So to 2023

As we pass the hump of February, nudging towards Spring, we are currently gaining 2 minutes of sunlight a day. Before you know it, we’ll be ditching the thermals, dusting off the BBQ and enjoying some natural Vitiman D.  I’m happy,  feeling like my art practice this year is off to a great start.

The Cowprint Artists’ Group finished its exhibition in the foyer of  Southampton City Art Gallery. A bit of time before the Cowprint exhibition at Hilliers which will run most of August and is included in the Hampshire Open Studios. 

I have a piece in the Inspirational Women Exhibition 2023 at Gods House Tower in March. All 100 exhibits can be bought through a silent auction, with half the profits being donated to Yellow Door – a local charity dealing with issues of domestic violence. This is a great opportunity to pick up a bargain and support Yellow Door’s important work.

Even more exciting, for me,  was getting drawn for the Lucky Dip Bursary at God’s House Tower. The Lucky Dip Bursary is a lottery selection of 10 artists in the SO postcode, winners receive a £500 bursary and will take part in a group show in August. It’s great to have £500 to spend, but by far the biggest win is the ongoing support, focus, and exhibition. 

My initial proposal for this bursary was to create some life-size monoprints. When I filled in the paperwork for Lucky Dip it asked about the environmental impact of your work. I do try to use environmentally friendly methods – recycled paper, non-toxic inks, and acids. A huge print also presented issues of transportation. I love the fragility of paper, but can you imagine the problems of moving a two metre long piece of work. It may still happen. I’m also thinking about creating a 3 dimensional collage to create a whole figure.

Much of this is in my head at the moment, I’m moving house in about a week. It’s a bit stressy. Lots of other changes going on too, but change is good and I embrace it. Or I will, when the dust settles.

Brian Cox asks what more do you want? Depending on your perspective you could think it amazing that we are made up of particles of long-dead stars, or you may persist in believing that there must be something more. What I think differs at any given moment (but I usually like to believe there’s a little bit of magic somewhere). But the truth is that we are dust and we will return to dust. Which could be an interesting launching point for a figurative piece. All the factors that make up a person, physical or not. Fragments, pieces – what you see and what is obscured. I’m moving on a week on Saturday, and you’d think this would be a good time to shed some tatt. But now I think this ephemera may be some integral part of my 3-dimensional figures.  I’m not a hoarder, I’m an artist. Once I’ve moved, I’m going to start throwing myself into this. So watch this space!

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I’ve been keeping up the life drawing – but I really want to do more. Maybe looking for a regular group, if you have any leads.  I have been creating some new collagraph plates. Last week I did a Charles Shearer collagraph workshop organised through Cowprint Artists’ Group. 

Charles came to give us a talk about his work a few months ago, and it was great to get a chance to learn a little more about his methods and practice. I learned a few things I could do better, that shellac doesn’t take 24 hours to dry, and you don’t need to seal the back of the plate. His work has beautiful references to constructivism, his colour combinations were not something I’d naturally be drawn to – but made me realise that I need to push colour beyond my comfort zone. I may well revisit the last collagraph plates that I did. I did like the effects he achieved using environmount – a kind of card that is similar to mountboard, but recycling easier to use and cheaper. I do however like working with discarded packaging to give it new life or value. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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