Archive for the ‘A Day In The Life Of An Artist’ Category
Art2Arts is excited to announce that long time contributor Michael McEvoy has recently received a ‘Highly Commended’ from the EAC Art Awards for his painting House Sparrow.
The EAC Art Awards are run by the Elderly Accommodation Counsel, a national charity that helps older people make informed decisions about their housing and care needs. The charity have been running their Over 60’s art award for almost 20 years now and have seen over 28,000 amateur artists between 60-104 battle it out to be crowned winner in their specific category. The EAC believe that the Art Award for the over 60’s is important because, “ it demonstrates that talent, energy and enthusiasm, along with a continuing purpose in life, belong to those in later life as much as to the young.” We couldn’t agree more.
Michaels painting is currently exhibited at Long Eaton Town Hall as well as online at http://eacartawards.org.uk The painting itself follows Michaels usual style and subject matter by featuring a figurative portrait caught in a moment of imagination, real life experience or fond memory. In this case the tale of Janet, an unwell heroine whose life lead her to spend much of her time watching life pass and change from the window. One astute viewer described the piece as, “A super and strange painting. Strong colours and pattern contrasting with the modern Alice in wonderland girl. I loved it.”
We too re huge fans of Michaels work and are excited that he has got so far in the competition this year. With a return rate of over 50% we are sure that Michael will continue to enter and thrive for many many years to come.
To find out more about Michael and to view his work visit: http://www.art2arts.co.uk/artists/michaelmcevoy or to learn more about the EAC and its annual Art Awards visit: http://eacartawards.org.uk Who knows, one of you could be announced as a winner in 2014!
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Art2Arts contributor Barry Andrews is undertaking a new set of seven paintings influenced by Greek architecture as part of an exhibition he is taking part in in April at the Hellenic Centre, London.
The Hellenic Centre is a vibrant cultural organization founded in 1994 with the aim of providing a focus for the Hellenic community. The centre works with the community to both raise the awareness of Hellenic culture in the UK and nurture the unique relationship between Britain and the Hellenic world.
The 7 pieces Barry is creating are a departure from his usual style and colour palate. These new works are dominated by black paint made from a mix of Prussian blue, burnt sienna and damar varnish and have taken a considerable amount of preparation in order to complete. “I have been to the library of RIBA and the British Museum collating photographic references and working drawings to use in the construction of these paintings,” explains Barry. “The change in palate and style is a welcome challenge and I am excited to see the paintings on display at the Hellenic Centre.”
The Hellenic Centre prioritizes work by its members for display in the Friends Room, although work by Greek and Greek Cypriot artists who live and work in the UK and who are not affiliated to a Gallery are also invited after consideration. The same hand of opportunity is extended to foreign artists whose work is inspired by a Hellenic theme, much like Barry.
We wish Barry all the best for the exhibition and encourage all Art2Arts members who are in the area or fancy taking a look, to visit in April. If any other Art2Arts contributors are featuring in other exhibitions or events of interest them please let us know.
Tags: architecture, community art, Painting
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This morning, I wake up to the sound of tinkling cables on masts as I have spent the night on my beautiful boat at the marina. A bright shaft of sunlight filters through the skylight and gently warms my face. I can hear sea gulls screaming as they wheel and soar above and in the distance a gentle ring…..ring…… Hang on, I don’t have a phone on the yacht! It gets louder and more harsh until I fully wake up, this time in the real world in my small cottage in Leiston, and pick up the phone. It’s BT again, they want to make it really easy and financially worthwhile for me to ‘come back’. Years spent as a soldier followed by many more working shifts mean that I am instantly awake and ready to deal with my first ‘cold caller’ of the day. When he pauses for breath I butt in and begin my spiel, explaining to the caller about the benefits of owning an original piece of art, how easy and safe it is to choose and buy an artwork from my website, what a wonderful and unique gift it would make for a close friend or family member. This guy is more resilient than most and it’s a good minute and a half before he hangs up on me. Ah well………. up, wash, dress and ready for another day.
One of the benefits of being a self employed, full time artist is that I get up and go to bed when I want to. For me that means very late nights and I basically get up when I wake (or I’m woken) up. So, coming downstairs about 08:15 I’m greeted as usual by a huge hairy ginger face, all sleepy eyed and unkempt. No, it’s not one of the kids! They all left years ago. It’s my German Shepherd Murphy, wanting to get started on his morning walk. I always take him out before breakfast. We live in a small town in Suffolk, about 2 miles in-land from the beaches, surrounded by farmland and heath. So whichever direction I go I’m soon out into the countryside. This time is important for me as it’s when my mind is totally refreshed and with no distractions I can start thinking about what I’m going to be doing for the rest of the day. If I’m part way through an artwork I begin to focus on where I left off previously and get back into it. If I’m beginning a new piece then I start planning. Often my best ideas come to me while out with Murphy.
Running the gauntlet of dozens of kids on their way to school, half of them wanting to stop and pet Murphy, the other half too engrossed in their iPods and mobile phones to notice us, I get back to the house. I feed Murphy and get myself some cereal and fruit for my breakfast. Jenny, my partner since 1996, works as a supply teacher so if she has work she’ll be long gone. If not then she likes a lie in so I’ll take her a cup of tea about 10 o’clock. In the mean time I switch on my computer and see if there are any enquiries or messages to deal with.
Now then, do I need to refresh my supply of performance enhancing drugs? The replica watches are very tempting and one of these days I’m certainly going to find time to meet up with Natasha from Russia. Quickly dealing with the spam I’m left with the 3 or 4 genuine enquiries I usually have (not all leading to sales I’m sad to say) As a lot of my art is ‘Western’ influenced, many of my customers are across the pond in the USA and Canada so often enquiries will come in over night. Depending upon what is there can affect my plans for the day as there may be pictures to frame or unframe, packaging to do, couriers to organise, websites to up-date, queries to respond to…. the list can go on and on. At some point I catch up with it all and go into my studio to begin working.
I say studio, actually it’s a back room of the house which looks out into the garden. All though quite small it is ideal for my purpose and I feel lucky to have a dedicated studio space right here in my house where everything is at my fingertips. Some people might prefer to actually leave the house to go to their studio, working at home would be too distracting for them and they would never get anything done. Not me. The first thing that I do is put on my music, quite loud. I have a very varied taste in music, anything from Pavarotti to Rory Gallagher. At the moment I’m playing a lot of Jethro Tull and also a lot of rural blues. I can’t hear the phone, anyone who needs me can leave a message.
I work for about 4 hours or so. Often I will forget the time and forget to eat but if I leave it long enough Murphy will come and tell me sometime mid-afternoon that it’s time for his walk. We always get in the van and drive down to one of the beaches close to Leiston. Sizewell, Thorpe Ness or Aldeburgh being the closest but I often go further afield. From any of these I can walk inland onto the heath or perhaps take a riverside route. It really is a beautiful area in which to live and I enjoy my afternoon walks immensely. I have a strong interest in wildlife and the countryside. I love it if I spot a seal fishing just off shore or perhaps an egret on the marsh. I can lose a lot of time watching the harriers coursing over the heathland. Magical stuff. I get a lot more time to think and plan while we are out and come back refreshed and ready to put in another 2 or 3 hours work before stopping for the day. If I have completed my artwork, then depending on it’s size there is scanning or photographing to do next. I always create a master copy of each piece of a high enough standard to be used for having prints made if I so wish. From this master copy I can make smaller copies and detailed images to be used for the web. This can take a long time to get right but is very important as nearly all of my business is conducted on line. This image is all that my customers will have to go on when deciding whether or not to purchase.
The next job is framing. When I became self employed back in 2002 I sent myself on a picture framing course and then purchased the equipment needed to set myself up with a small picture framing business. This was firstly to have something to fall back on if I couldn’t make enough of a living as an artist, and secondly to enable me to frame my own work thus saving myself time and money. (Nowadays, apart from a few ‘favours’ for friends, I only frame my own work). So I have a framing workshop out in the garden and this is where I will head if I have mounting or framing to do. It’s extremely satisfying to finish an artwork and then to be able to have it mounted and framed and ready to hang within a few hours, all my own work.
After eating, a typical evening is spent usually with a bottle of red wine and watching telly but also a lot of time on the computer. As well as my own website to maintain, I have a presence on several other on-line galleries and each needs constant updating and refreshing if they are to maintain interest with my customers and the search engines. I reckon my working time is divided about 30% actually creating art and the rest is admin and actually trying to sell the art.
The above could be a typical day but what I like is the fact that each day is different and I never know what it’s going to bring. If I am preparing for an exhibition (I don’t take part in many nowadays) then I can be spending all day framing and packing. Sometimes I feel the need to get away from the studio completely and will go out walking for the day with my camera to clear my head and find fresh inspiration. But my thoughts are never far away from my artwork.
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I am back from my fantastic trip to Budapest and the Open Evening/Private View of my first European Exhibition. Paul (my husband) and I flew out to Budapest on Thursday of last week and arrived at our hotel late in the afternoon. We stayed at the Opera Garden Hotel in the city centre and just a short walk from the State Opera House and this made it a nice central location for checking out the city. The hotel had only been open 3 days and it was a great place to stay, lovely rooms, good breakfast, great facilities and the staff were excellent. Would highly recommend it to anyone. After taking some time to chill we had dinner and an early night on Thursday in preparation for some sightseeing the next day.
On Friday we trekked off to find an Exhibition which I wanted to see at Kogart House, Andrassy Avenue. We first visited the Museum next door which was a kind of shrine to the work of Tibor Csernus and this was amazing to see. Fantastic to see his enormous easel (which he needed for some of the giant canvasses he worked on) covered in thick paint from years of work I guess, and all his brushes, paints and tools. There were also several unfinished works around and charcoal sketched pieces of possibly planned work and it is good to see where he would have started. There must have been many hours to follow to end up at his stunning final paintings.
We then went next door to the Exhibition of work by Tibor Csernus (1927- 2007). Three floors of superb paintings, mostly big canvasses and just fantastic to see them close up. I was in awe of the beautiful skin tones he had achieved on his nudes, made up from so many colours of oil paint. He tended to have very dark backgrounds and his use of light and shadows was just stunning, a fair bit of chiaroscuro going in them for sure. His later work became looser and this made them even more appealing to me, still beautifully executed but with what appeared to be quicker looser brush strokes, which from a distance where hardly noticeable. His use of colour was just so vivid, and I noticed in his studio that he had pots of natural pigment and wonder if this was partly the reason for this? Whatever, a fantastic exhibition to see and well worth a visit if you happen to be in Budapest before the end of December.
Friday evening we had dinner at a lovely, very traditional Russian/Azerbaijani/Hungarian restaurant on the same street as our hotel and this was wonderful! The lamb was to die for (sorry Katie). I have never tasted such amazing salad in my life, mine came in some kind of pomegranate dressing and I could easily get converted to eating loads of the stuff if I could get it to taste like that!
On Saturday we walked over towards Parliament to visit The House of Hungarian Art Nouveau, which was an absolute must for me with Art Nouveau being my most favourite movement in art history. This was three storeys of mostly furniture and decorative items from that period, with some paintings also, but I was in heaven… all those gorgeous swirly decorative items which just oozed class and finesse to me! Seeing this I wonder why my house is actually very modern and minimalistic!!
From the ancient we went on to the modern and the Hungarian Christmas Market for the afternoon. This was packed with people, traditional crafts, Christmas decorations and lovely smells of all sorts of home made Hungarian food. We tasted a hot amazing looking tower of pastry covered with cinnamon after watching it being made, not sure what it was called but it was just gorgeous!
We then hurried back to the hotel to prepare for the Opening Evening. Tibor Szonyi (Director of the Opera Gallery) met us at the front of the gallery and up we went in to be greeted by young ladies who took our coats and offered us hot wine (like Christmas mead) which was very welcomed when coming in from the cold. The gallery was already bustling with people and the gallery team had done a wonderful job of hanging the fairly diverse collection of work from around the world, it looked stunning.
There were 3 rooms, and in the middle of one stood a grand piano and above it fell the most gorgeous sparkling chandelier. I could tell we were in for an evening of culture and was not disappointed. First a pianist played for us and he was very talented for sure and this was a lovely start to the evening. He was followed by the beautiful Opera star Barbara Kecskes who sung like an angel and I was mesmerised by her voice.
In between music and singing the crowd then mingled and studied the art by artists from UK, USA, Romania, Brazil, Japan, Israel and Cuba. I was fortunate enough to meet the other UK artist Evelyn Chambers along with two of the Romanian artists and enjoyed chatting with Rodica Voicu (Romania) for some time and hope we will stay in touch via the Internet. We also enjoyed some nibbles and more wine.
Further into the evening us artists were interviewed by Hungarian TV and hope I can send you the link to this film when it is finalised. Then in a winding up of the evening we enjoyed delightful singing by Victoria Seres, a young musical student who sang in both Hungarian and English, which was lovely especially bearing in mind her speaking English was in fact not so good!
The evening flew by and I was sorry that it came to an end. We took lots of photos and enjoyed conversations with art lovers with whom I talked about my own work at the exhibition, as well as chatting to other artists about their own work. All in all a wonderful evening to remember.
On Sunday we took another walk around the shops and the Christmas Market and then eat at the Trofea Grill where they do an all you can eat buffet and drink (including wine and beer) for a fixed price. My husband was in seventh heaven!! It was fantastic. Great food, lots of traditional Hungarian foods like Goulash, lots of salads, vegetables and traditional starters, also a Grill where they cooked your choice of fish or meat and cooked it there in front of you, followed by lots of delightful sweets (much to my approval). I am certain I have missed loads, but again, well worth a visit.
We ended our visit to Budapest with a boat trip down the Danube at night with champagne on board and how lovely was this?! Fantastic to see all the amazing historic buildings from the river, such amazing architecture I have to say, all lit up and glowing beautifully. I took loads of photos again and played around with a long exposure and no flash on my camera which gave me some great abstracted shots too. This was a great end to our visit to this wonderful city and its lovely people.
Hope I have not bored you to tears with this lengthy epic! I did not want to skip over such a lovely trip and a very memorable occasion for me in that it was my very first European Exhibition. I have added an album of photos of the Opening Evening at my public Facebook account (Tina Ashton Art) and will add some more soon, I will also post something interesting here for you to see.
Thanks to my lovely husband for sharing these special times with me.
Best Wishes, Tina.
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By Artist Laura Cramer
Commission details: Lawrence Hill Health Centre, The life cycle of a painting:-
The brief: to create a painting (montage) dimensions 240cm x 149cm representing elements of life within the geographical area serviced by Lawrence Hill Health Centre. For Bristol based artist Laura Cramer the first step is to photograph the area in great detail. Out of approx 200 photos as few as 10 scenes will be used in the final painting.
As an urban landscape painter , Laura’s semi abstract style lends itself well to such a project. Her main goal is to create a pleasant movement of scenes through the painting, so the eye naturally scans the picture for scenes in a “zig-zag” formation.
Step1: Sketching up the ideas. With so many scenes to choose from the hardest part is finally deciding what to use, and what to leave out.
Step 2: Plotting the scene on the large canvas. At this stage, some small details may change as the full scale of the sketches are put into place.
Step 3: Putting in as much detail as possible and filling in some colour creating some depth.
Steps 4 and 5: getting on with the painting and making final changes. The scenes represented are: the Sweet Mart on St Mark’s Road, a series of three views of the high rise flats a) in close up, b ) silhouetted on the skyline and c) in the background to rail track leading towards Temple Meads. Fence panelling by the cycle track leading to Whitehall Road. A statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel by the office quarter of Temple Quay. The footbridge leading from Gardiner Haskins towards Temple Meads, with the ever typical barges on the water in the foreground. Just above that is the landmark “Palace Hotel” on the corner of Old Market St.
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Hi there, Pete Rumney here, a day in the life of me – how boring but here it goes.
We get up around 5:30 as our youngest is 10months old now and this is bottle and breakfast time for her, so as my wife Joanne sorts the little ones (we have four!!) out I can get a quick breakfast and a good start before the little ones get off to school.
I find my scruffy painting clothes walk into my created art studio which is in complete turmoil but like any dedicated artist we always know where everything is.
I have a 6ft easel so I can do the majority of my painting on this, but I also have a larger space for anything bigger.
Joanne is a great organiser so we usually over breakfast have a time table of both our days.
Painting usually starts at around 7am after I have pulled myself together – typical man. I paint until 12ish were I have a good hour for lunch, tick off my list – the pieces I have started, in the middle of and completed.
Joanne double checks each piece before wrapping, and then organises a courier to collect or stops off at the post office.
We check supplies each day, paint, canvases, wrapping materials, paint brushes etc…. order if necessary.
I then begin again at around 1pm and finish off by 4, to wind down I start cooking dinner with Joanne and have a play with the kids before their bedtime routine.
I have a few local restaurants that I display local scenes in so in the evening – and Joanne tells me off for this set up in the living room ( with plenty of sheets on the floor !!!!!) and paint the intricate pieces which are usually 8″ x 8″ or 12″ x 24″ of St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley bay which is a local holiday spot, Warkworth Castle and Rothbury all little places around and about. I have around six different cafe’s and restaurants displaying my artwork in the area so I have plenty of things to keep me busy during the evening. My day ends around 9/10pm, and as days go, they go incredibly fast and before you know it, it begins again…
My weekends consists of two things, which is great as I can integrate them together, we take the kids all around the Northumberland coastline, take an enormous amount of photographs for inspiration and enjoyment with our family.
I have to say, that painting is my world, I love falling into my work, its great to have my own studio were its just me and the paint, doing the thing I love best, albeit very organised now, unfortunately I have to be, with family life, but maybe one day when they have flown the nest, and I am very old and very grey a far more relaxed approach may be had by all.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me..
Hope you have enjoyed reading, Pete Rumney
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