The global war on plastic is thankfully gathering pace. We happily take real bags for our shopping, eschew drinking straws and can choose refreshments in re-usable containers – we can even wrap our food in beeswax cloth.
" The Outer Hebrides are amazing – but in February?” was a frequent response to my announcement that we were heading north to visit dear friend and artist, Margaret Ferguson, and her family who live in Stornoway.
Since going to the fabulous Joan Eardley exhibition in Edinburgh earlier this year, I have been reflecting on my own work with a savagely critical eye and I can feel dramatic changes are imminent.
One of my favourite artists, I love the energy of Eardley’s mark-making and her use of mixed media. Many decades ago, I used collage, frottage and mixed media extensively, but over the past decade I have become more and more seduced by elegant line, controlled spattering and colour glazes.
I now want to explore mixed media once more, yet will continue to underpin my work with drawing and observation (I do love my drawing!) – the subject matter will not change, but the end results may be very different ……
Last year’s Open Ear festival was a dipping of the collective toe in water for the talented Chris Chapman and his team – a techno festival on a small island off West Cork? Sounds like a bonkers idea, but it was meticulously organised, blessed by good weather and filled with happy young people who were able to enjoy their music in the wondrous surroundings of Sherkin Island.
How long does it take?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when discussing my art with folk. I think it was Whistler who said that a painting could take but a few moments to complete, but had a lifetime of experience behind it (I paraphrase), and it’s a good response.
Our first group included a retired art lecturer; an art teacher and a mature art student, but there was also a complete beginner and every level of experience between. Folk had travelled from the UK, USA and all parts of Ireland. An amazing, eclectic group who shared an interest in making art, exploring their own practice and looking to share their thoughts and ideas – and all in the beautiful setting of Sherkin, which I saw afresh through their eyes.
Way back in the spring, an email arrived from the organisers of 'West Cork Creates'- the arts and crafts exhibition, showcasing creative work to complement the amazing 'Taste of West Cork' food festival. They were calling for submissions to their 2016 show that were collaborations between creative creatures of diverse disciplines.
How do I make my work? How long does a painting take? How do I use the many notebooks accumulated around the studio? How do I know when a painting is finished?
An unexpected delight on our recent trip to Morocco was to discover that we had coincided with the Marrakech Biennale. To my shame, I had not realised that such a thing even existed, so I cannot pretend that it was all part of the careful planning of our trip. No, it was complete happen chance and rather wonderful.
A new website is a scary old business. It feels very exposing. In selecting work to be shown, I realised that there are huge tensions when reflecting on the purpose of a website for artists.