From 2013 for a year or so I painted many ACEO’s. These are small pieces of artwork traded on Ebay to collectors around the world. Harvey the Aardvark was featured on the majority of them and looking in my PC files I produced (and sold!) over 160 of these tiny pieces of art measuring only 3.5 x 2″ (or 9 x 6 cm).
I had some of them printed up to a larger size; and have now put the remaining of them in my online shop. This is one of my early designs and one of my favourites, the original art being sold to a collector in the USA.
“It wasn’t Me” – with Harvey The Aardvark and Digger the Dog – print available to buy £10 Free P&P here.
At times we get so focused on getting really good at an activity that time seems to run out for experimentation and playfulness.
I swim regularly and know that playing in the pool doing roly-polys or attempting handstands increases confidence and can stretch me out of my comfort zone. Yet on a day to day basis I only allow enough time to use the water to keep fit.
As an artist I like to create pictures that have a fair chance of being successful and that must mean following a well practiced strategy for getting a decent drawing transformed into a painting.
Playing with materials and ideas helps to break these predictable patterns and although there is a much greater chance of the exercise ending in an image that is far from perfect it is a route to discovering new techniques and allowing pursuit of different ideas.
The most difficult thing of course is allowing ourselves to have this time to be playful rather than pursuing a direct course to being predictably productive. The process of discovery through playfulness allows us to develop our practice further rather than stagnating and ultimately becoming bored with what we do.
Yesterday I allowed myself time to play; above is a print of my son’s drawing of an eagle which I transferred onto mdf board alongside is a print of my photo a well known local tree. I tried putting gold leaf on some buttons as a addition and sprayed around the board with gold laquer. Who knows where I will go with this, but my nominated play-day is over and now I must get back to work!
To compliment my recent Elephant in Red and Gold here is the Ibis. The Nile was central to Ancient Egyptian life and religion. The Egyptians of old believed that souls of the dead were transported across the Nile to reach the afterlife in the presence of Thoth the god of knowledge, who was represented as the Ibis bird.
The Ibis is of ancient evolutionary origin, its fossil records going back some 60 million years. Carvings of the Ibis can be found on many Egyptian monuments; they were also mummified and buried in the temples with pharaohs.
It happens so often, that artists actually stop working on a painting sometime after the vital moment when they should have stopped. Spotting the optimum time to stop working on a piece is just so difficult as unless you could see into the future the you cannot anticipate whether your next few painting decisions will better or possibly worsen the painting’s outcome. For this reason a good many paintings are over-worked and without a lot of experience this optimum moment can pass you by before you know it.
This is a painting I have been working on today. It takes some concentration to be disciplined in the craft and it is best to work when feeling energised. Once an artist tires and concentration waivers then sloppy decisions and actions are made leading to frustration and disappointment in the outcome.
I liken this process to swimming. Whilst striving to get one’s swimming stroke right you need concentration, some discipline and energy. Once the energy is depleted you fall back on old sloppy habits, inefficiency and then more tiredness is the outcome. My painting and my swimming can go the same way. This painting of a wolf is unfinished in my opinion. It is just a matter of how far past the optimum point I persist…..
Here in the UK we are having challenging time dealing with constant rain and stormy weather. Having just had a day of rain that was the equivalent of the amount of rain for a normal month things do not like they will return to normal very soon. Thousands of people are without power and many having to abandon homes and farms where flood water has taken hold across great swathes of land. I am staying firmly holed up in my attic studio watching the rain lash down across the hillside and listening to the roof creaking in the wind. I am trying a larger painting and the drawing is under way.
Meanwhile amidst the weather and the winter animals which are on dry land continue to hibernate along with us hoping that Spring will arrive very soon.
When you see artists exhibiting their wares at Christmas Fayres or in the high street hoping to catch customers in the festive season spare a thought not just for the hard work and creativity that goes into their craft. Some time will have been spent agonising over pricing before an attempt at selling either original work or prints. Framing is a conundrum, customers like to buy items ready to hang but how do you choose a frame that works with the image and works for the customers taste.
Prints and Cards
With prints and cards there is plenty to frustrate the eager artist. Enduring a fickle printer is a test of patience when it starts spitting out blank paper or prints which are off centre, the wrong size or the wrong colours and then horrors of horrors sometimes it will not work at all.
Mounts for Prints
Mounting the image is an issue of its own, lining up the print and taping the print, mount and backing board together in a professional looking way before putting into a celophane bag. By the end of it all the place is littered with off cuts, cut fingers, bits of tape everywhere, torn up prints and hopefully the printer has not been despatched out of the window.
You may have guessed that I have just completed a printing session ready for a Christmas Fayre at Horseworld Rescue Centre, Bristol, UK next weekend. Leaflets, notices and business cards are ready printed too. Just need to pack a blanket, hot water bottle and a flask.
Oh and in case you were wondering the printer is still where it should be, in the studio… 🙂