helenic: (Default)

Three recently finished pieces which are now hanging in the Pembury:



Underwater Lights
(with Stefania Bounajuti)
Acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"
For sale (£90)

details )




Sea Flowers
(with Lizzie Louise Sudbury)
Acrylic on canvas, 8" x 8"
For sale (£50)

details )




Fire Dancer
Acrylic on canvas, 8" x 8"
For sale (£50)

details )

Many, many thanks to the three artists who contributed to the above. They are as inspiring and talented as they are lovely, and making pretty things with them has been one of the best parts of the last year. More of that please :)

helenic: (cat cat catty cat cat!)

Stef and I started this painting on Sunday night. It was late; we were both tired after a long weekend, and we weren't trying to do anything ambitious. It's not finished yet - we want to add more fine detail - but the overall shape is probably not going to change too much. The working title is an in-joke - I don't know if it'll stick :)





Synaesthetic Culture
approx 15x15", acrylic and glass paint on board


Btw, [livejournal.com profile] promiseclean: is this the sort of thing you were thinking of for your commission? No worries if not, just pondering options :)

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 )

tea dragons

Apr. 4th, 2008 03:52 pm
helenic: (Default)

Stef came round on Wednesday to stay up all night making a big painty mess, which is something I haven't done in far too long. I finally got the chance to play with the beautiful set of Chinese watercolour brushes which [livejournal.com profile] oxfordgirl and [livejournal.com profile] mejoff gave me the winter solstice before last, and which I've carefully carried with me ever since, but been too scared to start using them without feeling like I knew what I was doing. Stef randomly gave me two similar brushes (although without the cunning changeable tips), a roll of linen-soft watercolour paper and a block of ink, which were the missing ingredients I'd been waiting for. She also gave me the confidence to just start messing around with it all, reassuring me that it wasn't sacrilegious to use them without knowing the proper brush forms.



Working with beautiful tools has a pleasure all its own. The ink block is embossed with gold and resisted all our attempts to grind it. We tried knives, a pestle and mortar, even smashing it with a hammer, but it appeared to be made of iron or something. We eventually resorted to tipping a bit of water into a saucer and scrubbing the end of the ink block into the water until we got the dilution we wanted, and then basically using it as a watercolour block. The ink has a dry, musty smell reminiscent of mouldy bread.

I made a pot of fruit tea to drink while we were painting, which had a beautiful dusky dark pink colour in the cup. "I want to paint with it," I said in confusion, "but I also want to drink it!" Eventually I realised I could get another saucer and tip some tea into it. The pink colour it left on the paper was lovely and subtle and changed as it dried, fading from a warm crimson pink to a pale rose.





Tea Dragons
Ink and tea on watercolour paper, 28" x 18"
(with Stefania Bounajuti)


They aren't sure which way up they prefer to be, so I've given each of them the limelight in turn.

April 2016

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