Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Rolling the ball...

Kate Bush sang about rolling the ball, and now I'm thinking that creativity is a lot like this, keeping a ball rolling. The longer you stand around pondering the ball the less likely you are to get anywhere because a ball that isn't rolling isn't fullfilling its purpose. It may as well be a cube.

I've found another old(ish) piece out tonight and between trying to calm myself down after a nasty Tax revelation (hopefully putting that right tommorow) and watching the new detective drama on BBC1 Death in Paradise (a bit like Jonathan Creek set in the Carribean) I've worked on it adding new splashes and layers of colour in watercolour, coloured pencil, gold acrylic ink and oil pastel.

I just hope all that lot stays on the Ingres paper and doesn't fall off!

Monday, 24 October 2011

A few new bright leaves

I've taken a break from preparing for my exhibition and from my current work in progress (picture soon) to experiment with colouring an old drawing in Photoshop.

Where does the time go to? And where does life? It really makes me realise what a tremendous energy and creative force anyone who achieves anything in the arts possesses.

My pen and ink drawings take so long to produce, that's the problem, and hung on a wall amongst other artworks in an open exhibition they fade away. A couple of days ago I took one of my drawings to a framers to be scanned, and although the man there had no intention of offending me, he called my piece a sketch. I know he was just searching for some shorthand, some way of cataloguing it on his database, but that word stung me to the quick. I had poured hours and hours of effort into this drawing and it's dismissed in a moment as a sketch. A transient thing. A throwaway.

Anyway, later that night I received an e-mail inviting me to submit work to a local art sale, and I'd love to do this, but most of my work is mounted for my exhibition. I've found one small piece that didn't fit into the exhibition, but I'd like to enter another. So, I thought, why not try something I have wanted to do for years now - digitise one of my artworks, add something in Photoshop perhaps?

Some thing?

Anyway, here's my first rudimentary effort. It's a bit rough and ready, but at least I managed to kick-start myself into breaking out of routine.

From 2005 'A few leaves left'.

From 2011 - experiment number one.

To take this further? I need:-

A new scanner - preferably A3
A new printer - preferably A3

Add a little extra time, light the blue touch paper and wait.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


I've been steadily assembling the elements of my exhibition, which will be held at Wolverhampton Central Library in November.

It's amazing how time consuming all this has been so far and how frustrating it is when silly little things go wrong. I mounted the work quite quickly, then withdrew a piece because I had promised a drawing to a neighbour in payment for a favour they did myself and my mother this summer, so I had to find a replacement piece.

I have finally got to the point where I've mounted most of my work, printed out the accompanying images (I decided on tiles, rather than the cumbersome things on sticks I initially came up with). The tiles are basically split into 2 sections, to reflect the split of content over the 2 cases. The first case will contain tiles of an autumnal theme, with fragments of poetry from the notebook I have used over the past 3 years or so. The imagry will be photographs I took of the autumn windfalls I collected last year and have stored in a Roses chocolate tin, plus a few photographs of work in progress. The tiles in the second case consist of more close ups of work in progress and descriptive snippets regarding the very basics of pen and ink artwork, interspersed with these will be photographs I have taken of the tools of my trade - the actual pen nibs, aranged artfully alongside more autumnal windfalls and photographed in a hopefully dramatic way.

The nibs themselves take me onto the material which will take up the final corner of the second case. The history of the pen trade is rooted in Birmingham, I only discovered this fairly recently, and I was pleased because although my inspiration and heart lies in rural, organic settings far removed from the place I was born and have lived all my life in, the tools I use to make my art, the bridge between my reality and my dream, have their history here, in the West Midlands.

I visited the Pen Room a couple of weeks ago, to learn more about the history of the Birmingham pen trade. I'll blog more about this later.