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July 21, 2020 / sparklegun


Happy accident, surprise, unexpected, coincidence.

This can happen a lot if you stay alert. When you let yourself go, return to childish innocence, cut, make, destroy and discover. This is what happened recently when I cut a bird out of some pages from a book. When I released it from my grip I discovered that I had accidentally cut through 2 pages. Bugger! I am quite precious about what and where I cut so my surprise as I turned over the loose sheets in my hands was joyous. These are the moments I live for. (yes they are small pleasures lol) The image included is the result. I’m pleased as punch and this has now sent me looking for more opportunities to cut and play.

July 20, 2020 / sparklegun

We are back!

Life drawing outdoors

The first life drawing session since lockdown. Spencer Sq tennis court Ramsgate 23rd July 2-4pm with lots of room to spread out and stay safe.

My wonderful model Lisa is going to surprise us all with suitable clothing. Expect a mermaid, or perhaps ready for tennis, belly dancing or crazy wild. Who knows?

Having taught for many years in schools, colleges and public events I have witnessed the joy of children and adults who have accepted the challenge and opened up to being taught a few techniques. Like riding a bike for the first time they wobble, make mistakes (which is positively encouraged) and quickly learn and progress with the right tuition at the right moment and plenty of practice.

Join us on Thurs 23rd July 2-4pm £10 Materials provided. All welcome.

Message me to register your interest and contact details for Covid 19 tracing and Gov guidelines.

July 5, 2020 / sparklegun

Haptic tactile experiential

I love touch. I love physical things, tactile things, sensory things.

Today I jumped back into painting with OILS.

Fat, juicy, slow, thick, buttery, ripe, dense and smooth. There is something about them that is childlike. squeezing butter through your fingers making cakes, spreading mud, sliding across squeeky windows, dragging your shoes through mud the smells, the sensations, memories and new possibilities.

When we create, properties of the materials such as smell, hardness, maleability, sounds and other things like the radio, music, time of year are as much a part of the work. So although I work in a kind of vacuum, a semi trance like state I am aware of so much more on another level that I will access in time to come. This is another hidden aspect of a work. An audience may experience the work and attach different memories to it according to their personal circumstances.

So what did the smell, feel of the oil paint remind me of? A good time, What transports you back to a good time?

June 18, 2020 / sparklegun

Getting started. Don’t panic!

So you have the desire, the materials, the time and no distractions so why is it so difficult to start?

Being overwhelmed can lead to inaction so you need a plan, an idea. I find looking to others who have been here before invaluable. Consider David Lynch who recommends meditation which he never missed a day in over 30yrs or Truman Capote who believed he thought best lying down with a cigarette and coffee to hand. The artist Chris Ofili sets aside a corner of his studio to make loose watercolour and pencil marks before starting work. This is his comfort zone away from his main larger collage and oil paintings.

I personally have a similar-ish routine. There are a few more points in this that I will expand on over time.

My studio is full of stuff I have collected, made, read and as many different materials and tools I have acquired over the years. So imagine tidying such a place. This is what I do I shuffle paper, move things about and mentally prepare. As I do this my eye will land on something interesting (that I put there sometime ago) As I shuffle, a drawing may land on top of another painted bit of paper with some text from a magazine nearby. This is the magic, a happy accident but made of purposefully collected items. Thus the chance of my liking such things is increased. It may be that my eye is drawn to the pile of paper but the phrase on the magazine starts a train of thought. Now I am on my way, I continue until I stop. I have started.

I realised this was how I did things after reading some great stories about artists and their lives and really considering my actions. The answer is always in your hands. You know but just need to clarify.

Lastly don’t beat yourself up over your routines. You may have one but not actually realised it. A friend used to have huge arguments with his wife about his daily routine of coming home from his day job and then spending 30-45 max on his playstation. “It drove her crazy” However what happened after his playstation session is interesting. He would start his own video editing. His own creative work. I pointed out that the Playstation was his divide between day job and creative personal work. It was a different down time to what I or anyone else may do.

So I suggest thinking about your routines. You may already be half way there.