Saturday, 30 April 2011


...and the Royal Wedding of course. I'm not really a monarchist but I watched every minute of it yesterday with Mum, and I think it was pretty special. Anything that cheers a gloomy nation up can't be half bad.

I've finished 'untitled' in all but name. I can't think what to call it at all.

Continued progress on Secret Dancer...

...and something new...

I've actually progressed quite a bit more on Secret Dancer but despite the Bank Holidays (which I was desperate for) I still can't find the time to do all the things I want to do...including relax, which I really NEED to do.

I did however get to the Pre-Raphaelite Drawing exhibition at Gas Hall. I loved this excellent exhibition, despite the slightly confusing layout and presentation being not quite as slick as it could have been. It was fantastic seeing the famous names alongside the not so famous ones. It was nice to see John Brett's work again (The Barber Institute's exhibition Objects of Affection was wonderful last year), and quirky moments like Dante Gabriel's drawing of Christina Rossetti throwing a temper tantrum. Christina Rossetti is one of my poetry hero's. A new name for me is Simeon Solomon, I wish I'd seen the retrospective held at the Gas hall in 2006. There was a fantastic pen and ink drawing by him which I really loved and got totally lost in, one of those moments when I wished I could climb up the wall and disappear into the picture.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Cheshire West and Chester Open Exhibition

I'm really pleased that I've had my pen and ink drawing Wood From The Trees accepted for the Grosvenor Museum's 9th Open Art Exhibition which will be held at the Grovenor Museum and Art Gallery from 19th April until the 22nd June 2011. This will be the second time I've exhibited this drawing, having shown it at Sale, Greater Manchester last January.

Monday, 11 April 2011


What a nice symmetrical date for today.

I've just got back through sunshine and showers from delivering my picture to a courier (Picture Post) to enter in another Open. Don't know how lucky I'll be this time.

Yesterday was a beautiful day, more like July than April. I spent most of it walking through the woods at Lower Brockhampton with G, taking photographs, marvelling at how everything has suddenly burst into life. The woods were a carpet of starry white wood anenomes, but there were also a few early bluebells too

I woke very early yesterday morning, determined to get a little work done. I masked off my current work in progress and flicked a little black acrylic paint on the unmasked areas.

Later this evening and tommorow I'll work some more into the darkly shaded areas, keeping the mask on for a while, because I want these areas to be more intense than the rest of the piece.

I began a new piece based on a photograph I took a couple of years ago. I've dithered for ages over begining this piece making experimental sketches since last summer really. The shape of the tree is so suggestive I've decided to call this picture Secret Dancer. I began with a clean wash of pink and blue, and began drawing into this with my usual dip pen and ink. However, I wanted to give it a quick shot of shade, to define the areas of darkness in the tangled undergrowth (the skirt of the dancer). So again, I made a mask by tracing the drawing through greaseproof paper and shading in the areas I wanted to be dark. Then I cut these areas out...

...then sprayed red acrylic ink and diluted black acrylic paint onto the piece...

...removed the greaseproof paper (when it was dry) and now I have a more solidly defined area of light and shade to work into. I wanted to do this as I was feeling a bit lost and frustrated seeing and knowing the rhythms I wanted to build in the picture but struggling to construct anything. Now, hopefully, I can begin to build those rythms of shade and shape a little more confidently.

It struck me as I was cutting out the areas I wanted shaded in my mask, that the dancing tree is shaped a little like the UK. And when looked at from side on, the splattered greaseproof paper looked a little like a beach pitted with rockpools.

Islands of paper floating on a cutting mat.