It’s now 5 days since The Print Shed show finished (Sunday 20th).  It was an incredible chance to show my work and surround visitors entirely with my work.  For visitors to understand what I’m up to I did need to give an explanation and I felt that visitors who came on the few occasions I wasn’t about, came away without clicking at all with it.  Many people who I spoke to were really engaging with the issues in my work. I am mulling over whether there is a problem with me having to explain for understanding. Is it necessary?    I would like to know what people who just look at my work might see / perceive. This show was a fantastic way to have a first solo show. I had the run of the garden plus a whole marquee to fill. There were other artists around (stewarding and visiting) every day of the show. Valuable feedback from fellow artists, and there were many artists visiting! As well as the times when I engaged the people who were just there as ‘chauffeurs’ ( and there were a lot of them!), people whose eyes lit up on the mention of Fibonnacci or of Ignorance or sheer weight of information we have available to us now.  One guy even gave me a lesson in Alphanumerics (check term!)


I think when I have my next solo show, I hope I’ll have a more consistent appearance of the work, i.e. All on stretched canvas and one series, rather than several on show at once. (It did seem to go -all involving text somehow).  Also to be more happier about the possibility of selling a painting ( it’s not a crime, after all!). I sold cards of my work (not of art that were on sale, but of the writing on roses, grass, daisy etc) and sold one medium painting.


This time last year I’d been busy organising the Framework Open exhibition in h.Art and then carrying on with the preparations for paperfields group show in London, which was epic for me.  Organising 2shows in consecutive months is not to be recommended. I got steeped in admin and tasks, not good for my own practice.


This autumn I have set myself up to paint the 254 words which I came up with from the notion of to Bathe in ignorance (the 3D piece is on the back burner, and needing some tlc) and decided to look at my own ignorance of words by looking at The Oxford Shorter dictionary (the largest dictionary I could get hold of in my local library), narrowing down the number pages to look at from thousands, to a manageable 17. I then photocopied those pages and highlighted the words i didn’t know.  The result is a set of 254 words,  I displayed a telepromter video projected onto a blank canvas with my hesitant (recorded) voice reading them out aloud in the marquee.  Photos attached of the show and I did a 3 min video of it (low quality, but you get the feel of it)


Some of the se word spilled out of the marquee and into the garden on the grass (see pics).  This is me taking the thought of people being born with the privilege and right to read and write and others being born without(people who live more physically) that privilege a little further and imagining the physical world and the textual world together and the physical world speaking / writing, but in a language we can’t understand.


So, I am quietly starting (before I scare myself and talk myself out of it) to do 254 paintings in 254 days with 254 words.  The routine is to get out in my shed at the earliest opportunity each day (still needing electric light out there!), pick the canvas, pick a word (all 254 were printed out, cut out and put in a bag, hanging in the shed), write word and date on reverse and then paint. This first week I have simply used the word alone to respond to, next week I’ll look up the meaning each day too.  I am working on a mixture of previously painted on canvas and new canvas (not got any yet).  I am trying to find out if I can get my hands on old sail canvas, with the wear of use already in it.


On day 4 today and I have found I am responding more to the surface than to the word that is intended as my starting point. I am not too concerned with this, as right from coming up with this epic paint run, I am clear with myself that what I really need from this is a kick up the rear end!  Last year, my balance between planning and spontenaity was way out, when working spontaneously I had no limits (i felt) and my planning generally took the form of being overwhelmed by admin. Plus doing admin seems to create more. Plus the fact that if you are seen as efficient at it you get given more!  Currently I am leaving any admin/internet/bitty tasks till after lunch.


I am feeling more positive and energised than I have for a long time, it also helps seeing the continued progress of older artists, Rose Wylie is utterly compelling, quietly confident and has a dress sense I can understand (I am an avoider of shopping, or Shoppi in the local tongue).


After a solid week of setting up, I was ready (with assistance!) just as our opening evening party got started last night!

The space I had – the marquee – although I’d known the measurements was much larger than I’d anticipated.  Good job I have a lot of work to fill it!  I have work filling the marquee and spilling out into the large garden – writing in the grass, on the flowers, stones, hedges and trees.  I’d even left my watercolours and brushes out from Monday’s busy intervention in the garden.  The gardener will be coming across writing in the leaves all autumn!

Because I’d got hung up on the idea of a Bathe in Ignorance installation in the form of a dome and the reality being I couldn’t get it to look sleek from the outside on my limited budget.  This is one for funding, except I need to develop the work on and it stalled at the initial idea stage and hit a wall when I discovered my tipi worked, yet no finance to fund its development (was working on a funding application before the summer holidays.

I am also swearing to myself never to open a show in September, until my son is older, the run up to a show over the 6 week school holidays just doesn’t work and I want to be focussed on family and friends (plus any spare time I want to be painting and drawing, not stressing over organising).

I am very glad of the practical help I have had from family, from Jill Barneby at The Print Shed, from my tutor Allison Neal for a good talk through when I really needed it, Kate Morgan-Clare for her ear and advice, Viv and Ant Barraclough for loan of equipment and an Andy and Trevor for loan and help erecting scout tent that is more like a marquee and display boards.

This just goes to show, you can’t easily show without the support people around and I now owe many a favour to replenish my favour bank!

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It has been an extremely busy few weeks for me.  I have been getting thoughts and reflections down on paper, but the words haven’t made it to the blog much.

Currently choosing work to take to Print Shed to fill my h.Art Print shed show tent/marquee.  Also getting projector (kindly lent by artist friend) set up to show Teleprompter App video along with the sound of me hesitantly reading out the 257 words.

Just had thought about how important it is to stop thinking (usual for me to overthink) and get practical… ‘art needs to get out of your mind and into the world to grow’, bit late in the day for me to realise this.  But something an artist friend said about trying things out at Back to nature exhibition she’s doing with Ash struck a cord.  Can’t keep just thinking stuff, got to actually commit to it and make it as well. Obvious really.

rough practically working things out and thinking through, I have veered away from showing my Bathe dome at the Print Shed show.  There are many problems with it to iron out, but mainly I need to do a lot mo practical work on it, and preferably, have saved up some money to fund it as I’d like it to be.  On reflection now I just think it may work better another way and it needs to be developed more critically as well as practically.  Perhaps I am spreading myself too thin with this, but also, because of the planning and practical aspects involved, I’ve ended up spending too long trying to figure things out when I should be making work.  All the figuring out makes me feel physically sick, maybe missing the activity of painting. The time I spend figuring out things is my own time set aside for my practice and its turning out being wasted (I feel afterwards). + I can’t see a physical trail of work behind me.

This was part of the idea behind my Grid painting. By doing a square or two whenever I had available time meant I could see my progress.

Before the summer holidays I embarked on a series (only did 2 before ran out of painting time) which uses the 257 dictionary words I was unfamiliar with as a starting point. I’ve painted Lingonberry and Renounce so far and now cropped them to show at the Print Shed. (I had written/painted in the definitions into the work, which is entirely uneccessary!).  I would like to continue this and have some sort of pact with myself for getting it done.

257 in 257 days is the only thing I’ve come up with so far! From today that is 17th May 2016, or if I start on 23 sept (after print shed show) then 4th June.

(above is a very standard deviation from what I should be doing!) – which is figuring out the Print Shed show.  So many lists I’ve got lying around.  Just now I’m cutting out black sheeting to put on the grass at The Print Shed tomorrow, I have already put a couple of sheets down. Also tested it (the grass picture with strong foliage shadows) but the yellowing effect isn’t very noticeable.  I am cutting out positives of a selection of the 257 words now on my living room floor and making them much larger than before. I’d like them to be more defined.