Saturday, 27 December 2014

Starlight!

Do you remember a while ago I said I had a clock disorder? I have 5 rooms in my flat and about 20 clocks. Well, I think I am starting to get an obsession with unusual lampshades too. I currently have one in the shape of a lotus, one curvy, amorphous, blob thing, one purple 3D star cube, a side lamp in the shape of Miffy and now this latest addition - a super colourful 5 pointed star.


I can't wait to see what comes next. I also need to say look how colourful my house is!  I always find it strange that the least colourful thing in my house is always me...!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Joyeux Noel!

I am cheating slightly as I have pre scheduled this post to run; It is Christmas Day and I refuse to turn on my computer or think about work.

Today I am eating.

I am drinking.

I am being merry.

I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING CONSTRUCTIVE unless it involves playing with lego or winning Monopoly/Jenga.

So, without further ado, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a day just as it should be with the people you like best. Here is a festive photo (thank you Brussels) to help drum up some of that Christmas spirit. Enjoy!




Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Angel Pudsey-el

I like having sold enough paintings to realistically be called an 'artist'. Artists have a good deal in some respects because they can get away with anything. We are meant to be an eccentric, slightly crazy, unusual bunch of people and so when we do something weird, people are not usually that shocked. In fact they are more shocked when we do something traditional.

I am, anything but traditional. Just take the 'angel' on top of my Christmas tree as a good example.



See, if I wasn't an 'artist', I couldn't get away with that...


Monday, 22 December 2014

Castel del Monte

This last week of hectic-ness has seen me paint my supposed last painting of 2014, I say supposed because it would never surprise me if I managed to squeeze out another one somehow. At the moment I can't really see it, but in the spirit of never saying never.....(I am saying supposed)

The last painting of the year will be the painting that I should have painted when I painted the Castillo Belmonte after a hearing problem/memory lapse. So here it is - the Castel del Monte...


Castel del Monte 20" x 16" Acrylic on Canvas

The Reason

Because someone asked me to.

The Setting

A conversation in a Japanese restaurant in Laguna Beach, California. Some Sake. A 'Have you seen this castle? I think you should paint it' Ok. Why not!

The Inspiration

Does inspiration count when in comes in the form of insider knowledge? I always like it when someone suggests something for me to paint with no commission pressure. I can check out the subject, see if it works for me and then paint it at my leisure. I like having a few things lined up so when I am in the mood to paint, but don't know what to do I can look at my 'list' of suggested subjects and go from there!

Inspiration on tap...

 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Brussels Sprouts

Does anyone have a hole I can fall down? I need to hide for a moment and empty myself. This year has been so exciting...too exciting.....I need a moment to collect myself and get in the zone ready for the start of 2015. I feel a bit like the filing cabinets in my head have just emptied themselves onto the floor and I need a few days to sort through everything and get it all back into the correct drawers.

I think this is called 'Christmas.'

I am frazzled! On the plus side, my recent bout of super organisation (that has resulted in this temporary burn out) has meant that I have sorted through my Brussels photos and selected the following ten shots for your artistic enjoyment.



It was nice to have some photographs to sift through for a change; I feel like I haven't taken any for ages, mostly because I haven't. The leisurely walks and photographic strolls are one thing that has had to take a bit of a back seat whilst I have been so busy. Busy working, busy painting, busy getting an annoying twitch in my left eye that just won't go.

Twitch.

Leave me alone!

Twitch.

Humph.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Your battery is running dangerously low.

I have been working too hard recently. I have had so many things going on at the same time that it has been a little difficult to keep an eye on everything. Art sales coming from different sites, updating my website, blog and facebook, working on three or four architecture projects simultaneously, buying and wrapping Christmas presents and socialising in between.

I am somehow on top of everything. On top of it all so much so that I am finding it difficult not to keep working. Surely I have missed something? Free time? What on earth is that? I am currently trying to persuade myself that it is perfectly acceptable, on a Friday night to sit back, watch a film and do nothing. I feel more like I should be on the computer doing something. There are still approximately one million four hundred and sixty five thousand things I could be doing but nothing is urgent. I can feel that my head is full, so I do need a break, I am looking forward to relaxing for a week over Christmas and switching off. I need a recharge.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Laura Hol & Britsh Vogue

As well as the excitement from Brussels to deal with, I also had a super exciting, well kind of super exciting email arrive into my Laura Hol art account.

It was from Vogue. Let me just say that again,

It was from Vogue.

VOGUE

FROM VOGUE!

Did I tell you it was from Vogue? Well it was, this is why it was particularly exciting. It was also flattering and uplifting so yes, I have printed it out to frame on my wall, next to my desk, pin on my pinboard, tag on facebook, scatter on the floor....

I am going to remember to read the first paragraph when I am having a bad day...


Monday, 15 December 2014

Brussels has Muscles.

I visited Brussels a couple of weekends ago - there will be a slideshow of my favourite arty photos when I have time to work out which photos they are. In the meantime, you can enjoy this video...



The light display went on for about 20 minutes, with atmospheric music throughout. This light show, combined with the Christmas Market, the amazing food and the mulled wine means I am now a little bit in love with Brussels.

I think I shall make this Christmas Market malarkey, a holiday tradition....

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas Cards

So it seems I have been a bit too busy to blog recently. I have had this Sunday to myself though which means catch up time! Interestingly I have a blog post written down on my to-do list, specifically the words 'blog about Christmas Cards' written in blue biro.

I am going to do this blog post now although it is going to end up being redundant....

Each year, this one being no exception, I release a set of 6 paintings which are made into shiny A5 luxury Christmas cards which are then offered up for sale. These are the on the 2015 edition:


You could have bought some, if I had blogged about this earlier. I have however, decided to blog about it today, when I have no cards left. They are officially out of stock. 'This is not helpful' I hear you cry. Well no, it isn't. If you want one now, you will have to hope you are on my mailing list.

I will make sure next year I

a) Blog about them earlier
b) Stock pile more of them.
c) Don't tease you by showing you what you missed.

Well, rumour has it this will happen next year....


Friday, 5 December 2014

The Drive

And lastly, the latest painting I have done that is still awaiting a write up. The Drive:

'The Drive' 24" x 12" Acrylic on canvas

The Reason:

An idea fixed in my mind that I knew wouldn't leave me until I had painted it.

The Setting:

Driving back from a weekend in Lyme Regis, in my friend's new Mazda convertible, the top down, the wind rushing through my hair, the autumnal trees and the cool wintry light. 

The Inspiration:

The colours, the expansive view, the lines of trees, the endless road, the wondering what is round the corner, the peace, the freedom, the quality of light, the erratic dappled sunshine.

The drive....

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Hampton Court

Next up is Hampton Court:

Hampton Court 30" x 30" Acrylic on canvas

The Reason:

I wanted something to paint, not too complicated and friend's had just had a day trip there.

The Setting:

Seeing a photo that made me think 'yes' I want to paint that.

The Inspiration:

From when I briefly visited Hampton Court, remembering the flowers, the multiple colours, the order of the gardens, the maze. Having just painted Patina, neat, ordered, geometrical and patterned. I wanted this to not be an accurate representation but an impression. An impression of the elevation and of the gardens. I consciously chose not to include the statues that lead along the path to the entrance. I am still not sure whether this was a good idea or not, but I always stick with my first conviction. (I don't know whether this is a good idea either, but to me, if it feels finished, it is finished).

I think I may well paint this building again at some point, and it will be a very different take from the above....




Monday, 1 December 2014

Patina

I am getting a bit behind (quite frankly with everything) at the moment. I need more hours in the day, or I need to be able to survive on less hours of sleep. I fear neither of these things are likely to happen so I will just make the best of it.

I am busy at the moment, architecturally busy, artwork busy, socially busy. It is making for an exciting life but also making it increasingly difficult to balance everything. I am keeping all the important things going but I can tell I am letting my blog slip slightly as each time I think I will sit and write something, something else gets in the way. Not today though, today I am devoting myself to catching up with some Birth Certificates.

First up is Patina:


The Reason:

The problem with leaving 'Birth Certificates' for a while is that I have no idea where this came from. I think I just wanted to paint something 'neat' and not in my usual expressive style.

The Setting:

A feeling, wanting to do a landscape, remembering Big Sur, being in the mood for masking tape, wanting to make it up as I go along.

The Inspiration:

When I make something up I tend to go for trademark themes, in this case the ocean, sunsets, my usual pattern choices and colours. The idea to add the white silhouetted plants came during the painting, resourced online after looking at various plant shapes. Making something spontaneous is very different from deciding what you are doing in advance. It almost feels like a different piece of you is working, a piece that deals with a different type of creativity.

When I want to purge, I make something up, if I am inspired then I already have an idea planned, if I want to relax I just copy something. Patina was, or is, a little bit of all three.



Sunday, 30 November 2014

Calvendo

So, in my previous post I mentioned the word 'calendars.' I shall now tell you a bit more about them. I was sent an email a while ago by Calvendo, a German Publishing firm, saying they offered the risk free ability for you to publish calendars of your artwork/photographs. Apparently they had stumbled across my website and thought my work would be a good edition to their growing collection. Once made, the calendars would be for sale on various online platforms, including Amazon and Blackwells and in bookshops in 'real life' (whatever that is).

I couldn't resist and I have already had 6 calendars approved. (I may be slightly addicted to making them).



Unfortunately the calendars in question are a bit expensive to purchase, although they are very well made and exclusive. I shall no doubt be purchasing some soon to give away on facebook. I shall, when I can find a moment to breathe, also be adding them onto this blog for purchase. Watch this space, as sharply as I'll be watching my weight with the beginning of the season to get a little too jolly!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Per month

So it turns out some exciting art stuff had happened and I just hadn't noticed. I sold a painting on Saturday but somehow missed the congratulatory email. Fortunately I got a reminder this morning that I only had one day left to post the bought painting to my client.

What?

The Artfinder email I missed was sandwiched between two 'congratulations your calendars have been accepted for publishing' emails (more about that later). I get a lot of generic emails from Artfinder so I don't always pay that much attention to them. I guess that had better change!  

Needless to say this morning involved a hasty trip to the post office but it is all sorted now with one day to spare, apparently. It is good I have made another sale, because ignoring March, I have sold a big bespoke print or at least one painting every month this year, assuming I haven't just jinxed December...

I am hope, hope, hoping I will sell more than just one in December....

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Vitamin C

So I have had a kind of stay at home holiday over the last few days. If I haven't had company I have just sat on the sofa with a warm cow (it is a wheatbag that you heat in the microwave, shaped like a cow, before you ask) a large cup of tea/pint of Ribena and a good book. It has half done the trick, I was slightly more motivated on Monday morning but I am still tired, with black rings and a slight headache. I don't think I can eat any more Vitamin C so it looks like this fug is not being shifted. So if I am going to get a cold, just let me get it so I can get over it rather than just always feeling slightly mouldy.

Oh well. Right now I am going to schedule some blog posts and then give up for the day and paint. Hopefully I will feel better after that - I usually do.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Spinnaker Tower

Seriously, where is time going at the moment? Every time I think 'I only wrote on my blog yesterday, maybe the day before' 5 days have passed. At least that is what I wrote when I initially drafted this post (by drafted I mean I saved a whole sentence). 7 days have passed now which I think equates to an epic fail. Oh well, better late than never!

It seems as though I may have got too used to exciting art things happening as nothing has happened for a couple of weeks and I am getting fed up and disheartened. It seems harsh as I have just been asked to write an article about my creativity for inclusion in an e-book, and I recently completed negotiations with the Oxford University Press to allow them to publish the Spinnaker Tower in an English Language Text Book. I have also had the go ahead to publish and sell some calendars on Amazon. Two of them have been approved already and I have four more in the pipeline.  All that and a slightly complicated commission to undertake in time for Christmas.

'The Spinnaker Tower' Coming to a school near you! 
Wow. Put like that I sound busy and successful. Maybe I need to write down and focus on the good things that have happened this year rather than worrying about the fact that I am slightly unmotivated and drained at the moment. I sometimes find it difficult to relax and switch off unless I am not in my flat. The temptation when I am at home is to work, work, work, which sometimes does nobody any good. It might be time for a stay at home holiday!

Friday, 14 November 2014

No Business, like Snow Business

Disappointingly having an early night hasn't really helped as I still look like a member of the living dead. If only Halloween was this week, I could get by with a limited amount of dressing up and no make up. I am glad I didn't have much to do this week, as the things I have managed to do have been enough. Hooray for the weekend is all I can say, although as I am going away it won't be as peaceful as is possibly required, but more fun hopefully.

Anyway, I am a bit behind with my painting 'birth certificates', so without further ado, one is coming up right now:

'Snow Business' 30" x 24" Acrylic on Canvas
The Reason

My parents visited my brother and sister-in-Law in Barry, Wales and took a trip out to Castell Coch. They were both charmed and it brought back some memories of when I visited whilst at University.

The Setting

Castell Coch, a few postcards of the interior, some photos of the exterior, my memories of the place and weather on the turn outside my window.

The Inspiration

The hidden nature of the building, the surrounding countryside, the fact I needed to paint some Christmas cards, remembering approaching the castell after a long walk and the expectation of arriving. The picturesque thought of snow and sun.

I liked the idea with this composition that the trees could hide the building and the snow could hide the trees. Everything about Castell Coch is not seeing it until you actually get right up close, even though you can see it for miles beforehand. I wanted to keep some of the mystique, so even though I have painted it, you still need to go there to see what it is really like.

Mission accomplished I think!


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Superb

Is it bad that it is only ten past 5 in the afternoon and I want to go to bed? Is it even more bad that I have felt like this for the last couple of hours? I don't know what is wrong with me this week but I am totally burnt out.

I think an early night is called for and possibly a lie in. First, or before I even consider going to bed, I need to package up a painting. New York, New York has just had the confirmation through that it is going to live in Gloucestershire! This is exciting as it is my largest painting sale yet, and I hope is an indication of things to come. It is strange, I have sold two paintings of Times Square and I have been sad to see both of them go, this one more so than the other, even though the other lived on my bedroom wall for 2 years before it left.

Left: 'Times Square' Right: 'New York, New York'

I guess this means I may be painting another; I shall add it to my list of obsessions along with St Paul's, Tower Bridge and St Basil's in Moscow, I have a feeling I will paint all of these again in the not too distant future.

In the meantime this last sale with Artgallery.co.uk has finally got me 5 out of 5 stars and the accolade of being 'Superb.' It seems like I am going up in the world, I think that is what New York does to you....

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wall Filling Show Stopper

I have a bit of free time at the moment that I am not sure I am using wisely. I am slightly out of practice at having time to think so I keep excessively procrastinating. This does not make me feel very productive in the run up to Christmas. I feel slightly under pressure to make the most of the season and sell some paintings as I did quite well this time last year. The 'rush' didn't start until the middle of December though so I have some time. I think I also need to give myself some slack as I have sold a lot more throughout the rest of the year than I have done previously. Nothing quite like unnecessary expectation to wear you out!

On a more positive note, I did find myself in some exciting publicity the other day. I periodically internet search myself to make sure there are no images or comments out of place in the vast ether that is the World Wide Web. It is also interesting to see if I have made any inroads anywhere, and this time I have! I found an article (you can read it here) saying my work, specifically 'Ridge' is one of the 7 best types of art prints to buy. This is because it is a 'wall-filling show stopper'!

'Ridge' 30" x 24" Acrylic on Canvas
I will gladly accept that as a compliment, so thank you Laura Barns for the description that I am now going to name drop EVERYWHERE!

Laura, the 'wall-filling show stopper' Hol, has a nice ring to it.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Please Envelope Me

So, recently, you may have seen me go a little crazy on the purchasing of marketing items including business cards and a stamp. I have in fact, after mentioning the business cards just had to go and sift through them all again, seriously, they are too exciting, and I am tired and easily entertained.

I did make one other purchase at the same time as the above with marketing in mind. I also had to buy more card making supplies as I have just made another batch of 50 handmade cards. I always feel accomplished when I have made them, even if I find making them to be slightly torturous. But anyway, I digress, the final purchase was a presentation envelope to contain a few bits and pieces I wanted to put together when someone bought an Original painting. I had the idea that it may look more professional and be slightly more exciting to receive a presentation pack with the painting and the invoice. After all, it is often the little things, the small attentions to detail that make the big difference.

The photo below shows what I decided upon. Once you purchase a Laura Hol Original you will receive - a presentation envelope containing, the invoice, an Authentication Certificate, a handmade card, a business card and a magnet. The only thing I can't decide on is whether to include the paintings 'Birth Certificate' in the pack. I can't quite decide whether it would be better or worse to know how the painting came about, I for one, like to make up my own mind. Or do I? I might be wondering about this for a while.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Special Offer!

Forgetting you have a blog is slightly annoying. I can't remember what I was supposed to be writing about or where it was going, or what I have done recently for that matter. I can remember who I am though. Just.

I feel like this is a small victory.

Very small.

Tiny in fact.

So I might as well kick start getting back into typing words that don't make sense with a special offer. Right now on Society6, for the next 5 days there is free delivery worldwide and $5 off all purchases. This might be a good time to stock up on some Christmas presents for those hard to buy people. I incidentally, if you want to buy me a present, would like one of the duvet covers, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

The link is here, use it wisely!



Tuesday, 4 November 2014

What blog?

I had a new feeling the other day and /or a new thought. It was at the weekend, or possibly on Monday that I realised the following - I had forgotten I had a blog.

WHAT?

 How can I have forgotten I had a blog? I have been writing on it every few days (admittedly with breaks) for almost two years; A slightly worrying lapse of memory to say the least. I think the problem is due to two things 1) Having a lot of architecture work and 2) An actual busy social life, for once. This makes me slightly sad for how slow my social life was previously although perhaps I was just more dedicated or focused. It has actually been relatively satisfying to have had a break from blog writing and not to feel guilty about it. My memory is not very reliable at the best of times, but it mostly works in my favour as I have a quite  spectacular ability to shut things out of my mind if needs be. I just need to occasionally find where the reboot button is hidden.

But anyway, I am blogging now, and as I am rendering architectural models I will be up for a while with nothing to do except watch the percentages increase on my thread counter. Sounds like a good excuse to catch up with some art admin, especially as I haven't done any, for ages.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Autumn Fireworks

I am glad I went for a long walk in the early October sunshine on Sunday. It meant I could catch the start of the leaves changing colour for Autumn, or rather see them. I could catch the leaves today as it is so windy I am not sure the trees will have any leaves left by the end of the day!


You can't beat the colours around at the moment, I love it. It feels like I am walking around in a landscape I painted myself.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Moo

My internet is broken again today, it is so slow it is driving me bonkers. I have decided to give up on updating anything online today, other than posting this, as typing still seems to be bearable.

It doesn't matter too much as I had a relatively productive weekend and it has given me a good excuse to not feel guilty about not working and to clean the house instead. I am very rock and roll you know! Thank goodness yoga is on later this evening, I could do with that restorative, relaxing feeling being pushed back into my shoulders, not to mention detoxing a little.

























But let's focus on the weekend instead - Friday saw me manage to do some networking at a local secret supper club. I am patting myself on the back for giving the hostess a mini print of Maidenhead and managing to hand out some of my shiny new business cards (thank you Moo.com!). The cards did a ridiculously good job of being a mini portfolio, so I feel like that was £30 well spent. I also had an email request to feature one of my latest paintings in an online blog, managed to take some nice shots of Autumn and paint an unusual painting, and go out on Saturday night and do some DIY. So this would explain why I am still a bit tired today.

It is a good tired though - faintly satisfying. I keep feeling like I am too slow at the moment, I should be doing more, more, more, everything should already be up to date, blah, blah, blah. I don't know why because everything is never done and that is the way it should be.

Pre season jitters maybe? (And the fact I never get up early enough)...





Tuesday, 14 October 2014

*Pat, pat*

I am feeling a bit defeatist today. Fed up of trying, trying, trying and only being met with a large shiny brick wall approximately four thousand, nine hundred and fifty three million, courses high. I am supposed to climb over that?

*turns round and goes back to bed*

I feel like I am putting in all the leg work and preparing for some sales, it is the season after all, but then a bit of me is unsure as to whether my sales at this time last year were a coincidence and not a potential market trend.

I think today might be a self doubt day. A day when I really need someone to pat me on the head and tell me it is all going to be ok. Sometimes everything just seems a little too difficult.    

Monday, 13 October 2014

Man on Wire

I don't have anything to do this week. Well I do, I have lots of things, but nothing to any deadlines. Hopefully this week is going to be all about me. Me, me, me, and fingers crossed I can spend a few days achieving some art things.

I haven't managed to write about any notable films recently, mostly because I haven't watched any. I did however, manage to catch a relatively interesting one last week. It was 'Man on Wire' and about Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the Twin Towers. I think it was more interesting/poignant to watch as the Twin Towers are no longer with us. I also bow down in awe to the man's balancing skills knowing I can barely hold Tree Pose in yoga for more than about 60 seconds.

The film was made up of archive footage, re inactions and interviews with the main protagonists of the stunt and gave an impressive insight into the preparations and emotions of the people involved. Philippe Petit is very charismatic in a leading role and it is easy to get wrapped up into what he was trying achieve. It was also interesting to see the long term emotional effects of the stunt on his friends, with the interviewees getting caught up in the drama of their remembered emotions, tensions and pressure.

It is definitely an interesting watch to see such dedication, determination, drive and absolute, nutty bravery.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Chambord Fog

The problem with starting something new is that it is fun for about ten minutes and then you are stuck with it. I feel a bit like this in regards to my painting 'Birth Certificates.' I think they are a good idea in principle - an interesting record, and a good way for me to evaluate what I have done but that doesn't mean I always want to do them. It is just another thing that gets added to the list of things to do once a painting is finished. It is sometimes bad enough having to photograph it, whatsapp it to my first preview friends (email it to my Mum) straighten it in Photoshop, save numerous sizes and versions, add it to the various sites I belong to, update my website, find somewhere for it to live in my flat, write a Birth Certificate.

Argh.

It is sometimes enough to put me off painting. (Well, it isn't, but it could be). Anyway, after all this moaning it seems likely that I probably need to write a story about a newborn baby painting (that is actually quite large and not a baby):

Chambord Fog "30 x 24" Acrylic on a box canvas
The Reason

I actually have no idea. Just because it looks like a me thing to paint.

The Setting

Internet trawling unfortunately as I haven't been there before, and a nagging obsession with fog floating around in the back of my mind.

The Inspiration

Chambord, the fog of alcohol, the colour of the liqueur, fog in general, mists, ambiguity, the reflection of the lake, winter, the fact I keep painting castles, the size of canvas.

That will do won't it? I would like to keep this one hazy, like the effects of an alcoholic beverage - a shot or two of Chambord and the mists rolling in off an icy river.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

October

This painting was mostly a mistake, or created via a slice of serendipity. My initial idea didn't quite go to plan so I 'whited' out the element I was unhappy with (the section in the middle) and then sat with it for a few days wondering what to fill the space with. After discounting about a hundred other ideas, I settled for autumn leaves, it is the season after all.

'October' Acrylic on a box canvas 24" x 12"

The Reason

A spark of inspiration whilst on the train travelling to Southampton and the Isle of Wight

The Setting

The train. The view out of the window and the reflection of the window on the opposite side of the carriage.  

The Inspiration

The dark, dense, wooded trees on one side, the bright, open fields on the other. Reflections. Juxtaposition. Contrasts.

The idea was to paint the woods I could see out of the window of the train, and the reflection of the windows opposite. Running in the white band - before it became white - were bright 'windows' showing an open field. In the painting you could, therefore, see both sides of the train at the same time. I wasn't happy with the contrasts, or the style, or the field, or the picture in general. I think I might try again but I need to think the idea through more carefully.

I didn't want to lose the painting though as I thought the left over 'woods' had potential. The added autumn leaves, were my way of rescuing it. A happy end, to a good beginning and a slightly torturour middle.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Authenticity with an Authentic Authenticator

I am procrastinating at the moment. I have too much time on my hands to do nothing, but not enough time to do something. I guess I will blog then! I also burnt my finger at lunchtime. I shrugged it off at the time but four hours later and it has started hurting. I am not sure how that works?

Mean.

I have had a bit of time recently so I have been preparing and ordering some bits and pieces I have wanted to get for ages. The first order arrived at the weekend, the second order yesterday and the last one will arrive on Thursday hopefully. The first item is shown below:


I have been wanting to get a stamp I can use to authenticate print sales for ages. Now, thanks to speedystamps.co.uk, I can authenticate prints as well as miscellaneous bits of paper, my friends hand, the wall, the table, generally anything I can lay my hands on! I just need to sell a print through my website now....although on the plus side, I just received an emailing telling me I sold a card through Fine Art America....fingers crossed this is the start of something. 

I do have one of those feelings.....

Monday, 6 October 2014

Elspeth's Field

This painting was half a commission, half an idea and half a coincidence. I jokingly put a photo of some sunflowers a friend had given me on facebook, with the caption, 'I feel a bit of Van Gogh coming on.'

An old friend then contacted me to say that if I painted some sunflowers she might buy a print. One of her close friends had recently suffered a terrible bereavement and sunflowers were being used as the memorial flower. There was no way I wasn't going to make some attempt to paint the flowers after hearing this, even though, initially, I had no intention of painting them. It serves me right for being insincere I suppose, but I am one not one to ignore coincidences. 

So here it is - Elspeth's Field




I decided to donate the painting to my friend's friend as I wouldn't have painted it without their influence and it seemed right. It is the kindness of strangers that can sometimes help get you through the utter desolation of grief in its blackest moments.

The painting is nothing to their grief, but the process behind it is a powerful thought.


Friday, 3 October 2014

Disney Magic

This commission was a particularly fun one to do. I had already been thinking that at some point I would like to paint the Disney Castle (and Hogwarts for that matter) but I ended up doing it rather sooner than expected. 

I was initially apprehensive - the request was for an A3 canvas with fireworks. How do you paint fireworks? And, given the option, I would have rather the canvas was considerably larger - more like a 30" x 24" one as I find small canvasses to be a bit restrictive. 

I always like a challenge though....


In the end, the fireworks were the easiest bit to do and I didn't struggle with the size as much as I thought I would. I guess you just adapt and work to the constraints you have. Fortunately the last few paintings I had completed were small(er) ones so I had at least had some practice. 

It does leave me feeling a bit like I need to paint something massive next (or soon)......

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Having fun!?!

I am enjoying myself at the moment. Work has finally calmed down to the point where I have nothing to do. This means that my days are currently just art times, to my own timetable. The circles under my eyes are leaving, my shoulders are relaxing, I am getting excited about all the things I need to do. I am also finding hundreds of extra things I would like to do, which makes me feel quite positive about how things are progressing.

I have started by getting some envelopes printed so when I sell a painting I can put a little presentation pack together with a few freebies, purchase information and authentication certificates. I have also ordered some more business cards from Moo.com. These are super exciting because they print double sided cards with different pictures on the back. This means I have 50 designs, which are all different paintings; I shall finally have a mini portfolio to hand for when people ask me what I do.

Having free time also means I will be able to update and sort marketing/admin/websiting during the day and paint in the evening or at the weekend rather than needing my free time to live/sleep/update.

This is all sounding a little too good to be true, but I am going to go with it at the moment and enjoy it whilst it lasts.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

OXO Towers

So.... I don't know how my start of writing 'Birth Certificates' works when the painting is a commission. Then, it is less of an idea, more of a doing what I am asked. Well, I suppose there is an idea of sorts but it is more interpretation and client led, rather than pure thought on my part.

So maybe I'll just post commissions as regular 'look at me' paintings.  


Before you ask, yes, I do know there are three paintings here, all almost the same. The one in the middle was my first commission of the OXO Tower in London, the one on the far right the second commission and the one on the left the third; Well, part two of the second commission. Part two because I misinterpreted the style required in the second commission so I did another version to see if that was more what the client had in mind. It was, fortunately(!). This does mean I have a spare OXO Tower up my sleeve if anyone wants (another) one.

I find the OXO Tower a tough subject to paint because there is not much to it. It is simple and awkward to compose in an interesting fashion. It is also quite a stark, clean and crisp building which is not good as I find it very difficult to be neat. Not a natural choice, but I think I did an ok job.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Unwritten

It looks like I might have a bit of time this week to catch up with some things as my freelance work has calmed down for the moment. What a perfect day to be unable to concentrate. Not.

I finally have the time to tackle a few outstanding things that have been niggling and frustrating my outer skin and my brain has gone on holiday. This is monumentally unhelpful. I also stupidly carried a 14kg parcel half a mile up the road earlier to the post office and my arms haven't quite been the same since. I did this about 2 and a half hours ago and I still feel as though my shoulders belong to someone else.

I also just said something to a friend I probably should have kept to myself.

And....

And.....

I did a painting last night that I can't work out how to finish. I had an idea that backfired slightly so now I am left with a start, a painted over middle and an unwritten end.

Today. I mostly don't know what to do.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Bitty Bits

I am really starting to get ants in my pants today. I have had a few days of sun, rest and recuperation on the Isle of Wight recently and am now back to reality with a bit of a bump. Seriously, why is there always so much to do? I am suffering at the moment from bitty bits. Bitty bits to do, bitty bits to sort, bitty bits to chase, bitty bits to finish. I really need something I can get my teeth into so I can sit back and relax and look at what I have achieved at the end of it, rather than sit back and look at loads of fiddly things that amount to very little and never seem to get finished.

Yes I am irritated and yes, I think I need to paint.

It has only been ten days since my last picture but I am really feeling it at the moment. I guess it might be time to make an executive decision and dedicate some time to myself either this evening or tomorrow before I get really irritable!

hmm 'before' I get really irritable? I have a feeling it may already be too late....



Monday, 22 September 2014

New York, New York

I have come to the conclusion that I actually like scheduling blog posts as then, when I do a few in one go, I can choose to write them in whatever order I please. I have no idea why this should make such a difference but I guess it gives my mind a chance to clear itself in its order of choice rather than order of timely accuracy.

I also wish I had a laptop/ipad so I could write things on the go. I have spent quite a bit of time travelling recently, and although it isn't wasted time as I always read or just enjoy not having to do anything I could save a bit of time by writing these on a train/boat/plane service to nowhere/everywhere. 

Oh well. A, better late than never and B, at least I will look up when I am travelling and not miss the world going by whilst I am glued to a small piece of electronic distraction. 



The Reason

I love New York, I have painted it before at night in the rain. I had this painting in my bedroom but I was tempted enough to sell it. I felt it was finally time to paint a replacement, but a different version, in the day, in the sun.

The Setting

It had to be Times Square, we stayed in a hotel 2 minutes away and walked through it many times, at night, in the day, in the rain, in the hot sun, when it was freezing, when we were drunk, when we were tired, when we had too much shopping, when we were dressed to impress, when we were buying Broadway tickets, when we were going somewhere else, when we did karaoke, when we were leaving, when we were dreaming of coming back....

The Inspiration

My memories, the buzz, the vibrancy, the sound of yellow taxis, the people, the mass of cultures, the colours, the WOW.

New York is close to my heart, it was the first destination outside of Europe I visited and the first place to tempt me into a long haul flight. I hate flying so this is saying something. I have tried to condense all of this excitement, anticipation, expectation, newness into this painting. I have painted my memory.

 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

I think it is time to PAINT

I realised I have set aside this morning to write lots of blog posts and I am totally brain dead. I know which posts I need to write but all my words have deserted me. My brain is frazzled. I think I have reached that point where I need to gaze out into the empty horizon, preferable a horizon with sea, and just totally switch off. Tune Out. Shut down. See without seeing.

Just as well I am heading to the Isle of Wight today then to recharge. Phew. It is overdue.

Whilst I moan that I haven't much time to devote to whatever art things I need to do (I am too scared to look at 'the list') Things have been happening. I don't think I actually need to worry about pouring my heart and soul into promoting every single second as it has been ticking over without me. I guess it is the thought of trying to take it to the next level, I am still worried this is all just temporary popularity and I don't want it to be. It has to be more than that. More, more, more!

Avarice. A sin you sometimes need.

So far this month, I have a painting and some prints I need to post, I have completed a commission, delivered another painting for solace, become most popular artwork and photograph of the month on Premier Gallery, and sold some cards. Yes, I know, what more do I want!? I have a feeling it may just be that I haven't painted much this month, Just two small A3 canvasses, in comparison to last months 5 canvasses, one of which was massive. I always do this, moan about lack of time, moan about all the stuff I need to do when it can normally just be cured when I sit down and paint something.

Problem solved.

Maybe I will remember this one day.

Maybe The Day After Tomorrow.

BOOM!  

Friday, 19 September 2014

The White Birch

I don't know where the time is going at the moment. I also can't decide whether I am too busy or just incompetent. I seem to have had very little time to dedicate to any art-ing. I had a few days at the beginning of the month when I managed to catch up with some overdue urgent things and then within a couple of days my architecture work picked up and now I don't feel like I have done anything constructive!

The trouble with having regular work on is that then you have to make a choice - do I have some free time or do I use my free time to do some artwork? Normally artwork wins every time but I am worn out. Painting is draining, website updating/admin/marketing/accounting etc is time consuming, real work is my bread and butter, sleep is essential, catching up with friends a must, free time is non existent. This is ok for a few days but then I start to get stressed that I am dropping the ball, not keeping the momentum going. I am trying to build something and I need it to keep being built even if it is only a brick a day. This is why I have a morning off today before my long weekend starts. I am blog posting, I am going to schedule a lot so I can give myself a week off but know I am still doing something. Any extra I manage to do on top of this is a bonus, but at least I'll know one brick is being added.

I have consoled myself slightly this week by finding an unusual bit of music to listen to, it appeals to the creative side of me and is quite calming. It got me through a late (2.30am) deadline of work on Wednesday and for that I am grateful.




  

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Parlez vous anglais?

Wow, so I haven't written a post for a while now, that wasn't meant to happen. It has been a bit frustrating recently. I had a spell clear of architectural work so I finally managed to plough through quite a few art things I have been meaning to do for ages. I was momentarily feeling good about everything but it seems like suddenly, as always, I have too much to do, architectural stuff coming out of my ears, files to keep up to date, accounts to sort, people to see, paintings to do. This seems to have temporarily frightened my 'art brain' as it seems to have officially left the building. I won't worry for the moment, I have become very good at keeping lists recently so I know what needs to be done, and I am pretty sure at some point in the following week things will get back to normal. Why do you always seem to have 'vacant' brain days when you really could do with being on top form? 

Oh well, Monday tomorrow and I know what needs to be done. The sooner I can clear a few things off my plate the more likely and quickly my art self will return, or in fact, the more quickly my brain will return. As for today, I think I will just remain in that special dazed preoccupied state that is not particularly useful to anyone. 

You know you are overloaded when you are listening to songs you don't understand, just because you want to hear someone's voice but not actually take on-board, pay attention to what they are saying....



Thursday, 28 August 2014

Lille

I can't remember the last time I uploaded any photographs onto my site, or my blog, or facebook, or in fact anywhere. This is partly because I haven't been away for a while and partly because I have been so busy with architecture work that I haven't had a chance to even go anywhere local and just take some pictures. I guess, in every spare moment I have had I have painted in preference to anything else.

This is slightly annoying, especially as recently, on places like Fine Art America I have been selling prints of my photos which means they are worth pursuing. (And would be anyway as I like taking them and keep thinking about buying an SLR!)

So an addition to my 'to-do' list should probably be - must take more photos, or go more places to take photos, or always have my camera in my bag. In fairness I seem to swing between things, either taking lots of photos, doing lots of paintings, or painting random things like chairs, baubles, drumsticks, the ceiling..... so maybe at the moment I am just in the mood for painting. That is fine.

And then....

After saying all the above I do actually have some new photos after a recent trip to Lille.....

Lille was interesting, easy to get to and super cheap to stay. Whilst there wasn't much to do there is always the French way of living to enjoy - long lunches, aperitifs and good food. There was quite a nice slice of architecture dotted around for me to appreciate as well although it was more Flemish in style than French. So whilst there might not be any paintings, (although there was one nice big clock tower, and I am obsessed with clocks) there are a few photographs....  


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Neuschwanstein

I finally plucked up the courage, a week or so ago, to paint a castle I have been meaning to paint forever but never thought I had the technical ability to capture. I have painted enough recently that I am feeling a lot more confident on that front so I decided to just have a go and see what happened. Turns out it happened rather well....



The Reason

Just because, and it was time for a challenge.

The Setting

The internet and endless image searches for Neuschwanstein Castle.

The Inspiration

The castle itself, a memory of a fairytale, the colours of winter, magic, the patterns of a Secret of Kells.

There is isn't much to say about this one, it is what it is after all. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out though, for once the vision I had in my head came out quite accurately onto paper which isn't always the case. It was also a good mix of my two favourite things - a good landscape and a good building....It is always nice to feel a little bit smug.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Matisse

I am mostly blogging and scheduling today. I have done a good job of catching up with some overdue art things though - this time last week I had 24 things outstanding on my immediate 'to do' list. I have got this down to just two things (this is ignoring my on-going to do list of non urgent things which still stands at 23 items).

I feel so much more together. Helped by the fact that in the last 10 days I have painted 5 new paintings. I am half thinking of painting another one this evening but maybe I ought to have a break before I burn out. I will decide later. I have already painted 32 things this year which is around the figure of my usual yearly limit!

But anyway, where was I? Ah yes, Matisse.

The Matisse exhibition was amazing - I loved it - which is interesting as he has never floated my boat particularly before. Seeing his work, was a bit like walking around my own house - I felt like we had so much in common; The obsession with colour, bold contrasts, unusual shapes, decorating his house, the need to be creative. I say 'in common' in the loosest sense.....

The Thousand and One Nights

I appreciated the fact it was a style brought about by necessity, but progressed on from his style as a painter. It turns out he often cut and coloured things and pinned them onto paper to work out the most satisfying composition before he sat down to paint. The cut outs were a natural progression as his health deteriorated and he became more ill and unable to stand/be physically active. He could get his helpers to paint the paper, he could cut out the shapes and then get his assistant to pin the paper to the canvas under his direction. The perfect way to still be creative with minimal physical duress.

Icarus, Verve, Blue Nude







The exhibition itself had a good mix of items - videos showing Matisse at work, samples of the colour books and papers he used, mock ups of stained glass windows and priest cassocks (or whatever you call them), large images showing how his walls were decorated, books, an actual stained glass window and everything in between. It was pretty inspiring and uplifting. I can't remember if I have ever been to an exhibition that was so bright. I am like a moth to a coloured flame, especially if it is stripy, my house is full of colour, my paintings are full of colour and I am obsessively drawn to coloured things. And yes, I did buy a big glossy book of all Matisse's cut outs from the gift store.

It is a good exhibition to visit, not as stuffy as some and relatively easy to get into and understand. Well worth a day out.    

Monday, 25 August 2014

Malevich and a Fire Alarm

I am being super efficient today - it is a bank holiday Monday but it is tipping it down with rain and I have nothing else to do so I may as well work. I have a few things I could do with catching up with anyway so I think it is probably no bad thing (even if it does make me feel like I need to sort my social life out).

I visited a couple of exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London a little over a week ago so I guess I had better tell you about them. The first one was on Malevich - a Russian Suprematist and the second one a focus on Matisse's Cut Outs (You can read about that one tomorrow).

I didn't really have enough time to do Malevich justice - there was a lot to see and two rooms in - BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, the Tate suffered from a Fire Alarm. An hour and a half of waiting outside in the just not quite raining and it was time to see Matisse. I had half an hour at the end to rush around the 12 rooms, but at least I read the booklet back to back whilst I was waiting and knew what to look out for.

I actually don't really know what to say or where to start. There was a lot going on at the exhibition and a lot of interruptions and inspiration drawn from, and because of, the politics and the turbulence of Russia at the time Malevich was prevalent. There were small works because paper was so expensive, there were school diagrams from when he taught at an Art School in Vitebsk, there were cubist and impressionist works from when he was first starting out and then a group of Suprematist works fading away to nothing.

Clockwise from Top left, The Scyther, Black Square, Suprematist composition, Suprematist composition, Self Portrait.
The Suprematist works were definitely the most interesting, at least, to me. The impressionist and cubist paintings were very accomplished, in fact, I love one of his self portraits but it is in the Suprematist works that you find the man and the manifesto. I still don't really understand what Suprematism is - the idea an artist is only a creator if his artistry has nothing in common with nature. That is fair enough, if you are painting landscapes/people you are just reinterpreting something that already exists, not creating something new, but I think that is how you teach people to see something they might have missed, so I don't think it is an unnecessary creation.

With the previous nature orientated and 'peasant' class of Russia and the eruption of 1914 and a 'modern war' these de naturalised and futuristic images make more sense. They are the perfect capture of an explosive moment in Russian history and a jump from one culture to another, and in fact how Malevich jumped from one style to another almost instantly with the iconic 'Black Square'. I feel like I don't entirely understand mentally what Malevich was about but I understand him by eye and by heart, and I would like to know more. That means in one way or another he has inspired me, and that is all I want from an exhibition. I also know that when I want to paint but I equally need a rest I will just copy a piece of scenery or a landscape as it is good therapy for me. If I want to create something, I do usually try a bit harder and the image usually becomes more abstract. In that way, Suprematism is exactly as it says and a higher form of perception and creativity. Malevich was obviously more focused than me....    

Friday, 22 August 2014

I'm a Celebrity....well, for 5 days at least

The last couple of weeks have been a bit strange and it started with the Butcher's Dog London launch event.



One of the Butcher's Dogs poets bought 'Plinth' (the painting that was used for the front cover) and donated it to the event so it was sat in the background propped up on a table. There were also copies of the book everywhere, as well as mini promotional postcards. This generally felt like there were bits of me scattered all over the place, not to mention the bizarreness of visiting one of my own paintings in public. Visiting old paintings always makes me feel weird, like seeing something I know impossibly well but I am completely disconnected from. I also got a VIP mention and a round of applause which was immensely embarrassing.



On the way home, I got chatting to a guy about why I had been in London and I showed him my work. I think he thought I was famous as then ensued a rather gushing conversation. This was then topped off the following week with a talent swap with one of my extremely talented friends - Margaret Yescombe, a professional photographer in London - and a photo-shoot.



So - a public showing, promotional pictures everywhere, a round of applause, a gushing 'fan' (I actually think he had just found a way to 'chat me up' without resorting to dating clich├ęs) and a photo-shoot. I feel curiously self important - recognised and unrecognised - living a fake celebrity that lasted about 5 days. Oh well, at least I got to taste it for a little while and I always like experiencing new things. It looks like some of the shots we got from the photo-shoot were gems as well so I may soon have a new photo face for all my artwork.

Watch this space.    

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Castillo Belmonte

As I am writing 'birth certificates' I might as well do another one. Especially as the reason for painting this one, is kind of stupid.



The Reason

A conversation.

The Setting

A Sushi/Japanese restaurant in California, talking about buildings to paint, having some Sake and some good food with good company.

The Inspiration

A typo, being deaf, confusion, having a bad memory, looking for a castle in Italy and painting a castle in Spain, mistaking Belmonte for Del Monte, listening to a CD that reminds me of winter, some photos of the castle I found on the internet, a half remembered conversation 6 months previous.

As you may have gathered, it was suggested a few months ago that I paint the Del Monte Castle in Italy. By the time I got round to it, I had half forgotten the conversation and subsequently chose the wrong castle. I was confused at the time as I remembered being told it was an octagon and in Italy - the Belmonte castle (not an octagon and in Spain!) looked like something I would paint though so why not *shrug*.

At least I should be able to use it for my Christmas card set this year!


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dichotomy

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!

Urgh.

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 artfinder.com. 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. Artfinder.com 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 artfinder.com I can really start to get things moving.....






















LOOK IT IS ME! WELL 'AMORPHOUS' AT LEAST ->






























(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.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Mirror, mirror

Today has not been my favourite thus far. I have been rendering some architectural images to show to a client tomorrow. They had been running for 7 hours and were nearing completion.

My computer just crashed.

So yes, yes, I need to start them all again and it is almost 11 o'clock at night. Hooray. Not. Guess I will be doing slightly smaller, quicker renders then!

I have also managed to do something strange to my wrist in yoga. I have weak wrists as it is but I seem to have tweaked something so moving my hand feels peculiarly warm and uncomfortable.

Two wishes in one! I am hoping all of this has nothing to do with the fact that my mirror fell off the windowsill last night and smashed. I could do without 7 years of this...

In Credit

I am doing some organising today as I am running out of corner protectors - I use them when I am packaging up my paintings to post. I have just bought 100 of them which sounds slightly crazy but actually only equates to 25 paintings. Buying more seemed overly optimistic and the 100 still qualified for a good bulk buy discount. I hope they will all fit where I usually store them! I have also just entered a competition to win an SLR camera using the following photo. Unfortunately entering gives the users permission to use my photograph however they like for publicity etc. for free but never mind. They have to credit me so it would be worth it!

'Releaf'


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Do you? Duvet?

I am multi tasking at the moment which I think basically means I am doing too many things at once and it is just a matter of time until I do something wrong. So far, I am adding some duvet covers to society6, posting something random on facebook, uploading my paintings onto a new online sales site called artfinder.com, writing this post and more importantly eating some banana bread/cake I made the other day.

I also painted something new a couple of days ago so I need to put that online everywhere (literally). I also want to join Saatchi online just so I can name drop whilst flicking my hair and saying 'rah' a lot. Darling.

I am not going to remember any of this. I also can't decide whether I should try and do all of it today or whether I should give myself a break. Oh well, I'll guess I'll just see what happens.

Incidentally I did say earlier in the post that I was making duvet covers.


Society6 are both innovative and annoying.

Annoying because I am always tempted to buy everything new they make in my own artwork but that seems a bit egotistical. Sleeping in one of my paintings even if it is in the form of a duvet seems like it might be taking my ego to a new level. I still want one though.