meta name="p:domain_verify" content="c874e4ecbd59f91b5d5f901dc03e5f82"/>


Sunday, January 16, 2011

All Cut Up...

My first week of framing, and I've produced...well... not a huge amount...but I have learned to cut things up, using the specialist machinery. I started with the mount cutter, and cut the mounts shown in the picture, as well as cutting some ACEO bases from the scrap. Waste not, want not, as they say. The ACEOs will be heavier and thicker than usual, but they're ideal for mixed media, assemblage and anything else that needs a bit more support. I'll probably pop them into the Etsy shop, as there are too many for me to use on my own! Then I started using the machine pictured above, which cuts the mouldings. That took a bit of practice, and a lot of confidence; the blades are super sharp. But my first frame is shown here, too, or at least, the bits ready to stick together. That's next week's lesson, along with glass cutting!

I'm also working on some textiles that came in, blocking and lacing an embroidery, so that it sits nicely in the frame. It's nice to feel that there are one or two things I already know how to do, particularly as it feels as if I've made every mistake in the book in my first week! And I have also learned how to finish off the frames this week, so I'm feeling pleased with myself. The gallery is closed on Monday, so I'll be getting some of my own work done, printing a digitally manipulated landscape onto Evolon using Big Bertha, my 24" Epson printer, so that I can stitch into it in the afternoon. I also managed to squeeze in some stitch yesterday; watch the blog for more info!

I'm thoroughly enjoying learning to frame; I wasn't sure that I would. But it's very satisfying to see the completed piece. I'm planning to frame a piece of my own from start to finish next week, just to prove I can do it, to myself; Haydn seems quietly confident that I'm doing fine. Phew!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Oldest Apprentice In Town?

Possibly. Yes, that would be me. Today was the first day spent with Haydn. I learned how to cut a mount, and how to make a frame. I made four mounts, two of which went off to live with a customer as part of a framed photograph (oh yes, I'm smug...). I also practised using the machine that cuts the moulding, so that I know how to use it. Tomorrow, I'll be cutting more mounts, on the principle that practice makes perfect, and cutting more bits of scrap wood up, to get the hang of the machine.

I'm aiming for Unconscious Competence. I love this model of learning, which suggests that there are four stages. You start off at Unconscious Incompetence; you don't know how to do whatever it is, and, in fact don't know what you have to learn to do it. Then you move to Conscious Incompetence; you know that you can't do it, but at least you know what it is you have to learn (which is pretty much the stage I'm at at the moment for mount cutting, if not for everything else). Then, you move to Conscious Competence; you've learned what you need to know to do whatever it is, but you do have to concentrate hard and occasionally check your notes, just to be on the safe side. Unconscious Competence is the final do whatever it is almost without thinking about it, as when you drive for fifty miles and realise you don't actually remember doing it. I don't know how long it's going to take me, but I suspect it'll be a while. For more information about this useful wee matrix, take a look here.

What I did discover, though, is that a. I can do this, and b. I like it. I'm really excited about the thought of being able to carry out every stage in the creation of an art work, from its conception through to its framing. Watch this space for more bulletins (and even a few pictures!).

I didn't take any pictures today; the mounts I cut were for a portrait, and it didn't seem appropriate to show that here. Instead, feast your eyes on an older piece, Blue Maze, which doesn't have a frame...yet...

Friday, January 07, 2011

In The Middle Of The Night...

toothache struck, and despite painkillers, kept me awake for hours. I decided that the colour of toothache is a vivid green interwoven with magenta and stainless steel (no, I don't get it either...). Then, I realised I hadn't signed any of the work I made yesterday. I routinely forget to do that. Partly, I think, it's that I find a signature obtrusive. I want to have the work stand cleanly as it is, not marred with a mark that's extraneous to the meaning. Partly, I think it's just pure egotism, and it should be unnecessary. But interestingly, at Open Studios last year, it was what almost every visitor picked up on. Clearly there is an expectation that artists sign their work. So I've designed a signature, my initials, really, and the date. It'll slip into a corner, and will only be noticeable if you look really hard.

The image is the piece of work I finished, the second in a series called 'Outburst'. See what you think. Mixed media on canvas, this one is quite a bit larger than the last; the edges of the easel give you a feel for its size. (it's raining cats and dogs, so I'm NOT going out to the shed to measure it right this minute!). Thank you to everyone who commented yesterday; I can't always reply, but I do appreciate the comments.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

In The Shed...

there's always something to do. In this case, it involved getting covered in red paint...and a bit of orange. I haven't painted in nearly a year, and it was a joy to go out to the shed today and play with paint. This is a very small piece, on canvas, about eight inches square, I think (it's still out there, drying, which in this weather, will Take A While). It is called 'Flame', and I'm not convinced that it is finished...but then, I rarely ever am. I worked on four different paintings today, finishing one that had been lying around for a while (at least, I think it's finished), as well as starting three more from scratch. None of them seem to resemble my dream, though. And that's okay. I am experimenting with different approaches, different ideas, as I always do, discovering things for myself, expanding the initial idea.

Meanwhile, though, better go take the paint off my hands...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


I've always said that it's just a question of letting my conscious mind talk to my unconscious mind. Often, that can take weeks, months, even years. Recently though, I found myself considering entering a show entitled 'Flying Colours'. And then, I let the idea go, consciously, as I couldn't think of an idea. This past week, though, I've been dreaming about a particular idea; clearly my unconscious mind is a lot savvier than my conscious. Not only did it show me what a completed piece might look like, it has been considering the process of developing the piece, what size it might be, how it might look, different ways of gaining a particular effect. All this over a series of dreams, with me waking occasionally, thinking about it and going back to sleep, to take up the dream again where I left off. I've often dreamed in this way, but never about art. I think I'm going to take the hint, and get on with it. It would be churlish not to! Besides, it looks to me to be a good idea. I like it. It's even consistent with what I've been doing, an extension of some of the mixed media work I've made over the past couple of years. I'm stunned.

Now, all I have to do is get to work. That's for tomorrow; I'm recovering from a virus, and I know that if I rush out and overdo things, I'll run the risk of relapsing. I can, however, go out and check the paint stores... and this afternoon, I think I'll go sit and quilt.

How about you? Have you got back into creative work this year already? If not, what would give you a kick start? Or just a gentle nudge? Got it? What are you waiting for?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

January was named for the god Janus, who had two faces; he looked both forwards and backwards, ideal for the start of the year. Looking backwards, last year was a year like any other, a mixture of highs, lows and humdrums. It was my fiftieth birthday in May, my sister surprised me with a visit, and my friends Judy and Haydn threw a surprise party for me (my first ever!). My gall bladder got grumpy, I acquired varifocals (not sure which category that fits into!), I wrote a lot, didn't make much in the way of art, and popped up in a variety of places, including my first trip to Dublin for the Knitting and Stitching Show. And we got together with Tracey (my soon to be daughter in law) and her parents down here and had a great time, making the wedding invitations, drinking pink champagne and generally having a laugh! And my first Christmas with my sister since my mid teens ended the year with a bang!

This year, there are things to look forward to; Andrew and Tracey's wedding, FOQ, Open Studios, learning to frame and the move of the gallery to a beautiful public space, where I'll be curating exhibitions as well as showing my work (but more of that another time). Above all, though, I'll be working on a new book, with my friend Jill Arnold, and making a lot of work. I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions, but I do believe in having a life purpose, which informs the work, and the rest of my life, to boot. My life purpose is twofold; the creation of joy, and the creation of meaning. Joy was a bit scarce in some parts of last year; come to think of it, meaning was, too. This year, I get back to basics. Make the work, and then make some more. It's really simple. Hope you all have a wonderful, creative and fulfilling year, whatever your life purpose is.

ps the quilt is 'Gestation', which seems to go nicely with the theme of the blog today. I think I've been brewing a lot of new ideas last year, which get to be expressed this year. Hurrah!