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In this ‘wood for the trees’ time I am building in as many mini goals as I can to get me stretching myself. I have felt very frustrated and ‘full of woe’ as I am coming to terms (slowly!) with the fact that I won’t be able to do a postgraduate course for some years (it looks like 7 – ouch!) due to family commitments. I don’t want my horizons to narrow. So, finding ways to drive myself on, without the outside imposed structure of deadlines and course requirements is my current pre-occupation. My everyday time for working on my own has reduced from 8 hours to 6, so getting stuck in straight away is vital each day. This is quite difficult to handle, so I have to keep on top of tasks and prioritise regularly. Not easy, though I am getting better at the decisions along the way.
I am throwing myself into things that capture my interest and following my nose. One experience often leads to another. Recently I talked about drawing in relation to my practice and talking afterwards with a tutor about Maths I was invited to talk to her group of Extended Diploma students about it. Voila! A chance to build myself a repertoire of talks has appeared (a few years ago I had a conversation with an old school friend (before I started my art degree) about wanting to do presentations / talks, even though it scares me. I still get fairly nervous, but this is small compared to my engagement with art and the exchanging of ideas (generally).
Is it possible to have some of the benefits of doing an MA without actually signing up to an individual university?
Is there a website or database of public art lectures in the UK? (So far, I can’t find one..it’s a case of looking on Colleges events pages, emailing staff plus ringing before travelling to check for cancellations)
So my personal (ised) plan for my postgraduate apprentice in Fine Art involves:
>Giving talks

>Attending lectures (nearby and further..i.e. Hereford College of Arts, Cardiff School of Art & Design, Bristol, Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy lectures – I am seeking work and alternative ways of funding the travel)
>Finding real and virtual mentors
(Cornelia Parker is a current virtual mentor as she is unlikely to have time! So this means I am researching her work intensively.)

>Attending group critiques. This is happening roughly twice a month through Frame
> Projects (multiple…Magna Carter, postcard exc, stone writing, writing, intuitive painting vs writing, there are often long periods of inactivity on some due to stages of projects)
>Going to exhibitions. Again for this I need to fund the travel as the exhibitions I really want to see are often in London, Liverpool, etc. It is painful to get to so few exhibitions of internationally renowned and other ambitious artists.

The Group Exhibition ‘PaperFields’ has been accepted to show at The Courtyard in Hereford in 12-18 months from now. So time for the work to evolve and to improve aspects of our London experience.
(currently evaluating )

I have applied to an opportunity this week and have a few more I’ll be applying for in the coming weeks, concentrating on ones that could help develop my practice.
>Taking risks with my work
>Reflecting (blog is very useful)
>Taking more risks…


It is the last day of our PaperFields exhibition today.  We’ve been getting great responses from visitors.

I got home late on friday and had taken up the opportunity to talk at the Hereford College of Art Drawing Symposium, so preparation for that was needed over the weekend and the event was this Monday.  The other speakers – Dr Natasha Mayo from Cardiff School of Art and Design, and Amelia Johnstone were fascinating.

Natasha had some great quote’s from the book ‘Bento’s Sketchbook’ by John Berger and I am still thinking about her project

Details of the project are on that website, but basically artists who have children draw in a sketchbook together while talking. Each artist and child project is slightly different. Some (esp with older children) don’t necessarily draw and talk together but use it as a conduit, exchange abstract thoughts and idea’s through the sketchbook quite fluidly. This has an effect on the relationship that allows thoughts to surface that wouldn’t be possible to grasp otherwise. While I am drawing or doing intuitive painting/etching I have a notebook nearby and write down what comes to the surface while I’m drawing. When I ask my own son ‘how was your day?’ and get ‘fine.’ it’s not telling anything. Yet when I say ‘just doodle / draw /write here’ things begin to come out. My own way is to allow words if needed, to me drawing and writing are so close. Going between each with ease is a good place to be.
I’d highly recommend looking into Natasha’s work if any of this lights up your eyes.

I’ve had a lot of drawing input lately. On the day we arrived in London (last Monday) and just about had time to unload the van and place the work around the gallery (R. K. Burt in Union St, Southwark). Get back to YHA and find room, then leg it to the Jerwood Space to hear Paul Thomas, Anita Taylor and Charlotte Hodes (JDP winner 2005/6) talk in Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014 Perspectives: Artist, Selector, Director. They were discussing if it is worth continuing the drawing prize – is there more left to achieve for drawing?
My own thoughts on this are -yes! – there’s more to achieve for the drawing prize.. Maybe an interesting way to select the exhibitors would be to pick entry numbers out of a hat and then it would show the diversity and range of drawing going on. (The quality would be highly variable, so whether this is beneficial to the JDP is another matter!)
To me drawing is not about any one specific thing.. it’s many things…it’s about seeing something or a search for something. It’s about a unique, distinctive voice.

Anita mentioned that some drawings gets richer over time. They were talking about types of drawing through years and different artists getting richer and I want to understand that further.

The outside A-Board signage – main ART sign by Kate Morgan Clare (we reckoned to the point as by the time people see that they need know no more!) and Jack’s drawings turned into cone shapes varnished and stapled on by myself has now led on to a new seam of work for me. I’m limiting the shape – I’m working on a circle and drawing / printing / painting regularly. First one is pictured.

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Previously I have made a piece of work called ‘my cup runneth over’ – cups molded from my own receipts.

For our PaperFields exhibition we realise that we’ll have to make our exhibition obviously there and open to get visitors through the door (as well as doing as much publicity via social networks in the run up to next Weds opening and flyer + posters at the time).  There is a wooden A-board outside the R K Burt Gallery and we want to create something intriguing to make it absolutely clear there is something worth investigating going on inside the gallery!

Instead of our poster, which has relatively small writing and is great for getting lots of info across, but when someone is standing right outside the gallery, they don’t need to know when it’s open (the door is already open!) or how to get there!
We will simply have a poster with ‘ART’ on it both sides, very clear and to the point!

But we reckon we’ll need to make it a bit more noticeable than that and so Jack Clough and I are collaborating to make something curious for the A-board.  He has sent me some of his drawings and paintings on paper and I am going to cut them into quarter circles, varnish (waterproof them) and make cone shapes with them.  I’m thinking of stapling these to the A-board and then to each other to grow a form which I’ve no idea how it’ll turn out.  I now have 2 pieces I need to make during set up – 1. paper tubes in window and 2. this collaboration piece..actually jack may be doing some of the cone construction – we’ll see!