I saw the Light Show at the Hayward Gallery recently and I am happy to say it was one of the most pleasing exhibitions I’ve been to for some time. There was a lovely sense of the pleasure of discovery and strong links to my current research and practice; light, perception, wonder and phenomenal experience.
I certainly wasn’t excited by all of the artworks but the were a few I really loved; Olafur Eliasson’s Model for a timeless garden is animation in real-time, in which clouds of water particles become miniature galaxies and moving fountains are momentarily frozen in mid-air. Brigitte Kowanz’s Light Steps is a beautifully simple visual illusion which creates an imagined spatial dimension, Carlos Cruz-Diez Chromosaturation (pictured above) plays with the perception of colour. By standing still in a deeply saturated red space eventually the red neutralises back to white. Moving into the adjoining green space, the greenness of green is almost overwhelming. Beautiful.
For a long time in my old studio I used to randomly select an image of the day from my collection of artists books. This served to inspire, delight and remind me of the scope of creative possibility. Today in my new studio in my garden I am very pleased to have re-instated image of the day on my favourite retro industrial mechanical drawing table. Today’s featured artist is German photographer Uta Barth, who uses depth of field and focus to explore visual perception and meaning. She makes beautiful, evocative and slightly lonely images.
The last few weeks have been dedicated to an exciting new diy project in our garden. Richard and I have been renovating our garden shed to turn into an office and art studio. It was never just an average shed, in fact Richard built it as a garden room/studio, it’s about 4 x 3 metres with pleasing views of the garden. We have been using it for storage in the last couple of years, but things are changing and the shed has now been clad with wooden boards and painted with traditional Hertfordshire black barn paint. We installed a gutter and a water-butt just in time to collect all this beautiful rain. I am in the process of painting the inside (one coat to go) and we have also bought a tiny little multi-fuel stove so I can stay warm in there all year. The new flue is being manufactured and will hopefully be ready next week. I am excited and looking forward to moving in…
Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the first gig on the current Suzy Almond tour schedule (thanks Clare & Jenny). The Lounge Room Tour is a low-key small format tour occurring in sitting rooms throughout Greater London. It was a delightful evening in a cosy Sydenham flat, with an intimate audience of 12 and Suzy’s alternative pop folk to keep us entertained. The evening culminated with a rousing sing-a-long which saw the crowd belting out a few old favourites such as Blue Moon and American Pie. We all left with happy hearts. Inspired by the sound of Suzy’s beautiful guitar, I have at long last re-tuned my cello.
Two classes of anatomical drawing today at the Uni of Hertfordshire. My students were drawing the human head, both skeleton and living. There is always a moment a few minutes into the start of the drawing process when the room goes quiet as they focus their attention. Its a lovely feeling to be in a room of forty people in complete silence. They did some very nice work today.
I am working hard this week, lecturing has begun and the Hertford Vintage Fayre is on this Saturday. Many illustrations underway and the beginnings of a lovely collection of greeting cards. Its always good to have a deadline and remind oneself what can be achieved in a week.
Another detail from my garden bird series. I am enjoying the process of observing and drawing the world around me in a very detailed way. It makes me appreciate it more.
A detail from a new illustration of my street. It includes studies of the birds I regularly see in my garden and postal messages from across the sea. It is part of a series of new work I am creating for the Hertford Vintage Fayre in early February. The process of drawing provides a welcome relief from lecture preparation. A happy way to spend my evening.
A new project is underway; a new miniature world. Derived from some initial ideas but now there is much playing and experimentation. I love the feeling of not quite knowing where something is going and allowing the process to guide the way. One never knows what one might find. A delightful way to spend my afternoon.
A new series of 12 x 3″ paintings; Colour Sampler, acrylic on linen board. Memories recorded in a grid of colour and light. The paintings capture the feeling, tone and experience of a particular moment in time. These and other new paintings are on show at the Gravelly Barn Summer Exhibition this weekend. To see further information and examples of this work click here.