Thursday, December 30, 2010

digital images and this years projects

This one started life as a digital drawing using Harmony and was then manipulated and combined with colour in Photoshop. I am still in love with the marks that programme can make!

I think I'll pursue developing paintings from digital beginnings a little more this year. Our little group have also decided on 2 major themes for future exhibitions - one to look at still life in our own particular ways, something we all rarely do, so a new challenge. Another is an exhibition with a theme and title worked out (secret as yet), that again we'll tackle in our individual ways - more on this later in the year.

I'm also planning to get down to Cornwall to do more plein air work and more plein air paintings locally.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New arrival

We had a new arrival over Christmas :>) My daughter had a little girl - after a scare with possible swine flu and a second emergency Caesarian.

I haven't been down to see her yet but hope to get down as soon as possible

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

interpreting digital images in traditional media

Of Thistles, coloured pencil, Vivien Blackburn

I'm up to my eyes in stuff to do but took time to work on this coloured pencil drawing based on some digital images I did using the mr doob programme, Harmony.

I wanted to see how the marks would translate into traditional media. It's something I think I'll experiment with further. This is just the first version in a moleskine folio sketchbook.

There is more subtlety in the colours than I can pick up in the photographs or scans :>(

Worth pursuing do you think? maybe in watercolour plus pencils? pastel and much larger?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Last Light, oil on deep canvas. 12 ins square. Vivien Blackburn

Not a great photo as it's shining - but one of the recent series of 12 inch canvasses.

I'm deep in Christmassy stuff and hopefully will catch up with the blog this week.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I've reopened my Etsy shop

I've made time to reopen my Etsy shop - link on the right.

I'll be adding items daily so please check in if you are interested. I've got some giclee prints that I'm going to add - including the one above - so some prices will be quite low :>)

Monday, December 06, 2010

mist and ice: photographs

Frosted leaf, Vivien Blackburn

It was -6C today and the mist and ice looked beautiful so I stopped going to work and coming home to take some photos.

The remnants of warmth in the leaf colours looked amazing contrasting with the coldness of the ice.
and the sun was setting as I came home - just after this I left the clear skies and drove into very very thick fog and grey-whitenout-ness.

You can see more here

and look at this excellent post by Adebanji Alade on his recent marathon, planning, pricing, comfort and more

Sunday, December 05, 2010

exhibition update

Pictures from the exhibition ......

Table with some of my paintings and giclee prints - and the book too

On the left hand panel paintings by Ros Kite, on the right hand panel, mine

Setting up the show

Above shows the lovely old beams and wooden floor of the Old Grammar School built in the 1600's - there was another floor - you can see the holes for the joists on the far side. The headmaster and his family lived up there and this was the schoolroom.

and another look at the outside. The butter market would have been underneath on market days, to keep dairy products cool.

Some of the giclee prints I had done - when I've got a minute I'm going to put some new work in my Etsy store, including some of these prints. I'll reinstate the link when I get this done.

New year resolution is to get to grips with sorting out a paypal button for here too.

On Saturday I was frozen all day and ended up wearing my coat and scarf. Those non cavity insulation walls and high ceiling made the red hot radiators less than efficient! Today I wore several extra layers and was warm as toast :>) A plastic sleeve that was left touching the radiator melted!

The town was buzzing with Christmas shoppers on Saturday and a surprising number of visitors today. Main sales were cards and prints though, less originals sold and those that did were smaller ones, which I'd expected and agrees with Katherine Tyrrell's recent report - the recession plus snow and fog meant sales weren't up to our usual rate :>(

Now I want to sleep for a week.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

organising an exhibition part 1 venue, timing, opening hours, sharing the work and making ground rules

Approaching Rain, detail, oil on canvas, studio painting from plein air sketches, Vivien Blackburn

Organising an exhibition as a group:

This will depend on the type of group - I belong to large organisations who have committees, members voted in, who arrange and hang the shows. These may be juried and have a limit on the number of paintings that can be shown.

group is a small group of friends, who meet up once a month. We are all graduates/post graduates and critique each others work, talk about or arrange visits to exhibitions and put on shows of our own work from time to time. Being small it's essential that everyone helps out with the organisation in our group and that ground rules are arranged in advance.


For this show I came up with the venue but asked 2 other members to check it out and book it, to make sure that we would all be happy with it. The price was right, the space was just big enough. We were able to book it for a time that suited us, aimed at the Christmas market. The venue is in the very centre of a lovely market town in a beautiful timbered building on stilts. built in the 1600's. We are renting the room for the 2 days. Rules are our own.

How long?

The exhibition is only for 2 days - catching the Saturday shoppers and Sunday visitors to the antique fair in the square nearby.

Manning the exhibition and allocating space to participants:

It needs members in attendance each day to talk to visitors - and hopefully collect money for sales :>) so rotas need to be arranged.

There are 7 of us this time and we are fairly clear on the amount of space we need, having done this before. We divide the hanging space equally between those showing - whether members choose to hang huge paintings or small ones, the space allowed is the same.

Sharing the workload:

One member is providing the screens, I did the publicity - press release, posters, fliers and invitation design. Another member is organising the fishing wire we'll use for hanging, the boards are fiddly to hang requiring picture hooks at the top and then fishing wire (because it's almost invisible) and she's teaching us a slip knot to use with this to make adjustment easier. One has to work and another is away on the hanging day so arrangements are made to deliver and display their work. Our secretary keeps us all in line and updated with arrangements. Our treasurer keeps an eye on our funding. One member is a great saleswoman - useful skill :>)

It's essential to have someone with organisation skills (not me!) to keep everything on track and make sure we all know the timings of meeting/hanging/taking down /opening etc etc etc It avoids confusion and resentment over misunderstandings.

Forward planning:

We discuss potential venues well in advance, weighing up the pros and cons -

  • is it a suitable area? passing trade is important, new customers, not simply those invited because they are past buyers or friends
  • how many people pass by? are they likely to be interested? buyers? It's no good having vast hordes if none are art lovers
  • what is the best timing? January and February are normally the doldrums - Christmas is a good time and Spring can be too as people start thinking of trips out after the cold of winter.
  • Does it clash with a major event? We once clashed with a major England match and had a very quiet couple of hours in the afternoon!
  • what times to open? we generally find 10-4 is best. If a lot of people are still arriving at 4 we can always stay a bit later but generally things quieten down then.

Ground rules and allocating jobs:

People use their particular skills in a small group, but it's essential that everyone helps out. The ground rules of rotas, space allocation etc need to be in place - ours tend to roll over from show to show.

Part 2 will cover the publicity

Part 3 the hanging/arranging work

Part 4 extras such as prints and cards

Part 5 - post mortem!

We have snow and freezing temperatures so we are all pretty worried about this one - we are just hoping like mad that people still come. Having invited a lot of people and had 2 articles in local papers we need to be professional and go ahead with it whatever.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

You can see work/publicity stuff here , here , here and here

and a reminder of who and where we are ......................