Art, Small Talk

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Do you sketch?

If you do, do you sketch every day? It’s totally addictive. I used to take a paperback with me if I knew I was going somewhere that involved a wait. Nowadays I bring my lovely Venetian Fabriano sketchbook with me everywhere. And I use it. And I find that practice, while not making perfect, makes me looser and more direct in my drawing. I’ve speeded up and that’s helping with my observation skills.

So, if you are interested in drawing, perhaps you are just starting out, go get a sketch book, get some pens and pencils and go and LOOK at something and get it down on paper.

I read somewhere that if you don’t want passers-by to stare you go sit with your back against the wall. Then they can’t hover behind you! I’ve tried it. It works.

But seriously…

Analysis, Art

I’m learning a lot on this MA. I have already discussed how I’ve come to realize that seriousness in approach increases the chances of a serious i.e. Considered response. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Seriously.

Today we had a lecture about photography compared to painting. It was almost metaphysical in content. I loved it. And it reinforced my embryonic realization that perhaps, just perhaps, I am not a charlatan. Perhaps I can do this.

So, here is something that I’ve been working on…a life painting rescaled and mixed with my image archive. A post modem stained glass window for today’s gods and behaviors. Does it make you think? What? I’d love to know.




So, having children can lead your brain to emulsify for a while. Not because of my female status, but because of sleep deprivation, multi tasking and multi conversations, cat herding talents and the usual domestic schlep. I am finally removing the glue from my synapses by studying for this MA. It’s a great feeling. I recommend it.

This afternoon we discussed a critical essay. The exact text is not really the point. The important aspect is that I can hold my own these days. I can contribute, question and have a (partially) informed opinion. It’s marvellous. Invigorating.

Today’s discussion included a debate around whether it is possible to convey emotion via a painting. A seemingly simple question but when considered in conjunction with an assertion that all artistic endeavour is only done after a conscious or unconscious internal filtering and rationalisation – a translation – it becomes more interesting. Do you ever get a pure message across?  What is lost in translation? Is there such a thing as a truly expressive artistic gesture? If you agree with the initial assertion, then no, there isn’t. Does it matter so long as one manages to ‘touch’ the viewer? Discuss.

And the more fundamental realisation? To be taken seriously, to get thoughtful critique, discourse and constructive comment you need to approach your practice with equal seriousness. If you downplay your thoughts, your process, others will not stop to see your depth. Why would they when you do not yourself?

I found myself making light of some of the pieces I have been working on recently when in fact, I have found resonance in them. I am starting to realise that if I want to continue with this artistic role then I have to commit. Method acting is obligatory. As with any life choice, I have to stand up and be counted. I have to stop playing the ‘dumb’ card.

This is not a comfortable realisation. I have to admit to playing the fool so as to protect myself from others’ ridicule, disappointments and disagreement. It’s a fairly familiar tactic used by many. But it won’t serve me well now. It’s time to grow up. I hope I can do it with grace.

And no, no punchline today. Today I’m all purpose and focus. Today it’s just me.

Different strokes


So, I am on a painting retreat. OH is very kindly looking after the boys while I spend a weekend away, equipped with paints, pastels, paper and, I hope, purpose. I even read an academic text on Mondrian and how he developed his style on the way down here. Want to see this week’s life class effort? I’m pleased with the colour mixing, I’m trying to keep it all light, fresh and relaxed. As soon as a get intense my pictures go down the tubes. Better to keep it chilled. Well, that’s my analysis. Clearly I haven’t quite absorbed the lingo of art academia quite yet. Which, I think, is a good thing. 


Face up


Art is a funny old thing. Sometimes you think you’re doing ok. Others you think what you produce is pants. Today I had both….I love my life drawing class but it is challenging and the other people are just sooooooo good. Here’s a selection of today’s work….I must admit to highs and lows today. My favourite is the line drawing, my prep sketch in fact. I just want to be able to capture that feel in a more accomplished manner….sigh. Any ideas?


Cup bored love 1.0


this is about stories objects can tell you. My kitchen for example is a museum, a collection of artefacts that tell my family and my story…why do I keep my mother’s meatloaf dish? Why do I have that coffee maker? What does the kitchen represent to me? To others? There are lots of questions spa round domestic history, social injustice and misogyny I’m interested in that the good old kitchen can help us answer or at least examine.

Today I got excited and made something to back up my ideas from yesterday. It’s a model of something I’d like to build, draw, construct at some point….thoughts?

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