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“The party’s over, it’s time to call it a day
They’ve burst your pretty balloon, and taken the moon away
It’s time to wind up the masquerade”
Bobby Darin 1962

No, it’s not about Brexit, but @ArtWaveFestival is over for another year, and it is time to turn the studio from gallery back into a studio and start working on the next pieces. Not quite 200 people visited, some days just four, but I enjoyed some great conversations with other artists, and plenty of appreciation. To my surprise the ‘Brexit Daisy’ was the most liked painting, with one couple coming close to purchase before deciding it was a little too large.The Brexit Daisy
Many years ago, I did teaching practice in Eastbourne college – yep, before many of you were born, 1970 to be exact. They then had a bar in the staff room, and I left without paying my bill. The Principal and Head of Art came to see my show and accepted my Verdun Triptych as payment graciously (having been tipped off to my debt by OH in a chance encounter at the Towner). I am delighted that this work will be a permanent reminder of sacrifice in WW1 by our French friends for the youngsters in the school. I hope that the French are still friends if we leave the EU.Verdun – Autumn, Winter, Spring (there never was a summer)
The showtime was good as seeing some 40 pieces of work gave me time to think and consider both what I have achieved and how to take it forward. The pegs were liked but it was the flower paintings that caused the most excitement, with Teasel pushing the Daisy as a close second. Pegs were enjoyed too, convenient for continuity as the drawing I was working on during the show is of the laundry basket, an image strangely resurrected from some drawings I did in the early 1980’s. I guess what goes around comes around.The Final Daisy
In some ways the laundry basket can be considered a move on from the pegs – but then I always did have a peculiar sense of humour. I am fascinated by the grid (yep it’s back) of shadow and the play of light and texture, and I will explore this in some large-scale oil pastel work extending the experimental colour work done before the Poppy paintings. I am excited by the prospect but will have to think hard about scale. It was great doing the ‘Verdun’ pieces at about 4 feet square, but it did create problems with storage and framing.Scale is an important consideration in relation to the mark. I want to be able to put myself into the work and that means working with the whole body. As pieces get smaller so the ‘hinge’ around which the mark rotates changes. Small pieces use the wrist as the hinge, then it progresses to the elbow and with true scale the mark can be made from the shoulder increasing the vigour of application and pulling in the whole body to engage. I love large paintings like those Waterlilies of Monet which can engulf you as a viewer, so you don’t just spectate but are forced to engage within the piece, be absorbed by it, engulfed by the colour and emotion.Perhaps it is just as well my studio restricts the scale of the canvases or I would have to rent a hangar for storage. Even so the large drawings can consume me and seem larger than they are within my small working space. I pin paper directly to the wall. Usually using Bockingford and priming it with 3 or 4 coats of gesso primer so it will happily take the oils and solvents but also allow the use of masking tape without tearing the surface up. I have started underpainting with acrylics before attacking the structure with oil pastel, trying to balance the fight between the structure and the mark, letting neither win.
Having visitors to the studio has made me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to retreat to the bottom of the garden to work away from phones etc.. The walk to work is brilliant, full of scents, sounds and colour itself, so much so that some visitors suggested the I should link opening the studio to an open garden event too. However, having about 30 visitors a day is enough, it gives time for conversation and enquiry.

It was fun – and if you missed coming, there is one last opportunity this weekend coming (the 7th and 8th September from 1100 – 1800 hrs) with my open studio event as part of @CoastalCurrents. Maybe I’ll see you then?

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