Wednesday, 30 May 2012

More Crap...

Here are a couple of new still lives. Looking at this ever increasing set of paintings on the studio floor last night, I’ve decided to push on and commit to making a lot more and to exhibit them at this year’s annual Arts Festival we hold in the college where I work.

I’ve been allocated a space where I was going to display a range of my ‘Edgelands’ studies and drawings, but I don’t really feel ready for this. I more feel the need to really do something with these still lives, try and make another 20 in the next month, and to hopefully explore it all with a bit more purpose and depth, and get it out of my system. I then want to then exhibit them as a big collection on the wall. Discussing the work for the first time with colleagues at work today seemed to garner a positive response, which helps me feel a bit more confident about the idea.

In exhibiting them publicly for the first time, I hope to somehow link them in more closely with my ‘Edgelands’ theme. In my original proposal I had discussed the idea of still lives based on things found on the locations that attract me, and this seems to be increasingly emerging with these pieces: the empty, discarded and mundane detritus left behind in the motorway service station, the out of town shopping mall or retail park. 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Jan Bowman


I’m spending quite a bit of time popping down to Digbeth in my lunch hour these days for the odd tube of paint from Harris and Moore Canvasses the new art supplies shop that has opened at the Minerva Works on Fazeley Street (they sell the Michael Harding oils I like to use but normally have to mail order).  I always pass Eastside Projects on Heath Mill Lane and wonder why is it never open when I go past, and then grab a sandwich at The Bond cafe also on Fazeley Street.

                                          Miroslav Sasek 'This is New York'

Whilst in the cafe the other day waiting for my sandwich to be prepared at the end of a very long queue, it gave me an opportunity to enjoy a terrific exhibition of digital prints on the walls there by Birmingham based illustrator, Jan Bowman. Depicting scenes of Birmingham, and made from drawings scanned and then digitally painted (I think!), I really enjoyed their effortless charm and energy. but wonderful precise observations and details. They reminded me alot of illustrators like John Burningham, and most notably Miroslav Sasek and his famous ‘This Is...’ children’s book series of different cities around the world, which I love (image above) Here are a few of Jan’s images and a link to her website where she keeps a really lively blog:

Monday, 21 May 2012

Doing It For The Kids...

I’ve made this painting over the last few days. No, not in my usual one-hit way, I just couldn’t get there in the time I had, but in two long sessions. I felt the time between was pretty valuable to think about what I was after a bit more, but having nearly got there in the first five hours work, it was difficult returning to it and trying not to ‘refine’ it too much now the surface was much drier, without the danger of losing some of the energy I felt it had. Anyway…It’s my biggest motorway painting so far at seven feet across, but I felt it could have gone two or three times bigger. That is, if I had a bigger studio, and somewhere to store this stuff.

I’m pleased this evening, going in to look at afresh after finishing it late last night, unable to ‘see’ it anymore with my tired eyes and mind. In fact, it seemed better than I thought last night- no longer part of me.

The rust coloured sky was a return to some of the first motorway nocturnes I made last year, but also a bit influenced by the palette observed in ‘The Bridge’ (image above), the brilliant Scandinavian crime drama which has just finished on BBC Four. With this and ‘The Killing’, I’ve found myself totally observed in this dark world of Scandinavian noir in recent months. ‘The Bridge’s’ many bleak locations and intense atmosphere has certainly fed my imagination as I think about my own forthcoming trip to Norway, Copenhagen and also Sweden now, where I will be spending a few days. I will be crossing that bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo myself. A picture is beginning to emerge of where I might find myself on my trip for the first time…let’s hope it’s not in concrete boots underneath that bridge…

This blog is for Hasan and Umera…I’m sure you’ll let me know what you think!