Tuesday, 29 September 2015

More life drawing - week 3

3 x 5 minute poses
Yes, it's all I'm doing creatively at the moment. I'm really enjoying it though, more than I've ever enjoyed life drawing before. I love working so big and loosely with charcoal. Was never able to get on with it at college but I just love it now. Need to get some fixative before the drawings vanish though.
15 minutes
Some good exercises in foreshortening today. Quite pleased with the arms and hands in the 15 minute drawing above.
1 hour
Getting to grips with creating tone with the charcoal; some nice tonal areas on the longer pose. Proportion issues though - that foot is way too big. I've discovered that my drawings get bigger as I work further down the page... Could this be because I'm tall and the lower sections of the paper are therefore further away? I extend the easel as high as I can but they never seem to be quite tall enough...

Looking back over my drawings from the last three weeks, I think I am improving. Lots more work to do of course; there always will be, but I think I'm heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Life drawing week 2

1 hour 10 minutes
And here are today's offerings. We started with two two-minute drawings with our other hand (left in my case). Didn't get a lot down but it was fun to do and I quite like some of the marks.

Next came three five-minute poses (back to drawing with my right hand) starting with a crouched position and rising to standing. Well into it by the third pose as you can see from the shading. I enjoy layering my drawings though easy to get confused. I quite like the sense of movement in this one.

Finally a long pose of about 1 hour 10 minutes. Not a bad drawing though there are some serious proportion issues going on; the model's head is too small and I struggled for some time with the lower leg in the foreground. I'm beginning to get back into the swing of it though after all these years.

2 x two-minute poses drawn with left hand
3 x five-minute poses rising from crouched position

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Back to basics. Again

Whenever I feel stuck with my work, I guess my default position is to think about technique and focus on that for a while. So I'm going to concentrate on drawing for a bit, something which is hugely important and that I don't do enough of.

Started life drawing classes last week - great fun. It's been about five years since I last went so I'm pretty rusty but it was great to draw freely and on a large scale. I haven't done that since I was at college which is way too long.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Art across Hampshire (and a bit of Wiltshire)

Christine Marlow ~ Millennium Walk,  acrylic

I've spent the last couple of weeks driving around Hampshire and parts of Wiltshire looking at art. I've seen ALL the art... at least, I feel as though I have. This is what I've seen.
  •  The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers at the St Barbe Museum in Lymington,
  • Sculpture in the gardens of The Mill at Gordleton,
  • Conversations with the Collection - The Sarum Artists at Salisbury Museum (the new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology is well worth a look too),
  • Hampshire Open Studio at Rum's Eg in Romsey,
  • Orginal prints at Badger Press in Bishops Waltham,
  •  New Road Artists in Timsbury,
  • Chandlers Ford Art Group, Chandlers Ford.
Although it's Hampshire Open Studios week, most of these shows were not part of that. You really could clock up some miles if you tried to get round all those!

Friday, 21 August 2015

New image and a muddle of ideas

Started a new image a couple of weeks ago. Main elements draw and initial line etch done. All very quickly, then it stalled... 

In one of those phases at the moment where I have so many ideas I can't settle to any one of them so don't get anything done. More words needed to crystallise my thoughts I think.

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers at St Barbe Museum

Mychael Barratt ~ Lost Magic Kingdoms
There's a selection of prints from the RE Summer Show at Bankside on display at the St Barbe Museum in Lymington at the moment; much more convenient for me than trekking up to London.

I haven't been to the show or a number of years so as well as some of the old favourites (like Mychael Barratt - the print shown here kept us busy for some time trying to work out which books the little images relate to), there was quite a lot of work by artists I'd not seen before. 

Delores de Sade's work caught my eye - I've not come across her before. Her etchings had an air of 19thC book illustrations... there was something Holmesian about the look of them and with titles such as not without undue prolixity and hence arises a digression, my penchant for narrative was thoroughly satisfied. 

Having said I'd not come across her, I've just looked at her website and realised I have seen some of her work before. More investigation of this interesting artists needed I think.

Dan Holdsworth: Spatial Objects

On now at Southampton City Art Gallery.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Kiss of the Henchspider

I've come to the conclusion that life is going to be stupidly busy for the foreseeable future so if I'm going to get any artwork done, I'm really going to have to push myself. My creative output has been ridiculously low over the last couple of years and I'm fed up with that.

So, whilst working on the current (very time-consuming and knotty) freelance project, I've managed to spit this etching out in what for me is double quick time.

The Henchspider is companion to the Harpy and works alongside my Requires Improvement print; they all go together really and are concerned with the same themes. The things that stop us doing what we should be doing. Those who are familiar with my work over a number of years will have spotted that the Datamonger is back... It's a bit like EastEnders when old characters return... Watch out to see who else pops up from the past.

Friday, 5 June 2015

James Gillray: etcher and satirist

It was the two hundredth anniversary of the death of James Gillray this week. Gillray was one of the leading political cartoonists of the 18th Century and so good at it was he that his images are still influencing cartoonists today. Many since have paid homage to one of his most famous images, The Plumb-pudding in danger, which depicts William Pitt and Napoleon Bonaparte carving up the globe as though it was a joint of meat. Steve Bell paid tribute with an updated version in the Guardian this week; The Baked Bean in danger, replacing Pitt with David Cameron and Napoleon with Nicola Sturgeon.

Gillray was an etcher (which makes him even more interesting to me) and sold his prints from Mrs Humphrey’s Print Shop. Miss Hannah Humphrey, publisher and print seller, is another fascinating character; unconventional (for those times) in business as in her personal life, taking risks in both. She and Gillray lived together above the shop which occupied three different locations during its existence. Apparently, they trooped off to church to get married on a couple of occasions but Gillray thought better of it on the way. Here’s an interesting blog about Mrs H. I would like to know more about her. I feel I’m rather doing her down by mentioning her living arrangements rather than focusing on her business acumen… I’ll come back to that in a future post.

Gillray’s final years weren’t cheery ones. When his eyesight began to fail, he wasn’t able to produce work of sufficient quality to satisfy his exacting standards. He became depressed, began to drink and descended into madness, producing no further etchings in his last few years. Ever devoted, Mrs H looked after him until he died in 1815, following him to the eternal print shop shortly after in 1818. Maybe this is a cautionary tale for etchers… though I guess there wasn’t much he could have done about his eyesight back then. We are much more fortunate these days with modern medicine and technology. It does worry me as I get older though, and now that I have to have special glasses to work on etching plates...

There is an element of satire in my last PB print, Requires Improvement (petty bureaucracy and the things that stop us doing what we should be doing). I’m not sure that it’s necessarily political, though it does deal in part with the insane burdens placed on local government by central government agencies. My next print will be more of a social satire – if that’s a thing. Watch out for the henchspider… don’t get trapped in his web.

 James Gillray ~ Two-penny whist. 
 Mrs Humphrey modelled for one of the women in this etching

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Everyone has to deal with a harpy at some point

It's true isn't it. We'd rather it wasn't but it's a fact; each of us, at some point in life, will be beset by the sharp-clawed, pendulous-bosomed, winged demon that for a period of time will make life miserable. This is my way of dealing with it; turn her into an etching.

This particular harpy had a henchspider who was even more annoying. I feel another etching coming on...


Good review of Scratching the Surface here at the Winchester School of Art Library Blog. Thank you Stephii Baker.

The exhibition is on until 16 June so still time to see it!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

It's up!

After all the months of hard work and preparation, Scratching the Surface is up. We hung the show last Tuesday - Sarah, Sheila, Deb and myself. It took longer than we thought it would; 42 prints fitted into a tricky space like a giant jigsaw. It's always the same - you start off by thinking you're never going to be able to fit it all in, but we always manage somehow.


Hanging an exhibition is always fun, if a little stressful at times. We were racing against the clock by the end of the afternoon; the last wall was hung in record time. We're all very pleased with how it looks though.

The private view was well attended and the show is on until 16 June. Wander along and have a look.

Scratching the Surface
Jewry Street gallery
The Art Cafe
De Lunn Buildings

Friday, 1 May 2015

Guest blogging

This week I'm guest blogging for Red Hot Press. We're hanging Scratching the Surface next week so Katherine and Sarah asked me if I'd say something about preparing for the exhibition. You can read it here. And of course, please join us at the private view on Thursday 7 May from 7 to 9pm. The exhibition continues until 16 June.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Cowprint postcard exchange

 Over a period of about six months, Cowprint members sent art through the mail; image relays in postcard form. Each handmade work of art was inspired by the image and text of the previous and became part of a circular chain, ending where they began - with the two artists who started them. The postcards are currently on display at Red Hot Press.

Participating artists:

Linda Bennett
Deb Boultwood
Jenny Goodhand
Sheila Lockyer
Jutta Manser
Jo Price
Jenny Rickman
Maureen Riley
Irene Smith
Naomi Thorne
Tim Watson

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Visit to a local printmaker

Jo Barry ~ Water Meadows

Last week, along with some fellow Cowprinters, I had the privilege of visiting the studio of Jo Barry. Jo, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, lives in the New Forest which inspires her to produce rich, atmospheric landscapes full of light. She captures the beauty of her surroundings in her etchings, drawings and watercolours, often depicting early morning scenes captured whilst out walking her dogs.

Jo Barry ~ Music of the trees at dawn

Jo was very generous with her time and, as well as telling us about her career over the years, showed us how she makes, inks and prints her plates. It's fascinating to watch other artists work; everyone has different ways of carrying out each stage so you can learn some useful tips too.

Jo Barry ~ Glorious light
It was a most enjoyable morning spent with a very welcoming and interesting printmaker. Check out Jo's website here.

Jo Barry ~ Heaven peeps through the blanket of the dark