I was really excited to have one of my wood engravings selected to be one of 18 works to be part of an exhibition in support of the Friends of the Earth - Great British Bee Count starting on 19 May 2016.
The selection of works was made by Jo Wood; TV presenter, interior designer and the new FOE ambassador.
Friends of the Earth in partnership with Artfinder (www.artfinder.com) and My Chelsea hotel (http://myhotels.com/chelsea) will be displaying this exhibition at the My Chelsea Hotel - the show will start on the 26 May and run till the end of June. Part of all sales will be donated to the Save our Bees campaign. For all details please visit my events page.
All my pictures have been framed and packed ready to be en route to Reading early tomorrow morning!
As an exhibitor at Reading Contemporary Art Fair, which runs all this weekend, I have been asked to donate a picture that can be sold for the Prince's Trust charity. I was provided with a small canvas and, owing to the limited time given, I decided to use acrylic paint.
As many of the wood engravings and paintings I will be exhibiting at Reading are on the subject matter of the London tube, I decided to keep to this theme with my charity picture. This has now become the second in a new series, called 'Mind the Gap' - with a slight movement towards abstract realism...
Full details of the fair can be found on the events page.
As I write the sun is actually shining brightly outside my window – it is so warm and lovely. After a very wet winter I feel a little like a Moomin awakening from winter hibernation!. I loved those books, the illustrations especially.
Yesterday I finished printing a new wood engraving – St Nicolas Church, Newbury, Berkshire. The engraving is on boxwood and is 10x15cm.
Having grown up in a small village a few miles outside Newbury I have known this church for a long time. It is a very attractive building and gives a little hint to the Newbury of old. There has been a church on this site since Norman times. However, this present parish church was rebuilt in the sixteen century in the architectural style of the late Perpendicular period. Apparently, this church - like so many - was restored by the Victorians, but fortunately they didn’t meddle too much with the main structure.
This is the third church that I have engraved in wood - St Mary’s, Thatcham and St Lawrence Church, Hungerford being the other two. I find there is something very special about trying to engrave an image of these hundreds of year old churches onto pieces of boxwood that are themselves very, very old.
I will be exhibiting this wood engraving, along with many others, at the Reading Contemporary Art Fair in late April (see events page for details). This is only my second art fair and I am really looking forward to it.
David Bowie is gone. This is so so sad - his music has been around me throughout my whole life. He was one of those artists who you thought would always be there, generating different soundscapes. He was so gifted; a writer, songwriter, actor and singer.
As he re-created the image of himself throughout his life, I am creating my own fragments - a miniature tribute series. These will all be small wood engravings, which I think is a perfect medium to help create both sensitive and raw images. These are the first two portraits of this series: Bowie as a 'Thinker' and a 'Singer'.
Happy Christmas to everyone!
The Claus Dimension is a little wood engraving I have just completed for Christmas. I have used lemonwood for this piece, which is a slightly softer end grain than boxwood. Lemonwood is nice to use but, as it is slightly softer, greater care has to be taken when cutting very fine lines. I enjoyed drawing out the design and I think that I may revisit rectangular distortions again in a future work.
I am also currently working on a couple of larger wood engravings (both on boxwood): These will hopefully be completed early in the new year, but I thought I would give you a preview of these works in progress.
In both cases, I drew out the design onto the block, and I have now started to cut the wood. Both images are, of course, drawn on the block in reverse so that when they are printed they will be the right way round.
Thank you to everyone who visited me at stand 88 in Brighton Dome last weekend. This was my first art fair and I absolutely loved it! I enjoyed everything - from hanging my work and getting to know the other artists, to meeting the many visitors who came to my stand over the four days.
I am currently working out my plans for next year, but I already know that I will be taking part in Reading Contemporary Art Fair in April - stand 32 this time! I am am working on some new relief prints and oil paintings - both big and small - and my stand at Reading will have a real splash of colour alongside my monochrome prints.
Reading will be one of several art fairs that I hope to be taking part in over the course of 2016, so it should be a busy and exciting year. I can't wait!
This the first blog of autumn. As I write, the mountains are a beautiful tint of purple and look as though they are on fire, as the mist is rising from the forest trees. I can quite understand how people living in such mountainous and wooded areas can suspect that they are populated with living spirits. Rising, spiralling mists can seem to follow you along a mountain path - and in an instant just disappear. Spooky!
In the past couple of weeks I have ventured in to painting a larger than normal (for me) canvass. I have always wanted to paint large - and I mean large - but have not had the courage. So this is a small step to achieving that goal. The image shows a oil painting in the early stage and is of Earl's Court on the Piccadilly line.
For anyone coming to Brighton Art Fair in late September I will have four smaller oil paintings of tube stations, exhibited at stand 88.
On the wood engraving front I have just started the drawing for the next in the View Subterranea series - it will be a picture based on a Holborn tube platform.
To the right is a small wood engraving of St Mary's Church, Thatcham, Berkshire. Thatcham is a town very close to where I grew up and a church has been on this site for many centuries. The current church is based on a Norman stone church started in 1140. This is the first proof of this image, and I think perhaps it needs a little more work especially on the sky. This is part of a series of churches I will be competing over the next few months.
Lastly, a sneaky photo that I took in August in the final week of the Royal Academy Summer show. The print rooms to me are my favourite and can spend a long time just looking at the different styles and techniques - amazing!
I have just been to see the Pollock exhibition at Tate Liverpool, showing some rarely seen work of his that he did in the years leading up to his untimely death. To me, Pollock is a strange artist whose colour drip paintings either grab me or they don’t. In this exhibition much of the work was black and white paintings from his ‘dark’ period. I am drawn to the monochrome and found these a lot more fascinating. Again, I do not find this work ‘easy’ to access, but as a distillation of his mental state – very powerful.
It is strange to be able to compare this late Pollock work to those of Agnes Martin – an artist I was not familiar with until I visited Tate Modern in Late June. Again, much of her work is not easily understood in a short visit. Many of her canvasses are very large – virtually white and only when you go up close you realise that the very pale paint holds together intricately drawn grids of graphite. Reading about her, I understand that these large expanses of canvass reflected not only her natural environment but also an attempt to quieten her restless mind.
For me, these have been two very powerful exhibitions. Some of the images and their influences will stay with me for a long time.