Sunday, 26 October 2014

Who are you?

As you know, I'm a bit obsessed with Grayson Perry. The first programme in his new series of documentaries, Grayson Perry: Who Are You? started on Wednesday and it was excellent. Have a look here.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/grayson-perry-who-are-you/4od

It's available for another 26 days. The next programme is on this Wednesday 29th at 10pm. Channel 4. I shall be watching.

Monday evening printmaking

Bee by Alison























I am in the middle of teaching a block of six intaglio printing sessions at Red Hot Press. So far the group have produced some lovely drypoints (see photos) and made card cut plates. We'll print these at the next session, then round off the course with two weeks of etching (saving the best until last of course!).

Expressive life drawing by Elwyn





Adrian's stormy ram

Yvonne's delicate flowers

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Grayson Perry on identity

A Map of Days ~ Grayson Perry

















There's a rather good article in the Guardian this weekend about Grayson Perry's latest project which focuses on identidy, something which he's been interested in for a long time. I particularly like this bit.

'I ask whether the television project has taught him anything about his own identity. Of course, he says, you continue to learn. “I was reading a book by Julian Baggini about identity, and he said, ‘I is a verb masquerading as a noun.’ You perform yourself. It’s like going for a walk, you carry it along with you and it changes all the time. So the idea that there is a solid, consistent, tangible thing is an illusion.”

He compares it to the tapestry we’re sitting on. “If you want an analogy, all the colours are present right across the tapestry. There are 20 colours, that’s why it’s so thick. But the machine brings the colour to the surface when it’s needed. I think that’s an analogy for our character. We’ve got all of ourselves there, but the bit that’s necessary in any given moment comes to the surface. So, with my daughter, I’m a father. When I’m in the studio, I’m an artist. When I’m out, I’m ‘Grayson Perry’. So you ask what your identifiers are – artist, tranny, father, man, motorcyclist – and you’ve got a hierarchy of things. And that’s the nature of identity, isn’t it?”'

What a good analogy.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Patience















Of the last thirty days, we have visited a hospital or doctors' surgery on 15 of them. That's a lots of medical appointments... all for the Aged P of course. It is stressful and exhausting and that's before you've started on all the personal care at home etc, but such is caring for an elderly person in declining health (whilst holding down a job and an art career which is getting busier by the day (a good thing!).















The art-making has suffered this month though; don't really have the energy for etching at the moment. Have made a couple of monoprints however, developing some of the waiting area drawings. Not sure where these are going at the moment... just doodling really but I'm hopeful they will evolve into something interesting.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

And on we go














I made a start on my next Pirate Baby print the other weekend at the Red Hot Press Open Studios where I was demonstrating etching all day. This one is titled 'Requires Improvement (or petty bureaucracy and the things that stop us doing what we should be doing)'.

Looking back at the images I've made over the last few years, it struck me that most of the time, they contain solitary figures. That's fine - there's plenty of scope for narrative there - but I think I want to start introducing more characters into my images to explore the dymanics between them and how they interact with each other. There doesn't seem to be much interaction between the figures in 'Requires Improvement' but that is how it's meant to be. Lack of communication, lack of interest in what one is trying to say, futile hoop-jumping... That's what Pirate Baby is trying to convey here.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Waiting






















All I seem to do at the moment is sit in doctor's surgery and hospital waiting areas with the Aged P. These don't make for the best figure drawing sessions; the poses are limited, the models won't keep still and have an annoying habit of disappearing just when you're making some progress with the drawing. It's a good exercide in character studies and getting things down quickly. And it passes the time.
 




Saturday, 6 September 2014

Cementing processes

Monoprint























I wanted to make sure that I'd got what we learned on Ali's course firmly fixed in my mind so I hooked out a drawing from a sketch book and went through the whole process again; first a monoprint to get to know the image again, then the drypoint.

Drypoint


I used zinc this time. It was hard work to get the roulette wheel to make decent marks - I had to rely much more on cross hatching so this print isn't as successful as my last which was much looser and more sketchy. Back to aluminium for drypoint I think.

Wiping was better this time - think I've got the hang of it although more practice needed of course. This print only took just over a week to complete and pull three good prints so am hoping this technique will help me increase my output too. It's all good.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ali Yanya's drypoint masterclass

Drypoint print























What a great weekend we had last week. It started on the Friday evening with a talk by Ali Yanya who showed us some of his work and talked about his techniques and processes. He also gave us some background; he studied in Istanbul and at the Royal College of Art where Tracy Emin and the Chapman Brothers were his contemporaries. He talked also about the themes in his work and about how he draws every day to keep his hand in. This is something I really need to get into the habit of. It was a fascinating talk and a perfect start to the masterclass.


Monoprint

The course itself ran through Saturday and Sunday; Ali began by having us make a monoprint of the image we were going make a drypoint from. The monoprint was to enable us to get to know our image - the form, tone, light and dark - before we started on the drypoint itself. I've dabbled with monoprinting before but never been able to get it to work properly; last weekend, I discovered why - too much ink. With just a thin layer on the plate, I was able to make the above monoprint. I could get addicted.


Then on to the drypoint itself (see the finished print above). I thought I knew how to make drypoints but last weekend was a revelation; I felt like I knew nothing. Having only ever made them on perspex and renalon, working on aluminium with roulette wheels, needles and mezzotint rockers was a whole new experience. I was able to get a really expressive, 'drawing-like' effect, similar to my own rather loose style of drawing. It's great! Again, I may well be addicted. I struggled with wiping the plate though, consistently over-wiping. Etchers have to put aside the usual practise of taking off as much ink as possible; to get the richest, velvety colours, a lot of ink is left on a drypoint plate which is wiped selectively to bring out contrast. Ali Yanya almost draws or paints with the scrim when wiping. This particular aspect of drypoint printing is going to take me a while to master I think.

All in all, an intense, rewarding weekend that really stretched me as a printmaker. This is a good thing as it's so easy to get complacent about ones work and skills. Ali is an excellent tutor, patient, encouraging and very generous with his knowledge. If you ever get a chance to go on one of his courses, GO. You won't regret it.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Influences 6 - Ali Yanya

Ali Yanya ~ Conversation, Drypoint, 2014





















  

At Red Hot Press, we've just have the privilege of being taught for two days by Ali Yanya, master of drypoint, mezzotint and etching. His drypoint is so rich and tonal which he creates not only with a whole range of marks on the plate, but also with very delicate wiping, almost like painting on the plate with the scrim.

Ali Yanya ~ Portrait of my father, drypoint, 2013






















Ali Yanya focuses mainly on figures in his work (right up my street!). There's a mystery to these figures, things left unexplained. What are the two men talking about in Conversation? Why is the newspaper blank in Man reading a newspaper and what are the two shadowy figures behind him? His composition is amazing too; in Portrait of my father, all but the head and a band is left white, and the diagonal band of black which locates the head and gives it weight. Fabulous.

More to follow on the workshop itself.

Ali Yanya ~ Man reading a newspaper, drypoint monotype, 2014

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Portrait






















The Aged P's portrait is nearly finished I think... I'm in 'Tinker Time' now which is always a difficult stage. It's still not quite there but there's also the danger of overworking the plate so one has to tread carefully. Mostly I'm burnishing now and trying out colour combinations. THere may still be some etching needed however. Difficult to know when to stop.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

More on Fiona Rae and Dan Perfect




Came across this video whilst researching Fiona Rae. This was commissioned by Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery thhis year to accompany the exhibition now at Southampton City Art Gallery. Slowly I creep towards an understanding of the work...



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Painter, Painter: Dan Perfect, Fiona Rae


Fiona Rae ~ Memory, origin, space




















Southampton city Art Gallery has a whole heap of exhibitions going on at the moment. As well as the London Group, there is an exhibition of paintings by Dan Perfect and Fiona Rae. Both these painters (who are married incidentally) make large, colourful abstracts. The line, colour, shape and texture of Perfect's remind me of street art. Perfect says that his paintings are an 'imagined interior of psychological landscapes' and 're-imagined experiences', and that 'they seem quite urban and technological, and there's a strong sense of science fiction in them'. 

Dan Perfect ~ Deerdog
Rae's paintings also have a popular culture feel about them... they remind me of album covers and the sort of stuff you see in Hi-Fructose Magazine. I quite like the way the paint is applied in places but the weird teddy bears all over the place - what's that about?

I can't say I like the paintings of these two artists; I just don't get them at all. I probably need to read up on their work and try and understand it a bit better. Fiona Rae is an RA and Professor of painting at the Royal Academy Schools after all.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Letterbox Prints: Postcards from the Press


















Postcards by members of Cowprint hanging in Red Hot Press during July. The artists are

Sue Anderson
Linda Bennett
Jenny Goodhand
Sheila Lockyer
Jutta Manser
Naomi Parsons
Jo Price
Jenny Rickman
Maureen Riley
Irene Smith
Tim Watson

Thursday, 24 July 2014

All about technique






















Despite the rubbishness of work, I have managed to find some time for printmaking; here's what I've been working on over the last six weeks. It's all about technique with this image so I've been throwing just about every etching technique I can think of at it including spit bite and drawing into a soft ground through tissue paper. Thirteen states so far and still some way to go - I'd like to have it finished by September. Already brewing ideas for the next couple of images...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

From David Bomberg to Paula Rego: The London Group in Southampton

Marcel Hanselaar ~ Ritual, 2013, oil on canvas






















Having said I wouldn’t be blogging much over the next few weeks, I am now going to blog…


About five weeks ago, the week the last Ofsted inspection finished, we moved offices at work and are now based in the Civic Centre. This meant going from a brand new building to one which was built in the 1931 and as it’s listed, has many of the original features (possibly including some of the plumbing…). It also houses the city art gallery and it so happens that our office is right next to the gallery and conservation studios. There is art just on the other side of the wall, literally. How tantalising. We often see works of art being taken from the conservation studio into the gallery too (oh cruel tormentors!). I am most definitely on the wrong side of the wall.

It does mean however, that I can sneak off for ten minutes every now and then, to visit a particular work. The current exhibition (From David Bomberg to Paula Rego: The London Group in Southampton), which I have yet to see properly, has a painting by one of my favourite artists, Marcelle Hanselaar. Ritual (above) is a wonderful piece by which I am much taken. I've been to visit it several times and the more I look at it, the more I like it. The central figure, light and colours are so atmospheric. I can't pretend to know what it means... I can only have a rough guess. I would very much like to know the painter's ideas behind this particular painting.

I will blog about this show again probably - it also has a Paula Rego aquatint. It's on until 1 November so plenty of time to go and see it. The art gallery opening times are a bit rubbish though (I can feel another rant coming on...); Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm and Saturday 10am until 5pm, closed Sundays. For a gallery which has such a fabulous collection to shut at 3pm in the week and close on Sundays is such a waste - but there we are, another thing we can thank Cameron and his budget cuts for. Yours, disgusted of Southampton.