Well, my studio is still a shambles. So what’s new? Nothing, but I sort of feel I can’t work in there till I’ve tidied it up. (Though as soon as it’s tidy I’ll create another mess.) So I keep removing work and doing it elsewhere. The kitchen, for the light and space. The garden, where I can spatter the paving-stones without major drama. Anywhere, really. It’s not just painting; it’s finishing, maybe spraying with fixative, framing….
I’ve been on two courses about the business/practical side of art since my last post. Mind you, I haven’t done much of the homework yet, but at least I know what it ought to be. I’ll write about these in a themed blog soon.
I have also been painting. Two strands. One is the frustrating one of trying to make some unfinished pieces work, ones which have been abandoned for a while. Mostly they were on one side because I wasn’t sure how to resolve them; sometimes it’s just because I’ve been interrupted for too long and lost the thread. Just life, in fact. They lose momentum, I lose confidence.
But I have finished some work. Here are one or two pieces, rather blue; some hot colours in my next post:
I Am the Shaper
Cold colours (Gale Warning, Murmuration)
The other strand, much more exciting, is tackling a trio of large canvases. All night skies on different dates. One is a commission, one is a dry run, and one is destined for the 1066 anniversary celebrations later this year. 950 years since the Battle of Hastings! As I was a medievalist before I was an artist this is really fascinating to me. So, to follow last year’s painting of the night sky when Magna Carta was sealed, 800 years ago, I thought I’d have a go at October 14th, 1066.
People must always have looked up into the night sky, wondered what portents it held for them, and felt their own insignificance. I was also inspiredby the wondrous Bayeux Tapestry (woven soon after the Conquest), with its seamless narrative of ships and horses and archers and knights and dragons and banquets and buildings and mutilated limbs, It has a running visual and written commentary. In the border one section shows Halley’s Comet as it appeared in April of that year. People wondered at it – what it could portend for the country and for them? They feared the worst. As people do.
First sketches for the border
Putting gold leaf on Halley’s Comet
All this in a canvas nearly as tall as me – and (thankfull) much wider. The sky, with the correct(-ish) alignment of planets and stars, and sumptuous cobalt and ultramarine and Prussian blues – plus touches of silver leaf – and cartoon-like borders inspired by the Tapestry. I’ve never done anything like this before.
During my exhibition in Battle last year I secured support for the project from the director of the Battle Festival, which takes place in October and is always good, but this year will be fantastic (Battle Festival). My painting will be part of an astronomy exhibition.
Hastings has its own festival in September and that too is going to be a very special event : I’m still looking for the right display place(s) there for my painting . Root 1066 International Festival of Contemporary Arts.
Sunset over Hastings
People have been very helpful and I hope it will be on show during both events. More in due course. It’s been a good excuse to visit those two towns, each lovely in a different way. Battle has its wonderful Abbey, and Hastings the most spectacular views.
We also chanced on Vanessa Marr’s latest duster show, in the window of the enticing Made in Hastings shop. Her Women and Domesticity project is off next to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill – well done, Vanessa!: duster project. You might recognise my own Ironing is Pants and Judith Berrill’s It’s So Much Fun with a Feather Duster! I have also decorated a surfboard for a charity auction….
Dusters in Hastings
Finally, here’s the link to my latest Wolf at the Door newsletter: More here: The Wolf sniffs some spring air.