Studio journal #8 – March 2021

Spring!  …well it's felt spring-like for a couple of days this week for sure. At least it's generally lighter now which always helps with the positivity. It's been a busy month; this last week I've been back to the studio on a couple of occasions to move some things back in and to tidy up and sort out some of the stuff that was starting to accumulate in corners. We open to the public again on 13 April, all being well.

Other than that I've 'constructed' a few more paintings and have been photographing them to add to my website. I've taken some more arty photos as well, one of which is above. I plan to start a series of spring flower portraits in the same style over the next few weeks. We'll see what appears in the garden.

Best wishes,

– March Journal entries –

#loveliestblue – 3 March
As well as reusing old paintings I also make new ones when I need a specific colour range for the piece I’m working on. This is a piece titled ‘#loveliestblue‘ after one of Stewart Semple’s powder paints. Pictures show the source abstract (with paint tub), work in progress and finished artwork, which is this case didn’t differ too much from the planned layout.
Abstract extracts – 1 March
I’ve been taking close-up photographs of sections of my finished artwork to highlight the patterns and textures in the paint and the boundaries between the strips. I love the way that a small detail can be composed to make an image in its own right, with a completely different look and feel from the whole. Pictured is a screenshot from my photo catalogue, some of these are now available as limited edition giclée prints.
Artwork detail – 13 March
I’ve spent quite a lot of time updating my website the past couple of weeks. As part of that process I’ve been photographing my new acrylic abstracts from various angles. This image of ‘Upgrade‘ shows the detail of the join and the board edge.
Working together – 21 March
I found a piece of board in the garage and decided to use it to make a few smaller pieces. However, I’ve worked out that an artwork really needs a minimum of around 45 stripes across the width for the colours in the stripes to start to merge effectively and so to achieve this means using thinner strips on smaller pieces. This of course is far more fiddly and cutting the strips accurately can be a problem. So this is work in progress on my first diptych, with a vaguely symmetrical theme.
Vent – 28 March
I’ve just finished this diptych which, needless to say, has taken on a life of it’s own and turned out quite different to how it was envisaged. When the colour stripes are initially laid out I get an idea of how they work as a block of similar colour but when there’s a join, the two areas often interact in ways that aren’t apparent from the start.

This pair started off the other way up and I was thinking about channels and funnels but the heavier red/blue works better on the base and so it becomes more pyramid or mountain-like. The jagged join looks like the ragged edge of a volcano to me and the ‘sky’ has pieces falling form it, hence the ‘Vent’ title.

Great to be back! – 30 March
Spent this afternoon at the studio getting things ready for opening again in, hopefully, ten days or so. My new artwork is too big to fit on anything but the top gallery ledge, so I’ve removed the middle one, shuffled the top one down so that will take larger pieces, and then added the now spare one into my studio. Not finished yet but here’s a sneak preview with the pieces I was using for sizing.

18 percent grey – 31 March
I’ve painted my gallery wall a light/mid grey (it says Turtle Dove on the tin). The old wall was magnolia which is fairly bland; not white but not a shade of anything really. The wall needed patching having removed one shelf and then moved another, so I took the opportunity to change the colour to somethimg which I think shows off my work better, especially with white frames. It also photographs much better, the magnolia either looked off-white, or if I tried to brighten the image afterwards, it was a balancing act between getting the wall to look less creamy and over-exposing the artwork.

It wasn’t until just now that I made the grey connection with the traditional way of metering in the black and white zone system. A grey card was used to calibrate the film exposure. The mid grey used reflects 18% of the light hitting it hence the term 18 percent grey. Getting far too technical I know…

And when it all gets too much…

sleep on it…

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