Resolutions in December!

Things have progressed with the “On My Marks” series and it’s time to start contemplating what’s next.  I guess that’s fitting for the new year!

There are eight works at 25 x 25cm and most of them have changed quite a lot from those first marks.

“Switchback”, below, is the most successful I think.  It’s going to be the inspiration for another series shortly.  I like the way I’ve done the sky and the variety of marks and shapes that make up the “land”.

Switchback” 25cm wide x 25cm high

Reactions vary when my arty friends see me working on my art.  It’s interesting to see who likes what and sometimes, I can predict their preferences.  My own favorites will sometimes be different again.  Regardless though, I keep plugging away towards some sort of resolution.

Resolution?  It can be at one of several stages.  I might feel quite unsatisfied with things or I can be comfortable with what I’ve done to varying degrees.  The best result for me is to be feeling excited and inspired to move forward.  There’s a large range of perceptions between the two extremes of unsatisfied and excited!  The “unsatisfying” paintings are set aside, in “halfway hell”,  to be reviewed sometime in the future.  They might get a touch up if I can see something to improve, or they may end up in the reuse box.

This one has been a challenge.  A problem child that wouldn’t cooperate!  It’s going to “halfway hell” but I’m leaning towards using it for collage.

The in-between/comfortable paintings sit, waiting, until I make alterations or come to another conclusion regarding their fate.  Are they done or not?  I have to remind myself that not everything can be “exciting”.  They might still be good enough to send out into the world.

This fellow is one I feel comfortable with.  It’s almost there but I need to think about why that is the case and what I might want to do about it.

The “exciting” ones are offered for sale and entered into exhibitions.  There are only two in this series that feel “exciting” at this stage.  “Switchback” above, at the start of this Studio News, and “Refuge” below.

Refuge” 25cm wide x 25cm high

“Refuge” is one that felt exciting to varying degrees along the way.  I still like it and it’s a starter for exhibitions etc.

Bearing in mind the different opinions of others when deciding these things is fraught with danger.  I need to make the decisions myself otherwise I’ll forever feel uncomfortable about what I do with particular pieces.

I think, putting the doubtful ones aside earlier, rather than later, frees me up to build on what has been successful.  Some would prefer to keep at it, trying to resolve things, but I feel better if I put them aside and move on.  Depending on how far aside I put them, I may review things later and do more!

I wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Christmas and I hope the New Year brings all you hope for along with some nice surprises you weren’t expecting!

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What’s Your Motivation?

I could ask you “What’s your poison?” because painting and art in general gets into your system and insidiously affects all you think and do. Motivation for most artists is so strong that at times nothing else matters, except perhaps a fire in the studio.

What’s my motivation?

Getting awards and selling a couple of pieces lately has prompted me to think a little more rationally and less emotionally about why I paint.

Emotion in the how is what we want folks. But, the wrong emotions taking over the why can lead you down many paths that won’t necessarily be good for your art or you.

(Getting motivated by doing collage sketches at the Lady Franklin Gallery!)

The “please buy my art” path will most likely be the undoing of some of the enjoyment in making your art. I’ve experienced this first hand and believe me, it’s soul destroying. I think I have partially let the need to sell go. I’d still like a sale here and there but that’s a nice byproduct of painting and exhibiting, not a major reason for doing it.

There’s also the “Why didn’t I/when will I win?” mindset. This whole scene is quite fickle. Wondering whether you might win an award is counter productive. It stops you making art in a relaxed way. You tend to adjust what you think or do to suit judging at the expense of your own preferences. And, funnily enough it can detract from the art you create.

(This (top left square) is a collage sketch where I’ve found three cropped sections that may be motivating prompts for future paintings.)

Judging awards is really down to the judges and is difficult to predict. Even if you have three judges, they are all going to have differing opinions about the work being judged. I know from experience that there are always other works as good as the winners, but for some reason, mostly unknown to the artists, a particular piece is chosen. Some years ago, a judge told me I won an award because I had collage in my graphite drawing!

As for my personal motivation, I could ramble on with some arty garb, but I just want to paint, learn and improve my art. For me, the need to be creative, to paint or draw, comes before the subject, medium and techniques. My art (process and product) is, first and foremost, for me! 

With that in mind, these two paintings are the newest additions to the catalogue of art I have available. They’re two works from a small series where I recall really relaxing into painting and, as they say, “just doing it”!

Curvy” 20cm wide x 20cm high – To find out more on Bluethumb click here
“Orbit – 20cm wide x 20cm high – To find out more on Bluethumb click here

With the listing of these two I’m up to date with my offerings of paintings for sale on Bluethumb.

It’s been a busy month of helping with and entering exhibitions. In theory, I should now be able to paint my heart out creating more art to share!

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Going Feral

Well! It’s been a busy month exhibition-wise! As I write this there are still two in progress. See this link.

I just received word that my mixed media piece “Feral” has been awarded Runner Up in the “Artery Art on Show” exhibition at the Royal Hobart Show. I feel humbled and excited that my art has won awards this year. Humbled and motivated to push the boundaries even further. I’m also very pleased to see that two of my arty friends also won prizes. A big thank you to Artery for my $600 voucher.

“Feral”

More good news! “Fusion” sold yesterday at the same Show! And while I was on duty too! It’s always nice to meet the buyer.

“Fusion”

Keeping Busy!

You know how there’s a plethora of art courses online? Well…. just to add to my workload I found two that I decided to squeeze in amongst delivering, picking up paintings, helping to organise and set up a large exhibition and everything else.

One, “Time to Shine” by Alice Sheridan seemed very timely and I could do with improving my social media posts etc. Still working on this one. There’s some excellent content and challenges to keep me busy!

The other is, Judy Wood’s, free stARTs workshop where I have been exploring a different way of working. It involved collage, layering black, then some white paint and working towards an image on top of that. I felt like I’d gone a bit feral when I covered the whole thing in black! I’m not sure I like a lot of black.

These are three of the images I worked on.

The one above was the first to feel like it was somewhere close to finished. After thinking on it for a while, I made some minor adjustments in the bottom left corner. I think I’m pretty happy with it now.

Number two here is feeling tentatively, almost, done after I demolished a large black area in the bottom third. That line on the left is trying to say something though?

I love how a picture can come to a point where it feels like it’s time to stop. It isn’t finished yet, you know that, but at some point, serendipity will play a part and the required touches will come to mind! Just like magic!

Now for this little fellow. Normally, I’m not keen on “seeing” things in my abstract work, unless I intended it of course, but for some reason I’ve grown quite attached to this guy holding what could be a fishing rod. Perhaps it’s treasure he’s hooked? Anyway, I think this one is a bit whimsical and it has been declared “done”. All that’s needed now is a title?

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Spread the Love

A selection of paintings by Wendy Galloway

There must be something in the air! This year I’m putting a painting in the Rotary Club of Hobart’s Philarthropic section. These donated works are auctioned to raise funds for worthy causes. Since donating that one, I’ve received two more requests for donations. All unrelated, but isn’t it funny how these things go?

“Cradle Mountain, Autumn Snow”

I’ve also donated the painting shown above to be auctioned at Hobart’s Town Hall on 1 October for “Engender Equality” (formerly “SHE”) – a Tasmanian not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence. 

Plus, I’m sorting out some A5 size images (below) to donate to the Gateway Baptist Church in Launceston. They’re having a fund-raiser event on 16 October for the children of Haiti.

Great ways to help others and create space for more art at the same time. It just sits there gathering dust otherwise and if I have to dust, I’m not painting! Come to think if it….I wonder if I could paint with the feather duster? Why not?…. Our clothes airer has transformed a collage paper drying rack!

There hasn’t been a lot of painting going on lately because I’ve been sorting and culling art stuff ready to move into a different room. I want it to be a lot less cluttered and the new room has more light with French doors that I can open up in good weather.

I’ve played more with those black and white designs. You may remember the painted squares I created for this exercise from Studio News number 10. “Trying Times”. I’ve started picking out a few squares to put together rather than always using nine. It’s giving me better, more open designs. They are yet to be used in paintings though!

During the studio clean out I found some “junk” that I’ve since used to print collage paper (polystyrene, old cork placemats, foam and cardboard packing with a nice pattern). Amazing what a person can hoard away as potentially useful…..one day! It really is fun fiddling about making collage paper. Nothing can go wrong and everything is potentially useful.

My entry is done for The Colour Circle’s Kaleidoscope exhibition in October and there are still more exhibitions to come!

On a very sad note, I found out today that Roy, the very generous and lovely man from my favorite art shop, Artery, passed away on the weekend. My sincere condolences to his family and others who were close to him. It’s sad to think he won’t be there to say hello to when I go art shopping. Over the years Roy has very generously sponsored thousands of dollars worth of prizes for artists and I thank him sincerely for his huge contribution to our art scene here in Hobart.

What to say now?

Life is short people…..Make Art!

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Moving Along

The Art Society of Tasmania’s annual exhibition opened last Thursday night. There are lots of pieces I would love to take home! It’s really worth a look if you’re in Hobart.

To my great surprise, “Glacial” was Commended and I received a $100 voucher from my favourite Hobart art shop, Artery. Thank you very much Artery!

“Glacial” won’t be coming home with me after the exhibition because someone bought it on Friday! Two surprises in one week!

The collages I have underway are coming along well. It’s fun trying to come up with ways to vary them …..alter the number of collage or paint layers, play with the sanding back, take off in a completely different direction or just see what each one seems to want!?

The black and white one now has red gold tinted paint scraped over it and I’ve since sanded back the surface and added more black and white collage pieces – below

The idea is to still work freely at this stage, without too much consideration for design etc but it’s hard! Once you know something it can be difficult to work without taking it into account! When I stopped working on this one (below) I put it aside to work on another, but looking at it again later, I think it is very near finished, if not finished already.

Here’s one of the others with more collage added over the sanded back paint layer.

Those value designs I mentioned last time might be useful for some of these pieces and I have a thermal transfer pencil that could get a look in too! It’s a case of working away and being led by the pieces themselves.

After drafting this Studio News I watched a Brian Rutenberg video. (It was that or more housework!) There’s some interesting advice on offer. Have a look. It’s about 23 minutes long.

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Trying Times

Ok, so things were organised for the first exhibition on the list and it’s been fun trying out a couple of different things.  There’s a busy time coming up exhibition-wise! These three paintings were entered in our local Art Society exhibition.

“Fusion”
“Summit”
“Glacial”

Things have changed course a little at the moment. I did an online course by Bibby Gignilliat which involves greater use of collage.

(These pictures show the first layer of four 30 x 30cm images.)

It’s fun plastering pieces of paper down willy-nilly without having to think much about it. Just grab a piece you like the look of, tear it up if you want, try a placement or two and glue it down. I even graduated to spreading the glue with my fingers! Takes you back to early childhood! After all, aren’t we all trying to regain that childhood freedom in our art? It remains to be seen whether I start actually painting with my hands, we’ll have to wait and see about that one.


The image above shows the next stage in the development of one of the exercises. At this stage you’re not concerned with composition. It’s about creating a “surface/history”. I’m not sure where they’re headed yet but I do like the surface the process has created so far.

Something else I’ve been trying (thanks to Jenny Nelson) is an exercise in mark-making that leads into design and composition. You create dark marks of any sort, freely and randomly, spreading them around the paper. Then the paper is cut up into squares (I like the idea of just tearing it up too).

It’s like a jigsaw or puzzle with no image for guidance. A design forms as you play. Squares are swapped and moved about until you find something you like, then they’re glued down. Working with black and white helps you quickly see the basic design. It’s much easier to decide whether things work or not and simple to make adjustments as well.

Ok, one done, so now what?

Well, now you can use these value plans or designs in paintings. You can also alter them as you see fit, then use them, cut them up again in a different way, or make bigger designs out of several.  I’ve changed the one from above so it’s more to my liking (below).

Having a design you like that has impact, movement and interest helps the painting process in general, as well as guiding decision-making as paintings near completion. Notice I said guide. These things are not carved in stone!

I’m looking forward to where both these exercises might take my work.

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Playing back in the Studio

You have a plein air sketch or an idea you’d like to work with! Now what?

The first thing to do is check what you like or don’t like about it. What do you feel comfortable with? What feels like the place and what doesn’t? Does it rekindle the feelings and emotions of the day? How can you translate those into studio works? Can you crop it to create new compositions? Is there something, anything, you can improve on, that, with the benefit of hindsight, will better create the mood? Or, does it in fact lead you in another direction?

These two crops were chosen from the sketch above. They’re reminiscent of landforms near where the sketch was made. The compositions and the marks within them are also quite pleasing.

Sometimes, sketches lead to work that’s not related to the original work. It might be that you’ve seen something that sparks an idea and it leads you in a different direction.

When beginning this type of thing I need to be careful because, if I try to copy the sketches, things probably won’t go well. It’s hard to reproduce a sketch as a studio piece, difficult to capture the same feeling.

Using the best elements from the crops to begin new paintings is an open way to start. One piece began with collage and the other with acrylic paint.

Collage version

Stage 1 (below) – A collage layer (well, three pieces of collage at least) with some graphite line work, a bit of spatter and a few splashes of water for good measure. It feels ok at the moment. Nice those diagonal lines.

Stage 2 (below) – Adding colour and scratching out. Not sure about this? It feels disjointed. Still like the diagonals!

Stage 3 (below) – I’ve added blue paint to remove two white areas and it feels much better. Wondering about that dark piece of collage now?

Stage 4 (below) – Adjusted that left hand side patch of light blue, making it white again and added some marks. It looks a little better but I’ll wait a while to see how it feels. Still wondering about the black piece of collage.

Acrylic Paint version

Stage 1 (below) – Started with playful application of paint and line. It feels free. So far so good.

Stage 2 (below) – Something told me to turn it upside down, add some paint pen lines and spray with water! Oh dear? It’s too busy now and it’s lost the freshness. Looks a bit grubby too.

Stage 3 (below) – Okay, lets wipe off a whole lot of stuff. In an attempt to tame the image down I rolled white paint over the parts I’d wiped away. It didn’t help! (Forgot to take a photo.) Perhaps there are too many drip lines as well?

Stage 4 (below) – Applied some paint to the sky with a rag and felt better about it so I played around in the foreground. It feels better now. Not sure if it’s done yet.

Neither painting is finished at this stage. As you can see, one thing grows from another and the result may or may not be something you like. If it ends poorly you console yourself with the fact that it was an enjoyable process exploring the idea and increased your stockpile of experience. The work and or memories of the experience may surface again at any time to help your creativity along.

ADDENDUM

Subsequently, the finished painting, “Glacial” (below) won a Commended Award at our Art Society of Tasmania Annual exhibition and it sold as well. After the ups and downs of its creation, who would have thought that would happen?!

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Drive-past Sketching – Our Journey Begins

Have you tried memorising or sketching views while travelling in a car? I’m sure you would find it good training for developing fast looking and sketching skills. However, you do need a chauffeur!

This sketching technique grew out of sketching in the car over a couple of years. Long trips watching the landscape pass by and being inspired by what I saw had me thinking. Even though the subject would waft past quickly I decided to give it a go. Here’s a very early one. (That bird had a takeaway coffee cup!?)

Initially, the sketches were not so loose, but they developed into a technique that worked really well with mixed media – collage, coloured pencil and gouache as in the beach boxes painting below.

Sketching on the move became addictive and I longed for lengthy trips in the car. My bag became fatter and heavier as sketching gear became a constant companion. The kit has since been refined – sketchbook, fountain pen and water brush, plus extras in a small bag if I want.

No time for being careful. I still remember what this countryside looked and felt like.

The waterbrush was put to work in this one. Now …. how to use all these sketches?

Abstract ambitions had surfaced somewhere along the road and the simplified sketches of that wafting scenery were perfect for interpreting in an abstract or semi-abstract manner. The mixed media painting below is one of an early series that these sketches have inspired.

From here on, things start to snowball, but more on that later!

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