Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Art Work category.

Learning how to paint …

For 2011/2012 I think I’ll learn how to use paint to explore Memory. Since there are [add a number greater than 20] ways to paint, it could take me all year to come up with:

  • a set of ways I like to use paint
  • a method which incorporates memory in the process
  • a size of image I’m happy to tackle
  • a colour palette / set of paints I like to use … starting with oil paints

I’ve started exploring some “how to” sites so I can get a feel for what paint is like, what some of the processes and approaches are and why people use different types of paint&process in their work.

Here’s hoping that by the end of the year I’ll be happy in my painting.


2 New ideas for Memory-related art work …

I’ve been thinking about different ways of incorporating Memory into my art work.
First off, I was struck by an article in The Archer about a young girl who lost her favoutite doll on the tube (note: she did get it back again). I remember when I lost my first bike – a Claude Butler 531 butless-joint frame which I’d looked after and tricked out for years. I was gutted when I lost it because it meant a gap in reminders of my experience which it would be impossible to fill. I think I’ll do a series of Visual Poems on “lost favourite objects” and the stories behind them …
Second, I was trying to recall when I first heard about Sama bin Laden (can’t think why) and realised that my memory of that was very confused: part info from a documentary, part recalling the twin towers falling, part watching arab terrorist videos on the news … In any case, it’s neither consistent nor comprehensive – just a vague grey image and generally high concern … sometimes. So I thought: maybe I should write a series of brief recollections about events and stuff. It’s no more “true” to me than what other people tell me is “true”, so I think it’s just as valid (but as art).
Thoughts anyone?

NoSpaceNeeded – Online Exhibition

I’m taking part in (and helping organise) the first ever East Finchley Open Online Exhibition: NoSpaceNeeded 2011.

Fifteen artists from the EFO have collaborated on making digital images from each other’s photos.

I had the idea to use “found” images, but with the copyright issues involved, decided we should each take a roll of film (using “recyclable” cameras) and then swap films randomly.

The film I got was shot by Sheila Seepersaud-Jones. Her main line of art work is ceramics, but she has also taken wonderful photos as well.

I decided I’d look at her film and try to piece together the spaces she was in when she took the photos. It turned out that the spaces were reminiscent of places I’d been to when looking after my kids. So then I thought of the sorts of people or activities that might have gone on there … leading me to include some parts of my own photos from the past in there.

There are four images: Light, Texture, Roofs and Diagonals. Each has many layers of meaning and association within them. Some are more restful than others and some more colourful than others. Each is evocative of my own experiences.

Hope you like them!

NoSpaceNeeded 2011 Show

What makes an exhibition?

I’ve had an idea for an exhibition which doesn’t need to have any physical presence, a kind of virtual exhibition.

It’s come from the notion that already there are too many photographs in and of the world, too many alternative views (we are all photographers), yet too little time and space to view them. We increasingly rely on our networks to prioritise our experiences: likes, tweets, posts about what we are each following or doing in parallel, yet not together. When we’re not networking, we’re exposed to (and creating) a huge pool of seemingly random untraceable images, only transiently connected to ourselves.

How should we respond to this situation, as photographic artists? How can we connect with and communicate our visions to an audience?

A group of us are going to collaborate on a photography show, to be seen in 2011, called “No Space Needed”. It’s going to start with the historic roots of photography: film cameras. But these are “sustainable”, re-useable cameras (most of us don’t posess a film camera any more). We will each take a film strip – 27 shots, scanning them digitally into the modern photographic world.

Then we’re going to randomise these source pictures, as if they were found objects. Each of us will use source images from someone else’s film and respond individually to create a set of four artworks for the show. These artworks will last only for the duration of the show and will then cease to exist (if indeed they ever did).

The show itself will only ever be “viewed” online, as a web gallery. The audience will be invited (by the artists and their friends) to view the show, using FaceBook, email, tweets, blogs etc. They will be able to comment on the show, the images, the artists’ ideas: these comments will form part of the show, growing it organically.

We will allow the gallery images to be purchased – again, only through online channels, only during the show. Having set this up, the artists will have no “hand” in the outcomes: the audience will be able to order the images in the available formats themselves, receiving them in the post.

Lastly, the only “preserved” version of the show to be available after the show closes will be a digitally produced book of the show, created by the artists.

Organising the show and the participation involved lengthy discussion on how it would work: for the artists taking the photos; for the artists (“manipulators”) creating the artworks; for the audience; for buyers of prints or books. It surfaced issues of copyright, credit for work done, pricing, perceptions of quality, payment processes, moderation of comments, life-span of the images, working relationships and mutual trust. This in itself was seen as a valuable part of the creative work for the show.

Threads of Feeling – Coram Exhibition

Threads of Feeling Exhibition    14th October 2010 – 6th March 2011

The Foundling Museum, London, celebrates the opening of a new and highly emotive exhibition entitled Threads of Feeling. The exhibition will showcase fabrics never shown before to illustrate the moment of parting as mothers left their babies at the original Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram.

Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm
£7.50// concessions £5//Children and Art Fund Members FREE
020 7841 3614 //

Coram Community Campus,
49 Mecklenburgh Square,
London, WC1N 2QA

Artist Supports Poets in Zimbabwe

At the EFO Summer Open this year, I saw an a amazing collection of calligraphy by a local artist Cherrell Avery – one piece in particular caught my attention. It was a particularly strong representation of a poem, describing life in Zimbabwe.


Image by Cherrell Avery, words by poet from Zimbabwe

The story behind the work was also remarkable. Cherrell is a professional calligrapher and lettering artist and is President of North London Lettering Association. She is always looking for new sources of inspiration and heard a Radio 4 programme last year, on the life of young poets in Zimbabwe. She was moved by their plight and through the Poetry International (Zimbabwe) website, she chose the words of two poets to interpret.

Responding intuitively to the meaning of the words she created beautiful visual interpretations of the poems in three art works, and the poets granted permission for them to be on exhibition. Cherrell arranged a “silent auction” of the works, with 50% of the proceeds going directly to the poet. One piece was sold (luckily for me, my bid was successful) but the other two are still available for discerning collectors.


Image by Cherrell Avery, words by poet from Zimbabwe

You can contact Cherrell through her website if you would like to buy one of these works. The money will make a big difference to the poets’ lives in difficult times.

The Road Away From Memory

I was reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy – quite a strong story (I hadn’t realise he’d written No Country for Old Men which qualified as the most depressing film of last year).  I took it as an exploration of what’s important and how it becomes important (taken in this case to the extreme of a post apocalyptic world). So I became interested in how the man in the story described the important things in his life – the boy, the trolley, their food.

He has a very sparse descriptive style for most everything, including conversations which needed no words (the understanding between the man and boy making most words unnecessary). However, he does contemplate his circumstances and says:  “He thought if he lived long enough the world at last would all be lost. Like the dying world the newly blind inhabit, all of it slowly fading from memory.”

I like the idea that – in the absence of fresh re-connections to memories, without reminders or prompts – we gradually forget: forgetting both the details and, eventually, the thing itself. For “newly blind” read “early onset dementia sufferers” too.

The importance though … where does the importance go?

New Art Work – Hopeless About Dates (visual poem)

I’ve just finished this work, which is the first of my new series of Visual Poems, based on “Small Objects of Desire”. My ideas was to take the memories people have around an important (small) object and create a piece which reminds me of the story they evoke.

Visual Poem: Hopeless About Dates

Image of Visual Poem

This work has a different feel (to me) than the ones created from a “favourite place” story.

Firstly, the object has it’s own place – it exists and is still with the person (I’m asked them to bring the object in with them). It has a future – I asked them where they keep the object and what they will do with it.

Secondly, as I’d seen the object I was wondering whether to include a photo of it in the work. In the end, I used images of shapes and colours that I could associate directly (or indirectly) with the object I’d seen – so the original object doesn’t appear.

However, the content and complexity of the work reflects my recollections from the story – which I suppose supports the idea that these images are poetic and have a universality which anyone can connect with in their own way.

Excellent results from Open House

Opening my house to the public so they can see artwork in a “home setting” works well for me as well as the visitors.
I usually share my house with two or three other artists (normally working in different media), which I find works well, as the majority of visitors are those who already know the artist(s).
The best bit for me is the conversation with the visitors (my house had nearly 200 visitors and sold a reasonable amount as well). It helps me develop my ideas of the work and to bounce new ideas off them to gauge reactions. In that way, I prefer it to exhibiting in a gallery space. However, it’s a considerable investment in my time and space (thanks, family).
The group had done a great deal of publicity – leafletting, advertorial, posters, banners – and no doubt that helped to maintain the footfall. Nonetheless, several visitors had never before heard of this annual event (now in its 7th year).
Having taken a break – couple of weeks off, drawing by the pool – I’m back ready to start work on the Small Objects of Desire works.

Open House – Prompting Investigations

I was Opening my house to art-lovers this weekend (and will be next weekend). One of the joys of doing this – apart from the obvious pleasure in selling my work to an appreciative audience – is the conversation about the work.

From these discussions, I frequently find avenues to explore or variations on my work to consider. This time I had:

It’s good to talk about these things. Now I’ve got to get on and do the work – start on the “Small Objects of Desire” pictures.

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