Monthly Archives: January 2018

Now and Then

This year’s ‘Blue Monday’ brought me three rejections in one day. There are ups and downs in the career of an artist but it’s hard when the downs come as a coach party!!

Still the positives do tend to outweigh the negatives and later that same week I had a message to say that the commission I worked on last Autumn ( see photograph above) had been received with delight.

This was especially welcome news as the commission came via one of those events that you ‘chalk up to experience’ .

Earlier in the year I took part in a show at a new venue. Few, if any, of the artists present reported good sales. It was cold and damp but I smiled, talked about my work and thought up ideas for new projects for two days in a marquee, in a Northern field. Then, a couple of months later I had a message that someone had seen my work at that show and was interested in commissioning a new piece.

So, whilst rejections are never easy to accept, I try and think positively and move on to the next opportunity- in this case the new Woodhorn Museum Open: Ocean Exhibition

Both the pieces I submitted were accepted for the show and I’m looking forward to the Preview Night next week!

‘On Fierce Days’ (left above) is one of the two pieces I have in the show.

The January tradition of evaluating and planning ahead is also keeping me busy. New work is being developed and I will share it with you soon but my next post will be about a slight diversion from my usual practice.

Snow on Saturday

Leftover snow starkly outlining the texture of ploughed fields whilst overhead cirrus clouds till the sky in mimicry of those fields.

A Magpie, perched on the highest twig of a leafless blackthorn. An avian exclamation mark, it punctuates the pause between land and sky.

My reading is beginning to have an impact on my writing; the next stage, I hope,should see an effect on my textile artwork.

Winter Days

The days are grey and light levels are so low but there is work to be done and plans to fulfill.

This week started with grey morning clouds stretched like thin muslin. Ragged scraps of blue patched in the holes between clouds. Gradually, a wind felted the clouds into a thicker blanket of cover, leaving the blue only as memory.

Snow came swiftly in the night, blanketing streets and fields.

A cold crisp day with the sun burning up through lilac and apricot skies.

So much colour above whilst the landscape is monochrome, damp darkened trees etched out against the snow.

This week has been about plotting and planning- practical everyday things like how to deal with the cold and creative research for new pieces. I’ve been asked to develop new artwork for the chemotherapy ward, so I need to work on compositions and figure out how I can involve patients in their construction.

I’m also thinking ahead to Springtime workshops and shows. To this end, I’ve been restocking my shelves…

Detritus from the streets becomes...

These hub cap wires are important! I collect them as I walk around my local streets- reducing the rubbish in my area and repurposing the metal rings as a frame work for art…The frame for wildflowers growing in the city

Little landscapes

It is cold and dark here in the North East today, so I’m cozied up by the fire doing hand stitching (😱🤣) I know, I know but it seems the right thing to be doing today 😊

I have a series of workshops to deliver in the next couple of months and I want to have new examples of both my tin can pieces and miniature scenes. The new work is more reflective in style of my recent large landscapes, rather than the happy camping scenes that began this series.

This one is inspired by sketches from Dumfries and Galloway- but I didn’t tell you that- it’s so beautiful there but if I keep telling people then it’ll get as busy as the Lake District!

It will be housed in a mackerel tin collaged with papers relating to the area. Working from my sketchbook studies, I’m building up the scene with hand dyed fabrics, then adding detail with hand and machine stitch.

It’s stimulating to switch between large and small scale pieces; having to rethink composition and detail. Although sometimes the difference in the time it takes to complete a bigger or smaller work is minimal!

The next piece I’m working on is a miniature scene of a woodland brook. Usually with these pieces I like to ‘break out’ of the frame somehow, to extend the work beyond the confines of the rectangular support. I’ll be experimenting with how to do this- perhaps the trees or a branch will grow up and out.

I’m already planning how to show the textures of the fallen leaves, moss, grasses and water.