I have just, rashly, entered my artwork to the first round of what is the largest and most longstanding (since 1789!) open submission contemporary art show in the United Kingdom, namely the 2017 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, with its prevailing trademark chaos.
Let the nail-biting commence.
The selection Process:
- 12,000 digital entries will be accepted online – judging 16 March
- 4,000 of these entries will be short-listed for the second round – judging 18 May
- Approximately 800 works will be chosen for the exhibition – final hangings 27 May
I know, right?
Ah well, at least I know that my entry fee will contribute towards a good cause; the funds raised by the exhibition go to the Royal Academy School – ensuring tuition for their students is free.
For the very last time (promise) I created a final, final, FINAL, ink drawn portrait of my youngest step-daughter, Ruth. For once the image is large, so if you want to examine it closely, click it about three times.
Fingers crossed….you just never know! ^^
The Summer Exhibition 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, runs from 13 June to 20 August.
** I didn’t get in after all – but it was fun to have a go.
So six months of chugging away for my Zazzle store has felt mind-numbingly tedious. Not that the actual designing is boring, more the (necessary) cross-media broadcasting that accompanies each and every single item.
Anyway, the possibility of emigrating to sunny Portugal now totally preoccupies me. I’ve attended overseas property exhibitions, examined online, plots of land for sale, researched property purchasing regulations and everything about private swimming pools – it’s addictive and so much fun! If this does happen, it won’t be until 2018 after my son complete his university studies.
I’m itching to paint and draw again. At the risk of being boring, I’m considering revisiting an image of my youngest step-daughter, the composition of which, inexplicably, still stimulates my creativity. Already drawn in pencil and ink, painted with watercolour – twice. This time I plan using a mixture of media and may give pastels a go.
Here to prove that I haven’t totally given up, is the ink version, but this time with some minor digital modifications.
You rarely get what you expect in life and despite it being almost Christmas you won’t see a stunningly beautiful festive painting as done by Lesley White nor this marvelous Thanksgiving watercolour by Carol King. But I do promise not to whine this time.
Anyone who kindly reads my witterings know that the process of setting up my online shop has wilted the neurons in my feeble brain. (Almost whined there.) The remedy? A first venture into abstract
doodling mark making, some of which is influenced by images seen on the internet.
Abstract art isn’t supposed to look like anything, which is immediately freeing. It can be whatever you make of it – or whatever you don’t make of it.
With ink and watercolour paints, I soon became totally immersed in making marks and shapes for their own sake, which was most gratifying. Time zipped by.
Making repetitive gestures was both relaxing and absorbing; sometimes it felt almost unconscious as I tried not to exert too much control.
And yes, these images will be put to use in my ** Zazzle Store.
I’m considering running another site purely for commercial posts. Maybe next year.
Until then, a huge thank you to all of you who have supported me by stopping to look or comment and I sincerely do wish you all a very merry festive holiday.
** I closed my Zazzle shop in March 2017.
My head frequently bubbles with detailed artistic ideas, but actually accomplishing them isn’t always easy.
I’d like to create a series of paintings portraying likenesses of people I know, with their facial features and hands taking prominence.
You may wonder why I don’t simply call them “portraits”. Well, have you ever tried to render the essence of an individual onto paper or canvas? Obtaining a true recognisable likeness is staggeringly difficult. Formidable, even. Not least because the sitter is unlikely to view themselves in the same way that the artist does and there are always critics ready to pile huge lumps of vitriol onto the artist.
Clueless but undaunted, the first step was taken; I found a photograph that makes me want to to dust off my paints.
This preliminary ink drawing was to make me look hard at her features to familiarise myself with depicting them – also to decide which elements of the photograph to include and which to leave out in the composition.
The quick pencil sketch helped me ignore the myriad details and to simplify by considering the tonal values of her face that create form. Squinting helps with this.
My lofty aspiration is to somehow infuse the painting with more personality than the merely flat one dimensional drawing (although I do quite like flat images). To cultivate an intimacy that goes deeper than a mere likeness. Ideally I hope to reveal something of what goes on behind her eyes.
If I manage to fulfil my heady blur of ambitious imagined plans, the next post should be the painting. Any resemblance to the sitter will be an indescribable relief, but mostly I’m just happy to be doing some art again!
Now if someone could just sprinkle some fairy dust onto my paint brushes…..
Ok, I give in…I have embraced the whole twinkly palaver and descent into mild over-stuffed hysteria that is Christmas. I have made my own card.
The halls are decked, tinsel tamed, bells jingled, mince pies baked and I have Santa’s mail-order number on speed dial. I’ve refrained from scowling when every store assaults my ears with Christmas muzac playing on an endless loop. Three cards have been received already – two from the Chinese takeaway.
The only problem is that red fluffy bits of marabou feather trim have migrated to every item of clothing and room in the house – I’m literally spitting feathers!
Wishing you all a happy, sparkly and peaceful Christmas. See you next year.
…..Snappy blog titles never were my forte.
Look, I’m not dead, I’ve had the builders in.
Herewith my attempt at staving off the inevitable end of Summer.
Looking forward to Christmas shopping? Of course not.
It is a british requisite to moan about Christmas coming too early and I’m usually first to grumble about the crass hype during the ever-lengthening run-up to Christmas.
Apologies then, to those who haven’t even managed to de-rust their barbecue yet – there’s a glimmer of tinsel to be found here!
For once I’ve resolved to positively embrace Christmas absurdly early by launching myself into the Tiger Print competition to create surface pattern designs for wrapping paper, cards etc – 2011!
Anyway, here it is for what it’s worth….and my entry has actually been uploaded to the site.
I approached it purely as a learning exercise and after WEEKS (!) of careful work I’ve realised that my (Fireworks) self-taught approach isn’t nearly enough and I urgently need some formal Photoshop training
So I don’t care how early those bells start jing-a-ling-ing or partridges are shoved into pear trees, just as long as someone stomps on every single recording of that repellent, ear-bashing, omnipresent Christmas song by those miscreants known as Slade.
It was my immense privilege to design the wedding invitation for the eldest of my two amazing step-daughters.
The image was to fit on a narrow, horizontal, white card and illustrate that the event would be held on Kentish farmland boasting two fishing ponds and several animal breeds.
The happy couple were “thrilled” with my efforts and I was officially dubbed a “clever old stick! The wedding day was appropriately and sublimely magical and I even made my own fascinator for the occasion.
Yikes! I’m all a flutter having just submitted my poster to the joint London Transport Museum/Association of Illustrators poster competition promoting cycling as an emerging mode of transport in London…with only 30 minutes to spare. It didn’t scan as well as I’d have liked so there wasn’t enough time to clean it up as much as I’d have preferred.
This is the first time I’ve ever entered an art competition. What a relief to have finished!
I’m not deluded enough to imagine that it will be selected as I’m aware that my self-taught, inexperienced work will probably be considered somewhat naive – but it was so worth having a go.
There were some days when I almost gave up but, thanks to some timely words of encouragement, I’m glad I persevered as the experience of taking part was invaluable. It was educational, time-gobbling, sometimes frustrating and even scary but also fun.
And now I can bask in that warm, fuzzy feeling of having achieved my goal…until I start the next project.
Herewith only a small portion of my current reading matter.Some are being avidly studied – others, I’m merely dipping into. They all offer me the opportunity to further develop the multiple intricacies of illustration skills and feed my insatiable curiosity about the subject.
Soon I hope to demonstrate here how they have inspired and educated me. My motto is to never stop learning and trying to improve.
Watch this space….*cue “Wonder Woman theme tune”* ♬ ♫ ♪ ♩