Takes as long as it takes

I mentioned in a previous post that the slowdown in posting here has been due to getting involved in sculpture, where it takes a lot of work to get somewhere. So even though I am a long way from finished, the photo shows the current stage of a pair of figures I’ve been working on. chaps 2

Although it’s possible to make some changes as it goes along, I have missed the spontaneity and happy accident that is a crucial element of my painting. At one time I would have been tempted to abandon such a project, in fact from years ago I have a wire mesh figure that kept falling down, and I did give up on it. So, lessons learned, these are both seated and  a bit smaller than life size. Can’t wait to get on with surface treatments now. I need colour.


Catching up

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.001

mummy 1

New images

Following a different strand of ideas lately, although in my own mind they are all connected and will eventually cohere visually. Tempted to continue with 3D work, which is very time consuming, and at the same time feeling the need to work with paint and collage, which are my familiar territory. I am also still working quite small, whatever the medium, and now able to envisage scaling up on both the 2D and 3D strands.

The first of these images is one of the postcard paintings, in watercolour and drawing inks, the second and third are gouache and paper collage on A4 size, one squared off and the other using the full dimensions of the paper.


Second step

On September 18th I posted a picture of some small clay figures, which I had meant to colour and collage with fabric. Having decided I would like to keep the raw clay versions, I made a second set and started to add fabric ‘clothes’. The question was then whether to add paint to colour the faces, arms, hands and feet. I rather like that the figures themselves remain white within the fabric collage, so perhaps there is a case for making a third set that completes the development. Or to make a start on larger interpretations.clothed mantelpiece men


Thinking aloud

Some people like to use sketchbooks, I tend to do my visual thinking on random pieces of paper. There are always a few versions of things I’m working on that take them through the development of the image. Often the final outcome is a large piece of work. My current ideas are not coming from specific or individual sources, I’m taking all sorts of visual and verbal references and allowing them to collide.  All the pieces shown here are on watercolour postcards and combine ink drawing and writing, painting and collage, and printing off card. As they are visual thoughts, I’m not editing much at the moment, just seeing how they turn out. There are eight so far, these are in order of making, numbers 1, 2, 4 and 7.004003006002

One small step

For all sorts of reasons it’s been difficult to find the time and energy to make work this year. So I’m currently working on small things to ease myself back in. I’ve mentioned before wanting to get into 3D work, and my attempts so far have been very slow and not that successful. But the small-scale effort is beginning to pay off and I will hope to move on to more ambitious output.  This photo shows some little figures I’ve been making out of air-drying clay. It’s not easy, as the material has little plasticity compared to firing clay, so a lot can go wrong. But it’s something I can be absorbed in and it’s kicking off other ideas. Since doing this, I have also started a series of small paintings/collages on watercolour postcards, which I’ll be posting in a few days time.mantelpiece people 1

A good day’s work

Spent an enjoyable day at the print studio on Friday. I’m still scratching around a bit to find a new direction for my work, but I turned up an old sketch and a monoprint, and reworked them as solar plate etchings. I was asked where my imagery comes from. Often it’s a found photo, as in the case of the ‘leopard man’, which was a newspaper photo illustrating an opera review.  I clip this stuff without archiving properly, so can no longer remember what the opera was, I know I’ve had the photo for some years.leopard man etching


This next image originated in a random monoprint, possibly meant to be a cat. It was one of those things that you think hasn’t worked, but I kept it and gradually started to appreciate it for what it was, rather than whatever it was meant to be.strange cat etching

The drawings applied to the plates were in india ink and watercolour crayon. The etching process reproduces the textures quite accurately, but adds the richness of etching blacks and some tonal qualities of its own when printed. Coincidentally, the ‘cat’ acquired a more leopardy look in the translation from one medium to the other.