Saturday, September 01, 2012


I haven't got a lot to tell you, as I've been in 'head down' mode, writing and planning and getting new painting ideas underway.  As a result, a lot of electronic communication has been pushed to one side while I work on other things.

I sometimes wonder about the effectiveness of blogs vs social media and believe that blogs still deliver a bigger bite of information that has its place in the sea of information we all sift through each day.  Social media allows that quick glimpse into lives and art but without the commitment of a long read or analysis in most cases. In the past year my blog posts have dwindled in numbers, as have many others that I read and I sometimes wonder if I'm talking to myself.  This is my 7th year of blogging! and I often feel as if I've simply run out of things to say, but even if I'm not as frequent in posting, it seems I always have something to say!

The image above is part of an encaustic experiment that I'm trying, using a gyotaku print of a sole.  What you see here is some of the embedded cheesecloth that resembles netting. I've also been carving into the cured wax with an etching stylus and will fill the grooves with oil paint then fuse the wax a little more to seal it in when it dries.  I'm not really sure whether I like this piece or not yet.  It is large, 15" x 30", and complex - I never seem to do things by halves lately - so it may all change again before its done.

A copy of Koi magazine turned up on my doorstep this week and in it a small review of The Gyotaku Project, a little book I'd written about my adventures in fishing printing.  There are huge numbers of koi fanciers in the UK and I'm pleased to have a little more exposure in the fishy world through this best selling magazine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I am the artist

I will be delivering a workshop next weekend on Creativity and Multimedia for a local art group.   I've been working on finalizing it as well as creating some demo pieces to show technique.

There is satisfaction in paint and pastes and gels and papers and working on combinations of them to create what pleases the eye.   Each piece is a revelation as shapes and ideas form, almost without a lot of thought, one idea leading to another, one colour or hard edge sparking off a new idea.  The layers that build in time are limited only by imagination.

Here's a glimpse of one of the pieces I'm working on, using multimedia and acrylic.  I won't show the full piece until after the workshop on September 8th.  I'm limited to acrylic for this workshop due to restraints of the space and to allow quick drying time.  Unfortunately, any pieces done in acrylic won't be candidates to continue on with encaustic layers, as only oil would be compatible.

Each day a new layer is added, I think I could go on forever.  Tonight its embossed foil which give a lovely sheen, similar to metal leaf beneath the surface of a semi matte gel. But its not complete yet as more layers are still to be added before I can set it aside. The piece is 8 x 16  on canvas panel which remains immobile for the multi layered surface.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Empty Bed Blues

Painting drapery well, whether it is bed sheets, clothing or curtains relies on two elements; accurate drawing and good value control. Without these, the painting becomes an exercise in frustration.  This is one of those times when rushing in without a plan seldom works. A detailed drawing on toned canvas was done on Friday night, ready to start work on this weekend.

Drapery always looks intimidating and complex and many people steer away from it, but like most things, if broken down into individual sections,  and with a value map to guide me, it becomes much more manageable. 

This painting is 12" x 12" oil on stretched canvas.  Its at the stage where I have the shapes and values in, now its time to add more detail and make adjustments to bring it to completion.   I had titled the painting Empty Bed Blues, then realized there was an 1928 song from Bessie Smith called the same. Does that mean I need to change the title?