Thursday, February 28, 2008

Only vegetables are happy

As if I don't have enough already! Meet Ronaldo and Cootie, 7 week old boy rats. They like the studio.

"People need trouble - a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it. Artists do; I don't mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are happy"

William Faulkner

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Flesh on bone

Did some more on the RA painting this morning. I am exploring a new technique with this one. Using acrylic more like oils. I have still a long way to go but I am pleased with how this one is shaping up. All I am using is titanium white and mars black. To give you an idea of scale, this canvas is 30 x 40 inches. You are probably best off clicking on the image to get the best view :-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Too tired to sleep

Visions for those too tired to sleep,
These seeds cast a film over eyes which weep.

Amy Lowell

The latest offering from the studio. A christmas day commission

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thought for the day

I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for


Friday, February 15, 2008

Proper work

Enough taking the mick out of the late night wine-induced ramblings of a fellow artist, I have actually done 'some' work today.


Just for Graham.
Heh heh heh

Thursday, February 07, 2008

One more....

Project that is.

You may have been following the progress of a little wodden box. Well this is where its at. A fair few layers still to go, but you can picture the final piece now I think.


January...and now February, have been unusually busy months for me. January saw the Open exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Oxford.

This is also the time of year when work for the 2008 Artweeks needs to be planned. This year I am exhibiting alongside photographer Karen Foster at the Eynsham Emporium.
I really urge you to take a look at Karen's work.
As well as Artweeks, which kicks off in May, there is of course the RA Summer Exhibition. At least I've made a 'sort of' start on that, but have some more ideas in the pipeline.

Of course there are the commissions...and the latest one I will be sharing here. It is for 4 abstracts in a predominateley red and modern theme to match decor.
These are the paintlets for the project so far....

This is a 36 x 48" landscape:

This is a diptych, one panel 24 x 36" and the other 24 x 60"

And this is a 36 x 48" vertical

They are all inspired from the diamond painting I did last year.....

Some of these canvases are so large, I am going to need to modify my easel tp take them. For instance, the two canvases in the diptych need to be painted alongside each other. I feel a trip to the local DIY shop coming on......

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Man Made

Is the theme for this year's Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. I love the ritual of entering this prestigious competition....pondering on the composition, the reverent trek across London town to hand deliver your offering...the weeks of waiting....and for the vast majority of us, the rejection letter and the 'ho hum it was fun anyway' and return trip to fetch your work followed by a self-consolatory pint in the Glass Blowers' Arms.

I have pondered awhile on the theme for this year: Man Made. When I think of this, it conjures images in my head of suffering brought about by man's inhumanity....dark certainly, appropriate probably and it fits in nicely with my long unfulfilled ambition to do a mother and child portrait. Maybe this latest idea...which only crystallised this afternoon, has been brought about by me and M posing for Lorna yesterday....but once the idea formed....I couldn't get it down on paper quick enough.

This may sound trite or even pompous, but it was as if the sketch ran away with me and I know I should have used a softer pencil but that would have involved stopping to fetch one from the studio and I dared not.

So here is my idea. Acrylic. Big. In black and white for impact. It isn't nearly finished as a drawing, but it has all the elements in place for me to start considering the actual painting.

This drawing is A4, done in HB, white and black crayon and black ink felt tip.

I have been playing around with ideas for a border for this painting.
I envisage it being around 3 x 4 feet in size. What do you think of this? Its just a software created border, I was thinking along the lines of blood red marks as if made by fingernails...perhaps in a texture similar to that used in the Sun Shadow painting last month. ..

I need to be sure one way or another as the border would be painted last and if I didn't like it, it will have effectively sabotaged the entire work.....but I kind of like the semi-destructive nature of the scrathing round the edges..... Hmm

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Box Update

More time spent on the box this afternoon, before the rugby starts. I fixed a tack on the inside which was making the tray stick.

I also finished all the green gold layers and worked on the design. I used ink and fine brush and once the ink is dry....I can start the 'proper' painting. I am really enjoying this and have already started scouring Ebay for other boxes to decorate.....


There are times in life when you come across something that resonates with you. I stumbled across this the other day in the Times Online Alpha Mummy pages.
Alpha Mummy is a new blog for mums who work, used to work, or want to go back to work one day (as if looking after children isn't work enough).

10 Lies Mothers Tell

1. The pain of childbirth

Trite but true, a mother will never reveal the true extent of the pain of childbirth. How could we even begin to explain anyway? Instead, when asked about it, by soon to be initiated friends, we mutter something about breathing through it and try and suppress the buried memory of our own experience of childbirth, particularly the bit that involved crawling around on all fours howling like a dog.

2. The amount of alcohol we drink

Of course we love bathing our child and the way they smell all clean when they are tucked up in bed listening raptly to what Charlie said to Lola. We are more reluctant to admit that we are on auto-pilot the throughout the entire bathing/bedtime ritual, our minds concentrated almost exclusively on that magical first, cold glass of wine that we are going to guzzle the minute the children (finally) go to sleep. Alcohol is a quick fix route to relaxation that few exhausted mothers can resist.

3. Paid work is easier than childcare

Every working mother has had the experience of a stay at home mother asking them ‘how on earth they do it’? We bask in their apparent admiration, reluctant to admit what men have known for decades; paid work is easier than childcare. Work can be grim, it is true. But rarely, if ever, will one of your colleagues wrap themselves around your ankle screaming if you try to go to the bathroom or fix yourself a cup of coffee.

4. Yes, we are competitive

We want our children to be high achievers. Of course we ‘tut’ at the ridiculous notion of a two-year-old learning Mandarin and actively pity those parents that turn up to sports day with running shoes. But here’s the thing - it often feels good when your children are better and faster than their peers. Always distrust a mother that tries to impress upon you the fact that she ‘does not have a competitive bone in her body’.

5. How much we resent our partners

Much as we adore our children’s fathers, a lot of the time we also just plain hate them. How many of us have not fantasised about our partner’s death while getting down and dirty with the bleach in the loo which he never, ever cleans? Few of us remember that section of our wedding vows which involved us remembering every dreary date on the domestic calendar from birthdays to school open days; far less the part where we promised to stay up all night sewing in labels, packing lunch boxes or conjuring up outfits for school plays. As for the part where you collapse in an exhausted heap around midnight and he shows up with that certain twinkle in his eye…

6. How much we resent our children

Tricky one this because it really is a given that we love our children, and most of us could prove to an objective standard, that we have sacrificed our youth, looks and sanity in pursuit of their happiness and well being. However, this does mean that from time to time we do not regard them as the life-sucking little leeches that they are. This is most acute when, just home from the daily commute we are forced to sit through five acts of a confusing, noisy childrens’ play, complete with scenery, costume changes, and energetic audience participation.

7. How much we hate our childless colleagues

It is really ok to hate our childless colleagues because they hate us right back. They see that we have a ready made excuse for every late morning, early evening, extended holiday and day off sick. They have no appreciation, nor could they, that the work is all still there when we arrive back. It is true that our childless colleague often gets into work early and pointedly stays late. Your boss is unlikely to be aware of the fact that, notwithstanding this, they spend the most of their time at work surfing the internet for last-minute skiing holidays or mini breaks for two in Barcelona.

8. The amount of screen time our children get

Of course we have all read the dire warnings about screen time. We know that computer games and television will affect our children’s’ ability to concentrate, care about others and construct a coherent sentence. Most of us would say that our children spend no more than one hour in front of a screen a day. This is a big fat lie. If you doubt this ask yourself how many children’s television characters your child could name aged 2. The reality is many children pack in a good two hours plus in front of the television in the morning before their parents are even fully conscious. And let’s face it, if your child insists on getting up at 5.50am every morning, what are you supposed to do, potato printing?

9. The amount of junk food they eat

Yes, we mash up organic vegetables for our babies and shove cubes of carrot and cucumber into their lunch boxes to impress their teachers with our enlightened approach to food. We smile serenely as, lovingly, we place fruit smoothies and bumper packs of raisins into our trolley at the supermarket. Looking back, we are therefore completely mystified as to exactly how and when sugared cereals and ketchup became such a staple of our children’s diet, and note with horror their ability to recognise popular fast food outlets just from the logo.

10. That we do not like our friend’s children

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of becoming a mother is that your loving and maternal instincts do not extend to the offspring of you friend’s children. In fact, if anything, other people's children become even more intolerable when you are dealing with the relentless demands of your own family. All of us have the experience of watching ineffectual parents inflict their dreadful offspring onto others. It is very hard to have to grit your teeth and encourage your child to ‘share' with little Oscar when you have just observed him spit at your child and pull the head off her best doll.

Posted by Times Online on December 11, 2007 in On being a parent