Friday, 31 August 2012


Four weeks after returning – alone – I am still run down. Cough. Was it the horrible journey, or the virus I picked up just before it? I've been prescribed some antibiotics, to try to clear my lungs, so maybe a change is in sight. Cough. I read through stacks of comics and spend a lot of time on the sofa. Horizontal. The occasional stray breeze is the only thing to stir in the studio. The works in progress gather slowly dust to their oil and graphite surfaces. I watch.

Grumbles of thunder. In the middle of the week, in the middle of the loudest storm I've heard in Edinburgh, I begin a new piece. I am not well, exhausted and with aching lungs. I paint that exhaustion and my sore muscles. Cough. This new painting looks nothing like my recent work. The dark heaviness is not visible here, rather it is a skeleton of a painting. I do not know what to do with it. Struck motionless. I leave it, like the others, for the dust to gather on.

I wear painting clothes every day. I do not paint every day. I leave the door open. The rain falls again.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Where it will go

If I had a vague idea about what I would paint when I began to work on my own again, it probably was not what I have been painting for the past week or so. In fact I'm not even sure that I had planned to paint at all at this point, nonetheless I went through the motions of setting up my studio and priming some panels. Somehow, following that, I started to paint.

(work in progress)
Mixed media on panel, 12x12"
If I had any idea at all about what I would paint when I began painting on my own again, I thought it would be something perhaps softer that what I had previously painted on my own. Something with more defined shapes, translucent and organically geometric. This did not happen.

When I came to paint on my own again, I fairly attacked the panels, beginning three paintings that are hard and more uncompromising than any I have painted before. It has taken me by surprise, although perhaps only really the first of the three. After hacking away at that first piece, I approached the second and third with a small degree of premeditation. I knew, by then, where I was going with this work.

(work in progress)
Mixed media on panel, 12x12"
What I do not know at this point is whether these paintings will lead to a full series, or if they are simply something that I need to get off my chest, a small aberration, before I begin something with more longevity. Only time will tell.

Of the three pieces I have began, only these two are close to a finished shape. Next week, perhaps, I will have more. We shall see.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Great Painting Give Away

Since returning home, I have had time to reflect on my surroundings. One of the things I have realised is that I have an awful lot of art around my studio and in my store room. In total, I have realised that there are well over a hundred paintings, with pieces from every body of work I've produced, some of them going back as far as 1997!

Stacks of my older work. I'm giving away a lot of them!
Over the weekend I attempted to put that hoard into better order, however the sheer volume of the work was overwhelming. It led me to the realisation that I simply don't need all of it and that it was time to let a lot of it go.

With that in mind, I drew up a list of all of my paintings and then had a long think about which ones I would be happy to give away. In all, I found 43 that I could part with for free! With so many pieces on offer, I decided to use my Facebook artist page as the hub for organising my Great Painting Give Away.

Visitors to the page will find three albums. The oldest work is in pop art, with 13 pieces made between 2001-2004. The next body of work features figure and portrait paintings, with 25 pieces ranging from 2001-2009. Last of all are five fairly recent abstract pieces from 2010.

I have asked anyone interested owning any of these 43 paintings to leave a comment on what they like and, on August 28th, I will hold a draw, choosing one lucky winner for each painting that has more than one commenting name against it. Whilst I'm giving away the paintings for nothing, the winner will however be responsible for paying shipping costs (which I will keep to a minimum). The costs are below next to the painting details.

So far I have had lots of good feedback on the pieces I've posted and am very pleased that the five abstract pieces have proved by far the most popular. It looks like most of my pieces are going to find new homes soon! Is there one for you?

Friday, 10 August 2012

A rebuilding process

My studio re-awakens
For fear of repeating myself, I will try to avoid my usual opening statement regarding the unexpectedly hasty passage of time recently, with specific regard to that which occurred since my arrival in Edinburgh a little over a week ago. It would not do to become a cliché.

My first steps at re-finding my home-town artistic feet were taken yesterday, when I put my studio back together. In these financially constricted times, I have decided to keep my studio close to home. Very close. So close, in fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it is in my home. Which, to be fair, it is.
There are both positives and negatives to having a home studio. The primary positive is the easy and instant access to the studio, at all times of day and night. I have never had a daily working schedule as an artist, so around the clock easy access is greatly beneficial to my work. On the other hand, when one has a home studio one can never escape from work. As an artist who does a lot of work internally, I already have enough problems escaping from my work at the best of times. With a home studio, there is almost no escape. Other than to do outside, but that is a different matter entirely.

I've also been looking through my painting storeroom this week. There is a lot of work in it, some ranging back to my first tentative professional steps some twelve years ago. In the coming weeks, I am going to catalogue this work and decide upon its fate. Some I plan to place for sale on Etsy, a little I hope to keep hold of. For the rest, who can tell… sometimes one must simply let go and move on. We shall see.

Friday, 3 August 2012

That was the week that wasn't

Most weeks, even those when I'm not in any obvious way working on art, there are always a few thoughts that I want to share. This week, however, there simply aren't and for one very simply reason. This week, I returned home from Fayetteville to Edinburgh and the journey, which should have taken around twenty hours, took instead forty-five hours. I left Arkansas on Tuesday morning and did not sleep until I was back in my house just after 11am on Thursday. This morning, I woke at half past one and have been vaguely awake ever since. I thought I might write that art is the last thing on my mind right now, but in truth nothing is on my mind right now. I'm sure next week I'll have something to write about, until then I am going to yawn some more.