Saturday, 22 October 2016

Woman in Gold

I am mostly procrastinating at the moment - I need to write this blog post, which I can't seem to persuade myself to do and I need to pack, which I also can't persuade myself to do. I am very much more inclined to plonk myself down in front of the television and watch a film and eat. Winter is definitely coming. All I need however, is one last push and then I can have some well earned time off, so here goes:

I watched 'Woman in Gold' starring Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren the other day. It is about the painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Klimt. The mere mention of the word Klimt should now show you why I was inspired to buy some gold leaf.

Image result for adele bloch bauer

The film was about Adele Bloch-Bauer's niece - Maria Altmann's - journey to take back the painting from the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna after it was stolen from her family by the Nazis. I won't offer any spoilers, suffice to say it was quite a moving watch. It also got me thinking about the age old question of what is art? Watching this film, made a very personal portrait become so much more than just a work of art. It became about politics, identity, and so, so, so much money. I personally think that the more they fought over the piece and the more monetary value it was worth, the more devalued it became as a work of art, or the more it lost it's identity as a work of art. It became a thing, an argument, a price tag which isn't what it should have been. It was always a lovingly rendered portrait of someone's Aunt, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Friend, not a Mastercard bill or an icon of Vienna. It was about a person and a moment in time captured by Klimt and this is important. I feel like, at least to me, that is what art is. It can be anything, but it has to be the artist showing the viewer something, or capturing a moment for themselves, distilling a feeling or a memory or an idea in whatever way portrays it best. As a viewer, you are then entitled to think what you wish about the work, like it or love it, value it or hate it, own it or bin it. Beauty and art after all, are in the eye of the beholder.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

New Toys

The past week seems to have disappeared rather quickly? Presumably time was flying because I was having fun?

Let's just go with that anyway....

I did have a productive weekend as I have finally managed to rough out my Photographic website shop, just 4 million other things to do to it and then it can go live. I would like to work on the painting site as well, but it is frustratingly close to Christmas; I don't really feel like I can afford to take the site offline at the moment, so working it up may well have to be a New Years resolution - the downside of having 6 months of art hibernation at the beginning of the year. But no matter, I have woken up now. Woken up so much in fact that I have been treating myself to some new toys. Toy number one was inspired by the film 'Women in Gold' which I will blog about after this post.

This metal leaf looks amazing! I can't wait to think of a suitable use for it. My next building painting could be interesting!

The second toy is rather more bizarre...

Now all I have to decide is whether I use the glow as an accent, or if when the lights go out, the painting turns into a picture of something else. I am looking forward to some experimentation time once I return from holiday. Having a rest, is definitively my first port of call.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Too Awake

I have been having trouble sleeping latterly - presumably because I have too much on my mind. Things have been a bit of an upheaval recently, although mostly in a good way, but still, there a few things to get used to, a bit more headspace and a bit more art time and a lot less stress. So all good, but I am used to needing my sleep.

Having already tried counting sheep, reading, watching a film, having a bath, having an alcoholic drink, having a hot chocolate, having a snack, doing exercise and anything else you can think of - actually I haven't tried yoga yet - I have decided today I am going to stay up late catching up with art things and see if that gives me a sense of satisfaction. I win either way as I will have achieved some art directives if not sleep by the end of the evening/day.  

I should also probably try getting up earlier. *eyeroll*

I seem to be surviving ok on the smaller amount of sleep so I suppose it doesn't really matter. I am just fed up of lying in bed for a couple of hours 'trying' to sleep. I could be painting! Or Blogging! Or web-siting! Well today I will be.

I feel like this weekend, I need to focus on getting my photography website finished. I am very much a person that can't sleep if I know there are things that are unfinished or need doing. So maybe this is the problem? I am not entirely sure I will be able to finish it all at the weekend but if I can sort out the print shop I think that would do.

I sometimes envy the era of the artist before social media. Or do I? It is easier to plug yourself, get noticed and network but there is so much stuff to do and maintain. That said, I would have loved to have followed Van Gogh's Twitter feed.

'I may have just chopped my ear off' #funtimes #istheremeanttobethismuchblood #whatdidyousay?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Roll with it.

I  have had an unexpected day off today which means a lie in, a big fat juicy bacon sandwich for breakfast and a walk in the sunshine. I have now been mostly procrastinating. I was going to work on my website which would be good to do so I can complete it, I have however mistakenly realised I could paint instead, so guess which option is happening?

I don't even need to clarify do I!?!

I have also made some exciting art purchases but more about that in my next post as I need to talk about a film I watched as well.

In the meantime, procrastinating led me to look back at some of my previous Facebook posts. I have seemingly come a long way, and achieved a lot of things, and made a lot of paintings! 182 of them in fact! WHAT!?! I only have 34 currently up for sale, so where on earth are the other 148? It has made me realise I have been doing this for a long time - almost 5 years in fact, and I am actually impressed. I started out with a website and trying to sell things because I knew it would help me paint. If I was painting with a purpose, or an opportunity to give away/sell my paintings then it would mean I wasn't just filling my house up, or the garage, or the tip. I wasn't just being wasteful. It was never a question of being a viable idea, only a way to let me paint - letting me do, what needed to be done.

Now - I love my house. It is colourful, arty and full of paintings, and paint pots and brushes and canvasses and creativity. I love my job that I can make up as I go along, have unexpected days, no routine, brain space and freedom. It has taken a long time to get to this point; 6 years of being freelance, and some tough, tough years. Years of not knowing what I was doing, years of doubt, years of no money, years of endless work for little gain, of being bored with my own company, of being stressed. But do you know what? Today it was all worth it. Today I would do it all again, and more. I am sure there will be more tough trials to get through, but it is worth it for periods of time like this. Times when, for once, it seems like everything is going to plan, so for the moment, I am just going to enjoy myself and get the paints out.


Sunday, 9 October 2016


So my purchasing of blank canvasses backfired slightly as I actually still had 2 canvasses left of the size I thought I had run out of and, as I found out when I went to paint on Saturday, have in fact totally run out of square ones. Sometimes I really regret that offer to buy 18 canvasses at a super discount rate that has resulted in my hoarding cupboard. It's no use, I am going to have to throw my bed out of the window and start filling that room. Priorities and all that!

That said, I am going to have to order some square ones, right, now.

*opens new internet window*


Anyway I was really blogging to share with you my latest painting, as, as promised on Thursday, I did find time this weekend to paint a newbie.

I have been meaning to have a go at painting the City of Bath for ages, and for some reason yesterday, was in the right mood to do so. Well, the right mood at the beginning, with each painting stroke I seemed to grow an extra piece of headache, until at the end, through gritted teeth and slitted eyes I just about managed to draw out the last few lines, throw my paint pack in the cupboard and run to bed before I was ill. Don't ever tell me I don't suffer for my art!! This does leave me slightly unable to judge this painting, as the process of doing it was not very satisfying. I'll let you decide whether it does the beautiful city of Bath justice or not.

At least looking at it today, doesn't give me a headache.....

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Let the Globetrotting Begin....

This week, I will be mostly popular in Poland. I am feeling very multinational at the moment as I have obviously had lots of Polish blog hits this week as well as the usual ones from the UK and the USA. On Artfinder I am slowly getting more Romanian fans as that is currently my third most popular following nation. This is a strange coincidence as I am trying to persuade a friend to come on holiday with me to Transylvania in April. They have some amazing architecture and castles that are just begging to be painted. Weirdly I got approached to sell my prints through a company based in Singapore the other day, called Artique and now I am visiting there at the end of the month. Seems like two chicken and egg situations. It will be my first trip to Asia so I am looking forward to seeing what kind of inspiration that brings.

Watch this space.

In the meantime the second best thing, or maybe the third best thing of selling a lot of paintings is the space it frees up (briefly). Space for me to fill with blank canvasses. I currently have 35 waiting to be painted, and yes, there is a possibility that I am becoming a hoarder. I had to get some more though as I had run out of my favourite size (honest). I am looking forward to this weekend, or maybe tomorrow evening as I can feel a painting brewing somewhere in my body. I just hope my brain can figure out whether it is tea or coffee before my hand starts pouring the boiling water. I am sure I will be able to think of something, and if not, going for a walk normally does the trick.

I am excited :-)

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Around the World in 80 Paintings?

So it seemed like my 'blow you away week' wasn't finished with me when I wrote my last post on Thursday. By the end of this weekend, I will have sold 9 paintings, sent one off as a belated present and decided to keep one for myself as I realised I would be lost without it. Plus it fits in my house so well that I don't know what I would put there when/if it gets sold.

Horseshoe Bend, you are mine.

My parents visited me this weekend for the first time since 1853, and it was nice to have an excuse to get all my paintings out and show them off. (Maybe I do need to get off my backside and start taking them to art exhibitions/shows/sales events (my paintings not my parents!!)). 

I realised something when I was telling my Dad where the inspiration for a particular painting came from; That when I paint a memory, the painting becomes the memory. When I think back to the time I was at Horseshoe Bend for instance, I can't really remember the place, I can just see this painting. The same goes for all my paintings of the Grand Canyon. I don't know why this surprises me but I suppose I wasn't expecting the painting to eradicate or replace the real thing. The paintings are obviously a much stronger representation of the place, feelings and experience I had than either my memory or a photograph. This must be why people tell me they can feel what I do - feel the cold wind, the warm sunrise, the still air, or whatever I have painted, because that is what I am doing. Distilling a memory. That is why I always think it is better if I paint places I have visited, as they are 'purer' representations. I can get the same things from photos, I never use just one for inspiration, but a selection that speak to me so that I can try and get a feel for the place, but still, it can't replace the feeling of actually being there. 

Time to put my travel hat on....