Sunday, 7 December 2014

Early weekend wake up for Wolverhampton yesterday

I wondered if anyone would get up yesterday morning as it was a very cold icy start to the day. Thick ice on the car windscreen. I was on the early shift at Bootstrap Artisans (artists and crafters' pop up shop co-op in Wolverhampton town centre) and there were people waiting outside the shop even before it opened!
It was a busy morning and it was good to see so many people wanting to buy original, handmade items rather than high street gifts.
One of my framed lino prints sold in the afternoon. My lino print cards of reindeer and Christmas cat are doing well too.

Monday, 24 November 2014

I yearn for the sea...

I yearn for the sea... and I live in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands!   This 'Stormy Seas' linoprint was created after sketching the sea on the beautiful Welsh coast. I then created a design, transfered it onto a piece of lino, 'carved' the lino, rolled ink onto the surface, placed Japanese printing paper on the top and printed it using my press in my studio.

 You can see this origninal, limited edition unframed lino print in the on-line art shop Artfinder

or on sale framed in Bootstrap Artisans in the Mander Centre (Victoria Street entrance), Wolverhampton.

My lino prints at the Dotty Dog Gallery, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury

I have some lino prints on show at the lovely Dotty Dog Gallery, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury.  You have to look carefully to find it - up a little alleyway you will see an A board to guide you into this treasure of a place.  So many original prints to choose from + ceramics and sculpture too. Great range of Christmas presents.

My lino prints at the Dotty Dog Gallery, Wyle Cop,Shrewsbury

Some of my lino prints...

 Look for the sign of the Dotty Dog

I've joined an art co-op

I've joined the Artists' co-op in Wolverhampton - Bootstrap Artisans.   The previously empty shop in the Mander Centre in central Wolverhampton is now full of art and craft items.   Members take turns to staff the shop on the rota and it's open on Sundays as well now.   I was on the rota yesterday and there was a steady stream of people coming into the shop.   It was great to hear all the positive comments and deal with the sales under the guidance of an experienced member - Driftwood Mick, who makes driftwood sculptures.  As we near Christmas it's getting busier and busier.

A couple of my Christmas cards!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Art in the City - Art Trail in Wolverhampton opens today

The Wolverhampton Art Trail, 'Art in the City' opens today.

I have a piece hanging in the Posada and another in the Makers Dozen Gallery, attached to the back of Wolverhampton Art Gallery.  Great collection of venues and wide range of artists.

                                              With my 'Silver Dust on Route 66' in the Posada

                                                   part of the interior of the Posada

                Roxanne Gooderham - artist and also one of the two organisers of Art in the City

I'm exhibiting with 'Staffordshire Enjoy Art' at the Nicholson Gallery, Leek, Staffordshire from tomorrow

I have 5 pieces in this show, 3 lino prints and 2 monotypes, and it opens tomorrow!

If you don't know Leek, it's a lovely little market town in the Peak District.  Well worth a viit!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Lilly etching

Lilly etching with collage (chine colle)

Walsall Leather Museum - etching of Keith Bryan's Saddlery

Sketching at Keith Bryan's Saddlery in Walsall led to my creating an etching of the workshop interior. It was an amazing, traditional workshop in an early Victorian building.  There was a real sense of history as well as intense activity as leather was cut, stitched and shaped into beautiful, gleaming saddles.  A fascinating place to visit and I fel that the traditional etching process complimented the activity well.

What do cats do all day? Sleeping, eat, washing and maybe a bit of climbing!

 ' Cat licking its paw'  another new linoprint.   A prelim to bedtime!

Lino cut cats!

I'm building up a small collection of blue linocut cats!  Sleeping, climbing, sleeping and sleeping zzzzzzz

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Texture and watercolour - granulation

I love the effect of granulation, creating visual texture for particular areas of sketches e.g. buildings in shade.  The colour I use most that has this quality is Ultramarine Blue.   The pigment settles on the paper in a way that isn't completely smooth but textured.  This happens particularly with traditional colour like earth colours and cobalts and doesn't usually happen with modern, organic colours.

If you don't want the effect of granulation though, there are many other colours to choose from or you could use distilled water, instead of tap water, to reduce the effects of granulation.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

How difficult is it to remove watercolour paint once you have got it on your paper?

If you apply some paint to your watercolour paper and then decide that the tone is too dark and you want to remove some of it to make it look lighter it can be quite easy or almost impossible!  The kind of paper that you have used makes a difference but the biggest factor is the staining quality of the paint.

Paynes Grey is a staining colour and it's very easy to get too much of it onto your paper!  I proceed cautiously with this colour, adding a lot of water.   If I want a light grey, I more often use Davy's Grey now - a light, non-staining colour.   Another favourite colour, particularly for seaside sketches is Prussian Blue and this too is staining.

You can find the information about staining colours before you buy your paint by checking the maker's information - usually marked st for staining colours.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Vibrant watercolour - how can you make your watercolour sketches and paintings more vibrant?

Vibrant watercolour

How can you make watercolour sketches and paintings more vibrant? Careful colour mixing is one way and, of course, this goes for all types of painting. If you mix more than 2 colours together then there's a chance that your colours will become duller or even muddy looking. This can be made worse if you are using student quality paint which has less pigment and more filler.

I've recently been checking the transparency of each colour I use.   (I have a mixture of Schmincke and Winsor and Newton artist quality watercolours.) Currently, I'm experimenting, particularly with flower sketches, using all transparent colours and, not surprisingly, there's quite a difference in vibrancy. There are a number of reds, blues, yellows etc to choose between and I've removed the opaque ones and put them to one side for now.

You can check paint transparency before you buy a half pan or tube by checking the maker's info. A small square symbol that is completely black indicates that the paint is totally opaque. Totally clear means it's transparent, an so on...

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Drawing in a Walsall saddlery

I've been drawing in a Walsall saddlery to produce work for an 'Echoes' project run by Walsall Leather Museum.  It was a fascinating time gaining a glimpse into this small business.  The building was used as a leather horse collar workshop in the early 1800s but with the growth of other means of transport, this died out and it's fitting that a leather business continues to be in the same premises.
I'm wondering whether to create an etching or drypoint from my sketches.

More botanical approach to plants and flowers

I'm enjoying exploring the shapes and colours of plants - pencil drawings and watercolour.  .

Matisse inspired collages

I've had a lot of fun creating collages relating to a garden theme, inspired by Matisse's collages, seen at Tate Modern recently.

Art exhibition at Burton upon Trent

Some of the prints now showing at the Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire.

 Photo: Exhibiting 3 July-9 August at The Brewhouse Union Street, Burton on Trent.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Mystery woman buys painting in Hungry Bistro, Wolverhampton

She was really only passing through Wolverhampton and didn't plan to visit (as I understand it) but she had to wait for her train so ventured out of the railway station.  Luckily, she found the Hungry Bistro, opposite the Grand Theatre, and went inside for refreshment.

I am guessing now.... but she was probably charmed by the atmosphere, warmed by the tea or coffee... er ...maybe she had a cupcake... anyway she spotted a painting of mine on the wall, liked it and bought it!  Was it a present or are you enjoying it yourself?


Sunday, 13 April 2014

'The Great War in Portraits' at the National Portrait Gallery and the RI of Painters in Watercolour exhibitions

 When I visited the Bailey 'Stardust' exhibition a few weeks ago I didn't really have time to see the first world war exhibition and they have very different moods.

The National Portrait Gallery's literature says that, 'In viewing the First World War through images of the many individuals involved, The Great War in Portraits looks at the radically different roles, experiences and, ultimately, destinies of those caught up in the conflict.'

It's an interesting and thoughtful exhibition of drawings, paintings, photographs, film and a piece of sculpture. The sculpture is Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill - man and machine, 'the Frankenstein monster that war has made us'.  It sits at the entrance with its chopped off arms and shows the way in.

The skillfully painted, traditional portraits of royalty and heads of state set the scene and show some of the international players at the start of the war when Franz Ferdinand was assassinated and before empires crumbled.

Then the exhibition moves on to show the ordinary men and their leaders.   Work by William Orpen, war artist, is well represented and again its good, traditional portraiture.   The compasisonate, pastel images of facially mutilated solidiers by Henry Tonks haven't been shown before.  He was working at a hospital in Cambridge doing documentary work at first but became interested in his subjects and their difficulties and continued painting them.  The pastels are shown near the films of the Battle of the Somme.   One film produced by the British and the other by the German government for propaganda purposes.

Still photographs were displayed to show personal stories e.g of an underage soldier who lied about his age, signed up and died more or less immediately.

The German Expressionist paintings by Kirchner, Max Beckman and Lovis Corinth created a stronger emotional impact, in many ways than the restrained traditional pieces.

After a break, I went on from this exhibition to see the soothing Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour exhibition at the Mall Galleries.   A wide range of skilled work was on show.  I particularly liked Ann Blockley and Shirley Trevenna's loose textural and vivid paintings.

Royal Academy Summer Show 2014 - for judging in round 2

I delivered 2 framed etchings to the Royal Academy for round 2 judging.  I'd only been back from Sweden for a day and got my framed pieces out and re-read the paperwork for what to do.  

The framer hadn't provided 'soft protective frame corners' as he'd promised so I rang round local places to try to get some.   I ended up making a last minute dash to Birmingham, Lion Framing, to get some.

Then I turned to the labels.   2  tag labels to  hang on the work.   2 more to stick on the back of the frames.   Also, bar codes to peel off and stick on the labels.    I filled them in and was ready to stick them on when I dropped one set and they slid under my plan chest!   After an attempt to prize them out with a ruler I gave up.   The plan chest is much too heavy too move,  so I printed some more off.   Attached everything and wrapped ready to go.

Friday morning I set off early by train and arrived at the RA Burlington Gardens entrance at about 10am.  It was wonderfully quiet.   I was directed into the building, and then accompanied to a place to unwrap my pieces and to another counter to have them scanned in.

TV reporters were interviewing a man who had travelled a very long way to deliver his piece which was of the North Sea.  He was combining the delivery of his piece with a holiday and the chance to see some exhibitions which he's here. 

I felt really light and ready to see an exhibition or two myself....

Ice sculpture at the Ice Hotel, Jukkasjervi, near Kiruna, Sweden

The Ice Hotel was freezing cold inside ...obvious I suppose, but it was literally freezing outside and breathtakingly cold inside.   I had thought I might do some sketching so I had my sketchbook with me but it was just too cold.   I decided to keep my gloved hands in my pockets!    The tenacity and skill of the sculptors was very impressive and here are a few of the rooms I saw.I am glad I visited when I did.   It's the warmer end of the season but 2 weeks later and the whole place will be melted down...disappeared.

Going into one of the rooms in the Ice Hotel.