South Uist

South Uist

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Sea and the not so permanent wave....

As no surprise time slips away with you and its an age since I last posted an entry. So far this year this have been slow, but even with the economic outlook as gloomy as ever the job of an artist is create work. Truly for many artists the identity of artist is not one of "doing" but "being" an intrinsic part of who you are. This year if sales have been slow two additional galleries have asked to take my work, the Fine Art Studio Private Gallery in Bothwell and the Scottish Showcase Gallery in Kirkcudbright. Two pieces of work were accepted for the Paisley Art Institute Exhibition this year, the first time I got my act into gear to remember submission dates. In the last few months I have painted about 35 most small 9x9 inch pieces with some larger 15x15 pieces. The discipline of working within the smaller format can be a limiting, but scale can be your enemy which means you have to try an alternative approach which brings its own challenges. The larger works lend themselves to a more abstract approach.
Here is a an example of a recent larger format work. I found the larger area allowed a looser, freer style. This allows me to suggest more of the emotion of the sea, rather than the abstract leaning representational approach of many of my other works. I am drawn to the heavy seas and skies the darker palette and here the only light in the work is swath of white that cuts horizontally across the canvas. The move to more abstract style requires that age old dilema for the artist "Knowing when to stop!" It is all too easy to continue to work and overwork the paint as the "detail gremlins" sneak into your head to make aspects of the painting more distinct and representational. Practice is the key to developing this additional voice. . Another image of a recent work which is my now standard 9 x 9 format which typifies a signature of much of my work, the breaking wave, crashing water as it hits shore. Its a challenge to try and capture the energy of the breaking wave on an essentially 2 dimensional surface. If I manage capture a small part of this energy and emotion then I am well on my way to translate my emotional connection with the sea to others.
The artist that has distilled the essence of the wave is Maggi Hambling who's sea work has tremendous physicality and energy. Here is an example, I hope she won't mind me reproducing it here. I visited the Paisley Art Institute preview evening last week which was nice to see your own work on the walls, but also to see the wide range of approaches of current contemporary artists in Scotland today. Fingers crossed that the public will like the seascapes enough to buy. One interesting aspect of visiting galleries , exhibitions is the different approaches to presentation and style. Mount, no mount, width,style and colour of framing. I am currently working with a framer in Glasgow to make subtle changes to the framing of my work. I have always believed that the presentation is an important vehicle to bring the best out of your work and becomes part of a coherent style that becomes associated with your work. I have always from my early days selling work in St Ives, Cornwall used limed washing frames as they have for me that psychological tag of the coast and the sea. Well back to the knives and brushes until the next time. Ian

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