Thursday, 21 March 2013


In front of some of my paintings.

As I watch the Enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury on the television, I am immediately thrust back in time to when I was an art student at Canterbury College of Art (as it was then known). As you get older, past and present often seem to overlap.  I recall vividly how I used to go to listen to the Evensong at the Cathedral most evenings, and watched the boy choir as their bell-like notes soared to the arched world above us. Sitting in the pew, or at the other end of the cathedral, by the stained glass windows, I felt that I became part of that wonderful, uplifting sound. It often overlapped with my painting concerns, because colours can echo the movement of musical notes, and I always hope that my colours will be uplifting. 

'The Wind Threw the Bags into the Trees,' (2)  oil and acrylic on board, 45 x 30cm

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Wind Threw the Bags into the Trees.

'The Wind Threw the Bags into the Trees.'  oil and acrylic, 61 x 45cm

It's been a week of mixed activities. I worked on 5 new paintings, 2 of which are finished (the above is one of those). I made more drawings, exploring different ideas for compositions combining abstract and figurative elements from my environment and imagination. These drawings really excite me as they are a new direction, and glimmer with possibilities.

I applied to a gallery in the US last week. This particular gallery is one I admire, as I love the work they show, and I thought mine might fit (an important consideration). Several of my Facebook friends show with this gallery, though I did not use their names when I applied. I emailed 9 images of my work, with my updated CV and Statement. The next day a reply came, which I am taking in a positive way, being a very positive person! He said the work was 'good and strong.' and that he was fully booked, and would keep me in mind if any openings came up. My initial disappointment was eased by the thought that generally galleries don't make nice comments unless they mean them - I've had enough abrupt, outright rejections to know this! I know that the examples of my work that I emailed were ones I felt GOOD about, and while I may or may not hear from him again, this was a positive position to have applied from.

'Storm over Nicosia,' black paint on paper, 8 x 11ins, 2013

I'm applying to the Painting Center's open exhibition (New York), as the theme is one I am currently engaged with. They want examples of 'working drawings,' ones that artists make to examine ideas - drawings that may lead to a finished painting, but may also never be seen. I have a month to photograph my drawings, and send the CD to the US. Of course, thousands of artists will apply, but it's worth a shot. I'm aiming in wider directions, hoping to widen my network and opportunities. In April, I will take my painting up to the Royal Academy, for another attempt at the Summer Show, and by April 3rd I should hear whether I have been selected for the Creekside Open.

'The Wind Blew the Bags into the Trees,' was inspired by one of those sudden visual impressions! On March 10th I went by bus to get some hardboard to paint on, my stock of canvases being finished. As I stood with the hardboard, waiting for the bus home, I noticed the skeletal trees opposite had plastic bags snagged on them. It was an icy, windy day, the bags were snagged randomly across the line, and it reminded me of musical notes, and at the same time was quite funny.
(Click on images for larger view.)

Friday, 8 March 2013

No Excuses!

'Eternal Dance,' oil and acrylic on board, 85 x 61cm

Most artists find that part of their practice includes some admin work, especially the kind that involves updating websites, adding new images, photographing new work (unless you are lucky enough to have a photographer) and submitting work to Open Exhibitions and galleries. It is one of those jobs you can easily put off, especially when unresolved canvases call to you! I couldn't exactly estimate how much time admin takes up weekly, but it is a necessary job. You have to create a public profile, as far as possible, and network, as well as producing the work! Today, being very dark, dank and dismal, was a perfect day for this job.

Today's painting reflects how I feel about the rhythms of life. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

More Applications

'Transition.'  Oil and acrylic on board, 61 x 45cm

Since I last wrote, I have been working on 6 paintings, 4 of which are now finished. The above painting caused the most headaches, as it took ages to resolve. But I'm so happy to be back to painting again, and to have recovered my health. After my last post, I went to the doctor and learned that the 'Flu' I thought I had had for over 3 weeks was in fact a lung infection! I had to take antibiotics to clear it. But the funny thing is that, in spite of feeling really lacking in energy, I painted full speed! I was obsessed with the new works. A friend on Facebook suggested that perhaps painting is medicinal for me.

So for this post, I'm adding some of the recent works.
'Camber.' oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30cm

I have just posted off my entry form for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2013, with the usual doubts and reservations, as I know too well that it is a lottery! The delivery date for the painting is early April. I've also applied for the Creekside Open, a bi-annual exhibition at a London gallery that is part of a studio complex (and one of my ex-tutors from college works there). When my husband saw the work of the two selectors, he said 'You are wasting your time, I don't think they will like your style of work.' We will see.  It would certainly be very exciting to be selected. I've been to exhibitions there in the past, and also to the Open Studios of the artists working in the building.
'Winter Blues,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30cm

As for attending the Grand Opening of the new Mark Rothko Centre, in Daugavpils (Latvia) I have decided to go. It will be great to meet up with some of the other artists who were on the residency with me last September, and to see my 4 paintings hanging in the Centre. The Opening is on April 24th, and I am going for 3 days.