Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Wagon's Roll....

Current installation of my paintings at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College

It’s been so hot today as I’ve been busy at the college I lecture at putting up our annual art department exhibition. It’s always quite an ambitious show for the level I teach at, namely A level and BTEC National Diploma, as we cram three large walls and a long corridor with artwork in a hanging style reminiscent of the Royal Academy summer exhibition. There will be a private view of the exhibition for the students and their parents and staff and governors on Thursday evening. This is all a lead in to our college Arts Festival on Saturday where I will be drawing portraits again amongst many other activities and stalls of art and craft. 

This year I will also be exhibiting some paintings, which I completed hanging late this afternoon. I will be displaying some of my lorry paintings in public for the first time. I decided to do this to ‘test the water’ if you like and see what people’s reactions were to them ahead of a few forthcoming exhibitions in the autumn and new year, which now includes one at Wolverhampton Art Gallery next March which I’m pleased to announce. So far the reaction has been really positive, which I’m obviously pleased about, and gives me some confidence to take these ideas further.   
  I completed some further small ones last week and have had them framed. These seem to complement the larger pieces, as well as being more accessible in price and scale should anyone be interested (!). 


I’m excited about it all now. Here are a few photos on this post of them installed at the college.Without realizing it I suddenly realized today that I'm building a whole new body of work. These are not all them either as I've just taken two others to a gallery for a competition.

(I’ve just realized on completing this post how narcissistic it must appear, as I’ve not shared any photos of my students work despite discussing it, only my own! I suppose the blog itself is inevitably a bit narcissistic though. Anyway, I’ll try and remedy this next week….)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Can You FeelThe Force?

charcoal study

This new drawing, which I’ve completed this week, is based on a photograph I took on my phone of a lorry park viewed over a bridge near the M5 exit junction for West Bromwich. I kept spotted it as I drove past and eventually found myself dodging down a few side roads and ducking under a dimly lit underpass that led to the bridge where I could peer over at this strange view of all these shiny white lorries. With there domed cabs and black, visor like windshields I couldn’t help but be reminded of the stormtroopers and their helmets in ‘Star Wars’. 
 'Star Wars' stormtrooper
Stormtrooper helmets

I’d like to, in my vanity, reference something a bit more high culture like Elizabeth Frink’s ‘Goggle heads’ for example, but I’m afraid it was the sci-fi appeal of the view that came first and led me there. 
 Elizabeth Frink, 'Gogglehead'
But hey, I’d also like to think I’m the sort of painter that can mix his high and low cultural reference points and have them sit happily next to each other, and even, if they can overcome their initial anxieties and suspicions, have some sort of dialogue with each other.

Friday, 12 June 2015

'Mental Mapping': an exhibition by Andrew Smith and Hugh Marwood


This week has seen the opening of ‘Mental Mapping’ at the Floor One Gallery in Rugby Museum and Art Gallery. It’s an exhibition by my two artist friends, Andrew Smith and Hugh Marwood, who will display a selection of their own work in painting, photography and digital media, as well as collaborative film they have made together which explores their overlapping interests. I’d like to write a bit more about the show next week, but for now here are some details from their Press Release. The Private View is tomorrow, the 13th June, from 1pm-3pm if you are in the area. It is well worth a visit.
Andrew and Hugh looking uncomfortable

Mental Mapping is an exhibition of recent work by Andrew Smith, from Birmingham, and Hugh Marwood, from Leicester.  It includes paintings by each artist, with Andrew’s digital prints, Hugh’s concrete-mounted photographs, and a joint video collaboration.  The work explores their different aspects of the relationship between physical and mental spaces.
Andrew’s paintings often develop from his own still life photography, but their confusing sense of scale suggests we might be able to move around amongst their strangely focused contents.  They are really landscapes of the mind whose subjects connect with the artist’s autobiography.  His digital prints combine photographic images with line drawing, paint drips, and various other marks. They depict certain places, but also suggest the thoughts and feelings one might have there, and the possible influence of literature or music.
Andrew Smith's work
Hugh’s paintings are more abstract, but include sections of street maps and written phrases relating to specific locations in Leicester. Incorporating torn advertising posters, and the mixed messages of signage, advertising, road markings, or graffiti, they suggest the unexpected ideas that might arise in these places.  His ‘Cement Cycle’ photographs show various concrete-related features on his cycle commutes to and from work, and explore the unpredictable ways a city-dweller might experience and memorise their surroundings.  Rugby’s enormous cement plant has haunted his imagination since the opportunity to exhibit there arose, and he was keen to connect this project with the material it produces.
Hugh Marwood, 'Maps 5', acrylics and collage on board, 60 x 90cms, 2015
To accompany the exhibition, Andrew and Hugh have made a short video, entitled ‘Orfeo’. It can be seen at:

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A means to an end....

These are two further drawings based on the car wreck. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly I think very much in images and the power of images, and always have in my painting, but it’s certainly not the case that all painters do. I’m often very uncertain what draws me to a particular subject, however banal, and the drawings I make in different media are a great way of trying to dig out those reasons and unearth the image. Drawing is a useful tool to explore and pull out some of those feelings and sensations you first felt when encountering a subject and attempt to nail some of them down.

These charcoal drawings are all of very different views of the wreck. I feel compelled to keep drawing until I feel I find something that comes close to the sensations I originally felt and want to convey that I can then try and take into a painting. It’s always a painting I want to get to. The drawings are a means to this end.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Shaun Morris Paintings

'Tony', oil on canvas, 90 x 60cms, 2007
Well, here is a link at last to my new website:

I’ve been making it for weeks to replace this one, which anyone who views this blog will still be viewing, but you can now read the blog, which I am continuing, on both sites. Eventually, this website will cease to be after my annual fee to keep it online will run out, and only the new one will be available, which I am looking forward to, as currently if you type in my name on Google this site is at the top of the page and you have to do a fair bit of scrolling down to find the new one. Confused? Yeah, me too…!
'The Gap', oil on canvas, 150 x 100cms, 2012
I’m so glad to have a new website as my old one has been terribly out of date for some years now in terms of the work on it. It contains none of my motorway landscapes for instance, which have only been recorded on the blog, so I have not found it useful to refer interested parties to which sort of defeats the point of having a website if you are an artist. I’ve made this new website myself using Portfolio Box, which an artist recommended to me for its ease of use, which has proved true. Most importantly it allows me to update and change it at any time. I would recommend it. 
'The Death of Vinyl', oil on canvas, 240 x 300cms, 1995
‘Shaun Morris Paintings’ represents twenty years of my painting practice, so it is a lot more generous, and hopefully more interesting to browse. When I set up the old one I was keen to distance myself from all my older work for some reason. Perhaps feeling it was the work of my misspent youth or something like that, but in the time between I have become a lot more connected with it again, and view it as an important part of my long continuous journey in painting. I think this comes across in the website too. I hope you find it easy to use, and on each page there is a small ‘i’ above the row of images. If you click on this it will reveal some text about each body of work that you may find helps contextualize it. Click again to return to the images. Writing these has been the hardest job, but I’ve found looking back a really interesting exercise too. It has made some sense out of years of work and helped draw a line more positively under it.
 'Trinity', oil on canvas, 150 x 120cms, 2009

I can now look forward and get back in the studio knowing I have a clearer online identity for my work. It’s a good feeling.