A new first post!

It’s been a while, December 29th 2012 in fact, so here’s an early new years resolution. Post more regularly.

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The image was taken in my studio about a year(ish) ago and I may have posted it to Facebook at some point in 2013. The print is a Twombly ‘Protea’ and the paintings are developments. Another one, around the same time,

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continues my obsession with the bottom of my garden.

There are other images from the years since I last posted, and there are posts that I typed up somewhere but never published. I’ll get to them. For now this a pre resolution try out to make sure it all still works.

December 2012

First post since August, what more do you need to tell you I work in education? 20121229-172905.jpg

So I’ve reached the end of the year with a mental block only marginally released by walking the dogs. The images are based on piles of gardening materials left on a council plot behind the local Academy.I started to produce the images before I took the photograph. There are more of them on the galleries page of this blog.
December 2012
I have begun to work the idea up with series of larger drawings, but early days yet.

Being in the moment

Dogwalk 2008 Twigs, pins, paper

 

I’ve always felt the worst thing you can do is think. When I’m making I need to dissociate myself from everything and act automatically if the work is to be any good. Clearly this is not axiomatic, there is too much evidence to the contrary in my drawers.

 

 

 

Dogwalk 1 2008, Twigs, paper pins

 

When I moved to Doncaster I had limited space to work and certainly no space for sculpture. I continued a habit of collecting ‘stuff’ as I walked my dogs, twigs, bits of detritus, feathers, etc., and kept a bag full of it in the garage. Periodically I would spend time joining these bits together. The model for this activity for me was David Smith’s residency in Italy at Voltri in 1962.

 

 

Dogwalk 2 2008 pins, paper, twigs

 

Smith was invited to make two sculptures for the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, and given the choice of five abandoned welding factories around Genoa. He chose one in the small town of Voltri. Inspired by the wealth of material available he made 27 sculptures in 30 days. The Wall Street Journal has a good article here.

 

 

Voltri VII

David Smith Voltri VII, 1962 Photo: © The Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

 

Finding an array of parts, wheels, girders, tools and so on, Smith just built. I can imagine the energy generated by the sheer joy of combining these objects.

I adopted this approach when I discovered it because that kind of energy can only work when decisions become intuitive. I find that I work best when I have progressed beyond careful consideration into try and fail, try and fail, try and accept. I won’t say succeed.

 

 

Since then I have had a working practice, that I’m still tied to, that means I can work for an hour or so each day before I have to stop. The next day I need to be able to pick up the traces quickly, contemplation is not an option when time is limited. So I built small sculptures at a rapid rate, developing the ideas quickly, each responding to whatever I pulled out of the bag, and began to notice connections rather than engineering them. The ‘dogwalks’ maquettes, never to be realised as sculpture, are my effort at generating this kind of energy

 

Voltri VI

Voltri VI, 1962 Steel, 98 7/8 x 102 1/4 x 24 in. (251.1 x 259.7 x 61 cm.) Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas, Texas 1978.A.0 .

 

reference for Voltri VI

reference for Voltri VII




iPad paintings and drawings

February was an interesting month for me, I was effectively demoted at work through a re-structure, had my workload increased threefold and, due these changes, inherited an iPad.

Fruit Bowl

Fruit Bowl

Very soon afterwards I bought a copy of Brushes and downloaded the free version of Autodesk’s Sketchbook software. Like everyone else I’ve been interested by Hockney’s iPad and iPhone drawings and wanted to see what I could do. The ‘Fruit Bowl’ is my first Brushes drawing.

The drawback to Brushes, along with getting used to drawing with your finger, is that there is a complete absence of texture.

Daffodils

Daffodils

Layering is useful, a background in Illustrator or Photoshop helps, but fundamentally it’s a new medium. I have kept up with Brushes, but these limitations led me to look for other software. I bought ArtRage in March and had a go with that. Daffodils is my first ArtRage painting. I think I was still thinking in computer generated mode and didn’t exploit the variety of mark and texture available.

I had been playing around with Sketchbook Express for a while, but it seemed to be like a more precise version of Brushes, so I left it alone as far as image making went.

 

After a while I tried to look at what the programs appeared to be set up to do. Brushes is, to me, a traditional computer drawing program. Sketchbook is very much a designer’s program, ArtRage is a painting program. I went for shiny stuff!

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kettle

Kettle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The left hand image is a Brushes painting of my stainless steel kettle, the right hand image is a Sketchbook Express version of the same subject.

All of these images have been made since the end of February.  There are more, you can see them here. My favourite so far is this ArtRage painting, it combines watercolour wash with impasto in a way you’d never do on a canvas.

Tea Mug

Tea Mug

But really I think it’s simply because the iPad lends itself to sitting with a cup of tea, bored, when nothing is happening in T’art Club.
 

Woman Walking with Hand to Mouth

Four views of a work in progress.  This is four views of a single figure, about one metre tall, made from hardboard and fixed with a glue gun.  The figure is from Muybridge– ‘Woman walking with hand to her mouth’

Woman Walking Downstairs

The desire here is to get the kind of movement you find in Duchamp into the single figure, or to simply have the movement apparent in the static representation, so it’s very much a first version, and very much unfinished.

That may be a characteristic of my work on reflection, the ‘unfinished’ quality. I won’t claim it as deliberate, but then I do stop.

Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase

The process I try to follow when I work is to work without reference, to try to let the object dictate it’s own result.  There are some other examples here

Acknowledgements:

wikimedia commons Eadweard Muybridge

Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 – wikipedia 21/04/12

Garden painting 2009-2012(unfinished)

A painting I’ve been working on since 2009, one of those that got away. There is a value in continuing in the face of failure perhaps, even if only for the freedom you get when you step aside and do something else. Without this painting, perhaps this one
would not have been done.  It’s very easy to get very frustrated with failures, and to batter something into submission, but the end result is usually horribly prosaic when it’s overworked.  Without wishing to get carried away with myself I find I think of the film ‘A Bigger Splash’ and the production of a painting after, and partly as a result of, the destruction of another. I don’t do the destruction thing myself, I’ve got plan chests full of old work, rolled up canvasses, and an incredible range of opportunities to look back in embarrassment.