Last week I also finished this piece I spoke of a few of posts ago, “”For Musicians Who Like Music”. The title is a play on Andrew Hamilton’s “For People Who Like Art” and whilst it is not meant to be representative of the music it is inspired by it. I have a lot of ideas how I might progress this work – and other work related to music. I am aiming to start trying some of them out on canvas and in collage, today, and I am keen to try out some ideas as monoprints soon.
I have been continuing working on my X Marks The Spot series which started at the end of the 50 Collages Before Christmas project I did last year. The last one I posted, X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet took the work into the area of conflict, confusion and misdirection, so it is no surprise that I continued the theme when asked to exhibit at The Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock, in Art On Conflict to tie in with Jenny Holzer’s SOFTER installation at Blenheim Palace.
The three pieces here will accompany X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet to Woodstock in what I am sure will be a fascinating and provoking exhibition.
This piece, Abstract Drawings For Dummies I: The Tiny Section of My Soul marks the start of two series of work: Abstract Drawings For Dummies and 50 Collages Before Christmas. I had been adding small sections of collage into my erasure and redaction drawings and decided to include text – something I did quite a bit in drawings 45 years ago (including erasing the words and writing what I had done!) and occasionally more recently during my #Collage 365 and #Letter365 projects. I have always had a leaning towards the surreal and absurd with a bit of tongue-in-cheek conceptual thrown in. Influences from cartoons and illustrations, exploded diagrams and information boards, maps and instruction books and much, much more form a lattice of lunacy in my brain. Lay on to this the soft spot I have for Frank Zappa, Bonzo Dog, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and other slightly odd (and some other decidedly, very odd) music it is not surprising this kind of thing will surface in my work from time to time. The series title Abstract Drawings For Dummies obviously refers to the hugely successful series of “how to” books. The books are, in my experience, well-written and of a high standard and the use of “for dummies” is in no way demeaning or patronising. By using “Dummies” the publishers are signalling to ordinary people they don’t need to feel threatened by experts and that everyone is quite capable of attaining a working knowledge of the subject of the book. Most abstract artists are continually asked to explain what their work is about and during my #Letter365 project where the artwork was sealed unseen into an envelope and sold “blind” I was particularly strongly questioned. At that time I devised a series of works that might help people find a way into art they were not readily comfortable with: works which have instructions, directions and explanations as part of the composition. This new series is planned towards the realisation of that idea. It also features some of the convoluted workings of my brain which had a small opportunity for expression, sometimes quite wittily, on the envelopes of #Letter365.
As I was clearly fired up to do all manner of work I chose the moment of completing this piece to commit to 50 Collages Before Christmas too.
Number 5 of 50 Collages before Christmas is You Were Meant To Follow The Plan was nearly the first to be done but I could never stick to the plan!
I’ve gone and done it again! A few years back I did a collage a day for a year – #Collage365. Then I did another every-day-for-a-year project – #Letter365. Only this time I have been a bit less demanding of myself. I think there are 63 days left till Christmas and I started the project 4 or 5 days ago. I know I am going to be away and busy for some of the time so I didn’t want to give myself any pressure. I also wanted to be able to do larger, more considered work rather than the very focussed work that the previous projects demanded. The idea came from my frustration of not being able to get the studio time I have been wanting. Necessary work on my studio roof and other calls on my time have meant I have not been able to engage in the concentrated work I need to be doing. I have sort of promised myself a “residency-at-home” for six months, following the idea of a “staycation”, where I can have an immersive experience in my studio and home landscape (mostly) and this project is how I have decided to kick it off.
Collage has started to creep into my work again – in the “Rings” series and the “Abstract Drawings for Dummies”, the first two of which are also the first two of #Collage50. When I was starting to put my studio back together after the work, I got out one of my large boxes of collage materials and just started working on things. I’ll have to find a way to get my studio organised round the things I am doing! Currently the floor and some work surfaces are covered with newly painted and marked paper I am preparing for use in collages!
The piece above, From Under Your Nose is Number 4 in the series. The photographs are discarded prints by Bridport photographer Brendon Buesnel that he gifted me as collage materials a couple of years ago. The piece below is Number 3, In The Room With No Soul. It features a photograph I took inside Bruce Bruce Nauman’s Room with My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care which I saw at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. A small piece of one of these photos has already appeared in #Collage50 and I can see it could be a theme that develops. Well, it’s a grid isn’t it!
I will set up a separate page for the project in due course and try to get half-decent pictures of them all to make into a gallery slide show.
I am delighted to report that I sold 15 pieces during Bridport Open Studios and generated a lot of good feedback and met some wonderful people. My new works on canvas were particularly well received and i sold “An Index of Metals (Thank You Brian and Robert)” pictured above. I also sold “The Bit They Know About You” (pictured below) which is one of my favourite pieces, so I am particularly pleased that someone has seen its merits. I hope it gives the buyers much pleasure for many years.
I suppose I am now going to have to change my Twitter header as the artwork I was using, “Mystery Evolves” (below) has also gone to a new home. I am fortunate too that quite a few smaller studies and collages sold, as well as the larger pieces mentioned in previous posts.
The first two days of Bridport Open Studios saw a steady stream of interested visitors and some good sales – and that was after me not really being set up properly. It’s a little more organised now and who knows, I might even be able to say I was ready! I am pleased to be showing a wide range of my work including new work on canvas, erasure drawings, field drawings, new watercolour pieces and a range of small “affordable” studies. I have aslo set aside some space for a selection of #Collage365 work
I also have some concertina books for sake too:
It’s that time again and now I have a studio at St Michael’s in Bridport town centre it would be foolish of me not to open up and join in Bridport Open Studios. Since completing my #Letter365 project I have been busy catching up on a couple of years’ neglect in the garden but I have also been getting on with new work.
I completed the erasure drawing I was talking about earlier (shown above) and have been working on black squares (as usual not always black, not always square!) and various field pieces. Some of the field pieces are on canvas! That’s the first time I have used canvas or completed a piece on canvas for 43 years! (It has been interesting!) I aim to add images of some of this work in the next few days.
I have also been moved to return to using wet-in-wet watercolour again and have been creating large field pieces, starting a new series of work under the working title of “The Stone Archive – Fields of Oblivion”. I will post some of these later too, including some small pieces I have framed up especially for Bridport Open Studios. These small nicely-framed pieces are designed as affordable introductions to my work and would make great gifts for loved ones or yourself! They are the sort of things people point to in my sketchbooks and say, “Ooh, that’s nice!” Since I have been working on larger sheets than my sketchbooks when I am trying out some ideas (especially the watercolour and acrylic stuff as I can do more while the paint dries) I thought I would isolate some of the ones that work best and frame them for sale.
As usual there is a “6×9” show to accompany Bridport Open Studios. This year it occupies the foyer and cafe at Bridport Arts Centre and I have entered some specially made pieces that explore my current themes and, some, move into new territory. The show opens on Wednesday 19 August and runs till 18 September after which it transfers to Black Swan Arts at Frome.
You can find details of my opening hours etc on the Bridport Open Studios website
Today’s #arteachday is a little collage from my messier side
I’m trying to get back to posting an image on Twitter every day with the hashtag #arteachday. This is a little compositional study I did this morning.