Thursday, July 26, 2007

One of the "Sea Pictures"


"North Sea #2." I took the photo from which I made the painting on a cold windy day in January from a cliff top at Roker in Sunderland. That wind was blowing in all the way from arctic Norway and had no intention of going round me. Grey day, grey sky, grey sea. So the blue I used was definitely not the turquoise -blue of the Med or Cornwall. The cerulean and pthalo blues stayed in their tubes. I used Prussian Blue, a good Scandinavian colour. Take look at Edvard Munch to see what I mean.
Or, for that matter, Winslow Homer, a 19 th century American artist who spent some time in Tynemouth. The windblown skirts of the fishwives against the cold blue of the sea says it all.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Website

Been busy this last couple of days setting up a website which you can look at here. I will keep the blog running.... of course.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sea Pictures at Merthyr Tydfil

The Exhibition at Merthyr is being hung in the gallery today. You can find the gallery here.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

New Drawings

Now the stuff for the exhibition at Merthyr has been sent on its way, I can turn my attention to other things. I've embarked on a series of new drawings by way of a diversion on the "change is as good as a rest" basis. This profile shown here was first featured on my other blog, The Draughtsman.
This one was inspired by a photograph of a girl in a white blouse against a white background. It gave me the idea for minimalist drawings with the centre very detailed and the periphery less so. I later on discovered pinhole camera images can be like this. It is an interesting concept. more of this stuff can be seen on my flickr page, just follow the links.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Rather Busy Time

This is me in my Studio space at St. George's Quay this time last year. The main part of today was taken up in painting the last piece for the Exhibition in Merthyr. My wife is going down to Bargoed this week-end and is taking the stuff for me. The Gallery hang the show to run from August 8. A fair bit of computer time has been taken up in preparing the catalogue and list, posters and statement. I thought it would be a good idea to have my statement in Welsh as well as English. My daughter in Bargoed offered to do a translation for me if I could e-mail a copy to her. No problem. I sent it a week or so ago only to learn it never got there. The hotmail postmaster said "delivery delayed". Turns out it was "delivery stopped". Problems with the server I was told.
After several more futile attempts I sent a copy the old fashioned way, in an envelope with a stamp. Then I had a brainwave. I use Flickr, right? And to access it I need a Yahoo account.
Right, try it. Guess what? Yup! It got through, albeit a bit eleventh hour-ish as it were. Still with a little bit of luck....

This evening we had a Studio meeting at our temporary office at the Storey. We are putting together a photographic exhibition about the Studio to show sometime in August at the Dukes Theatre Gallery. When I arrived at the meeting I learned we will have to move our stuff into the new studio space sometime in August. The developers are starting on the Storey on Sept 1. So we spent a bit of time working out allocations of who goeth where. Of course City Councils, as with all local government bodies run on the basis of right hand not knowing what left hand is doing. So.... dept. (A) asks us to move into our new premises. Dept. (B) tells us we can't because they haven't issued the licence to operate yet. So its down to us to tell dept.(B) to get their finger out and inform dept. (A) what's going on. We have had this saga going on since we were evicted from St. Georges works last November. Nobody's holding their breath.
We will move into the space A.S.A.P. but the upgrade work has yet to be done. That's where dept.(C) comes in.....
With a little bit of luck the studios should be operational per se by mid October. But I'll be in Larnaca by then. At least I'll return to a working studio in November.
I know my long-suffering wife can't wait. I've been using a corner of the kitchen as a makeshift studio these last few months. But the show must go on. Exhibition deadlines need to be met and I can't afford to turn work away.
Per ardua ad Artis - you could say.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It just got better



Well, here it is, teatime on the same day as the last posting and the clouds parted and the sun shone. Its now 24 degrees. I even got my bicycle out and took a ride along the Lune estuary path. Didn't need a brolly after all.

Against all Odds

This year it has been one of the wettest summers that I can think of. Not the wettest, I checked! But it has left my our little back-yard "Yarden" looking a bit bedraggled to say the least. Then this morning, in one of those sunny intervals between scattered showers, two anemones blossomed.
Here they are, in all their glory, showing their beautiful flower heads which seem to shine even more against the grey day.
Looking at one of them in close-up we can see subtle variations in colour and tone. There's a lovely soft edge where the white meets the red and this contrasts with the sharp edges of the deep purple staemens. If you click on the picture to enlarge you'll see what I mean.
This bright jewel of a flower echoes yesterday's blog by Rev. Mugo.
As it happens, it isn't raining today in Lancaster but there are a lot of heavy grey clouds overhead. Never go without a brolly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beach #4

Only just completed. Like the others, each square is 10 x 10 cm. This shows the beach at low tide. The same picture rendered into b&w where I seem to have got it right. The mistiness would come as no surprise to those who live on the North East coast which is noted for its sea fret in summertime, especially when the rest of Britain is enjoying a bit of sunshine.
If it was the "Med" I suppose it would be heat haze!
Talking of the Med., I've managed to sort out a glitch in my profile and posted a new photo which was taken last year in Cyprus at a private view in the Morfi Gallery in Limassol.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

North Sea #1 (Roker)

New work this. The North Sea at Sunderland. The painting looks a bit sunnier than when I photographed the sea on a cold, grey day in February. each square is, as usual 10 x 10 cm. It is to be part of the forthcoming exhibition at Merthyr Tydfil. The exhibition title will be "Sea Pictures." The bottom frame, as can be seen is in full colour and the colour graduates towards the greyscale as the eye progresses upwards. To ensure I have the gradations right I usually desaturate an image of the picture to check.
As can be seen here, it seems to have worked out.
I am putting together some twelve pieces for this show. I just need to get another two made; one more vertical one, (North Sea #2?) and there is another horizontal one lined up. The sketches are all done, it only remains to do the finished paintings.



Sunday, July 08, 2007

Its been a full week.

Got back from Oxford on Tuesday evening and straight in to a Studio meeting. We are still negotiating our new premises but we should be up and running by the end of August. But nobody's holding their breath. We were evicted under a compulsory purchase order just before I returned from Cyprus. I did [jokingly] say something about the move in will happen in time for my return from Cyprus this year. Many a true word said in jest as the old saying goes.
But it would be nice to have my space sorted before I go there.
The Studios in Cyprus have also changed; they have moved from Limassol some 60 km. to Larnaca. At least it'll be handy for the airport.

Last Wednesday, we at Luneside, visited the Pendle Heritage Centre at Barrowford near Colne, deep in the heart of East Lancashire. It was an event organised by the Lancashire Artists Network at which artists from studios as widely scattered as from Ormskirk near Liverpool to Melling in the Lune Valley and from Preston to high in the Ribble Valley. Each group gave a short presentation about their respective activities. This all coincided with an exhibition at the Centre of work by artists at Higherford Mill, also in Barrowford. We also had a conducted tour of the new studios at Higherford Mill. English Heritage along with other fund raising organisations have been, and still are, restoring this old building to its former glory. A by-product of all this is the providing of studio spaces for artists at reasonble rents. It just shows what can be done with a little bit of help.
A good evening was had by all, with artists from all over the region meeting up and a buffet laid on courtesy of the Arts Council.

After all that its down to business again. I need abody of work of 12 pieces for the Merthyr show. I have nine ready, - three more new pieces to make. And less than a fortnight to do it in.
Ah well, as we say in my homeland, "Heed doon an' bash on!"

Friday, July 06, 2007

Amid Oxford's Dreaming Spires

Never got the Ashmolean. It was a very full weekend. Brenda wasn't kidding when she she said it was a packed programme.
The decision to go by National Express was not a good one. The coach left Lancaster and took us on something of a tour of the North before arriving some six hours later in Birmingham, Digbeth Road Bus Station. What a grim hole that is in which to wait a couple of hours for a connection. Draughty waiting rooms, coffee in cardboard cups that tastes like cigarrete ash, and not cheap either. Then to add insult to injury being charged 20p to use a filthy toilet. Not good.
Yes, we could have gone somewhere outside the bus station but Digbeth Road is not exactly situated near any shops or cafes, apart from a couple of sex shops across the road.
Well, we arrived in Oxford in the evening and went straight to the hotel to recover from "bus lag". Next time we'll take the train, its only a four hour trip.
That said, Oxford is a wonderful city. I could spend a week here just drawing the buildings.
This half timbered house was an eye catcher with its contrasting "NOKIA" sign. Ancient and Modern? I guess so.

We were to attend the ordination of a friend of ours at Christ Church Cathedral, shown here. Its good to see the pomp and ceremony of the Church of England as it pushes its proverbial boat out from time to time. Here is the Cathedral viewed from the gatehouse across Tom Quad.

After the ceremony we retired to Yarnton, a village near Oxford for afternoon tea on the Vicarage lawn. The weather stayed warm and dry though the sky was uncertain.

Later, in the evening, Rev. Sarah held her first service at Steeple Aston church, again not too far from Oxford. Choral evensong; and sung from the good old fashion Book of Common Prayer. Memories of my days as chorister, nearly sixty years ago. Taking part was like wearing an old pair of gloves. Familiar and comfortable.

The following day I met up with my sister who lives only a few miles away in Waddesden near Aylesbury. Much of the time was spent with her family and grandchildren at various places close by Oxford.

Tuesday had us repeating our National Express experience once again and I spent most of Wednesday getting over "bus lag".

There is a fountain in the centre of Tom Quad, - full of lotus blossoms. An oasis of calm.