The sunlight has started to shine gloriously through the windows of my studio. The cobwebs have been dusted away after I left the studio for my internship. I really enjoyed the sea air and a change of scene in Aberystwyth – on my weekends I discovered more beautiful walks and things to see. It’s definitely a place I’ll revisit again and again, especially with the different seasons.
My internship was very varied and gave me some really useful skills. I was an art technician and assistant curator, so I helped out in the School of Art workshop right through to changing exhibitions over in the ceramics gallery and cataloging new items into the Schools collection and museum. Behind the locked doors of the reading room is an exciting place for me (I love old books and antiques) and it is a varied collection of prints, drawings, albums, photographs and paintings. In particular, I meticulously catalogued an album handmade by the production crew from the original 1959 film of ‘Mighty Joe Young’ full of concept art and film stills. In the Arts centre ceramics gallery we had an exhibition changeover, which offered me an interesting insight into shipping and delivering ceramics as there was a specialist team that arrived and boxed everything up into a massive lorry! During my internship nothing was damaged, broken or stolen which is a good sign!
I arrived back to my studio and picked up where I left off without hesitation, which was easier as I left myself a large to do list and unfinished canvasses. So these two rock pool paintings were greatly inspired by the colours and movements of the shoreline in Aberystwyth.
A few months ago I was in touch with the National Assembly of Wales as they did a call-out to artists with a connection to Wales to have their work hung in the corridors of the Ty Hywel building. They liked my work – hurrah! – and said they’d be in touch in the new year as to when they’d like some paintings. I set myself the task to get a number of paintings completed for them inspired by Wales to suit the venue, so naturally I chose the Hafod estate and the rock pools in Aberystwyth. This painting above was a particular challenge as I had the difficultly of the dimmed, woodland light, moss covered rocks and then the tumble of the water over the crags. I was delighted with this one, sometimes the challenge of the subject makes me paint loosely and let the materials express the subject.
I also enjoyed using a square canvas. These were canvasses that I made following my canvas making course at Pegasus art. As I set out to become a professional artist, I highly value the surface I paint on as much as my materials. Making my own canvasses, I can tailor make my canvasses and provide that extra touch of quality and professionalism.
The light along the corridor turned out to be great for displaying work. Working in my small studio, I don’t often see my work against a white, gallery background so this really lifted my work in a way I wasn’t expecting!
Several of my paintings are also hung in Mills cafe, Stroud. Pop in to enjoy a delicious lunch, afternoon tea and some paintings..! I am really keen to carry on with some large paintings like this one above. It’s so rewarding to finish a painting of this scale, and I find that I can lose myself in the light, colours and space of the subject to another level.
I had an amazing weekend trip to Rome for my birthday treat, and a treat it was indeed! I soaked in so much art, architecture and ideas for more paintings. Seeing the ruins of the forum, the vibrant frescoes in the national gallery and the hidden beauties of the city I was really inspired. To say the least I could carry on writing about all the amazing art..! I studied Italian art in my second year at University, and so glad I’d taken that module as it really enriched my visit. As a painter, I tend to look less at sculpture and mosaics, so I looked at things with a different side of my art knowledge, and found I appreciated so much about sculpture! My sketchbooks are now filling up with experimentations in collage, mixed media and drawings to express the feeling of collected ruins, sights and loved treasures that I encountered.
On a slightly different note, I recently heard about the Newent art competition through Stroud Valleys art space group (which is really useful for me to join in with arty stuff in the area) and gave it a go. The requirements of the competition were to suit a particular title of a orchestral piece written for the Newent Orchestra, so with the blooming daffodils on the brass table I was instantly inspired. I had a intense few afternoons of studying the colours and tones of the reflections and light in the brass table. I remember a few challenges like these during my time at Aberystwyth, I remember struggling so much on painting the blade of a knife! I was delighted to hear a few days ago that this painting was shortlisted for the competition, so it will be included in an exhibition in the shambles gallery, Newent. The opening night is Friday March 10th from 7-9pm so save the date!
Another date to save for your diaries is the next Stroud Valleys Open Studios…May the 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th. I am so looking forward to displaying my work in good sunny weather in the garden and studio! This years open studios is also an SVA ‘Bake-off’ (as in the great British bake-off). Maybe a good incentive to do the whole trail of artists studios in the area, sampling cake all along the way…!