Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Drawing goes LARGE

Drawing LARGE

Today I'm off to do the first chalkboard wall drawing in the new gallery. Very exciting! And on, apparently, what is to be the hottest day of the year. Good timing eh?

So my supplies for today include the chalk (both sticks and powder form), charcoal, coloured chalk (for some red in the Dogger sandstone bit of the geology), and a giant fan.

I've done a second (and third) sketch for the large drawing concept, not letting contradictory websites lead me astray on where the Dogger is!

For a bit more background about the chalkboard wall, have a read of the Kickstarter update here. It has more upcoming draft drawings for the wall!

And don't forget, the project is nearly at the next stretch goal... if we meet it, all you backers will get a free digital/printable set of the finished wall drawings. Yay!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

4 reasons to have an Open Studio

Here's my top 4 reasons for doing an artist open studio!
Nevermind sales (can't be relied on), too many artists overlook the other benefits of opening their creative space.

1. Talk about the work

No, I don't mean in a rambling in a me, me, me kind of way (although I do ramble). When people come to your studio they ask interesting questions.* And they have come specifically to see your work and meet you. So you get the chance to talk about your work, about what and why you do what you do. You get to ask them questions too, which means you can learn more about the people who like your work.

*I genuinely think there are no stupid questions. The best advice I ever got was from someone who reminded me that non-artists see us as exotic. When they ask "how long did that take you?" maybe it's because they genuinely how no idea how the process of painting work and how long it takes. Or maybe they're inexperienced meeting artists and want to ask you something but don't really know what to ask. Either way, answer and engage with them. To me "how long did that take?" gives me a chance to maybe say how it was made with lots of layers and glazes, or how I work in series on several at once, or how I alternate with paintings and drawings. The answer doesn't have to be in hours.

2. Meet people

If people are coming to your studio, you'd think this was obvious right? Yet when I visit open studios I often watch the artist sit in a corner. You don't have to accost your visitors, but say hello, welcome them in, maybe offer them a drink, or ask how they're enjoying their day seeing studios. This opens the door for conversation but you can back off if they feel like just looking.

But if you don't open that door, you can miss out. Many of these could be buyers or collectors. Most of my galleries or agents of recent years found me through my studio. Some came and visited and chatted to me for quite a while - never telling me they were a gallery or agent. Only afterwards did they get in touch about that. So it meant they got to see me and my work in an honest friendly environment, no hard sell. I've also met people who have asked if I do demonstrations or artist talks, if I give classes, if I'd like to join an artist group, if I'd heard of such-and-such art fair (no! do tell me more!). Sometimes it's something for me, but sometimes they mention an art event I'd like to tell others about.

3. Community

When you are part of a group open studios - either one large building/set of artists or more of an art walk type event around a town or area - you aren't alone. And part of that event is getting to know the other artists and cooperating in the event. Obviously, we don't get to visit each others' studios because we're trapped in our own! But a pre-open meeting is chance to meet some artists near you that you might not know. Even emailing, Facebook messaging or visiting afterwards to chat and see how things went is a way to meet the other artists.

While your studio is open, don't forget to help visitors navigate the rest of the artists. Maybe have a local map, or a brochure. As people leave tell them where the next nearest artist is on the map. Or if you've chatted to them you might know what style of work they like and can point them to a specific artist to visit. It's a win-win: you're happy they visited, the other artists get some traffic, and the visitors feel they had some personal service.

4. Cleaning

Ok, admit it, you don't tidy your studio or house often enough! If you're an artist every room probably has some work in it. An open studio is a great annual chance to have a good clear out, re-organise things, discover lost monsters or supplies hiding in corners, make your work area "better" in that way you always wanted but meant moving too much stuff.

Could be a good time to invite your mother around. She'll be proud. :) (unless you're like me and the studio looks gorgeous and the rest of the house looks hit by a bomb)

And of course, don't forget to have fun! It's your studio after all. Your art, your toys, your rules.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How did you paint that? The top open studio question

The most common question from visitors at open studios is "how do you paint that?" or "how do you get such a soft blended look?"

The answer is glazing. Though this year I realised a better way to describe it might be by comparing to watercolour washes. Yes, it's taken me a decade to realise my water glazes are probably more akin to watercolour than my old oil painting glazes!

So basically: I put a tiny bit of paint into a lot of water. Mix it thoroughly. (though much of my glazing mix I can now do more spontaneously, just from experience) Then I brush! It's a pretty water-laden brush but not so wet that it will drip on the canvas.

A photo of it going on before I brush it out:

Here is a set of work-in-progress photos showing Dark Wave from early dark underlayers to the last few white glazes on top.

And finally some videos!
A quick (and poorly done) video of me glazing/washing an area on a large painting.

The actual painting I was working on in this was Blackgang Beyond.

Blackgang Beyond, Acrylic on canvas @Tina Mammoser

This second (equally bad) video shows one layer of white glaze, and it includes how I "pull out" the paint to the edges and keep brushes as the paint dries to ensure a very transparent, very hazy edge. Plus how I need to keep brushing all of it as it dries so that the water-soaked paint doesn't bleed into the canvas texture and stays a solid layer:

The actual painting I was working on here was Infinity Window.

Infinity Window, Acrylic on canvas @Tina Mammoser

And now you can see why I get shoulder tendonitis, and why I'll probably start airbrushing when I'm about 70. ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Scenes of art and science

A book! A book! A book is afoot!

The second book with the Grejczik Gallery imprint will be "Scenes of Art and Science" - a collection of essays about science and how they relate to my artwork. With lots of illustrations of my paintings and drawings!

You can pre-order the book via my Kickstarter campaign. Afterwards it will only be available on the Grejczik Gallery website. Plus, on Kickstarter you'll get bonus extras!

Print sets EXCLUSIVELY on Kickstarter

Tiny 6"x6" Light paintings EXCLUSIVELY on Kickstarter

See the book and more here, and do share with friends. :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Open studio - behind the art

For those of you who can't make it all the way to Scarborough for my open studio, I thought I'd give you a little tour of the things that aren't art in my studio room.

A lot of what happens around the art is my research materials - like geology books, maps, notes from walks - but also just the quirky things I like to have around me. Some are useful, some are just for inspiration, some are simply silly.

Most artists have a "wall of clipping". We keep images that inspire us or give us new ideas. We have ads from our favourite exhibitions. Quotes from people we like. Maybe art we've collected from other artists.

My wall includes original art by several people. Including a 'mystery' postcard from a charity auction, small collage by Brandi Strickland, leaves ink drawing by Mr Yen from long before he was a papercut artist, plus postcards and clipping from artists exhibitions at gallery.

There's also my geek inspiration. My favourite UserFriendly comic strip, a drawing by Hugh McLeod, a photo I took of an Saturn rocket ring, and a geek crossstitch sign.

Turning to the left, two of my old sockmonkeys still hang out in the studio. The Lt Colonel was my cycling buddy for several years. Now he and his friend guard the air hockey table puck and paddles. A small hint that the drawing table isn't quite what it seems!

My "digital desk" for computer works sits right in front of the table. But that's not quite what it seems either. Under the plexiglass tabletop are fossils sitting on a tray. The lightbulb clipped to the potted plant makes a basking spot for the dragon lizard. And of course I have the most ridiculous desk chair ever which I can sit in crosslegged! (I do have a yoga ball seat too, I swap between them.)

Next to the desk is my wall of "what would they do?" When I'm stumped or unsure I look at my artists and scientists and think what would they do? Usually the answer is probably dolloping on some random paint or trying to blow something up... but that gets me working at least.

Finally we have the trays o' fossils. This is a new addition - I put it under my easel thinking it might be quite nice for open studio visitors (esp. kids) to have a look at the rocks. It's actually a pair of hinged stretched canvases, on the reverse side, that I used to use years ago for outdoor events. They made a perfect fossil tray! 

Turns out I've been using it to reference textures and just have fun looking at rocks far more often than when they were in the fossil basket! So it's a winner.

So Mort and I are almost ready for the open weekend. Two more days! She's "helping" a lot. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The case of the crazy artist - a new gallery in Scarborough

With open studios fast approaching* and a Kickstarter campaign nearly ready to launch, I wouldn't do something absolutely ridiculous like... oh I don't know... open a GALLERY?

Or would I?

The new tiny gallery! (me looking serious and professional)
Picked up the keys on Thursday to the new Grejczik Gallery space. It's a cozy 8 square meters (probably not even that, I think they overestimated on the lease) with a big front plate glass window that means people can see the whole space from outside.

First performance piece: Yorkshire Vitruvian Man!

The entire floor space, almost. 
It's going to be the art/science themed gallery I first dreamed of in 2013, while on the New Creative Markets mentor scheme.

And the first show will be a "passerby exhibition" visible from outside - of the Long Drawings of the local coast created by me and Joy Green. First exhibited at Coastival earlier this year, it's a great starter show for the gallery to promote the open studios weekends and the local landscape to visitors. 

So if you're in Scarborough, have a mosey to Grejczik Gallery, 9a Hanover Road, just behind the Stephen Joseph Theatre. (right across the street from the train station!)

The Long Drawings will be on display for the whole of North Yorkshire Open Studios, 6/7 and 13/14 June.

*And of course you can visit my studio too! Details here:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rock opera - fossil collection

My favourite everyday rocks! Fossilicious* sandstones all found on the local stretch of the Yorkshire coast. These are mass burial events where lots of bivalves or brachiopods (the occassional crinoid) were caught in a layer or scour in the seabed.

Talk about great still life drawing specimens!

Come see the fossil and rock collection at my OPEN STUDIO
North Yorkshire Open Studios
6/7 June and 13/14 June
Addresses and details at:

(* not a geological term, though it should be)

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