29 April 2007

Thoughts of the past, present and future...

Its funny, well strange in a pondering way. All those years ago at art school the tutors would get you to talk endlessly about your work, how it was developing, where the inspiration came from and what it meant. In reality, outside in the big wide world away from art school, OK well away (14 years) from art school, I find I now want to speak about my work... but very few ever ask about it or question it.

My tutors were exasperated when time after time I exclaimed "what you see is what you get" or "you tell me"! In my fight to put my foot down and not explain myself (hoping that my work would do the speaking for me) I admit I missed part of the point. They were only trying to make me understand myself and the work I had produced and how to sell it all as a package. But I hated doing it! Some students seemed to be able to reel off huge thoughts and deep meanings about there work... all bullsh*t and a waist of time to me!
I could not believe that for a piece of work to succeed it had to come with an A4 paper document explaining the process & thoughts. Why should one artwork succeed with verbal garbage and not be of any quality, when a another would fail because of lack of explanation, but be of equal if not a higher standard? I could never see why the observer couldn't look at it and understand the piece for him or herself? Surely the whole point is how you express yourself and how the beholder sees and understands it... how it speaks to them... AND how they relate to it? It is the interaction between the three ~ the artist, the work and the observer...

I guess somewhere out there; there are lots of art students still going through this process. Either, excelling in portraying their work, agonising how to make themselves sound important and prove that they are better than the nonsense that their colleagues spout out. I wonder how many of them continue after college and what percentage of talent goes by the wayside?
A couple of my tutors didn't believe that I would continue after art school... "go get married, have babies and get a nanny" was one tutors advice! I wonder if they know I have done it all (apart from the nanny bit) AND that I am still making/creating ceramic artworks! The saddest thing of all, is that out of at least 20 odd ceramic students in my year, only 2 if not 3 of us are still making and creating as far as I know.

This blog has really made me stop and think. But, all this pondering is a double edged knife ~ on one hand I now know what I'm making and feel fairly confident with it and how I portray myself; but on the other, it is my downfall... It leaves me wondering if I am spouting rubbish myself?! Asking if my work is any good or if it is too commercial, if it speaks for itself, or if anybody is interested - does anybody care? After all every piece of work is a little bit of you, so there is always going to be that inkling of self-doubt, it natural.

I suppose it's the need for standing up and being counted. I don't want my fifteen minutes of fame, I don't necessarily want to make a big difference to the world, but on a very small level it would be nice to be heard, understood and not ignored.

26 April 2007

Black Gold - £95 (GBP) - SOLD

Black earthenware clay textured and embossed with lace, the ripped rim of the vase is enhanced with gold luster, as if discovered only by ripping the clay open.
410mm x 250mm x 45mm

It is a powerful, dramatic yet elegant sculptural piece and I love this work, but it doesn't seem to sell up here in rural Scotland. Not sure why, maybe you could tell me your thoughts? I was SO chuffed with it when I had made it and the other pieces in the "Gold" series. I'll add the image of all 3 for you to see later. It was a challenge to get the thin, tall walls of each vessel to stand up and not warp in the kiln. Most people want to pick them up and talk about them, but just don't want to buy one! Maybe if they were sunny yellow, bright green then would they sell... I don't know. The big positive is that I get to keep hold of them and enjoy them for a little longer!!!

Calmed down now!!!

I'm back from my disastrous break and tantrum! David managed to persuade me not to bin the figure and we have glued her back together as best as we can. I'll take some photographs for my portfolio and my eldest will have her wish.. its hers and not for sale!

This break has really set me back in this creative streak. But I am beginning to be calm enough to let myself do some work. At least it has made me stop for some thinking time. I guess it proved to me that I was just taking on a little or a lottle too much at one time.

I cannot get back to the large painting that slipped and broke the figure. It's just got stuck in a rut for now, but hey ho I'll do it sometime soon. At the same time as dismissing the painting it suddenly occurred to me that I preferred the figure when she was the rich clay brown colour, rather than the terracotta orange. Then I remembered that I had lots of dark black clay left over from some work I did at the beginning of last year, so I'm going to start another figure in this smooth black clay.

I'm off again! Well kind of, I'm not starting it straight away ~ I'm going to ponder over it a little bit more.

17 April 2007

Disaster! Disaster! Disaster!

Oh F**K! And many more obscenities! I could just scream!

I finally got my figure of the girl finished ... (I glazed it with a thin wash of white glaze letting it collect in the dips and accentuate the textures, and I decided I was happy with her) ... was about to photograph and price her, when...

The large canvas I started yesterday slipped off the stools I had it (stupidly) balanced on and knocked the figure flying... It is now headless, cracked and badly chipped... and I am besides myself, beyond crying and wanting to have a really big tantrum!

This is the problem when you have children and no relations/family for back up near by for that little extra support. You find that you lay so much importance on something relatively minor. Like, having an afternoon to yourself, or getting out alone with your husband, or actually managing to achieve something purely for yourself outwith the family. So when it goes wrong it feels like the end of the world so to speak.

So, sorry no pictures today, just can't. I'll post something when I've calmed down.

16 April 2007

Back to School and Nightmares

As much as I hate to admit it, the children have gone back to school and playgroup ... Oh it is LOVELY! I got some initial paint strokes and outlines down on a large canvas I've just started, painted some sample tiles for my mega commission, and begun a ... diet!

All rather satisfying.. ish!

I have no pictures for you just now, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be ables to show you some photographs of what my mega commission is all about. I seem to eat, sleep and dream it just now. Lately I've been having this awful nightmare... I finally finish the job, very happy with it and deliver it without breaking a single tile driving down their amazingly bumpy pothole-y track of a driveway (I digress), then, they announce that they have changed their minds and want Aztec patterns instead!!!!!!!
HELP - the terrors of worried sleep! Aghhhh!

12 April 2007


Here is a very old piece of work I did for my O'Levels! I still love it and it reminds me of a time when the world seemed against me. I was struggling through my teens, school and parental disputes... and rebelling as much as I could get away with at boarding school!

But, there was one rock in my life that I would fight tooth and nail for.. Mr Biggs and his Art Department! What I would have done without him and it I don't know... I can't image how very different my life might be now.

10 April 2007

Clay Girl - work in progress

This is my first bit of sculptural work in clay that I have done in a long long time. I REALLY enjoyed making this. It (as always) is not how I imagined it to be. I wanted a very simplified and stylised figure of a little girl, but, I forgot how much I love details and movement. My hands and imagination got carried away.

She is not very big and stands only 220mm tall. She is now fired and has changed to a bright terracotta orange, not exactly the best look... and of course I can't decide what to do next, but I do have a couple of ideas which I'm toying with. She reminds me of my eldest girl and her love of "dancing dresses" as she calls them, which flow and move as you twirl and dance around. Maybe that's why I like her, as does my daughter.. who said she would never forgive me if I sold it. I'll show you when I've finished!

I've got so many irons in the fire at the moment... a mega big commission, my paintings and so much more, that I don't know which way is up... its great! I also have some exhibition deadlines coming up, which I need some ceramics for... some how I've got to decide what to do and make for them!

Well it is certainly (so far) a year of taking up past and forgotten talents (can I say that?) and love for painting and creating. I'm really enjoying the chance to explore, experiment and get carried away. I think it gets more difficult to get these chances as you get older (dare I say it), and your responsibilities change. Having said that, I have just bought 3 large canvases, which I have no idea of what to do with, but I'm all excited! How many people can relish in the fact of just going for it... and enjoying it too!? It is probably a bit trivial to most people and possibly a bit sad, but for me its a big deal and I'm not ashamed, making excuses or talking myself out of it. So there!!!

It is the school holidays just now (if you didn't know), so my posts will be less regular, I must spend some time with the family. But I will be adding more posts, so keep me in mind the next time you log on. See you then.. and you could always leave me a message... HA! HA! Yes, I'm forever hopeful!

7 April 2007

Coming and Going

This is a slightly larger piece of work and new in approach.. as it is an abstract piece. It is themed on the tidal flow ebbing back and forth. The random rhythm of the water coming and going... coming and going.

It isn't quiet finished yet... but I'm living with it as it is for now... it needs something else but what I can't quite decide, maybe a little bit of dimension, depth or form. I'll show you when I do something about it! And let you know price and measurements then.

5 April 2007

Christening Commission

This is a lovely commission I did last month for a christening present. I painted this sweet bear, her name and the date on a 8" x 8" tile. Once again it has a boarder left clear for family, friends and Godparents attending to leave their messages of love on Olivia's special day. It is being framed at the moment, so I haven't seen it signed yet, but as soon as I do ~ you will too!

Birthday Commission

Here is a commission that I did last month for a 60th birthday party... the birthday boy's nick name was Pig! The rim was left blank for all his friends at the big birthday bash to sign and leave their messages (using a special pen which can be set in the oven)!

This is a great idea and very popular for all sorts of occasions, from engagements, weddings, baby namings, to house-warmings, anniversaries, retirement... you name it!! What a super way to remember that special occasion, as well as who was there to celebrate it with you.

This is one of my newest lines in commissioned commemorative wares, that are proving more and more popular! The pieces can be on tiles to large platters and my prices start from as little as £40 up to £250.

4 April 2007

Platform 22 Studio Gallery

A picture montage of my work and the studio gallery. The gallery is always changing, and as I develop my work I seem to be filling more and more of it.

Last year I spent a lot of time trying to get other artists to join me and hang their work here, but it was extraordinarily difficult to get them to actually commit. It became a vicious circle really... and didn't really make it very fulfilling for me, or my husband ~ in fact it alienated him from the business and helping me. So why keep spiralling downwards?!

SO! I've decided that I'm going to carry on, but on a slightly different tangent. I'll fill the gallery with my work throughout the year and the occasional piece by David (hubby) and his sister Annabel ~ make it a real family affair! Then, do two specialist big exhibitions a year, like North East Open Studios (please check out the link) in September and a Spring/Summer show too.

So watch this space for new developments on the studio gallery front too! Yes! It's all happening here... I say hopefully!

Pear - £85 (GBP)

Study of half a pear in acrylics painted on primed M.D.F and wooden frame. The image continues up and over the frame & it is ready to hang.
280mm x 280mm x 43mm

This is the image I was telling you about yesterday. The background is much more vivid than in this photograph, but I love the strong contrast between the soft, pale pear's flesh to the lush purple! I kept the image of the pear just inside the frame for this picture, so that it would really capture the cut centre of the fruit revealing the core and pips. I painted this relatively quickly as I didn't want to fuss over it, keeping it as simple and clean cut as I could. Hope you like it too.

3 April 2007

Big Fat Juicy Pear - £85 (GBP)

A close up study of a juicy round ripe pear, painted in acrylics on primed M.D.F and wooden frame. The painting continues over and around the frame and is ready to hang.
280mm x 280mm x 43mm

This was such fun to paint. It is an idea I have had for a long time, using the frame as part of the picture and I really want to develop this with some more expressive work and on a much bigger scale. But, for now I seem to have a great feeling for the pears skin for some reason... and most enjoy painting it. I have another study of a pear with wonderful vibrant purple background. Its a bit loud, but just good fun.

I hate to eat pears, I don't like the texture much when raw or cooked, so I think it really rather amusing how I seem to capture the skin holding in the juicy oddly textured flesh inside. My husband much enjoyed eating this at supper when I had finished painting, cutting it up and painting it once again!

2 April 2007

Pomegranate - £80 (GBP)

Study of a pomegranate in acrylic on box canvas. The image continues around the edges so there is no need to frame and it is ready to hang.
255mm x 255mm x 40mm

This was a strange painting for me, I didn't really enjoy painting it in the beginning, but I quickly stopped myself from looking at it in too much detail and then quite literally went for it... letting the colours and my hands do the work. I got rather carried away and enjoyed it very much in the end! Lots of people have commented on it saying they like it the best so far, but I'm not sure. I suppose, because it isn't exactly how I imagined it to turn out, it doesn't sit well with me for now ~ but it is growing on me.

My confidence has had a little knock lately, as my husband kindly said they were my "toilet and kitchen pieces"... I was taken totally aback by this comment, even a little disappointed that he thought so little of my work... but stopping myself from going all dramatic(!) I realised he meant that they are fun, simple paintings with nothing more to offer other than being what they are ~ and I'm sticking to that explanation! I'm having fun doing this, so I guess I have captured something other than the object painted and people seem to really like them.

This is such a new learning curve for me. I want to express myself in some manner, but fruit and veg aren't really the way of speaking to people. I really enjoy learning through these works, and am happy doing this for now... but as I have said before I want to find that thing that I cannot stop myself from doing... as if addicted or possessed. But I'm just grasping at straws now ~ I don't think painting still life's for ever more will keep me happy for ever more!

Anyway here is the first of many images I wanted to show you. Over the next few days I'll be popping many more posts onto my blog, from work in progress to my first clay sculptural piece in a while and more, so keep watching!