NEW STUDIO Week Nine: Easter Egg Hunt

This week began badly, Monday felt like an awful day, one of this where you feel as if nothing is going right without being able to put your finger on what’s wrong.

Rendering the Garden

Rendering the Garden

I took my laptop to the shop to render out some new video while I was working on other stuff. I am encouraged by the idea of what I’m making on the computer and by where it might fit in the overall vision of geranium, but I’m not happy with what I have made yet. The idea is to have the video fade into a drawing that walks you around the garden and then fade back.

I also decided I needed to move ‘Snow Line’ so I broke it, I think this is what put me off the day, I knew I needed to move it and when I moved it was obviously too fragile so I discovered I had to break it. It did help me resolve the top piece that I was unhappy with though.

Snow Line Broken

Snow Line Broken

I also stripped out some of the underside and applied a new coat of blue and made a fillet for the top section that is ripped out which will also be blue.

Screen First Coat

Screen First Coat

and the other side

and the other side

Wednesday was a better day, although still punctuated with the rendering struggles. I continued to paint the screen, hung the drawing and stretched some new paper and fixed the blue fillet into ‘Snow Line’

Snow Line - Compass Points - 17 04 2019

Snow Line – Compass Points – 17 04 2019

The base, added Monday, is deliberate.

Screen Painting Wednesday

Screen Painting Wednesday

and the other side

and the other side

The screen has two sides now, and is progressing.

Garden Drawing

Garden Drawing

The drawing hung upstairs.

I also thought I could use a small desk at the front of the shop so I reclaimed some wood and made one.

Desk

Desk

On Friday, Good Friday, I didn’t get to the studio as I was preparing for the weekend. I did re-submit my Project application to ACE, and I made a sign for Monday!

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt

NEW STUDIO Week Eight

This week started with hanging the rest of the collage drawings, cleaning the inside of the windows and putting up a poster or two in the window.

Window View Monday 8th April

Window View Monday 8th April

There are 30 drawings up now and five sculptures counting the Snow Line piece which is very much in progress. I’ve adopted a deliberately temporary aesthetic and named the show as work in progress. The back gate was open again this morning, I’m told the place is used by addicts who must climb the gates to get in at night. So far they haven’t managed to get into the shop although I have been told that they have broken in before. Fingers crossed I don’t lose anything I can’t afford to replace.

Three Collage Drawings by the door

Three Collage Drawings by the door

These three drawings are right inside the door.

The shop does tend to get the sun straight onto the front window through the afternoon which means you can’t see much from outside. The last thing I did today, Monday, was put a coat of paint on Snow Line.

Snow Line white coat

Snow Line white coat

Midweek I tweeted that the ‘shop’ was open for people to come and visit. Needless to say I’ve had no visitors since! never mind. I worked on ‘snow line’ on Wednesday.

snow line clockwise compass points

snow line clockwise compass points

I’m three quarters of the way to being happy with it, it needs something on the underside, I’m thinking blue(?). I’m also unhappy with the top section and the cloth gathering at the top, Not sure why yet. The piece demands to be left alone in its unfinished state until it tells me what to do. That could be anything from tearing the top section out and rebuilding to completely dismantling the piece and starting again. It could also be that this piece is not ‘snow line’ at all, it does seem to be a development of the ‘Ptolemy’s Garden’ set and might decide that it sits there more comfortably.

The best way to leave a piece alone is to work on something else, so I put together the first of the screen pieces that I built maquettes for upstairs. Cleaning, fixing and sanding took the rest of Wednesday and it should be dry enough to paint on Friday.

Screen cleaned and sanded

Screen cleaned and sanded

Friday 12th April – People are reluctant to come into the shop, which is just as well as far as work is concerned and keeping the door locked doesn’t necessarily encourage them. I do have a bell and a helpful sign pointing to it, it’s by the door handle. It does allow me to work uninterrupted though, so that’s a bonus. I ran into another Doncaster artist on Wednesday who has a studio in the corn exchange who told me that it was an OK space but people did keep coming around and disturbing him for no particular reason.

I put two coats of paint on the first screen, it now looks like this.

Screen with two coats of white

Screen with two coats of white

The plastic finish makes the paint difficult to apply, hence the sanding, so it might need another coat. It has an interesting surface as it is though so we’ll see on Monday whether it needs another coat.

Between coats I worked on the big drawing.

drawing early Friday

drawing early Friday

Initially adding the branches and foliage to the left, then filling in some of the background.

drawing later Friday

drawing later Friday

I don’t know if it’s finished, it may end up as the base for several smaller drawings or another big one. The additions were made with charcoal, oilstick and grey pastel.

The last thing I did this week was add the blue I talked about on the underside of snow line.

I like the look of the gallery space at the moment, some shots below.

Gallery 12 04 2019

Gallery 12 04 2019

Gallery 12 04 2019

Gallery 12 04 2019

Gallery 12 04 2019

Gallery 12 04 2019

 

NEW STUDIO Week Six

Monday 25th March.

Started the day by filming the installation with a tripod and adjusting the lighting in the camera. It’s not an expensive camera so the quality doesn’t improve much but it gives a better idea of the space. The videos are very big so I’ve put them on Vimeo.

Vimeo MVI_3310 https://vimeo.com/326652463  6 minutes – Eliot/Tennyson

Vimeo MVI_3311 https://vimeo.com/326652287 3 minutes – summary poem.

rudimentary plinths for shop space

rudimentary plinths for shop space

Subsequently spent time downstairs checking out the lights, the sockets are are working fine but I need a couple of dozen new bulbs, and making some simple plinths to stand the five sculptures I’ve got there so far. Two are put together so far but need painting. The aim is to be able to open the big window shutter by next Friday.

This Wednesday was spent out of the studio doing a spot of teaching. I also spent a full day on an ACE application – got to keep trying – and planning for a potential commission.

NEW STUDIO Week Five (with a break!)

After my last studio post I went to the Future Now conference – posted here  – and then for a walking holiday in Derbyshire. So this is officially week 5, and week 6 if we’re counting days.

My first day back was a bit of a farce, I put the installation back together and then decided to put a door on the shop wall so that I could close the whole back of the space off. I then got an email telling me that the agent was bringing a prospective purchaser around so I had to take the installation apart again. When they had gone and I had finished the door I put the installation back together again.

Shop Floor 21/03/19

Shop Floor 21/03/19

The door is the lighter hardboard on the left of this picture. The main consideration was that it closes off the painted section of the wall so that it looks better.

I have been working on the sound and been diverted into text, based on the TS Eliot – Burnt Norton stanzas I used on the walls, I looked to emphasise the nostalgic aspects of the verse by combining it with Tennyson’s ‘Tithonus’ . I decided to interleave lines of the verses, playing around with them a little, to break up the meaning of the poems.

The video has a section of this recording overlaid onto birdsong. The recording is not as good as I want, because of my nasal midlands accent that I can only hear on recordings and the quality of sound on my camera. The lighting is also not correct, I had to brighten the video after recording so the quality suffers.

I also worked on a distillation of the texts into something shorter and more individual. My idea is to create something of my own that I can use instead of the ‘found’ text.

The same caveats apply to the recording.

I have also begun to work on new sculptures and rescued the ripped up flooring of the first floor studio to make some new work with.

NEW STUDIO Week Three (and Four)

Recap:

First saw the shop on January 25th and picked up keys the same day. Heard from Axisweb on Monday 28th that I couldn’t go in yet as the landlord hadn’t given permission. By the Wednesday 1st February the agent was saying I should just move in as the contract was a formality, so I started to tidy up. On Wednesday the 6th February I moved out of the Unit at Wheatley Hall Road and into 13 Scot Lane and began to reassemble the environment. I finished that and wrote about it in the last blog post. Since then I’ve spent most of my time cleaning. I’ve hoovered for at least two hours of three different days, spent a day washing the walls of dry food and fat and mould, and then hoovered again, and finally, yesterday February 25th, hoovered the upstairs. In an ideal world I’d have been in a position to try out different soundtracks and videos for the installation but I heard yesterday that the landlord was sending someone to do a valuation survey which meant removing the back of the installation to allow access to the upstairs that I’d blocked off. It also means that I might well be moving again if this is a valuation for a buyer. The valuer turned up at 1:00 pm today and spent half an hour measuring and taking notes. I’ve no idea whether there is a buyer or not. At the same time the landlord has offered to remove all the rubbish left by the last tenant with the proviso that anything I decide to use I move when I go.

Looking into shop 25/02/19

Looking into shop 25/02/19

So the shop floor looks like this after Monday – from the window, and like the below looking from the back.

Looking to window 25/02/19

Looking to window 25/02/19

There is still no contract and I’ve got the only keys apparently!

As I was waiting I started work on a new sculpture today, making use sets of shelves that have been left. There are four sets of four shelves each supported by welded steel frames. I made scale models this morning to begin to explore possible uses of sixteen slabs measuring 1700 mm x 210 mm x 25 mm.

Two maquettes 26/02/19

Two maquettes 26/02/19

They will be landscape based drawings I think.

John Berger says that ‘it is the actual act of drawing that forces the artist to look at the object in front of him, to dissect it in his mind’s eye and put it together again; or, if he is drawing from memory, that forces him to dredge his own mind, to discover the content of his own store of past observations’ 1 Deciding a direction for work functions in precisely this way for me, the repository of past observations is composed of times, places, drawings, conversations that form a series of stepping stones that carry me across to the finished work, if you’ll forgive my theft of Berger’s metaphor immediately after this quote. This points to both the reason the environment is not finished and the state it will be in at that point that most closely matches its finish. Essentially it is pursuing something in the manner of T.S.Eliot in Burnt Norton.

‘Go said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,

Hidden excitedly, containing laughter,

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality’

Albeit inadequately, this is as close as I can get to the meaning of the installation, perhaps I might get a little closer if this is crossed with lethologica2 or onomatomania3.

Purely by chance my last day in the studio this week is the last day of the month. The aim for today was to receive delivery of the materials for the downstairs dividing wall and build it. The delivery was late so I worked in the sketchbooks, I’m still trying to resolve a look for the garden images – the environment in its current state is somehow too literal. The drawings are developments of earlier sketches.

Rag paper sketch 28/02/19

Rag paper sketch 28/02/19

cartridge sketch 28/02/19

cartridge sketch 28/02/19

Once the materials were delivered It took the rest of the day to build the wall, about two and a half hours.

Looking into Shop 28/02/19

Looking into Shop 28/02/19

The wall is moveable, supported by braces at the rear.

Its main function is to contain the workshop and the sawdust etc., generated by making.

back of the wall with brace 28/02

back of the wall with brace 28/02

workshop area

workshop area

The wall, not including time, cost £76.00 and £18.00 of that was delivery.

1Berger, J. 2016. The Basis of All Painting and Sculpture is Drawing. In: Overton, T ed. LANDSCAPES John Berger on Art. England: Verso, pp. 27

2 The inability to remember a particular word or name. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/lethologica

3 An abnormal concentration on certain words and their supposed significance or on the effort to recall a particular word. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/onomatomania

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!