It is that time of year again and boosted by the successes last year I decided to give the Summer Exhibition another go. I entered one piece – a Screenprint of my great hero Leonard Cohen who sadly died in 2016. I feel like he sang the refrain to most of my adolescent years – deliciously depressing, haunting lyrics – no matter that they mostly didn’t make sense! Most of his songs are etched in my memory and he would definitely be on my Desert Island choice. So, the Summer Exhibition, like most of the big competitions nowadays, has a first submission by email. They have around 13000 entries which is astonishing, and they weed that down to 4000 for the next round, when you have to take the actual picture up to London. The final hang is about 800. I have just received notification that I am through the first round – yea!!! great excitement. So I have delivered the pic to the RA and await to hear if I make it through. Watch this space.
Meantime Oxfordshire Artweeks is coming up in a week and I am exhibiting with Emma Ablitt again in Longcot which should be fun. We are in a new venue, the Old Methodist Chapel, which is not the easiest space to manage so a bit of a challenge. But it is always an enjoyable week, meeting lots of people, talking about what we are doing and, hopefully selling some pieces as well. I shall have screen prints, linocuts and some carvings to show, plus a few photos from my New York trip – a bit of an eclectic mix to give a flavour of what I have been up to in the year. We will be open every day from 11-18 May so I hope to see some of you there!
I was first asked to do a Linoprint Workshop by a local Art Society early last year and, much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. Teaching a small group of adults who have chosen to come is an altogether different experience! And also, it was quite affirming as I realised how much knowledge and expertise I have acquired, just from my own practice. Most people have not done linoprints since they were at school and they are really amazed at how sophisticated a technique it can be, whilst remaining accessible and manageable ‘on the kitchen table’ as it were. Here are a few examples of some work done by my students.
The image on the right above was made by Niamh – simple design and really successful. We tried it in a couple of colours but decided one colour was best. I love it – it looks like an illustration from a fairytale.
Grace’s linoprint, ‘oranges and lemons’
The next one on the left is by Grace – completely different style but equally successful. It would make a great card and, again, she tried a few different colour ways and felt this was her favourite.
Karen linoprint ‘Snowy view’
Below right is a Christmas card made by Karen – a slightly more complicated design requiring two lino blocks, one on top of the other, but looks fab. I feel like a proud mother!
Throughout the year I ended up doing quite a number of workshops for different organisations – usually no more than 6 people. It is so exciting to see the anticipation as they peel back the paper to see what is revealed. Chocolate biscuits seem to be essential to creativity – well I always knew that really! – and some excellent work was produced. Now I am fully kitted up with the necessary sets of tools, rollers etc and I look forward to working with more students in 2016. What larks!
Well, it has been quite a summer with a great deal going on, not much of which has allowed me precious time in my studio. Bits of work have gone into various exhibitions, most recently been Oxford Art Society’s show in September. However, now Emma and I are gearing up for our Pop Up exhibition in Cirencester which we hang on Monday. I am at the stage of making lists and gathering heaps of things I must remember to take. This should be a new audience for us so it will be interesting to see how we are received. We have to man this one ourselves so have divided up the two weeks between us – anyone wanting to come and see one of us, please get in touch to find out who will be there which days. Wish us luck!
I have just noticed that I have let the ‘Exhibitions’ corner on the front page slip badly so now it looks like I haven’t had an exhibition for the last three years! Holy moly! Now I have to try and remember what happened where and when and stick them all in…it may happen or it may not…
…in the meantime I have updated the Gallery with some of the new work I have been doing so check it out – especially the Monoprints section which has some new fruity numbers using a new technique I have been playing with involving printing onto tissue shapes and then using them to print onto wet paper. It gives a lovely clean edge and some wonderful textures. If you would like more info then ask; I have started explaining how to do it to people and watched their eyes glaze over so now I wait till I am asked!
Also, a new departure for me: I have been asked by a Gallery locally to do some Linoprint Workshops so I will start those in August. I am really looking forward to doing them: I have put a maximum of 6 people just to start with, while I work out how many rollers and tubes of ink I will need. I hope sufficient people sign up and aren’t put off by the fact they did linoprint at school. It is such a simple medium but with heaps of scope to experiment and is great fun. I made quite a lot of linoprinted cards for the Open Studios event in May and printed them onto some hand marbled paper I happened to have – they worked beautifully adding a layer of colour and interest behind the print.
And finally I have just enrolled with West Dean in Sussex to learn how to do paper marbling myself – a bit of a treat. Lovely!
So, at the weekend I had a proper lesson in Twitter and how it all works. Finally I think I am understanding the point and I tweeted today about an amazing double exhibition that is happening at Bristol RWA which I have booked to visit at the end of March. It is my two favourite things at the mo, Ravilious – whose work is kind of familiar from his designs for Wedgewood etc and who sums up a whole decade in terms of his style and particularly the colours he uses – and then One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography. Recently in London there were two very good exhibitions which particularly covered the work of Rene Gras, and some of his contemporaries. There is something quite lovely about fashion iconography in terms of capturing the flavour of an era. So two exhibitions on at the same time which promise great things. And, on the back of that enthusiasm, i have had my first retweet…I think I am getting the hang of this.