finding it

 

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Work in progress - looking for the place - do you do this? I can see the place in both orientations, but I'm impatiently waiting for the paint to dry down so I can decide and act. Not helped by the water being switched off for 'essential maintenance'. I'm hoping my water stash will keep me in brews for the day.

The image below is the closest to it given that the paint is still wet.


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it comes and goes

 

Rot


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vain threat

 

Over fields thick with grain.


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Acrylic on paper








sketchbook project/tour update


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More of mine here  - to get my book out of the Sketchbook Library - quote no #S161941 (2016, on tour) or #S140468 (2015, Brooklyn Library). I've chosen not to have my book digitised because it is really nice to have the thing in your hands, no?

Sketchbook Project Tour route/updates here


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image ©sketchbook project, from their Facebook page

 


the storms that never were

 

Ss03


It has been so heavy and humid this week - and we had weather-warnings for thunderstorms and heavy rain. However (she said tempting fate) so far - nothing. Some very dramatic skies and queasy light - but apart from the occasional shower of big drops - nothing. So I've had to resort to inventing the storms that never were - a series of small works on paper (A4) using acrylic over monoprints.


Ss01


Ss05


Ss02


brooding

 

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the storm we need to have

 

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We've had weather warnings for the past 24 hours for thunderstorms and rain, and whilst we have had the odd shower - nothing to lift or clear the humid, mugginess of this week. When the sun is out, it feels like someone turned the saturation up too far - then we get wild, bruised skies that promise a storm, but that pass so quickly, it's like it never was. Outside smells of rain and feels restless. The birds are hunkered down, waiting - only a bold robin comes and scuffs around for fallen seed under the feeder. 


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I've taken a break from archiving to try and capture something of the drama and to imagine the storm to come. I've been monoprinting and overpainting in acrylic - trying to take these captures onto canvas.


more archiving

 

Over06


Over mountain and dark sea, the sun made our wings bronze


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We meet


Pinkhori8


Pink horizon; storm approaches


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Gold light


Waterfront_elaine_phipps_a7gbhz


Waterfront


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No heartsease here


... on a day too hot to think, and still I want to draw or paint. We are due to have overnight storms so maybe then.

 


Frida | Ishiuchi Miyako

 


 


A documentary on the process of Ishiuchi Miyako shooting Frida Kahlo's personal belongings in Mexico.


archiving and liking

 

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Is it conceited to dig out your own old work and like it? Well, that's what I've been up to today. Wrapping and Artwork Archiving and physically archiving - and beginning to stocktake unused canvasses/media.

That one up there with the sig on? Never going to happen again. I had to put that on to get it considered for a show - hated being compelled to do it and hate the way it looks.

So, nothing to overpaint so far - but two canvasses with damaged hangers that need restretching/remounting.


Beach1


Pinkfell


Winterfell

 


on hiatus-y


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Not really on hiatus, but more like mulling-over and sorting-out. I'm having a good old root out of my studio - deciding what to keep, what to recycle, how to store stuff et al. I also need to schedule in some events and so on - holiday ructions have meant a distinct drift of late. I thought I wouldn't be around for some things I could have got involved with but didn't. Anyhoo - enough still to do.


I don't know how I should be storing my work - but in the interim I have bought a huge roll of heavy kraft paper to construct giant envelopes for the canvasses that I want to keep. I have a dearth of storage space here anyway.


I'm hoping to be installed in some studio space at Cross St by the end of the summer. It would be great to be a part of the Open Studios this year. We'll see. 


I went to the Degree Show at Bolton and actually enquired about doing one. It was lovely to be around arty-folks - but, I dunno. My artwork is hardly intellectual/cerebral and nor do I really want it to be. As I said, lots of mulling :) 


Next stop, Warrington Contemporary Art Fair (WCAF) - woot!

 

 


howard hodgkin in the studio series


"I work on an enormous number of pieces at once. I suppose it’s a fear of being unable to work. The older I get, the more I am afraid of this great void coming up."


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more in my fog series



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fog makes ghosts of us all (expanded)


More on the previous theme and an overworking of the original.

Inspired by the drawing-with-fog work in my sketchbook. No fog here today, but a softening haze of misty drizzle is making the landscape satisfyingly indistinct (and the light for photographing work - crap rather trying).


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fog makes ghosts of us all


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Working up sketchbook fragments into large pieces on paper - from A5-ish to A2-ish - next step is to get them on canvas


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The Red Cut


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The earth at home is very dark and loamy, with great caramel-coloured ribbons of clay running through it. Here, in places - it is red and livid against all the lush green of summer.


We frequently came across great curves of cut earth as diggers and construction work opened the land. I'm hoping to develop these sketches further as I love the dynamics of such a visceral image.


Skb4


Ophelia in the green


I see her everywhere - and this year she's decked out in St Annes Lace and tumbling in the verges.


Skb2


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holiday sketchbook (yay!)


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Trying to remember just how long we've been coming to this beach ...


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... a day of drifting sea frets and mist


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... lots of fog drawings in my sketchbook


Sb11


Skb14


Skb8


Skb9


In other news, I've redesigned my blog. On paper at least it looks good.


stormy skies and early summer

 

Darkness



Wild and vibrant light. Greens so fizzy and sherbet. By contrast, the ever-present brooding dark skies and brilliant sun making colours almost fluorescent in their intensity. 


Epartwork081


Fin085

 

Can you see the fringe of blue forget-me-nots in the verge?

 
And then came Ophelia ...


Crop1


Epartwork079


- spinning her falling portals and sending dancing ripples into the air ...


Fin082





useful things to remember

 

I get Artwork Archive newsletters (being a subscriber) and received one recently that was so timely and pertinent, given my squee deficit. An interview with Anne Kullaf ding-ding-dinged with me so deeply - reading things like:

Be authentic. Paint only that which interests you in the way you choose to paint it. Don't change your approach to gain sales, popularity or acceptance. You will never do your best work if you do.

... so enjoyed this interview and the six bite-size advice points - reassuring.

 


forest field and sky

 

"Dr James Fox takes a journey through six different landscapes across Britain, meeting artists whose work explores our relationship to the natural world. From Andy Goldsworthy's beautiful stone sculptures toJames Turrell's extraordinary sky spaces, this is a film about art made out of nature itself. Featuring spectacular images of landscape and art, James travels from the furthest reaches of the Scottish coast and the farmlands of Cumbria to woods of north Wales. In each location he marvels at how artists' interactions with the landscape have created a very different kind of modern art - and make us look again at the world around us."

 

 


bluebell bluebelle blue bell

 

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Intoxicating and compelling colour mixes - more later.

 


clearing

 

Read a post the other day that really resonated with me for a lot of reasons. This most of all:

"The overwhelming contents of my studio made me feel clogged.. Projects that were put on hold? Ditto. I felt like I lost my voice..and my freedom. It's coming back."

I've lost my squee. I feel frustrated and blocked in some ways - but also feel like a magical conduit when something I'm working on suddenly becomes an Ophelia portal.

I had planned this year to be mindfully selling stuff - and whilst I'm still working hard and putting myself about - I'm all kinds of doubtful. This is so not me lol.


FIN - 1


forsythia diadem, acrylic and pastel, 400 x 500mm 


It could be worse - I've had spells of thinking I just need to follow the popular people/direction, and this way or that, trying to make my work fit in. Not good - like a lovely shoe two sizes too small. Then, the self-doubt (annoying and midge-like); the maybe-just-a-hobby-yes? thoughts - this too is so not me lol.

I think a clear-out of mind and space is in order.

I'm hoping to have a diddy studio within Cross Street Arts by the end of the month - so let's see if that makes a difference to this ennui. 

In the meantime I'll be pulling out the bin bags, gesso-ing over some canvasses, sorting out frame stock and mounts and catching some early summerness. Time to regroup. Time to dodge the gatekeepers, stop doubting and make things happen by bringing the work anyway.

I just want my squee back.

 

 


finality

 
It's hard to say when something is finished - I suppose to catch a piece before it becomes overworked mud is part of it. I'm struggling with these pieces because the weather and light has absolutely changed - and as usual I'm roaming about the house to get the light for a decent photo. Anyway - notwithstanding that - I think we're there.

After a tiny bit of Spring, we're back to cold, wet, sleet and even snow. Last night we had hours of thunder, lightning and hailstones like mint imperials.


Hail - 1


FIN - 1


forsythia diadem, acrylic and pastel, 400 x 500mm 


Crop2 - 1


greentrees, acrylic and pastel 400 x 500mm


I couldn't go to Liverpool Art Fair PV (given the quite awful weather I'm just a tiny bit glad I didn't venture out, also public transport doesn't exist here after 6pm) - here's a photo I nabbed off their site - my 'fly up to heaven' is next to the lady in glasses on the right :) Exhibition continues over the weekend.


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hailstones

 

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more on green trees

 

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... and this one has a name 'forsythia diadem' and a companion piece ...


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... and this one doesn't have a name yet - the detail I'm very pleased with - but it isn't showing well here - so here's some detail images!


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WIP later that day!

 

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beautiful light and lime green trees

 

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... so, so beautiful with great fountains of forsythia in the foreground; and as the sun went higher, this bronze-y green


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... just glorious. So I went back indoors for a mug of tea and this (underpainting) - more later ...

 

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private view invite

 

MiGRATE poster .png


liverpool art fair

 

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29 April - 2 May 2016, The Gallery Liverpool, Stanhope Street - FREE

Liverpool Art Fair is an exciting open submission selling event, designed to connect local artists with new art buyers on a large scale, break down barriers, and make affordable art accessible to all.

Liverpool Art Fair was launched in May 2012 as part of the inaugural Liverpool Art Month. Since then we have showcased almost 1000 new artworks by some of the region's most talented artists, to thousands of art lovers, providing a unique insight into the region's creative talent. 

Delighted to have two works included (and for sale!) his year.


Clearing-gold-elaine-phipps

clearing gold 19.5 x 24.5cm (28 x 33cm framed) landscape acrylic on board 


Fly-to-heaven-elaine-phipps

fly to heaven 40 x 50cm portrait acrylic on canvas 

The fifth Liverpool Art Fair will take place over the May Day bank holiday weekend, from Friday 29 April to Monday 2 May 2016 - more at liverpoolartfair.com

 


Migrate

 

Migban


Delighted to be exhibiting as part of the forthcoming A6 dialogue/Cross St Arts show 'Migrate' - more info from

 

 


forsythia

 

The raggedy forsythia hedge to the side of our house is just about to flower. I've spent a happy afternoon scribbling and trying to capture the tangle and whoosh of fit to burst buds and first flurries of yellow.


F1


F2


F3


3f


F5


Deet1


Deet2


Deet3




five girls and the sycamore collection

 

Can't find an image with any kind of copyright detail for this image - but a google search pointed me at this - one of my favourite pieces currently on show at Bolton Museum & Art Gallery - who are displaying prints from the Sycamore Collection. 


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Five Girls John Copley, lithograph


I always call in to see this exhibition when I'm in town - it's on until the end of May. And if this doesn't butter your crumpet, there are works by Gwenda Morgan, Eric Ravilious, Henry Moore, David Michael Jones, John Craxton and many other celebrated printmakers included. So lucky to have such a great resource on the doorstep.

 


possibly wandering off topic

 

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Yes - a petition. But given that so much of our social history is at risk by lack of funding closures - it is important. And if we're looking for a specific suffragette - then make it Annie Kenny or Alice Hawkins.

"The law may be stronger than I am, but if I may not change the wicked law that holds in bondage the smitten womanhood of this country, I will at least die in the attempt to change it’."


updated | Overcoming barriers to artists’ residencies

 

Lightbox


Nicola Smith: Overcoming barriers to artists’ residencies
Artists' talk and panel discussion.
Old Fire Station, University of Salford

Nicola set-up this event, with support from the University of Salford, as part of her research for developing a fully supported artists’ residency opportunity for those who feel unable to participate within existing programmes. Nicola’s research and development project is funded by Art Council England.

This event was aimed at artists interested in undertaking an artists’ residency and particularly for those who feel they maybe unable to pursue a residency (for whatever reason). Artists who have taken part in residencies were also encouraged to come along and share their experiences.

Artists Nicola Smith, Helen Knowles, Jason Wilsher-Mills and Pool Arts talked about their individual experiences of residencies and some of the barriers they overcame to undertake them including: undertaking an international residency in Qatar from your sickbed; going to Santa Fe to work with indigenous native American midwives; with your partner and baby in Finland or in a shed on an allotment in Manchester.

In 2014, Nicola participated in a 2-week artist residency in Finland with her husband and then 6-month old baby in tow; an opportunity she found rare given that most residencies tend to cater for the individual, with few accepting partners let alone children. As a result this got her thinking as to “who else feels unable to participate in artist residencies?”. She is currently developing an artist residency opportunity in Tampere, Finland, in partnership with Islington Mill, Salford, and the Artists Association in Tampere.

For more information:

Contact Nicola Smith: email: nsartist@gmail.com

www.a-n.co.uk/blogs/we-are-resident  
www.facebook.com/weareresident  
Twitter: @family_resident


I went to this talk last Friday. Strange to be back in a familiar venue (the former Viewpoint Gallery) - a photography gallery - which then closed some years ago . However, very nice to see the building back in use - and a brilliant venue at that - excellent facilities/refurbishment and really easy to access by public transport. The speakers were varied and the whole event cracked on at a good pace - presented by Paul Herrmann (director of Redeye, the photography network). 

 


Wonderful and uplifting

 

I was listening to Radio 4 this evening and Susan Calman. In it she explored going to galleries and looking at art with Phill Jupitus (from 14:55).  It was one of the most gently humorous and touching things I've heard in ages; listen here - which led me on to ...

" ... I couldn't visit Edinburgh and not come to see her. Even if it was only for a few minutes, just to say hello. A few years ago she was moved from her usual spot. And I freaked out. I scurried round and found an attendant, "Where's Lady Agnew?" I blurted in a manner that was borderline panicky. The long-suffering staff member recognised the fever in my eyes, smiled, arched her eyebrows, looked over her glasses and said "Oh... you mean the hussy?"." Phill Jupitus on  'Lady Agnew of Lochnaw' by John Singer Sargent.

Both the radio programme and the article are just so uplifting and wonderful. Best things I've heard/read in relation to art in ages.

Bonus clip!: Phill Jupitus at The Whitworth

 


last two for today

 

Wip2 - 1


edge work on paper, pastel and acrylic


Wip2 - 1 (1)


stand work on paper, pastel and acrylic

 


more works on paper

 

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emerge
 work on paper, pastel and acrylic


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spate work on paper, pastel and acrylic


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pollard work on paper, pastel and acrylic


More drawings for today from reference - lots of snow - so a scramble about not really advisable :)


 

 


lost in light

 

Wip2 - 1 (3)


find the water acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm 


In this piece I'm trying to capture the feeling of being 'contained' by undergrowth and the odd quality of sound when surrounded by the trees and banking on the near side of the ridge.

Wip2 - 1 (8)


find the water
 acrylic and pastel on paper 18 x 24cm 


find the water
is a reference to the brook that runs under our house and emerges down the far side of the ridge before being carried away under the road. Given the amount of rain - it is now plainly audible if not visible, roaring softly. The brook when it appears is glinting and dark - only flashing silver where the sunlight catches it. It follows an old boundary line alongside field edges, the road and hedgerows.


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fierce thorn acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm 


In fierce thorn I'm trying to emulate the curves and coils of bramble and briar that wind into elegant frame shapes and waves. As beautiful as these arcs are - their thorns are vicious and claw-like against the dreamy shadows of back-lit undergrowth.

 


... and that makes four

 

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spring birch - lapis then dusk acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm


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spring birch - dawn burn with frost acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm


And this series is now loosening up and becoming what I'd wanted it to look like.

Bought a big canvas (for me!) this afternoon which I'm going to use for this series (prolly a metre square or thereabouts). Will also take these two outdoors and photograph them again in natural daylight.

Need to crack on next week to get work prepared for Cross St/A6 Dialogue and Liverpool Art Fair - March deadlines are looming ...

 

 


the start of another tree series

 

Wip2 - 1 (3)


I could almost feel this coming on - for the last week or so I've been grovelling under hedges and clearing verges - my neighbour and I have embarked on a mighty litter-pick. Not to 'clean for the Queen' but more of a 'not wanting to live in a shithole' kind of thing. The amount of crap that gets thrown out of passing cars is disgusting. Tossers is exactly the epithet for it. We won't even speak of the fly-tipping in the field ditch (hello flooding, you effing MORON).

So - getting close-up with nature (including a freshly-shot, abandoned dead rabbit which probably made an excellent supper for local foxes) - the extraordinary clarity of the skies and quality of light has brought me here. The first piece being a total pig to photograph as it includes metallics.


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spring birch - copper over silver acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm


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spring birch - the golden gap acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm

I have a couple more of this birch series to complete - and then I'm totally going hedgerow. We have some ancient hedges pertaining to old county boundaries close by - and I'd quite like to adopt them as a theme. They are quite beautiful but very wild and fierce (THORNS).

 


gilded

 

Thu


loosening up

 

5So I've had this Emily Ball book for ages and I remembered it this morning whilst clearing the decks in my studio - and I thought I'd have a go at some of the exercises. It's a brilliant book - and I understand there's another one in the making about landscapes which sounds like it will be brilliant. Here's the author's website.

 

21Now - this kind of thing is a bit crap to do on your own - so wasn't as much fun/effective as it could have been if there had been the oppo to run around squeaking at what others had come up with. But, it has given me some impetus to pull out all of those not-quite-working canvasses and get to working over/reworking.

 

 

 

12This exercise was all about creating a mark-making 'conversation' and cropping-in on any interesting bits. As I'm an impatient person I've used 'dry' media (marker and pastel) rather than paint and something else wet. I've cropped in Photoshop (rather than overpainting - and probably destroyed the entire point of the exercise lol. 

 

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Nevertheless, I've got some great jumping off points from it.

 

 

 

 


aubade

 

A


... rescanned in daylight and stood in mulling-over-corner for mulling over ...


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I'm in the sky - bliss

 

oh how I'm loving these colours and textures


Wiphigld


Goldwip


I'm thinking these are pretty much done (for now). It has been so cold today but beautifully opalesquent - the light, pale and golden, the sky full of vapour trails and little pillows of cloud - just delicious.

 


instant gratification

 

Using up leftover paint to create small works on paper - then having a lovely time spinning them around trying to decide which way is 'up'.


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I really like these - but once again, I think I need to scan them to get rid of the grey.

 


bounce that light

 

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.. love this bit