helenic: (TG; dancing; glowy 2)

I never got the chance to write up the Happening Kristen and I did at Planet Angel in August. It was disappointing and successful in different ways. During the performance itself, it felt very strongly as if we were failing to achieve what we'd hoped. )

Except - afterwards, when we got home and I saw the finished paintings side by side in the dawn sunlight, all I could think was wow. They were - beautiful. I'd had no idea how bright they were. Vast, sunny swathes of colour swooped and soared across both canvasses, all in euphoric shades of pink and orange and blue. The name of the club was represented in images of a planet on one canvas and an angel on the other. A huge blue-purple dragon dived across the top of the picture, patterns streaming in its wake. I stopped and stared at the paintings for about ten minutes, realising that however uncomfortable and disorienting the experience had been at the time, we'd succeeded in our aim: we'd taken the Planet Angel vibe and put it onto canvas. And it was beautiful.

Because we'd stopped painting an hour earlier than we'd intended to, and because the paintings were going to be exhibited at K~nesis, Kristen and I talked to the Planet Angel organisers and agreed that it would be within the spirit of the event to do additional work on the paintings afterwards. The live painting experience was a kickstart, an inspiration, even if it didn't feel like it at the time; we then took the ideas we'd sketched in colour and ran with them. The two resulting paintings are tidier and less chaotic than the originals. We firmed up the structure of the composition, added more imagery. The underlying shape and tone of the two paintings was preserved, but re-imagined, turned into something new.
Works in progress: the paintings during and immediately after the live performance )

And the finished pieces:

Planet Angel I and II
Diptych; acrylic on two canvasses, each 32" x 40"
by Kristen Clatworthy and Helen Lambert
(click on each image to enlarge)

Not for sale
3 limited edition runs of 50 prints of available to order. Prints of each canvas should be ordered separately.

Some favourite things about these:
- The way each canvas stands alone as a balanced composition, but when you put the two together the shape and focus of them is completely transformed
- The fact that the planet and the angel are split between the two canvasses, framing the composition, and each with a mirror in its own half (the blue sphere to the planet, the eagle to the angel).
- The greater dragon head emerging from the background of the canvas on the right, to balance the two smaller dragons on the left; with its huge fiery eye and great blue snout, blowing flames beyond the smaller green dragon. This happened completely by accident, or else our instincts were more tuned in than our conscious thoughts :)

helenic: (hooping windmill)

This was one of the first paintings we finished together, and in a way it remains the symbolic heart of our entire collaboration; the creature being born even as she dreams awake the forest around her. I originally posted it in this entry, but for the sake of consistency I thought I'd repost it with the new improved-colour photo. A lot of people have said they like it, but it's still available for sale, so shout if you're interested in owning it or a print :)

The Dryad's Dream
Acrylic on canvas, 32" x 40"
by Helen Lambert and Kristen Clatworthy

Original artwork for sale; £300 ONO
All paintings extend onto the sides of the stretched canvas, and are ready to hang framed or unframed. Signed by both artists.

3 limited edition runs of 50 prints available to order


Nov. 8th, 2007 02:08 am
helenic: (submerged)

This is the other of the two large nude portraits which were, for us at least, the centrepieces of the exhibition. Kristen modelled for this one, although it's not how I'd have set out to do a portrait of her; rather, what started out as an oceanic blue-green abstract started to suggest a figurative form to us, and I decided to sketch in a female nude based on Kristen. As such, most of the work is mine in the same way that Dancing is hers, but she advised and contributed to various aspects of it.

The result is intended to give the impression of a girl floating in a quiet, moonlit pool, partly submerged beneath the dark water, ripples flowing out from her as she drifts. It's not meant to be a representative portrait of Kristen as I see her, but I did hope to capture some of her beauty in the painting. I don't know if I succeeded...

nude painting; possibly NSFW )


Nov. 8th, 2007 02:00 am
helenic: (moon : mirror)

This painting started life in the bath, at my birthday party in June. It went through several incarnations (and changed colour entirely) before arriving at the form it has now. I modelled for the figure in this one, and Kristen did most of the work on the composition and figure, although I contributed under strict supervision :) I don't really know if it's a portrait of me or just a painting which I happened to model for, but I suppose Kristen can tell you more easily than I.

nude painting; possibly NSFW )

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: (painterly)

I've finally got enough of a gap in my hectic schedule to start posting the art photos that [livejournal.com profile] synthclarion sent me over a month ago. Yes, I know that the K~nesis exhibition was nearly five months ago. Life got complicated.

The short version is that several of the pieces are still for sale, and limited edition prints are available of all the paintings in the exhibition. Prints are available in sizes 8"x10", 12"x16", 16"x20" or A4, A3 and A2 depending on the artwork. Prints will be ordered on a limited-edition basis of 50 prints per artwork; I'm arranging giclee prints from a specialist fine art printer on a choice of Somerset Enhanced Velvet 255gsm, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm, or Hahnemuhle Torchon 285gsm. I'll be posting photos of the paintings one at a time, so comment if you're interested in the original (if available) or a print.

If you ordered a print at the exhibition, I'm sorry it's taken us so long to get organised. I've since realised that the printers I was going to use for the prints back in August aren't actually good enough to get high quality fine art prints. As such, the specialist fine art printers we'll be using charge more per print, which means that the prices listed at the exhibition have unfortunately been updated. You will get a correspondingly higher quality print, however, on mould-made, acid-free textured paper idea for fine art reproduction, so I think it'll be worth the upgrade. The new print prices are as follows:

A4 / 8"x10" - £20
A3 / 12"x16" - £30

Plus postage and packing if applicable. Custom sizes are also available.

I'm still not entirely decided on the subject of prints larger than A3 size. I haven't ordered a sample print yet to see if the images I have are high quality enough for this print resolution. I'm fairly sure they are, but without paying through the nose to get professional drum scans done of all the paintings, I can't be certain. So bear that in mind if you want to order a larger print. Once I've got a sense of the numbers, if people are interested in the higher print size, I'll order a couple of test prints just to check everything's okay. If they're good, which they should be, I'll go ahead with the order; if they aren't, I'll absorb the cost of the test prints myself and ask people if they want the next size down instead. Just bear in mind that larger prints might not be available, but I'll find out before taking any payments, so you won't lose anything if you order one and they aren't good to go.

Hope that makes sense! By the way, if you've bought a painting and still haven't collected it, please do start thinking about arranging to pick it up - I don't want to risk posting anything, and I don't want to have to store them all indefinitely. I'm in Spain from 13th-21st Nov, but I can arrange to be in on weekdays before I leave, and any day after I get back, if you can come and collect.

ps. [livejournal.com profile] synthclarion, my offer of a free print (or two if you want little ones) in exchange for getting the photos done still stands. Comment on the relevant post/s when you've decided what you want :)

helenic: (windowsill; cafe; people-watching)

I was in Camden this morning averting a rent crisis (by depositing large amounts of borrowed cash in my current account; but it's okay, I have a big cheque that will clear before the end of the week) and I decided to get the bus home. I've used buses far more than the tube since I moved, but Seven Sisters from Camden was a mystery. So I looked at the map in the bus stop, and decided that the 29 to Wood Green was my best bet - it went from Finsbury Park to Turnpike Lane, and I figured I could get off at some point between the two and walk across. Except Green Lanes is much shorter than I thought it was, and I ended up not getting off until Turnpike Lane. At first I thought I knew where I was, and struck out confidently towards home across a beautiful triangle of green covered in crisp orange leaves. I don't know why I have this nostalgic love for Victorian terraced suburbia, for the grey and red stone of it, the doctors' surgeries and the buses, the schoolchildren, the over-enthusiastic borough councils putting up big signs encouraging local spirit, the slightly dreary play-parks rescued by ever-beautiful, vast swathes of horse chestnut trees. I love it, and I was almost skipping across the green, kicking at the leaves and loving the autumnal smell in the air, and wanting to bring Chris here soon and show him how lovely it all is round where I live. Except then I realised I didn't know where I was after all, and had to spend another ten minutes studying maps in bus stops and waiting for a 67. But in the end it turned out that I was only 5 minutes away from where I'd been trying to get to. So that was all alright.

And now I'm home, with a pot of strong Ceylon tea and an inquisitive cat sniffing my ankles. I spent a long time yesterday sorting my room out - emptying boxes, reboxing books and folders for long-term storage and carrying them one by one down the precarious steps into the cellar; tidying and rearranging. My bed's been in the middle of the room since I moved in, facing the windows. I've now pushed it up against the fireplace, which means you can't walk round it on both sides and you have to kneel on the edge of the bed and reach down to get at the bottom shelf of my clothes storage unit, but there's much more space on the other side, enough to paint in, and since that's the side the door opens onto the room immediately feels much bigger. I've hung pictures, and while the room isn't finished yet, it feels so much more spacious and liveable in and me.

Today has been productive. I've bought new canvases, I've paid my rent despite the many financial disasters of this month, and set up an ongoing standing order; I've sent emails, including a couple of really rather exciting ones; I've finally fixed the final irritating bugs in the last few websites for Online Galleries, which is a HUGE weight off my mind. I'm now going to make more tea and eat mozzarella and tomato salad, and then I am going to spend the rest of today painting. Painting! For the first time since the exhibition, really, apart from a brief attempt at gouache with Kristen the other week. I have missed it SO MUCH. Yay.

Speaking of which, these two paintings were the most popular in the exhibition - they were the first to sell, and the ones most asked after:

Bird of Paradise

Dragonflower (we don't have a full image of the finished painting yet; the first of these is a work-in-progress photo, the second is from the launch party, and cropped from this photo by [livejournal.com profile] arachne)

[livejournal.com profile] synthclarion very kindly took lots of high-quality photos of all the finished paintings a couple of weeks ago, and I'm waiting to get those back from him before I do things like updating the website and organising print orders. But in the meantime, I want to do more brightly-coloured tropical paintings like these two. My parents have said they'd be interested in buying one if I do a series, but not in commissioning one especially. It occurs to me that the people who would have bought Bird of Paradise or Dragonflower if they'd got there first might well be interested in something similar. If this is you, feel free to let me know; it would be useful to know in advance what sort of interest there is :)


Aug. 31st, 2007 03:22 am
helenic: (windowsill; cafe; people-watching)

1. I am supposed to be packing. I have been supposed to be packing all week. I haven't been doing much packing. I've packed the books in the lounge. That's it: I haven't even started on my room yet, let alone the kitchen and bathroom and porch. I'm confident I can do it between now and tomorrow evening, but I do need to sleep tomorrow evening so I'm vaguely alive for the move on Saturday. Which means I'll be missing Night 1 of [livejournal.com profile] anarquistador's leaving party, but I'm hoping to catch him at some point between now and him fleeing the country forever, even if it's just to find out where he's passed out on Sunday afternoon and go hug him for a bit.

2. One of the complications with the whole "packing all night and all day tomorrow" plan is that the Foundry called me today asking me to be on their radio show tomorrow lunchtime. It's an informal chat show which I've listened to a few times, and I've said yes, on the understanding that I'm staying up all night packing and may not be a) coherent or b) awake even if I have done enough packing to justify going over there for a couple of hours. Anyway, if any of you want to listen to me ramble about our art tomorrow, you can find the live mp3/realaudio stream here. They have keywords to kickstart discussion each show, and apparently tomorrow's are "Electric, eclectic, eccentric". Anyone got any bright or funny ideas vaguely related to those, let me know and I'll take them with me.

3. The Foundry asked if we could leave the exhibition up until Tuesday 4th, because although the place is closed Mondays apparently they have a private showing and they want our stuff to still be up for that. It's more likely to be a mate of the barman than anything highbrow or exciting, but still, it's nice that they want to show off our art. So I need to go round next Tuesday at midday to take everything down, get the screws out of the walls, etc. I'm hoping Kristen can help me as she's off work next week, but I'm not sure what we're going to do with all the paintings. Would anyone who's buying a piece be able to collect it on Tuesday afternoon or evening? If evening, I can possibly leave things at Denny's (he lives near the Foundry) for a few hours to save transporting them across London to the new house, but I don't want to fill his flat with canvasses all week, so if you can't collect on Tuesday you'll need to visit the new house to pick things up. It's Seaford Road, near Seven Sisters. I guess I'll have to rely on cabs to carry everything back there from the Foundry.

4. I have a box in my room containing approximately 4 000 K~nesis flyers. This is aggravating me, as I could really use that box for packing. What do I DO with these flyers? Ideas so far include papering the new house with them and constructing a new sculptural art piece out of them. However, both of these plans involve carrying them to the new house, which means I don't get to use the box. Hrrrrm. I could litter the city with them, but I'm only leaving the house tomorrow to go and do this radio show. Maybe I'll ask people's opinions on air.

helenic: (bordello)

The third lot of photos, by [livejournal.com profile] arachne, are now online! Feast your eyes.

The Planet Angel paintings! These were started at the live painting performance in the Funky Room, and finished last weekend in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a weekend of much art and no sleep. I likes them :)

Me ENTHUSIASTICALLY EXPLAINING our art style to a confused [livejournal.com profile] painted_bird

WHUT?! [livejournal.com profile] synthclarion and I look askance at the photographer.

PURE HOTNESS. I'm telling ya.

Dragonflower and Seadragon (plus random drunk people!)

More here :)

I will stop spamming you about exhibition stuff soon, promise.

helenic: (windowsill; cafe; people-watching)

I've just found these awesome photos of the main wall of K~nesis on facebook! I'm guessing these were taken at the end of the evening - poor light levels, but on the plus side, far fewer people in the way. These are by Kristen's best friend Steve - thanks Steve! <3

Top row: Floating, Polarity, The Dryad's Dream; bottom row: Dragonflower, Seadragon, Reflection, Seahorse.

Top row: The Dryad's Dream, Dancing; bottom row: Seadragon, Reflection, Seahorse, Winged, Bird of Paradise. (Heads on shelf: Cornelia, Paradis, Arctura, Mariposa).

Inner Space

We still don't have any clear photos of the paintings or heads in the sofa corner, but [livejournal.com profile] synthclarion has offered to be Official Photo Person on the day we take it all down, since we're going to need to get high-res images for prints anyway. Here's hoping the Foundry's clientele hasn't trashed it too much by then ...

Oh, and if any of you intrepid writerly types fancied writing an review of the exhibition, that would be amazing, and I will gladly buy you beer. Yes, even if you say you don't like it - as long as you have good reasons for not liking it :)

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.)
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!


This is beginning to sound like an Oscar speech. )

helenic: (ARTISTE dahling)

We're on the Foundry website! It's real! And we're nearly there! Most of this week and weekend is being spent frantically finishing everything. Kristen and I are going to be bringing everything left at her flat in Maidenhead back with us on the train on Saturday, which will be tricky, but since neither of us drive it's our only option. After that, we just have to work out how to get it from the Catcave to the Foundry.

We'll be able to start work installing the exhibition from 2pm on Tuesday afternoon, and the work will all need to be completed by 6pm. We won't get any help from the venue, so the afternoon will be an entertaining one of painting the walls, drilling holes and hanging hooks, sticking up titles and prices, arranging sculptures and canvasses, and working out how to suspend things from the ceiling. It'll be hard work but lots of fun, hopefully.

The Foundry have offered to let us bring all our gear on Sunday evening, so that it can be left there until we arrive on Tuesday to set everything up (they're completely closed on Monday). This would mean that if any of our friends who drive are able to help us transport artworks from Archway to Old Street, then we could do so outside of working hours, which makes things slightly more flexible. However, we would need to turn up with all our stuff after the bar had closed on Sunday - between 10.30pm and midnight would be best. Kristen will need to have gone back to Maidenhead by then for work on Sunday, so if we are taking stuff over on Sunday it'll be just me.

It would be really really useful if any of our friends were able to help with setting the exhibition up, and love/beer/presents would be happily given in return if you wanted to be part of it :) Would anyone be available and willing to help with any of the following?

- driving paintings/sculptures from Archway Road (N19 3TT) to the Foundry (EC2A 3JL) on Sunday night, aiming to get there by 11pm - it's about a half hour drive. We wouldn't have more than a carload; if you had a car in which the back seats could be put down, that would be ideal as paintings could be laid flat.
- driving the rest of the artworks to the Foundry on Tuesday, aiming to get there by 2pm.
- if you don't drive, helping us carry paintings/sculptures down to the taxi on Sunday or Tuesday (one of the sculptures is heavy and fragile, and will take some care to move).
- lending us tools to hang paintings - an electric drill and hammer would be particularly useful
- coming along on Tuesday afternoon to help vandalise do creative DIY in our corner of the Foundry (Kristen and I will act as creative directors so you don't have to have any ideas unless you want to, but since we're quite short on time it would be fantastic to have an extra pair of hands to help with the physical work).
- distributing flyers around your London workplace, or pubs/coffeeshops etc this weekend

If there aren't any drivers available then we can make do with taxis, but if we could get even one lift there on either day then it would make it far, far easier and cheaper. Please let us know if you're around at either of these times and able to help out! Free drinks at the launch party and similar boons are available in exchange - as well as our deep gratitude and the chance to be involved in an art project which is extremely special for us, and hopefully fun and exciting for everyone else :)

And for everyone else, a reminder: the exhibition is set up on Tuesday 21st, but the launch party will be the evening of Wednesday 22nd, from 6pm (I'm not sure what time we'll be arriving). There will be interesting and entertaining music by [livejournal.com profile] kilinrax, locally brewed beer, and lots of art as well as ours - but of course, ours is going to be the most interesting. Do invite friends, family, co-workers, and rich people.

If you can't make the launch, the exhibition is open until Sunday 2nd September. I'll be there on the evenings of the 21st, the 22nd, the 23rd (maybe) and the 24th, so I doubt I'll be able to give any other guided tours. You are, of course, welcome to look round in your own time, or turn up on any of those nights to say hello :)

helenic: (hooping control)

I've ordered flyers! 100 of them! They should be arriving in two weeks, and they will be AMAZING.

I went with the first design in the end (I'd have used two, but it would have cost twice as much and I'm tight-fisted like that). What I didn't anticipate was having to redo the image from scratch in order to get it to a size and resolution the printers would accept. The eventual image has completely different proportions from the original design (it's relatively about half again as long) and was about three times larger, which was too big an increase to just size it up. Anyway, it's done now. Here's an ensmallened version of the final print image:

large images beneath )

In other K~nesis-related news:

- I have a binbag containing 10 identical pale heads in my kitchen. No, I have not in fact decapitated decaplets, although I think that that would be an awesome name for the artwork when it's finished. And no, I'm not looking forward to having to explain this when I take them through Paddington station this evening.

- The head shop was unexpectedly closed on Saturday, so Kristen and I ended up casting about desperately looking for things to cover with paint. Our initial plan to make plaster casts of the roots of trees sort of faltered before we even started (my neighbours were watching, the plaster was the wrong sort, and we couldn't find any suitable trees). We were at a loss until I realised that I had some bits of mdf in the downstairs loo which I'd obtained from Freecycle to board up the old catflap with, and which I'd kept for painting on at some point. The pieces of mdf are thick, curved squares (what's the technical name for a square with curved corners?) and they take paint BEAUTIFULLY. We undercoated them first in white gesso, then did a background layer of acrylics before swapping to oils for the details. Unlike the texture of canvas, the wood grain is perfectly smooth, and the colours came out amazingly brightly, with a polished finish.

We didn't finish any of the paintings, but all of them are another step on from our previous collaborations. The themes of the day were tropical flowers, excessively bright colour, dragons. One painting started out trying to be an extreme close-up of sunlight filtering through the red petals of a passionflower, with dark waving stamen in the foreground and the perfect filigree of veins on the coloured petals. It went through a tentacles-and-hellfire phase, and is now resting between firelight and tropical blooms. Another started out as a bird of paradise, and quickly became a dragon in flight, although it might be a hummingbird pretending to be a dragon. The third (on canvas) is just bright, bright petals and leaves in electric blues and oranges and greens, sharp focus foreground and fingerpainted blurs in the background, leaflight and moisture. It's simple and complex and beautiful. I don't think these paintings are really trying to say anything. Apart, perhaps, from pure joy in colour and life and sunlight. They are a dance, a riot, of colour. Ever since Kristen left I have been itching to return to them, become immersed in that radiant, sensory world.

- Tomorrow, we work on heads. This will involve me giving Kristen head. I don't think I'm going to tire of this joke, EVER.

helenic: (darkside : lightside)

[livejournal.com profile] cuteevilpixie's and my exhibition is now on Facebook, which means it must be real. 21 confirmed guests so far! 27 might show up! I <3 Facebook. Thankyou so much to everyone who's planning to attend, and to [livejournal.com profile] dennyd for helping with the promotion. (This being the man who has just said to me, and I quote, "I wonder what the capacity of the venue is. Breaking that would be cool.")

Kilinrax is confirmed as being in charge of the music for the launch party on the 22nd (although due to licensing laws we can't advertise him as a DJ). This is EXCELLENT news, and he too deserves many thanks, for giving up his time to make our exhibition way cooler than it would have been otherwise. Also many drinks. He deserves to be bought lots of drinks.

I has been making FLYERS.

(click to view full size)

Now, apart from the wanky-but-sadly-necessary art blurb, I'm pretty happy with this. It's based on a combination of images including the Perfect Storm nebula, the ant nebula, and The Dryad's Dream. I love the whole burnt gold summer colour palette: sunlight through leaves; forest; flame; sunburst; clouds boiling into space.

Denny, on the other hand, thought it was too brown. "You should do a more blue-toned one for the geeks among us," he said. "Based on Polarity or something." At which point I started FLAILING, because firstly, dude, it's not BROWN. And secondly, this image PERFECTLY ENCAPSULATES the synthesis of immediate and infinite natural environment which is present in the art we've done so far, and we're going to be focussing much more on that juxtaposition of microscopic and macroscopic (molecules, nebulae, fractals, extreme close-ups of foliage and elements) as we develop this exhibition. There'll be a lot of galaxies and stars and universes, but also rainforests, the northern lights, the human form. It's going to be lush and organic and the colours will be intense. And I don't know how I could express that juxtaposition using just the Polarity image (without mentioning the fact that painting is still unfinished, and therefore I'm not keen on using it in a flyer) or just a space-based image. A fractal image would be perfect, but we don't have any fractal paintings yet, and it's a bit daft to have a flyer that doesn't include any of our art.

Anyway, I don't want people to look at our flyer and go "ICK BROWN" so I made some differently coloured versions.

(click to enlarge)

The last one is pretty, but it's kind of wintry, you know? And what we're doing is definitely summer art.

So, tell me what you think? And I'll doubtless be making more flyers as we produce more artworks. (Which will hopefully start happening TODAY, as Kristen is in town!) I mean, the whole nature of this exhibition is that the artwork is improvised and it's sort of essential that we can't entirely predict what we'll end up with. We have inspiration, but that provides a starting-point rather than a goal-post. So it's sort of inevitable that the promotional materials are going to evolve with the collection. I mean, if we could describe the entire exhibition in advance, it wouldn't be very experimental, would it?

By the way, I'm probably not going to be posting collaborative artwork online from now on. We have to give you some incentive to come to the exhibition, after all. I shall restrict myself to blurry cameraphone photos and tantalising prose descriptions. BWA HA HA.

helenic: (Default)

OKAY SO I was totally going to finish posting the art from Monday before I posted about this, but it's nearly midnight already, so. Skip to the end...

On Tuesday I took Kristen to the Foundry, because everyone needs to see it, especially artists. For those not in the know... )

When I saw [livejournal.com profile] cuteevilpixie's paintings, my first thought was that she should sign up to exhibit them at the Foundry. By the time we got there on Tuesday, we'd spent the weekend together, and the last 24 hours doing art. We turned up with our hands in each other's pockets and without really thinking about it, we were asking about whether their ban on joint exhibitions extended to collaboratiions. Turns out it doesn't: if every painting in the exhibition is by both of us, that's fine: we're effectively exhibiting as a single artist. Which wall did we want - the bar wall, the far wall or the library? The bar wall, we reckoned: it was the biggest, the most visible, and it included a whole snug area by the window with a broad windowsill and various ledges for putting sculptures on.

So Kristen and I are exhibiting at the Foundry from Tuesday August 21st to Sunday 2nd September. It'll be entirely collaborative work. Organic, kinetic, hippyish paintings; painted sculptures. We're going to hang coloured fabrics, totally fill the space. Tuesdays are the open mic piano night, so the launch party will be Wednesday 22nd August. We can organise our own DJ if we like (we're thinking of asking one of the Planet Angel resident DJs if they're interested, but if any of you would be up for it, let us know?). Oh! And also we need a photographer to take opening night photos, so let me know if you want the job? Not sure what the exhibition's going to be called yet - we're toying with the idea of K~nesis. I'll be posting a flyer when I've drawn one up.

Tuesday August 21st to Sunday 2nd September. The Foundry, EC2. EXHIBITION! Me and Kristen! Our paintings! Exhibited! In London! OH MY GOD I HAVE AN EXHIBITION. And it's all thanks to Kristen :) We have two and a half months to produce ALL THE ART IN THE WORLD and I totally could never, ever, have done this so soon if it wasn't for her and what she's done for my art and creativity.

YOU ALL HAVE TO COME AND SEE IT. Please. Bring your friends, your family, random people you meet in the street. Especially bring any friends you have who enjoy hippyish paintings and might have, say, about £300 to spend on a big beautiful piece of art this summer.

I has a Kristen, and an exhibition: life doesn't get better than this. :)

helenic: (darkside : lightside)

Polarity (unfinished)
Acrylic on canvas, 40" x 32"

This is the other painting [livejournal.com profile] cuteevilpixie and I produced on Monday. There's still work to do on it, but this is the stage it had reached by the time Kristen went home.

We started out with the pink/blue background, and I had the sudden delightful idea of working back into the wet paint with cocktail sticks to create the spiralling swirls and tendrils. They moved effortlessly through the paint - it was so so pleasing to do - and I love the way that the lower layer of colour shows through beneath. After pausing to let the background dry (during which pause The Dryad's Dream was produced) we decided to start painting the ant nebula. It got a wee bit abstracted, however, and ended up looking more like a strange sea-spider-squid-thing.

We returned to it the next day and added some fine detail to make it slightly more nebula-like. The idea was to make it suggestive of both the ocean and outer space at the same time; I didn't find the idea of it simply being a sea creature particularly interesting, but the idea of a creature/nebula surrounded by stars and bubbles was much more appealing.

The title was suggested by [livejournal.com profile] dennyd and [livejournal.com profile] romauld, based on the fact that the creature/nebula is reminiscent of a dipole field. I like the ambiguity of this painting. Nebulae that look like insects; sea-squid-spiders that look like magnetic fields; bubbles that look like galaxies.

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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