Tuesday, July 31, 2007

People who paint, meditate

Perhaps thats true. I am in the studio at the moment trying to recreate IKB (international Klein blue) as its the perfect colour to introduce to a triptych I'm working on.

This blue is extra special. You can never truly represent it on a screen, but face to face it draws all the light from the room and the blue seems to pulse back at you. If you are interested in seeing more of Klein's work, a good place to start is at the website www.yvesklein.org
and if you ever happen to find yourself in Nice, you must visit the Museum of Modern Art there, which has an entire floor dedicated to this artist's work.
Apparently he died young - at 34 - suddenly and tragically from a heart attack following a bad review from a critic. Sobering thought for all of us.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Remember I always go on about Yves Klein Blue?
Well here it is:
According to Wikipedia....

Many of his early paintings were monochrome and in a variety of colours. By the late 1950s, Klein's monochrome works were almost exclusively in a deep blue hue which he eventually patented as International Klein Blue (IKB, =PB29, =CI 77007), although the colour was never produced commercially.

As well as conventionally made paintings, in a number of works Klein had naked female models covered in blue paint dragged across or laid upon canvases to make the image, using the models as "living brushes". This type of work he called Anthropometry. Other paintings in this method of production include "recordings" of rain that Klein made by driving around in the rain at 70 miles per hour with a canvas tied to the roof of his car, and canvases with patterns of soot created by scorching the canvas with gas burners.

Klein and Arman were continually involved with each other creatively, both as Nouveaux RĂ©alistes and as friends. Both from Nice, the two worked together for many decades and Arman even named one of his children after Yves Klein.

Sometimes the creation of these paintings was turned into a kind of performance art—an event in 1960, for example, had an audience dressed in formal evening wear watching the models go about their task while an instrumental ensemble played Klein's 1949 The Monotone Symphony, which consisted of a single sustained chord.[2][3]

Immaterial works

Le Vide displayed at the Galerie Iris Clert

Le Vide displayed at the Galerie Iris Clert
Recently my work with color has led me, in spite of myself, to search little by little, with some assistance (from the observer, from the translator), for the realization of matter, and I have decided to end the battle. My paintings are now invisible and I would like to show them in a clear and positive manner, in my next Parisian exhibition at Iris Clert's.

In another act that became known as an Yves Klein artwork, he offered and managed to sell empty spaces in the city in exchange for gold. He wanted his buyers to experience The Void by selling them empty space. In his view this experience could only be paid for in the purest material: gold. In order to restore the "natural order" that he had unbalanced by selling the empty space (that was now not "empty" anymore), Klein threw the gold into the river Seine.

Aero works

Le Saut dans le Vide (Leap into the Void)

Le Saut dans le Vide (Leap into the Void)

Klein is also well known for a photograph, Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void) [1] , which apparently shows him jumping off a wall, arms outstretched, towards the pavement. Klein used the photograph as evidence of his ability to undertake unaided lunar travel. In fact, "Saut dans le vide" was published as part of a broadside on the part of Klein (the "artist of space") denouncing NASA's own lunar expeditions as hubris and folly.

Klein's work revolved around a Zen-influenced concept he came to describe as "le Vide" or in English: the Void. Klein's Void is a nirvana-like state that is void of worldly influences; a neutral zone where one is inspired to pay attention to ones own sensibilities, and to "reality" as opposed to "representation". Klein presented his work in forms that were recognized as art - paintings, a book, a musical composition - but then would take away the expected content of that form (paintings without pictures, a book without words, a musical composition without in fact composition) leaving only a shell, as it were. In this way he tried to create for the audience his "Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility". Instead of representing objects in a subjective, artistic way, Klein wanted his subjects to be represented by their imprint: the image of their absence. Klein's work strongly refers to a theoretical/arthistorical context as well as to philosophy/metaphysics and with his work he aimed to combine these. He tried to make his audience experience a state where an idea could simultaneously be "felt" as well as "understood".

Well. There you go. xx

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wishing stones

Being inspired (again) by my love of aboriginal art. These are my wishing stones.

They might not make much sense. But they do to me. Each one represents a wish I've made and a stone I've collected and this picture serves as a reminder to me in my studio that anything is possible if you believe it to be.


Our village has been under severe flood warning alert for a week now.
I was a bit worried about the studio as its lower than the house and reached from the garden. Which is across a road and field from this:

This is Eynsham CC Cricket Pavillion. To give you some idea of the depth of the water - the pavillion is raised 4 feet off the ground on stilts (which are submerged).

Thankfully the water didn't rise much further and sandbags weren't needed outsde the studio door after all. A flooded studio isn't the end of the world in the grand scheme of things and I really feel for those who are suffering hardship and loss, and on a lighter note in Lucy's case - a lack of tea.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New ideas

I was lucky enough to be given a set of lino tools the other day and have been pondering on designs for some limited hand printed runs...to be sold either as cards or prints to be framed.

I did a couple of drawings in ink (I love my Faber Castell Pitt pens), and with the help of a well known paint program, scanned then coloured them in to see how they'd look as lino cuts using just 3 colours.

The first two are possibles, the last blue one is a scan from a gardening catalog which I messed around with. I think is too complex to use as a lino design. But would make a fantastic canvas painting. Hmm. Be interested to hear what others think.

I love the blue in this one. It reminds me of the Klein blue I saw so much of in the South of France last year.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Limited Edition Back to Black

I have painted a limited run of 25 of these on canvas paper.
They will be on sale on the website after the weekend. After these sell, I will paint no more of them so if you would like to order one before they go on general sale, please email me.

Each one is mounted and backed and ready to frame. The overall size is 10 x 10", and the price is £35 including UK delivery.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Lost myself in a giant canvas this morning. I am painting a super-size version of this:The canvas is 40 x 40 inches and almost overwhelms the easel. My first task is to build in the rich red/gold background. This is physically hard work as I put on gold first than work red into the wet paint until I almost work it back off the canvas again. I am going to do this a few times to build in the texture.

This is the result of the first working. Two hours of hard labour :-)

The photo is at an angle as the studio isn't big enough for me to get far enough away from it to fit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where does it all come from??

Just spent 2 hours clearing out the studio and once again I fill a large bin bag with detritus and petrified insects from a month in the studio.

My Plan.
I am on a mission to get another gallery to represent me, as well as get some more exhibitions. So, part of The Plan, is to get organised in my work space. I find it incredibly difficult to keep the studio (or myself for that matter) tidy when I'm in the middle of painting. I figure I make up for it by having the occasional blitz.A couple of weeks ago Lorna asked to see my sketchbook and I said I didn't have one....completely forgetting about this which has lain hidden. Its a book of all the 'paintlets' I've ever done. Some of them never made it into canvases and I spent a lovely hour going through all the hundreds of designs. I am going to revisit a few, especially for lino cuts. So Lorna...if you want a look see...let me know.

However, so much for clearing out all my tenants......2 spiders are back already!! They must like my taste in music...............


Last night was a busy studio night. I set to work on the pink lillies I'd blogged earlier as a paintlet.
This canvas is 45 x 60 cm so there is plenty of room to get some nice sweeping brush strokes going. If I can avoid it, I prefer not to draw on the canvas first, and develop the subject straight on the surface. You get a much more organic feel to the paint, and its a good way to build up the colours.

All the more fun when you stick some loud music on. This was painted to some vintage David Bowie, and it was great for loosening up after painting in miniature.

Back to Black

This idea started life as a large canvas, but got put to one side. In a moment of whimsy I painted this last night as a card instead....its 13 cm square and quite a challenge to paint. I'm used to large canvases so it this was a good exercise in painting discipline to paint small.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Card painting

PictureDreams will soon be offering limited edition handprints and cards in a few weeks. I was working on this handpainted version as a birthday card for a friend but I think I got carried away with the colour and its too.......well, too paisley is what springs to my mind.

I started off just half doodling with a chinese ink pen then made the fatal error of attempting to colour it in. This design is better suited to a suicide print lino cut with fewer colours.

Sometimes less really is more ;-)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cricket and paint can mix ..........sometimes

Today was the first time Eynsham CC could get a game in - in an age. So I loaded my bike and set off for the field. Its been over 12 years since I've done any water colouring and inspired by my recent rediscovery of my Cotman Field Box...what more excuses did I need?

I did take the face paints down with me to keep the kids occupied, and managed a couple of paintings in between painting scorpion tattoos and wiping black face paint out of Maddy's ears.

I bought some masking fluid recently (curious to see how it worked after observing Graham's watercolours) and its a lot of fun!! The possibilities are endless.

I do think I had the wrong paper though...just 135 gsm art paper which was way too absorbent and when I came to rub off the masking fluid, the surface of the paper came off as well half the time.

These two survived. I had a request to keep them 'cricketerly' if there is such a word. Two empty wickets. The top one was one that James had set up to play with jumble of kids that were down the field, and the bottom one is the pitch at tea time.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I want to go some place where the weather fits my clothes

Raining. Again. I'm sure its affecting everybody. I want to run away back to Greece today. But instead I did some designs for a floor-to-ceiling mural which I have been requested for. The brief was red flowers, green stems. I think any of these are going to look stunning. Am tempted to work these into a painting.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday feeling irreverent

Finishing off a tulip triptych today, and surfing in between paint layers. Came across some amusing art quotes on my travels, which I thought I might share.

"Painting is the art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic."
Ambrose Bierce

"Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? The one nearest the door of course."
George Bernard Shaw.

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."
Pablo Picasso.

"There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad."
Salvador Dali.

"If it sells, it's art."
Frank Lloyd.

"Salvador Dali seduced many ladies, particularly American ladies, but these seductions usually consisted of stripping them naked in his apartment, frying a couple of eggs, putting them on the woman's shoulders and, without a word, showing them the door."
Luis Bunuel.

"When having my portrait painted I don't want justice, I want mercy."

Billy Hughes.

"The art galleries of Paris contain the finest collection of frames I ever saw."
Humphrey Davy.

Exhibition time is here again

Opening on Carnival Day