Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Land Spirits

'Land Spirits,' ink and acrylic on watercolour paper, 28 x 38 cm

This is one of the works I am entering for an international drawing Biennial. As the deadline nears I have spent the morning framing the two pictures. Though the Biennial focuses on drawing, this can be in any medium and I tend to draw with paint rather than draw with pencils or charcoal. I used to do a lot of portraits when I lived in Cyprus using charcoal, pencils or coloured pencils, and it was always a good basis for observation. These latest works are more concerned with the flow of the medium and creating shapes and marks. After working on rice paper for several years I am exploring Chinese ink on thick watercolour paper. The response of the paper is completely different as the colour does not sink in to the paper as much. I like both papers, each for different reasons.

The title of this work refers to the eternal aspect of the world. The horses crept in because I wanted some animal reference in the painting and I like horses! There is also a slight reference to cave painting.

The deadline of this Biennial is near the end of the month and I should know the result by the end of June. 

Monday, 16 April 2018

National and International Applications

My large painting at Cripps reception area
It has been such a busy month with applications for exhibitions and making new work, along with sorting through my late mother's financial affairs and all the unexpected obligations that happen after a family member dies. My paintings, which had been on display at the Cripps offices, in Tunbridge Wells, have now been taken to the DMH Stallard offices in Covent Garden, London, along with some new paintings. 

My work at Cripps

My painting, 'On the Cusp of Memory' in one of the meeting rooms at Cripps

Along with two applications for international exhibitions, I have just taken part in an exhibition called VIBRANT in London curated by Art Number 23, which took place in an old Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey. The theme was colour and my work fitted well! I went to the Private View in spite of having a large bandage under my right eye where only two weeks earlier I had had a carcinoma removed (the day after my mother's funeral). But I never like to let things get in the way of pushing forwards with my artwork and exhibitions!

Me with my painting DREAM LANDSCAPE at the 'Vibrant' exhibition

'Dream Landscape,' acrylic on canvas, 50 x 40 cm
I also have my small painting on a postcard touring with the Black Box exhibition, an exhibition of work on postcards (250 artists, 22 countries) curated by Boecker Contemporary, (Heidelberg, Germany). This is the poster.

Here are some new works in progress, both abstract and figurative. The large canvas with figures, (100 x 140 cm) is being painted to a brief for possible inclusion in an international exhibition - I will post more about this later. One of the two paintings, 'Landscape Poem'  (ink on paper) is destined for a drawing Biennial in Skopje.

'Landscape Poem,' chinese ink and acrylic on paper, 28 x 38 cm

'Flooding down the Mountains,' ink and acrylic on paper, 28 x 38 cm

'Integration and Social harmony,' acrylic on canvas, 140 x 100 cm (in progress)
This last photo is not very clear but gives an idea of the painting in progress. I am happy for figuration to filter back in to my work, though like to overlap this with my abstract landscapes.

Finally, as I write this, I am also completing an interview for an online magazine called ART REVEAL, which will be published in May. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Past and Present Co-exist

'Daffodil Poem,' (tribute to my mother) oil and acrylic on canvas, 80 x 45 cm

Life has been very fragmented since my mother's passing and I was only able to start painting again last week. I knew she would have been telling me to get back to work so I painted this canvas which is inspired by the Daffodils I had filled our kitchen with. I did not set out to paint them but their popping yellows seeped into my imagery and in the end I let it take over. I did not want to describe the Daffodils photographically, I wanted to give a sense of their yellows as if caught out of the corner of your eye. 

My mother's funeral is on Friday March 9th. By painting I affirmed the continuity of life; the way past and present co-exist, and someone is never far from your thoughts. I began this blog mainly to write about my painting and art related themes but it felt important to acknowledge that our art is not separate from daily events.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A colourful Tribute to my mother

'Landscape Poem,' oil and acrylic, 40 x 30cm

It has been a month since I last posted. Today as I write there is about 25 cm of snow outside on my patio and more expected for the end of the week. It has been a very hard and distressing February because my mother passed away on February 16th after six days in hospital with Pneumonia. I am looking out onto daffodils peeking through drifts of snow remembering how she loved those first signs of Spring and the lovely yellows.

'Landscape Memory,' acrylic on canvas, 50 x 40cm
Consequently, I have had a lot of things to see to over the last two weeks and have not really had time for many of my usual activities, and none for painting. So for this post I am just going to add a few colourful paintings. My mother loved to see my paintings as they evolved and especially loved colour. Today I want to try to paint again because I know she would be telling me to get back to work!

'On the Cusp of Memory,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 80 x 50 cm

'Summer Remembered,' acrylic and oil on canvas, 70 x 50 cm

My mother loved this painting, made in China during my painting Fellowship by the Great Wall (2016). I had to roll it to bring it home.

'Journey to the Great Wall,' acrylic and ink on canvas, 90 x 70 cm

And lastly, some daffodils I bought for her and put in our kitchen. She always bought them at this time of year to brighten the kitchen.

Monday, 15 January 2018

New Work, Extended Ideas, New Adventures

'Over the Hills and Far Away,' (China series) acrylic and ink on canvas, 70 x 50 cm
For this post I am just going to add a few new paintings made in the last two weeks. January tends to be quite a busy month because of applying for new opportunities and getting new work ready. It is exciting and also requires much work to follow leads in the work and follow leads to new opportunities.

'Paint-Poem,' acrylic and ink on MDF, 80 x 63 cm
I am also re-posting a few paintings I posted last time which were not of good resolution. 

'When Will We Walk in the Land Again?' acrylic and ink on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

'Don't Worry, Spring Will Soon Be Here,' acrylic and ink on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

I am trying out some ideas about colour and space along with my interest in calligraphy and how places can be suggested with these elements layered and combined. 
'Walking Through Broken Structures,' ink and acrylic on canvas, 65 x 55 cm

I joined Instagram just over a week ago and I have found the instant viewing of artwork really quite helpful to my own practice and in particular the way that paintings can be saved in a private album. This has enabled me to collate work by some of my favourite artists and to have those works in one place. I always look at the work of other artists as a source of inspiration and a reminder that there are no rules, only your own!

'Going Home,' acrylic and ink on MDF, 80 x 65 cm

Thursday, 11 January 2018

An Artist's idea of 'good' and 'bad.

'Going Home,' acrylic on MDF, 62 x 80 cm 

This last week I felt happier for getting my painting rhythm back after some weeks of interruptions. When I don't paint I feel that my ideas get blocked and then I become really frustrated! Today I am going to post some of my thoughts from this past week.

My doorway in to re-establishing that rhythm is always to start several paintings. In between painting I think a lot about what 'good' and 'bad' mean for me as an artist. Sometimes in this search and sifting through of elements- most of which appear intuitively and are not forced - I re-evaluate what elements mean the most to me and what is just 'filling in,' or not relevant to the piece I am working on. This may be different for each piece and I allow that difference to happen because without it the work may not step forward. Each piece is a separate entity yet part of the journey. 

'Flying into Amsterdam Airport,' acrylic and ink on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

If I say to myself before I begin painting, 'It has to be more simple in approach,' then that thought will get in the way and force decisions. So I like to work by putting down some paint and seeing where those strands of ideas can be expanded upon or developed in the next painting. I may start with a few colours and in the search for a coherence there may be the need to add more colours or work over colours that are not working well. I think that for each painter this 'well' will be something different and the main thing is to decide what it means for you. 

'The Seagull's Flight,' acrylic and ink on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

This past week I worked on two older paintings - still in progress - 6 smaller canvases, and 2 medium canvases. I also painted on a piece of MDF I had prepared with ideas of working into the textured gesso. (I am posting a few of the new ones.) My thoughts circled around calligraphic marks, colour, space, and my ongoing interest in suggesting landscape or a place without illustrating it. Sometimes paintings may remind me of a place or experience and I allow this to shape the painting. I also want the work to be about paint and to extend some ideas gained through my trips to China. Other than that, it is always and will always be a mystery! Some paintings succeed, some don't, and all the time my intuition about what works keeps evolving.

'Highlands,' acrylic and ink on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

I see the canvas as an arena of discovery and enjoy watching an image emerge. I really enjoy struggling with a canvas. That is when something new may appear. My work seems to alternate between quite complex and simpler paintings. It used to bother me but now I find that the one approach feeds the other approach. 

I believe that intuition becomes honed the more you paint and look at paintings. A few years ago a friend gave me a copy of an interview David Sylvester did with Francis Bacon and I keep in mind the phrase Bacon used about 'trapping' an image. It seems most appropriate for my way of working.

Friday, 5 January 2018


'Routes and Directions,' acrylic on canvas, 92 x 73 cm
I have always hated the first week of January! Somehow it is without shape, neither the festive end of the year or full of new, memorable events -  mostly a conglomerate of bad weather and dim light! But over the years I have learned to use that first week as a time to write lists of aims for the year and to start new work. I believe that the sluggishness I feel is due to lack of light because when I go to Cyprus at this time of year to visit my in-laws I always feel brighter. But with the beginning of January I have discovered that new directions seem to be triggered by that imaginary line between old and new.

A family illness has interrupted my regular posts and also my intention to write a review of the Beijing International Art Biennale. This will have to be delayed for the moment. For now, I am going to post a few paintings from last year. Straight after this post I am going back to work on the 3 new paintings begun this week. I am still exploring the way that paint can suggest places and at this point I feel that some figuration may find its way back in to the paintings.

'Feeling My Way Through the Land,' acrylic and ink on canvas, 30 x 22 cm

'Fiona's-World,' acrylic and oil on board, 60 x 33 cm

As a first step also into the New Year, I joined Instagram! I had put it off for quite a while, finding my Twitter and Facebook accounts enough, but some artist friends from the 2017 Beijing International Art Biennale convinced me to create a profile on there. As I have discovered, artists need platforms to profile themselves and their work. Things move so fast, you need to be seen regularly!