As I wandered early in the day up the stairs, I was hoping that the Art Cooperative had not put my artworks into a dark cupboard somewhere in the coffee shop since, typically, I had left it to the very last day for clearing the wall.
It is funny how things turn out. There were just a couple of tables taken here in Woodruffs Café, and luckily not the one in the corner where I would have to awkwardly ask to shuffle table and chairs and irritated customers to get my stuff off the wall from behind.
“Have you sold that one?” a voice came from one of the taken tables as I grappled to take Scottish Mist down. Naomi (as I found out later) wasn’t just asking out of politeness, she was actually interested in buying it! She was just about to have brunch with her male companion. We had a detailed exchange about the situation, the picture, and with some umming and ahhing across the table regarding colour and price with said chap, and after they had consumed the brunch which had just arrived, I am very happy to say that I did make the sale.
But if I had not suggested meeting my friend on this day and she had not said let’s meet at 10.15am at Costa, and I had not left it to the last day to retrieve my pictures and so on, then I would not be going home without Scottish Mist.
I am guilty as most of us are of being irritated at things going badly; it is good to recognise when the world’s synergy conspires for things to work out well!
For more art, paintings, collagraphs and prints this is my shop link also at the top right of this page.
I started this little piece using some sturdy packaging left from Christmas! The miniature artworks are made the same way a collagraph plate using a variety of materials sealed onto a mountboard backing with the addition of gold liquid leaf.
Now available from my shop just click the link for more details.
Taking on a new technique can be good move for exploration, experimentation and rejuvenating creative energy! I really did need a change at the end of 2019 as I had ground to pretty much a halt. Collagraph printmaking is a completely different approach to painting and so now I have two very distinctive styles; painting up until 2019 and printmaking for 2020 and ongoing. Today my work is more textural, incorporating different techniques including monoprinting using dried leaves with nature continuing to be my inspiration.
The Kite below was printed using a mountboard collagraph plate, the leaves are monoprints added after the paper has dried and the bird has a little burnt sienna and yellow watercolour also reflected in small detail on the leaves.
So many ideas and so little time! I mean lots of people have ideas and don’t necessarily go with any of them at all, but one of the difficulties of knowing that you are going to create something is ruling out all those amazing ideas other than the one you choose to run with.
I am not suggesting that any idea will turn out well, but the more you that try the higher your success rate, and a lot of attempts end up in the bin along the way!
Also theoretically it is a good idea to go with a theme. Choose an idea and beat it to death, until you run out of steam. All those mistakes and all those gains made with something intentional in mind.
Since this is all theory let me show you some practice! OOPs I have to reveal that I haven’t followed my own advice at all!
I am inclined to representative work, I love making images of animals and birds. But then I can get a momentarily distracted by other ideas I am interested in too and head off in a different direction. I really would like to do a series based on images produced by NASA earth observatory. They have this amazing website of beautiful images from space being continually updated. I am as fascinated by these as I am fascinated by drone imagery of our coastline here in the UK; seeing the landscape from above and then understanding it from the ground is really interesting to me.
The work below is the Arkansas River from space. This sort of work moves me toward the abstract and helps me exercise less restraint on my colour combinations.
It is snowing here at the moment, but we know the days are getting longer and if you look carefully new Spring growth has started already. In a few weeks all will have changed; here’s looking forward to Summer.
How does your creativity come to you? There are so many different ways and means for us to form our new ideas. If only (sigh) we could produce utterly original work from referring only to the inside one’s head this is in reality impossible. ldeas cannot possibly arrive from nothing can they? Even if you suddenly have this visual composition roaming in your head based on mathematics or a fantasy style painting inspired by a walk in the woods last week, or an abstract work depicting the feeling of being by the sea since your beach holiday these refer to information already stored which has been absorbed from the world outside of you. And of course we are also informed by seeing other artists’ work; whether that art is produced by your friend or your art group or an Old Master of times gone; this could be incidental or deliberate. It is wasted energy trying to avoid what has been seen or done already!
I usually get a pretty fixed idea of how I want something to look and try to find reference for this from all manner of things. I have stores of actual photos, reference books, lots of my own photos of nature despite how rubbish they might be, snaps from TV programmes, and holiday pics on my PC and also digital storage of old drawings and my paintings. Of course the internet is really useful in figuring out the form of say animals in action, or the way the moon reflects on water, plus there are photographers who allow direct referencing to their work too on Facebook, useful obviously if you really have not seen an alligator up close or such the like.
Sometimes I forget about looking at my own work, most of which will not have been used for final work and even if it has I can use bits of it again.
I am in the process of creating a collagraph plate and looking at fox references at the moment. I want one loping along, with a purposeful gait. I had been looking around on the internet to translate my imagining into some sort of reality but (yet again) could not find the exact form I was looking for. After procrastinating (yet again!) I found a photo taken a long while ago of a fox by chance in a lane local to my house. Unfortunately he was looking back so his head is effectively missing.
Thanks to the search documents facility bringing up everything with “fox” in on my PC I could then see that one of my finished paintings could be useful for the fox head. The Fox and The Grapes below is an original painting still and it is for sale.
The painting is 29 x 33 cm priced at £150. If you are interested in the painting please email me here email@example.com or message me here on facebook .
Fortunately I have photoshop so a quick flip and some mucking about with the shapes I have pulled them together and have a perfect reference point to move forward to the next stage of putting my next Collagraph print together. Ta da!
More of my foxes FOR SALE here –
THE DUCK AND THE JUG FOR SALE £75
THE FOX AND THE GOLDEN BELL FOR SALE £150
If you are interested in my work please email me here firstname.lastname@example.org or message me here on facebook .
This is an original collagraph print made from a combination of my photo of Venacher Loch in the Trossachs placed as textures of the trees and the loch within in the form of a rutting stag. These beasts naturally inhabit both the Highlands and the North Lowlands of Scotland. We were there in 2017 visiting friends when we went to Venacher Loch for a walk and a lochside supper when I took the photo; such a serene and beautiful location.
Yesterday I was watching a Brian Cox programme about the discovery of treatments for diseases; catching up on things recorded last summer! Brian Cox was describing how these days our investment in research is focused only on the cure or solution to the problem, ie discarding any negative results as irrelevant. The unfortunate problem with this is that scientists and researchers are not being given free rein to discover things by accident when inadvertent discoveries can also lead to the creation of useful results.
The permanent dye for the colour mauve was accidentally discovered by a scientist (William Henry Perkin) who was trying to create a synthetic quinine which is a cure for malaria. He made his future wealth out of producing this dye particularly after Queen Victoria wore a silk gown dyed with his creation mauveine. He failed in his original task, yet this discovery was deemed to be a success!
Essentially, both successes and also the detailed records of failures can be of great use to other research in the future.
The same could be applied to artistic endeavours couldn’t they?
I do divide my failures into those which are possibly useful to refer to in the future and rubbish definitely to be binned! It just would not be possible for me to store everything especially since switching from painting to printmaking. Photos of work in progress and experimentation can make it easier to store information, or even just notes.
I hung onto this trio of tom cats below which was created simply to test a printmaking texture. It was useful yesterday in convincing me to use a particular texture for some mountains on a new piece I am working on at the moment.