Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Preparing Light

In August I will be including my work in a show called "Light" for Grejczik Gallery - and I wanted to create some new pieces in the series that were specifically related to stars and star colour.

The Light series (click to view them all!) is already all about light (of course) but has evolved slowly from colours of sea and cliff, to sky, to stars. And the latter is the direction I'd like the series to go now. The ideas are of course starting with the obvious yellow, white, red and blue stars - but then the spectrums are getting a bit creative from there. Can I create the pink/red of a star but surround it with a light or white light rather than dark sky? What about including some gold paint? How to transition yellow to deep dark surroundings? How about that magenta pink, could I make a pink star?

Add to that the Kickstarter campaign for the gallery with the rewards of Light paintings, and I have a busy painting schedule!

It's nice to have colour in the studio again. These are the early layers of some of the 12" and 6" square paintings on canvas. There are also 100x120cm canvases on the go for the Affordable Art Fair in October, so colour colour everywhere!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

3 shows in Scarborough

Next week you can see a bit of my work in THREE places in Scarborough.

Fisherman's Pier, Acrylic on canvas 40cm x 50cm

Fishermans' Pier is in a great little show of local artists at the Scarborough Art Gallery, our local art museum.


organised by the Scarborough Arts Forum group on Facebook
Scarborough Art Gallery
The Crescent
Exhibition on until 16 August
Open Tues-Sun 10-5

Colour 7, part of the Colours of Yorkshire postcard series

Several of my postcard-sized paintings have been selected for the anonymous exhibition at Woodend Gallery - with unlabelled postcards all for £20 from artists local and national. An exciting opportunity to discover something new!


Woodend Creative Gallery
The Crescent (yup, next to the art gallery)
25 July to 18 September
Open 9-5 weekdays, 10-4 Saturdays

Strata, acrylic on canvas 80cm x 60cm

And last but not least, Strata and two other coast paintings featuring Saltwick Bay are in the small geology inspired exhibition at my very own Grejczik Gallery.


Grejczik Gallery
9a Hanover Road
Behind the Stephen Joseph Theatre
Exhibition on until end of July.
Will extend into August but without a definite end date, as I prepare for the grand opening event. (ooh! Read all about that here! Everyone's invited!)

A good excuse to have a little art tour of Scarborough next week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ch ch ch changes - changes in the rock

After my outings with the Rotunda geology group I went back to Saltwick Bay last Thursday to meet with a photographer for a magazine photo. Two visits to my favourite spot in one week!

One of the things our fearless leader, Liam Herringshaw, pointed out was the assumption by a lot of people that because of the fine structure of the shale - the mudstone - it's quite consistent throughout and was laid down continuously without a lot of changes (or "events"). In fact there are event horizons that can be seem on a very fine scale if you look at some pieces or areas of the mudstone with a magnifier. Even something as subtle as a change of the grey colour shows something occurred at the boundary of the shades of grey.

So on Thursday I thought I'd go scramble over the rocks by Black Nab - the side of the bay I rarely go explore as there are very few ammonites there. But this time I didn't want ammonites. I wanted pieces of shale with macroscopic events in them that showed lines where something had changed.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Yes, these are really on a beginner's scale of things but it was fun to search them out. And will be fun to draw them.
Line of shelly material with clear mudstone above and below - a storm or other desctructive event? Maybe a scour where the materials was pushed together by water on top of the layer below. 

But what's this? A lovely line of calcite (?) straight through the rock but crossing through the original layers. A later sign of fluid flow. Pretty!
Perfectly pretty example of changes in the sequence (in the layman's context, not the geological term):
bivalve and other bioclastic materials in mudstone - mudstone. 
Bivalves sit in a certain orientation on the seabed in order to feed. This collection of fossil shells seems too dense and with shells in very different alignments (up, down, sideways) for them to be in a life position. So not differences showing within the stone, but a cluster of shelly materials probably brought together from some sort of event. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Research for Writing - geology in the field

 New chapter added to the SCENES OF ART AND SCIENCE book: The Shale! (psst: last day to preorder and get cool Kickstarter-only extra options!)

Writing at the fossil desk
Sunday, mere days away from the end of the Kickstarter campaign, I went on a group geology walk as a treat for my birthday (slightly after it) to once again walk the shale of Saltwick to Whitby once again with geologist Liam Herringshaw. This time as part of the Scarborough Rotunda's geology society.

Having done this walk three times with an expert guide, I'm always surprised with new interesting information. Such as the Ovatum layer that tops the Mulgrave part of the Whitby mudstones, with the  next layer of harder mudstones on top of it. So with a sketchbook full of quick draws and notes I decided to add this to the book because I find it really interesting!

Standing on the Ovatum layer
Plus, I was able to sort out my confusion with the Dogger Ironstone layer that was making me stumble on the gallery wall drawing last week. (Hint, it has a syncline (a "U" curve) between Saltwick Nab and Whitby - that was why I was getting confused with which way it dipped in my photos!)
Dog by the Dogger!

I love my research trips!

Out researching!

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. ;)

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