Saturday, 29 October 2011

On Show - RWA 159

Two etchings have been selected for this years RWA Open exhibition - '159' in Bristol. Its been very exciting as this is the first time I have entered.

The two prints are shown below, hung together.

This shows the wall on which the prints were displayed in the print and drawing room. There was such lovely work to look at and to be hung alongside.

Several chums also had work exhibited, among them were these...

Sue Brown's Raven was hung very nicely with a work by another artist local to me, Kerry Phippen's reindeer...

and James MiIroy's complex painting of the Royal Academician's was getting a lot of attention.

I was really taken by this gorgeous little painting by Laurie Steen. I don't know Laurie but her work is beautiful, tranquil and achieved with the wonderful sense of knowing when enough is enough.

The whole exhibition is a treat, there is a lot of very good and very interesting work, something for everyone.
RWA 159 runs from 30th October until 31st December.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sketchbook mark making

During a recent tutorial I was challenged with the idea that the quality of line and variety of mark that I show in my sketchbooks is fresher and more exciting than a fully worked drawing...

On drawings like these ones I can fully appreciate the thinking; many of the marks are quick, expressive and derived from a direct response to the scene in front of me. Its true that often back in the studio the exact shape and form can be over considered.

Anthony Gormley suggests that
"drawing is analytical, but its also expressive in its own right, it as a duty to bear witness not simply by making a representation of something, but taking things apart and reassembling in a way that makes new connections. It is entirely experimental"

This drawing (above) is experimental, its been drawn to take apart the structure of the floor of the path, what angles there are and how they relate to the bank either side. An idea is being taken apart and reassembled.  -But then how to get that quality of mark making and observation into a finished piece of work in the studio without overworking. I've been challenged to photograph a drawing in the making and to see at what point it remains most 'alive'. Hopefully in the next post or so I'll be able to show some results.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Trying to let mark making have its own say

With all those delicious graphite mark making experiments of last month in mind, I have returned to a drawing of a narrow footpath reaching up out of the village from Woodstock Lane.
In the now finished piece I have tried to allow the mark making to begin to speak for itself, and not to restrain it for the sake of representational detail.

'up from Woodstock lane'
graphite/watersoluble graphite on Fabriano
The lane is fairly steep, the ground is uneven and in several places the trees meet overhead in architectural shapes reminiscent of barns or churches. The shadows they create are beautiful and provide striking contrasts.

These close ups of the drawing show areas where I felt I had let the graphite speak for itself.

When I heard Trevor Felcey speak at the Plough Arts Centre he talked about successful drawing being somewhere between the pencil and the paper, I wonder if these experiments are leading me to something of what he meant. In other words by allowing a mark that was made through the process of feeling for the drawing to be left, rather than tidied up or erased ... then a drawing begins to have its own say.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Autumn Exhibition round-up 2011

I've seen some great exhibitions recently in smaller galleries; here are the highlights:

If you're in or near Bath next week Akash Bhatt's Urban Landscapes at the Beaux Arts Gallery is well worth a look. The exhibition shows paintings from London and Cuba, but we found them reminiscent of many other places we had travelled to. Bhatt captures the narrative behind street scenes beautifully, his subject matter is not always immediately beautiful but the humanity in what he paints is captivating. Exhibition finishes Oct 15th.

North of Bristol at Prema Arts Centre in Uley a fiend of mine, Karen Mead, is showing her large scale relief prints. Karen's work reflects her constant journeying between the Isle of Wight where she lives and Hong Kong where she used to live and where her husband has been working. One of the constants in her nomadic life is her camper van which features strongly in her work. The scale of these prints has to be seen to be believed and the venue shows them off really well. Exhibition continues until Oct 22nd.

These photos were taken at the private view.

Karen describing her work

The camper van view through the winscreen and mirrors; where she has been, where she is and where she is going

A digital print combining photography and relief printing

 At The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington, North Devon you'll find a rewarding selection of drawings submitted through their open drawing competition. All artists selected live in the south west and many of the drawings reflect the area.  

I entered this competition and was fortunate to be selected. My drawing was hung on a wall with 3 very large and very strong drawings, and I have to say it was a bit of a wake up call. Its so easy to lose sight of how big your work is when you only see it in a domestic setting. My piece, below - centre,  looked so small in this lovely airy gallery space, and so insignificant beside such dominant works.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the awards ceremony and listen to the judge, Trevor Felcey describing his reasons for selecting work. He made some interesting comments about where he felt successful drawing lay - somewhere between the pencil and the paper. He also expressed a belief that the paper should somehow have been affected by the drawing, if paper had been revered and protected by the artist, could a drawing have the chance of coming to life? Ideas to chew on...

Plough Arts Centre Gallery

Trevor Felcey announcing the awards
Conratulations went to John Sellings who won first prize with a beautiful and sensitive work depicting objects of importance in his studio.
Exhibition continues until 29th Oct.