NEW STUDIO – Week Two

This week has been about catching the installation back up to where I was at the Wheatley studio.

On Monday I had to finish building the space, which took the morning, and then thread the fishing line and hang the leaves, leaving me at this point by the end of the day.

From the video and the picture below you can see I had to build myself a rudimentary ladder to access the top of the boards.

Build your own ladder

Build your own ladder

On Wednesday I got notification that I’m almost official to move in. The agent says the forms should be across to Axisweb soon.

Shadow from projection, inside the space

Shadow from projection, inside the space

As you can see I got the ceiling on the space and set up the speakers and projector. The space presents some profound differences to the Industrial Unit, it’s a lot darker for instance.

This clearly presents problems with the painted space and the degree of visibility required to read its intention.

A view inside the space, lit by the projector

A view inside the space, lit by the projector

The video inevitably, for one as inexpert as me, appears darker than the eye. The photograph gives a better idea of the look of the space. By the end of the day this was the position.

So Friday was about finessing the space and continuing to tidy up downstairs.

Upstairs room with the installation in place

Upstairs room with the installation in place

Even darker with the roof stapled down and the webcam moved to give a better view of the door.

In the afternoon I spent two and a half hours hoovering the shop.

Shop floor view from the window

Shop floor view from the window

It looks much more acceptable now, although I wouldn’t be happy with it if I lived there.

Shop floor view towards the window

Shop floor view towards the window

At the moment I’m thinking of a workshop space at the back and an exhibition space at the front.

New Studio – Week One

Got the opportunity to move into the shop I mentioned in my last post although the landlord has not yet provided the official OK. The agent says go ahead and move in and Axisweb left it to me to decide so I’m taking a chance, the most it might cost is my time and effort and the cost of one extra trip moving my equipment and materials.

So these are the first progress shots of the space, the shots I took when I first saw it last Friday, 24th January followed by shots taken after one day of clearing up. I’m counting this week and next together as week one, my gear is moving in on Wednesday 6th February so I should be rebuilding the environment by then.

Ground Floor, Shop, first viewing

Ground Floor, Shop, first viewing

This is the shop floor, off the street from about halfway down, I forgot to take it looking back.

Ground Floor after a day tidying

Ground Floor after a day tidying

This the same view after a day tidying, and below the view looking back the other way.

Ground Floor Towards window (day one)

Ground Floor Towards window (day one)

Still a lot of clearing up to do but the bulk of the big stuff that can be moved has been moved. This is the space I intend to use for exhibitions and projects for as long as I can.

Above this is the first floor that will be the studio and workshop.

First Floor first viewing

First Floor first viewing

First Floor (window) first viewing

First Floor (window) first viewing

The right hand side of the building, above the shop floor, and the window that faces this.

After shifting stuff this side now looks clearer.

First Floor after some tidying

First Floor after some tidying

First Floor window side after some tidying

First Floor window side after some tidying

The kitchen is on this floor too, on the left of the building as you look at it and actually above the shop next door.

First Floor Kitchen

First Floor Kitchen

This doesn’t look that much different to be fair but the ‘after’ picture gives a better idea of the layout.

First floor kitchen, 'after' picture

First floor kitchen, ‘after’ picture

There is another window, obviously, facing the kitchen.

First Floor (second window day one)

First Floor (second window day one)

I’ll probably keep the carpets down for some noise reduction but put plastic over them to make cleaning easier when I leave. The last occupants left a lot of stuff behind that I’ve had to clear up.

Above this floor there are two others that are essentially not usable due to decoration and wiring issues.

Second Floor

Second Floor

This is the second floor.

Third Floor

Third Floor

And the third, although the second floor now looks a bit different as It’s where all the stuff has gone.

Second Floor (storage)

Second Floor (storage)

So once the rest of the unwanted stuff is shifted up here I’ll seal the floors off as they were when the last occupants moved in.

Wednesday 6th February.

Moved out of the Unit in Wheatley and into the shop with all my stuff. It took half an hour to load the van and then a good hour to unload it. The morning was spent organising space and then the afternoon sorting the jigsaw puzzle of the installation, it now looks like this.

Ground Floor Wednesday

Ground Floor Wednesday

And the upstairs like this.

Friday 8th February:

Today spent reassembling the installation, lots of carrying things up stairs. The space just about accommodates the installation.

Installation First Floor towards Window

Installation First Floor towards Window

Installation First Floor from window

Installation First Floor from window

And here is a short walkthrough.

Painting Diversion January 2019

On Friday (26th January) I went to view a potential new studio through Axisweb. It’s a town centre shop with four floors that would be ideal for a studio/gallery. The last occupant was a charity, the Doncaster branch of The Real Junk Food Project, and the place is a bit of a mess. Lot’s of tidying up to do and rubbish to dispose of, but I was so taken with it that I asked when I could move in and was given the keys.

Subsequently Axisweb contacted me and told me the Landlord had not yet given permission for the shop to be rented to them so I’m holding keys for a place I can’t access. Fingers crossed that agreements are reached as I envisage some really interesting projects coming through the space.

As I have no reason to go to the sculpture studio until I shift my gear I’ve been finishing off some paintings I’ve been working on in my attic on the days I’m not at the studio. My working practice has been to spend some time painting on each day I’m not building and I have nothing else to do.

I made a series of paintings on a small scale, a mixture of 10cm square and some 13cm x 10cm or 12cm. I also have some A4 ish canvases and off cuts of MDF that I’m painting on.

The paintings tend to be landscape based, drawing on imagery I’ve been using from the garden series and the views through the window, treated abstractly, working on colour balance and dynamism.

balbylandscape_jan19_003

balbylandscape_jan19_003

I’ve also experimented with coloured backgrounds painted directly onto unprimed, and primed, hardboard.

balbylandscape_jan19_001

balbylandscape_jan19_001

Toying with formats, so the first pairing is presented on a background cut to the golden ratio and the one above is cut square, as is the one below.

balbylandscape_jan19_004

balbylandscape_jan19_004

There is occasionally some pencil work in them as well, to pick up textures implied by the painting and glazing.

balbylandscape_jan19_006

balbylandscape_jan19_006

There are also a series cut to landscape format like the one below.

balbylandscape_jan19_005

balbylandscape_jan19_005

Paintings on MDF off cuts like the one below

balbylandscape_jan19_007

balbylandscape_jan19_007

and paintings on small canvases, about A4, like these two.

balbytreescape_jan19_001

balbytreescape_jan19_001

plantstudy_jan19

plantstudy_jan19

These are some examples from a total of around forty small paintings.

Studio Build TEN

Week Nine in the studio.

Effectively the last week.

I received the ceiling material for the installation so before I started to pack up I installed that and ran a quick test.

projector wall view

projector wall view

The change in lighting works, but it obviously takes some time for your eyes to adjust.

projector wall view

projector wall view

It does enough to give the sense of space from close up, and once the focus is correct the image is sharp enough. It is seen better in the video.

The video shows that my order for black muslin was delivered short by over a metre which is a bit of a bugger but I had enough to try it out. At the end of the video I deliberately step in front of the project lens to cast shadow, my intention is to add some texts that can only be read when in shadow, a different texture of white perhaps? The audio is still a test piece.

After this test I had to start dismantling the space, by the end of Monday I’d reached this state.

half environment

half environment

partly dismantled stuff

partly dismantled stuff

Then back on Wednesday to complete the breakdown.

The Unit is back in the state it was when I moved in and all I need now is to find another studio and move everything. I’ve got sixteen days to go but I’m seeing another space tomorrow.

Studio Build NINE

Week Eight in the Studio

A bit of a slow week so far. Found myself contemplating whether the entire process of creating is a progressive obscuring of cliché. The environment is on another cusp and after deliberating I’ve ordered the material for the ceiling – a fingers crossed moment.

Today I tidied and then painted the facing wall and the door wall, there is more to do on the garden wall but I need to see the projection to gauge how much I can do that will be visible.

3 small sculptures

Three small sculptures

have these three small sculptures now, and ideas for a larger one.

splashcover160119

splash cloth 160119

I was also quite taken by the pattern on my splash cloth.

The facing wall when you enter the space now looks like this…

facing wall 16/01/2019

facing wall 16/01/2019

and the wall with the door looks like this…

door wall 16/01/2019

door wall 16/01/2019

It feels as if they are much more coherent now. (16/01/19).

As I’m awaiting the material for the roof I decided to work on the larger sculpture I was planning. (18/01/2019).

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

I managed to build the frame and prime it on the day – I left at 3:00 pm as the primer needs to dry.

I also got word today that I have 21 days to quit the Unit. So from next week I’ll be packing up and sorting alternative accommodation through Axisweb, even if it’s only storage. I’ll hopefully be able to put the roof on and check the projector before I have to dismantle everything.

I thought I’d include this photograph of working detritus just to show the kind of mess I make, and a shot of the table returned to it’s normal status afterwards.

Equipment and materials during the build

Equipment and materials during the build

Evidence that I do, regardless of any comments, tidy up!

Evidence that I do, regardless of any comments, tidy up!

Studio Build EIGHT

Week Seven in the Studio

Back to it after XMAS. Took the computer and speakers to the studio.

computer in situ

computer in situ

Arrived just before 12 and built a shelf to install the computer and speakers. Now the webcam acts as a Motion Sensor and turns a sound file on when you enter the space.

On Wednesday I had a visit from an Estate Agent and a guy measuring up for a Mezzanine Floor. It is likely that I’ll need to leave the studio in the next month! That’s the downside of the arrangement with Axisweb, 3 weeks notice to quit either way.

open sculpture

open sculpture

Worked on the open sculpture,

open sculpture view

open sculpture view

And the two part sculpture which will have a central section.

Recorded the above video with three speakers and no radio!

On Friday I brought the projector to the studio and worked out where I need to locate it to create shadows. I will need to put a ceiling in to reduce the amount of light in the space, not totally dark but reducing enough for the video to cast over the distance.

Continued work on the two sculptures,

quick now

‘Quick now, hear, now, always’

'Quick now, here, now, always'

‘Quick now, here, now, always’

'Quick now, here, now, always'

‘Quick now, here, now, always’

Which has some nice dramatic viewpoints.

And the as yet unnamed small sculpture.

unnamed small sculpture

unnamed small sculpture

Studio Build SEVEN

Week Six in the Studio:

Missed a week as we went to Edinburgh for a short break. Then delayed coming back to the studio as I had to be here on a Tuesday to have the door fixed. After much toing and froing the time was set as 8:00 am. They wanted to come at 5:00 pm or later but without lights that was out of the question. I took this video to show how dark it was first thing in the morning.

I’m at the stage where I need to begin the interactive part of the project and I’m sorting the computer for that in my home studio. It’s also nearly Christmas so I’ll be here less frequently until the new year when I can bring the tech down.

I spent some time sorting the mess I’d left before I went away and then worked on sketches and the small sculptures.

Garden Sculpture One

Garden Sculpture One

All of these are based on the sketches I made in the garden in the summer and have been developing in the sketchbooks here.

Garden Sculpture Two

Garden Sculpture Two

Garden Sculpture Three

Garden Sculpture Three

The last of these is only just started and the second may well have a pierced screen suspended in the large gap.

The sketches are below, and the worktable which is becoming the place I spend most of my time.

Today's Large Sketch

Today’s Large Sketch

Today's Small Sketch

Today’s Small Sketch

Studio Worktable

Studio Worktable

Normally I’ve posted a whole week but as it’s nearly Christmas I’m posting when I can.

Studio Build SIX

Week five in the studio:

Very mild this week but absolutely throwing it down, I arrived wet and my coat was still wet when I left in the afternoon. I’m writing another post on the Doncaster Art Fair that interrupted my building. Today I wanted to treat the leaves so they can retain colour and paint out more of the big drawing.

First I painted in the leaves in the big drawing with Indian ink, then I treated the leaves with PVA and then painted over the big drawing with more white. I only took photographs at the end for reference so these go around the space.

right wall one

right wall one

right wall two

right wall two

garden wall

garden wall

left wall one

left wall one

left wall two

left wall two

projection wall

projection wall

The very light wall taken down further to facilitate projection.

Wednesday started badly, it was chucking it down and the walk to the studio was very unpleasant. I didn’t really know where to start so I set up the light and put the heater on to dry my shoes.

first I turned the leaves which were dry on top but still wet underneath.

Then I dug out the sketch books and did some work on the garden sculptures.

These are sketches towards stand alone sculptures but also inform the look and feel of the space, particularly the right hand wall, opposite the projection wall.

I then cut the wood I prepared last week, or the week before, to build small sculptures exploring the garden in Balby.

The second picture taken with flash to emphasise how dark it was at that point.

I rounded the day off by painting the projection wall out more and resolving to purchase small stepladders.

Friday was a better day weather wise and therefore lighter.

The leaves were dry so I set out to put fishing line across the space and then hang sets of them.

fishing line as ceiling

fishing line as ceiling

Putting the line in and then stringing the leaves took me most of the day and I ended up with this

I did some work on the sketchbooks and thought about the effect I wanted for the leaves in the space, is it getting too busy?

I won’t be here next week so that will give me time to think about what I want from the space and also to work on the projection – in sketchbooks and mentally. I still need stepladders and I need to get the computer and webcams down to the site.

 

 

Doncaster Art Fair

Doncaster Art Fair:

Cost £25 for the stall – a good size corner of The Queen Crafthouse in Doncaster – £65 for transport as I make big work and the car is too small.

I displayed two of my big paintings, framed to 150cm x 90cm, two framed paintings at 100cm x 100cm, 1 framed tomatoes painting at 90cm x 45cm and I built a browser out of mdf to hold a selection of big and small work.

Art fairs are always interesting in that you meet other artists and people you haven’t seen for ages, mostly out of context so that they don’t know what to say other than ‘is this yours?’ or did you do this?​’ You are also in a position to eavesdrop the variety of opinions about your work expressed with no regard to your presence, ‘the perspective is all wrong in this one’, ‘who’d want enormous tomatoes!’ ‘O, I don’t like these’ and so on.

At the same time I got a lot of very nice comments and questions about location and process. But my work is too big for sale at an event like this, and my selection was not focused enough to attract attention. I picked up a lot of advice about doing these kind of events, making sure you have a range of (domestic) sizes, price everything up clearly, greetings cards are a useful item to carry for small sales and follow up business. The majority opinion in the venue I was in was that you don’t know how successful an event it was until later on as people can and do contact you after the event having thought about a purchase.

The picture below got a lot of attention and I gave out more than forty cards, so who knows what might come of the occasion. My favourite comment of the day was from a man of about my age who was with his wife and another couple who he turned to to say “we do like art, we’ve just put a Kandinsky in the downstairs loo.”

Wordsworth avenue 7:15 am

Wordsworth avenue 7:15 am

Studio Build FIVE

Week Four in the Studio:

The start of this week was very cold. This has caused me to think very clearly about the things I want to do and work quickly when I’ve decided. Ten minutes of inactivity can mean my hands are too cold to hold a hammer and a paintbrush has no chance. So there is a cup of tea on the go almost continually. Today my biggest expense will have been boiling the kettle.

back wall with text, charcoal

back wall with text, charcoal

I first wrote out the text I wanted on the piece using charcoal and white conté. The words are from TS Eliot’s ‘Burnt Norton’, where he contemplates time and the loss engendered by presence, this is the closest I have got so far to the ghosts I’m exorcising in the work as a whole. The insistence of the birds drawing you into the garden resonates.

corner outlined lettering

corner outlined lettering

I managed to paint in the letters in black, white and grey, before working over them with the paint thinned down and tearing some of the collaged paper. Then I had to stop to allow the work to dry and the cold drove me home!

Wednesday visit from Axis Web and DMBC rates assessment, they check to see the space is being used for the purpose stated and confirm the rebate/exemption. Apparently councils vary in their interpretations.

I opened the fire door for the first time to look at the back of the unit and so I could collect some leaves.

looking right out the back

looking right out the back

looking left out the back

looking left out the back

The river is a few metres away.

I have an idea for a curtain of leaves towards one of the corners of the space, not enough to create a barrier but enough to provide a visual disturbance. I can’t decide between this and a scattering, in the air, of leaves throughout the space. To facilitate this I set out to stretch some fishing line, I have no idea if this will work, but the straighter it is the more it disappears.

stretching fishing line

stretching fishing line

I also collected some leaves and set them out to dry.

120 birch leaves

120 birch leaves

I’ll paint them with PVA when they’re dry to preserve the colour as much as possible.

After this I mixed some white emulsion down with PVA and water to paint out some areas of the drawing, I feel the text needs to disappear to a large extent, and the space needs to become whiter. I then worked back into some areas with Indian ink thus negating the work I’d done to lighten the space. It’s in that flux state now where it will either coalesce into a convincing whole or collapse into a horrible mess.

corner painted in

corner painted in

end of Wednesday

end of Wednesday

This week has been shortened as I am also preparing for the Doncaster Art Fair on Sunday, so this video shows the work at the end of Wednesday.