All this etching in fits and starts is really frustrating but we're off again, PB and I. Working on some drawings for my next image. This one is a bit of a regrouping... A gathering of the clan. Taking stock of the PB 'family'. New characters coming soon.
It was our monthly life drawing day with Brian at the art gallery yesterday; there was all kinds of bad drawing and painting going on from me! Just couldn't get any proportions correct.
I had high hope for the painting as we had a two-hour pose but the fire alarm went off an hour into te pose and we lost half an hour to standing around outside in the cold. Not that I'm blaming my rubishness on that of course...! I was just having an off day.
When the Hamble life drawing class folded, I was really disappointed. I found a fairly local evening class to attend in the interim but unfortunatley it's on a Tuesday evening so clashes with Cowprint and the Harbour Lights opening of Imprint2. I've missed a few sessions therefore. The course is run very differntly to the Hamble sessions and indeed most of the life drawing I've done in the past. It's much more focused on teaching basic drawing skills so the tutor has us do various exercises. I try to go with it but much prefer to just do my own thing. Yours, Wayward of Southampton.
Had a great day last Saturday; a full day of life drawing and painting at the Art Gallery with Brian, the tutor from the Hamble classes. It was a really good session - good to paint again having not done so since before Christmas. This painting is just a sketch really, done in about an hour in a half. Must try to get ore of the background in next time.
Finished and a couple of the edition pulled ready for Imprint2 at Harbour Lights later this month. Usually I have the next image brewing before finishing whatever I'm working on, but nothing doing at the moment...
I think I'm pretty well there with this image now. I'm happy the plate is done and the monoprinted background it more or less there. Too speckly in the top right corner; losing the datamongers a bit but I can sort that in the edition. Which will be variable of course. Yay!
It's been a while since I wrote an 'influences' post - the last was in August 2014 when I talked about the work of printmaker Ali Yanya. I suppose those posts are really about artists whose work I admire so their influence on my own work may not be immediately obvious. It's there to some degree though.
Whilst drawing the flying datamongers in my latest print, it suddenly dawned on me that there are two artists who have had a really strong influence on my work over the years and I've not realised it: Ronald 'Carl' Giles and Richard Scarry. I grew up with the cartoons and illustrations of these two, receiving a Giles annual every Christmas from the ages of about six to twenty, and Scarry books periodically. I'll save Scarry for another post but the two are similar in that the images are packed with recurring characters and action. I spent hours and hours looking at them, studying them, absorbing all the wonderful, comic details.
Giles started working as a cartoonist in 1937 for the left-wing paper Reynolds News, then moved to the Sunday Express in 1943. His cartoons were topical, commenting on current news and British attitudes in a very gentle way.
My favourite cartoons were always the ones with the family in them; the extended family of which Grandma was the matriarch. She must be one of the best cartoon characters of all time - cheeky, beligerent and a bit scary. And you can't help but love the mini version of her - the little mop-haired boy who's always up to no good, quite often with a camera. These are just two members of this vast, familiar, never-aging family. I used to try and match the children to the adults. And I used the annuals as colouring books!
My own images have become sort of montages I suppose, composite images with different things going on. I think up until recently, if asked where this has come from, I'd have probably said looking at Grayson Perry's work. Now I think it goes back much further than that to the images that absorbed me as a child. Giles and Richard Scarry as influences? I'm fine with that!
If you'd like to look at more Giles cartoons, you can see them here.
More changes of plan this week. Was supposed to be in London today on business but that has been postposed so I had a relatively free day to spend in the studio. Bonus. Surging ahead with PB7, 'As flies to wanton boys': the rise of the Precariat. My brand new roller arrived today just in time for me to start experimenting with monoprinted backgrounds to pull this image together. It's beginning to take shape now, though there's still a lot to do. I'm clearer about where it's going now so hopefully on track to finish it well in time for Imprint2 next month.
Just over six weeks to go before we hang Cowprint's latest exhibition. Featuring original prints by thirteen members of Red Hot Press, the exhibition at Harbour Lights Picturehouse runs from 28 February to 26 March. Join us on 1 March between 7pm and 9pm for a glass of something and a chat with the artists.
That wasn't the weekend I expected. Had planned to spend Saturday at the art gallery on a life drawing workshop but owing to Act of Aged P, I spent a large part of Saturday cleaning and wading through a mountain of washing. She is fine now but didn't feel I could leave her on Saturday.
Anyway, silver linings, blah, blah, blah, I did manage some time on the current PB. Line etched the skeleton and spit bit the surround with a coarse aquatint. It's come out really well too. I need to get this image finished by the end of January so it was good to have the time on it I guess, though I was really looking forward to the life drawing. Haven't done any for a month so going into withdrawal somewhat. New class starts up Tuesday evening - different place, different teacher though. Will see how that goes.
Rare luxury. I've spent pretty much the entire Christmas week in the studio; a week of intensive etching. It's the one time of year were everything shuts down - time out of time - and no one really expects that much out of you work-wise. It was great to get back to etching after such a long break from it and I managed to get a lot done. Still a long way to go with this image but I'm hoping to get it finished for Imprint2 in February. Back to the datamongering tomorrow but I feel quite rejuvenated.
Being an artist isn't a 9 to 5 thing. Neither is setting up your own business so with both vying for head space over the last few months (and throw in an aged parent with dementia for good measure), there hasn't been a whole lot of etching going on.
With Imprint 2 only a couple of months away though, it's time to get back to my core business.
A 1944 Pastoral, Land Girls Pruning at East Malling
Also on at Pallant House at the moment is a selection of work by WWII Official War Artist Evelyn
Dunbar (1906 – 1960). The show consists mostly of paintings, drawings and illustrations found in the attic of a relative's home and not seen before. Mostly studies, these have been brought together with the finished works from public and private collections. These works are rarely seen also so it's a bit of a privilege to see them now.
Land Army Girls going to Bed
Dunbar was quite versatile and had different styles according to project in hand but it's the 'domestic' war scenes I really like. Part of me harrumphed that 'the little woman' had been kept at home and not sent to document the 'real' war stuff, but of course, the domestic was just as important to record as part of the war effort. These paintings are rather Spenceresque; the shapes of the figures, the composition and colours.
Flying Apple Pickers
I think it's rather a shame though that Dunbar's work was squished into three small, dark rooms whilst David Jones was languishing in the more spacious upstairs galleries. Flying Apple Pickers, a painting I particularly liked, could hardly be seen as it was hung on a piece of wall sticking out into the space only a couple of feet wide - the painting just fitted.