Where is the Spring? Where is the Love?

As I type this, I’m looking out the window, waiting for the rain to stop and wondering whether the dog walk calls for thermals. Totally unacceptable. But I guess that’s life, and we have to work with what we have. Since my last entry I’ve moved, only up the road – but the stress levels where not reflected in the distance travelled. They say it’s one of the most stressful things, and coupled with getting scammed out of thousands of pounds, it’s been a hard month.

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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. A few weeks ago I took part in 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 is 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.

In other news, I won the lottery! Or more precisely the space lucky dip bursary

This is where 10 Artists with a SO postcode get pulled out of a hat, awarded £500 bursary (nice), and a group show(even better). The group show is at Gods House Tower in Southampton opposite the Ferry terminal. I am very excited, and I almost feel that I deserve to win, because I’ve been telling every local artist I know to enter. It could be you! But it’s not it’s me. So excitement mixed with the weight of the challenge. It’s a great space, with unique challenges – not least that you can simply bang a few nails in the wall and stick up a picture. This is a historically significant building, with all the restrictions and care needed. When I put in my original proposal, I wanted to create some life-sized figurative monoprints. But have had a few sleeps on it, I’ve considered the practicality of moving six-foot pieces of paper. I’ve pondered on the why. I want them to life-size so that you encounter them as a person. I’ve thought about having several so the viewer has to navigate a crowd. Okay, it might not be technically a crowd, but I felt I could get the sense of proximity bordering on uncomfortableness. I don’t think I’ve always felt this way, but I’m increasingly uncomfortable in crowds. I definitely haven’t always been this way – but there’s always been that potential.

I submitted a piece to the Inspirational Women 23 exhibition at Gods House Tower and was excepted. My inspirational female artist was Kiki Smith.  You can bid on my piece ‘ Stretch’ and nearly 100 other artists by silent auction or visit from Friday 10th March to Sunday 23rd April   50% of the proceeds will go to the artist who made the work and 50% will be donated to Yellow Door, a Southampton-based charity that prevents and responds to domestic and sexual abuse. The auction closes on Friday 21st of April. It’s a diverse and interesting exhibition. I submitted last year too and found working on A4 as challenging this year! Inspirational women emphasise the influential impact of women artists and raise essential funds for an important cause.

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