Well, this years open studio event at Leegate House has been and gone. Many thanks to those that made the journey to this little corner of southeast London. Thankfully the heatwave abated, just for the day, and we didn’t all melt in our studios.
These open studios events are a prerequisite for studio providers to maintain their charitable status – to demonstrate they’re “engaging with the community”. In my experience, many studio providers will only make a token effort, and most artists will see it as an inconvenience.
I’m pleased to say that Bow Arts treated this event with a lot more enthusiasm, as did most of the artists here in Leegate House – it was the most enjoyable open studio that I’ve taken part in. Some of the nicest conversations I had were with local people who’d seen a flyer in Sainsburys, and thought “I must go along to that”. I spend most of my time locked away alone in this room on the fifth floor. It’s actually quite nice opening the doors to the public once a year.
I’ve started work on a series of headless nudes. It’s a development of some figure studies I have been working on. I was interested in seeing to what extent a sense of the sitter’s identity could be conveyed if, first, they were stripped of their clothes, and then, as in the case with this painting, their heads were cropped from the painting.
I had a life drawing session with a new model last weekend. I want to start collecting material for a new series of paintings, where the model is set within a domestic environment, in natural poses; either relaxing, bathing or doing chores. It’s a return to a theme I worked on about ten years ago.
The sitting went well enough. As it turned out, we didn’t move out of the kitchen, as the light was so good in there.
I have three recent paintings on show at the Angel Christmas Fair this year.
The Angel Christmas Fair is an annual affordable art and design fair featuring the work of various artists and designers. The event will take place in December 2016 and will comprise all creative disciplines; painting, photography, illustration, fashion, textiles, jewellery, glass, ceramics and furniture.
I will be showing five paintings at the forthcoming “The Nude” exhibition, at Candid Arts Trust. Amongst them will be my “Feast of Venus – A Re-imagining”, for its first excursion outside of my studio. It will be interesting to get some feedback on this particular piece, having worked on it for so long.
I’m looking forward to seeing them all on display together. Four of these paintings are the major works that I have been working on over the past year. Hanging them together, in a gallery environment, will help give me a clearer view of how my work has evolved.
Candid Arts have their gallery at 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ. Preview night is on Thursday 29th September, 6-9pm. The exhibition is on from 30th September-9th October, open every day from 12-6pm.
I shall be showing a couple of paintings at the forthcoming 24WA Studio Show in Southend on Sea, which opens at the end of May. Being an Estuary Fringe event, it will be free, and there is sure to be some live entertainment for the opening night.
Since moving into my London studio, I’ve mainly been using the studios at 24WA for my life drawing sittings, as it’s more comfortable for the models than a draughty Fish Island warehouse. But I worked on these two paintings there over the Christmas period, when I first moved in. They were started over a year ago, and I think they mark a defining moment in my art, when I set out to explore different ideas in my compositions, and introduced some classical elements into a few of them. The photos below just show details.
The 24WA Studio Show is an Estuary Fringe 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.
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 keep doing it.”
So, I’ve been working with glazes this morning on one of my current paintings. When I finished, I thought that, instead of throwing away the leftover glaze and cleaning my palette, I would use it to try and finish this painting that has been lying around the studio for a long time now (I think I had the original sittings with the models in July 2013).
I do have a problem working on these older pieces. The sittings are usually from so long ago, that I can’t recall exactly what I had in mind as I directed the model. But most importantly, this painting belongs to a body of work that I was working on over a year ago. It’s only natural that my compositions and also my technique will have changed during this time.
At the moment, I have in my studio a collection of unfinished paintings; some of them started well over a year ago. Although anxious to resume work on my “Feast of Venus” project, I shall try and finish some of these pieces first. They are all important to me, and are only unfinished because of the wretched time I’ve had this past year in finding a suitable studio.