Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Sydney Harbour

I've been putting the finishing touches to a commissioned painting of Sydney Harbour.  Commissioned by someone who purchased the canvas of Tower Bridge, I painted for the Affordable Art Fair several years ago.  The scale of the London and Sydney paintings are very different, but I think they'll work very well together.
I've been painting a smaller version of the Sydney harbour Bridge for many years, the Tyne Bridge.  Very similar in structure, with slight variations in shape, as well as scale.  The city in the background differs greatly from that of Newcastle.
The painting is finished, apart from a need to varnish it, to give the canvas protection and to reinvigorate the colour and contrast of the acrylic paint.  But there seems to be a shortage of artists varnish, everywhere.  Hopefully one of my sources will track some down, before the commission is due to be picked up any day now.
Following a lot of interest in the painting, I've decided to do a print run of the Sydney Harbour painting.  I've gone for a Giclee print, image size 16 x 16''.  Printed on 300lb archival paper.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

20 x 20's

As usual, I got carried away making 20x20's for this years Ouseburn Open Studios.  A yearly tradition at the Mushroom Works where the artists and designers create works of art, 20x20cm for the humble price of £20.   An absolute Christmas bargain!  It gives me the chance to clear out old work, by mostly chopping it up, whether a cityscape or an abstract painting.  There's quite a selection of themes this year, from fragmented cityscapes (which you might be able to piece back together if the other sections haven't sold):


... to several concrete pieces, based on my abstract "Grid" paintings:


Then there's the return of the skidding toy cars.  This started as a framed piece I made for my brother, as a birthday present, several years ago.  A nice reminder for him, of the times I used to paint his toy cars with emulsion paint.  I thought I was making them look better, I think I did:


I've also put some of  my paint encrusted aprons to good use.  Too heavy in paint to keep using/wearing, they've also been given the chop:

And finally, the framed prints of my thumbnail sketches, which are always a popular favourite.

I think I've got 129 20x20s on display for this years Open Studios.  Hopefully most will sell, fingers crossed.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ouseburn Open Studios 2010

26th - 28th November, next weekend!
It's come to that time of year again. The last weekend in November, sees the return of the much-anticipated Ouseburn Open Studios and this year’s weekend promises to be bigger and better than any before! The studios in the Ouseburn Valley are home to a wide range of artists and designers. This year there are eight venues opening their doors to the public, located across the breadth of Ouseburn Valley. I have a studio at the Mushroom Works, and I would love it if you could come along and take a look. This weekend gives you the opportunity to talk to me about my work and learn what goes on behind the studio doors. It’s also a great chance to talk about commissions and there is always a wide variety of work on offer to buy, adding some relief to the tedium of Christmas shopping. And don't forget out special 20x20 for £20 offer! 

Original artwork that won’t break the bank! Now considered an Open Studio tradition, Mushroom Works will be offering the fantastic opportunity to purchase artworks (measuring 20cm by 20cm) by leading North East artists for the special price of £20.
Perfect for unique Christmas gifts!

Friday 6pm - 8pm (preview night)
Saturday 10am - 5pm / Sunday 11am - 4pm
Admission is FREE 

one of many 20 x 20's on offer


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

"Scapes" exhibition at the Balman Gallery

   I've busily working on some paintings for the latest exhibition at the Balman gallery in Corbridge.  The exhibition which began last weekend, is showcasing the varied and diverse interpretations of "Scapes", including land, sea and urban.  The artwork on show ranges from traditional to abstract, by leading regional and national artists.
 Whilst I'm probably better known for my cityscape painting, this new body of work will concentrate on imagined, abstracted townscapes.  I'm interested in the relationship between manmade structures within the landscape, whilst removing familiar landmarks that would normally hint at a particular location. 

 The exhibition runs from 23rd October till 24th November.  


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sydney Harbour

Next commission, once the NewcastleGateshead Art fair is out of the way .... and an exhibition at Brighton Road Studios ('In the Beginning')....... and an exhibition at the Balman Gallery ('Scapes').
And for once, it's not the Tyne Bridge, but the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  

Another two commissions

Just putting the finishing touches to a long run of commissions.  Perfect timing, as the NewcastleGateshead Art Fair is next weekend, and I've got some new paintings to complete for the event.  If you would like tickets for the event, let me know, I still have some spares.  The VIP evening is on Thursday 30th September (6-9pm), followed by Friday (11-6pm), Saturday (10-5pm) and Sunday (10-5pm).
Anyhow, this is what I've been working on recently, a recent London commission, acrylic on canvas 107 x 54cm.

Another commission I've been working on lately has been for a new NHS primary care centre in Blaydon, which also incorporates a leisure centre. I was commissioned to paint the Staiths in Dunston, whilst incorporating other Gateshead landmarks (Angel of the North and Scotswood Bridge).  Painted on canvas, 1 x 1m.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Recent commission - Westminster

Been running a bit behind on the blog. Here's what I've been working on recently, a new commission of Westminster, painted on canvas 130 x 70cm. The brief was to include the Houses of Parliament, Westminster bridge plus Battersea Power Station in the background. Painted in the warm hues I do, with the receding light of a warm summers day. I was also requested to paint a black cab below Big Ben. Quite pleased with the result. Now on to my next London Commission of Tower Bridge, more to follow soon ...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Great weekend at the Late Shows

Well, the Late Shows is over for another year, and what a great weekend it was. We had alot of people come down to the Mushroom Works, and thanks to everyone who was able to make it down. It was a perfect excuse to drink far too much wine, two nights in a row, and to drunkenly slur unprofessionally at prospective buyers.
The theme for this years event was 'Weird and Wonderful' and we were asking you to let us know who or what is the most weird or wonderful thing [or person] at Mushroom Works, with 2 stickers. I think the winner of a sticker collection for the weekend had to be the unusual woman in a jar, who was accompanied by a man on stilts. Nick James was also there doing his fire breathing.

I got a few stickers of my own, not just for the pieces in the gallery, but also for work in my studio. I got more 61 Weird sticker to 40 Wonderful stickers, is that a good thing to get more weird ones? Probably. Whilst walking in the Ouseburn yesterday, after picking my daughter up from school, I came across a 'Wonderful' sticker on a drain. It was a wonderful drain, and someone obviously thought so! Interesting to think that a drain was chosen over all the work on show at the Mushroom Works. Great weekend, could've done with one more night.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Weird and Wonderful

Just a few more days till this years Late Shows takes place, and the Mushroom Works once again opens its studio doors for an evening of entertainment and several glasses of wine. I'm looking forward to opening my studio doors, drinking far too much, and attempting to talk (possibly slur) about my work.
The theme of this years event is 'Weird and Wonderful', which should be interesting, or a little strange. Guests will be entertained by fire breathers and a lady in a jar - which I'm very curious to see. The exhibition in the gallery will follow this theme, and the artwork (alongside the lady in the jar) will be judged as to whether its weird or wonderful. I think there are prizes, I hope so. Along with a few of my paintings, I've also included a couple of oddities from my studio.

Firstly there's a huge slab of acrylic paint, that has been building in size for years. Whenever paint becomes too dry on my palette or becomes dirty, I scrape it off and add it to this big slab, rather than it going to in the bin. It's important to think how much paint goes to waste, and try and put it to a better use. Well, at least give it a purpose. Eventually, would be interesting to chop it in half and see the different striations of colour, that have built up over the years. In the meantime, I'm just going to let it grow (very slowly). It seems to take on a form of its own. A very slow sculpture. Surprisingly heavy as well. It's positioned on a plinth alongside my paintings, and they seem to complement each other. Not only from the matching palettes, but it also gives the paintings an origin, linking to the process.

My final bit of weirdness in the exhibition, is my unusual collection of washers. Been obsessively collecting metal rings off the road for years now, like finding treasure! Most of the collection picked up on my route to my studio at the Mushroom Works, down St Lawrence Road. Passing numerous garages on route, who seem to part with alot of spare parts, rubbish and oil on the side of the road. Once again, I might as well give some purpose to the waste on the roads. For a while I was collecting cardboard as well, but managed to break that (slightly autistic!) habit.
Spent years wondering what to do with it, and now its 4 metres long, stacked together. Thought it was about time I revealed it. Simply arranged on the plinth, it comes across quite snake like, as the washers taper from large to small. I thought of it more like money being stacked, which eventually collapsed under its own weight and height. I used to love counting out the loose change from my piggy bank as a boy. Stacking it up, the uniformed bands of metal. Similarly with this, there's something really curious about the different bands of rusty and shiny metals. Occasionally a flash of colour.

The Late Shows 2010

The Late Shows 2010
Mushroom Works,St Lawrence Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1AR, UK
Friday 14th May 7 - 11p, Saturday 15th May 7 - 11pm

The Late Shows, NewcastleGateshead’s legendary free culture crawl, returns THIS WEEKEND for the fourth year running and promises to be bigger than ever! The Mushroom Works will once again be joining in the celebration. We will be hosting a Meet the artists e...vent as well as holding some rather weird and wonderful events. We have invited some very special [and slightly strange] guests to entertain you for the evening, Fire breathers and ladies in bottles will all be there to ensure you enjoy the night. we will be asking you to let us know who or what is the most weird or wonderful thing [or person] at Mushroom Works.This is the perfect opportunity to meet some the regions most wonderful artists and makers and enjoy a drink with them in the comfort of their studio.

Hope you can make it.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Further Snail Portraits

I mean't to add another Blog post featuring a new selection of snail portraits, in the run up to the new Mushroom Works exhibition. But, as usual, I got slightly sidetracked. Been very busy with commissions that seem very difficult to complete.
The new exhibition at the Mushroom Works is called "Home Sweet Home". Thought it was a perfect opportunity to paint some more snails, using some fellow Mushroom Workers as models. Small, individual personal homes. The numbers on the shells, whilst relating to racing snails, represent the subjects house numbers. The snail shells are slightly larger than the first self portrait, but still small enough to be a challenge. The non flat, ridged surface caused me alot of problems, let alone trying to get the likeness of the subjects right. The Mushroom Workers who were kind enough to let me paint them on a snail were (pictured from L to R): Lara Robinson, (myself), Sarah Blood, Nick james, Bethan Laker and Michael Armstrong. Thanks to sarah Blood for the heads up in finding empty snail shells. The original Self Portrait I located, empty, in the garden. Maybe the next challenge would be to paint a shell that's in use.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Self portrait, snail shell

I used to have a neighbour who would paint numbers on the backs of snails, to catalogue them, and see if they would return. This did me no favours when they used to cross over to my garden and eat my sunflowers. Even more annoying when I used to find number 86, and wondered where the other 85 were! Anyhow, I was talking about this recently with someone close to me. And the conversation went on to my pet tortoise Colin. We were joking about what to paint on Colins shell, and we thought a self portrait would be funny. As that would be mean to Colin, a snail shell (empty, for now), was the next best thing. Quite tricky to paint though, as its a lot smaller in scale to what I'm used to. A fiddly self portrait.

Commissions aplenty

Oops, been gone for some time. And keep forgetting to keep the blog uptodate. Well here goes. Been very busy with commissions lately, which is always a good thing. Although now I'm a little snowed under. Just finished this one of Newcastles three main bridges. And I'm just about to finish two paintings of the River Tyne, one Upriver, the other Downriver. Should crack on. The sooner the commission backlog is out of the way, then I can crack on with some more abstract work.