My second solo exhibition, ‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’ will be taking place at The Alfred East Gallery in Kettering mid November for 4 weeks, so I am working hard towards that at the moment. There will be around 20 new paintings on the theme ‘Tones of Velvet Bohemia’ in a variety of different sizes – the challenge was to decide on the name for the exhibition before I’d done the paintings!!
A quick painting last week on paper of the canal close to my home – I wanted it to sparkle with light and the weather was dull so I had to use my imagination quite a bit!!
This painting is now framed and for sale in the ‘On Paper Exhibition’ at The Open Door Gallery on Church Street in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
I have a vase of artificial white roses in my hall – I’m not really a fan of artificial flowers but these were long stemmed and elegant with a papery randomness about their petals.
Occasionally – and I haven’t worked out how to predict it – a shaft of light comes from between the trees outside and casts this poignant shadow across the wall. It is so beautiful and unexpected and only lasts a short time. It’s like being allowed into a magical world for a moment and then just as quickly, it’s gone.
‘Neutral buoyancy’……weightlessness, feeling suspended, neither sinking nor floating.
A state of calm & balance, focusing on your own breathing and mortality, allowing you to fly slowly in a mainly silent, multidimensional, cushioned world. If sound comes, it comes from all sides, muffled and unsure of direction.
The light above is golden, the depths below are terror and intrigue. Slow steady breaths dispelling the anxiety of silently entering an uninvited other world….
I learnt to scuba dive in December and the feeling was so extraordinary I came home
and painted it. The words above describe how I felt and what I painted. I thought the painting needed some explanation as it is a little different from my normal style but I also thought that you don’t have to be a scuba diver to recognise some of these thoughts & feelings. I would be very interested in any feedback on this painting, I did give myself free rein & was a little surprised at how it turned out! Please feel free to comment.
‘Gloria’ Acrylic on Canvas 41 x 41 cms
Prince Charles & Lady Diana Spencer married, Margaret Thatcher & Ronald Reagan were in power, high unemployment, riots in Brixton, Liverpool, Leeds & Birmingham, a general feeling of distrust amongst young people of police & authority, Bob Marley died, ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell was No1., Adam & The Ants were showing us how to dress and I was leaving school and starting art college. Strange times. But I loved it.
In those days, going to art college was not about pass or fail, there was so much less stress, just enjoy what you’re doing, learn, explore, experiment and it was a relief to be with open minded people.
In the second week of the course they brought in a huge wire pen and dumped it and some chickens in the middle of the studio and said, “ By the end of the week we want you to have harnessed chickeness and we expect to see some great emotionally-charged drawings of chickeness” !!
As you may remember from ‘Artistic Seeds Are Sown’, I could draw you a chicken, riding a bike in a wetsuit but studying the real thing and trying to draw something that won’t keep still whilst all the time wondering what ‘chickeness’ is was an entirely new challenge!
By the end of the week I came away with some great and unexpected charcoal drawings of chickeness. The project was actually brilliant for loosening us all up and trying to get us to draw a feeling rather than an outline, it made us all more aware of mark-making rather than outline perfection. But by the end of the term I came away with the feeling that I wasn’t angry or disturbed enough to be an artist. At the time, that really seemed to be the requirement! I didn’t even try painting which of course I now regret.
I was so happy there though and I learnt a lot but we were there to make a decision about which area of the arts we were going to pursue. That was the whole point and like many things in my life, whilst trying my hardest to think of nothing but fun, the decision appeared in my mind, uninvited, from nowhere.
I was flying along on my bike on my way to college, the wind in my hair and my coat tails flapping behind me, enjoying the exhilaration and freedom I had for the first time in my life when my mind said to itself:
“ Fine art? Who are you kidding!?! Fashion & Textiles is who you are, it’s where you come from, Duh!! Why are you even considering anything else?”
And there lay the decision that affected the next 30 years of my life.
This weekend I hung these 2 recently finished paintings, ‘Gloria’ and ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’, in my local town’s medical centre, Market Harborough. Although I live in the countryside now, have owned chickens and regularly have my neighbours chickens coming to eat my cabbages, I still think these paintings are strongly influenced by that week at Loughborough Art College searching for ‘chickeness’!!