Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Mark Rothko Centre, Daugavpils, Latvia

A year ago, I was at Riga airport preparing to fly home from an amazing painting residency, for which I'd been selected as one of 15 artists internationally. Today, this years' residents will be flying home, and I know the sadness they will feel, parting from each other. I have followed their progress over the last 3 weeks on Facebook, and 'friended' several of them. This year's residencies took place in the new Mark Rothko Centre, in Daugavpils, Latvia. Last year, the Centre was almost completed, and we had a tour of it, but we stayed at the Park Latgola hotel, in Daugavpils. I felt some pangs of envy - the residency was one of the best moments of my life - and followed their descriptions as if I was living it all again!

One of the artists from my residency was at the Centre this week, for the private view of a show he is having there. Another of my fellow residents flew out for the birthday celebrations of Mark Rothko, which were yesterday, and coincided with the opening of the residents' exhibition of paintings produced during the residency. He took a photo of my largest painting, which is now hanging in the Mark Rothko Centre, as part of an exhibition of past residents' paintings. I was thrilled to see that my painting ('Flying into Riga Airport,') has a wall to itself, and to know that it is there amongst all the other exhibitions!

This is my painting - it is 140cm by 100cm, and it is one of four I made during my time at Daugavpils. It went to Vitebsk, Belarus, in the summer, as part of a show of works representing the Mark Rothko Centre.

Below, is a new painting.......

'Paphos Walk,' acrylic on canvas, 60 x 45cm

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Life Reworked

'Watching and Waiting,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 50 x 40cm

I was not lucky with the Discerning Eye submission, and collected my work on Friday 13th September. It was notable for meeting an artist from my home town. There I stood, waiting to receive my rejects, when a woman who was packing some very good bronze sculptures on the table next to me said, "Well, they weren't so discerning after all, were they?" We began talking, and then I learned that she'd made the same 45 minute train journey, and lived not far from me! We discussed somewhat loudly that the selection always came down to taste, not quality, and she told me that only 25% of the total selection was from outsiders. Your chances were slim. But of course, you have to try!

I didn't waste time sitting around thinking about this rejection. Life has to be re-worked all the time, just like a painting that has to find a form. I've been very busy working on my book. Since I installed Office 2010 (downloaded), I have raced through my manuscript. I have reached page 357 of 458, and it has been great fun pushing it into shape. After this revision, I will go through it one more time, and then submit it to Kindle.

Much like a painting, it becomes obsessive. I am finding it harder to get an overview of the quality, unlike with a painting where the whole thing is laid out in front of you!

In between writing, I have reworked an older painting (below) and also reworked two others. I began two new paintings, in anticipation of a visit from a local gallery owner tomorrow. Though I have shown in London, I would like to have my work represented locally, and I really hope he likes the work!

'Paphos Walkway,'  oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 45cm

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Diving in

'Sussex Journey, with Blossom,' oil on board, 12 x 24ins

On Friday I will be delivering 3 small paintings for submission to the Discerning Eye exhibition, which will open in November. I have tried for this prestigious exhibition a few times, and as always it is a matter of luck - does your work speak to the invidual tastes of the selectors? I feel good about the 3 small canvases I'm submitting, so that is something! Last year, one of my friends had a painting in the show, and invited me to the Artists' Private View (a plush event) as his guest. His work was very abstract, and colourful, which surprised me as this show used to be quite figurative-based, but it gives me some hope for my own work. I was lucky at the PV to meet an artist I admire, Albert Irvin. I made a point of going up and introducing myself to him!

As soon as my art supplies arrive, I'm starting new work, and with feverish excitement. I'm not a painter who can 'fit' painting in between other daily jobs, and like to know I have a few hours to dive into it, and these last few weeks have been too fragmented to paint. But I have done more editing to my book, and planning to submit it for publishing by the end of September.