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
Winchester








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

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Lessons from comedy















I've just been reading Paul Merton's autobiography which came out last year. What's the life of a comedian got to do with art? Quite a lot actually. 

It's not a well written book but I like the chap and it's how he speaks so you can read it in his voice and it doesn't grate or bore. And it's a really good account of how a comic starts out and builds a successful career. It's clear he was pretty single-minded and determined to be in comedy from a young age (he read all the biographies available and collected silent films of stars such as Buster Keaton) and is highly analytical in his approach to his craft. He familiarises himself with the venue thoroughly before he goes on, assesses the audience by watching their reactions during the acts before his own (and during his performance of course) and he reflects at length on all his performances, analysing what worked and what didn't. 

It seems obvious now - being a comedian is no different than any other creative pursuit. It takes the same dedication, motivation, determination, reflection and hard work that art or writing or music take. Merton gave up his job in the Civil Service at 22 to live on the dole in a depressing bedsit so he could write comedy. He and his writing partner John Irwin treated it like a nine to five job; in other words, they put in the hours and gave themselves a routine (for the day /week I mean). 

This reinforced my own thoughts about my current situation. I had a fairly strict routine when I worked at the council; necessary in order to manage the demands of the job, caring for the Aged P, Cowprint, teaching and my own creative practice. Now that I no longer have the Monday, Wednesday and Friday at work, where I have to be in a certain place between the hours of 9am and 5pm, routine has gone out the window. I am all over the place. This isn't good for me or the Aged P who has dementia. So, routines need to be established and devising them is top of my list for this week.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Monoprinting






















It's been good to have a couple of days in the studio this weekend; all that essay-writing and data work was sapping my creativity. I'm now thinking about monoprinting and preparing for a course I'll be teaching soon so here are a couple of direct monoprints of Netley Abbey, a late mediaeval monastry, now just ruins, fairly near here. I had fun with the old stonework in this technique... suits it quite well I think. These were very quick to do, just a couple of hours each, so a change from etching which always seem to take me months to finish.








Friday, 10 April 2015

Scratching the Surface

At Cowprint last week, we had an interesting session looking at and selecting work for Scratching the Surface, a Red Hot Press members' exhibition of etching and drypoint. Some lovely work... it's going to be a good show. Plus we are very lucky to have Ali Yanya, drypoint master, showing with us too. Private view on Thursday 7 May from 7pm to 9pm. Come along and see what it's all about.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

After the storm

There hasn't been a whole lot of blogging going on this year so far. Having left the Countarium in January, I immediately started a short but very intense teaching course so have been up to my ears in learning and teaching theory, micro-teaches, coursework and assignments for the last three months almost. Having been teaching for years, I thought it was about time I got a qualification in it. Handed my portfolio in on Monday so just waiting to hear if I've passed...

There really hasn't been time for new artwork but I have managed to finish off Requires Improvement (or petty bureacracy and the things that stop us doing what we should be doing) so that's ready to be framed for our Scratching the Surface special at Cowprint next week.

There are a few interesting creative things coming up over the next few months; postcard exchange exchibition in April, Scratching the Surface in May, a monoprinting workshop in June and the possibility of a Cowprint show in the Autumn. There may well be some interesting developments on the teaching front too but that's up in the air at the moment. I hope to have plenty to blog about over the coming months so keep watching this space.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cowprint Postcard Exchange

Linda Bennett

















Cowprint met for our first session of 2015 last week. We started the year well by finishung a project started last summer; a postcard exchange. We drew names from  hat and selected two people to start off a chain each. Those two made a postcard, wrote something on the back and sent it to the person they had drawn. That person then made another postcard and wrote on it, responding to the image and words on the card they had received, and sent it to the person they had drawn... and so on until the two people whi started the chains each received a card.

We're hoping the review the complete chains at next month's meeting so we can see if the images and words following a logical progression. In the meantime, here's a selection.
 
Irene Smith

Jenny Rickman

Sheila Lockyer

Jenny Goodhand
Tim Watson
Jo Price

Friday, 16 January 2015

Henry Moore Prints

Goodness, here we are half way through January already and I'm only just writing my first blog post of the year. There's been very little art in my life over the last couple of months. Work has been all consuming and what time there's been away from it has been taken up with caring responsibilities and Christmas prep. New year, new outlook however. New start in fact. Last week, I hung up my abacus and left the data factory for good. Mixed feelings about it but that's another blog post.

So, back to the art, now that I (temporarily) have more time. On Wednesday I was in Winchester for a meeting at the Art Cafe about an exhibition we're having there later this year. The cafe is just opposite the Winchester Gallery so I took the opportunity to pop in and check out the current exhibition - Henry Moore Prints. I'm not a fan of his sculptures particularly but there are some lovely prints in the show, which consists of mostly lithographs. Many are monochrome but some use two or more colours in a really subtle way. I particularly liked Minerva, Prometheus and Pandora, a lithograph from 1950; I'm thinking about Greek myth a lot at the moment.


Moore really uses the different effects achievable with lithograph; Lullaby (above) is a good example. I don't know how it's done, some kind of oil and water resist maybe, but the background of the image has a wonderful stony texture. The sleeping figure emerges out of the stone, almost like one of his sculptures. All the forms in his prints have that weight and solidity so characteristic of his sculptures.

The show is on until 31 March.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods























Big changes are afoot... BIG changes. It's sad and exciting and scary all at the same time and whilst I'd rather not be experiencing this change right now, it's kind of necessary and unavoidable. Apologies for the crypticness of this post; don't feel able to say too much about the situation just at the moment.

Creative time has been pretty thin on the ground over the last few weeks. This is not a cheery thing and I am feeling exhausted and diminished. Hopefully this will be rectified soon though and I'll get my creative mojo back again. I have three projects to work on so it'll be good to get stuck in to those once Christmas is out of the way. May 2015 be a much better and creatively fruitful year!


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Harpies






















Been thinking about harpies lately, as you do, and other mythical monsters. Been doing some doodling and have come up with the nasty piece of work pictured here, who accompanied by her henchspider, will be making an appearance in my next Pirate Baby image. Poor old PB; he's going through the ringer at the moment... He's growing up, accumulating experiences, coming up against The Things That Stop Him Doing What He Should Be Doing. Question is, am I going to allow those things to overcome him or shall I set him free again?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Requires Improvement

















Pirate Baby marches on; or rather dances on in this print. Gradually working in tone with spit bite. It's a bit too light at the moment but it's heading in the right direction. I can keep reworking and reworking it. 

I need to decide what to do with the windows next. Got a couple of ideas but need to make some sketches first. More soon hopefully.

Ball Rack Gallery


 
The Ball Rack Gallery at Red Hot Press is great for holding mini exhibitions of work by students on the various courses at the workshop. This week, work by my Monday evening students is on show; a lovely selection of drypoints, card cuts, linocuts and monoprints. The prints will be on display until 17 November so have a look if you're in the neighbourhood.


  






Monday, 3 November 2014