Friday, 24 June 2011


(currently untitled)
Fantastic news: all three of the paintings I have in the current show at Union Gallery have sold and a fourth painting has been commissioned! I'm really, really excited – the show could not have worked out any better for me. As luck would have it, I was even working in the gallery on the day that three of the four sold and I was able to put out red dots on my own work. Several days later and it is still too soon to evaluate what this means to me. In fact, it feels like the news has not sunk in properly. A few words float around in my head: joy, confirmation, confidence, relief, gratitude.

I also painted this week and was able to revise and finish a painting that I started way back before things got crazy. I'm slowly making my way back into painting again and it feels very good.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Slight return

I've really been enjoying popping into Union Gallery this week, to look at the three paintings of mine that are on show there this month. It is a joy to see the pieces away from the clutter and mess of my studio, framed and mounted in pristine white. In fact next week I will be looking after the gallery on Monday and Tuesday and I just know I am going to spend a lot of my time standing in front of my paintings, looking in wonder at the marks that I made all those months ago, being ever so slightly amazed by their complexity and thinking, "I made this?". The time that has passed since I created them, as well as their physical distance from my day-to-day reality, has been enough to allow me to appreciate them more fully.

Back in the studio, I completed my first solo painting since my return from Fayetteville. It was strange to return to the physical and mental space I created in February, as well as working on this series which also started then. All the time there was an awareness in me of where I had been and what I had painted since then, that seemed to want to pull my arm and shape my intentions. However, I resisted the temptation of the new, in order not to create a series with an obvious fracture.

Sadly, I will not be sharing my new painting because the paper it was painted on warped badly, to a degree inexplicably more than any other of my paper pieces. I'm going to attempt to rectify that situation and, with luck, there will be more than one new painting to show next week!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Now We Are Two

© Magpie at Blipfoto
Last night saw the opening of Union Gallery's Now We Are Two exhibition, a joint show in which I have three pieces from my series Life is the process. I began this series back in March, when I last had time and space in my studio to paint. A lot of other jobs and, or course, my trip to Fayetteville have all occurred since then. Yesterday, therefore, returning to these pieces having not seen them in six weeks and seeing them not just hanging in a gallery but framed really well was a genuine pleasure. I spent so much time looking at them that I began to feel that I was maybe being insulting by not looking much at the other work in the show.

The gap between me and this body of work also seems to have kept away that common ailment, the post-show blues. Rather than wondering what I am going to do next or if, even worse, I will ever paint again, I am feeling excited about returning to Life is the Process and completing the series. My original plan was for it to contain nine works and at present there are only five finished pieces. Next week I will put my studio back together and re-learn how to paint by myself. The pieces in the show are the best things I have ever painted (alone!) and I really looking forward to trying to match that feat.

Friday, 3 June 2011

A matter of distances

After the storm
© 2011 Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Mixed Media on Canvas, 40x30"
Seven days after completing 'A question of chemistry' with Megan Chapman, I was hoping to review the series, to have had the time to stand back and appraise what we had achieved in three intensive weeks of painting. Somehow, today, I find that I have both too much distance and yet not enough.

Physically, I am now four and a half thousand miles from the paintings. I do not know when, or indeed if, I will see them again. (Which, I must point out, is not negativity – I do hope to work in Megan's studio again one day, however perhaps by that day the whole series will have sold!) Returning to look them over, to let my eyes drink in their complexities is no longer possible and, as is always the case, photos of paintings never do them justice. In the flesh, paintings have an almost indefinable quality about them that reproductions invariably lack.

On the other hand, in the week that has passed, I have returned across six time zones, slept intermittently and am rather unsettled to be home alone. I have not yet found the mental space needed to stand back and look or, rather, think about what we achieved in our collaboration.

All of the nine paintings in our series are now available to view over on Facebook. Please do take a look over there and let Megan and I know what you think.

This coming Thursday, 9th June, sees some of my work go on show in Union Gallery's second birthday exhibition. A private preview is taking place from 6-8pm that night and I will be there if you want to come along and ask me questions. I'd be more than happy to see some familiar faces!