I have a sequence of photos showing two cats fighting, there is one I particularly liked and always intended to use as a painting subject (the photos have been in my file for years). You could say this is kind of tangential to the subjects that usually preoccupy me, but if there is a time when the development of another series stalls, I like to work on something that is of purely visual interest and doesn’t need complex interpretation. Late last year I started collecting other photos and the result is a small series of fighting cats images in a variety of media. The pictures shown in this post are a watercolour 11x7in (27.5×17.5cm) and an acrylic approx. 15x18in (38x45cm)
Solar plate etching
This is the first piece I made when I learned the process of solar plate etching. I used to love the process of etching and the qualities of the print, but working at home, it isn’t possible to mess about with acid, resin and ventilators. A friend has introduced me to solar plate etching, where a prepared plate is etched by UV light – which can just mean exposure to sun. You just get one shot at the image with this method, but I was pleased with the way this turned out.
Acrylic 22.5 x 32in (57.5x81cm)
This is the first thing I posted, without really any clue what I was doing. I’m just adding a note here to say there is a larger series of bears pictures, some in colour, whose origin is explained more in the blog post above, The Significance of Bears, which shows the monochromatic paintings.
Painter and teacher, Brighton UK
My home is also my studio, I’ve been living and working in Brighton for 28 years now. The scale and activity of the town, together with the beautiful surrounding landscape, make this a sympathetic place to be – lively and lots going on but with access to privacy and peace. I work quite consistently on paintings, drawings, prints and collages. Though I don’t make a total living from painting, I also enjoy my work in adult teaching and mental health services in the Brighton-Hove area. The different aspects of my life feed each other and have enabled me to be included in networks of excellent people pursuing interesting goals.
In the past few years, life events have made it difficult for me to sustain regular working and exhibiting. This blog will be an opportunity to catch up with people who have previously seen and enjoyed my work, often at Brighton Festival’s Artists’ Open Houses, by introducing new pieces and work in progress as it goes on. Paintings and drawings done prior to 2010 can be seen on my website at www.judymartin.co.uk. In this blog I’ll be showing work since that date, right up to the present. In 2013 I will be opening my own house as a gallery on Sundays during May: work will be for sale and I’m lucky that usually succeeds for me. But the best purpose of the open houses is for artists to share the work and ideas with visitors, to maintain the art in the real world, to reveal our working processes and create a two-way involvement. One of my favourite quotes by an artist is from Willem de Kooning: ‘We just insist on being around.’
The subjects of my work can occur fairly randomly, sparked by anything from a single found photo to a specific experience in my life. Whether it’s about one image or idea or several, I produce many versions in a variety of media and ranging from very small to very large. Seen altogether, each series of work explains its own process and development. This is how I conceive and exhibit them, but then I may also get to see them as stand-alone images in the homes of people who have bought the work, which can give me a new perspective and sometimes suggest a different direction.
I use all sorts of media – this is a way of progressing the work. To go from a small watercolour or drawing to a large acrylic and paper collage necessarily changes the character of the image. A lot of the work is mixed media and I also use basic printmaking techniques. Especially if it starts from a photographic source, I am trying to get beyond the original appearance. This has been the case in a series called Family Photos, a title that is self-explanatory. I choose each photo for visual reasons, but the personal connection floats other ideas into the interpretation. A more recent series, The Significance of Bears, is based on the active experience of a trip to British Columbia to view black bears and grizzlies in the wild. I have photos, which provide some fixed elements, but also the memories and sensations of being there.
Where I’m posting new work, I’ll explain some of the thinking around it, and caption each photo with title, medium and scale.
Thanks for visiting.
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