"Mixing the mix" is the title for today. This is because I've been spending a lot of time mixing acrylic paint for my new series of paintings. I always say that there's a time for everything and somehow the penny has dropped about acrylic paint this week. I've written 5 books about colour mixing and also hundreds of articles but I have spent more time understanding colour in watercolour than acrylic and theory is very different to application. Anyway, I'm very happy about this as it opens many new doors.
So MIX brings many things to mind
Pick and Mix from good old Woolworths
Pick and Mix that Nana Bregazzi had in her special tin, which was replenished once a week
Paint mixes for decorating - in 1987 I worked in a fantastic Interior Design place in London. We mixed Sanderson paints at the showroom - this was very unusual then and my boss Peter was a wall paper expert. He was the only person who could hand trim hand painted wall papers on a special machine.
Watercolour colour mixing
Acrylic colour mixing
Palettes - for watercolour this is a collection of at least 20 ceramic palettes
Palettes - for acrylic which include various bowls, glass jars and plates depending on the amount of paint needed
Palettes - for oil painting - either disposable or a large piece of glass
Cake mix - I have never bought a packet car mix as I was brought up to make a cake from scratch (and most other food too) I'm not being judgemental if people buy cake mix - it's just one of those things that stick with you because of your upbringing
Hand mixer - invaluable for all the cakes that I make
Mixing with people - poignant in lockdown with all these rules and regulations
Mingling - ditto
Little Mix - hats off to their huge success but really not my cup of tea - at all!
Music Mix - Sam mixes many tunes when he produces music - a skill of which I'm in awe, as I have no understanding of it at all
Music Mix Albums - I always struggled with these as there would be so many tunes included that I didn't like
A mix up
Todays painting is "Orange County'
It's yellow today....I mainly used to avoid painting with yellow until I started painting flowers and then I had no choice. There's nothing like having no choice to make you grow up and move on. Today I've used a bit of yellow but I have to admit that I've used muted and earth yellows, which include raw sienna and titanite yellow. I've been looking at my books written by Derek Jarman and he speaks of the "Perils of Yellow" in his book "Chroma" and how he had a horror of Dandelions when he was a child. I can't say I liked them very much then either but have changed my mind now. So yellow for me brings to mind
Dandelions (of course)
Daffodils (of course)
Colemans mustard (my Dad's favourite)
Sherbert lemons (these were from Mr Corlett's sweet shop, mentioned in a previous blog)
Bismuth and Aureolin - two of my favourite watercolour yellows
Yellow River - the first single I bought
Limoncello - brings back very happy memories of a holiday in Calabria about 12 years ago
My first car - an acid yellow Citroen 2CV - bought for me by my Dad in 1976
Naples yellow paint (acrylic and oil)
My Convent school summer uniform dress
Winifred Nicholsons paintings - she used quite a lot of yellow
A painting that Joe did of 2 yellow dandelions in a wine glass containing turquoise water - he was quite an artist/painter in his early years
The Minions - I love the Minions and I will never forget taking Chris's Mum (when she was 90) with Joe to see the Minions at Basingstoke Cinema. She was so enthusiastic but I doubt she could understand a word of what they were saying
Banana - for those of you who don't know is also the favourite food of the Minions
My pale yellow short sleeved sweat shirt - I think it's the only item of yellow clothing that I have
A pretty teapot (mainly yellow) that I bought from my friend Daina when she ran the village Charity shop
The painting today is called "Two Yellow coats" and I've just noticed one of them has yellow shoes too.
Pink is the colour for today. I've been painting all morning and have used a great deal of pink. Pink always cheers me up. As a young girl I said I didn't like pink and I suspect this is because my bedroom was top to tail pink and very often I was dressed top to tail in pink. This wasn't my choice so my rebellion against pink was a protest at my situation. And the joke is that I love pink. Now I'm making up for it in my work.
So when I think of pink it brings to mind:
Half of Jack Wills stripes
A favourite dress
Lily the pink - by the Scaffold (my Dad used to sing this as his mother - Nana Collins was called Lily)
Pink Satin - a very impressive painting by Gillian Ayres
The colour I want to paint one room in our house
Blancmange (never could stand that)
In the pink
Pink - the singer who I saw as the singer who came on before Coldplay at the Emirates Stadium with my friend Jane
Chris's pink shirts - he loves pink shirts
Some pink shorts that I sent to the charity shop and wish I still had
My phone case
Lovely notebook that my friend Sally gave me
Heart shaped post it notes - I love post it notes
My pink pen - I like writing with coloured pens and the pink one is my favourite
Todays painting is 'Mary Mary', obviously chosen as she's dressed in pink
At 5pm yesterday I had my first swim in the sea this year. Some lovely friends met at the beach and were 2 metres apart (very strange indeed but you get used to it.) The water was extremely cold but once you were in it was fantastic. I'd hope to go again today but the wind is up and it's nowhere near as warm. Hopefully this will be a regular feature now, especially as this will be as near to a holiday as we'll get for quite some time. I'd tried swimming with a wet suit a few years ago but found it so cumbersome and difficult to move around, not to mention the cold water dripping down my back. So I sold it on e bay and enjoy being in my Speedo swimsuit instead.
The Society of Women Artists have an online exhibition that's well worth a look at as everything is under £500. I've had some enquiries which is always encouraging. Each day there is a featured artist - a great idea. Now, more than ever, art is in this virtual world. I think this is good in many ways especially where you can connect with other artists and chat about this and that. It also feels very supportive and friendly. Long may that continue.
There has been a lot of clearing out today. In clearing out I've discovered things that I thought I'd lost, things that I thought I needed but now realise I don't and unearthed a lot of memories in the process. I've been clearing out a lot during lockdown and this means that there is usually a lot of rubbish when the bins are emptied each Thursday.
Today the clearing out began as I was searching high and low for my staple gun. Eventually Chris found it in a box in the garage (and the garage definitely needs a clear out but not today.) This stapler is 40 years old and served me very well when I was at art school in the early eighties. We had a brilliant workshop where we made our own stretchers and then bought the canvas from the extremely patient person (who I think was called Chris) who ran the art shop. I would stand there full of indecision each time I visited the shop. This must of been a hangover from when I was about 5 and my Nana (the one with the brass collection) would give me 6 pence to spend on sweets at Mr Corlett's shop across the road. It would take me forever to decide what to buy and I remember feeling very guilty about taking up so much of Mr Corlett's time. This was in the day when people opened shops in the front room of their houses. Back to the staple gun which I'm very fond of. I really thought I'd lost it or thrown it out. I've used it to stretch 4 canvas's today and will do some more tomorrow. Next I will be using the rabbit skin glue, the size, to protect the canvas before I begin painting. This reminds me of the preparations I would make when I decided to master watercolour in the 90's. The practical tasks somehow helped me learn the new techniques. When I teach I often say that it's good to go back to basics - I need to listen to my good advice. It's easy to get slap dash if you're not watching.
One of the other things I found during today's clear out was a very small bear called Mogul. He is very bald and I had crocheted him a hat when I was about 11 but this hat has definitely gone missing now. Mogul is about 80 years old and used to belong to my Mum. I instated him as my special bear after I had got rid of mine. My special bear was called Kojak and he wore a nice red dress with a felt "K" stitched on the front - I'd also made this dress. I still feel sad that I got rid of him, especially as it was when I was very poorly indeed and not in the best frame of mind to make a decision like that. Anyway, it's brilliant news that Mogul has turned up as he's been missing for 3 years - lost in transit when we moved to this great house in 2017.
Todays painting is Bird Girl.
Ive been working in the studio all morning wrestling with acrylic on board, which requires a completely different technique to watercolour painting. I thought that I was getting somewhere and then all of a sudden it all looked very terrible. So then there was a kind of new beginning. By 2pm I was more happy with the results as the two paintings have a history and look of remnants of paintings, which is more my style. Only time will tell if they're acceptable.
Later this afternoon we're driving to Highcliffe for a walk - this is the first time in over 2 months that we'll drive somewhere different (apart from the supermarket which definitely doesn't count.) Who would have thought that we would be living like this. And now receiving some of the refunds for cancelled holidays, concerts, dance and various other events.
Today's painting is called 'Chapel Bay', as it reminds me of Chapel Bay in the Isle of Man. So much of my childhood was sent on the beach at Chapel Bay, where we would spend all day digging elaborate rivers in the sand which ran down from the top of the beach to the sea. Each sunny Sunday my Mum would take my brothers and I to meet our family friends, the Keigs and the Mc Ards, and we'd all have a fine day at the beach. Lovely happy memories.
Today we were supposed to be going to London for 2 days, which would have meant visiting London Exhibitions and going to listen to JP Saxe, in Camden with Sam and Joe tonight. JP Saxe has been rescheduled for October - so fingers crossed for that. At the end of last week Hampshire Open Studios was also cancelled - not surprising but very disappointing all the same.
It's strange not putting anything in your diary and crossing out almost everything that was in there. I was listening to Radio 4 again this morning and Grayson Perry came on to talk about his Art Club. Last week's theme was "Fantasy" - I watched this yesterday and Grayson discusses how he began creating "Fantasy" work as a safe place from reality and how making this work was something he could control. I expect many artists will relate to this, I certainly do, but I rarely feel fully in control of the outcome in a painting. At best this is great fun, exciting, inspirational and at worst annoying, frustrating and feels like plodding along. So today I've been preparing surfaces to paint on and couldn't resist a bit of actual painting but I know it's not the best time to do too much.
Today's painting is called "Bouquet" and I see I've chosen a picture with figures standing a good distance apart, I now feel that I'll be very glad when we don't have to do this anymore.
Yesterday I was so tired from working, housekeeping and a trip to the supermarket that I couldn't write the blog. This morning I read a piece written by the artist Yinka Shonibare, who is a Royal Academician originally from Nigeria. It reminded me that I'd heard him talk at Southampton City Art Gallery almost a year ago from now. I remember seeing his work "Nelson's Ship in a Bottle" on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2010. I love this piece (for various reasons) and it was greatly admired during the two years it was there. His writing today is very poignant as he says "The pandemic is giving us time to think about the life we want afterwards." He says that he is introspective and he likes to create. But then goes on to say that that was not what his life was like before lockdown. Being a successful and famous artist he constantly found himself in meetings with no time to be introspective and create. I'd already been thinking about how I spend my time when we're not in lockdown and have identified areas that I'd like to change as life is too short, especially at 58, to spend anymore time on things that really aren't important to me.
Food for thought and happy weekend everyone.
Today is a momentous day. There are two reasons, I'm donating blood for the first time in at least 12 years and I'm painting on canvas for the first time in ages. I realise it is time for a change and this is very challenging as I could easily continue working on paper, albeit up to well over a metre in size. I could easily stay in my comfortable comfort zone - not that I'm in control but I'm used to it. I have resisted canvas since I was 18. Yesterday I remembered that when Sam was born, 24 years ago I set my mind to mastering watercolour. Watercolour is extremely difficult. I'd used it with minimal success for 15 years and never felt satisfied with the results. It took a long time, a great deal of practice and slowing down to learn watercolour properly. I was very patient with myself. So the time has come to slow down and be very patient again.
I'll be donating blood at 5pm. I feel very scared about this. Not because of the Corona virus but just the idea of being hooked up lying on a trolley makes me feel nervous. Last time I donated blood was in the Great Hall at the Maltings, in Farnham. I remember feeling quite disturbed at all these people lying on trolleys for a very good cause. The Great Hall holds fond memories as the first day I lived in Farnham, September 1990 I visited the Maltings. I loved the place and wished then and there that I could have an art studio there.(I'm pleased to say that this wish came true.) That evening Nigel Kennedy was performing in the Great Hall. I was allowed to watch him practice that afternoon. I was over whelmed watching a genius at work. He stopped every few minutes when he heard something wasn't quite right. His ear was tuned to things that I don't hear. I greatly admired the precision and attention to detail - perhaps this is something I could apply to working on canvas.
Todays painting is 'Sandbank'
Today is supposed be haircut day. As we can't go to a salon or barbers until July I'll be getting my hair scissors out. I wasn't taught how to cut hair but learnt from watching at my Mum's salon, where I worked during the holidays when I was a teenager. I remember working extremely hard and one summer saved my tips to buy a pair of cowboy boots. This has reminded me that when I was at University I cut hair in the Art Studio as a sideline. I cut quite a few of the Lecturers hair too, which was very well paid and they always cooked me my supper too.
Yesterday was a very successful day in the studio. The painting went well, Joe took photographs of artwork needed for a magazine, I sold work and several other great things happened on the work front. Today has been much more of a struggle. I've possibly ruined two paintings and it's been one step forward and two steps back. The trouble with me is that if I have a really good day I want it to continue forever.
Time to go for a walk!