Can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted on the blog, partly it’s because I’m working on 3D pieces that take a long time to start to look like anything. At the same time, I need to get a sense of spontaneity into them that reflects my processes in painting, I want the development of a sculpture to represent its making history, rather than to be disguised as it may be if only a technical means to an end. But I am learning technique at the same time as image-making.
For now, I can post a painting and related small sculpture, inspired by a mummy I saw in Madrid, in the Museo de America. The painting is gouache and oilpastel. The 3D piece is a relief made of thick card, overlaid with fabric and paper collage. It’s fine, but doesn’t quite do what I intended, so more exploring of medium and method needed.
So here we are at late December, and I haven’t posted since November. That does reflect lack of progress, and also the scurrying pace of life coming up to christmas, whether you want to celebrate it or not (I don’t really bother). My attention has also been deflected by home improvements, with more decorating to go.
But I wanted to make one more post, so I’m putting up an older piece that I’m fond of. The title is “Secrets”, oil pastel on watercolour paper. And with this I will float an idea that’s been in my mind for a while. When my work is mainly shared on the internet, it troubles me that the computer screen creates a light-projected image with a single cohesive surface effect. The weight, material colours and ‘stuff’ of my paintings are important to me, sometimes I even like them to be a bit clumsy. I’d be interested to know whether other artists feel that web viewings represent them fairly.
Meanwhile, I wish a happy new year to all those who celebrate it at this time.
When I started blogging, I presumed I would add something at least weekly, so am somewhat daunted to find it’s over a month since my last post. I have been quite busy with random non-art activities, but also quietly progressing some new ideas. So I’m making a random post, to include a bit of non-art together with things I’m currently working on. If I wait till they are finished, it could be months.
This is a piece of party decoration that took up a lot of my time last week. I was quite happy with the way it worked out. Three different people had parties, and I made some giant letters of their names, plus a message for one of them who is leaving us, made of hand-cut paper lettering. The large letters are paper collage on mountboard.
The drawing is first of what may be a new series, working title Everyone Who has been in my Paintings. It’s oil pastel and watercolour.
I am also making some small cardboard figures. One set are drawings on thin card, the others are thick card with fabric collage. I have an idea for these that I’ll explain at a later date, and it’s also the start of moving (tentatively) into 3D.
And I’ll be grateful if anyone can tell me why I have never taken a decent photo with a digital camera. Convenient it is, quality – not so much.
Lately I’ve been reviewing past themes in my work, looking for ways to tie things together visually and conceptually. This has happened to some extent so far in the Brown Paper Drawings, and in individual works at various times. I am looking for an overall theme, similar to the Family Photos, that pulls in a variety of subjects via the elements they have in common.and generates a body of work over an extended period.
It seems I already know broadly what it is, but it’s like having a shoe box full of somewhat random items that form a collection just by being put together. I need to explore this collection more in visual terms before giving it a name. The Ancestors, a group of paintings and drawings from some years ago, will be part of it.
The Ancestors arrived through a variety of influences. I was doing some work based on pictures of mummified people; a visit to an exhibition of Aztec sculpture also fed into it; as did a very curious photograph of a protest group of marching men – who were all naked but for their shoes and all wearing identical full-head masks. It also linked to the family photos in that these pictures showed previous generations of my family, most of whom I hadn’t known personally. Some study of death rituals in other cultures also featured, and this gave the idea for the following painting, Family Dance, referring to the Malagasy custom of literally dancing with the dead, the wrapped bones of their relatives.
These paintings are relatively small and done in soft Sennelier oil pastel.