Monday, 30 April 2012

Everything is going to be OK!

When a close friend was getting extremely stressed about her work for her final Art Degree show recently I gave her a little screen print to pin on her studio wall. The writing was added freehand with letterpress letters.
Even when there's only one magpie things can still turn out fine!

My daughter is also in the final year of a Fine Art degree and a couple of months ago I sent her this little screen print. It was made using paper stencils. The print is A4 size so I could add the writing by putting it through the computer printer.

Click on image to enlarge

I created these simple images down at a workshop down at the Gloucestershire Print Co-op. I can't wait to be able to do some larger pieces. Shouldn't be long now before I can move in to the studio (if it ever stops raining!)

Friday, 27 April 2012

WINAPRINT Pushing Print fundraising event

Pushing Print is a not-for-profit organisation set up to promote and raise awareness of traditional and contemporary printmaking. They do this by hosting a month long printmaking festival in Margate which includes the Open Submission Print Exhibition.

A couple of months ago they asked if I would donate a print for their fundraising WINAPRINT event. They've just e-mailed me to say the website is up and running and ready for business. All the prints can be viewed at Only £10 per ticket.

Last year these two collagraph prints of mine were selected for the Pushing Print Open Submission exhibition when Anne Desmet was one of the judges. You can see the rest of the series on my Gallery page.

Meditations on Intimacy and Solitude I
Meditations on Intimacy and Solitude II

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The studio so far.....

I'm back from the seaside and work on the studio has resumed. Just before we left I took these photos.I am so lucky to have had so much help. It already looks amazing!

I taped up the joins in the plasterboard and gave the room two coats of white paint. There are four windows which let in loads of light - especially now that the years and years of  yuck have been scrubbed off. I don't think the chickens were very houseproud! My old plan chest needs a good sort out. All manner of random stuff has got put in there since I moved.

My lovely brother fitted the secondhand catering sink which I bought on ebay. The splashback behind the sink is an offcut of printed vinyl-covered hardboard which I found in the freebee bin at Ikea. The handsome stable door was already there, luckily.

Most of the work has been done by my wonderful partner, Stephen, including fitting the worktop (£35 from B&Q), and the splashback. He also sorted out the electrics and customised the drawers (donations from two friends) so they fitted under the work top.

On one side of my new space is the old wooden chicken shed (which we now use as a log store). On the other is Stephen's workshop.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Pretty in pink?

Some very manly men look good in pink and I think the same is true of rhinos. I like to think that Ronnie is confident of his masculinity and can therefore carry it off. He is, after all, 7ft long and quite heavy.

Despite his size and colour he wouldn't make a very good scarecrow. I took him outside for a graze in the garden near the bird table and the birds took no notice at all, just carried on eating. 

The 'fabric mache' over the rotten leather has worked quite well. The colour is a bit solid as it is. I haven't ruled out sanding him back and distressing him or even covering him in polka dots. And I'm not sure if he doesn't need to be a bit darker. I'll have to live with him a for a bit and work out what needs to be done to him next. He's going to stand in front of some very large windows in the sitting room so he'll be able to gaze out in to the garden.

Meanwhile, the studio is gradually taking shape. We had some heavy rain and hail today, as well as sunshine, which highlighted the fact that the windows are not as weatherproof as we thought. Need to get the silicone gun out tomorrow.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Clouds of brick dust and a crow doll

I have finished covering Ronnie Rhino in fabric pieces and when he's quite dry I'll have to decide what colour to paint him. Dark red is my favourite at the moment.

I did take a cursory look on the internet to see what colour they are in the wild and noticed that rhinos are often photographed with birds sitting on them. Often crows. So I thought I might make a friend for Ronnie.

Its going to be a larger version of a doll I made a little while ago. She was called Cawdelia and I designed her for my daughter who loves crows. The new doll, who will sit on Ronnie, will be about 30ins tall. I cut the fabric pieces out this morning and I'll sew it up and start painting it tomorrow hopefully. 
Cawdelia lives in Cardiff now

The transformation from chicken shed to artist's studio has begun. You just need quite a lot of imagination at this stage! It was all hands on deck today. Even if you were just visiting a hammer and chisel was thrust in your hands!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Welcome.... my blog which I hope to fill with news, views and work in progress from my hilltop studio. Said studio is currently still a chicken shed, but in the not too distant future it will be my own space to create and play. In the meantime...

We were going to start work on the studio today but it's had to be postponed till after Easter. C'est la vie!

To take my mind off this setback I am trying to rescue Ronnie Rhino and give him a new lease of life. This 7ft leather beastie has been in my family since I was very young but for the last 10 years or so neither my siblings nor I have had enough room to accomodate him. Consequently he has been in my sisters garage being nibbled by mice and generally rotting away.

His head has been strapped up to stop it falling off and I've started covering the disintegrating leather with cotton pieces. Then I will paint him all over.

Last year I wasn't feeling very creative what with one thing and another but I did make quite a few smaller stuffed cotton creations which I painted and sanded then painted and sanded again giving the fabric a hard wearing surface with a rich patina a bit like leather. I'm hoping the same technique will work on Ronnie.

These ladies are made that way, using the same painted and sanded cotton technique. They are only about 7ins tall but they are quite sturdy having been painted and sanded several times.
I am never sure what to call them. I've have a lot of suggestions from my family.....'menacing nun gang'.....'aubergines with attitude'.....However, I like to think of them as mysterious, wise beings and if you tell them your problems they'll discuss it amongst themselves then help you make a decision. But then I do have rather a vivid imagination. Anyway, this is the technique I hope will work to revitalise Ronnie Rhino.