After a gap of over two years I’m so happy today to have made a little space in which to work. It’s about one-third of a spare bedroom in a small flat and it’s cramped but I’ve tried it and it works. It fits an A-frame easel, a trolley, two small tables and a chair. It’s about five feet wide and is bounded on one side by a wall and window and on the other side by a bed which I’ve covered with plastic and which is great for spreading out sketches and photos. So after more than two years of flailing around I feel I can get back to work in earnest. Another decision is to go back to oil because I find acrylics too spasmodic, always having to stop to let the paint dry, which doesn’t allow you to get into a state of flow. I will probably start a painting in acrylic and and go on to oil at some point.
The still life painting above is from 2012, the year after graduating (late in life). I’ve been doing more abstracts and small landscape studies for the last couple of years but for this new phase am planning to go back to still life at least for a while.
“He said that […] rain suited me and that I must always live in rainy country” — Edna O’Brien
Saw a video on Instagram of Damien Hirst in his studio with huge paintings around all the walls. Of flowering cherries. They are sensational … remind me of a painting by Van Gogh I saw a long time ago in the Courtauld gallery looking up through branches of peach or pear blossom to sky … that painting isn’t there any more. These paintings by Hirst totally refute the notion that he can’t paint.
Some time ago, during November, I tried making some prints at home, first making monoprints on a gelatin plate, then small screenprints. I had all the necessary tools and materials in a cupboard. The amazing thing was that it was possible to do it. There are constraints. I have to be careful not to make too much of a mess, so no photo-emulsion because the chemicals needed to clean up destroy an ordinary sink in no time. And no splashy stuff since we’ve just had the walls painted. Therefore small work and mediums that clean up easily. But being able to make prints at all is a revelation and a joy. It’s even possible to get my own images exposed with photo-emulsion in a screenprinting studio not far away, bring it home to print and take it back to clean out afterwards. In the experiment I used paper stencils and drawing fluid with filler. I tried re-doing an old print on better paper but it didn’t come out well. I’m out of practice and made silly mistakes. Monoprinting worked well enough in the small space but I was out of practice with that too and ran out of some inks. Very happy then to find the London Graphic Centre which carries all the necessary supplies.
Sometimes when I’m working a title suggests itself part way through. They are usually the better ones. When it’s hard to find the right title, that’s not so good.
Today I got some names and email addresses into the computer from 2 1/2 years ago, i.e. mid-2017, collected at art fairs and open studios. Late for Christmas, alas, I won’t use them until next year. I could beat myself up over being so late about it but what good would that do?
A few days ago I made a little collage, 9 x 6 inches, that I like. It’s called “Diversions No. 1”. The title came from a thesaurus, looking for synonyms for “joy” or “joyousness”.
Amazon Handmade is not going well, only an odd sale here and there. Their system isn’t conducive to originals because they give more weight in searches to things with lots of stock on hand. They do allow prints and I can make my own giclees, but even with that it’s still very slow. So I’ve started putting a lot of the same work on Etsy as well, mostly small works on paper excluding prints except for the handmade kind. Other ways to show are limited for me for health reasons (that’s why I was out of action for over 2 years). Art fairs and open studios were my favourite ways to show before but are not practical now unless they’d allow me to employ someone to set up and be there all day minding the store (or table or booth). Open studios aren’t practical either since my flat is small and in a residential block. I’ve also swerved back to printmaking for a while, mainly screenprinting and monoprints without a press. I’ve always alternated between painting and printmaking so the switch isn’t unexpected, in fact it was overdue.
The Amazon url is amazon.co.uk/handmade/mary-adam
and the Etsy url is https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaryAdamStudio