Archive for the work-in-progress Category

Via Dolorosa

Posted in art, work-in-progress on June 15, 2009 by artbizness

ViaDolorosa

I finished another work in the series of paintings I’ve been doing with Japanese endpapers today. Very pleased with it too.

The work is called “Via Dolorosa”, it’s acrylic paint and spray paint on board, and it’s 26cms x 34 cms x 5cms.

The figure is from a photo I took of one of the kids who play outside my window on the South London estate where I live. One day, one of their games took a particularly violent turn (more so than usual), and the lad in the photo fell badly on his wrist. I couldn’t tell if it was genuinely serious, or if he was playing it up to gain sympathy. Either way, he seemed to be ok after a while.

As an image though, I thought it was quite poignant, in that it could be about vulnerability, brutality, school memories, survival, and so on.
The image also works really well as a contrast with the leafy pattern, the soft focus – I don’t have much time for romanticised notions of either childhood or socio-economic dis-advantage, and art has a way of backing you into a corner and forcing you to think about such things. Especially when you’re making it yourself.

The flash from the camera has washed out some of the colour in the picture, so some of the detail is lost. If you come along to the show I’m exhibiting in next month, you’ll be able to see it a bit better in the flesh.

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A New Work

Posted in art, work-in-progress with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2009 by artbizness

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It’s amazing what a good morning in the studio can do for your confidence as an artist. The results in the photo above speak for themeselves, I think.

I’m not sure what to call this yet, but it’ll be something like “Awe” or “Shock & Awe”. Or maybe even “AW!”

Dimensions wise, it’s (h)50 cm x (w) 35 cm x (d) 5 cm, or 19 1/2″ x 13 1/4″ x 2″ in British.

I’m really really pleased with the way this has turned out. A few months ago, you may remember, I bought some Japanese end paper (the sort that goes in the inside cover of hardback books) with the idea of doing something with it.

I’ve spent ages making a frame, and glueing the paper to it nice and flat using wheat starch paste. Wheat starch paste is what the pros use to put in Japanese end papers. It’ll basically last for ages, and is about the best quality stuff there is. PVAs and other cheaper glues tend to dry out in no time, which means they go yellow, and stop being sticky. You don’t want your painting falling off, now do you?

Anyway, it seemed fairly obvious to paint something contrasting on the top, and I like the humourous play of the guy being awed by the flock of cranes (I think they’re cranes. Maybe they’re swans) in the background. This also quite unusual for me, in that I don’t usually paint figuratively (awful word, but you know what I mean). I’ve hand painted the figure in acrylic paint, and paid a lot of attention to detail. I didn’t project it and trace it this time. I cut out one of my own photos, and used it as a stencil for the outline, but the rest was completely freehand.

I think this is the start of a very good series of works. More to come.

By the way, don’t forget that I’m moving this blog shortly. RSS readers and bookmarks at the ready now. I’ll tell you when and where soon. Not long now…

Building websites

Posted in general, work-in-progress on April 2, 2009 by artbizness

A photo of what the plumbizness.com website looks like

Hello out there.

I’m emerging blinking into the sunlight, as I have spent the past week or so constructing websites. It’s been an interesting learning-cliff-face, as I put myself through various crash courses in html and css. And no, before last week, I didn’t know what that meant either.

I’m thinking of moving this blog. I dearly love wordpress.com and have enjoyed it. However, there are some things that I can’t do with it that I would like to. This blog is basically hosted by wordpress. I need to self-host in order to be able to tweak things and put new things in.

So I’m going with wordpress.org!

Huh? I hear you cry. Didn’t you just say….?

Go back and read it more carefully. I can’t do what I want with wordpress.COM, but I can do what I want with wordpress.ORG. The .ORG version will sit on my own private webspace, and allow me to alter things how I want.

In fact, I’ve already tried a test run. Not everyone knows this (and I don’t generally talk about it here) but when I’m not being an artist, I’m a plumber. So I thought I would build a static website using wordpress.org as a sort of dry run for re-vamping artbizness.

The plumbing website is called www.plumbizness.com. That’s a photo of it at the top. Go take a look and let me know what you think.

In the meantime… I’ll be work on artbizness. I’m not going to move it just yet, but hopefully sometime over the next month. I’ll tell you where and when soon.

In the meantime – I will still post here. But consider yourselves on notice. 😀

Secateurs

Posted in art, work-in-progress with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by artbizness

secateurs

The commission I’m working on is coming along nicely. I’ve been quiet about it, because I’ve basically been doing all the boring stuff – making up the board, priming it with gesso, layering up the base paint colour to get it nice, dense and solid.

But today I started painting the main part of it – a pair of secateurs. The guy who commissioned me is a film maker called Rob. He came and filmed me in my studio at the end of last year, and really liked the works I had on my wall.

He’s also a gardener, hence the secateurs.

My old art teacher once told me Vermeer said that when you paint something you should “start with a brush and end with a pin”. So, you start with the broad brush strokes, and get progressively more detailed as you go on. Art teachers are full of nonsense like that.

So I began with the bigger brush, and got something that I was reasonably pleased with. Having got this far, I thought it best to leave it, sleep on it, and come back to it tomorrow. Besides, it was so cold, my hands were shaking. That was when I took the photo above.

However, I couldn’t resist, picked up a smaller brush and cocked it up a bit. Nevermind. Fortunately, I’m using acrylics, which are quite easy to overpaint. They dry really quickly. I’ll return to it tomorrow with warmer fingers and renewed vigour.

A word about acrylics. Please don’t ever ever EVER buy Rowney or Windsor and Newton acrylics. If I hear you even mention the word Spectrum, I shall never speak to you again. It’s alright, we’ve all done it, but you must repent. If you use Liquitex, then do so very quietly in a corner, but if I find out about it, there’ll be trouble.

There is one name, and one name only, in acrylice paint, and it is Lascaux. Lascaux acrylics are colourfast (I mean REALLY colourfast), nice weight on the brush, deals with watering down much better, and the gloss and matt mediums are MUCH more fluid and better than anything else.

I get them from Fitzpatrick’s in Cambridge Heath Rd., London. I think they’re pretty much the only UK stockist (Lascaux are Swiss).

A painting and a commission

Posted in art, work-in-progress on January 24, 2009 by artbizness

Hello everyone.

I haven’t blogged much in January, but I HAVE been busy.

At the end of 2008, I was interview and videoed for the BLMF. The guy interviewing me really liked two small painting of household DIY tools that I had done, and were hanging on my wall. He’s a gardener, and wondered if I’d do him something similar, but with gardening-related tools instead of DIY tools. Naturally I obliged…

Below is a photo of the panel I’m making up (not huge, about 25cm x 25cm), held up in between the two paintings he saw.

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I’m also working on a painting for my Grandpa. It’ll be his 80th birthday in March. It was my Nan’s 80th over Christmas (his wife), and for her birthday I put together a little book of silly poems, drawings and personal memories – drove to streets that she had lived in and took photos, googled old photos of South London (she was born and raised there) The resulting book was very well recieved to say the least. You can see it here.

Anyway, I’m preparing a board for Grandpa’s painting. That’s the photo below.

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I prefer to paint on board. Canvas has too much “give” for my kind of work, and I often have to take a scalpel to it to cut masking tape, which would go right through a canvas surface.

So what you see is a test of my woodworking skills, with a little help from some two-part filler. Panel pin heads are touched in with gloss paint to stop them popping back up again.

I also got hold of some Japanese end-papers (the sort that get put just inside the covers of hardback books). There’s a shop near my studio called Shepherds Bookbinders, and there’s a veritable treasure-trove of these papers there. I’ve liked them for years, and I thought I might get hold of them and do something with them – the next stage of my work. So more wooden boards to make up.

Below is a photo of the one that I bought. It’s A1 size and absolutely beautiful.

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How (not) to Gold Leaf

Posted in art, video, work-in-progress with tags , , , , , , on October 9, 2008 by artbizness

OK, here’s a couple of videos showing how I put gold leaf on my latest painting. I have actually blogged about this before, but I thought I’d show some videos this time. It’s always sheer comedy genius doing it, so enjoying laughing at my efforts.

Here’s Part One, which gets quite funny around the 5 min mark:

And here’s part two, the tricky bit:

Painting With an Overhead Projector

Posted in art, Uncategorized, video, work-in-progress with tags , , , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by artbizness

This is a good way of transferring a photographic image onto canvas. It gives the image a strange quality as you’ll see..