Thursday, June 28, 2007

Desperately seeking Susan

Its finished.

I stayed up all night.
What started out as inspiration from a Bermudian garden ended up in an exploration of self and what was going on in my head. Most of this wasn't a conscious design. More stream of sub-conscious and incredibly relaxing. I completely lost the hours between 2 and 5. I have no memory of them. But I must have been doing something.

Something old, something new. (with updates)

Its late. I am in the studio with music full blast, hot coffee and the company of at least 3 daddy long-legs.

Last week I unearthed an old photo of a garden in Bermuda I had taken. (I used to have a proper job you know - suits and everything). It was such a massive clash of colour of all these exotic tropical flowers. I wanted to convey that riot of colour and develop the style I'd used with the diamond painting. This is the result. The lateness of the hour is because I need to finish it by Saturday so it can go into an exhibition next week.

More work is clearly waiting me so I'll go. Guess I am just keeping myself company on here.

3. am: Time for another coffee, and here is where I am now.

Waiting literally for paint to dry before I can continue. I am really enjoying painting this. I love the flow and colour. Its a departure from my tulips but its pushing my buttons so I'm happy.

Only one thing to do....muck about with the camera.

5. am: I didn't even notice the sun come up. Have got really into this I can't believe the time. I don't want to go to bed. Whats on the canvas is starting to resemble the picture in my head.

5.48 am: Do I enough white to last????

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Portrait of a marriage

Going to an 'At home' party in an hour. Been waiting for this to dry. Its a gift for the hosts whom I have known for more years than I can remember. They are extremely loving and lovely and clearly share some very special times together. This is how I see them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bits and pieces

First of all. Those paintings got shipped today. I had to get up really early to wrap them up and kiss them goodbye.

These two triptychs are by far the most popular I've sold, so I'm considering having some limited edition prints made ......another thing for the to do list.

Top of the list has to be tidy the studio up after dancing around two nights solid....crisp wrappers and plates that once held toast are beginning to stack up. I should really be getting on with that instead of blogging (or as in the case of tomorrow - going out for latin food).

However, I have spent the day not entirely unproductively, as I unearthed a little treasure that I had long forgotten I had. Can you tell what this is?

Its a Cotman Field Box. It opens up and unfolds to reveal 12 paint tablets, a sponge, palettes for mixing, a water container, and a flask for carrying water. And a gorgeously cute brush that unscrews and fastens into its own handle. So I am decided. This summer I am off on expeditions to paint outdoors again. I used to paint in water colour many years ago, mainly dabbling. And rediscovering this set has inspired me to get back in touch with that side of my painting.

Lucy on the other hand, has lately been talking photographs with me and inspired me to dig out some 80's photos (it all started from a discussion about Dusty Springfield and panda eyes...). For some bizarre and sentimental reason I kept my old Uni cards from when I was at Manchester in the early 80's. There is one for every year. When I began in 1982, I was fresh of face, had never tried cider, nor gone to a jazz funk disco. By my third year (which I think you'll agree from the photos) I was a veteran of the Hacienda. Don't know if you can call that decline or development? You choose.


Either way, they are a shocking example of how bad hair do's were for the decade.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Studio all nighter

Its 25 minutes to 2 am. I have 2 triptychs to finish by tomorrow morning. I am listening to Dusty Springfield full blast.

This has been preceeded by

Citizen Cope
Amy Winehouse
Abba (I know)
Some obscure bandI have absolutley no idea who they are
That guy from Men at Work

I can hear the moths beating themselves against the studio window. Theres a few inside more the pity.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Again in purple

Much prefer the colours here. More vibrancy and stronger tones suggesting something more full-blooded........I hope.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Some work in progress to share...

One of my current commissions is a gift, from a husband to a wife. The brief was calla lilies and a dark background, to hang alongside a passionflower painting I had been previously commissioned to paint.

I wanted the lilies to symbolise an enduring togetherness, where its almost but not quite impossible to tell where one lily starts and another begins. And you cannot decide who is leaning on whom, sometimes its one, sometimes its the other.
This is a paintlet, about 20 cm across. Which serves as a sample for colour match and composition. I am going to build a deeper, more passionate purple/pink into the petals.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Potted ideas

This is flowering in my garden at the moment....a really gorgeous asiatic lilly. I do like lillies especially, such sensuos flowers and such exotic colours and intoxicating scents. I am taken with how this one is really open to you, almost as if its baring its soul. Gives me an idea..........

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Food for thought

I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
Frida Kahlo
Mexican painter (1907 - 1954)

You're confusing product with process. Most people, when they criticize, whether they like it or hate it, they're talking about product. That's not art, that's the result of art. Art, to whatever degree we can get a handle on (I'm not sure that we really can) is a process. It begins in the heart and the mind with the eyes and hands.
Jeff Melvoin, Northern Exposure, Fish Story, 1994

All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.
M. C. Richards

Studio in the sun

Sunday was such a gorgeous day here and I had to get back into work. The sun won't fit in my studio, so I took the studio out in the sun.

Lorna paints outside. And it turns out that Graham was out painting in the sun too.

Clearly Sunday was a good day for a spot of creativity. Maddy thought so as she ferretted out the face paints from the back of the studio and set up shop alongside me.

There is a monsoon on the way later this week. So its back in the studio for now.....with a rapidly fading tan.

I am working on some new projects, brushing up on my sketching, putting together 4 commissions and putting off sorting out my brush least for now.

Plenty to do, and no excuse for slacking.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sea, sun and sand sculptures

I know how irksome it can be to have to look through someone else's holiday snaps but bear with me because I'd like to share these. They have seeded some ideas for new work which I hope to be starting very soon.
I spent 2 weeks on Zakynthos (Zante) with the family at a tiny fishing hamlet of Tragaki, a few km from Tsilivi.

In the days when the island was ruled by the Venetians, they referred to it as Zante fior di Levante, which translated into English becomes Zakynthos, flower of the Levant.
The island is home to masses and masses of olive groves and hillsides ablaze with different coloured and exotic blooms.

Some of the trees are hundreds of years old and each family owns a few and harvest the olives to press and make their own olive oil. We bought a bottle back (liquid green in a 2 litre water bottle). Two litres will last us a few months, one of the locals we befriended remarked that they get through 400 litres in a year.! No wonder they have so many trees.

The light here makes every colour really spring to life. The greens, blues and pinks. Must be something about Southern Europe.
The island is also home to the rare loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Sadly the population is down to a few hundred. At night volunteers attempt to rescue the eggs, when the turtles come ashore to lay whimsically amongst the abandoned sandcastles, beach umbrellas and forgotton buckets and spades.
Here is the beach at Gerakis, which is a nesting site so human beach activity is strictly restricted to 10 m within the shore.Measure have been taken by the local authorities and volunteer groups to protect the species, but much work is still needed.

The legendary strength of the sea turtle is central to the creation mythology of many peoples, who believed that if the turtle disappeared, the world would end. This ancient Mayan symbol depicts the turtle swimming in the world's infinite sea to eternally separate earth from sky.

Spending time on the beach prompted me to have a go at some sand sculpture, since I am a kid at heart and messing around on beaches was very restful to my troubled soul.
I recruited what child labour I could....

And here is the finished result....a five foot Caretta caretta....

I also left a mermaid on Gerakis watch over the turtles.

Sadly the photos aren't very clear, but I hope you get the general idea.

Of course, no holiday is complete without humongous sized G & Ts from a friendly barman.

Meet Steve.
Barman and friend at the Maistrali Hotel where we stayed. He kept me and Maddy topped up with Ouzo and chocolate ice cream!!