Previous to 2010 I breifly had studio space at Oldknows Studios which became the Goldfactory Project Space and City Arts when they had offices in Radford. The Oldknows space in 2008 was the first studio I had ever had after leaving art college in London (Hornsey) in 1981.
It is that time of year so here this year’s entries in the annual Nottingham Open. For various reasons it may be my last entry for a while because rumour has it the Open will be on hold whilst the Castle is turned into a Robin Hood visitor experience..
Where I will be living by the time that finished could be interesting but it will probably still be within the Midlands ..possibly not Nottingham though.
The reason will become clear in due course.
Meanwhile here the almost pitiful output from this year. What was going to be my great painting launchpad was derailed by some pretty serious PhD submission work.
What here shows work in both acrylic and oil ( thank you Spectrum oil paints however as the website now down and facebook not updated looks like gone out of business which sad….sending me some free paints may have been their last act…)
I started the year inspired by the use of digital preparatory drawings by Dan Perfect in the Castle show. I then developed a sparser abstract mark-making approach out of the digital drawing. Then I turned to oil which by its nature was more viscous and harder to get used to again.
After a cock-up with leaking linseed through using wrong ground with oil paint I repainted the canvases ‘Summer’ and ’96 tears’ again from photographs. These were directly influenced by the lightness of touch of David Jones’s watercolours in the Djanogly show.
As it summer time to round up my previous painting work over 2015-16 and start a new set.
This year I have been spending a lot of time concentrating on developing a workable PhD art history/cultural geography proposal. This is now well advanced and should have some concrete news about that by the end of August. Meanwhile the Tracking Time Blog details where that going….
Here two new Summer Paintings
96 Tears – Acrylic on Canvas 18″ x 18″.
Summer – acrylic on canvas 18″ x 18″
Here is a pdf downloadable catalogue for my last year of abstract painting and drawing.
I painted these three canvases after Spectrum paints very kindly sent me some new tubes of oil paint. Sadly my ground wasn’t suitable and the linseed leaked into the support dis-colouring the painting. I painted over.
However I am re-painting the main and to my mind most successful image above right alongside a new set of abstract paintings and watercolours inspired by the David Jones exhibition at the Djanogly Gallery which I visited last Saturday.
I was always influenced by both his landscapes and drawn lettering.
The new works will hopefully be shown in the autumn in Nottingham venue TBC.
Update September 2016:
These abstracts will be on show at Doctor’s Orders in October 2016
Photoshop Cs3/XP on a 're-purposed' laptop base and Philips square screen. Medion tablet.
I have spent the week both preparing new oil painting surfaces and fitting up my home pc/ laptop and studio old laptop to use tablets. I have not done a lot of digital drawing..even Moogee was mostly scanned drawings but am learning.
Mostly I experimenting with lag (home 64 bit ironically slowest) Windows 10 laptop fastest depending on which tablet/pen I mix up. The nearest to a true drawing experience ironically seems to be laptop and CS3 maybe because of inherent latency in other versions.
I also tried printing out both A4 and A3 images scaled down just to see how looked which interesting. I think if printed on high quality printer at A3 with decent paper could be equivalent of prints.
As for subject matter like paintings I re-investigating notion of code or residual mark-making based on landscape. Filtered through an Arshile Gorky/Paul Klee lens so to speak. I presently reading ( have been reading for two years!) a biography of Gorky (see below). It a little romanticised but does give a good account of his migrant status and position in American society..hence the name change and pretense of being Maxim Gorky’s nephew.
Here three test images . First is a very basic drawn image. Second a stage pre-layers in photoshop and finally the completed image.
I was taken with the way Dan Perfect used digital ‘pre-drawing’ in his joint show with partner Fiona Rae at The Castle (above an image of his) and it somehow combined with my reading about Gorky.
So after 23 years I open a can of oil paint and start painting. First thought is why did it take so long. Is far nicer to work with than acrylic and whereas I appreciate the quick-drying facility that allows rapid over-painting there something too dry about acrylic.
Early days but have started over-painting a couple of series from last year that failed to convince me or the public. Most interesting thing is I started to work in references to previous drawing research and cartooning in a roundabout way.
Here the drawing from Nottingham Open two years ago it links directly to painting above.
I also connecting that with my early 1980’s decorative and aboriginal art influenced work. I do not feel the pressure of the career break any more and actually feel like this could be a career for possibly the first time ever. I have never been a part-time painter and I shall give it a good go for the next year and see what happens.
‘Moon Over The Downs’ oil on canvas 5′ x 5′ un-stretched canvas. 1993
In January 1993 things were pretty much as usual. I was still officially unemployed.
I received a ‘commission’ from my friend Pete Astor who was at that time living in Walthamstow with Sukie Smith. This was £150 for materials to paint a large canvas for their living room. It was a great boost after a bad year and I soon spent the money on oil paints and painted out my dad’s unused garage as a studio which was quite good.
The paintings below came from that brief period before I moved to London to be with Ana Fortun who I met on 3rd March 1993 at a friend’s birthday party. I gave the large barn canvas above to Ana when we parted 7 years later but do not have an image of Pete’s canvas sadly and I am not sure if it survived.
The rest of the paintings were ‘saved’ by Laura Stenhouse, an artist friend, who a year later picked them up to stop them getting damaged in the garage when I moved to Edinburgh. I know the Kew Gardens canvas went to Laura who sadly passed away a few years back. Her husband Bob Lindsay-Smith still has this painting I believe.
Kew Gardens 0il on canvas 24” x 36”
And this from same batch but painted over.. all dated January- March 1993
Well I finally made it back to painting in what must be the most convoluted way possible. To start painting again don’t go via my route. Seven years teaching web design in academia, a fine art M.A. in art research (through drawing) then a abandoned attempt to do a Creative Writing M.A. Oh and then two months sorting out what the hell I was doing in painting in the first place (the Archive)
All of this so that I finally can go into the studio in mid-March 2015 and stare at a blank wall and wonder what the hell it all about….
It seems like a very long way round to arrive back where I started. I studied fine art painting at Hornsey College of Art in 1978-1981. My first love was painting not poetry or songwriting. I was ‘good at art’ at school. I was offered a place at the Royal College in 1981 on painting M.A. which was my dream. I wanted to be the new David Hockney….I almost did it but Margaret Thatcher took away the grant funding and my working-class parents could not afford the £9K, even then, fees.
I have always despised the Tories ever since. I ploughed on and re-applied to the Royal in 1985 (see this post in archive). this application was the high water mark of my early abstraction. I never got back to this level until today. It has taken 30 years to be able to paint full time if only for a couple of months. I am not a part-time painter.
The paintings in the posts above are my finding my way again after all this time. I naively aimed to be the best painter in England between 1981 and 1985……right now I’m just happy to get a second chance. I was however always a serious abstract painter…and that I remain. I dedicate these paintings to my Father who would have been 83 last Monday. I call these paintings ‘second wind’ for an explanation see poem here: