Wednesday, 20 August 2014


I have so many blog posts to catch up on that I don't actually know where to start. I have a feeling they are all going to come out in the wrong order as well. I need to make sure I don't do anything else in the next few days so I don't end up scheduling one post a day and then need to write more.

I am confusing myself. Let's just write something and be done with it! I am going to start with the birth certificate for Dichotomy:

The Reason

A horrible feeling that I still need to capture the grand canyon to my satisfaction and the need to paint a tree.

The Setting

Looking through my holiday photos, apprehensively, knowing I totally burnt out after painting the Grand Canyon last time.

The Inspiration

Fear, Torment, a twisted tree in my photos, the vastness of the canyon, the monumental contrasts of sky and earth, an impossible depth to portray, a multitude of colour, striking detail and blurry nothingness....oh dear.

I really struggle with the Grand Canyon - in fact I know I will paint it again, and again I will not get whatever I want to show right. I think I discovered why this is. I paint place. I paint a moment and a situation and a feeling to the best of my ability using any means necessary. I try to match the technique to the feeling, or to highlight what I want to show. The trouble with the canyon is there is too much to show - the stripes of the rock, the vast open space, the awe inspiring views, the feeling of being so small and insignificant, the beauty of it, the infinity, the depth, the peace and calm, the power. I am never going to be able to portray all of this in one painting, which is why they are all quite different. It doesn't mean I won't keep trying to show it all and keep getting frustrated. 

Oh Grand Canyon, I love and I hate you!  

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Flying South

So, the other day when I was feeling slightly fed up I did make the choice of house tidying as my raison d'etre. This was mostly a bad idea as I started halfway through Friday and finished on Sunday. On the plus side, bar a trip to the tip and a thousand trips to the charity shop I am good to go and finally have a couple of cupboards devoted to my art stuff - one full of blank canvasses and one full of packaging materials. I personally find the blank canvas cupboard rather exciting - look at the potential all stored up and ready to go, just looking at the choice of sizes makes me feel inspired. It is a bit like having a miniature art shop in my own house.

At this point - it's ok - I do realise I might need to get out more. I guess having a devoted cupboard must feel like one step closer to having an actual studio. A studio would elicit a big YES PLEASE from me but I need to be a bit richer for that to happen so in the meantime the lounge floor and a shower curtain will have to do.

Either way, I finally feel a bit more normal today so I am hoping the lacklustre version of myself has gone South for the winter like all the birds I see flocking outside my window. Hopefully this means tomorrow, when I potentially have an art day in store, I am super productive I do, after all, have ten blog posts I really need to get down in digital ink.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ctrl, Alt, Delete

I don't know what is wrong with me today. I actually have some free time to devote to sorting out some art stuff. I am however, feeling completely unmotivated and uninspired. I might just give up and tidy the house instead, or pre schedule a thousand blog posts. Decisions decisions. Tidying the house would be slightly art related as after a few trips to the recycling, to the charity shop and soon to the tip, I shall have a couple of empty cupboards I can devote to my art - canvas storage and packaging storage here we come!


Well at least it is the weekend tomorrow. Maybe today is a Friday to forget....

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The number you have dialled has not been recognised....

You know you have had a busy day, or an interrupted day when you decide to sit down and work at 10pm just because you know no one will call you, email, ask you do something, break your concentration - the cold callers have gone to bed and everyone else is doing something 'normal' for their evening.

And breathe.

One bit of work is sorted, my desk is tidied, my notes are written up and the next few days activities planned. That is better. I feel the weeniest bit more organised now.

I haven't been very productive art-wise recently but that doesn't meant nothing is happening. Two paintings have been sold, one is on reserve and hopefully I am going to have a commission to do or at least a print to order. I also have some photos to sort through after a recent short break to Lille. Tomorrow will also see a trip to the Tate Modern to have a viewing of both Malevich and Matisse. So busy! I also still have a few architectural projects lined up to get through, so seriously, when am I going to find the time or the inspiration to paint?!

I am glad I don't have a 'proper' job on top of all of this - my brain is all over the place trying to stay organised. I think it might be just as well my brother just gave me a lot of empty note pads...I have some lists to write...

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Hadlow Tower

I am finding these painting 'birth certificates' difficult to get used to. I am trying to make them all follow a standard but as I have only written two I a) don't know whether it will alter and b) haven't written enough to remember what the template is.

I need a secretary.

The Reason (or the starting point)

Breakfast - possibly a bacon and cheese muffin, possibly sausage, beans and hash browns, I forget.

The Setting

Sat on one of my painted chairs, magazine open on the table, reading a random article whilst I eat and then turning the page over to see the newly renovated Hadlow Tower...

The Inspiration

Hadlow Tower - a shape right up my street, the detailed decorations, the fact it belongs to the English Heritage, the English Heritage logo, the buildings combination of plain and intricate detail, the simplicity of the English countryside, because I have a canvas the perfect size, and a space on my wall....

Although the building has areas of intricacy it is relatively simple - I wanted the painting to reflect this by being a simple concept with areas of detail - hence the swirls, lines. I also quite fancied sticking the English heritage logo in there somewhere as I quite enjoy the symbolism of ownership, place, identity. (I quite often have flags in the background of some of my building paintings).

That is pretty much it, and hey presto!  

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Top 10

I am confusing myself at the moment as I keep scheduling blog posts. This is good but I keep writing day specific things, so I am reading it on Tuesday when it is talking about Saturday. I am then wondering what I am talking about or in fact who I am talking about.

I need to catch up with myself, or stop trying to catch up with myself depending on which me you are talking about. Oh dear..... fortunately I am due a break over the next few days so then hopefully I will be back to 'normal'

Before then though I have a couple of things to share with you, one of which is this super exciting email from the recently signed up to They sent this out at the weekend to all their members highlighting me as one the top 10 new artists to watch!! This is the first kind of commercial or artistic recognition I have received, well, formally received at least so I am pretty chuffed! It is also nice for someone else to do some publicity chasing for me as I spend hours promoting to not much visible gain. also set a but of a twitter storm in motion with my latest painting which was also exciting to follow.

Hopefully if I can carry on like I have been, with a little extra help from I can really start to get things moving.....


(Big old email.....!)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

To Varnish or not to Varnish?

I think I probably need to stop working as I keep forgetting what I am doing. I am sure it is time to call it quits anyway and settle down for some TV and maybe a cider. I have kind of earned it as I have been relatively productive the last few days uploading, promoting, blogging, painting.... I also spent a small portion of the morning researching into varnish and the should you/shouldn't you argument about whether you should varnish acrylic paintings.

It seems difficult to find a definitive answer. Well, unless you go by the manufacturers of varnishes opinion and then it is varnish all the way, many layers, many types, many brushes.

I think it was most helpful looking at the discussion between a selection artists on Fine Art America. (You can see the discussion here). Here you can see the arguments from both points of view without money or promotion being involved and get opinions from artists who do and don't use the v word.

It seems like it is mostly down to personal preference and whether you want a flat unifying surface, a shine, a satin finish...although it obviously does offer some added protection from the ravages of time. I was more concerned by the comments regarding the cloudy leftovers, streaky brush marks and splats left during application. Badly applied varnish has the potential to instantly ruin a painting so then it will last no time at all!

Currently I am going to put my vote in the no varnish box. Acrylics are meant to be more durable and flexible than most things anyway - that was why they were invented. I also prefer the textural finish of the painting as it is, as that is why I did it. I also don't remember noticing varnish in any of the art galleries I have visited, and let's face it, if my work ever becomes valuable enough that it needs to be preserved you can just put it in a frame. Ooh. Problem solved.