New Challenges

I am now over half way through my 30 Day Painting Challenge.  I think I am enjoying it too much as it no longer seems like a challenge!

I have gained some further understanding of my process and the pleasure I get from drawing and painting.   I really enjoy working with a time bound immediacy, responding to a subject or theme spontaneously, then taking time to evaluate, select and ponder the outcomes.  Sometimes the paintings have felt like a sketch of a future more sustained painting and sometimes the images have inspired me to paint more, especially the Corvids and the Hares.

I like to set myself constraints, rules and boundaries, this time I don’t think there hasn’t been enough, I am not feeling the pain!!  It is good to reach a point of boredom, frustration or irritation with a subject, push through it and reach an undetermined unexpected outcome.

I feel maybe, I should have set myself the task of painting to a theme or idea, something that I may not do without the challenge, maybe 30 birds or 30 en plen air paintings, 30 with a palette knife, 30 houses or people, 30 human animals or something I will do soon 30 activists (with animals)…but maybe I don’t always need to really challenge myself and maybe I have.  I would not have painted everyday without it.

It has also made me rethink my freelance work and embrace the idea more fully.  I have simplified my fee structure to an hourly rate and will now basically draw, paint or collage pretty much anything, because working instinctively with a sense immediacy is what I love to do.

My next challenge will be painting extinct birds for the amazing Ghost of Gone Birds project at the Migration Festival in Camden and this has been an excellent precursor for that.  This is what I will be doing.

Ghosts of Gone Birds Live Art Studio, The Foundry Room
Resurrecting extinct birds can be hard work. And now you can see for yourself as we invite 11 very different artists to each dedicate a day to breathing creative life back into the birds we have lost.  But we’re not just setting up a special pop-up Ghosts studio for the artists in the Foundry Room upstairs at The Forge – we’re also adding a real old, weather-beaten bird hide from RSPB Coquet Island for visitors to use to quietly observe the artists at work. So this is your chance to see extinct birds resurrected before your very eyes. Eleven days. 11 artists. Working hard to create a new Ghosts Gallery of Gone Birds.

If you would like to see the paintings that I have made so far since the 1st September please go to my website here 30 DAY CHALLENGE.


30 Day Challenge

I am almost half way through this challenge and already thinking about what I will do for the next one.  Drawing/painting everyday is becoming quite a natural thing to do.

As I have to paint everyday and often in the evening,  I have been working in my study/spare room.  Which is a much better discipline than trying to painting on the dining table and clear things away for a family meal or having materials between the dining room, the study and the studio.

The challenge has raised a number of questions for me, I have been asking myself , things like: Should I have set a theme?  Should I stick to a particular style or media for each painting ? How should I choose my imagery? etc. Setting any set of constraint seems to raise questions and a sense that I want to break/bend my self determined rules.  Although since the MA I have begun to recognise this as a diversion tactic and press on regardless.

Because I cant really spend a significant amount of time planning each painting, I am having to work from images I already have, with a visual language that I can rely on, using materials I have to hand and will dry quickly enough to photograph within an hour.

I feel that my Puffin seems the most tentative of all of the paintings.  It was an anxious and uncertain start, but  for no reason…Day 12 and I have raised £120 for my charities and made a drawing a day.  I would highly recommend it!

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Masters of Art – Authorial Illustration

The final exhibition of the Falmouth University 2014 MA courses opened on the 2nd September and brought to a close my 2 years of intensive study.

It was a great night and wonderful to meet up with so many people and talk about the background to the paintings.

On Friday our grades came through, I discovered that I had achieved my Masters with Distinction! After reading the email at least 5 times it began to sink in. I knew that I had put all I could into the work and the final essay but I didn’t know if my best would be good enough…thankful it was.

Now that the show is over and the work is back in my studio I would really like to exhibit it again, the work was a catalyst for some very enjoyable conversations and I realised that on this occasion I did my job, I raised a question and the paintings became a stimulus for conversations. Many people found the paintings moving, dark and disturbing. It was fantastic to see people spend time with them and come back again to view them for a second and third time.

Anyway…here they are…

There is also a catalogue to further situate my work with titles and a little text.