Echo

Jul. 27th, 2008 04:20 pm
helenic: (100% acid free.)

This painting was started late on Saturday night (or early on Sunday morning, depending on how you look at it) a couple of weekends ago. I was at Straylight, where I've been spending an increasing amount of time lately. Sitting in the lounge downstairs, listening to [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet and [livejournal.com profile] gin_gerkitten play the songs they'd written - or half-listening while I painted, and only realising after they'd finished that the reason the songs resonated so strongly with me is that they'd been written by my friends, about our shared reality. I was painting on autopilot, zoning out and not thinking what I was doing until a pattern started to emerge. The resulting spiral is probably a form constant, and reminiscent of fractal patterns or the spiral graph created by the Fibonacci sequence (which I hadn't noticed until Denny pointed it out). The impression of sound waves was very strong as I was painting, hence the name.

I finished it when I got back from Glade, adding gold enamel paint to the yellow highlights to make them stand out more. I really like the result, particularly the paler coloured background at the top and bottom, which I think gives a kind of cosmic impression of depth, although that might just be me. I think if I were doing another one of these I'd pay more attention to the balance of the composition, as the blue spiral at the top makes the whole image a little top-heavy. But it's a very interesting result to the automatic painting experiment, and I like the style enough that I may well do more spiral paintings like this one.


Echo
11.5" x 16.5"
Watercolour and enamel paint on cartridge paper
(For sale - £80)


I'm really hoping to sell this one, as after a month of festivalling I've completely run out of money and I have to move house next month, which is horribly expensive. I haven't sold a painting in ages, which was disappointing after I spent so long getting everything ready for exhibition in the Pembury. None of those have sold, although they're all listed in my Etsy shop as well. Please do take a look and see if there's anything there that tempts you. The prices are all listed in dollars because that's the currency Etsy operates on, but sterling would be far better if anyone in the UK was interested in anything. I'm open to offers, so if you like something but can't afford it drop me a line and I'm happy to be haggled down. I'm also taking print orders this month in an attempt to raise a bit of cash to finance the move. So please do let me know if there's anything you'd like. :)


helenic: (100% acid free.)

These paintings fell out of my head on the Sunday just before New Year's Eve, when I was hanging out at the House of Fun with Denny, Chris and Jay. I was in a strange, solitary, focussed mood, although I'd been grounded very effectively by a beautiful massage from J.

Earlier on in the day I'd been playing with a set of wooden building blocks which [livejournal.com profile] skorpionuk and [livejournal.com profile] dakeyras had given me for my birthday the year before last. The little blocks were of London buildings, including generic skyscrapers and icons from the London skyline - the Eye, Big Ben etc. I was setting up skylines along the stripes of J's zebra-print rug as if the white and black pattern represented the Thames and its banks. Along the top of the skylines, I lined up the tiny wooden cars that came with the set, and the buses, which looked to me as if they were elephants.

The image of elephants making their way in a long line along the London skyline hooked my imagination. I moved my game to Denny's glass desk, where the blue light of his binary LED clock cast strange, futuristic light along the little wooden streets I was creating, reflecting from the glass and back up on the pale wood as if the city was floating in a black lake. We had Mirrormask playing soundlessly on the big flatscreen monitor (with psytrance providing a weirdly appropriate soundtrack), and as the images on the screen changed so did the light bathing my little apolocalyptic landscape in beautiful, otherworldly hues. I tried to capture the effect by borrowing J's camera, but I'm not sure if any of them came out well. I'll get the photos off him this weekend and go through them. Later that evening, though, after a pleasingly zen game of Sac Noir, I had a strong urge to play with paints, so Denny set me up on the floor with the carpet protected by a old duvet. I painted for several hours straight - I'm not sure how long exactly. I've never worked in watercolours before, unless you count the foamy water-based tempura block acrylics we used at secondary school. I'd only brought some with me on a whim - I think the little carry case originated in a bag of unwanted art stuff I inherited from [livejournal.com profile] mostly_a_cat and [livejournal.com profile] mirabehn.

These are completely new, for me, in terms of style and medium. They fell out of my head without thinking about what I was doing at all. I don't know if I could recreate this style or if I'm going to try and develop it. But I love it.



I of V: March of the Elephants
Watercolour on primed paper
14" x 10"

This version of the image is sketchy and imperfect, but I'm still in love with the idea. There's a germ of children's book here, I think. In my head there's something very powerfully emotive about the image of the elephants picking their way, one by one, across the rooftops of the sinking city at the world's end. I'm not sure where they're going, but I can almost hear their trumpeting.






II of V: Indian Elephant
Watercolour on primed paper
14" x 10"

Expanding on the elephant theme. What's the name of those Indian ceremonial robes, the heavily embroidered textiles with mirrored sequins and things? Chris thought it was called jhaldi or jaldi, but Wikipedia hasn't heard of it. Is it Punjabi? Urdu? Anyway, this elephant appears to be wearing some. I don't know where this image came from, but I wish the inside of my head looked like this all the time.






III of V: Pipe Dreams
Watercolour on primed paper
14" x 10"

At this point I started making my companions pose for me. They're very long-suffering and patient, my friends are. This is [livejournal.com profile] romauld, for anyone who doesn't recognise him. I love the minimalist, stylised face, but it all went a bit wrong when I added the pipe, it came out far too heavy. I really wanted to do a hookah pipe, but I didn't know what one looked like. Never mind eh. I like the absinthe-chartreuse green, it's very bohemian.






IV of V: Two Headed Dragon
Watercolour on primed paper
14" x 10"

I think this my favourite of the lot. It's a portrait of [livejournal.com profile] mr_magicfingers and the conflict I perceive in his personality. I wanted to paint him as a Chinese dragon, and this is what came out. The two heads were an accident - I started with the one on the left, wasn't happy with it, started again on the right and ended up using both.






V of V: Ubuntu Wrangling
Watercolour on primed paper
10" x 14"

[livejournal.com profile] dennyd was installing Ubuntu on his computer (apparently he was getting bored with Debian), so I took advantage of the fact that he was sitting still for more than two minutes to paint him. This tends to happen when you leave people in the room with me for any length of time. At least I didn't paint on him.













Click on the images to view bigger versions. All of these are for sale, and I'm going to be turning at least the second one into prints/greetings cards. Not sure about the others, it depends on interest. If no-one buys them they'll probably end up on the walls of the Pembury along with everything else I'm producing at the moment :)

helenic: (tales of gods and monsters)

Starting with the unsold ones...

This is probably my favourite painting out of the whole exhibition - in fact, it's hanging on the wall above my mantelpiece at the moment, I couldn't bear to leave it in storage :) Kristen and I worked on it slowly at her flat over the course of several months. The painting extends onto the sides of the canvas, so it hangs well without a frame, and it's signed by both artists.


Tree of Life
Acrylic on canvas, 32" x 40"
by Helen Lambert and Kristen Clatworthy

Original artwork for sale; £300 ONO
3 limited edition runs of 50 prints available to order

My favourite things about this painting are the achingly bright, distant, late afternoon summer sunlight stretching away at the top of the frame; the magical sense of depth in the spiral of butterflies on the right; the accidental yin-yang pattern emerging from the swirls of colour on the left; the gold highlights that catch the light at odd moments; the sense of lifting, rustling movement you get from the birds flying up out of the branches. It's definitely one of our more psychedelic paintings. I'll be sorry to see it go, but I have a tax return to file in January, so any sales in the run up to Christmas would be extremely welcome!

helenic: (Default)

Kristen and I spent Monday, for the most part, making a glorious mess. We covered the entire flat in newspaper, undercoated everything we could find in gesso, got my new acrylics out, and covered ourselves, two sculptures, two canvasses and the kitchen floor in paint. We got high and went adventuring outdoors, searching for foliage and finding secret dens under the trees. We painted upside down, sideways and in at least three dimensions; with sponges, brushes, leaves, twigs, our hands, cocktail sticks, knives, fingertips and the cat.




The Dryad's Dream
Acrylic on canvas, 40" x 32"


This is definitely my favourite of all the collaborative paintings we've done so far, and I like it more than almost all my previous work. It so perfectly sums up the mood of Monday. When we ventured outside to gather leaves, we were planning to stick them to the canvas and paint over them, use them as texture, but we ended up using them to paint with instead.

It was a shared inspiration from start to finish. We had such a clear picture of the woodland in our heads: the yellow leaflight, the spindly purple trees, the forest creature being born radiant in its midst. Or birthing the forest. I think the dryad is Kristen and I, and the sparks of her creating are us, painting, and the forest is our art.

We are both in love with this painting. I'm still not sure how we did it: while we were working on it I think we were sharing the same trance state; or communicating so fluently without words that we didn't need to speak.

helenic: (neither shall I leave you)

Mike and Kristen's flat is a lovely place to hang out. It's small, cosy, full of books and little hippyish treasures. And paintings. Paintings everywhere. Kristen paints acrylic on board and canvas, and she paints for fun rather than profit; her art is spontaneous and experimental. But when she spends time on something, the results are incredible. Her art is stylised and tribal; there are paintings that have a post-apocalyptic or shamanic feel to them, bold colours and african sunsets. She is visible in most of her figures, and they are magical, sensual, visceral. I've told her she should exhibit in London; she'd love to, but didn't realise it was possible. I know a couple of places, though, so we should be able to arrange it. Personally, I'm envious of her having a collection substantial enough to exhibit by accident, as it were; she's been painting for years without ever really trying to sell them.

I have no experience with acrylics, but there was something so tempting about Kristen's style that I was itching to throw myself in and have a go. Surrounded by her artworks, and using her art materials (very different from my own methods) it was hard not to copy her style; but I suppose that exchanging methods and ideas is the point of the exercise, and the resulting synthesis will benefit us both. Acrylics are very suited both to two people working on the same painting at once, and to spending a day achieving quick, visible results. I definitely learned about spontaneity and experimentation, about abstract art, about starting putting colour on a canvas without knowing what it'll turn into, and letting it speak to you.

Helen and Kristen's adventures in collaborative painting )

April 2016

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