Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Stepping into freedom

 Not yet quite finished

This snowy weather has put me in a new mind set. I can no longer paint fish, despite the fact they have been selling like hot cakes. So for the moment the very fishy fish have been side lined.
I was reading a poem the other night, one that accompanies a Zen koan, it goes like this:

Lonely and deep
In the cloudy valley
Still the sacred pine tree
Has passed through the 
Cold of many years.

The point of koans are that they should permeate every cell of your being, until you are able to grasp an understanding. And then when you think you have an understanding, you somehow have to find a few words to describe that which is indescribable and convey it to your teacher. The point being, one eventually digs deep enough to realise the absolute. 'When you hear music your body just dances and Zen Koan meditation is like that. You can step into freedom in just one step, without working out how to do it. It can be as simple as just turning your head.' John Tarrant.

Anyway I love this poem and the analogy it makes between the tree and our own lives. The tree is just being a tree, standing steadfast through whatever nature throws at it. Just 'being'.
It has formed part of my daily meditation as I walk around the lake each morning. And every day I see something different in it. Soooo I had to make a painting. Not for any one else, just for me.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Onward & upward

Carrying on with the fishy theme, these are a few more I have been working on this week. The 2 small ones are painted on some found wood, using a combination of acrylic and pencil. The larger 70cm x 100cm on canvas has a collage base with acrylics and pen. They yet to have the finishing touches and varnish applied. The two small ones 30cm x 50cm ish, will be going with some other tiny works to The Waterside Marina at Brightlingsea this weekend. The other into Level Best Gallery next week. That's if I don't sell it first! someone popped into the studio on Friday and is umming and ahhhing! Infact I've had a good few weeks with sales. One of which sold before the exhibition up in Leicestershire had even opened!

I have also been having a bit of a recycling time. Wabi sabi and all that. When I'm not happy with a piece or it goes wrong, the offending canvas is pushed into a corner of my studio and forgotten about. A sad place for the unloved to hang out. Most of these works had reached the varnished stage and therefore couldn't be painted over, in the grand tradition of old masters who did this all the time....waste not, want not....or something like that. Then I had a flash of genius.....not before time LOL. To cut up the paintings and reuse them in another collage. Then I would be able to recover the frames and hey presto more new canvases..... and new art works to boot .... Brilliant!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Here's one just completed....... And a reminder the Winter lights show at Cuckoo Farm Studios is on this weekend and next.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Blustery day

Wind roars through the trees
beyond the office window grime
golden leaves spiral

What I love about Haiku is that it captures a moment. There it is.... then it's gone.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Oh I don't like these gloomy afternoons. The light in my studio is rubbish and without the sun shining in, I can barely see a hand in front of me! Anyway making a start on a new work. I had in mind I wanted to do another bowl one. I found a fab shaped bowl in a shop that I took a photo of, and had every intention of using it. But first things first I had to lay the foundations of texture on the canvas.

 News paper and tissue always work well, then a couple of layers of a fairly neutral colour look good behind a vibrant ceramic.....  Idly flicking through a sketch book, waiting for the pain to dry, I came across some scribbles of some fishyness! I have loads of sketch books, stuffed full of things that grab my attention. Colours, shapes, textures, pictures torn out of magazines....anything. I find them an endless source of inspiration.Anyway the bowl idea went out of the window and fish and chips were in. Which goes to prove my theory that creativity only starts to kick in once you start working. No amount of planning will come up with the stuff that finished pieces are made of. Things evolve as paint and collage is applied. Be prepared to change your ideas as a piece moves along.

I was reading an article the other day by a gallery owner. He was giving advice to artists about approaching galleries to show work. One of the points he was making was that galleries like consistency in an artist. Sticking to a theme and a medium. Now I can understand that galleries have to sell the work and that they stick to a style in order to develop a name for a certain type of art, but boy is it dull for the artists to have to be so rigid. Some artists probably like to work like that, but not me! I have the attention span of a flea on a good day. I do what I love and variety is the spice of life. Once I have worked through an idea, which usualy takes about 5 or 6 pieces, I like to move onto some thing else......

.........And then I became distracted by pink jumpers and wellies in the mirror...Oh dear...