Why does only one in four paintings work? My method is simple – I gad around the countryside, look for attractive trees, then sit and paint. Who knows what'll happen (though probably one in four will succeed). My aim is to keep track of my painterly wanderings through the bushes – so follow my journey into the forest and see if I manage an artistic triumph or emerge resplendent in failure…
Late deadlines and coloured crayon cake in hot gallery rumpus
Is it just me or are all deadlines and applications designed to be conflicting and ambiguous? As a student in my final degree year I must admit I have left applying for an MA rather late, although sometimes I find if you leave things to the last minute the spontaneous decision works out best in the end! I can't decide whether to stay at the University I am currently at, which is an easy option as I know everybody already etc., but its so far from home… it's a tough decision and maybe I should have thought about it much earlier. It's a big scary world and sometimes its hard to feel other than small and insignificant. Is my practice weighty enough to merit further study? Or should I just go for it and leap into the world of unemployment and isolation? I'm sure it's a stage that is familiar to all artists. Exciting though!
Last night I was one of fifteen students from the University of Aberystwyth, who headed North to Caernarvon to the opening night of an exhibition of our final year's work in the Oriel Dafydd Hardy in the town centre. Small but selective, it was good to see our work in the gallery context, even though it was really hot in there and we almost passed out! Two students performed "The Love Cake" which was "baked" using coloured crayons, camomile tea and empty mussel shells. Its great to see the breadth of output your colleagues are producing after seeing their work progress over three years. It's very sad that I will probably never see any of them again after the end of term…
Painting in Half-Term Week – Have I gone Barking mad?
Well a week has gone by and the sun has shone on my project – all my paintings have pale blue skies as a result! Some of you may argue that this looks contrived, I would argue that it is just truth to nature. My "one in four" painting success rate, or handicap, has been reduced to "one in three". The good one goes in the portfolio and the other two are re-primed and ready for another day's work.
The goal I am working towards is my final year degree show, however I am painfully aware that this is probably the longest spell I will ever have to devote solely to the research and development of my work. This has sent me into a flurry of activity and I begin to panic if I do not keep producing finished pieces, though I am sure that this is a major concern for all artists, so I'm not alone.
As part of a the Lunchtime Lecture Student Committee at Aberystwyth School of Art, I was called upon to introduce a lecture at our University where each week a visiting artist is asked to talk about their work. Programmed by lecturer Miranda Whall, this is a great opportunity for both the students and public, who benefit from the knowledge and insight of practicing artists, and a good showcase for the visiting artist who gains experience in public speaking and also feedback from their work. The lecture in question, featuring Karen Pearce from Aberystwyth, was a great success, with a large turnout of both students and miscellaneous public – however the end was cut short unfortunately when a lady in the second row fainted! Giddy with exhilaration, no doubt.
Back to the project. Wandering around in Penglais wood the other day I tried unsuccessfully to re-create the texture of the bark on the surrounding trees – having just settled myself cosily beneath a tree in the sunshine, the peace was shattered by a flurry of small boys running amok in the half-term week. Muttering irritably I packed up early, my karma in tatters…
One in four loners is bound to be an artist
Why is it that one in four paintings works and the other two fall short? And why is it the un-planned sketch, the quick time-filler before you packed up for home that always comes out best? I suppose the pressure is absent; there is no anticipation or pre-conceived idea of how it may turn out. Pretty obvious really.
Went painting at Hafod today, (a mystery place for artists to know about and others to remain ignorant of) I think it's about the fourth time I've been now. It never disappoints, there is always some hidden view, some interesting texture or dramatic water feature to capture… but it's the third time that I've had the accompaniment of fellow painters… and yes you guessed it, the time I went alone was the most productive, the advantage of solitude being the freedom to go when and where I like. "No wonder I'm such a miserable loner…" she grumbles as she tidies her favourite brushes away.