Monday, 30 March 2009


A sketch, two pebbles, one hand, a photo, Adobe Photoshop, a print, scan, and Gimp -there that tells you everything you need to know.

The pansy image I have been working on in recent months began life with the text 'trapped' - I took it out for the finished piece but decided to resurrect it on the pebble trapped in my hand and with the rising image of the pansy between my fingers. The scanned hand is a bit blurred and there is some kind of halo effect going on, so that needs some work.

The pebbles were collected from the Suffolk beach where I spent all my childhood summers with my aunt and are imbued with memory and emotions. They are so very tactile and beautifully coloured. The original image derived from a difficult personal situation and continues as a self-portrait.

I think I might carry on with this theme and see where it takes me - I am very keen on mixing media and re-using images, so this will tick all my boxes .

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Voyage Round My Camera

I cast a wry eye on this family of signs - they looked like father and son defending what looked like a mound of sand. Why two signs? What does the new sign say? If you've taken the trouble to buy a new sign and peg it to wood, why didn't you take the old one away?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

New Horizon?

I am at the tail end of one project and have been scanning the horizon for inspiration. This has been going on for a while now, too many ideas tumbling in and not really settling on one thing or the other. I still feel a bit split, with interests in, painting, printmaking, mixed media and anything else that passes under my nose in a creative kind of way. I don't think I have yet been able to tie the different disciplines into one coherent working practice.

After a severe self-bashing, I took the camera for a walk yesterday and spent the evening working on some photographs and then cropped and manipulated the image I use as a Twitter profile picture. I like the way the reflections in the sunglasses have made interesting abstract shapes.

It may be that a few more voyages with my camera might unblock the brain and jog it into some useful action.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Went up to Wolverhampton to see the Art Gallery there for the first time. It was a bit 'between shows'. Andy Warhol Paintings, Posters and Screenprint exhibition starts later this month and was in preparation. Another gallery was closed for some reason, so there was nothing in any of the lower galleries. I seem to have a knack of visiting galleries between shows - my most famous trip was to New York specifically to visit MOMA to find it was in the middle of refurbishment and closed for the duration. I know, I should look these things up before I start out on the big adventure.

The upper floor had a hands-on sculpture exhibition that was crawling with school children making the most of the sign that said all exhibits can be touched! After fighting my way out of the melee, I found the Utmost Fidelity exhibition featuring the work of husband and wife artists Adrian and Marianne Stokes. The Madonna and Child (1907-8) by Marianne Stokes (above) is famous for having been chosen as Christmas postage stamp in 2005. I particularly liked the fact that they had no children, a private income and were able to travel widely. My own 'lead weights' keep me busy and poor! However, envy apart, I enjoyed a lot of the work - more Marianne's for the luminosity of her subjects and the gorgeous costumes and colours- many were Hungarian villagers from the area they stayed on their painting travels and looked as fresh as if they were painted yesterday. It is a portrayal of an
idyllic world, rosy-cheeked children, young women sewing their wedding outfits but the quality of the work speaks for itself and it all felt a refreshing change from the surfeit of gloom-laden, hand-wringing, politically correct and on-message exhibitions that are de-rigeur at the moment. Some days you just feel grateful to rise above the misery.

I would have liked an exhibition book but the £35 hardback in the shop was prohibitive.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Gelatin Print

Working today on a gelatin print I made a couple of months ago. I used powdered animal gelatin to make this and want to experiment with the vegetarian brand to see if there is any difference in the setting properties. I have been using GIMP to change colour and testing some of the filters - this is very slightly manipulated using IWARP. I like the fluid quality of gelatin printing. It is very gentle and floaty. You need a fairly solid gel and water-based printing inks. (I will get around to putting some techniques on the site asap - if anyone needs any information before then give me a shout).
Lunch and then some painting.

Change of Scenery

I have had a couple of comments about a black background being difficult to read, so I have changed it to something neutral for a while until I can decide on a new hex code. I had hoped to give the blog and the web(black theme) the same style but would rather people were able to decipher my blurb - so here we are in f6f6f6 (hex not swear word).
I appreciate the feedback and it is important to the growth of the site. Now back to work...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Start The Week

A weekend with The Gimp has been entertaining. So far so good. I am reluctant to get too excited about it as I don't have a graphics background and it might disappoint the expert? But it has far exceeded my expectations and I will continue to use it. I do have some Adobe experience and that has been useful in finding my way around but I also found helpful tutorials on Youtube. So really still a fan.

Because I have been away from home and studio quite a lot over the last few months, it has been good to have software in place to manipulate images and consider taking it to other areas/media but I am hungry for new work and that means back to drawing or pouring paint this week. I began some paint exploration last week and that is propped up in the studio, so that's a good start to this week, even if its a decision to bin it.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


I picked up a copy of The Guardian Tech pages at Starbucks this morning and found an article about Open Source software. I already use and like Open Office and was interested in GIMP, the Open Source answer to Adobe. As I am on a borrowed laptop and without my lovely Adobe software to play with
, thought it was worth a try.

It was easy to download, has a user-friendly interface and some nice filters - I quite liked the paper scroll shown here. And if you can't afford Adobe then its worth giving it a whirl. If I have any problems I will complain loudly here.
The site can be found at

Otherwise, I got into the studio this afternoon but more of that later when the paint dries and the dust settles.