'Leave the camera at home' day

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday so I took the opportunity to take a long walk starting with a 'latte' at one of my favorite places, the Cliff Top Cafe at  Whitsand Bay -  and walking along to Cawsand. I made a conscious decision to leave the camera at home in spite of my intention to take a photograph a day - I find that I look at things differently without the camera - I took my little sketchbook so instead of quickly snapping away my looking was more focused and recording much slower - time slowed down!

As luck would have it the tide was out and the first part of the walk was along the beach - I collected some sea washed fragments of shell and plastic - the plastic fragments must be very old and who knows what journey they have been on - I hate seeing rubbish on the beach (now there are a few less pieces) but I have to say they make intriguing images..........

so even though I didn't take the camera I still took photographs when I got home - how different they are from ones I would have taken on the beach! I'm quite intrigued to see how they look in monochrome.

The shell fragments I collected are quite small, some really tiny, and have a softness and warmth - they are almost pearlized from the constant washing of the sea - I have collected sea glass since moving down here 18 months ago and these are just as beautiful.

Because I have become engaged with grids again through following Liz Davidson's blog I have been working on creating a grid of details from 'man in a boat' painting which will be used as 'fragment investigation' for my degree project

my collection from the beach yesterday seemed an ideal way to lay them out - so many changes can be made - this is the first layout..............

I have a photograph selected for the drawing exhibition on the theme of SPEED at Plymouth University - it opens next week for 3 weeks in ArtSpace 101  

'Experimenting with a digital camera at night the image was drawn with light using a long exposure. The camera captures the movement of light reducing it to a still image, which reflects my efforts to keep up with the speed of technology and the way I can use digital tools to push the boundaries of traditional drawing. The river and surrounding landscape represents a calmer and more measured way of working, flowing and expansive. The enlargement of the photograph to 45 x 60cms causes a further blur to the image, which is intended as a metaphor for the transitory and fragmentary nature of existence.'


Another work received for my collaborative project

Marion Michell sent this for the project and says:

'I remember learning to crochet as an alienated chore – little girls can’t be inspired by making pot-holders. Last year however, at my brother’s house, I happened across the tiny, salmon-coloured and rather close-fitting outfit which I’d made for his favourite soft-toy, a little brown-beige Steiff doggy which he’d had since he was a baby and whose once soft fur had become threadbare and was leaking its filling. 
I wished I recalled the actual making, esp. as crocheting has become my medium. The outfits I fashion nowadays seem to be directly linked to this one: a two-piece ensemble, consisting of a vest and pants which logically allowed an extra opening for Wäuwäu’s stubby tail.'

Do go across to her blog HERE and her website HERE and take a look at her enchanting work Thank you Marion 


Art exchange and a forensic investigation!

I've had a really good day at university today - it was an art exchange day when we got to work in the studios and get feedback from other students and all the fine art lecturers. It was initiated in an attempt to encourage students to fill in the National Student Survey but it has resulted in the lecturers taking on board our enthusiasm for it to happen more often. It was particularly important for us part timers as we don't get a studio space and consequently it is rare to see anything other than a small work, images on laptops or a journal from other students. We were given a space for the day and I worked on my 'painting in the attic' - moving it on a step further.

I have made the decision to carry out a forensic investigation of the 'man in a boat - painting in the attic' by scraping away the oil paint to reveal....... well who knows!

After scraping and removing pigment dust
small piles of pigment scrapings 
Collecting up the pigment particles 
image covered in pigment scrapings
What will remain is a trace I hope - just like the trace that's left, of that 16 year old girl, me, who painted it fifty years ago! I am collecting the pigment that I take away in a matchbox.
Remains of the day's work
It is a very meditative process and will take me a long time as the painting is 60 cms square. But the process feels right for the work - peeling back the years to see what fragments and traces of memory remain. A narrative is forming, part truth/part fiction and I can envisage a performance piece coming from this contemplative practice - maybe this will form part of my degree show? It feels an exciting place to be - a place of discovery and not really knowing what is going to happen next! I had very positive feedback from four lecturers and a number of students - it just makes all the difference when you get external verification of your work - I have been working away and rather doubting the process but now I  know I am on the right track! It was suggested that I film myself working on the painting, so next weekend I will get hold of a camcorder and make a start. 
Over the weekend you will find me scraping away in my studio for a few hours a day at least! 


collaboration - 4th participant

Kath Hazel creates intricate line drawings like this

AND this is what she made when she was 6 years old - I don't think the connection needs any further explanation do you?
Purse made at 6 years old 
Detail of purse


Collaboration - 3rd participant's 'painting under the bed'

Rob Steven otherwise known as Ben D Gedig painted this when he was 17 and then forgot about fine art for 35 years. He thought he had burnt all his early artwork but his cousin used this under his mattress for a bad back so it returned to him many years later. He is now in the last year of a part time Fine Art Degree 
(Ben D Gedig is a divison of Man in The Street Enterprises – a wholly owned subsidiary of Rob Stephen)

several other people have expressed interest in taking part and I will be talking about the project in the group tutorial session tomorrow at university - looking forward to hearing what others think!


Collaboration - 2nd participant

Marged Pendrell has sent images drawn (at 6 years old) from a book called' Hit or Myth' by James Riddell 1950, which she still has!


Collaboration - 1st participant

I've decided to post the images from the participants for 'Painting in the Attic' here on my blog with a sidebar link to their websites or blogs.
I received the first today from Lesley Bricknell who has reversed the brief and sent words about her childhood and an image of current work which she feels links to those earlier days - please feel free to do this - the more creative you are with your entries the better! I have also had a few people contact me who for various reasons have no art work from their childhood - it's led me to think that Lesley's approach would be a different way to contribute to the project! The final book could also use this concept - lots to think about - I am intrigued with how ideas change and develop depending on the input of others...would love to hear your comments and any other ideas........

‘Back to black’ - Lesley Bricknell

I am so looking forward to getting more entries and hoping they don't all come at once - if they trickle in during the next few weeks I will be able to show you how the project is developing 

Now I just have to learn how to list everyone on the sidebar - bear with me please! 


An invitation to participate in my new project

The painting in the attic’ – a visual art collaborative project

Last year I initiated a collaborative project on the theme of ‘Failure’ which resulted in an artist’s book and also formed the dissertation for my Fine Art degree which I complete this year. I enjoyed the process so much and learnt a lot from it so I have decided to send out an invitation to submit work for a new collaborative project I am calling ‘The painting in the attic’ – I hasten to add that this is not just about painting but includes all visual artworks.


Recently, a painting I had made around the age of 16 years came back into my possession after hanging in my parent’s home for many years and standing wrapped up in storage for a few more! I have no memory of painting it and have been curious to delve deeper into how it relates to my life now. I am recording my responses using different processes but not painting, at least not at the moment. I am not a painter and only used oils when I was at school. But the medium is only one way of looking at it and during reflection I have realised that it has a deeper connection than I initially thought! But more about that later! There is more information on older posts about both projects

The brief 

Many artists talk about the influence of childhood passions and the impact of this creativity in later years.

“It takes a very long time to become young.”  Picasso

Take a photograph of an artwork you created as a child or young adult and submit a jpeg image (maximum 800 pixel width) and write not more than 100 words on the significance of this artwork in your life now, does it connect to you, the way you work or how you see the world? Or you may feel it has no significance at all. It can be a story or as conceptual as you like, in the form of a poem, a piece of prose, or just random words.  
Deadline for entries – 4 February 2012.  You will be informed if you have been selected by the end of February.

Please send the image and words as an email attachment with your name and contact details and Collaboration in the subject box - you can email me by clicking on 'about me' at the top of the right hand sidebar and then on the left is a link to my email address. 

The works submitted will be selected for an artist’s book/s. This will be documented as a PDF and participants will receive a copy by email. One artist, picked at random from names in a hat, will receive a hard copy of the book. 
I will also be posting responses here on my blog with a link to your blog if you have one.
I really appreciate you taking the time to read this and I do hope you will join me in this collaboration. I feel really excited about receiving all the responses. Meantime if you'd like any more information please email me or make a comment here.  


Art intentions 2012

There's no escaping them if I publish them here! (Based on a 5 day working week) and in no particular order..............

Complete Fine art degree in June
Take part in the Leeds International Artist's Book Fair in March
A photograph a day - this is today's a tiny feather on the beach - plus a new blog header image!

A drawing a day (doodles acceptable) - this is my sea drawing with a new Pentel brush pen I've never used before - I rather like it but the marks are very different to my usual pen/pencil so I need to practice.

A studio practice structure to the week which is flexible to allow for good walking days!
A weekly blog post
An end of day reflection, what's worked, not worked and things to do tomorrow.
Read one art book a month
Visit at least one exhibition a month
Submit work to at least 4 exhibitions during the year
Review this list quarterly to keep on track

I'd love to hear all your intentions for the year ahead - wishing you all many creative adventures!