Thursday, December 30, 2010

Play Time

"All Grown up, but were still in the playground." - Unknown

Another character combing human and animal form. It started with the drawing (on the left) from my sketchbook. A child with a fox cub's head. Her toy is the city, in the form of a pull along tinker toy.

After the sketch I then went on to do a small painting (below) which I was going to use to make a small story book but I don't think that's going to happen.

"The stars are the street lights of eternity." -Unknown

As I need more 3D In my project I decided to use this character for a 3D piece made out of clay.
The photos below are of the creating process and then the final piece. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of it before the first firing, but you should get the idea. Also as I did this so late, I was unable to do a glaze fire so I had to paint it with acrylics. I think it worked. I left holes in the face and ears so I could use wire to give it whiskers, I also gave him glass beads for eyes.

"You are my plaything, My toy, Your streets are my playground." - Sketchbook notes

The body is made out of a solid piece of clay. I added plenty of air holes, in case air got rapped and it blew up in the kiln.

Making the City toy.

The finished Product. Even though I couldn't glaze it I think the acrylic paint worked.

Close-up of head. You can see the eyes are glass beads and the whiskers, and the hairs in the ears, and over the eyes are made of wire.

Close-up of toy city.

     “I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things... I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.”
 -Leo F. Buscaglia

Wired Fox

This is another sorry attempt at making something 3D out of wire. I apologize for the poor picture. Wire objects are hard to take detailed photos of.  I don't think this was much of a success, but at least I tried it and finished it. It looks like some weird voodoo doll. I'm glad that I was able to move onto clay after this.

"The devil comes and I try to stall and
Soon my subconscious and conscious might start to brawl
And I put up my walls
And they begin to fall
As this cunning demon takes me as it's voodoo doll
Darkness sets in as the horns start to grow
Suddenly I become somebody I don't know"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Studio Space

The sign on my studio door warns, "Beware of Flying Brushes."
-Earl Grenville Kileen


"Studio Ghosts: When you're in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you - your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics... and one by one if you're really painting, they walk out. And if you're really painting YOU walk out."
-Philip Guston

" You need a room with no view so imagination can meet memory in the dark." - Annie Dillard

 "Gather and hoard your inspirations as you live, then recapture them as needed in the studio." - Nita Engle

"Without the studio, however humble, the room where the imagination can enter cannot exist."
 - Anna Hansen 


"I always prefer to work in the studio. It isolates people from their environment. They become in a sense... symbolic of themselves."
-Richard Avedon

"People who aren't artists seem to not understand exactly what a studio is. It's not a store. It's not a factory. It's not a theme park. It's my personal space and their company is not so invasive."
-Eleanor Blair

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fox Mask fin

Finally I managed to take pictures of Stacey wearing the wire fox mask I made a little while ago. I think they turned out really well.  The mask showed up better than I thought. The mask doesn't show up very well from the side though.. I think the first and last were the most successful!

Notes from sketch book;

Vulnerability, loneliness, outcast, a stranger in a strange land..

I couldn't of done it with out Stacey! Thanks Kiddo!

P.S. If you click on the image, it will come up bigger so you can see it better..

"Men have forgotten the truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

"We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes."
-Paul Laurence

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Leonora Carrington

Leonora Carrington was born on April 6th 1917 in a small town called Chorley, Lancashire in the North of England. Her father was of Anglo-Irish decent and her mother was from the South of Ireland. Her father was a wealthy industrialist who's company was affiliated with ICI and produced artificial textiles. Her mother, an Irish beauty , was raised as a strict catholic. Leonora had three brothers, Pat, Gerard and Arthur. The Carrington family lived in a variety of mansions, first in Westwood, then in a mansion called Crookhey Hall ,that remains for her as a token of magic and mystery . Finally she also lived in Hazel Wood, which was later donated to Jesuits by her mother, after the war , to be converted into an old people's retirement home.
It was in these mansions, during her childhood, that Leonora was surrounded by beautiful woods as imagined in a fairy tale. Her Irish nanny, Ms Mary Cavanaugh, was central in her early upbringing, providing stories of all sorts many of them in Gaelic. In these surroundings of woods, horses and freedom, Leonora passed her first years of life. She would also travel frequently to Ireland to visit her grandmother with whom she was very close. During these visits to her grandmother, meeting the different townspeople, her Celtic roots were revealed.
Nevertheless, her freedom was soon taken away. At the tender age of nine she was sent to catholic convents for education and finishing. One of these convents, Newhall, had been a palace of Henry VIII, king of England. However, the three years she spent in convents was an indeed traumatic experience to her. She spent these important formative years in essence as an outcast, not fitting nor understanding the nuns and their strict rules nor the upper-class British establishment. This was crowned by her presentation in court at age seventeen. However Leonora was soon to rebel against the established rules, to become an artist in her own right.

Carrington with Marx Ernst
 Her first encounters with art creation were when she was a small girl, and her mother brought her brushes and watercolors. After that she was presented with a set of oils by her mother. This started her in what was to be a brilliant artist's career. Opposed by her father, encouraged by her mother , but mostly self motivated and under the most difficult circumstances, Leonora decided to pursue her artistic career .
The decision to become an artist would result in a schism in her relationship with her father, who would have rather seen her become almost anything else, rather than an artist. Leonora, however, was not destined to heed her family's pressure to become a socialite. Soon after she was presented at court, convinced her mother to send her to Italy for art classes.
In Florence, as an adolescent, she would receive her first formal training in painting. Mrs. Penrose's Academy of Art was a school that consisted of almost private tutoring for young British girls of that time. Her experience in Florence, however, was to remain indelible and formed an important part of Leonora's formal training as a painter.
But a critical stage in becoming an artist came when she moved to London where she first attended the Chelsea School of Arts and then joined the painting Academy of Amédée Ozenfant in London. "His first painting class, " she says of Ozenfant," was to learn how to paint a door properly".
During her stay in London her mother presented her with the book of Herbert Reed on surrealism that had an illustration by Max Ernst on the cover, his painting "Deux Enfants Menaces Par un Rosignol". This was her first contact with surrealism. One of the students with Ozenfant was her friend Ursula Goldinger. She and her Hungarian husband Erno Goldfinger. introduced her to Max Ernst in London. She then reencountered Max Ernst in a trip she made to Paris. This is how she discovered the Surrealists. Here was a group of intellectuals who by some feat of magic had come together. It was a group formed by artists that would understand the type of art that Leonora was creating. In this group she met Breton, Tanguy, Peret, Belmer, Arp and so many others.
With Breton at the center they would meet many times in the Cafe des Deux Magot's, where other artists such as Picasso, Dali and others would join them. Many games, discussions and ideas were expressed in these meetings. Max and Leonora lived in Rue Jacob and would frequently see Picasso who lived a block away in Rue Saint Andre.
Unlike many painters in the surrealist group Leonora's work focused early on in the magical, the mystical and the mysterious. She was not alone, the "triumph of imagination" was the goal at the heart of the surrealist group.
This idyllic period in Leonora's life was not to last long, Nazi Germany was already threatening France and the Allies. Many of the surrealists including Leonora joined the Association of Artists (Kunstler Bund), an underground organization of intellectuals formed to help get Jews and artists that opposed Hitler, out of occupied Europe.
The French government issued an arrest of all German nationals in France, an edict that did not spare Max Ernst. Leonora who was at the time living with him went into a nervous collapse. She surfaced from this nervous episode only to be rudely awakened of having to flee for her life. Max Ernst was finally freed from prison thanks to the efforts of Peggy Guggenheim, with whom she left Europe for America.
Realizing the Germans were near, Leonora had to escape Europe immediately. She set her pet eagle free, and abandoned the house she had shared with Max in Saint-Martin L'Ardeche, leaving their paintings and sculptures behind. She headed for the Pirenees with some friends, the only way out of France and into Spain, with the Germans at their heels.
In Spain she had another collapse and her father sent an emissary from England to have her committed in Santander. The horrendous experience at this psychiatric hospital in Spain, along with her flight from France formed the core of her books Down Below and The Stone Door. Fear.
She was able, however, to escape the hospital and fled to Lisbon, taking asylum in the Mexican embassy to Portugal. Here the Mexican ambassador and the reporter Renato Leduc helped grant her asylum. Renato Leduc offered to marry her to help her escape Europe. As part of the diplomatic core to Mexico, Leonora and Renato sailed for New York in 1941 in one of the last ships to leave Europe before end of the War .
Once in New York she rejoined the Surrealists meeting with Duchamp, Breton, and others. Leduc, however, had to return to Mexico, so they traveled to Mexico in 1942. Leonora divorced Renato shortly afterwards, remaining his friend . In Mexico she again met with Breton, Peret, Alice Rahon, Wolfgang Paalen . At this time she met Remedios Varo, forming a close and enduring friendship with her. It was through Remedios that she also met Katy and Jose Horna as well as the photographer Chiqui Weisz. She married Chiqui in 1946 and had two sons with him, Gabriel and Pablo. Gabriel Has become a writer who teaches in the University in Mexico and Pablo, a pathologist, is also an artist, he lives in Richmond Virginia.
Leonora Carrington has spent many years in Mexico, a country that has offered her enormous inspiration , with its many legends and rich mythology. During her life in Mexico, she has created an enormous body of artistic work, creating hundreds of wonderful paintings, sculptures as well as writing her most important books. It is here that she becomes a true individual as an artist, to the point that she is now one of the most cherished artists in Mexico. Off and on she has lived in the United States first in New York City and in Chicago where she has also painted many of her most important works.
She is known throughout the world as one of the main pillars of surrealism. She has had many exhibits in Mexico City, New York, San Francisco, Paris, London , Munich and Tokyo. Her books are translated into more than six languages.
She is certainly one the most important female artists of her time, a time when women were not readily accepted as individual artists. She has fought and won the battle to be recognized as an individual, as a woman and as an artist. Salvador Dali singled her out "As the most important female artist".

The paintings by Leonora Carrington are a key to the door that will lead us into the world of the onyric. Early on, using the tools of formal painting, she started to explore the intangible; that mysterious world called the world of imagination, the fantastic.
 The Surrealist group hosted a variety of styles from the figurative, with artists like Delvaux, Magritte, Dali and Belmer; to the abstract, as seen in the work of Tanguy, Dominguez and Duchamp. But Breton, the founder of the group was always in pursuit of the fantastic. It was not surprising, therefore, that the surrealists welcomed Leonora in their midst. Here was an extraordinary creature, a "femme enfant par excellence". Little did they know the incredible originality this woman artist had.
 It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that not until her arrival to Mexico was she to begin to develop her own world. Here she was now free to do evolve without restraints. In the process she has influenced many artists, including Remedios Varo and others that have come in contact with her work.
 Many so called art critics have tried to seek the origins of her style, the response is simple, her style is her own. This is what makes her so unique in the world of art.
 Leonora Carrington has always explored and searched with complete courage and complete honesty to herself. I have seen many explanations and interpretations of her imagery. I will not insult you, the viewer, by explaining a painting to you. What a painting means to me is not what it means to you. Please be welcome to explore and evoke your own symbolism by observing the paintings in these galleries....

These are some of the Books Leonora Carrington has Written

  • The House of Fear - Illustrated by Max Ernst
  • The Oval Lady- Illustrated by Pablo Weisz-Carrington
  • Down Below
  • The Seventh Horse
  • The Stone Door
  • The Hearing Trumpet- Illustrated by Pablo Weisz-Carrington

  • Une Chemise de Nuit de Flanelle
  • Penelope   
  • La Invencion del Mole

Leonora Carrington, is possibly my most favorite artist of all time. I cant describe how much I idolize her. I know you should never meet your idols, but I'd love to meet her. I don't think I would be disappointed.
Her life and her art is amazing, its so surreal. I've read one of her books, 'The Hearing Trumpet.' It was excellent. I cant wait to read her other books, if I can get my hands on them. 

Pauline Bewick

Pauline was brought up on a small farm in Co. Kerry, Ireland. Her mother Harry brought her two daughters to Ireland in the late 30's leaving Northumberland, England. Harry wrote an account of their life in Kerry called "A Wild Taste" (Methuen). After Kerry, they went to live in Wales and England and travelled from progressive school to school, living in a caravan, a houseboat, a railway carriage, a workman's hut, a gate lodge and, later in a Dublin city house.
Bewick has now been living back in Kerry for 28 years with her husband Patrick Melia. Their two daughters Poppy and Holly are also artists. Bewick works in many media in three large studios.
She started to paint at the age of two and has continued throughout her life. "Two to Fifty" was a retrospective exhibition (1,500 works) at the Guinness Hop Store in 1985, which attracted record attendances.
"The Yellow Man" exhibition in 1996 at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, also drew huge numbers of all ages.
The artist's biography was written by Dr. James White, art historian and former Director of the National Gallery of Ireland; "Pauline Bewick, Painting a Life". (Wolfhound Press 1985; new edition 2001)
In 2007 Pauline Bewick was commissioned to visually translate the 18th Century poem 'The Midnight Court' by Brian Merriman.

Jenny Saville

Born in Cambridge in 1970, she  is an English painter that works and lives between London and Palermo. Saville is best known for her monumental images of women. Saville went to the Lilley and Stone School (now The Grove Specialist Science College), Newark Notts for her secondary education, later gaining her degree at Glasgow School of Art (1988–1992), and was then awarded a six month scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, where she states that she saw “Lots of big women. Big white flesh in shorts and T-shirts. It was good to see because they had the physicality that I was interested in”. A physicality that she partially credits to Pablo Picasso, an artist that she sees as a painter that made subjects as if “they were solidly there….not fleeting”.[1] She studied at the Slade School Of Fine Art between 1992 and 1993. At the end of her postgraduate education, the leading British art collector, Charles Saatchi, purchased her entire senior show and commissioned works for the next two years. In 1994, Saville spent many hours observing plastic surgery operations in New York. Her painterly style has been compared to that of Lucian Freud and Rubens. Her paintings are usually much larger than life size. They are strongly pigmented and give a highly sensual impression of the surface of the skin as well as the mass of the body. She sometimes adds marks onto the body, such as white “target” rings. Since her debut in 1992, Saville’s focus has remained on the female body, slightly deviating into subjects with “floating or indeterminant gender,” painting large scale paintings of transsexuals and transvestites. Her published sketches and documents include surgical photographs of liposuction, trauma victims, deformity correction, disease states and transgender patients. Her painting Strategy (South Face/Front Face/North Face) appeared on the cover of Manic Street Preachers’ third album, The Holy Bible. Further to this, Stare  features as the cover of the ninth Manic Street Preachers album 2009 Journal For Plague Lovers.The Journal For Plague Lovers album cover came 2nd in a 2009 poll for Best Art Vinyl. More information about Saville are available at the link below.

Self Portrait

'Branded' Self Portrait

I love how her paintings are so textured, there is such a large pallette of colour in such a small area. I love her subject matter. Its so interesting and so real. I find larger curver women so much more interesting to work with in art rather than the typical woman portrayed in glossy magazines, they are very boring and repetative.

Jason Walker

Jason Walker was born in 1973 and grew up in Pocatello, Idaho. He received a BFA from Utah State University and a MFA from Penn State University. After schooling he taught for two years in Napa California but quit teaching to pursue life as a studio artist. He spent two years as a resident at The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, where he was the recipient of the Taunt Fellowship award. He has work in major collections such as the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco: De Young, the Carnegie Mellon Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Arizona State University Art Museum, Ceramic Research Center, Tempe, Arizona. He has shown and lectured internationally in places such as China, South Korea and Ireland. He is currently represented by the Ferrin Gallery, and works as a studio artist in Bellingham, Washington.
Artist's Statement
What is Nature? This question is the guiding force behind my work. I feel we use the term nature very loosely in our language today, and in my work I am  searching for a place or an object that embodies the word nature. According to Webster’s Dictionary, nature is something in its essential form untouched and untainted by the hands of a human being. Here lies the problem to my quest. At the very heart of our own description of nature we exclude ourselves from it. Does this mean I am not natural? Although this argument may appear esoteric, the way in which we perceive nature inadvertently describes the way in which we perceive ourselves. I feel that technology has significantly changed and continues to mold our perception of nature. I feel we are pursuing our technological aspirations with a sort of blind admiration. Collectively, we see technology as only friend. Yet, technology is both friend and foe. Besides the obvious advantages technology may bring to our lives there lie unintended consequences and underlying messages behind every creation that forever change our perceptions, our social interactions and our relationship to nature and each other. It is in this grey area that I am trying to create a narrative

David Cooke

David Cooke
Artists Statment
Animals are an exhausting and exciting subject. There are such a wide variety of forms and textures, and so many ways of interpreting each piece. I feel that each animal warrants a different approach, and I enjoy experimenting with different styles and techniques.
I create both one-off and limited edition pieces in stoneware ceramic. I also occationally use other media - such as wood, wire and resin, and in 2009 I created a series of limited edition bronze pieces for Pride Of the Valley sculpture park in Surrey.

Brendon Hesmondalgh

Brendan Hesmondhalgh
Artists Statement
   Brendan's work has always been inspired by the different form, movement and characteristics of nature. Large life-like sculptures, encapsulating real essence of his subjects as he sees through his own personal experiences. .
Each piece is individually crafted using slabs of fibre reinforced clay wrapped around a armature. In this way wrinkles, textures folds can be readily incorporated into the shape. The wet flexible clay can be pushed out from the inside to form the fullness of a belly, the line of a rib or the undulation of a muscle. Brendan is nationally renowned for his original clay sculptures. Brendans work is often cast into alternative materials, predominately bronze or bronze resin, sometimes cast iron. The works are produced for private and corporate clients. The last 24months has see Brendans work escalate from smaller scale garden sculptures to large scale bronzes for the public sector. 2006/2007 saw Brendan secure his first of two major art commissions. Brendan works primarily in ceramic and creates bold animal designs that are often mounted on ceramic plinths. He uses a hand-building technique that deliberately cracks the surface of the clay. By pushing out a sheet of clay from the inside the surface breaks as it stretches.
Brendan marks the surface with a metal tool, and an airgun is used to dry the surface so that it will hold its shape
 This technique ensures that there is no need to hollow out afterwards. Air and water can get trapped during firing if the clay is thicker than an inch, resulting in cracks or sometimes exploding pots.
Sculptures are fired to 1240 C in an electric kiln. The detail is highlighted with a metal oxide that is brushed on, and then sponged off. Glaze stains are used as colourants, both during the making, and during glazing. Brendan uses as little glaze as possible, and will often seal the surface with wax, after firing, rather than risk loosing the detail by applying a glaze.