Art in the City

I’m now back from my holidays in Malta and Mallorca, very inspired by the light and the colours. Through doing little watercolour studies it is apparent how much yellow I need to use to capture the bright summer sunshine! I also got very interested in the variety and the colours of the doors in Malta, each has their own character and together they make a quirky collage.

IMG_3340

Just before I left for my holidays, I completed and sold my painting of the apple blossoms. I really love this painting, perhaps something to do with the movement and light of the petals! I am very inspired to pick up my oil paints again to experiment with another medium.

IMG_2204

Last Saturday was a big day for me, as I was part of Gloucester’s ‘Art in the City’ painting competition. We had the whole day to paint plein air our chosen scene from the town of Gloucester and hand it in by 6pm for judging. Sadly I didn’t get through to the shortlist, but it was such a sunny day, I had lots of positive feedback and interest in my paintings, and I had a really good practise at painting outdoors. I chose to paint the little alleyway outside the Tailor of Gloucester’s house, which Beatrix Potter famously painted. A lot of contestants chose the Gloucester docks, Cathedral and street scenes, however, I chose this bright, sunny alleyway as it took my back to my childhood enjoyment and fascination of the historic street.

IMG_3289

So here is my finished painting, I used some vibrant colours and particularly liked the shadows cast across the street in the morning light. The exhibition of all the paintings done for ‘Art in the City’ (including mine) are now on show upstairs in Eastgate shopping centre, in Gloucester. So do have a look at all the other entries to the show, there was such a variety painted during the day, and they are all for sale for the next week or so.

IMG_3313

Look out for me in the Forest of Dean this week as I will be teaching drawing classes at Druid camp! I shall be giving my first out of two classes this thursday on depicting the character and essence of natural forms. I have collected feathers, pinecones, sticks and shells to draw in the classes, then in the second half of the session it will be based on experimental mark making, using the natural forms, feather and leaves to draw with. At the end I shall be giving a folding sketchbook demonstration to hopefully inspire everyone to keep drawing outside of the session. Really looking forward to it! On the last day of the festival there will be a market on Saturday afternoon, so I will of course take the opportunity to sell some of my paintings. Further information can be found at http://www.druidcamp.org.uk

 

 

My day in the Studio

I haven’t uploaded any pictures of my studio here until now, so here’s a blog post about a day in my studio!


I find that to work on more than one painting pushes me to experiment and vary from canvas to canvas. Right now I am working on six, which is about my maximum, hopefully they’ll all be complete by the end of the week. Bambi our chihauha fell asleep wrapped in my overalls, so I had a little company for an hour. She’s slowly learning, I think, as yesterday she walked through my palette and got green paint on her paws!


(In case you didn’t spot her in the main picture)


I’ve zoomed in on this painting as its a bit more of an experiment. Recently, working on a number of paintings allows me to abstract and simplify my subject, relying on my memory a bit more. In this piece I am layering up the colours and shapes, as if you are looking directly into the grass. I find my eye goes in and out of the leaves and flowers, as there is so much visual information to absorb.


This is another work in progress, a similar feel but I am focussed on the layers of colours. How they interact is fascinating me, I’m really enjoying the composition and colour of the red sorrel leaves on the right hand side. In my extra time, I’m persevering with finding galleries to apply to, competitions, funding etc and a few of my older works are available to buy on http://www.artfinder.com

Arty Car Booty


Of course, last Sunday was the art car boot, so I welcome all my new followers to my blog! The weather was a little dull but I really enjoyed getting all my work shown together and it was worth it for this great photo. Hopefully this will be the first of many art events for me in the future. Keep you’re eyes on this space as all works will be available for purchase, and may be available through some online galleries too, lets hoping..!


This week I am focussing on my wild flowers, they have so much colour and variety, and so much depth in such a small area. This piece is requiring lots of layers to enhance the richness of layered colours. It’s full of purples, pinks, yellows and greens.


Walking through the fields everyday it’s clear to me how much the flowers change day to day. Each day there is a different mood, and today the rain left some beautiful dew drops on the ends of the grasses, into rather elegant droops. In this piece, I wanted a feeling of the buttercups to be floating, sometimes the ground has an elusive sense of depth. I am layering the colours, shapes and marks to bring the image out of my memory into reality. (I also have another, of the same size I am working on, with more rich, reddish tones of the wild sorrel). The abstract shapes of the flowers are really starting to come through here.


A page from my sketchbook -I like to closely observe the shape, colour and feeling before I go ahead with a painting.

Blossoms & Wildflowers

Its been two weeks since I moved out from Aberystwyth and stepping into my routine of painting. A life of painting, my ultimate dream!

To make the transition from my studies in art to a profitable career, I enrolled in ‘Business Start up week’ at the University. I was surrounded by people of all departments of the University determined to develop their ideas into businesses, and unsurprisingly, I wasn’t the only art student there. It was a really useful week of understanding key aspects of planning, selling products, dealing with people, managing finances and developing strategies for success. Throughout the sessions, I thought about the words of advice and information given and overall, I had a realistic perspective towards making the right moves in my career and planning achievable goals.

IMG_1510

Whenever I returned home to Gloucestershire from living in Aberystwyth I was always overwhelmed by the richness of colour and lush textures of the garden and fields. Our apple tree was laden with blossom, only for a very short time, so I took lots of photographs of the beautifully delicate leaves and translucent petals. This was a water-soluble graphite drawing. I’ve come to enjoy the really deep, rich tones I can get out of a water-soluble graphite than a regular graphite (and it’s less prone to smudging).

IMG_1633

 

Naturally, I began a painting from the drawing since I felt the composition was interesting for me. This is still in progress, I am making many more layers of thin paint to describe the curve and fall of the petals.

DSC_0224

Our beautiful Jaffa is old enough for walks now, so I take the three labradors for walks together in the fields (this is him above), which are absolutely teeming with wildflowers. I’m overwhelmed and inspired every day. My ‘walking’ sketchbook, which goes with me to document all my walks through the countryside, now has lots of botanical studies of the wildflowers I find. I now have a few books in my collection to identify them.

DSC_0163

I’m interested in the randomness of nature with these wildflowers. They make such beautiful compositions, I can sit at the same spot and I find that my line of interest is difficult to pin down because there is so much to absorb! My photographs help me discover how I interpret them in paint.

DSC_0253

These pink orchids are stunning, they were photographed in an organic field just down the end of the road from me. So I try not to step on them!

IMG_1777

I have two paintings of wildflowers on the go now, this is a detail of my favourite so far that will be on sale tomorrow…hurrah! Yes its been a late night for me as its been an evening of preparing things and loading up the car for the Stroud Valleys Artspace ‘Arty Brum Booty’ tomorrow! It will be the first time I’ve contributed to the SVA, despite being a member for a while, and I’m really excited to meet some fellow art lovers and artists and get some of my work out there. My stall will be laden with lots of artwork from over the past few years and some of my needle felting creations, so I’m looking forward to having an eclectic stall, which should suit the nature of the event.

School of Art Degree Show

IMG_0773 (1)

After a lot of final touches to my triptych, measuring, labelling and painting my exhibition walls my works were finally hung! The opening of the degree show on Saturday went very well, there was a good turn out of visitors making a lively atmosphere. I felt my paintings were exhibited in an excellent spot, there was a nice, even, bright light which made my works really stand out. They were also at the end of the room where there was space for visitors to stand back and have time to take in my work.

IMG_0774

Given we had three days to paint our exhibitions walls, and three days the next week to label and hang our work I left plenty of time to get all the hanging done. This meant I had time to touch up my paintings in their space, which I felt was very important as the light was considerably brighter in the exhibition rooms. I added some vibrant notes of colour to the areas of detail and shimmer from the light on the wet rocks (particularly in the third panel).

IMG_0855

This is me next to my paintings to give you a sense of scale! (I am 5ft 11, and I seem to have hung my paintings at the right height after lots of consideration and time spent with a tape measure).

I decided before hanging that my two other rock pool studies accompanied the triptych better than my fragment paintings. So here they are! They are a nice contrast, since the sand brushed over the rocks and between the cracks revealed warmer colours adjacent to the cool rocks and transparent water. The titles of the works are also important to my vision with the rock pools – the triptych was entitled ‘The Trail of the Hermit Crab’ and either side ‘The Shrimp Pool’ and ‘Amroth Stones.’ The rock pools I encountered for all these works have geographical locations, but I see the creatures, rocks, life and particularity within each pool as their own thriving environment.

Degree show is nearly here!

IMG_0308

Selecting work for the degree show is a difficult decision process, particularly as I have quite a choice right now and the work I’ve done is quite varied. My work has developed now from my closely observed objects and I’ve now concentrated on looking into the rockpools, investigating the colours, shapes, light and marks of the pebbles and water. I’ve titled this triptych ‘The Trail of the Hermit Crab’ since I made photographs and preparatory drawings; the marks left by the crabs make lines throughout the rocks. An interesting pattern, they reflect on the theme of walking, which is the concept behind these works.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 16.20.16

I was asked why I divided the panoramic rockpool into a triptych. My thinking is that the rock pools are so busy, so active and varied, that our eyes do not see the whole view at once. Memories, thoughts, interests build up the image. Our brains are not photographic. So here the image is revealed through pieces, some of the rocks are out of focus and loosely described, and as I complete this work (it is still requiring some finishing) I am directing the viewer’s eye to particular details and interactions between shapes and colours.

IMG_0162

Here I have two other works of my ‘fragments’ next to the triptych. I am still considering exhibiting them, so I now work with all my pieces together, so that the colours and shapes relate. The challenge of an exhibition is about compositionally leading the viewer’s eye to sustain interest. I admire the two paintings of collections, because they are warmer in colour in comparison to the tryptic, making a nice balance. It also considers the way I retrieve and arrange the objects out of their natural surroundings.

IMG_9900

Next week the School of Art is being prepared for exhibiting, which involves painting the walls, arranging the layout of the exhibition and hanging work. The opening will be on the 14th May, 3pm, if you are interested in visiting Aberystwyth’s degree show full details can be found here https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/art/ and on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AberystwythSchoolofArt/?fref=ts

We warmly welcome all visitors to see all the hard work and diversity of our busy School of Art!

IMG_9898

Walking, Collecting, Painting -Preparing for the Degree Show

My degree work so far has allowed me to explore all kinds of subject matter, techniques, mediums and inspiration. Now I am at the end of three years of work, preparing for the degree show is challenging me to hone my skills and artistic voice.

IMG_8911

My project has developed from looking at collected objects from walks over the last year, they visualise various environments I encounter, remind me of the places I walk and document the interests I had from the season, weather and my own mood. I began arranging the objects together into compositions, as if to piece together the environment I walked through or to trace the thoughts I felt looking closely at the objects.

Painting is my way of exploring my subject. I try to hone the feeling, texture and weight of the object -from a fragile stick, the smooth pebble, or a rough shell in the palm of my hand.IMG_8909

Throughout painting the found objects, I recollected the joy of looking for limpets, shells and pebbles in the rock pools of Aberystwyth. The transient effects of the surface of the water allowed me to search for the object in paint through the layers of water. The objects naturally left by the tide created their own arrangement that echoed the fleeting moment of their position, which were like the moment of my own footstep in the sand.

IMG_8914

At this stage towards the exhibition, I am focussing on my paintings of rock pools and pebbles (below are two currently in progress). Now one month away to the degree show, our catalogue statements are written and we begin the process of selecting work for the catalogue and show.

FullSizeRender copy

IMG_9561