VS sneaky peek

 

Not too long now until VS private view (25 Aug) and New Art Spaces launch.

I nipped out this morning for a sneaky peek. New Art Spaces/VS launches (27 Aug) during Bolton Food & Drink Festival weekend (26-29 Aug). There will be road closures/access changes in the town centre during this period - but also street food and stalls - yum!


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Churchgate House is situated (unsurprisingly) on Churchgate, in the middle of Bolton. At one end of Churchgate is St Peter's Church (and gold postbox) and at the other the Market Cross/Monument. This is a pedestrianised conservation area


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St Peter's Church

"Good. They could do with doing something in these empty buildings"
(overheard whilst taking photos).


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Market Cross


The exhibition space still needs a little bit of finessing for the Private View - but it looks really interesting already (big thanks to all involved). I overheard lots of positive and curious comments as people passed by whilst I was taking these pix.


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Image copy


More about New Art Spaces here and see below (via Twitter) where there should be further contact details should you need them. Note - there is no street parking at Churchgate House - there are car parking details and local info on the Bolton Council website   




 

 


blue

 

My (acrylic) paint is drying as quickly as I can squeeze it out of the tube - yet here I am - still looking for that perfect hot summer blue (which in reality has faded from blazing to pastel as the afternoon has gone on). Yes I know they all look the same here - but they are quite different in Real Life lol!


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I'm also using up the semi-dried paint I've already squeezed out- making for some interesting dragging and scraping marks and textures. (Apologies for rank images but being outside in the shade gives the images a blue cast).


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VS | New Art Spaces Leigh & Cross Street Arts

 

Image

 

Launch Event: New Art Spaces Bolton

Posted on 11 August 2016

In creative partnership with neo:artists, Castlefield Gallery is excited to be launching its latest New Art Spaces at Churchgate House, Bolton on Saturday 27 August, 12-7pm.

Registered charity and art organisation CG launched New Art Spaces (NAS) in 2012 to make available temporarily empty properties to artists in which to create and present new work to audiences. From empty retail units, warehouses and office spaces, artists, artist groups and artist development agencies have been transforming these spaces into project and pop-up exhibition spaces.

With the help of charity property provider Hammond Associates, CG has been able to take on four temporarily vacant shop units and two large office spaces at Churchgate House, Bolton for developing and showcasing new art and artistic talent in Greater Manchester.

Members of the public will be able to see VS, a joint exhibition by New Art Spaces Leigh and Cross Street Arts, as well as exploring project spaces by artists Paul Turnock, Steph Shipley, James Bloomfield, Marguerite Heywood, and Geoff Levy.

“NAS Bolton provides a range of spaces for visual artists to test new and ambitious work in a collaborative environment. Coinciding with both the opening of the neo:printprize in the Market Place Shopping Centre and the Bolton Food and Drink Festival, we look forward to welcoming visitors to Churchgate House for an opportunity to meet the artists and to see the diverse and engaging work being developed and exhibited in the spaces.” Nicholas James, New Art Spaces Coordinator, Castlefield Gallery

The launch of NAS Bolton marks the beginning of a creative partnership with Bolton-based neo:artists, who will be working with CG to manage the Churchgate House spaces, enabling both organisations to consolidate and enhance their artist support and development work.

“This is an exciting collaboration with Castlefield Gallery, giving artists in the region more amazing opportunities.” Jason Simpson, Director, neo:artists

Address: New Art Spaces Bolton, Churchgate House, Churchgate, Bolton BL1 1HL

castlefieldgallery.co.uk

crossstreetarts.com


a golden haar

 

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Acrylic on canvas (40 x 50cm)


I was referring to this as work in progress, but I love the loose sketchiness of it - so I'm calling it done. I did a load of captures in my sketchbook of haar on the beach and beyond; over clifftop fields and woodland. Love the smokiness and gauziness against the richness of the sea and the brilliant skies beyond.


back to sea

 

Some WIP images ...


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... which I think will probably stay as is - this one I've already changed (below) ...


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... and this one (below) I'm not sure if I'll do anything with and am quite pleased with. Of course the hard part is deciding finished or no - and coming up with titles for them.


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Detail.


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These are all acrylic on canvas.

 

 

 

 


productivity

 

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I got two pieces finished (24 x30" canvasses), a fair bit of stuff in my workbook and a dozen pieces wrapped and archived. I've decided on a few canvasses to be recycled/reused too.

Another little plug for Artwork Archive for helping me get (and keep) an organised database of work. The tariff I'm on now, allows for 100 pieces to be managed - which is about the maximum I can physically store here in my home studio. I only AA paintings - not prints - except for anything that I've donated (and which I'd like to keep a record of). I have only touched on the full features of AA and hope to get going with some of the others in the next few weeks. AA has a free 30 day trial so you can see if it's for you - I'm paying $4 or just over £3 a month for the lowest tier. BTW I'm not an affiliate - just a happy user passing on a good experience. 

All in all, not my busiest week from the point of view of painting - but considering I've had the most horrendous cold/cough that has set my immune system into overdrive (hello swollen glands) - I'll take that as a result lol.

Back on the timer again to make sure I don't overdo things and put myself back, health-wise - there's always next week!


work in progress

 

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Bringing this spread from my workbook to canvas (24 x 30"). Needs further working to bring a bank of ultramarine in. This is the hard part for me - waiting for the underpainting to dry so as not to work the whole thing into mud.


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I thought that was exactly what I'd done with a painting yesterday - but today, looking at it with fresh eyes - it looks quiet and meditative.




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

 

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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.


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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


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Pink horizon; storm approaches


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Gold light


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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.


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Ophelia in the green


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


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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


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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. 


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Fin085

 

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

 
And then came Ophelia ...


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


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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.


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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.


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forsythia diadem, acrylic and pastel, 400 x 500mm 


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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

 

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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.


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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

 

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edge work on paper, pastel and acrylic


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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

 

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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.

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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 ...