art studio

RDH: AUGUST 2019

01/08/19

Save mode now!

04/08/19

Clean Palette.

Clean Palette.

08/08/19

Spider skin

Spider skin

10/08/19

Studio…

Detail of “ Bogland Sackrace ” - work in progress.

Detail of “Bogland Sackrace” - work in progress.

Drawing is essential in practice. It’s not even the success of the outcome that’s important but the act of looking and really scrutinising an image or object. Trying to find a way in.

PERFECTION IS AN ILLUSION.

13/08/19

Wrapping process.

canvas-edge-detail.jpg

15/08/19

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.

16/08/19

For tomorrow, let loose!

I’ve been lingering long enough on small little intricacies.

It’s not the first time I’ve struggled with a figure in profile.

Need to just look!

‘Art of Spain’ documentary : Goya was deaf!?

Black paintings were done “to the brink of incoherence” (AGD).

17/08/19

‘ Bogland ’ completed

Bogland’ completed

A really good day in the studio. Huge improvement to ‘Sackrace’. The face in the central figure could be better but that is where I’ll leave it. Back is signed so it’s official.

Studio shot:  17/08/19

Studio shot: 17/08/19

Unplanned progress on ‘Ferryman’. More painterly background.

21/08/19

Getting there with the small chores.

22/08/19

Otto Dix - War Triptych

24/08/19

Early stages of “The Brown Bull of Cooley”

Early stages of “The Brown Bull of Cooley”

Started a new large canvas. Took on the image of a woman in motion - her stance suggested a figure that could be in battle. After a little research I decided to add a typical Celtic sword and shield combo. So this found magazine image turns into Queen Medb of Connaught.

Once the figure was on the canvas I was unsure whether to incorporate the bull (Medb’s infamous cattle raid of Cooley as inspiration) but curiosity got the better of me and I tore on with it.

Basically blocking the image up but it is promising so far. It will be interesting to see the fight between Medb and the bull in terms of who will come out dominant where in the composition.

medb-and-bull.jpg

28/08/19

29/08/19

Material delivery!

31/08/19

Studio work and ‘Ferryman’ has stagnated. Some parts work and others flop.

At that strange limbo point where a painting you’re working on fights back and refuses to yield. When one point of grievance is adjusted, two more pop up.

Today - more so than others - has been spent reflecting on lost loved ones and parts of that has made its way onto canvas. Little nods to moments once shared with someone no longer here.

I haven’t had this level of personal attachment to a work in progress in a long time and it has made the already frustrating back and forth of a painting’s final stretch all the more agonising.

Can you paint over a memory or is knowing that these little nods once existed enough?

ferryman-detail.jpg

RDH: JUNE 2019

01/06/19

Almost a disaster. Too hung up on certain elements and it is holding the piece back. So the notion of blurring the background and having the foreground sharply in focus works. Execution at the moment is lacking sadly. Need to figure out how to fix the mesh fence but will need to redo all the good work from today. Lesson Learnt.

sackrace-tree-progress.jpg

02/06/19

Essentially yesterday was a pure slug fest in the studio.

Action is better than inaction. Working out grid for fence work.

Action is better than inaction. Working out grid for fence work.

07/06/19

Great to meet up with folks today.

GOLDEN THREAD GALLERY VISIT:

THE MAC VISIT:

Solo show by   John McMacken

Solo show by John McMacken

Belfast School of Art Degree Shows were great. Some outstanding work. Nina Johnston’s tree installation on level 6 is amazing. Regardless of levels/grades that many of the graduates are embarking on that’s the really exciting part.

Looking back, I adored my time in university but detested my degree show. All but one piece has been destroyed and it was the start of a huge, and still ongoing learning curve that’s led my practice to where it is.

Meeting in the evening went really well. Some good feedback and ideas for an upcoming project.

08/06/19

Little break from the studio today to recharge from the overload of art from yesterday.

11/06/19

“Frank Bowling - What do Artists Do All Day?”

12/06/19

The beginnings of planning an exhibition layout.

The beginnings of planning an exhibition layout.

“Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a strength”

Katy Grannan

“Dana Shutz: How Do You Depict A Feeling?”

15/06/19

Detail of the removal process.

Detail of the removal process.

Bit of start and stop in the studio but fixative giveth and fixative taketh away!

Just spied Grace McMurray’s piece in the Royal Academy documentary.

16/06/19

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“Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories” - Great way to start the day!

“Depression is like a crown of thorns”

Paula Rego

Dander down to the river with the dogs.

More pushing back on “Sack Race” although I could have easily got sucked into working on tiny details and not looked at the whole picture.

sackrace-progress-detail

Treat every painting as a study.

17/06/19

Glazing, Hatching, Cross Hatching, Direct, Sfumato, Painterly, Impasto, Staining, Dripping, Gestural, Broken Strokes, Dotting, A La Prima, Patches, Feathers, Scumbling, Washes, Bravara, Directional.

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.

19/06/19

Knowledge / Creativity / Inspiration

Beginnings / Liberation

21/06/19

the-bogland-sackrace-work-in-progress

Summer Solstice. Pleased with how mesh fence is coming.

22/06/19

Need to let go of aiming to get the little things perfect in the work. Ultimately its holding up the process. Obviously not saying to go full ‘Sloppy Joe’ on it but recognising when things get knit picky - take a step back and reassess time spent on something inconsequential.

fence-work

Perfection is an illusion.

23/06/19

Little break day. Sophia Campbell on “Sky’s PAOTY 2019”.

24/06/19

There’s no sugar coating it. Intrusive thoughts bombarding for practically 8 straight hours.

Embarrassing, frustrating but mainly just terrifying. I don’t want them anymore.

25/06/19

It will take time to get to grips with what is going on.

27/06/19

Currently going through potential imagery. I think its good to scan through images from time to time to build up ideas.

30/06/19

Getting to grips with terms and conditions and sorting out a plan of action together.

RDH: FEBRUARY 2019

01/02/19

Slight change of tact…

02/02/19

silver-birchJPG

03/02/19

Some tonal work on “Bereft Clown”

Some tonal work on “Bereft Clown”

05/02/19

Lagging behind.

06/02/19

Applications submitted.

09/02/19

DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to DISTRACTIONS leads to NOT DOING WORK leads to FEELINGS OF GUILT leads to … etc etc.

How do you combat this?

“Discipline is key" - JG

Break the cycle by physically setting time aside for practice. Depending on the day of the week and other commitments, the type of productive work will differ.

10/02/19

Cleaning the palette

Cleaning the palette

12/02/19

One good sketch is better than not drawing at all.

One good sketch is better than not drawing at all.

16/02/19

“What’s for you won’t go past you.”

Reworked pattern and colours on clown today.

17/02/19

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Great to get painting today albeit a little later than I would have liked.

Counting works - didn’t realise there were so many!

23/02/19

Belfast. Great to see the last day of ‘The Question of Feeling at Home’ in PS² - curated by Moran Been-Noon. Bonus to get a run down from Moran about the show and to see Cecilia Bullo’s work in the flesh! Been excited to see it since her talk in the DLR LexIcon last year. Next was a visit to Belfast Exposed for the ACNI collection show with a solo show by Linda Conroy in the upstairs space. Conroy’s work is disturbing and utterly absorbing at the same time. Removing notions of the individual from religious ritual resonated with me personally. Then it was on to ‘Porous Plane’ by Lennon in the Golden Thread Gallery. The sheer scale and vibrancy of the work was immense. In the information leaflet it says that “no knowledge is required to enjoy the beauty of these paintings” and that Lennon “invites each of us to find ourselves and arrive at our own inclusions”. Leaving room for the viewer is something I’m particularly keen on.

Lastly onto the wonderful ‘Alternate Perspective’ in Platform featuring work by Aimee MeLaugh and Karl Hagan. Both reflect on ‘memory, people, places and trauma’. The grandeur of history painting coupled with highly personal and intimate narratives. Wonderful painting exhibition.

25/02/19

flame.JPG

Project profile submitted.

27/02/19

It’s the journey not the destination.

28/02/19

Nearly into third month and nothing really to show for it. Plenty of works in progress but not enough progress being made.

RDH: 01/12/18 - 31/12/18

01/12/18

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Blocked out “Bereft Clown”.

02/12/18

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Found an ogham poster on North Street with an interesting translation.

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Vault studios is amazing - especially EMIC’s studio space!

04/12/18

…text to coincide with next solo show…

08/12/18

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Studio work today. Thought I was close to finishing ‘confessional’ but it might be further away than I imagined.

09/12/18

“You make a mistake when you explain the paintings through the war.”

Mark Stevens - on Bacon’s “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion”

Several shooting stars.

15/12/18

Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. Childhood hero reduced. It's a real jolt to the system.

Trauma doesn’t discriminate. It’s so subjective that it can defy explanation or description. Nightmarish.

16/12/18

Materials courtesy of the  University of Atypical ’s iDA award arrived to the studio today.

Materials courtesy of the University of Atypical’s iDA award arrived to the studio today.

Need to learn to keep some things to yourself.

See it through. Stay strong and keep head up.

17/12/18

Panic attack today.

21/12/18

You never fully appreciate someone until its too late. A true legend that has shaped so many. Time with family is so important.

Resolutions < Revolutions

22/12/18

Moon-rise over Glenshane.

Moon-rise over Glenshane.

Thought I had a good night’s sleep but my body is telling me different. Need to draw more again.

26/12/18

Getting lost in thought about art is a joy. It’s like taking a mini vacation.

27/12/18

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Some sketchbook work. Not much but it’s a start.

Look more before putting pen to paper. This is not to say to lose the immediacy during the act of drawing but to take a breath to absorb and examine what an image has to offer.

29/12/18

Finished “Confessional”. Maybe when the mind is distracted slightly it makes studio work more of an automated response? Decisions were made and action was taken.

confessional-finished

Not saying having a completely distracted head-space works. Far from it. I’ve been there plenty of times and it’s disastrous. No. It’s more a case of - you’re in the studio and you have a clear(ish) idea of where the work will go so you follow that. The decision making dilemma is lessened due to the preoccupation of other matters going on upstairs.

30/12/18

A bit of work done to “Bereft Clown before clearing the palette and studio up for another year.

bereft-clown-in-progress.JPG

RDH: 01/11/18 - 30/11/18

02/11/18

… all but done…

03/11/18

Do I need a foreign colour? “Afore the Stoop” went in a slightly different direction than first thought. I think I had that quote by Helen Johnson still ringing in my ears about imagery possessing different surface qualities and being on different registers on the same picture plane.

afore-the-stoop-in-progress.JPG

The buzzard is still; hovering overhead while the still-life is in flux. Melting in on itself. To not just merge separate imagery on the one canvas but to treat them differently via technique. I’ve done this regularly in the past but never to this extent before and definitely not on this scale. There’s loads going on: blocked areas, melting, washes and burning/corroding of the surface for texture.

confessional-in-progress-detailJPG

Confessional” is a different beast altogether. It’s going to be a slower process - building up washes of colour, drawing elements back in followed by more washes until it comes to an end or a crossroads. So far so good. It’s not really a colliding of images. It’s the notion of what a negative of a pattern could do to another image.

Refreshing to see organisations opening doors. The model is being altered.

04/11/18

afore-the-stoop-teeth-detail.JPG

Kept hearing the shrieking of a buzzard every time I went to work on “Afore the Stoop”. When I looked it was perched on top of the tallest tree at the end of the lane and then glided off.

06/11/18

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Some sketchbook work. Not a lot of time but that’s my fault.

09/11/18

HELP!

10/11/18

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For studio work: cautious steps or daring leaps? Annoyingly close to finishing “ATS”.

Submission writing hurts my head.

11/11/18

Films to watch:

‘Deer Hunter’

‘Inland Empire’

‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’

’Kill List’

‘Enemy’

‘Fruitvale Station’

‘Green Room’

‘Silence’

Finished “ATS”. Still bits that annoy but for the sake of not destroying it entirely, I don’t mind the imperfections.

afore-the-stoop-detail.JPG

Help has been indispensable.

12/11/18

Still waiting on magazine.

13/11/18

Egon Shiele Documentary - transcending the idea of the body as beauty.

15/11/18

Nothing.

16/11/18

Belfast bound for curator talks but looking forward to visiting some galleries first.

Jane McCormick’s “Not Half Right” at the University of Atypical  was absolutely amazing. Insanely strong drawing and sculptural elements.

Jane McCormick’s “Not Half Right” at the University of Atypical was absolutely amazing. Insanely strong drawing and sculptural elements.

Ali Cherri  in the MAC International 2018. His work was the stand out work for me.

Ali Cherri in the MAC International 2018. His work was the stand out work for me.

Curator talks as part of Belfast Open Studios from  Visual Artists Ireland  offices. Speaking at the event: Nora Hickey from  CCI in Paris , Ika Sienkiewicz-Nowacka from  CCA Warsaw , Dean Brierley from  Caustic Coastel  in Manchester and Anna Ciabach - formally of  Monopol Gallery  in Warsaw.

Curator talks as part of Belfast Open Studios from Visual Artists Ireland offices. Speaking at the event: Nora Hickey from CCI in Paris, Ika Sienkiewicz-Nowacka from CCA Warsaw, Dean Brierley from Caustic Coastel in Manchester and Anna Ciabach - formally of Monopol Gallery in Warsaw.

17/11/18

Work is being used as an example to show other artists about finding your own voice. Chuffed.

…someone has been keeping an eye on my progress and that is something!

Another trip to Belfast for more galleries and then a Speed Curating event.

Gerard Carson ’s “Submersible Extractions” in  Platform .

Gerard Carson’s “Submersible Extractions” in Platform.

Still of  Barbara Hammer ’s work at the Golden Thread Gallery exhibition.

Still of Barbara Hammer’s work at the Golden Thread Gallery exhibition.

Layout of the ‘Speed Curating’ event by VAI held in  Belfast Exposed .

Layout of the ‘Speed Curating’ event by VAI held in Belfast Exposed.

18/11/18

It has been a hectic but brilliant few days. Yesterday I called into Platform to see Gerard Carson’s “Submersible Extractions” and a solo show by Dryden Wilson. I followed this up by a quick look at the Barbara Hammer exhibition and Patrick Colhoun’s project space work in the Golden Thread Gallery. Then it was time for the speed curating event at Belfast Exposed.


… do research. What artists i admire….

…Strange. Nothing negative. Just nothing.

A lot of information. A real painter?

19/11/18

“In Defence of Representation” essay by Tristan Garcia.
In western philosophy the representational object is either a copy, a sign or a duplex.

“… according to the semiotic model, there is no representation without signification, that is to say without interpretation.” - Tristan Garcia

20/11/18

“Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” - Screen (1973)

“The Victim” - Saul Bellow

21/11/18

Tried sketchbook work - failed miserably.

23/11/18

Projection onto fog screen.

24/11/18

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Thunderchild?

Line of connection between viewer and work - GO’H

Ask the question: what do you see?

25/11/18

Yesterday I eventually got painting around lunchtime - back and forth with ‘Confessional’ but progress made.  Great talk with GO’H about ‘the gaze’.

Leaf blowing.

27/11/18

Need to select paintings for Framewerk Christmas show.

28/11/18

“The Trouble with Painting” - ICA (YouTube)

“What you’re interested in in the world will feed back into what you are interested in as an artist.” - Alison Pilkington

…speaking about dreams, a quote from Alison Pilkington’s drawing seminar from the RHA really stuck out.  I’m paraphrasing here but the guts of it is this:  talking to people about why you make the work you do (or about your inspirations for that matter) is like talking to people about your dreams.  People aren’t overly interested when someone else describes a dream.  It’s subjective and personal and it’s all but impossible to get the experience across properly.

Sketchbook work.

Sketchbook work.

29/11/18

A difficult few weeks to come.

RDH: 01/10/18 - 31/10/18

01/10/18

… of interest. Attainable small steps to reach big goals.

02/10/18

Delivery mix up.

05/10/18

Booked VAI speed curating slots for November.

…LA… fingers crossed!

06/10/18

initials in ogham

initials in ogham

Experiment in the studio with a degree of success. When a fine layer of fixative is lit on the paintings surface, areas of the canvas that are predominantly charcoal or thin layers of colour are singed and blister - creating an interesting effect. Safety first though.

Jan is right —> the lighter background to “Pioneer” was more unsettling. Rectify.

studio-shot-06-10-18.JPG

07/10/18

Staring at “Pioneer”. I think I’m hesitant because its… I don’t know. I think the colours are too similar between light and shade. By the same token - you don’t want it to become too contrasting and cartoonish. A foreign colour introduced into the third panel may point a direction.

third-panel-pioneers.JPG

Flying by the seat of pants but you can’t control the spontaneous. Some detailed work today. It is getting there. Attention directed towards other matters.

… paintings and clusters of drawings - like a shotgun spread of memories. Jumbled - linked yet conflicting. Fighting for dominance.

\\\THE TRAUMA PARADOX\\\

08/10/18

Just realised a connection between “AMATGS” and the ivy crown. Oedipus plays would have been played during the festival of Dionysus - who is associated with a crown of ivy.

09/10/18

“ I gave myself permission to follow my voice and that’s what my whole career has been. I still give myself permission and no compromise. I compromised before but not when I became an artist.” Mark Bradford

10/10/18

World Mental Health Day.

11/10/18

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13/10/18

“Into The Void Magazine” submission successful!

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Sketchbook work and now watching the original ‘Suspiria’ for the first time.

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14/10/18

Notes finished for presentation. Pleased with burning effect on triptych.

… was suggested something on Friday. Well it was more of a dialogue regarding “Pioneer”; the first and last sections work. They’re strong but the one that should be the strongest and the anchor, the middle piece is way behind. Changing from a triptych to a diptych? Leave it for a while - continue working on all three before abandoning the middle piece.

Using ash as a painting/drawing medium. Religious links? Why do ideas come in the final minutes of the day? Processing process.

18/10/18

On way to Dublin. Looking forward to talking about work in DLR Lexicon. Not nervous. Yet.

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Just saw the most beautiful fox casually strolling across a field outside Armagh.

I’ve been skirting around issues. The ‘recall’ notion might be worth exploring again. Drawing. Painting. Video. Audio.

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The DLR Lexicon is stunning. Really enjoyed the other talks - especially work of Cecilia Bullo.

19/10/18

Yesterday’s trip and talks were great. Just wish I had more time to go around some of Dublin’s galleries when I was down. Decided it was best to drop the middle canvas in “Pioneer Studies”. Finished the other two pieces and happy with the results.

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20/10/18

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A little tweaking to “Afore the Stoop”.
Dad suffered a bleeding eye following his operation.

22/10/18

Have been neglecting practice and methods during the week. Ards - it seems a long way off but it will fly in.

Keeping your finger on the pulse is no bad thing.

24/10/18

Personal history is a source - not the explanation. ‘imagine…’ with Tracey Emin on iPlayer was insightful. Have a new found respect for Emin’s practice and quite like a few of some of her new paintings.

27/10/18

No paints were used today but three canvases were started. The smallest piece - I don’t think will have legs. As a drawing it is strong but I feel it won’t work on canvas. I’ve drawn up “Bereft Clown” again - a different size to the previous square stretcher. Will see how it goes. The third canvas is the one I’m most excited about. It’s a merging of two images but in a slightly different way. First is an image of a German officer stationed in a concentration camp. The other is a negative of a confession screen. The idea is to project light through the lattice onto the portrait. Fright Night in the jungle was great fun!

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28/10/18

Slept so much. Slow progress but progress nonetheless.

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31/10/18

Spacing error.

“I’m really interested in creating moments of ‘push and pull’ in paintings and having different registers of imagery with different surface qualities - so one thing might be compositionally in the foreground but materially might be being subsumed by whats behind it.” Helen Johnson