Thursday, 20 August 2015

High Summer

'High Summer,' acrylic on board, 70 x 60 cm

This year I haven't been away on a summer holiday. Lots of things got in the way, most of all getting my painting ready to go off to Beijing for the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale (opens at the end of September). Then painting just took over! There has been a lot of change in my work and re-painting of older work. Several themes have been continued - my 'Inscapes' series, the landscapes - and some new ones, 'Migrants' being one of them.

The above picture shows the most recent 'Migrants' painting (70 x 50cm, oil on canvas). It was an old painting that was reworked quite intensely. I saw it as a metaphor for migration and the paint itself is migrating through shapes and colours which are repeated across the painting. It also reflects my thoughts as they responded to paint, as a kind of parallel for the migration of ideas. It was not painted as a commentary for migration, though that is in the News a lot right now.

This was a theme I started about 2 years ago, with a large painting of tents (inspired by the troubles in Cairo at the time) which I have posted below, called WE ARE ALL NOMADS, (oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm). I have always had an interest in the passages people follow through life and how random events can throw a life out of balance.

Friday, 24 July 2015

New Work

'Interlude,' acrylic on board, 91 x 61cm

'Fiona's-World,' acrylic on board, 60 x 31cm

I have painted quite a few new works this year - here is a small selection of some of them.
'Paint-Poem,' oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30cm

I will post more tomorrow.


Fiona with the painting, ready to start packing
After all the work, and getting an MDF box made at huge cost, my painting which was selected for the Beijing 6th International Art Biennale was finally collected by the shipping company on July 13th! (This date is always etched into my memory as it was the anniversary of the death of my late partner, Tom, who died in 1998.)

First, a layer of tissue paper

It ended up taking nearly 2 hours to pack. My husband, who is very good about these things, did most of it. We put a layer of tissue paper, 2 layers of bubble-wrap, then he made bubble-wrap cushions around the edges so that the painting sat snugly inside the box.

I had to stick labels on each side of the box, then screwed it shut. We did all this the night before the collection! Then the shipping company turned up at around 5pm on the 13th and I watched the man carry this large and heavy box (27 kilos, 108 x 80 cms) out to the large white van. I could see the boxed-up works by the other 4 UK chosen artists sitting in the back of that van. That was the moment it all became real! I went back inside my flat and had a large glass of white wine.

My painting should reach Beijing by around the end of August. I still can't believe that I was selected. There are works from 100 countries and there will be a huge colour catalogue. I still don't know if I can go. I would love to but it depends on whether my thesis (submitted near the end of June) is considered good enough to send me an official invitation as a guest for the symposium, which would mean my expenses in Beijing would be paid. I really enjoyed writing the thesis ('The Chinese Dream and its International Ripples') as I addressed some issues around the cross-pollination of art between countries and between artists, and had a number of points to discuss at the symposium. I would dearly love to attend as it would be so interesting to hear the discussion.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Chaotic Days!

'Event,' acrylic on board, 60 x 40cm
These last two weeks I have not had time to paint, only to draw, because I am currently writing a thesis for submission to the Beijing International Art Biennale for their symposium. It has been very enjoyable to write and I am emailing it later today - hoping it is considered suitable! I have also taken my painting for framing, never an easy job for me as I am not especially good at choosing frames - and in this case it has to be a very secure frame for shipping to Beijing. Usually I like my work on canvas to be box-framed so that none of the edges are lost but the painting I have had selected is on board so it was necessary to find a frame that doesn't eat up too much of the edges.

I have also been doing a lot of applications for exhibitions and events, and collating all the materials for the Biennale and sending them. In between that, some gardening for relaxation! 

Today at last I am preparing new panels to paint on and plan to start new work tomorrow.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Great News!

'Paphos Lighthouse Remembered,' oil and acrylic on board, 91 x 61cm

On Wednesday morning I heard the post drop through the letterbox and ran to see what ghastly bills etc may have arrived. I saw an unusually large white envelope on the carpet, covered in chinese lettering and with some kind of official stamps. I thought it must be a mistake but then I saw on the outside 'The 6th Beijing International Art Biennale.' THEN I realised that it was a reply to my submission back in December; I assumed it was a polite rejection and to my amazement I read that I have had a painting accepted for this wonderful exhibition in Beijing in the Autumn! The painting above is the one they accepted, which was my favourite of the 6 I submitted (via huge photos). Two days on, I am still beyond words!

It was quite a lengthy submission process and one to be done with much care, and when I posted the package on December 6th I had a feeling the Christmas post would delay it from arriving by the deadline of December 24th. I did not think much about it again!

The theme of the exhibition is DREAM AND MEMORY, a wonderful and very appropriate theme for my work! My painting has to be packed and will be shipped via a shipping company. I am hoping to go over to Beijing for the Opening. I am submitting a speech/dissertation outline in case I might get invited to the Symposium, which is something I would love to take part in - I'm sure many artists will be submitting these so it has to be extra good and I have already started writing it.

The letter of acceptance is a thing of beauty and something I will keep forever. I am very impressed by past catalogues (works of art in themselves) - the range of art acceptable is very wide and there are no 'Western' modes of vision when it goes to selecting work. (Time and time again here it is the same type of work that gets in, the same kinds of abstract or figurative, never anything that steps outside). After having read a lot of information on their website, I have much admiration for their aims and for their view of art as having a very high importance for both man and the world. More soon.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Doorways into Magic (part one)

'Tom's Midnight Garden,' (2) acrylic on board, 60 x 40cm

How does an artist find a doorway into their particular world when painting? Having spoken to many artists and friends, it became obvious that each of us has our own special entrance point. For me, painting is a form of magic and if I work with it passionately and with attention, I can catch some of that magic and give it form on canvas. I love the material quality of paint and like to explore that line between references to the world around and my inner images - the kind of pictures that stories threw into my mind as a child.
'Tom's Midnight Garden,' oil and acrylic on board, 60 x 50cm

One of my latest series of paintings is based on images associated with a favourite childhood book, 'Tom's Midnight Garden.' Though I did not seek to illustrate this theme, I have explored elements the title suggested to me as a child and let the paint evolve them into a parallel for my internal visualisations. I like to work in this way. A word or title can be the springboard for a painting and I will do a lot of drawings to get some ideas down, then that language and sets of forms filter through into the paintings. But I always like to be surprised and spontaneous, and to let the painting suggest elements and lead me into a new place.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Inner and Outer worlds

'Somewhere Else,' oil and acrylic on board, 40 x 50cm

With spring in full flow, I am making a lot of paintings on paper, just to respond to the wonderful energies and colours while experimenting with different types of mark-making; brush, crayon, felt-tip, pencil, etc.
'Rhythms,' wax crayon, felt-tip, watercolour and gouache on paper
'Inscape,' watercolour and felt-tip on paper

It's always a case of layering my inner world with my reactions to the world around me, and finding an image that captures these feelings.
'Remembered,' watercolour, gouache and felt-tip on paper