Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Exhibition in full swing & paintbrushes back in action!!

Hello again! Since we opened the exhibition, my feet have hardly touched the ground. I've managed to get around to the rest of the Year 5 children at school and complete their drawing lessons. We had a local newspaper reporter come in to school and take photos of some of the children and their work. I'm told the report is in this week's North Somerset Times!

I promised you some photos of my new feather paintings. They've been attracting a lot of attention in the exhibition and I've just had my first 'feather commission'! So, here goes... I'll start with my very first attempt at a feather painting, a Peregrine Falcon. This one's one of my favourites!
Peregrine - my 1st Feather Painting

I've done quite a few feathers since and I'm now experimenting with different ways to present them. My initial gut feeling was to make specifically sized box frames (I used 'Picture Frames Express' who I found online and they were excellent!! I ordered a batch of custom sized frames on Sunday night, and the whole order arrived on Wednesday morning!)
Here are a few more feather paintings...

Woolley, Looking At You, Looking At Me.

Peregrine (Beak & Eye)

Fox Cub

If you fancy having a go, I found out that a light spray with hairspray (or art fixative) gives the feather a good base for the gesso to stick to, and that makes a nice surface to paint on.

In my last blog I told you about the Vic Bearcroft workshops I did in Bristol. Well, I've plucked up the courage and had a go at a couple of pastel paintings. In 2010, I saw and photographed  some stunning tigers and snow leopards in Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. I've wanted to paint them ever since, and now, with a little bit of help from Vic, I've managed to do it! I'm happy with the results although I feel the need for a lot more practice with this new medium - I find it quite tricky manipulating the pieces of conte pencils and soft pastels.

Snow Leopard - Pastel on Velour Paper

Now, after all this experimenting with feathers and pastels, I must get my head back into acrylics and finish off all those paintings I began but never finished!! I've got two more exhibitions to prepare for - The Clevedon Art Club Annual Exhibition and The Portreath Art Club Annual Exhibition, both in August. I'll let you know how i get on in the next blog...until then, happy painting,
Mandi ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Exhibition & Roadshow..all in a weekend!

Hello again...from a very excited, relieved and exhausted artist! What a weekend it's been. Saturday was spent with Lon (fellow artist/falconer) on a much needed indulgent trip to Bristol for the SAA's 'It's All About Art'. We had an amazing day out, watching professional artists demonstrate their art techniques, and occasionally joining in with workshops. It was great to see these artists in action and note that they were all very different from each other! My personal favourite of the day was Vic Bearcroft who was demonstrating puppies and kittens using soft pastels on velour paper. I joined in on two of his sessions and found his technique extremely effective - of course I had to treat myself to a few sheets of the velour paper and a set of pastels so I could come home and try a few of my own pictures!! Vic Bearcroft has just won an award in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012 competition with his Pastel Painting of a Western Lowland Gorilla, 'Makaku'. Look him up, he's AMAZING and I'm now a big fan! I think the competition results are published in the new edition of the BBC Wildlife magazine which has just come out in the shops.

Me having a quick chat with Vic Bearcroft between his demonstrations

Vic Bearcroft beginning a pastel demonstration

My 2nd attempt - Gladys the kitten. I'm much happier with this one!

My 1st attempt - puppy in pastel. I was a little rushed and not in a good position to see Vic demonstrate. I had a great view of the back of his head - not of his painting! At least I gave it a shot! (I'm going to sort his eyes out, he's a bit cross eyed at the moment!)

The SAA (Society for All Artists) is also worth a look...they are a huge organisation connecting and supporting artists from all over the country and they also supply discounted art them!

So, relaxed and enthused from our day out, Lon and I had to snap back to reality again pretty quickly on Sunday morning...we had to hang our Exhibition!

In  pouring rain, we loaded our cars and set off to Clevedon Pier. We had 3 hours to hang our work in the Toll House Gallery...plenty of time??? Hmmmmmm...well, lets say we managed it, just!   Having to reposition our hanging wires on the majority of our frames took a long time. (Thank goodness I remembered to pack a screwdriver!!) I have to thank my lovely friend, Nicky for being there as an extra pair of eyes and hands and calming influence! After much repositioning and level-tweaking, we met our 1pm deadline and were ready for our Private View.
Wow! It was fantastic to see our art on the walls - such a buzz!! All the hard work was worth it. We had a lovely group of guests who gave us wonderful positive comments about our art.

Here's a sneaky peek - apologies for the poor picture quality, these were taken with my phone.

Lon Sandford's graphite drawings
My paintings (painted feathers on LHS)

my paintings on canvas
paintings by Ann Hughes

Our Exhibition is now open to the public and is showing for the whole of July in the Toll House Gallery, Clevedon Pier, North Somerset. If you're travelling up the M5, its 10 mins from Junction 20, (follow signs to seafront) so pop in and see us! (free entry daily. M-F, 10-5, Sat & Sun, 10-6.

Just for good measure, here's our poster one more time! Hope you can make it, bye for now,
Mandi ;)