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I’m keeping my fingers crossed about using certain studio space in Abergavenny that I have found…in a few weeks I should know if it’s a definite maybe!  This is core to building momentum in my practice.  I wrote myself very short instructions in the manner of the ‘How to work better’ poster by Fischli/Weiss, which I’d like to turn into a screen print at The Print Shed:

Practical is needed.

Make it happen.

Be brave (fail).

Screen the screen.

Jill Barnaby at the Print Shed is going to host my solo exhibition in September as a part of h.Art  (Herefordshire Art week.)  The PaperFields 2nd exhibition is a step closer yesterday after a meeting with a great gallery in Hay-on-Wye.  Likely opening in April.

I’ve been working on the Framework time plan and have just made a funding application to support our website development and Magna Carta project.

I am working on my first project at Meadow Arts working on the marketing of the In Another Light exhibition fundraising event at Croft Castle (see http://www.meadowarts.org), taking place in a few months’ time.  I am brushing up my InDesign skills and getting going.

This Saturday I had a long overdue trip to London.  I saw the Late Turner – Painting Set Free at Tate Britain which is now in its last few days.  I felt an overall sense of being able to breathe the air of the landscape he consumed by painting.  The exhibition was very busy, often with people 4 deep in front of each wall and this contrasted with his work.

Next, I went to the Mall and visited the ICA.  I had read about Fig.2 (http://fig2.co.uk/) in the papers in December and find the exhibition concept exciting – 50 events in 50 weeks, curated by Fatoş Üstek.  When I visted (17th Jan) Charles Avery’s work was on display. The projection on the frame and wall was of a loop of circling birds – from fig.2 website:
His project at fig-2 unites different surfaces of reality through the collision of two and three dimensional forms, combining drawings, film and sculpture. Avery’s film uses dihedral figurations in motion that trace a pattern, which points to the constructs of time and space. This piece is a departure from Avery’s established practice, through the use of moving image and installation, which will be shown for the first time in the UK.

Planning another trip in a couple of weeks, so I’ll see what I find next time!  Intriguing.

Next I failed to book ahead for the Rembrandt – The Late Works at the National Gallery – stupid –and so couldn’t get in.  Had a wander through the galleries, then on the National Portrait Gallery where my feet led me (Brains in my feet!) to the Lord Snowdon rooms.  I found myself fascinated with a book featuring Tokio sculpture, 1964, by Eduardo Paolozzi.  (Can’t easily find an image of it online)

My last stop was back to the National Gallery where I found the Peder Balke exhibition – more landscapes but this time Norweigen.  Particularly enjoyed his Tree in Wintry Forest – this photo, as usual, doesn’t go it justice!

Also Sun breaking though clouds at Vardoks , 1860-70’s, which I can’t find an image for, I have a little sketch I did while in front of it.

The overall work was somewhere between these 2 of Balke’s I’ve found online.

I feel revived by what I found in London on Saturday and have booked ahead for a few weeks’ time.  Next time I’ll try not to fit so much in, which is a pitfall of living away from London.  (Other art and culture dense places are also on my wish-to-visit list: Cardiff and Birmingham soon– recommendations welcome!)




Aims for 2015

  • Have a dedicated studio space
  • Build going to lectures and giving talks into year
  • Go out of my area to see art twice a month (book ahead!)

Aims for January

  • Train self to get up at 615am to add an hour to my working day
    (my son used to be at school for 8 hours a day and now it’s 6, so I need to claim some back!)
  • Build momentum in my practice
  • Develop PaperFields exhibition series
  • Send 1st mailchimp email
  • Write Framework Herefordshire timeplan
  • Arrange dates for solo show with Jill at The Print Shed


I’ve dashed through summer and autumn since the degree show – carried on a wave of exhibitions to work towards in the autumn and artist residency at The Print Shed and the Meadow Arts graduate award (both continuing through this year).

Towards the end of the year I found myself overtaken by admin tasks and feeling time, rather than task orientated and the tasks I wanted to do just piling up and dividing my time until there was hardly any left to focus.  I now want to keep up the fast pace, but be more discerning with what I take on/choose to do.  I was running and stumbling last year…a bit of stumbling I equate to (momentary) failure, but largely adding to my experience and pushing me on.  In this post-degree time, I feel a lot of two steps-forward, one step back going on, along with well-meaning friends, but especially family making what seem like helpful, yet unhelpful suggestions.  I have a tender surety in the nature of my practice and I am being careful not to expose myself to too much criticism of the unhelpful kind.

The break over Christmas this time was full on and messy.  Last year I worked through Christmas, keeping the momentum going I had built in the autumn term at college, plus the summer was high pressure with the h.Art Young Open Exhibition in Hereford in September and the PaperFields London Exhibition in October.  This all involved huge organisation on my part ( I can do it, but it sets my mind to a different frequency to art making / writing).  Having time at Christmas doing home things, seeing family and friends (last visitor left this Monday afternoon!) and having Christmas day on the Beach provided something that I needed.  Perspective and space.


So – my next studio?  This is something I have been trying to figure out for a while.   To rent a studio nearby (Abergavenny) or to save up / apply for funding for a large shed in my back garden?

Having a studio to rent in Abergavenny would be good as studio / home can be more defined then.

Rent would be ongoing

Shed –Studio in garden

High initial cost in time and money to get it.

Could still use it in the evenings while husband working away.

Once it’s up only costs are electricity.


Pros and cons for both…feel quite indecisive…added to which my husband is, as of this week, working from home.

Working at home without a shed-studio takes and insane amount of organisation to work (and it can’t work most of the time as the biggest space is right where you step into the cottage!)

I was lucky to get a book called ‘Sanctuary- Britain’s artists and their studios’ recently and am considering carefully what exactly it is that I need.

So – to the title of my post – the first day of practical this year has involved priming a large square piece of canvas on the floor and marking out a grid of squares and then beginning to fill these with tones of grey and burnt sienna. 

Why?  Well, there’s a couple of threads coming together here. 1st the stone writing I did back in March and displayed in my degree show and the paving I saw while visiting the opening of the John Moores Painting Prize in Liverpool in June/July, which involves similar stone colouring to the stones I’ve used from the Gavenny river in Stone Writing.  2nd My writing about chaos/order and art/maths (all the same subject) and which I did a first talk on in November at Hereford College of Arts is making me consider my PaintWrite series in a different way.

My painting has often been the chaotic element in these pairings and the writing the more orderly…so I am trying it the other way around – the painting element applied in order (squares) and the writing being messy (er).  This orderliness in my painting goes against the grain, but I need to see what it does to the work.

One way I am considering my PaintWrite series is by way of an aural equivalent; the Opera, combining the libretto which may or may not be understood and the musical score, which has an abstract nature.



I’m currently looking over my art and projects in photographs on Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/catherinewp/2014-review/

Review of 2014

A year of running before I can walk!


Dissertation, being included in two books (Stitched Time, compiled by Clare Smith) and Dwell book by CollectConnect (also shown some of my work on Magnetic street art in Bath with same group in May) plus being interviewed in the a-n degrees show guide.  Becoming the chair of Framework Herefordshire.  I’ve shown work in Manchester at w0budong exhibition, Young Open exhibition (along with helping to run it), PaperFields London (plus co-ordinating it) and showing at The Print Shed at Christmas.  Graduating, getting the Meadow Arts Graduate Award and The Print Shed residency at the degree show.  Talking at the HCA Drawing Symposium in October and to students in November about Art, Maths and my practice (now being developed into Chaos & Order in Art, generally and in relation particularly to my own work).


Developing practice.
Searching for a studio solution.
Considering and planning own development / path to Masters (Realising need more time for practical than I currently have – no dedicated space I can create mess and find as I leave is part of the problem).
Art/Maths talk development by way of putting it in essay form.
Needing more stimulation – physically being in front of more great art/music/theatre etc.  IN last quarter I’ve not got to many exhibitions due to budget.  Planning to book travel tickets ahead to London to see more.
Developing the PaperFields exhibition into a series – The Courtyard in Hereford late 2015/early 2016 and possibly Hay-on-Wye before that.
Framework Herefordshire organisation – developing my own vision for it and currently applying for funding for website development.  Focussing on 3 main objectives: Website development, Magna Carta project (led by Daisy), the Open exhibition. Other activities to keep going and develop further: peer support meetings (to include learning to mount and frame work at Apple Store Gallery), talking at local college about organisation to promote group and planning the launch event.

The 2 exhibitions I visited this year which stick in my mind are: Matisse – the cut-outs at Tate and The Jerwood Drawing Prize – I saw both of these.  Plus the Mondrian exhibition at Tate Liverpool and at the Turner Contemporary which I missed.

My main practical focus early in 2015 is to gain a studio space – whether that is in my garden or in Abergavenny.  This is especially important as my other half is working from (our very small) home from early January.  Though a garden studio probably makes sense financially – once it’s there, it’s paid for – but I feel I need to be somewhere else for a while.  Have a bit more physical distance between home and my work space.  Having worked at home and at college studio for years, I know I can work at home, but it is not ideal.

2014 has been uncertain and unsettled, but actually very productive until I let admin type tasks get in the way of my practice.  It has been a time of realising though I have
done my BA that was just the time to give me some of the tools I need to develop my own occupation.  A way of preventing admin/screen time being a time-suck is definitely needed.  Practical tasks need to have elevated importance.  After this break during the holidays catching up with family and friends I am very ready to get back to my PaintWrite series, developing Framework, working at The Print Shed (temporary studio space), working with Meadow Arts on publicity and marketing, writing about Chaos/Order Art/Maths and getting into London for more stimulation.   (Particular interest in Fig-2 at the ICA https://www.ica.org.uk/whats-on/seasons/fig-2 where 50 projects are presented over 50 weeks, curated by Fatoş Üstek)