Sunday, 12 October 2014

Shropshire Open exhibition

Fiona has had two paintings accepted for the Shopshire Open exhibition in Gallery3 at the Gateway in Shrewsbury, showing 13th October to 17th November.

Earlier this year we decided to take a risk and go public with our work by entering local and national competitions. It's been a hit-and-miss experience. Some but not all submissions have been accepted.

We've found that working to the deadlines sharpens the thinking.
Pushing through with a piece of work until it's finished is more satisfying than flitting from one project to another.
Seeing the work selected and hung alongside work from other artists is a validating experience. Meeting other artists and their work is interesting.
It's also a reminder of how art is vibrant and alive in our local communities.

All for the price of small hanging fee.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Printmaking: Farmer's Bridge Locks, Birmingham

Farmer's Bridge Locks; 2 block relief print on paper , 11cm x 11cm (Fiona)
Farmer's Bridge no longer carries farmers to market, but lends its name to a flight of 13 locks on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal in the centre of Birmingham. At this point the canal travels through the undercrofts of deserted red-brick warehouses, flat conversions and modern office blocks. Birmingham is a city permanently in flux, constantly reinventing itself; the city-centre streets full of high-viz jackets and hard hats; the skyline punctuated by cranes and pile-drivers.

I live in a nearby city and walk regularly along the many miles of canal in the area, sketchbook to hand; urban and rural, always interesting. When we realised we were going to be living here for some time, we managed to buy a share of a narrowboat, so also spend time each year on the water, seeing the world at a very slow pace from a constantly refreshing vantage point.

block 1 (grey)

block 2 (black)

Fiona worked this image from one of her pencil sketches, then simplified and carved the image into two vinyl blocks.

This print has been accepted for an open exhibition (10th - 20th September) in Birmingham at the RBSA.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Exhibition in Shropshire

Fiona has had a painting accepted for the Whittingham Riddell National Fine Art Open exhibition at Weston Park in Shropshire, showing from 6th August until 27th August.

The painting started as always in a sketchbook; one of a series of quick colour studies of the sky at sunset, looking west over the Irish sea from Aberaeron during the longest days of the year in June. It was then developed from the sketchbook studies, in acrylics and oils on canvas.

'rock melt west'; acrylics, oils on canvas

floating frame

on display at the exhibition

one of the sketchbook studies

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Drawing wild birds

I went to the North Lakes in July to participate in a workshop led by John Threlfall, organised by the Field Studies Council at their centre on Blencathra.

John is an outstanding contemporary artist, committed to the drawing and painting of wild creatures on location from direct observation. In his own words he witnesses the natural world through pencil and paint. The books of his paintings are annotated descriptively and poetically, every wild creature painted within its own landscape.

He currently has a solo show exhibiting at the Donald Watson Gallery in Aberlady, near Edinburgh. His work will also be on display at the Society of Wildlife Artists annual show at the Mall Galleries in London in Oct/Nov this year. 

As well as all of that he is a very good teacher.

The workshop took place over 4 days in the most spectacular location of The North Lakes near Keswick. An extended spell of high pressure meant clear skies and warm temperatures all week.

Drawing birds is a challenging thing to attempt. They move, they swim, they hide, they fly away. John stressed the importance of close observation in order to identify characteristic features and gestures, and above all, patience. We all applied ourselves and had a very rewarding and enjoyable week, learning as we sketched.

In four days sketching, I used up a pad of A2 cartridge paper, 4 pencils from tip to stump, trashed a portable chair, ripped the buckle from a bag, and wore out two old shirts.  (Also a fair bit of strong coffee, gin and tonic, and white wine, but that's another story)

A selection of sketches of canada and greylag geese, attempting to capture characteristic gestures and positions (Fiona):

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