Friday, 28 May 2010

I wasn't telling the whole truth about the tits and arses

I bumped into an aquaintance the other night. He was playing pool, and the minute he saw me walk past him, he came over to say hi. I got a friendly smile and a kiss on the mouth and the opening line of "How are the tits and arses?" As questions go, you'd think that that was a little, well, presumptuous of him.... but then, I knew he wasn't referring to MY tits and arses, well .........not exactly mine, but very much mine, in a way!  He meant my erotic artwork. And he knew I knew that's what he meant. As opening lines go, it was a good one, and one I respond to with a delighted wicked grin! "Fine, thanks" I said. And we chatted about my recent paintings, and his latest artistic endeavours. He never rates his work enough to want to exhibit it, which is a shame, but there's no point in exhibiting it if you're not happy to show the world.

I told him that I'd got an exhibition on at Ticknall Village Hall in Derbyshire this weekend, along with a group of thrity artists. And I joked "But, I won't be showing the tits and arses, I'll be putting some landscapes in". He grinned, and said that was a pity and I agreed. We swopped a few more pleasantries and I left him to get on with his game of pool.

But, I was wrong, although I didn't know it at the time.

Because I have hung some tits and arses.

And as I hung them, I had some very appreciative comments from my fellow artists about them.

So, now it'll be interesting to see what the viewing public think of them..................

Especially as two of them will be some of the arses I've drawn recently!!! LOL

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Sea air and a change of scenery

It's been a while since I've had a painting that I've been happy about to show you. But I've just finished one that I'm really pleased with.

The idea was to paint a simple seascape. But as in all things simple, it doesn't seem to stay that way!

I wanted to show the scene of two people walking on a beach, perhaps collecting shells or just enjoying the companionship of an amble in the sea air. But they were of lesser importance than the landscape and of the weather. I wanted to show the sea and sky almost as one, merging into each other. And I wanted to paint a picture depicting the scudding clouds forming for a storm in the distance, where the sea is starting to raise with the wind, and where the afternoon sun colours the clouds orange and yellow, a beautiful contrast to the blues and greens of the sea.

And this is what I painted with that idea in mind. The watercolours add to the clearness of the day and the light sea air, but they also are of enough depth of colour to show the darks of the forboding clouds and the shadows on the sea.

I love the way the light changes within the picture and the way the sunlight catches the far horizon but loses itself in the far light as well. I love the soft edges of the clouds, but I also love the way the waves flow onto the beach, the foam merging with the wet sand.

And now, I just want to go and walk on that beach. I can feeeel the sea air, and smell the salty breeze.

Oh, and the title? It's called "Breath of fresh air"

Friday, 21 May 2010

If it makes you sing

I've got a couple of exhibitons coming up in the next couple of months. I've already got some artwork ready for them, but like to have something new done as well if I can.

One of the venues is Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire, with a local art group. I'll be able to hang one or maybe two paintings there. But the people who are running the event have stipulated that some of the paintings should depict Sudbury Hall or some other similar property. That's fair enough, it means it raises their profile a bit more and means the artwork relates to them.

So, to that end, I started looking at pictures of Sudbury Hall this week. Its a really lovely old hall, but basically a flatish frontage oblong shape. The lawns at front and back aren't awfully inspiring. So, basically, its a box on the grass. Mmm..... I COULD paint it, but it won't inspire me much to do it! Nope. No matter how much I look at it, I'm not inspired to do a lot with it at the moment.

Ok, then. Rethink!

Ah, I know! ANOTHER old property. Now, where is there, that I like, and will inspire me to paint something I'm interested in.............

Ah, yes! I Knoooooooooooooooooowwwww!!!

Somewhere special. Somewhere different. Somewhere where I can put my own brand of magic and excitement into the dramatic image. Lots of colour, and hidden depths. A place of mystery. And excitement!

There's only one place that has all of that for me.........


Monday, 17 May 2010

Mysterious fish and a fabulous moment in time

One of the things I love about being an artist is the people I meet through it.

Like this weekend, for instance.

On Saturday I attended an art workshop run by a fascinating Japanese woman. She was born at the end of the second world war but she's lived in England for thirty years or more and is an excellent watercolourist through an intriguing mix of East and West, with equal measures of Japanese and English in her approach to art and the techniques she uses and teaches. I found her very interesting, partly because of her art and partly because of where she comes from. I loved Japan when I visited there a couple of years ago and could really relate to her explaining about using a paintbrush like chop-sticks, being dexterious with it for picking out the details with confidence and aplomb.
I can't say I was particularly happy with the picture I did during the workshop though! But I know that that's the way it goes sometimes. I was trying to paint goldfish in a pool, with the reflections of sunlight on the surface, and the depth of colour below, the fish appearing out of the depths, and an acer tree leaning over, the red leaves in sharp contrast to the water, with a strong depth of aquamarine in the top right hand corner, and pure white light in the bottom left. I started off well, but lost the flow somewhere along the way. I know that that was mostly to do with the watercolour paper I was using. I went with what the tutor advised instead of sticking with the Bockingford paper I know and love. If I'd used that instead of the blotting-paper-like Saunders Waterford I did use, the picture would have worked fine. So, that's a learning curve and one I'll bear in mind in future (stick with what you know, and ignore what a tutor advises if you KNOW you can make it work with the materials you're used to!). Still, even so, I got a lot of postive feedback from the others attending the workshop, so that was nice, and the tutor said she really liked my "Mysterious fish fantasy picture" as she called it! Aw, sweet!!

There were a couple of new faces at the workshop, both friendly, as most artists seem to be. But I knew I knew one of them, and presumed it was from a local art club. When we had a chance to chat, I said hello and she said hello, smiling, and said that she knew she knew me but wasn't sure where from. I agreed, grinning, and mentioned the local art club. No, she said, that wasn't it. She mentioned another art group and I shook my head, I wasn't in that one. We paused, and looked at each other, and both were adamant that we knew each other somehow. HHmmmm.....................did she work in the local town? Nope. Did she have anything to with any other art group? Nope. Did she go to my school? Nope. HhhMMMmmmmmm. How curious. And then I mentioned art workshops. And the penny dropped! It was one we'd both attended four and a half years ago! We both smiled in recognition, and rememberence! Ah, yes, that was it! And she said "You had your Euruka moment!" and I laughed along with her. Yes I DID!! It was the day I found something amazing. Something that stopped me dead in my tracks. A strange thing! But simple. And that was that my LEFT hand was actually far better at art than my right that I used all the time! PURE Eureka! And she had remembered it!!! I must have left a big impression ('scuse the joke! Ha!).

Sunday was a day off, a non painting day, if there is such a thing for an artist. But every day is an art day, even if its not painting. Such a lovely day, weatherwise and worth going out to see the local Well Dressing at a nearby village. A pleasant amble, an ice-cream in the sunshine, cups of tea and the quintessential Englishness of Morris dancers (no, I'm NOT a fan!). And it was whilst wondering around the little art exhibition there that I saw a couple of faces I knew - and went over to say a hello to one of them. Another woman artist, and someone I've not seen for a while, not since her husband died last year. She was busy doing lovely pen and ink landscapes and selling them like hot cakes. She said that art was her saviour since her husband had died. They'd been together more than fifty years, and she was eighty this year. And still painting. But that's the thing about art, it's something you start when you're old enough to hold a crayon, and something you do until you're in old age, and it brings you so much pleasure inbetween. And is good therapy, when you think your world has collapsed.

It brings hope, for the future.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Bad timing and the importance of missing the spot

What should have been a nice little break away in the picturesque county of Essex suddenly became a lesson in the subject of timing!

And before you ask, yes I DO mean picturesue Essex - parts of it are really lovely, green, pleasant, verdant and buccolic!

I only went for four days. Its not a lot to ask. A short relaxing break.
Or so I thought.................

The peace and quiet came to a shuddering halt right in the middle of lunchtime. Just after I'd paid the bill after enjoying a delicious lunch in an old country pub and was looking forward to spending the rest of the afternoon exploring more of the pretty surrounding area.

I had been alerted a few minutes beforehand that all was not right in the car park. And sure enough, on my arrival there it was to find a small group of people standing looking at two cars embedded in each other.

And one of them was mine.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Fucccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!)

It turned out that an old man had reversed out of his car park space right into another car at SUCH a force that it knocked the first large saloon into mine SIDEWAYS on. Leaving the two embedded in each other. And then he had driven off.


So that meant the police had to be called (although they wouldn't attend the incident because no one was hurt). And that in turn meant that I had to go and find a police station, in an area I didn't know. And that took all afternoon. So I didn't see anything of the fields and pretty villages.

And the next day was spent on the phone. Talking to insurance companies, car hire companies, the woman who owned the other car, the car repair company and all the other people who needed to be informed of the incident.

But it was afterwards, when all had quietened down. That I realised............that had I gone out from the table a little quicker, just a few minutes, then I might have been between the two cars when he bashed into the first one, that in turn was knocked at such a force into mine, that the metal of each car was caved in and badly crumpled. So, its annoying that my week has been put about with sorting out the problem of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I'm just thankful I wasn't anywhere near it at the time. And neither was anyone else.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

You're not a proper artist unless you can smell the paint

My mother used to say that a woman shouldn't be a midwife unless she'd given birth to a baby of her own. And I could always understand what she meant. Its a bit like being a tax inspector and yet never having run a business of your own. How can they advise others if they've never done it for themselves? I suppose, to a similar degree, there are art critics too, who wax lyrical about the deep and complex meanings behind  a certain work of art, when they've never painted anything themselves, and don't understand that an artist sometimes paints a certain picture for the colours or light within it, and not necessarily the subject matter it depicts.

A friend of mine commented about my last blog post and the way that via Photoshop I can take my exisiting image of the "Nightmares" and twiddle with the balance of colours, contrast, brightness, hues, tones, darks or highlights, and create my own new paint effects with the already painted image. Its' all well and good, and worth "playing with" to make the best of the image, and maybe enhance to a better degree, but is it necessary? I was happy to do it, as Photoshop is complex and is a new skill I'm learning, and improving on, and its MY images I'm enhancing.

But is it a step too far?

Is it better not to twiddle?

(So to speak. LOL)

And just leave it alone, other than balancing the colours, brightness, contrast and focus to improve the image for my website to show the image as near to the original as I can.

Because, where do you stop?

When the image is past its original concept, and has been "twiddled with" out of all proportion?

Is that still art?

I think so.

But, is it still what the original meaning of art stands for?

To see an image, and capture it on canvas, board or paper. For the artist to balance what they see with what they feel inside, with the touch of the brush or pastel or paint on their fingertips. To feeeeeeel the paint, to mix the water to get the right consistency, to interact with the brush and pastel, to have pigment ingrained in your fingernails, for your back to ache with standing, to have paint smudges on your cheek, to have the aroma of the oils in your nose, the smell of turps overriding everything.

Isn't THAT about being an artist?

My friend thinks that its a worry that someone can take an image and "enhance" it, and call themselves an artist. To him, a REAL artist is someone who conjours magic from their imagination and transfers those thoughts onto canvas through their own creativity. He wonders if a Photoshop artist just stumbles across things and thinks that it looks good. I know that that is MY experience of Photoshop (and I'M the artist!!!). He says he has no doubts in his mind that a real artist  has a passion and an amazing talented gift for drawing and painting.  But he realises that digital art is also a skill, now borne of our new tech world and asks me if we will see the end of the traditional artist.

And my answer is "No".

I think people see the huge value in traditional art. Because they recognise that they can't do it themselves. Even with Photoshop!

Traditional art shows what can be created when a passionate and talented artist is in tune with the materials in their hands and the concept in their head.

Having said that, don't get me on the subject of "conveyor belt art". You know the stuff I mean. Or maybe you don't. Its when a picture is painted by rote. Someone paints the sky, then passes it on..... someone paints the distant hills and passes it on......someone paints the tree trunks and passes it on.....someone paints the leaves on the trees and passes it on...............someone paints the grass and passes it on....and so forth..........and someone eventually "signs" it with a squiggle. That's not art. That's taking advantage! Still, some people buy it!!!!!

But its not true art.

Art comes from the heart.