Category Archives: Art

You Were Meant To Follow The Plan

"You Were Meant To Follow The Plan" Abstract collage by David Smith - acrylic & cardboard on canvas

“You Were Meant To Follow The Plan”
Acrylic & cardboard on canvas 50cm x50cm

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!

"You Were Meant To Follow The Plan" detail of abstract collage by David Smith - acrylic & cardboard on canvas

“You Were Meant To Follow The Plan” (detail)
Acrylic & cardboard on canvas 50cm x50cm

50 collages before Christmas

Abstract collage by David Smith

“From Under Your Nose”
Paper, acrylic and discarded photograph on gessoed canvas 50cm x 50cm

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!

Abstact collage by David Smith

“In The Room With No Soul”
Card and photograph on gessoed canvas 50cm x 50cm

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.

Show at the Portmanteau Gallery looking great

Gallery installation shot

Installation shot of my show with Björk Haraldsdóttir at Portmanteau Gallery, Bridport

The exhibition at the Portmanteau Gallery in Bridport opens today and i am delighted to say it looks beautiful. Björk’s work and mine work together really well and I am really inspired by how, together, we have created a cool, calm and classy atmosphere.

The Portmanteau Gallery will be open between 10am and 4pm only on the following dates: 20, 21, 24 to 29 August 2016. I won’t be at the gallery every day so if you want to catch up with me your best bet will be to visit on Wednesday 24 or Friday 26 through Sunday 28 or call me to arrange a time, or come to the Private View tonight between 5.30 and 7pm

Gallery installation shot

Another installation shot of my show with Björk Haraldsdóttir at Portmanteau Gallery, Bridport

The Portmanteau Gallery is at 10 North Street, Bridport DT6 3JQ on the corner with Rax Lane where there is limited on-road parking as well as the car park. Look out for the yellow ART signs marked “21”, our Bridport Open Studios venue number.

Exhibiting with Björk Haraldsdóttir at the Portmanteau Gallery

Some people reading this may be surprised to learn I am taking part in Bridport Open Studios. I have had conversations with many people about my decision not to participate in open studio events again! Then Björk Haraldsdóttir invited me to share the Portmanteau Gallery with her for BOS – an offer I could not refuse. Björk’s work is stunning and we share a similar aesthetic so I’m delighted to be exhibiting with her in what some people have already kindly predicted will be one of the highlights of Bridport Open Studios 2016

Björk creates wonderfully tactile, seductively patterned, stoneware forms that are haunted by her Icelandic heritage and architectural training. If you have not seen her work before I can thoroughly recommend you come and experience it. I believe our work complements each other’s superbly and would look great together in any home. I will be showing a selection of recent field drawings and erasures with a nod to my black squares work. I hope you will find it an exciting mix.

Bridport Open Studios flyer for Portmanteau Gallery

To celebrate me going back on my word I hope you will join Björk and me at the gallery on SATURDAY 20th AUGUST 2016 from 17.30-19.00 for a drink and private view. If you have spent the day at West Bay or touring BOS coming to see our work would make a fine end to the day and it’s still early enough set you up for an evening in Bridport.

The Portmanteau Gallery will be open between 10am and 4pm only on the following dates: 20, 21, 24 to 29 August 2016. I won’t be at the gallery every day so if you want to catch up with me and can’t make it to the PV your best bet will be to visit on Wednesday 24 or Friday 26 through Sunday 28 or call me to arrange a time.

For those who don’t know it, the Portmanteau Gallery is at 10 North Street, Bridport DT6 3JQ on the corner with Rax Lane where there is limited on-road parking as well as the car park. Look out for the yellow ART signs marked “21”, our Bridport Open Studios venue number.

Dorset Art Weeks: Venue 141

Photograph of David Smith's studio

The studio is transformed to gallery

I am opening up my studio as part of Dorset Art Weeks. Everything is set up and looking good ready for the public opening at 11am on Saturday 28th May. I am delighted to be showing a good number of brand new pieces: work that I have produced this year! I am also showing some of the “Black Squares” work I exhibited at Black Swan Arts, Frome, last November which hasn’t been seen in Bridport before.

Photograph of David Smith's studio

A mix of Black Squares and new erased field drawings ready for DAW 2016

The new work picks up where I left off last year before committing to the Black Squares theme for the Frome show, but clearly it has been developed with the experience of that focused process at play. There are new field drawings in colourful Inktense pencil, double and triple erasures and redactions, expressive ink drawings, new asemic text works and some sparse new pieces inspired by the coast which I have been wanting to do for almost a year!

Photograph of David Smith's studio

There’s work to suit a range of space: from small to large

Because there is so much new work – mostly imperial size or larger – I have had to hang more like an art fair than a gallery, which is fine if you remember this is just an open studios event!

I am not open every day during Dorset Art Weeks so check the opening times before you come. I will be open between 11am and 6pm only on the following dates: 28, 29, 30 May, 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 June 2016. Other times strictly by appointment only.

The forecast is more erasure!

Image of drawing in the process of being erased

Erasure in progress

I have been doing more erased drawings and feel there is plenty more that I want to explore in the area of partial deletion, redaction, becoming unseen. So I expect there will be a lot of eraser dust to deal with in the coming weeks. Featured below are a few pieces I have finished recently and am happy with. The first I have called “Double Erasure: Winter Field”. It continues the tidal theme of “Double Erasure – that soft spot in my heart” but connects back to some of my earliest field drawings.

Double Erasure: Winter Field - drawing on paper by David Smith

“Double Erasure: Winter Field”
Multiply erased graphite on Canaletto paper 495mm x 695mm

The second is a reprise of a piece I did for the secret sale to support Bridport Arts Centre but in larger format. That earlier one was called “We two erased black squares together clinging” so this one is “We two erased black squares together clinging too”

We two erased black squares together clinging too - erased pencil drawing by David Smith

“We two erased black squares together clinging too”
Erased pencil on Canaletto paper 302mm x 216mm

I have also been exploring the use of colour with erased drawings, using ink, watercolour and or Inktense pencils over the erased graphite, as can be seen in this detail from “Ashes and embers”

"Ashes and embers" drawing in watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper by David Smith

“Ashes and embers”
Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper

The whole thing looks like this:

"Ashes and embers" Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper by David Smith

“Ashes and embers”
Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper 381mm x 559mm

And another similar exploration:

"Otherwise unseen" Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper by David Smith

“Otherwise unseen”
Watercolour and ink on erased graphite on Saunders Waterford paper 381mm x 559mm

The generosity of artists

Pastel by Anna Gahlin

Anna Gahlin’s contribution to “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection” and the packing it was in

I had a moving couple of hours opening and recording the contributions to my collaborative piece “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection” which I will be working on during the first two weeks of my show “Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic” at Black Swan Arts, Frome. So far 55 artists have contributed a total of 117 pieces for me to work with. I am really touched that so many people – people, mostly, I have never met – have taken so much time and care to make something for me to do with as I choose. People have trusted me with their art and given it in good heart. Most people packed their little 4″ x 4″ work with meticulous care. Many included a short note or a card with good wishes and words of support. Sometimes there was a little story about the piece and for me the greatest joy was when someone said how much they enjoyed thinking about and doing their piece. Pure inspiration. Thank you everyone. I will still accept contributions for the next two weeks. Do come and visit me at the gallery to see th eprogress and unfolding.

Painted metal piece by Martin Heron

Martin Heron’s contribution

I have had pieces from France, Norway, America and all over the UK. Artists of all ages, amateur and professional, experienced and emerging, have put themselves out to send a creative gift. Some people sent multiple contributions. Three was a frequent number but a few sent more than 10 pieces! As yet I am still to discover who sent a pack of sixteen wonderful, double-sided squares, carefully packed, but didn’t enclose even a clue to their maker. Please let me know who you are so I can credit you!

Anonymous contribution to "The Binding Grid of Creative Connection"

Anonymous contribution to “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection”

With so much care and generosity taken with these gifts I am really conscious that I want to do justice to them and make the contributors be proud they were a part of something. I start work on Saturday on it and at present have far too many ideas, but I’ll soon find my way through it. I say I start on Saturday but actually I have created a big black square and drawn a grid on it. I stuck my own first contribution on it:

Collage by David Smith

My own starting contribution for “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection”

Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic almost ready to go!

Installation shot upstairs at the Round Tower

Installation shot upstairs at the Round Tower

My show in the Round Tower at  Black Swan Arts in Frome is just about ready to roll! All the work is hung and just needs a final tweak and there are information boards to get up, then we will be ready for the private view tomorrow night, Friday 6th November 2015 from 6-8pm. The show is open to the public 7th-28th November 2015

Apart from the larger works on canvas I have done especially for this show there is a selection of recent works on paper including pieces that were in the Wells Art Contemporary and the RWA Drawn shows, if you missed them there. I have also included a group of small studies like the ones that proved so popular at Bridport Open Studios: they are a nice introduction to my work and make nice gifts for loved ones or yourself!

There are also two participatory pieces: one for artists and one for all visitors. I’ll write more about these in subsequent posts.

Upstairs at the Round Tower - installation shot

another installation shot upstairs at the Round Tower

The Binding Grid of Creative Connection

"Dance Steps" abstract painting by David Smith

“Dance Steps”
Acrylic on canvas 122cm x 122cm A poor reproduction of something that has little to do with the post!

I have decided on “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection” as the working title for the collaborative piece I will make during my “Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic” show at Black Swan Arts, Frome, next month. I have a feeling that the title may get added to with something in brackets, but we will see! So what does that mean? Well, it is a celebration of the incredibly positive and affirming nature of my experience with Twitter and the connections I have made with other creative people. The piece will be an attempt to anchor physically (bind) the goodwill and connected creativity of those people and to show my gratitude for their support. I have called it “Grid” because I often work with grids but also because of the idea of the National Grid: lines of power which spread energy across the land. I love the idea that groups of creative people are coming together through Twitter to create “ecologies of talent”, what Brian Eno refers to as “scenius”, the talent of a community (genius being the talent of an individual) where all sorts of people with a range of skills, abilities and facilities combine and contribute to enable great art and ideas to emerge. As Eno says in this clip from the John Peel Lecture the other day, it takes a lot of help from all sorts of people, including people sometimes refered to as hangers-on, for a creative scene to flourish. I think Twitter has the ability to support such “sceniuses” and “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection” is my way of giving it recognition. I have no idea how the piece will progress but I now have an idea how I will start the process, but you’ll have to wait for that.

One thing I have thought about is including some of the envelopes too – in fact at one point I thought of not opening the envelopes but displaying the work unseen! Those who know my work will recognise my fascination for the unseen, obscured, veiled and redacted from other work not least of which #Letter365. But I have said to everyone that I will give them a public credit for their contribution and mostly wont know who things are from if I don’t open the envelopes!

Images of some contibutions to The Binding Grid of Creative Connection

A few black square contributions

There seems to be a good response from people, but as I am not able to just pop in to Black Swan Arts I have no real idea exactly how many there might be so far. Thank you to all the kind and generous folk who have already sent contributions. More will always be welcome so get yours to me as soon as you can. So if you are an artist in any discipline please send your contribution to me c/o Black Squares, The Round Tower, Black Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BB. Please do it NOW! I will be creating the piece during the show which runs from 6 November – 29 November 2015 so if you wanted you could bring me your piece (I will accept submissions up to 21 November) but you know you’ll forget – so do it NOW! Don’t forget, when you send or deliver a piece you pass all physical and intellectual property rights to it as an object or idea over to me to use in any way that I see fit.

NB can you please make sure you put the correct postage on your package!

Also please note: I need to have your physical contribution. So if you make a digital piece please produce hard copy for me to use. If you are a musician or a poet or dancer or whatever you can still take part as long as you make your contribution into some kind of hard-copy 4″ x 4″ submission.

Footnote: thanks to Austin Kleon for reminding me in “Show Your Work” about Brian Eno’s concept of scenius

Selected for RWA 163rd Annual Open Exhibition

The Stone Archive - watercolour by David Smith

“The Stone Archive (Fields of Oblivion 2)”
Watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm

I am pleased to say that “The Stone Archive (Fields of Oblivion 2)” has been selected for the RWA 163rd Annual Open Exhibition in Bristol. It is difficult deciding which open competitions are of value, but the RWA attracts a large number of entries, has a professional process and good quality judges so I feel proud to have been chosen for inclusion and will be showing with some other excellent artists. The Varnishing Day Lunch and Private View are this Saturday, The show is open to the public from 4 October to the 29 November 2015