Storm Arwen





Colour studies; Storm Arwen, changing light - snow in the sky.
Beautiful lurid sunrise and sunset.
Twigs everywhere like runes.


Seasonal colour and light


Ok then, here we go. I'm trying to reestablish my studio practice. The only thing is that after my last reorganisation - I can't find anything lol. Not literally - but I go to use my pastels and .... where the .... so I'm going one step forwards and one step back.

These images are quick colour and light captures working over scrap paper/old works on paper as a base. I then use a mount as a template to cut them out/make compositions - it really gets the cogs turning again. I've also used a few to make collaged images from.

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Pondering ....


I've neglected this blog more than usual this year - I thought about letting it go when the domain renewal fell due. I don't think I've much to say - and I think it's more than just Covid.

I had a studio clear out a few weeks ago - not the full-on Swedish Death Clean - but much more than a tidy-up. Looking at the canvasses and sketchbooks I've amassed - I feel like I've lost my way a bit. And yes, I'm busy - but I semed to have got LOADS done with my art back when I had the day job.

I tend to disregard my own health issues until the wheels drop off - however, the return of migraines and all that accompany it - are ringing a few alarm bells. I had intended to go back to some mentoring notes - but cannot find them; I feel so dispirited.

Well, let's move on.

I have decided to adopt this outlook (link via Austin Kleon's newsletter) and be thankful that art is everywhere.

Here are some amazing autumn colours (taken from my back yard).




And because I cannot resist ...



back to life

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I'm painting over some canvasses; don't know if it's pragmatism or something deeper.

Either way - it feels good and I feel that - stylistically - I've found my happy place. At the moment I'm just painting for me and let's see where that takes me - probably - a return to the sea (or some trees) lol

I haven't entirely abandoned my epic stone project - I love the way they contrast with and frame light and the landscape in which they were placed - so I don't doubt there will be more of them.

My studio wall looked like this earlier in the week ...


... and I was on a quest for THAT blue - which Photos seems be be intent on helping me with - giving my photos a random blue tint. I bloody hate it, but resent spending time effing about with images in different programmes instead of creating them.


Bubbles | CSA Group Show/Wigan Arts Festival

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Bubbles will be, for a lot of people (in living memory at least) - associated with Covid and the legally-defined definitions of support and allowed connection. This soft word, describing a sense of safety, support and cocooning - has latterly become a pressure vessel of anxiety, uncertainty, inequality and rage. Much like the virus - mutating into something much darker - leaving feelings of manipulation, isolation, suspicion and despair.

Conversely, bubbles have also been a refuge and a huge reminder of the goodness that shows up and leaves love in the shape of food, offers of help and human contact by phone or online. They have been a chance to choose the positive - to notice (and live in) the here and now; to reflect and change.

2 metres apart and a world away
 tries to embrace some of these aspects and to capture the tension between ennui and a terrible anxiety - while  Nature will be our salvation
 alludes to the beneficial connection between mental wellbeing and experience/observation of the natural world during lockdown.





2 metres apart and a world away
Acrylic paint/ink/crayon and pastel on paper

Framed size 20 x 16 Inch landscape (plain white frame + mat)



Nature will be our salvation

Acrylic paint/ink/crayon and pastel on paper

Framed size 20 x 16 Inch landscape (plain white frame + mat) 

Artist Discussion & TERM - Francis Bacon

Oh. My. Word.

Thought carefully about this one as life has been a bit dark of late.

The first activity used a melange of imagery and film as reference - and we were invited to create our own howl of despair.



Alright then. We moved on to the meat feature in which Francis Bacon used meat literally - and as a metaphor in some of his work. Funnily enough, I found this more disturbing than the existentialist howling thing. Perhaps it's because I'm a vegetarian.


However, I did like the slightly queasy palette - and of course, with Bacon - you start seeing orifices and Hieronymus Bosch everythere . We were concentrating on the contrast between flesh and the unyielding, almost violent quality of the meat hook.

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I had to leave before the end of the class - so missed out on the wrapping/rope fetish imagery that informed the last activity.

I can't say I enjoyed the subject matter - Bacon was obviously affected/broken by his upbringing and early life - then seemed to spiral off into disfunction, a gambling addiction and a clique of enablers. However - you wonder if his work would have had that urgency and visceral quality without the chaos.

Great session - loved going somewhere 'a bit different'!




Artist Discussion & TERM - David Hockney


A fellowship bringing artists together - Artist Discussion Peer Support with @e_lchapman and TERM Art Classes with @AnnaFCSmith @KlaireDoyleArt & guests.

The session tonight was a Practical Art History module (there have been a series of artists covered in the Practical Art History series). Each session involves some hands-on activities inspired by the artist featured - David Hockney in this case. The modules are short, evening sessions - so whizz along at a fair old rate!

The first activity was inspired by a collage self-portrait by Hockney - and we were invited to create our own self-portrait from bits of magazine and print. Here's mine - I can only aspire to wearing so many pom-poms in one outfit. My reading glasses were never intended to be a homage lol


The second activity involved evoking a swimming pool (a Hockney classic) from memory or actuality. I learned to swim at Southport Bathing Lake which had originally been a Lido - nothing nicer than an outdoor pool. Happy memories!

Very at home with bouncing light and water - the numbers relate to a depth guide - the floor of the pool set at a slope, to enable it to go from shallow to deep. There were always red plastic chairs, poolside at my school trip swimming pool (we went into town to use it) and yellow lane markers.


The final activity was to emulate a Hockney journey through the countryside. Feel a bit uncomfortable with this one - but I do like the marker-made 'stripes' and dabs. I cropped it in and stayed away from using a rubine or orange marker lol.



 A brilliant way to spend an evening!

Mangle maintenance and sunlight


Today, I have mostly been cleaning my faithful mangle. Not having the room for any kind of press (nor the budget) I found this glorious little yellow mangle in a charity shop. It is just FAB for monoprinting my way - but I am a neglectful mangle owner - and rarely bother to clean it.

The rubber rollers were a bit crazed and cracked when I got it - and I think there's some age to it* in any case - so it has cleaned up beautifully, all things considered :) I've actually spotted a very similar model on eBay for £150 which seems excessive - but then, you never know I suppose!

* (It's a 1950s Limpet Portair Table Top Mangle apparently and closer to £35 - so good luck with the £150 ask lol).

We used to have a single-tub washing machine with a mangle - it was left in our first house when we bought it. It cracked every button on any garment that went through it lol.

In my workbook this week, I have been trying to record sunlight coming through a canopy of leaves.





Paint, marker, ink and Woody pencils.




An annual obsession!

They smell like heaven, and even though it often doesn't feel like Spring is here and Summer is on the way - such a treat. I love how the blooms gradually fade to a gentle uniformity - but at the moment they are a jumble of vibrant shades of purple and pink, threaded through with the orange, papery remnants of the flower bud calyx. 


I've enjoyed playing with various bits and bobs to produce these pieces on paper - I need to get back to a regular art practice again. Everything has seemed a bit 'uphill' of late - I have a lot on my plate at the moment - and my studio practice has suffered for that. However, I've revisited my branding (I know, that sounds a bit arsey) and now everything I do - online at least - has a coherence to it.


Might get the mangle out for a bit of monoprinting I think ...