helenic: (Default)
My life is currently all about getting ready for the pub's first art fair next weekend - the Mad March Fair. If you aren't planning to come and could make it down, please consider it! Sussex is only an hour and a bit from London or Brighton on the train, and we'll have lovely foods, real ales and live folk music as well as arts and crafts by awesome people. Confirmed exhibitors/collaborators so far include Deirdre Ruane, Nikki Tompsett, Lucy Kennedy, Ailbhe Leamy, JV Mallory, Ara McBay, Lynnette Jackson, Laura Clark, Sam Kelly, Andrew May, Catriona Mackay, Laura Jayne Kemsley, Joldine Moate, James Hooker, Gemma Wells-Colyer, Pauline Louch, and moi.

The big messy making weekender I hosted t'other week (a trial run at the sort of art and crafts workshop I want to put on at the pub) went brilliantly - here's a write up with loads of photos if you're interested. We produced an astonishing amount in the time available, including several collaborative paintings (my first in a while - always something I find hugely energising) and I'm really proud of what we achieved.

Since we started planning the pub arts programme back in January, I've been motivated to spend my minimal spare time trying to produce a few more paintings to show at the fair, some smaller pieces to complement the bigger ones I already have.

Paintings so far this year! )
helenic: (elephant reaching to the moon)
The Queen's Head is proud to present our first ever arts and crafts fair! We've got also sorts of creative plans for this year, and to kick it all off with a bang we've teamed up with local gallery organiser Nikki to host a big, inaugural Mad March Fair on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March.

Artists, makers, crafters, knitters and cooks are invited to book a stall to show their own beautiful creations. We welcome any homemade or hand-crafted item. Soap, cosmetics, jewellery, notebooks, collage, paintings, prints, cakes, chutneys, wood-carving, metalwork, leatherwork, knitting, embroidery, clothing, bags, cushions, masks, greetings cards, painted furniture, painted mugs, pottery - you make it, we'll show it!

Please contact helen@queensheadrye.com to enquire about booking a free pitch. (Instead of charging you up-front we'll ask for a commission on any sales - we want this to be as accessible as possible.)



Admission will be free to the public. The Fair will be hosted in our timber-beamed Function Room and open from 11am-8pm both days. There's a free gig on the Saturday night in the Lounge Bar once the Fair closes, so feel free to hang around and enjoy the mystical medieval folk of local minstrel Kim Thompsett and her band.

Come along, browse beautiful hand-crafted items, buy gifts, sample some delicious handmade cakes and preserves, sit down for a cup of tea, a pint of real ale or cider and a plate of our homemade pub food. Stay around for the evening and chill out with some live music. Invite your friends!

Mad March Fair: facebook event
helenic: (inspiral)

A couple of weeks ago I did facepainting at Planet Angel for the first time since December last year. I had a moment last week when I was saving [personal profile] olithered's photos of our Glastonbury installation to my hard drive (I still lament the loss of mine, but it is excellent to have some at all). I opened my "art" folder, looked for the "2009" subfolder, and realised that I hadn't created one yet. I hadn't done a single artwork so far this year.

Facepainting at Angel reminded me of that. Everyone commented how long it's been since they've seen me; it was the first time I'd worked it this year. I went to the Party in March with Denny, but wasn't crewing, and working Planet Angel is like working Glastonbury: a completely different and more rewarding experience, albeit on a smaller scale. The break was good for me, though. When they invited me to come back (due to a long story which resulted in the regular facepainter being forcibly ejected and told never to darken their doors again) I managed to negotiate shorter hours - 11pm-3am rather than 10pm-5am- with [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii taking the second half of the night from 2-5am. This made the whole experience far more pleasant for everyone; I didn't get over-tired, bored and cranky with the punters I was painting, and I got to dance and see people, and it was lovely.

It was a good weekend to go back, as loads of friends were there I hadn't seen in ages: [livejournal.com profile] anarquistador, back from Australia for a couple of weeks for the first time since he went home over year ago; [livejournal.com profile] bluedevi, [livejournal.com profile] innocent_irony who I hadn't seen since the Stonehenge rite we went to for [personal profile] bard's 30th; [livejournal.com profile] tephramancy who has been hermitting the last couple of months, and Laura WINOLJ, who is my ongoing unrequited PA girlcrush, and who I hadn't seen since the last time I was there. After I finished working, it was lovely to sit out in the garden with the girls, also including [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet and her friend Jenny: all awesome women from completely different areas of my life, none of whom I see often enough. We smoked and gossiped and laughed and talked about some surprisingly intimate and difficult things, and it was affirming and brilliant.

The other thing that made that Planet Angel particularly fantastic was the music. I kept walking through rooms just as a classic tune was coming on. After I'd finished working I wandered into the Meltdown Room just in time for some happy 90s anthems that just made me bounce and grin like a loon; I caught Cellardore's Adagio for Breaks as I was heading out of the crew area through the Funky Room, and had to stop and dance to it. Then I decided to head out and find my people in the garden, so I went back to the crew area to get my jumper. As I came down the steps, laden with my bag and outdoor clothes, Cellardore was playing his filthy drum and bass Baker Street mix, and I just dumped my coat on the edge of my dancefloor and started skanking like a loon; he segued straight into his Tubulur Bells mix, even dirtier than the one before, like some sort of fantastically feel-good nostalgia session. After that finished I decided to keep going and get outside, but as I stepped into the Ibiza Bar an extended d&b remix of Faithless' Insomnia came on, so once again I dumped all my stuff on the floor and threw myself into it with abandon.

Cellardore's stuff isn't available for sale yet, but he's signed to Acidic Records (run by some friends-of-friends) and there should be something released soon. I adore everything I've ever heard him play. It's driving, filthy, melodic, bass-led mixes of classical and breaks and jazz and just, he explodes genre and the rhythms make your brain fizz and your heart jump and your blood sing; it makes me want to dance and laugh and punch things and close my eyes and cry, all at the same time. I have spent most of today streaming his stuff on repeat. Listen for yourself, let me know what you think.

helenic: (Default)

So I have a new Earth·Sky·Art blog (an Earth·Sky·Blog?), which is currently standing empty. What I am inclined to do is start posting all my art posts over to that, and stop posting them here (or only post friends-only versions with Sekrit Information, and stop posting public art posts here). In the run up to starting to use that blog, I have been posting more and more public art posts on this journal, so the percentage of content I'm talking about moving is currently fairly high.

The thing is that I want to stop using [livejournal.com profile] libellum for marketing/promotion. It is my personal blog and I use it socially. I by no means expect any of my friendslist to buy any of my products, and I have no intention of asking them to (although I'm happy to respond to interest, of course.) This is not a selling journal and it's not an art journal, although art is one of the things I post to it.

The thing is that I usually get several comments on art posts, and I don't want to lose that readership because feedback/flattery is one of the things that motivates me. Yes, I am vain and shallow, but I'm disappointed when I post art and no-one says anything. So stopping posting art here, where I have several hundred readers, and starting posting it on a new blog that has no readers, doesn't really make much sense.

Should I duplicate all posts, so they're here as well as on E·S·A? This doesn't really make much sense either - I'd be better off having the "Blog" link on my website come to my LJ, and then only post art-related entries publically. But sometimes I want to make other public posts, and as I said before, I don't want this to be a commercial blog, and I do want a commercial art blog somewhere.

What I'm inclined to do is syndicate the E·S·A blog and encourage anyone interested in following my art to friend the RSS feed. Does that sound like something you'd be willing to do?

I would create a poll, but I have stuff to get on with, so your responses can be FREEFORM.

helenic: (Default)

- Mermaid is finished and on my website. That was fun. I particularly enjoyed the TINY TINY LINES in the hair. OMG DETAIL. *happy place* Chinese calligraphy brushes are awesome.

- I am doing the Art Market again for two days on the weekend after next (27th/28th). From the sound of it they have MANY VOLUNTEER SPACES every weekend, probably because no-one is willing to give them any money when no-one ever sells anything. Clearly I am a glutton for rejection, but I figure it's worth one more try before I give up. This time I will have greetings cards, more art, prints, and you never know, I might even do some promotional work beforehand.

- My DaWanda shop is online. I have re-written all the blurb for all the artworks as the text on Etsy was very po-faced, and chatty seems to be the way forward on a home-made craft site. Now I need to go back and edit all the Etsy listings, but I might wait until I've added a portfolio to one of the poncy fine art portfolio sites, where po-faced might be more appropriate, so I can copy it across before I replace it.

- PinkDoodle haven't sent me the confirmation email I need to verify my account, even though I've triple-checked the email address and re-requested it twice. I sent them a support email on Monday and they haven't answered that either. So that may be a lost cause.

- RedBubble is AMAZING. You upload unwatermarked, unbordered, high-resolution images, and they run a print shop for your stuff. You can sell fine art prints, canvas prints, posters, greetings cards, t-shirts. They charge a base rate for each item and you add whatever you want to markup on top of that. Or you can order stuff yourself at the base rate and sell it on yourself. This is utterly fantastic, but uploading high res images using my connection is a very slow process. Still, if any of you wanted Little Elephant cards, you can get them here. They aren't square, sadly. I will be uploading other colours and other images soon, but it's a massive job because I can basically upload everything I've ever sold to this (apart from commissions, obviously) and that's a LOT of art. I am optimistic, though.

- Really, I want to be printing my own greetings cards wholesale. I really don't know where to start with this though. Professional printers are very expensive, and I'm not sure I'm at the stage of buying 100 copies of each design even if I could afford it. Even at that quantity it's still about a quid per card. I don't mind folding them myself, though, and I don't mind blank insides, so maybe I should just look at ordering glossy A4 prints on card, with two cards laid out flat on each sheet, and trimming/folding them myself. Unless any of you know someone who runs a printing shop, or who has a professional quality colour photo printer? Would be happy to pay for using the latter, of course.

- This summer I have spent 95% of my time on marketing/online promotion/correspondence/framing and mounting/art fairs and 5% on actual painting. This is the WRONG WAY ROUND. And I know stuff like getting my website online and getting these online shops set up only needs to be done once and then they can tick away in the background while I do new art, but still.

Anyway, at least I'm focussed. And poor. But poor, focussed and happy. I'm doing what I love, I'm more or less keeping on top of things, I think there's a sliver of hope that I might be able to earn some money off this yet. Although it does occur to me that finally getting into the swing of producing/promoting art in a concerted, professional way now is fairly ironic. I mean, it makes perfect sense in terms of my personal and professional development over the last two years, but there's a recession on. Now is perhaps not the time to be setting up a small business selling luxury items.

- So, er, yes. If any of you want any prints or cards, keep an eye on RedBubble. I'll be adding the archives to it over the next few days.

- Three sites down, including the one that I can't seem to sign up to. Seven to go! At this rate, I might be done by Christmas...

Mermaid

Sep. 15th, 2008 03:15 pm
helenic: (Default)

Daunted by the prospect of sitting at a stall for eight hours, I took my watercolours with me to the Angel Art Market on Sunday. The people wandering round the gallery politely ignored me, even the ones who acknowledged my presence (most people are too nervous to smile and say hello back, because they are scared that you will try to guilt them into buying some of your art, which they have no intention of doing. I'm not going to attempt a hard sell, I'm just bored and want to say hi), but the other artists kept coming over and craning round to look without even asking first. I had to resist the urge to clamp the paper to my chest and scowl at them, instead sitting there with a fake smile plastered on my face while they wordlessly scrutinised my work. Occasionally they'd make comments: "Keeping ourselves busy, are we?" "Working on the next masterpiece?" Sometimes I'd pre-empt them: "Just passing the time." "Just amusing myself!"

The bloke manning the stall opposite me was very East London and cheerful and kept the hard sell attempt up all day long. He was exhibiting his wife's London skyline photography, which was very good, actually, although they didn't sell anything either. Early on in the day I was occupying myself by mounting Leaf Spiral. I was doing this with a craft knife, a pencil, some mounting board and some pritt stick. I didn't have a ruler so I was using offcuts of mounting board. The results, unsurprisingly, were not perfect.

Bloke: (wandering over) Do you mount your paintings yourself, then?
Me: Er, this weekend, yes.
Bloke: Don't you have a professional mount cutter?
Me: ...

Things I did not say:

1. If I had a professional mount cutter, do you think I would be KNEELING ON THE FLOOR USING A CRAFT KNIFE?
2. This IS a professional mount cutter, you twonk. I am a professional. This is my cutter. Now sod off before you get on the wrong end of it.

He wandered over again while I was painting.

Bloke: Keeping ourselves busy, are we?
Me: Just amusing myself, really.
Bloke: (looks at painting, blinks) Er, good!

At this point he hurried off without saying anything else. Are mermaids that upsetting?


Not quite finished yet; I want to do a bit more detail on the tail and in the hair, and add more ferns. Possibly some fishes. I can't work on it today though as I couldn't find where I'd left my watercolour pads and paper after our drunken painting session last night. But I was too impatient to wait before I posted her. I'm particularly fond of her purple body hair. :)

helenic: (Default)

Called Candid Arts this morning about the October art and design fair (a big event, not the same as the weekly markets) to ask if they had any spaces left for volunteers. They said in general, they weren't offering free stalls to volunteers, but rather a 30% commission on sales instead of an up-front fee. I'd be happy with that, but sadly they don't think they're offering any for the first weekend of the fair, which is the one for painting/fine arts and therefore the one I'd be interested in. The others are all design, textiles, jewellery etc. They said if they did decide to offer any stalls on that basis they'd bear me in mind, but they don't think they will. I suspect they've got enough people willing to pay that they don't need to.

I am hungover today. Last week, when I realised that I hadn't had a day properly off since Glade - I've had days not working, but they've all been spent moving house and going to weddings - I promised myself I'd take two days off after the art fair to watch films and sleep and recover. This morning, I realised that I just can't afford to. Once I've got some paid work lined up, or I've sold a painting, then I will stop. Until then, I can look after myself, but I can't take two days completely off. So I am not in bed, I am pottering and drinking tea and planning, answering my modelling emails in the hopes of booking a shoot or two, and scanning in new artwork.

I went round to Straylight last night to see people, because I wanted chats and company and wine. The Snug is a fantastic work space, productive and private, but not terribly good for socialising or relaxing, yet. It was lovely to see people - the usual suspects, plus a cute pagan historian from Yorkshire called Lizzie, whom I may have rambled at drunkenly, and also [livejournal.com profile] sashagoblin, which was a lovely surprise. I got there late and she left before she turned into a pumpkin, so we didn't get as long as I'd have liked, but I am looking forward to seeing her again at Planet Angel next weekend. Which I am facepainting at, again - hoorah! :)

I really, really needed a drink, so Chris very kindly bought me a bottle of white wine since I couldn't afford to buy anything myself. Which I then proceeded to drink all of. I ranted about the art fair, and then started talking enthusiastically about my pagan card/calendar ideas. Somewhere along the line, asking Chris if, in theory, he could help me with the symbolism for some of the festivals I'm less knowledgeable about turned into me spreading out the whole of my DruidCraft tarot deck in order on the bed in three concentric circles.



Inner circle - Major arcana. The journey of the soul through initiation and rebirth. Spirituality, abstract concepts. The inner universe. Faery, the non-physical realm, the innermost (and outermost) ring of druidic cosmology, outside time.

Middle circle - Court cards. The self, facets of identity. People, personalities. The human realm. Relationships, interaction.

Outer circle - Minor arcana. The physical realm - real life, the mundane and day to day things. The external world, the measurable universe as it exists in time.

What you can do is spread them out in a wheel so that the Ace of Pentacles is the Winter Solstice, the Ace of Swords is the Spring Equinox, the Ace of Wands is the Summer Solstice, and the Ace of Cups is the Autumn Equinox. The minor arcana then create the wheel of the year, with the four major pagan festivals falling on the Sixes. The court cards for each suit are spread out evenly around the four quadrants/seasons, with the Princesses aligned with the Aces. Then the Trumps are spread out with The World/The Fool aligned with the Winter Solstice, and The Wheel/Justice aligned with the Summer Solstice. You can then read symbolic correspondences between all the cards in terms of where they fall in the pattern. It was AWESOME. Things fit in really cool ways.

It's not completely perfect, but that has only inspired me to make it all fit even better when I design my own tarot deck. I was hoping that the seasons would be immediately visually obvious from the colouring on the cards, and they aren't, although the trees on all the cards are mostly at the right time of year for the seasons they fall in. I want to design a deck which is coded chromatically into this pattern, and I'd want to add an extra ring, for the four-part goddess/lunar cycle and how that fits in with the wheel of the year, with full moon falling on Beltane and new moon falling on Samhain, and I'd want any moons appearing on the cards to be in the right phase for where that card is in the wheel.

Oh, it was awesome though. We got very excited, and I made LOTS of notes and now have at least eight designs in mind for each of the festivals, and several for some of them. I am going to aim to produce a set of Yule cards in the next couple of months, and then work on the rest over the next year. So this is going to be a general eclectic Wiccan/druidic print set, but I have so many ideas of other themes I can do. Like a Heathen set, and a fairy set, and a goddess/lunar set ... I am very excited :)

Anyway, by the time we'd finished with that I was drunk and giddy, and proceeded to get drunker and giddier. At some point in this process art happened. This resulted in OMG SPONTANEOUS SPEED PAINTING with Chris dictating images and me getting what he was describing down on paper as fast as I could. I had to get [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii to help with the people because I am rubbish at figures from imagination. And of course the drunker and tireder we got the worse the paintings got. But! So cool! I want to do more painting like that.

helenic: (Default)

I made a website. I am very pleased with it. It's taken me weeks, in a slow, creaking-together-in-my-head sort of way, coming back to the graphics every so often and poking them a bit, trying to work out what on earth to do with the background gradient, having small ideas for the galleries. Then last week I sat down with the code and cranked the whole thing out in three days. This involved getting no sleep at all on Thursday.

For months I've been saying things along the lines of, "I cannot wait until earthskyart.com is online, and I have shiny new gallery software and do not have to create new html pages every time I want to add an artwork!" The observant among you will notice that earthskyart.com is online, and the gallery pages are still all hand-coded. The thing is that I spent ages looking at gallery software. Gallery is not customisable enough; none of the Lightboxes or Lightwindows are suitable. I looked at Drupal and Silverstripe, but Drupal isn't optimised for galleries and Silverstripe uses Lightwindow. I need a gallery that has the ability to display multiple images on a page, and as much blurb as I like. I don't want to be restricted to a single image per artwork and one-line caption.

It would be awesome to not have to create new pages for each artwork, but if I want a page on each artwork, I may just have to suck it up. The conclusion I've come to is that my needs are specific enough that unless I can afford to commission my own CMS, I am better off doing the cut-and-paste donkey work. (Although thanks to the magical wisdom of Denny, I am being initiated in the mysteries of SSIs, which will help a lot.) But having a gallery that auto-generates "next" and "previous" buttons on each page and lets you tunnel through the pages as well as click through from the gallery would be awesome. I did encounter http://www.zenphoto.org/ on Saturday, which might be worth investigating. Now that it's online there is nothing to stop me tinkering with it, in theory - although in practice, I simply do not have time and will just have to make do.

But I have a website, and now it's done and not perfect, but Denny has said to me several times that I am spending more time than I can afford on this, and if I were budgeting to pay someone else I would be much less inclined towards perfectionism. And it's good enough to send to people. And I have shiny, shiny new business cards with the url on. Look!



I also have shiny shiny greetings cards, but I didn't sleep on Thursday night and therefore forgot to pick them up from the post office depot on Friday, so I didn't have them with me for the Angel Art Market today.

Which was, of course, what all this was in aid of.

Well, I did my first art fair. I can add it to my CV. Apart from that, the day really was of no benefit whatsoever. It cost me an awful lot of work, £26 in cab fares, not to mention money spent on promotional materials (although those will keep), and it gained me nothing. I didn't sell anything. This wasn't really surprising, because no-one else sold anything either. It appeared to be normal, in fact, not to sell anything. No-one took any of my business cards, except for the other artists, who were very impressed by my ability to sell any paintings whatsoever through the magical medium of the internet. I possibly have a website job creating an art portfolio for one of the other artists, if she emails me, which is unlikely. In short, the only thing I got out of it was networking with artists who are less successful than me.

It was very strange. I'd always assumed that the world of art fairs and art markets was prestigious and high-powered, and I'm beginning to understand that actually people spend all weekend sitting by a stall and if they sell one thing they're lucky. It's a slow, low-profit margin world for people with too much time on their hands and independent sources of income. This is not how I'm used to doing things. Possibly I need to try other fairs - the annual events rather than the regular ones. But they're expensive. £400 is not unusual for a day's stall hire. I just can't afford that.

I can't decide whether to give it another go or not. The paintings are all still at Denny's, because the cab from his place to Angel was much cheaper than a cab from mine to Angel. So if I was going to do it again, doing it before I take the paintings home would seem sensible. Also, it's possible to do it both days of the weekend and leave your stall up over night, which halves the amount of setting up/taking down work you have to do (and the amount of cabfare you have to pay) for how much exposure you get. So if I was going to do it again, I'd do it in the next month, for both days of the weekend. I reckon it's worth one more try, but to be honest I do not see much mileage in this avenue. Which is a shame.

There's an annual art and design fair this October - with very expensive stalls - also by Candid Arts, so I'm going to call first thing in the morning and see if I can work it. I can't afford to hire a stall, but if I could volunteer (as I did today) then I might have more luck there. Apparently it's busier. And all the promotional work I've already done will continue to be useful, so it hasn't been a total loss.

It's odd, though. I haven't sold a painting all year, apart from one small thing through Etsy - my art's been in the Pembury for nine months with no interest. I don't have anywhere new to exhibit my paintings yet and I'm probably going to have to spend a couple of days going round cafes and restaurants and galleries in town seeing if anywhere is interested. I need a print portfolio really, and that's not going to be cheap to put together. But in general, I am most optimistic about selling things online. I have a list of places to sign up to, now, in addition to Etsy - Pinkdoodle, Dawanda, All Trade Art, Artist Rising, Red Bubble, Artist Portfolio, Visual for Business, Sexy Art Gallery. I have ideas for erotic art projects (and a couple of promising commercial leads), and I'm planning a Wheel of the Year pagan greetings card/prints set with cards for each of the eight festivals which I can then try and sell through the pagan community. I'm going to be looking up interior designers and sending them my portfolio and trying to get contracts doing series of paintings for commercial premises, because there is REAL money in that and I'm not proud when it comes to making bland or trendy art, it's still more fun than temping. So, you know, I have lots of options and ideas and I've not given up hope.

But ... I've been working harder this last month than I have in a very long time. I haven't stopped since I moved. I've been juggling two careers and not dropping any of the balls; I've been crossing things off my long-term to do list; I'm motivated and disciplined and productive. But ... I'm very, very poor. I'm not eating properly, partly because my appetite's been fucked ever since I switched contraceptive pill in May, but mostly because I'm living on £20 a week after rent and half of that goes on Oyster. My rent was late last month because the standing order bounced first time round, and I couldn't afford the £40 fine for that any more than I could afford the £60 parking ticket we got when I moved. I'm holding it together - just - and Denny is very patiently loaning me cash when I need it and paying for me to go out and eat and drink the rest of the time, but god, I'm sick of being poor, and I've spent the last week working on my art website, which of course was unpaid work, and I was really hoping that it would pay off and I'd sell something today, if only so I could cover my own expenses. Selling a big painting would have made this month a lot easier; selling a little one would have made the day seem less of a waste. As it is, I'm exhausted and out of pocket with nothing to show for it but "experience". I'm not gutted - I knew this was likely - and I'm trying to look forward and be optimistic and stuff. I'm not demoralised. But I'm very, very tired, and it would be lovely if the myth I was brought up with were true, that if you work hard enough money will sort itself out. I am working harder than I ever have, far harder than I did at uni, and I am much, much poorer.

At some point soon, I will put the art down for a few months, get my design portfolio online and put my nose to the freelance grindstone. Soon, my credit will run out and I will have to stop chasing rainbows and get on with earning hard cash. But I have so many ideas for my art, so much enthusiasm and ambition, so much energy and inspiration. I am desperate, desperate to have some serious painting time soon. I do not want art to be a hobby. I don't want to squeeze it in around the edges. I want to be able to work at it, really work at it, get up in the morning and do it all day. And maybe, just maybe, if I have a solid online presence and a strong portfolio and I do art fairs and shows, maybe I will sell something, and then I will be able to justify painting more things to sell.

I'm not quite ready to give up. I can live on pasta for a little longer yet. But not much longer.

sleep now.

Sep. 13th, 2008 10:09 pm
helenic: (Default)

I can has website!

PS. Yes, I know that there is nothing at earthskydesign.com yet. That's next week's project :)

helenic: (citylights; car window)

The delightful [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard came round for dinner on Friday night. I've wanted to paint her for a while (ever since I saw this photo of her, in fact), and the original plan was to invite her and [livejournal.com profile] wildeabandon for dinner! wine! gossip! painting! (I figured that sitting for me would be less dull with someone to talk to.) Except [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard had a headache, and then I didn't finish cooking until about 10pm¹, and then [livejournal.com profile] wildeabandon left and I was drunk and tired and we decided to do the painting the next day.

This was a brilliant plan. It worked out perfectly. I very rarely spend the day at home, cooking and drinking tea and fussing the cat and pottering. It was really really lovely. I had long chats with [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard, we had a delicious breakfast of muesli with banana and strawberries, and then an even more delicious lunch of all the leftover roast vegetables from the night before chopped up with pasta and pesto and grated cheese. And I discovered that the local cornershop sells real beer! How did it take me this long to discover this? Anyway, they have Fullers ESB Champion and Honeydew in the fridge for £1.90 a bottle, and I had some with lunch, because it was a sunny Saturday at home and I could.

The sunlight was perfect: [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard obligingly posed on my bed, bathed in light, and we chatted a bit while I painted. I kept meaning to take regular breaks but we'd suddenly realise half an hour had passed without me noticing. [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard was brilliant at sitting and didn't complain even though her wrist and back were killing her. I painted her in about four half-hour sittings, possibly slightly longer.



Persephone
28" x 18", watercolour on Chinese watercolour paper


Again my inclination was to shade with colour rather than black/white, although until it dried I had no idea the blue was that intense. I'm pleased with this. The anatomy is somewhat lacking - I've made her spine about six inches shorter than it needs to be - but I was having difficulty fitting her on the paper anyway, and if you didn't know she was taller it wouldn't necessarily be noticable. Given that I sketched in the hands and arms at the last minute while [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard desperately waited for me to finish so she could rest her screaming wrists, I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. I've never done proper skintones in watercolour before and it was fun.

In fact, the whole thing was fun. I had someone to talk to: I had a beautiful naked woman to admire. Having a sitting model forced me to work fast and efficiently; I didn't procrastinate (although we took leisurely tea breaks), didn't fuss, didn't dawdle and didn't get bogged down in perfectionistic detail. I could never, never have painted this in four hours from photos. At least, I don't think so; watercolour is faster than oils so maybe it's the medium that makes the difference. But this was fun. I want to do it again. I want to try to do a life-painting session like this regularly if I can, making space for it properly, with a model all to myself and enough time to do them justice. I've already agreed with [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii that we should aim to do art together every week, so that when one or the other of us inevitably cancels we'll end up doing it about once a fortnight, which is about right. I don't think I'm up to organising a group life painting session (and I don't have the space) but trying to do something like this twice a month or so would definitely be good.

wittering about materials/technical difficulties )



1. It was good though. Garlic bruschetta with pesto and cream cheese; heaps and heaps of roast mediterranean veg drizzled in herbs and olive oil and balsamic vinegar (OMG courgettes: I always forget how nice they are. Also sweet peppers, mushrooms, red onion); cannelloni stuffed with feta and spring greens chopped and cooked in garlic and pesto; lots of garlicy tomato sauce; salad with cherry tomatoes and fresh spinach leaves.

Making the cannelloni was less easy than it looked: first I wasted a whole bunch of lasagne sheets by cooking them stuck together and not being able to separate them without tearing them to bits; then [livejournal.com profile] wildeabandon patiently softened each one for me in boiling water and olive oil and I still had trouble making the rolls without everything falling apart. I had some of the leftover cannelloni and sauce with olives and LOTS of salad tonight though, and mmmmmm good food with fresh ingredients. I should do that more often. Next time I make the cannelloni though I will use goats cheese, and probably mushrooms or spinach instead of greens. Greens are cheap and good for you but not as tasty, and even cooked they were a bit tough and stringy to be a good pasta filling. Possibly I should have steamed them rather than stir-frying them.

helenic: (elephant reaching to the moon)

Man, I've been rubbish at posting art here the last couple of weeks. On the other hand, I've been brilliant at actually doing little bits of art here and there despite working nonstop on hectic design projects during the day. I do still feel bad for not pressing on with Bast, but I will get back to her as soon as I've met these deadlines, and in the meantime it's good that I'm painting for fun, just little bits at evenings and weekends. Nothing so intensive or ambitious as to feel like work, and certainly not slaving away over photo references and composition studies on my own. Painting for fun is not something I have historically been good at. The key is, it appears, other people. :)

So! I've been spending quite a lot of time at Chris's new house since he moved his bed there, which has been great because I've got to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet and [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii a lot, and they're great. We spent an evening a couple of weeks ago playing with paint and ink. [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet had been reading fairy porn (apparently: she has promised to do read us some aloud but we haven't got her drunk enough yet) and so was in the mood to paint a fairy. This is what we came up with:



detail )

Fairy (with Laurie Penny)
16" x 12, watercolours and ink pen on cartridge paper


Laurie was working in pen, I was working in paint. She started sketching and I followed her lead, adding shading and contours. I picked up on the stylised face-shape from her, but she seemed surprised by it, so I think it might have been one of those happy accidents of symbiosis. :) I normally paint realistic faces and I found doing a stylised one surprisingly pleasurable. But then, I very very rarely paint figures from imagination, and I'm not sure I could have done it without Laurie's practised sketching for guidance. The figure outline was immediately and confidently hers, and I just concentrated on adding colour and three-dimensonality.

I really, really like the combined effect of paint and pen, the decorative elements creeping into the painting, adding depth and detail and shadow. It's very much a feature of Laurie's style and I really like it. While we were working on this, though, I found it irrationally difficult to deal with. I'd paint a bit of skin until I was happy with the shading and colours and then Laurie would start inking over the top of it. Even though once she'd finished I'd invariably be impressed by what she'd done, I found myself getting annoyingly possessive about my painting. I'm not sure why this is a problem when my co-artist is working in ink, but it's not when both of us are painting. I guess I'm perfectionistic about anything I have sole control over, and it's a bit of an effort not to be horribly control-freaky when I'm collaborating, although I am getting better at not being. Having sole control of the colouring gave me the illusion of being in control, and then every time Laurie made a contribution I'd get all tense, which was tedious and unfair because everything she was doing was marvellous. Sorry, [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet. Next time I will try to chill out more.

Next I painted [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii, who wasn't very well and didn't feel up to doing art himself, but kindly volunteered to sit for me while I painted him, with the intention of inking the painting once I'd finished. (If I finish my "bit" and surrender my painting to an inker, I reckon I'll be able to deal with it much better than when I'm trying to paint and surrender it simultaneously.)¹



Twitch
16" x 12, watercolours on cartridge paper


He was sitting up on their lovely, silly chaise longue² while I painted this. He was also very tired. I haven't done life painting since AS Level, and even then we were never allowed colour. I therefore had great fun using colours for shading and forbidding myself white or black (although I did eventually succumb to black for the hair).

I am rubbish at hands. Twitch has since improved this immeasurably with his inking skills, particularly the hands, which is rather impressive given he's working without a model to look at. But I'm quite pleased with this, nonetheless. Mostly because it looks like a human being - in fact it doesn't look unlike Twitch - and it only took me half an hour, which is normally as much time as it takes me to get my paints out, make tea and check my email in a desperate attempt to not start painting yet, so it's definitely an improvement on my normal working methods.

1. I'm still not sure which part of a comic book production line I'd be best at. I don't have the skill to be a penciller - not fast enough, not good enough at figures from imagination. I'd need models to sit for each frame and I'm not sure I could illustrate a character to order, particularly not consistently. Ink, maybe, but it's not my medium; colouring sounds like it would be easy but it's mostly digital these days, I'd guess, which again is not my area of expertise. I'd probably end up doing the covers or something.

I do like the idea of doing art in stages, though: passing on a pencil or paint sketch to be edited, defined, pinned down by someone who can take your vague shapes and make them more confident. It's fascinating seeing what someone else picks up on, and I think other people have an immediate advantage in inking, in not having an attachment to the first stage of the drawing, being able to come to it fresh and make judgements about what works and what doesn't. I think I'd like to do more collaborative work in stages like this.

2. LONGUE CHAISE R LONG.³

3. It's not really very long. It's actually quite short. We have, in fact, taken to calling it the chaise short.

helenic: (Default)

Stef replied to my cringing email apologising for not sorting out her Glastonbury ticket refund with laughter, hugs and reassurances. I called to check that you can't transfer ownership, but she's confident we'll work something out one way or another. She still hasn't sent me her photo ID picture, but perhaps she doesn't have it. I'm barely in touch with her, so I'm just going to have to leave that one till she gets back to me.

I did finally chase up the Glastonbury people about whether our crew tickets were confirmed. Which was very interesting: I had a long and fruitful chat which I wish I'd had a few weeks ago, but apparently someone was meant to get in touch with me and the message got lost along the way. Filthy hippies.

We've been allocated to the Green Futures Field to do general field decoration as an independent team. The Green Futures Field is the campaign central: lots of charity and NGO stalls, eco issues, everything based on sustainable energy with lots of info on that. Stef apparently asked them for six tickets, so they've assumed that we have six people able to turn up and make something beautiful. I don't know if Stef had anyone in mind but we need to confirm names by Wednesday.

They want our team to arrive on Sunday 22nd June, giving us three days until the festival opens to the public on Wednesday 25th. They can provide space for us to camp together and some food, but we'll basically need to self-cater. Then we'll be going crazy on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday making the field as beautiful as we can - he wasn't very clear on the details of this but it sounds like any ideas we have on how to use the space will be valuable - there might be someone there directing us, there might not. They can provide some materials but any we can bring with us would be useful. There'll be fences and banners to paint, grottos to fill with interesting sparkle, and basically a huge four-acre space to make as pretty as we can, presumably with the help of other teams.

Everything needs to be ready to launch by Wednesday 25th, so we need our bit to be presentable by then, although we can add to it over the next few days if we fancy it.

I've emailled all this to Stef, because I'm not actually sure if she realised how much time she'd be needed for and I don't know if she has that much leave. The other question is, who's going to take the other four tickets? I'm hoping Simon will be up for one, although I haven't managed to get through to his phone to ask him yet. If any of you fancy spending the days leading up to Glastonbury making pretty things, in exchange for a free ticket and the whole festival free to enjoy yourselves, let me know!

I'm really glad this is actually happening, especially as I still haven't heard back from the Secret Garden Party and I don't want to put loads of work into Glitterbugs if we don't actually get to do it, but on the other hand we're getting increasingly pushed for time ... I'm wondering if we could actually use a lot of the Glitterbugs ideas for the Green Futures field, and then ship it all back to London and finish it up in time for the SGP three weeks later.

So it's good to get it finally confirmed. But it does leave a whole host of other questions. Especially if Stef can't actually get the time off work - I don't think she'd realised it would be a whole week away. I'm definitely up for this one even if she can't make it - a week messing around with paint in a field with a bunch of hippies sounds like EXACTLY the holiday I need. Assuming I can pull a team together, that is. Go on, you know you want to. We might even be able to hire a van and split the cost between us - Simon could possibly drive it - to make getting there easier and save us lugging art supplies and tents on the train. Plus it's my birthday on the Saturday of the festival itself, and now I know my crew job will have finished by then, I intend to PARTY. Come and help me? :)

EDIT: More than enough offers now, thankyou to everyone who's commented! I'm going to have enough trouble working out who to take up on their offer as it is ... although if any of you don't end up on our team and are still desperate to do it, feel free to organise yourselves and email Sam at gff dot org dot uk to register your interest :)

helenic: (Default)

So last Tuesday I finally sat down and did some drawing with my good friends [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet and [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii. They're both accomplished inkers and line-artists, and because my medium is paint and my previous collaboration experience has been limited to thick squidgy messy improvisations in paint, we didn't really feel that compatible, and I've never done art with them before. These days I'm gradually opening up - I may not have a huge amount of shared creative ground with [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet and [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii, but they're very close friends, which does help. I'm still sufficiently self-conscious that I felt uncomfortable starting work while their housemate, who seems lovely but who I don't know at all, was around.

This is very much not my normal style. In future I'd be interested to split the process, with one person pencilling, one inking and another colouring, comics-style; I'm not sure that line drawing lends itself naturally to two people working on something simultaneously. They were fun, though. With [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet I used Chinese ink and she a series of different pens, which she uses far better than I ever will; [livejournal.com profile] cyrus_ii inks a lot, so we both used that. We didn't spend particularly long on either of them - much of the evening was delightfully spent in chatting and giggling before we got round to the serious business of making pretty things. I'd really love to spend longer on something with these two, not least because their styles are both about the intricate details, and there's a limit to how intricate you can get in an hour. I'm also getting the urge to work on something big with these guys. Get some paper that covers the floor, cover it with swathes of watercolour and then work into it with layers of ink and pens, get lost in it, trace a path around the paper and spend ages immersed in different bits.

I can see far more of either of them in these two pieces than I can of me, but perhaps my own influence is invisible to me, in the same way that we can never smell the mild, distinctive smell our own house has, but guests will notice it immediately on coming through the door, and lovers will be reminded of you every time they smell it. Are all artists chameleons? When I'm collaborating I seem to adapt to my co-artist's style far more than I bring my own style to the table. But then, my own style isn't very well suited to spontaneous improvisations. Perhaps if I worked in oils with someone else it would look a lot more like one of my paintings (and, in fact, the K~nesis paintings that include oils do look a lot more like the rest of my art).

belatedly cut for b00bage, which I always fail to notice as NWS when it's drawn rather than photographed )

Untitled (figure)
(with Laurie Penny)
12" x 16", Chinese ink and various pens

Note: The pens probably have all sorts of cool professional-sounding names, but I'm not sure what they are because I don't know anything about pens. Ballpoint? Fibretip? There were colours and everything, it was very exciting. Laurie did all of the pen stuff. I used ink and brush.

This is quite silly and comic-book but I like her anyway. I particularly like her piercings, and the ambiguity as to how much of the decoration is tattoos/body art and how much is abstract decoration. I like how the figure is stylised as well, although I think the anatomy leaves something to be desired. I happily accept the blame for this as I think I did most of the initial blocking out and I'm terrible at doing figures from imagination. I tend towards the unrealistically skinny unless I check myself, and that bothers me. Sadly I'm not very good at drawing curves either, unless I've got something to copy. More life-drawing clearly required!




Repose
(with Andrew May)
16" x 12", Chinese ink


To my eye, this looks like an Andy-painting with some silly Helen doodles over the top, but Andy reckons I did more of the figure than I'd thought, so clearly his distinctive brush style is contagious. This is a very quick sketch but I love it. Andy's style is compelling and moody; to me this looks like an illustration of a scene from an unknown myth. Even though we were making it up as we went along and the lighting isn't accurate, I like how it looks like light is falling onto the figure through a rose window. To me, the figure looks like a mystic, spirit-walking on other paths while his body gathers dust. Or perhaps it's a male version of the Sleeping Beauty story. I don't draw male nudes very much. I should do. Men are purty.

helenic: (polkadot!)

A couple of weeks ago I went over to the warehouse to help Stef paint her bedroom. The warehouse is a huge, bohemian space in Hackney with twelve residents. The landlord is in the music industry; bought the place as a shell and built all the rooms inside. Downstairs is the basement, bike store and recording studio; upstairs is a huge communal open-plan lounge and kitchen space, bordered with mismatched sofas and one wall lined with a long, heavy wooden banquet table. The windows stretch up to the ceiling, eclectic bits of furniture skirt the edges of the room (including leather-upholstered folding chairs of the kind one might expect to find in an early 20th century bus or cinema, a bunch of old-school lockers, odd little chests of drawers and a couple of bookcases) and there are half-finished canvasses propped up all around the walls. The roof is slanted and a high ceiling is measured by wooden beams stretching through the middle of the space.

The bedrooms are tesselated into corners, no floor or ceiling the same height as another. The walls and floors are constructed out of wood and chipboard; metal beams and staircases lend an industrial, futuristic feel. Some of the rooms are enormous, stretching from front to back of the warehouse. There is a communal bathroom downstairs, dark-tiled with a huge tropical plant with rubbery dark green leaves taking up the whole of one corner. The bath is free-standing on four ornate feet; at the first warehouse party I came to it was candlelit and strewn with rosepetals. There's a tiny cabin shower-room upstairs with a perpetually damp floor, and Stef's room is next to this. She travels so much that she needs somewhere with low enough rent that she can afford to keep the room while she's out of the country. Her room is a bed-width space tall enough to stand in, with awkward metal rungs leading up the wall beside the window to a cabin bed built into the very rafters of the building. Bed above, bed-sized space underneath. That's it. There's no furniture except a low shelf/desk space under the window, made out of chipboard resting on car tyres. The walls are covered in paint, mannequins draped with chunky African jewellry, and clothes are bundled everywhere.

She shows me some of her artwork - postcard prints of minutely detailled, decorative art. Figurative studies in the style of henna tattoos, every inch of paper covered with tiny, beautiful decorative designs that shape the contours of body and background. Some are layered with translucent paper bearing subtly different designs, the visible layers combining to create three-dimensional structure. She works in pen and ink, calligraphy ink, acrylic and glass paint. The walls downstairs in her cabin are already sprawling with paint in similar designs. Birds and tiny figures are glimpsed among the endless floriate swirls and spirals. The resulting effect is reminiscent of illustrated manuscripts. She wants to paint the tiny, angular walls above the upstairs bed.

navigating the space )

helenic: (Default)

Did this quick sketch yesterday to practise using the Chinese ink:



Kneeling
Ink on watercolour paper, 18" x 28"


I'm a bit annoyed that the figure is too far to the left of the paper, but oh well, it's only a sketch. When I was working on this I thought it was going to turn out terribly: everything was soggy and bleeding everywhere and all the shapes felt like they were getting completely out of hand, and the paper was crinkling and sticking to the drawing board and argh. Then I got back from the pub and it had dried, and the paper looked fine, and all the shading was translucent and doing pretty much what I'd wanted it to. Note to self: do not judge watercolours until after they have dried.

The paper did tear in a couple of places as I was trying to remove it from the board, though - I'm not sure what I can do to prevent that.

helenic: (moon : mirror)

This is the first in a series of Goddess paintings. It was originally intended to be an icon for my altar, but it's not quite right - and nor is the second one, which is still unfinished - so I'm going to keep trying until I hit on what I'm looking for.

The process by which I created this painting was a new one for me. It grew out of a religious ritual, at the end of which, still in a meditative, trancelike state, I called on Dana (the primary goddess I honour) and started to paint, letting the awen speak through me. I didn't evoke the goddess during the ritual - the intention was to centre myself, do some personal magic, and then open myself to the power she represents and let it manifest through the painting. I didn't expect anything magical to happen with the first painting, but it's the start of a longer soul-work. The eventual aim is that I'll be able to get myself into a headspace where she can be revealed through what I'm painting. I anticipate that quite a few paintings will be finished before this starts to happen, but in the meantime I'm painting personally significant, positive artworks which are finally starting to get close to the pagan iconography I've been talking about for a while now. Commisions and seasonal tidbits are all very well, but my art, the art in me that feels like it means something, is a revelation and exploration of a panentheist divine, but who is revealed most powerfully through the inspiration process itself. It's an exploration of the divine in myself and how it relates to the divine in the world. It's magic realism, playing with various mythologies and symbol sets. It's invocation through imagery, the divine made very real, very physically manifest in the object of the artwork. I'm not sure what else it is yet. But anyway, this is the first one.




Drawing Down the Moon
Oil on Canvas, 12" x 12"

(click for full-sized version)


So. This was started freeform, in a vaguely ecstatic meditative state, charged up with power from the ritual I'd just performed. I started it without any plan or ideas, and in fact for the first two hours or so I very deliberately kept my eyes unfocussed (I've used this unfocussed, high-energy, trance-painting technique before, most memorably with my nude portrait of Kristen). I went back to it a few days later and started fleshing out the details, keeping my mind blank, letting the forms and the colours speak to me. This is the first painting I've done by myself which was as spontaneous and improvised as the K~nesis paintings were. It's an artistic method I pretty much entirely learned from working with Kristen, and I'm indebted to her for that. I wanted to see if I could harness some of that particular creative energy and apply it to my own art; if I could manage to create unplanned art without tapping into Kristen's extraordinary creative energy.

This is also the first painting I've ever done without any reference to source imagery or photos. Even my most unique and imaginative solo work has, historically, been informed by huge collections of source imagery, whether they're photos taken by me, by others or even persuading people to model for me. This is the first time I've broken away not only from my training that had me knowing in exact detail what I was going to paint before I started, but also completing the work without referencing anything outside my head.

It's been a fascinating experiment. Encouraging in some ways - I'm glad that my abilities as a figurative painter aren't restricted to copying from photos or life, even if my anatomy knowledge does leave something to be desired. Technically, I'm pretty pleased with this painting - it's a strong composition, the details are polished, the figure looks human, the symbolism is moderately clever, if totally unsubtle. As a test of my abilities as an oil painter, it's a good start.

But. Can I just say. You know how when I first started getting fired up about pagan iconography and one of the things I was saying was that I wasn't going to do any bog-standard wishy-washy BLUE FUCKING GODDESS PAINTINGS?

YEAH. SO. ABOUT THAT.

It turns out that when you turn my intellect off and tap directly into my subconscious, what you find is that I HAVE AN INNER BLUE FUCKING FLUFFY WICCAN FUCKING DOLPHIN. Lady Frieda Harris, eat your fucking heart out. Could this be any more derivative? My god. Um, I mean, goddess.

Ahahahahaha. Oh, I love it. I love it just as much as I think it's the most hilarious, ridiculous, mockable thing ever. AWESOME.

The title of this piece is, in case you couldn't tell, ironic. In my heart it will always be my Inner Fluffy Dolphin Painting.

Oh, and it's for sale, although I don't have time to put it on etsy tonight. It's small, but it's taken me a couple of weeks on and off, so I was thinking maybe £250? I don't know though, if any of you want it, make me an offer. There'll be prints as well at some point, when I get round to sorting my vast backlog of print orders out. Until it sells I'm hoping to hang it in the Pembury along with the rest of the stuff I'm working on at the moment.

Or I might just have to keep it, as a reminder to myself to never take myself or my art too seriously. Ever.

helenic: (Default)

The launch party was MADE OF AWESOME. Here are just a few of the things that made it one of the most exciting nights of my life EVER:

- My girl! Was beautiful! And everyone who met her for the first time commented on how her gorgeousness lived up to expectation! Which it totally does.

- My boy! Was pure hotness in a pinstriped suit, even if he was wearing a terrifyingly East End pork pie hat (FOR PIMPING). Anyway. He was so hot that people were interrupting their conversations to come over the room and tell him how hot he was. And I got to take him home afterwards. WIN.

- I went up to the bar and asked for a Smirnoff Ice, which I'd switched to drinking after my senses were overwhelmed by the farmiest perry in the world (I swear, it tasted like it came out of a cow. And no, not in the dairy sense). The barman looked at me blankly. "A what?"
"A Smirnoff Ice, please?" I gestured helpfully at my empty bottle.
"You want one of them?" His expression and tone of voice suggested that I might as well be asking for something that had come out of a cow.
"Um. Yes."
He exhaled, and I could sense him mentally re-ordering what he was about to say so that the stupid person would understand. "Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a vodka, lime and soda, which is cheaper, nicer, and has more alcohol in it?"
I blinked. "Yes! Thankyou! Yes, you're right, that's exactly what I want."
"Would you like a lot of lime juice?"
"Yes, I would, very much. Thankyou."
He gave me an amused glance over his shoulder, shook his head minutely, and charged me the princely sum of two pounds for my drink. I wholeheartedly approve of barstaff who know their trade and aren't afraid to tell you when you're being stupid. Taking down consumer brands from the inside, y0.

101 reasons why we throw the best parties )



- We sold stuff! Like, LOTS of stuff! An astonishing and unexpected amount of stuff! We sold:

The Enchanted Forest
Dragonflower (you see the bottom half of it in these photos; there's also a WIP shot from a few weeks ago here.)
Bird of Paradise (the orange and blue painting, which has a red and green hummingbird in the bottom left, although you can't see it that clearly. There's a pre-hummingbird WIP photo here.)
Polarity
Reflection (the red graffiti-style painting in the middle; also here)
Seahorse (the blue/purple painting on the left)
Seadragon (which spent the evening cunningly evading photocapture, but is the green and yellow painting lurking at the edges of these three pictures)
Solaris (the gold head in the foreground)
Arctura (a silver cybergoff head of which we have no photos yet, but which Kristen was very sad to see go)
Cruella (the black and white head with the tall feather)

... Which is 7 out of 11 paintings for sale (the two Planet Angel paintings aren't for sale) and three out of ten heads - almost half the whole exhibition given that the only other thing on show was the Inner Space sculpture. Overwhelmed is an understatement. I'm currently trying to convince myself that my friends aren't just doing this for the sole reason of being nice to me, but I guess that even if they are, that's still rather a fantastic compliment :) And the total sales so far runs to £1210 including a couple of discounts for friends who provided valuable assistance helping set up the exhibition. Which is really rather staggering, even minus expenses and divided between the two of us. SO! Everything sold will stay on show until Sunday 2nd, at which point we can start sorting out collection and suchlike. There are seven heads, four paintings and one life-size sculpture still going (the heads are a piffling £20 each), but to be perfectly honest I'll be quite happy if none of the other paintings sell, because I wants to keep them for my shiny new house. The rest of you can have prints or something. (Sorry, Kristen. Me and Squid are going to steal them.)

The two most popular paintings by far were Dragonflower and Bird of Paradise, and I'll almost certainly be doing a limited edition print run of those two paintings for all the people who missed their chance to own the originals. Denny reckons I should do some more bright, sharp, tropical flowers in oils along similar lines, but unless I'm working to a specific commission I'm bad at that kind of thing. I'd feel like I was ripping myself off. They'd feel derivative and second-rate, and if they didn't sell the whole experience would just be depressing. On the other hand, if anyone wants to specifically commission another tropical flower painting, that would be fine :) I'm also going to be doing a print run of Winged (the green/yellow painting on the right) and Floating since we've had at least one request for each so far, and we'll see how much demand there is for the others. And I'm very tempted to do some more paintings along the lines of Reflection simply because they're so much fun to do.

The exhibition is open until Sunday 2nd - if you're in or near London I'd be thrilled if you could find the time to go and see it one evening. The Foundry is an awesome venue - it's co-founded by Bill Drummond of the KLF, it has the most vibrant graffiti in Shoreditch and entire bank vaults downstairs filled with exciting art, and it serves locally-brewed organic beers which are highly recommended (although the perry comes with a health warning). We're going to be doing print runs of any painting people want prints of, so let me know if you want to put an order in. And if you can't make it, spread the word! :)

I spent most of the evening running around in an ecstatic daze, which increased to near-hysterical happiness when people started buying things. I drank lots of booze. I felt like I neglected everyone while trying to run around doing the host thing: I needed several clones, so one of them could spend the evening bouncing up and down and locking lips with my beautiful artistgirl, one could look after Denny, one could catch up with [livejournal.com profile] whatifoundthere, one could hug [livejournal.com profile] romauld all evening, and one could run around answering questions and taking payments for artworks and print orders and small-talking with all the lovely people who showed up and whom I wanted to spend time talking to. But there was only one of me, so instead I got drunk, squeed a lot, and ran around talking too fast and not knowing which way was up. Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!

MOAR PHOTOS! )

This is beginning to sound like an Oscar speech. )

helenic: (cat cat catty cat cat!)


Moon Balloon
Oil on Canvas, 16x20"


I did this last week, inbetween working on Snow Trail (which got confusing, because the two paintings have very different shades of sky blue - this one more greenish, and the other with a fair amount of violet in it). It was intended more as an exercise in cheering myself up than as something to sell, but I'm desperately poor at the moment so if anyone knows anyone who might be interested, that would cheer me up even more. I guess I'd be looking for about £80 - it's approximately A2 size, and the canvas is painted around the edges as well so it wouldn't necessarily need framing. However, see above statement re. desperate poverty: I'm open to offers.

Also, have a naively optimistic reminder that my ebay auction is ending tomorrow. :)

I (finally!) have an S2 layout: I'm using "Fleur" from the Style Contest, customised with my own colours and banner image. I haven't used tags for nearly a year, since I got bored of keeping it up when my layout at the time didn't support them. At some point I'm going to have to spend an evening going through old entries sorting it all out. But first I need to make more things to sell, so that I have a vague hope of paying my rent this month.

helenic: (Default)

Commissioned painting for [livejournal.com profile] vardebedian as a Christmas present for his parents:



Untitled (kittens), 10"x14"
Oil on Canvas


- FWUFFY!! :)

- the shadows to the left and right edge of the image are shadows, not part of the painting. This picture was taken by Seamus because I didn't actually finish the painting in enough time for it to be dry enough to scan before he collected it. Mea culpa.

- the photo doesn't show the top/right edges of the painting; there's negative space around the tips of the tails, rather than them being cropped by the canvas.

- this is a wooden-framed box canvas about 1" deep, and the blue shading of the background continues onto the sides. I always like the 3D effect this creates.

- the kittens must be grown-up cats by now, because the photo he gave me to work from was a rather old one. It was also about 3cm square. Which wasn't the easiest photo reference I've ever worked from. I ended up scanning it in at 300dpi and blowing it up to 1000px, which made it slightly grainy but enabled me to actually see what was going on.

- The black kitten is a L33T NINJA STEALTH KITTEN. With NO FACE. Or any other distinguishing marks or features. He is a SEKRIT KITTEN ASSASSIN. Apparently he has a white bib which easily identifies him, but I can't actually see it in the photo (and trying to paint it in made it look like it had breasts, because the angle is wrong) so that doesn't actually help.

- Fur is really really hard to paint.

- For most of this painting I was swearing to myself NEVER EVER AGAIN to do pet paintings EVER. I like painting things with personality, and I don't even know these kittens' names, let alone what kind of cat-people they are. The tabby looks kind of curious, and the black one looks L33T and POUNCY and NINJA, but seriously, that doesn't help much. I was bitching to [livejournal.com profile] hythloday about this and he suggested that I invent personalities for them. I suspect he may have been assuming that I actually have imagination.

Anyway, by the time I finished it I didn't mind painting kittens so much, and to be honest money is money and people will always want pet paintings. (I was actually going to voluntarily paint a picture of our old dog for my dad for Christmas, but then I ran out of time so I'll have to buy him something instead.) Not that I'm inviting to all to inundate me with pet paintings. Please don't do that.

- I've decided to stop being secretive about the price of commissions, because although I tend to undercharge my poor friends and let my rich ones give me as much money as they like, this isn't actually that bad or evil a practice, and it's only fair you know about it in advance. So:

Seamus gave me a £50 deposit for this upfront, and we negotiated a rough ballpark of "about £150ish" in total, balance to be paid on collection, on the grounds that:

- He wanted a small painting ("something between A4 and A3)
+ Pet paintings are boring and therefore it takes more money to persuade me to do them.

In the end he gave me £180 including the deposit, which I left to his discretion. Relevant factors in the final price included:

- It was about a week late (partly due to me being ill and partly due to me being slow)
+ It was better than he'd expected it to be
+ It was harder than I'd expected due to smallness of reference, fluffiness of fur, and NINJA-LIKE INVISIBILITY of black kitten
+ He was drunk.

helenic: (on rooftops: critical)

On Friday I asked my parents to bring up one of my school art folders so I could start scanning my old projects. Unfortunately the folder they chose contained very little - mostly materials for screen printing, test prints, laminates, various computer print outs of text bases. However, it did have a couple of nice pieces, including the official school photo of my GCSE art mock exam, which was used as the cover of the school magazine that year. The title (which is always set by the exam board, to be interpreted as you please) was something tepid like "decoration" or "embellishment". I decided to use Klimt's technique of continuing the patterning on the garments of his women into the background of his paintings, only applying it to Maori traditional tattoos and carvings (I think I got the Maori theme from having recently re-read The Bone People by Keri Hulme, one of my all-time favourite novels). This resulted in something approaching a six month obsession with ancient Maori art and their tribal tattoos and motifs - partly, I suspect, because of the bloodiness of the initiation process, the tattoos chipped into the face with flint and dye, an up to three day long rite of passage in which the pain and sleeplessness under the stars was used to trigger a trance state.

image )



(Yes, I'm afraid that you can look forward to seeing lots of old artwork over the next few weeks. I have to have some thread of who-I-really-am to cling to in the midst of the forthcoming sea of revision.)

April 2016

S M T W T F S
     12
345678 9
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 21st, 2017 11:39 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios