Tag Archives: abstract

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

Good response to my work at Bridport Open Studios

Outfall 2 - drawing in ink and watercolour by David Smith

Outfall 2
Ink & watercolour on paper
559mm × 762mm

I have been pleased with the quality of visitors to my Open Studios this weekend. Most people have displayed a keen interest in my work and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and talking about art. I’m also pleased that I have sold something each day – including today when I was technically not open! A visitor over the weekend called this morning to say they had decided to by “Outfall 2”, the piece pictured above. It’s quite a special piece for me and I am delighhted it has found an appreciative home.

I have also sold some of the small studies I framed up and another larger piece, “You Were Born And So You’re Free”

Abstract minimalist drawing by David Smith

You Were Born And So You’re Free
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm

Abstract graphite drawing by david Smith

“Double Erasure – that soft spot in my heart”
Multiply-erased graphite drawing on Canaletto paper 500mm x 700mm

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.

Black square collage by David Smith

Thermopylae (not as black as you think)
Collage, acrylic & ink on board 306mm x 306mm

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

Further experiments with erasure

Tissue paper over drawing by David Smith

Tissue paper lain over the almost completed double erasure drawing (detail)

I am increasingly interested in the idea of veiling work so the viewer has to work harder to see what they are looking at and have used semi-opaque papers in collages to mute and soften images below. I am considering using etched and frosted glass in front of some pieces, in particular some black square ideas that are 3D or relief pieces. The image above was totally by chance when I covered the erasure drawing I was doing with tissue to protect it till I returned to make any final adjustments. I am certainly tempted to experiment with more veiling, maybe with silk voile or cotton muslin. Perhaps I should go the whole hog and use black perspex or something totally opaque like black-sprayed metal to cover work?

Last year the show I had in Ramsgate was called “The Seen and the Unseen”. That refered partly to #Letter365 being sold unseen but also to the fact that my work is designed to make the eye unsure of what it is actually seeing (amongst other invisible aspects). During the #Letter365 process I had a number of conversations with people who liked the idea of never opening the letters and Schrödinger’s Cat was mentioned on a number of the envelopes and in many conversations.

So much of my work has been inspired by the sea’s marks on the shore and the transient and uncontrollable nature of our existence. It could be said that much of my work is an attempt to freeze a record of those unseen forces at play in the littoral landscape and my mind and emotions. Perhaps my work should move towards even more conceptual and ephemeral work?

For now, I have this piece to finish off. I have not seen it for a few days and other issues may arise when I do, but the biggest question I had when I left it was “how much do I clean up the edges and how big a border”? Of course it still needs a signature, which will, of course, be erased!

Detail of edge of erased drawing by David Smith

How much cleaning up at the edges of this erased drawing should I do?

I Forgot Who Said That

I Forgot Who Said That - ink & watercolur drwaing by David Smith

I Forgot Who Said That
Ink and watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm

I finally managed to finish this drawing a few days ago. It is the first of many that I hoped to do while working within my #Letter365 installation at Bridport Arts Centre. I am only managing to get there for a couple of hours a day and mostly I get involved with talking with visitors for some part of the time. I have started another piece but will finish that at the studio because the table I am working on is not wide enough to accommodate imperial size paper longways and there is a lip round the table edge that means the paper doesn’t lie flat. But I have another two weeks so may gat more done and I have gathered lots of ideas.

This piece, I Forgot Who Said That, is one of my field drawings but using a more colourful palette than my usual black and white. Although firmly based in the repetitive, compartmentalised grid structure of pieces such as Aleph’s Flux or The Dream’s Malfunction – and I have done some small-scale test pieces in this style – the more rounded marks are influenced by the stains of fresh-sawn logs on the Allsop Gallery floorboards left from the show What Remains – an installation by And Now back in September-October 2014

Composite image of some stains on the Allsop Gallery floor caused by fresh cut logs in a previous installation

Composite image of some stains on the Allsop Gallery floor caused by fresh cut logs in a previous installation

I am aiming to do some more work related to these stains and the lines between the boards, but I’ll have to get a move on. Below is a detail of I Forgot Who Said That to compare and see how it may have been influenced more than I may have thought:

Detail of "I Forgot Who Said That" watercolour and ink drawing by David Smith

I Forgot Who Said That (detail)

Envoy

Envoy - watercolour and ink drawing by David Smith

Envoy
Watercolour and ink on Indian hand-made, recycled-cotton paper 559mm × 762mm

I have had this knocking around the studio for months and have finally resolved it. The paper is quite interesting to work with. It is Jackson’s own-brand “eco-friendly” 100% cotton, handmade paper from India. It is made from recycled cotton, each sheet being individually set into the moulds and then dried in the Indian sun. I like that these papers made in small moulds which means each sheet has 4 deckle edges in  1/4, 1/2 and Imperial sizes, so each sheet is unique and individual. Most sheets have got thumb or finger prints on. It doesn’t cut or tear cleanly because it has threads of cotton in and the surface is really fragile so no scrubbing and rubbing! Show it low-tack masking tape and it falls apart and sticking it on the wall with white tack is likely to tear a hole out of it. The surface absorbancy is completely random, the texture is variable and the colour is different from batch to batch. In many ways it is rubbish paper: so for me it is brilliant! I have to be either 100% certain what I want and hope it works or give myself over totally to its whims

The Prophesy Restated selected for Drawn 2015

The Prophesy Restated - Ink and watercolour drawing by David Smith

The Prophesy Restated
Ink and watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559m × 762m

I am pleased to announce that my ink and watercolour drawing The Prophesy Restated has been selected for the RWA Drawn 2015 exhibition. It is the largest of a series I was doing at the end of last year. I am still interested in investigating the theme further now that I am a little freer to work on more complex and larger field drawings. This small success means that I will be exhibiting in Bristol for the first time and will have two shows running at the same time with my solo installation #Letter365 running at Bridport Arts Centre until 11 April.