Thursday, 28 April 2011

Return to printmaking...

Having found there are less hours in the day than is necessary to keep up with the artwork I need to produce, with several impending exhibitions I have no work for; I have decided that prints are the answer.

The word print means two things of course, the first being hand-made, and the second being a reproduction of an artwork. I intend to produce both, and am making enquiries about producing limited editions of my watercolours. Meantime it is back to hand-made prints, which I have a little experience of. I have always considered myself a novice printmaker, and that it is just something I dabble in, yet have sold a few in the past, my speciality is a kind of Lino/Monoprint combination

So feeling somewhat nervous, with little recollection of what to do I went back to the print workshop at Gainsborough's House. Above you can see a couple of the very old presses. If you look towards the left hand bottom you can see the handle I whacked my knee into resulting in some rather spectacular bruising.

After this painful start, and with help finding stuff from some of the other artists in the workshop that day, I was soon happily playing with ink. Printmaking comes a close second to mosaics in it's ability to ruin a manicure and leave you with stained hands. Having already got blue grout up my finger nails whilst helping my youngest private student (age 7) at the weekend, the addition of lithographic ink ensured the usual strange looks from WHSmith staff when I picked up my sewing magazine later in the day.

Soon I was happily filling the drying racks. What was I printing? A black and white wagtail bird, with a butterfly, and some daisies for making cards. Pictures will follow when I have finished, as I am only on the second layer, and these prints will have four different turns on the press before they are done.

Meantime I have had a big illustration project land on my work table, different company, I will show you when it is finished, but suffice it to say that this one has a distinctly Welsh feel! Illustrations come with deadlines, so prints and other artwork are on the back burner, it's all juggling as usual.

Good news to end with: Summer came early for a few days in Suffolk, which made me very happy, but perhaps not as happy as Gimlet who for some reason has taken to dust baths, like some kind of large bird, followed by basking happily in the garden...


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Vote for Ethel!

The painting above is 'Newquay, Cornwall' by Ethel Blosse. I met Ethel in 2005 when I tutored an art project for a few months at William Wood House in Sudbury, working with some of the elderly residents for the 'Visions of Sudbury' project. The idea was to get them enjoying reminiscing about local places they had known when younger and the changes they had seen; and of course to create art! When the project was finished I continued to visit Ethel as a friend and sometimes for art tuition, she always has cake and a cup of tea waiting for me - there goes the diet again! Ethel's production of art is amazing and prolific. I often photograph her paintings and she turns them into cards for friends and family. The Newquay view was an old holiday photo of mine, taken on a sunny day, but somehow transformed into an atmospheric night scene by Ethel!

Both last year and this I helped Ethel to enter the EAC art awards for the over '60's, and this year she was accepted. Not only is Ethel over 60, she is 94 and shortly to turn 95. Ethel is frail, hard of hearing and has ongoing eyesight problems. This is an amazing acheivement. Her painting will be exhibited in Birmingham, and she is excited and delighted. As part of the awards there is a 'people's choice award. 

Please consider voting for Ethel via the link below. You do have to register (as usual to prevent spammers) but it takes seconds. Then you will be sent an email link, press the link and you will find yourself back on the site with three rosettes to award to your favorite artworks, you can also comment on the pictures. All the people in this competition have no doubt overcome various challenges to enter. Please show your support. It costs nothing to put a smile on someones face :-)

Vote for Ethel here!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Taking some water with it...

Yes, small things please small minds and I am ridiculously happy to at last have water in the studio. "I am going to make lots of mess..." said boyfriend fixing me with a look as he started the plumbing in the middle of my hoovering/clearing up time on Sunday. "I don't care," I lied, "just do it please".  He made lots of mess, I went out for a bit. I tried not to moan when it became apparent that having all the house doors open (it was cold)  and the kitchen dismantled was necessary. But it was worth it, I have water, and the studio is officially FINISHED. Yay!

Now is the time that all the exhibitions get started, and in a mad rush I have been filling in forms and entering work I have not yet produced. Nothing new there then, and I must start producing work super fast, as all of my existing stuff is out on display. First up was a small flower painting I started on a course last year, finished with the addition of a few white flowers we were using for class last week. 

Talking of work on display, I have added a new venue...

Thanks to my student S putting a good word in, my work is now in the reception area of the lovely new physiotherapy clinic in Sudbury. Initially the handyman put the hanging rail about an inch from the top of the wall, obviously not quite understanding how they work, but alterations were made and all is now well.

Last month was super for sales, and in addition to the gate painting I also sold this snow scene to a friend:

It had been on display in his offices, and he had grown attached to it!

And literally days after I finished it I sold the heart mosaic:

I had taken it in to show my students and one of them said the blue matched his new bathroom perfectly and his wife would love it...

On the subject of art class, I must share the latest trend amongst my highly fashion conscious students...

Yes, it's the broken left arm. R did his snowboarding (no comment), and J took a tumble at her home, easily done. 

On the home front Gimlet has taken my pleas to stop hurting birds to heart, his latest exploit is a rabbit, not just dismantled on the lawn, but eaten with gusto, causing him to spend many hours afterwards sleeping belly up and stuffed. The gap down the side of the garage has been re-named the cave of death, bits of fur and feathers litter the base. When we chose our cute little cat we had no idea we were actually giving house room to a feline Hannibal Lector.

The teen meantime is nearing the end of brace wearing, meaning many more trips to Haverhill 45 mins drive away for adjustments at the orthodontist. The conversation in the car started with an overview of world religions (she is doing philosophy and ethics for A level next year), moved on to a discussion of faith versus science (also taking physics), and ended with her wanting explanations from me of the politics/ religous history of Ireland and the IRA, the conversion of Britain from a Catholic to Protestant nation and the situation concerning the Israeli occupied Palestine territories. 

By the end of it I was utterly drained! All I cared about at that age was Duran Duran's latest video and whether I could get away with blue nail varnish for a whole day at school.

Finally this week I notice in an interview that Tracy Emin says her subject starts with herself. It appears mine does too. I scratched my neck during painting and felt a strange dry flaky area... Toothpaste perhaps? Hair gel? Nope, further investigation revealed Cerulean Blue.