Confessor and The Flora and Fauna of Intoxication.

The store is here.
Details on why, and various ephemera are now given on my new blog.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Unusual gift

I had previously forgotten all about the fact that I said i'd copy posts from my new blog to this one...I said it, and it was recorded publicly and then I didn't bother...Fairly typical then.

I remembered tonight, so here's a link to the post about the very unusual gift I was given

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A couple a' things

Well first of all i've been a busy wee bee. I've redesigned my website and blog and relocated the whole shebang over here:

The new blog is powered by typepad and makes my life a lot easier. You can go directly over there by clicking here. Go check it out, I have posted a new painting!

I will keep posting here and redirecting your kind attentions there for a while :)

Friday, 31 July 2009

Better Image

I managed to piecemeal scan in the fox today. My scanner is really annoyingly doing a faint red line across everything now - so I have just bought a new one. Hopefully to arrive in the next few days. Thank goodness, so sick of cloning that line out.

If you click the image you'll get to see a much larger version.

It's called 'The fox confessor', after the Neko Case song. I was only just introduced to her by a good freind and am now obsessively smitten. She happens to be playing in Glasgow in September, and I may have to go.

The painting was made under the influence of her and also Kate Bush's 'Aerial' album (Also from the same freind - I scoffed when they said it was her best album, how wrong was I?)

Thursday, 30 July 2009

And relax

This is pretty much finished apart from the usual set of glazes which go over the top - deepening shadows, bringing out highlights etc. But before I do that the varnish needs to dry. And while that's happening, i'll put the undercoat down for another one and go for a walk.

It's sunny out, i'm thinking i'll make the dinner tonight, something proper. Here's some shots. Taken in daylight but i'm still not happy with them, the camera seems to oversaturate everything. I may need a new one. But you can get the general impression.

there's a little glare from the varnish which makes the shadows seem a bit washy...

I'm going to try, somehow to get a scan. I'm not sure how. In any case I am very happy with the direction it's going in.

RE: Comments in last post - *Apparently* our summer is coming back in August? I heard a weather lady say it....It's got a few days left then ;)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Make one up

Seems like it’s been a long time since I last posted. I’ve been off work for 2 weeks mainly for the purpose of producing some work. Actually, I was meant to finish some work, but that’s not really how it works. I do have something to finish

I haven’t touched it though – it is swallowing all of my time with endless glazes, so I needed to move onto the next one and let that rest for a bit.

I won’t give too much away, but it’s another fox.

I built a new frame from olde clock parts for it and it looks lovely and beaten up. And hopefully it will be finished in the next day or so – I’ll post high quality photos (hahahah!) if it is.

Meawhile, outside the summer continues, in an offy/onny kind of way. You can be walking in a balmy sticky heat one minute and then be in a wintery gale the next. It makes dressing very difficult. Generally you end up wet in any case. Can't complain though, everything is growing like wild-fire. The rose bush clinging to the front wall is bowing under the weight of all the blooms.

And I have to put up with this lazy little blighter. Look at him, I haven't seen a days work out of him for months.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Covered in carbon

The painting is getting better - layers of oil - lovely.

Another drawing.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Sneak a peek

I'm not sure why I always take premature, badly lit photos of what i'm working on - I should probably just wait till i'm finished, but i'm a blabber mouth. I like rabbiting on and constant analysis :)

The angle is squinty, I couldn't be bothered trying to prop it up properly (I've been going running recently and whatever tolerance I once had for late night photographs is completely gone)

There are many things wrong with it, and there's loads more to go. Lots of bees and butterflies, and several beautiful flowers I found pictures of will be painted around the base.

I will say about this piece that it's been reworked so many times you can see raised lines in the paint of old leaves, ex-flowers, null & void petals. But now I feel like I have a base to work with, rather than a big mess which I can't seem to pull together :)

Saturday, 13 June 2009

A bit more

Another drawing. This a more detailed part of the very large painting I have on-hold just now...She is one of the people riding their animals through the forest...I realised part way through that i'd seen an arrangement similar to this before here

Quick Update

Hello there! Thanks all for the feedback on the last post. I appear to be gradually getting the hang of larger painting. Progress is slow but i'm getting used to the pace, it's not ready to show even progress shots yet but soon hopefully.

I got a wee bit tired of working on the same thing yesterday so I started drawing. I was always, really, a better drawer than a painter, but I abandoned it as a final medium when I was forced out of it by my art college teacher.

It is often seen, or certainly it was there, as a secondary art form. I never saw it that way then but I was a little brainwashed afterwards. In any case, since I can't possibly hope to produce a body of paintings in time for September, so my plan is to produce as many drawings as I can...I hope some will make it into paint eventually.

Soft Force

Saturday, 30 May 2009

It's all the little things

So, it turns out (following on from my last post) that going bigger with a painting is a bit more complex than just making a bigger picture and filling in the gaps. It is a different kind of discipline altogether. I thought i'd post about some of the issues/solutions i've found so that maybe some of you other painters will be able to avoid my mistakes, or be kind enough to offer me some handy tips?

The first thing, which should have been obvious but which I overlooked is - need more paint.

Also, I knew that when you go larger you have to step away a lot, but I hadn't really factored it in as a habit. So I was kinda hit in the face with this fact, after lovingly painting the shadows and contours of a leaf for half the day and stepping back from it only to realise it did not work at all in terms of its surroundings. It is frustrating, after previously being able to work on something solidly to have to break your concentration to stand up periodically *

On that same note, painting with small brushes and building up shadows with tiny cross-hatched strokes wasn't working out either. I have now repainted over my original base and started to do very rough shapes of light and shade, not really caring about the details so much. I'll have to care about them later of course, but details to begin with were just terrible idea, especially when I had to paint over them all and felt awful that i'd invested so much time in them.

I realised I need quality bigger brushes as well. I have a lot of very good tiny brushes and one or two dejected larger brushes. So since I had some money burning a hole in my pocket - and since I was feeling frustrated with progress - I went to the art store and bought the most expensive paint brush i've ever owned. A large, flat, part-sable brush which is absolutely beautiful and worth it's weight in gold.

It holds paint better, it is incredibly soft and it never really disturbs the paint beneath even if that's still drying, it paints in even consistent strokes, there's never any unfortunate globules or bubbles going on. The lesson learned here is that although a bad workman might blame his tools, a good workman doesn't use bad tools.

On that same point - I always wondered why I had such a hard time replicating colours exactly. It never occured to me that it might be another case of bad tools

The palette on the right is the one i've used since....well many years...I think it is aluminium or something and crusted with old paint that is fused to the metal now. The one on the left is one I picked up along with the brush. The crucial difference is that the new one is white and the sections are flat bottomed. I'm not sure why I didn't click on to this earlier, but now it seems obvious that having a palette which is a reflective material and has no flat surfaces is not really a very good idea.

Thanks all for excellent suggestions and comments on last post by the way. Every day i've been trying to study something, and I may try some life-drawing classes if I can find some which happen in the evening. Hope you all have a great weekend, i'm off to the hairdressers today (I'm frightened of them so wish me luck!). And also, it is stunningly hot here again, so i'll be doing a lot of walking around...I can barely wait.

If any of you have any tips for me about painting large then I would greatly appreciate hearing them!

*I managed a nifty solution to checking from a distance which doesn't involve standing up and breaking your concentration. I always have a mirror handy in any case (for checking a painting in reverse) and if you hold it at arms length you can check the painting from a distance much more easily (depending on the size of your image you could also position one behind you so that you could just turn round and check it)

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Sketches & Methods & Thoughts on things

Hello there! It's another sunny day here, which is great but I always seem be snowed under with some project or other when it's sunny. Lots has been happening. First of all I started on a monster of a painting (for me). I cannot finish it right now however as I was asked to submit some work to an exhibition whose theme (no matter how I try to rationalise it) has nothing whatsover in common with the piece.

Here's some sketches from that on-hold piece:

I don't like to leave a piece once its started as I go off-the-boil very easily and never pick it up again. Given that I put a lot of effort into planning it and getting the finished drawing i'll be a bit pissed off if that happens.

But in any case, the theme of the new show is 'Birds and Bees' apparently. This is, I believe, primarily because the main artist is Mark Rowney and he produces a lot of work involving birds and bees. Actually, he also makes some astonishing leather work around this as well which you can buy at his Etsy shop here.

When I saw his work, and some pictures of the size of it, I went into a slight panic. My work is, as a rule, very small. This is very gradually changing as I gain confidence, and also as I bring my impatience under control. Even so, I felt that now would be a good time to go bigger still. Enough that you could see my work without having to squint :)

The first flat layer of paint. Cobbled-together frames will again feature heavily. I also managed to get hold of 2 beautifully carved Black Forest frames.

Anyway, I've been thinking about how my work has changed and this is in large part because of this gain in confidence, particularly in handling colours and also in the Acrylic inks I use. I was an artist in college who dropped everything and worked in digital mediums for years. It's only the last few years that I came back to working with paint. And I was not confident at all. If I look at the early paintings I produced it is all monochromatic, incredibly simple, highly illustrative.

I still love them for their simplicity, however as I gained confidence in using colour I wanted to expand beyond these kinds of images. Not only that but my drawing skills were very cramped. I was not confident beyond drawing the face and shoulders. My figures are always disembodied, as though I only really notice people's faces (Some self-observation comfirmed I pay no attention to people's bodies whatsover).

So ultimately i'm trying to observe people more, try things out which I would originally have been too worried about e.g. getting larger & losing the symmetry I rely on so heavily. I don't want to go too far out, there are things which are in my work for a reason and these are right, the rest is there because of anxiety and i'd like to see if I can get the necessary skills to overcome that.

So many of these issues can be easily solved by paying more attention, sketching more often, and crucially being willing to produce shit. Hopefully not too much shit, there's not enough hours in the day for that :)

Anyway, I hope to post some progress soon....and thanks all for your great comments and being a really supportive bunch x

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Out in the open

The painting from the last post was in preperation for a very last minute group exhibition I tagged along with. The reason I wasn't saying much was that the lovely and talented Rima Staines is taking part, and the gallery owner thought we'd keep it'd be fun to keep it a secret till the last minute...Alas, he was invited out to tea and tortured for information :) (that last bit is sadly a fib). Unfortunately I couldn't make it along, too short notice, but it's a pleasure to be sitting beside her work...Especially given how fabulous her latest piece is!

Thanks all so much for the kind comments about the piece - I love it - it's brought about a whole ream of imaginings. Hot house flowers, thick petals, feathers dusty with pollen, giant red suns. Maybe it's the weather, the strange and unusual light and warmth. I feel tropical. Ridiculous of course, I think the temperature is about 7 degrees or similar...But what a winter it was. Any light is a blessing.

I just have a couple of things to report. The indiefixx Free Art project print (below) is now available for anyone to print to their hearts content here!

And I was given a lovely interview for The Sister Project here.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Somewhat furtive

Well amazingly I haven't been completely slacking off recently. Although the weather has been sickeningly beautiful and i've spent an hour here or there sitting on the front porch listening to a relay of chirrups as the birds run around.

This is the stream that runs beside the house...There's no easy way across but you can get yourself down past the little waterfalls and sort of hunker....hunkering's only fun for 30 minutes though.

Front porch bit where I tend to sun worship

Then this morning, a walk which was meant to be half an hour went on for 2 hours and involved me sinking into a mossy pit with my Converse on...It was a very squelchy walk home, and unfortunately the shoes are ruined for good, although I always think bashed up shoes look better, the smell can be off-putting.

In any case I had a very last minute bit of painting to do for something...I went through several stages of 'Oh this is awful, I am terrible, what the heck am I doing' this time because it was very last minute and because what began life as a small study had to become a real finished thing....I also went wildy off-track with my usual composition..

This was a very definite 'what on earth am I doing' moment...I was presumably channeling the cover of some Funkadelic album here.

Some agonising took place, and some adoration of Henri Rousseau

Mexican Relics? I liked the old beat up clock door I was using as a frame, but in actual fact my biggest problem became my ambition to fill this much space...As it turns out I can probably paint a flower a day, half a bird or 2 butterflies. So I had to cut the length of the frame down, lose some of the painting i'd already done, but at least I managed to finish it.

A bad shot, night time, 30 minutes ago. I'm happy actually with where this went, it's quite different in composition to my usual preference, but I do like the direction. Being under pressure is unpleasant in many ways because if i'd had the chance i'd have doubled the length of this piece, but then I probably would never have done anything like this without it....So all in all, a good thing.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


Being leisurely isn't something which works for me. I get cranky and uptight if I have to relax. Massages occasionally make me spasm. Anyway, with all that in mind i've been relaxing the last few weeks - spontaneously. I went for a walk by the stream and sat reading the paper today - presumably i'll have to pay for all this with horrible feelings of guilt sometime in the future. But not today anyway. Also, it's spring. Actual spring, with sunshine and bees and birds - it's such a blessed relief after a seemingly endless winter that it's a sacrilege not to go outside.

I wasn't entirely absent from the studio, but it was incredibly ambling.

Drank tea, sniffed incense

Sketched some bits.
Cleaned up the little altar. Sorely neglected these days.

Started on a small study for a future painting.

So that's it really - I am hoping the larger bird painting will start next weekend, it's easter so I have a longer break from work.

Hope you're all enjoying the start of spring x

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Not much doing

The last few weeks haven't been particularly frantic on the art front. I've mostly been fixing up furniture, painting some silhouettes on plates to brighten up the kitchen and general housey stuff.

Also, i've been trying to get a good fox print. The trouble with paintings on dark backgrounds which have gloss varnishes is that all of the flaws and bits of dust show up in the scan. So there was nothing for it but to cut the fox and all of the branches of the tree from the background...It's not that bad considering....I can sit on the very long train journey to work and do it slowly. It is tedious though, it's so far taken 4 hours and i'm only half done.

Hopefully it'll be worth it eh?

Also, I was very kindly asked if I would submit something to the indiefixx 'Feed your soul' Free Art Project. If you haven't heard of it yet, it's a really nice little project whereby each month several artists submit a piece of art especially for the project which is free for people to download and print for themselves. Go here to find out more!

Here's a small peek at the piece i'm submitting - it's a digital collage - heck i'm on the computer cutting for so many hours I might as well get some art from it :)

Hope you all have an excellent weekend...

Oh yes, and I forgot - the fox flowers have added to even more collages. There's now a print available in the shop using them - It is in a limited amount since i'm doing some gold highlights over it, and it takes a bit of time.