Figure and Portrait

Figure & Portrait exhibition

I will be exhibiting three paintings at the upcoming “Figure & Portrait” exhibition at BAR gallery, from 12th-25th September.

The gallery says “This exhibition is dedicated to figure and portraiture. Showcasing work in a variety of mediums including painting, print, photography and sculpture. All work is for sale and affordably priced.”

More information about Brent Artist Resource and the events that they organise can be found on their website here.

Hanging arrangement

layout for blogI’ve been working on a few different hanging arrangements for the forthcoming New Artist Fair. The organisers had mentioned that they prefer the displays not to be too crowded. Well, if they had any of their larger spaces still available, I would gladly have left more white space around each canvas. As it is, I’m trying to fit the bare minimum number of works in 2m of wall space, that will fairly represent the range of my work.

Relationships Series No.3, Peter D'AlessandriLast night I delivered my “Relationships Series No.3” painting to the Espacio Gallery on Bethnal Green Road, for the upcoming “Punch” exhibition – part of Sweet ‘Art’s Summer Art Festival.
I’ve only shown this piece once before, in an unfinished state, at the first Cork Street Open exhibition. My reluctance to show it since has largely been because I became uncomfortable with the personal nature of this piece; it was just too stark a reminder of a very difficult time in my life.

Estuary Fringe

estuary fringe festivalI shall be taking part in the Estuary Fringe festival this year. Their website is estuaryfringe.weebly.com and their Facebook page can be found here, where they have the following description of the event:

The Estuary Fringe was created with the aim of taking art back from the pretentious art elites who have somehow insinuated themselves into the borough and hand it back to the local community, to everyone, where it belongs.
Dreamt up by four fools from Southend and under the direction of the fringes creative director John Bulley, hold on “creative director”, that’s art bollocks, the fringe is about anarchic fun without the guilt.
The first festival in June 2013 was incredibly successful. Organised in just 7 weeks with no money and no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, we were blown away by just how well it all went, so we have decided to do it all again this year.
Over 9 days in August this year’s festival will be bigger and better with even more artist, local, national and international from all genres, painters and musicians, graffiti artists, poets, performance artists, the festival really will have it all as this year we are pleased to announce that we will have theatrical productions and independent films as well.
The Estuary Fringe Festival, from Saturday 2nd August until Sunday 10th August. Come see what’s on and enjoy.
No need to pay £10 + booking fee for tickets, its free… just turn up, join in and have fun…
The Estuary Fringe Production Team….

Work in progress – Evolution of a Painting

I have had a number of life drawing sittings with the same model, Kaya, over the past few weeks. It’s strange how my original plans for what I wanted to achieve from these sittings were abandoned one by one, and new ideas have slowly evolved from the results of each sitting. Here’s Kaya standing next to some of the drawings from these sessions, along with the newly started painting, which will (if ever finished) be the end product of these past four sittings.
kaya1f90003
The top most drawings in the photo above are preparatory sketches for another composition. I had discussed with Kaya how I wanted to paint figures wearing masks, to explore to what extent the masks affect how we perceive the model’s identity or personality. Having recently studied on a course in physical theatre, Kaya was helpfully able to bring along a wonderful white mask for the past couple of sittings, and so this vague idea for a painting is now taking shape.
I commenced this series of sittings working with Kaya,  with what I thought was a very clear idea of my objectives. None of those original goals has been achieved, either because of failures on my part, or by happy accidents occurring in the meantime. Instead, this process has taken me in a completely different, and unexpected direction. And I have no idea yet if the end product will have made it all worthwhile.

Pastels

pastel figure

This is a pastel drawing I made during yesterday’s sitting with the life model Kaya. It has been years since I have used pastels, and I must admit to finding them quite a challenge, requiring a very different approach. From the drawings I was left with at the end of the session, I was most pleased with this one – probably on account of the lovely pose. I’m considering using the same pose in my next painting; a possible layout is shown in the quick sketch below.

rough layout for painting

Multimedia installation at WOA, call for artists

becky walker multimedia art installation
during installation

Last week I paid a visit to my local art gallery, WOA, to see local Southend artist Becky Walker putting up her multimedia art installation. It seemed to involve the use of a couple of projectors, what seemed to be miles and miles of clingfilm,  and possibly beer cans.

I thought it brave of the gallery to give free rein to the artist to put on this event, which included rearranging the displayed artwork to suit her installation. The gallery was open all the time, and it was interesting viewing the reaction of a couple of visitors while I was there. This particular gallery puts a great importance on the active involvement of their participating artists; it positively encourages it. As such it is a great opportunity for emerging and local artists. Especially those who work in the multimedia field, who might otherwise have difficulty finding suitable venues for their offerings. And to be able to put on a show in an open gallery along quite a busy road.., well, that’s priceless.

The WOA gallery currently has openings for artists. The fee they charge, £20/month, really only covers costs, and as I said, they are always looking to host events. Any enquiries should be directed to Jon or Carra at the address below. More details can be found on their website.

You can visit the WOA gallery @
28 Hamlet Court Rd, Westcliff-on-Sea,
Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, SS0 7LX,
info@westcliffonart.com

becky walker art installation
becky walker art installation, and those beer cans again
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One of the projectors broke down on the evening, but I don’t think it spoiled anyone’s enjoyment. Quite a few people attended, and despite the technical problem, I would say the evening was a success.

 

Works in progress, a crucifixion and looking for a male model

crucifixionWith the New Year looming, I’m already planning the composition of some paintings for next year. One of the compositions will have a crucified male figure in background, with a female figure in foreground. I’ve already worked on preliminary poses for the female figure with my regular model, so I’m just in need of a male model for the crucified figure. I will be looking for someone of slim/athletic build under thirty, who is prepared to work for very low artist rates. I may have to avoid mentioning the crucified bit in any advert.

This past couple of weeks I have been working on some old, unfinished or abandoned paintings. One of them dating from 2010. Although I try to be methodical in my approach to work, it’s always a mystery how a painting will evolve. I might labour without success on what I thought was a straightforward composition, while more ambitious works might just emerge on the canvas, seemingly under their own volition.
Sometimes I just lose my nerve. I might have worked on a painting over a period of a couple of months, which will be the culmination of work started months earlier with a model posing in my studio; so I often feel quite nervous when applying the final glazes to a piece. I am aware that if I get it seriously wrong, I could ruin the painting. That is why I found it so relaxing working on these “abandoned” pieces. I had already given up on them, and had expected to paint over most of them. Although I haven’t finished them, I’m generally pleased with the results.

works in progress
works in progress

Sweet’Art Guilty Pleasures

I have just received notification that my piece “Relationships Series – Kirsty and Beth” has been accepted for the Sweet’Art show “Guilty Pleasures”, to be held at Juno, in Shoreditch, from the 6th November.

Relationships Series - Kirsty and Beth, selected for the Sweet'Art show Guilty Pleasures, held at popular bar and gallery venue Juno, in Shoeditch
Relationships Series – Kirsty and Beth

It poses an interesting dilemma, as the private view happens to be on the 6th November – the same night as the official opening of Street Corner Gallery (edit: re-named Project Space). Well, it’s a nice problem to have.

SweetArt_Scroll_BGWH_email

Founded in 2012, Sweet ’Art’s mission is dedicated to the promotion of artists at all levels of their career through the delivery of thought provoking, engaging and fun site specific exhibitions and live art events with a difference.

Alongside the planned program of events, artists are invited to join Sweet ’Art and be part of a growing network of artists enabling them to showcase work online and be in touch with other members of Sweet ‘Art.

Sweet ‘Art is dedicated to the promotion of art that is thought provoking, intelligent and challenging in its consideration of both aesthetic and concept.

Sweet ‘Art embraces all disciplines of work and encourages artists in a process of exploration, challenge and debate when considering their own practice and that of others.

Works in progress, working methods and the creative process.

I often wonder about the the creative process. and how best to optimise my working methods. I have tried to identify the most favourable environmental conditions – the best breakfast , the most suitable background music-  and the most effective working practices; but the abandoned and incomplete canvases scattered around my studio are testament to the fact that my methods are neither efficient nor productive.

painting1 work in progress
painting1 work in progress

At any one time, I will usually be working on two or three paintings, and will have at least a dozen half-finished paintings leaning against the walls. What happens is that I have no problems working through the preliminary stages – finalising the composition and setting the tonal values – and then I hit a brick wall. I will set the painting up on the easel as usual, but for some reason my mind will go blank. No amount of staring, or not staring, drinking tea or walking the dog will remedy the situation. I will have no ideas about where to start working on the painting, and it will look to me like the work of another artist. No matter what I do,  I can’t avoid this artist’s block. Instead, I just have to regard it as another stage in the creative process – a time for pause, for reflection.
The three paintings that I am working on now are a perfect illustration of how this problem affects my execution of a painting. Painting 1 is my most recent canvas. It’s based on drawings and photos from a sitting some nine months ago. I was pleased with how the painting was developing. I’m reasonably happy with the composition, and I think the poses are interesting to paint. However, when I sat it on my easel yesterday, I felt nothing. I felt no connection with this painting, and was at a loss about where to go with it. It’s facing the wall now. I will take a look at it in a month, and hope I will see it differently.

painting2 work in progress
painting2 work in progress

My time working on painting 2 has been a long hard slog. From a promising start, when I felt very enthusiastic about the poses and composition, I managed to spoil the painting with the finishing glazes. I ended up removing the offending glazes and sanding down the paint surface in order to start afresh. I’m now in the process of applying those final glazes again, but I’m happier with the effect this time around.

painting3 work in progress
painting3 work in progress

Painting 3 is a puzzle. It had become quite tedious working on the figures, and I was very unhappy with the composition. I abandoned this painting months ago, seeing no redeeming features in it. When I stumbled upon it yesterday, whilst looking for another painting, I saw it with fresh eyes, and a genuine enthusiasm. I like the poses, and can’t wait to start working on it again.

Producing a painting, recreating one’s vision upon the canvas, can be a difficult process, involving a real battle with the medium. Although often frustrating, these same challenges are the main attraction of painting. If it were easy and predictable, I don’t think I would want to do it every day.