I have three pieces of work going in to the next mixed exhibition at Twenty Twenty Gallery in Quality Square, Ludlow. The private view will be Friday 23rd November, 2018 between 6pm and 8pm. Do come along to see the exhibition and have a glass of wine or elderflower. All very welcome.
Liam O’Connor gave an interesting talk about his journey from being a successful commercial artist, creating work that the gallery could sell, to finding a way that he could create work that felt more authentic to him. His initial problem was that his gallery portraits paid his bills.
Liam’s main questions surrounding his practice, became concerned with where his work fit in; It’s cultural worth vs it’s commercial worth and what did he feel was needed from his work. He suggested that all artists should be engaging with these questions.
After completeing an MA in Fine Art, in which he wasn’t entirely happy with his work, Liam adopted a pseudonym – Caspar White, and began to create much more interesting work that he felt to be more about who he really was, whilst still painting work commercially, under his real name. The last three years have seen him go from strength to strength with not only his own work (Winning the BP award for portraiture), but as a curator pulling together work by well known and lesser known artists in different spaces and cities.
It was interesting to hear his story – particularly now that Casper is becoming someone who sells! Will he have to find yet another pseudonym?
Liam’s work is worth viewing – I particularly liked the idea of his ice work, in which he painted portraits directly on to ice and then allowd them to melt. You can see some of his ice work videos here: https://vimeo.com/casperwhite
Plywood/ paper/pva/acrylic/pastel – about a foot square. I felt I over worked her today. The acrylics are brighter than the gouache, but I didnt feel as comfortable with them as I did with the gouache in the last piece. I think the watered down gouche revealed a lot more of the torn paper shapes beneath; more of the ‘history’. I am thinking about using torn text beneath her – parts of story, but I am concerned that it doesn’t end up looking too obvious. There needs to be the element of mystery.
‘Sleeping’ on paper covered plywood, about a foot square. I ripped paper up in the vague shapes of face, boats, sea and leaves and brushed them on with pva and gesso. The paint is gouache – cheap ones while I’m playing. The workshop yesterday seemed to get me going a bit – feel clearer about what it is I am trying to do on this course. I feel a mixture of fear and excitement. I like the way the gouche seeps into the edges of the torn and cut shapes adding texture and also somehow giving it a sense of layering and history – albeit a short one. I am thinking all kinds of things ranging from: Can I make her really big? What is her body like? What is her history? How can I use text in the painting? My own? Parts of story – old versions of Sleeping Beauty? New? Many layers? Is she all of them? Is she sleeping or dead or dreaming? Is she no one and no where? Water. Sleep. Birth. Death. Dreams to come. Unlived dreams. Real. unreal.
Workshop with Mark Houghton.
Acrylic on plywood with paper, scratched with a knife.
I found this workshop really helpful in terms of trying out some new materials to paint on, and with. The shape and angle of the face is taken from my original little ‘Sleeping lady’. I attempted to forgo detail for simple lines cut into the papered over plywood. I then added pva and emulsion and made more lines. The acrylic was watered down and when brushed over the surface it sunk into the lines. The papered surface created interesting shapes underneath the paint and the brush marks added something more. I felt the restful quality of the sleeping lady came through. The work is about a foot square. I found the process liberating.
The Dreaming Lady sleeps on a garden pillow of birds, music, fish, sea, boats and home. I have taken her basic face shape and the theme of sleep in the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ fairy tale and started to play with larger shapes in collage. I am finding it quite exciting making the individual elements and then moving them around to see what works best where and also to see if other stories are suggested. Versions of Sleeping Beauty include Charles Perrault’s work written in 17th century France and the Brothers Grimm who collected stories in Germany in the 19th Century and remolded them for children. Older versions include ‘Anciennes Chroniques de Perceforest from the 14th century ( printed in France in 1528) and Basile’s ‘Pantemerone’ (Sun, Moon and Talia). ‘Cupid and Psyche’ by Apaleius written in the 1300’s was a source for many tales such as ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and so on. I am becomimg interested in how these tales change and adapt over time and in different culture’s. Jack Zipes is an author proving helpful. He is a good starting point for the history of fairytale and folklore. For all the wonderful psychoanalytic connotations of fairy tales, ‘The Uses of Enchantment – The Meaning and Importance of Fairytales’ by Bruno Bettleheim is also proving a great read.
I am attempting to free up and re-train my hand eye coordination. Funnily enough I found by accident that I felt less constrained by not wearing my glasses. This helped me not to be too concerned with detail on the actual page and to look more at what I was drawing…