This new idea has been on the cards for a while but getting the courage to get it going with it took a while. It’s been a such a long time since I got the acrylics out and got messy, mixing and dripping! It felt good. Watercolours are nice but not half as fun. Dripping all that grey paint was exciting! I added a bit of politics in there too, creating a ‘Vote Labour’ background, which I hoped would poke through the windows of the house; an ode to Labour and working class Britain. Which is something I think about a lot when creating these pretty paintings, because in truth ‘I can only look- not buy.’ Bristol doesn’t open it’s doors so freely to working class northerners. The property ladder is well and truly a distant dream.
Anyway I sanded the drips and the edges of the wood and cardboard. I don’t half love working on cardboard and wood! It’s reminiscent of work I made during my Foundation and it’s a technique I want to continue. (I’ve prepped two more boards ready so watch this space!) Using acrylic and household paints I painted/smudged/scraped this image of a house in Southville.
I’m very excited to share that after coordinating a workshop for Dolphin School Year 4 pupils to work with Hannah Broadway, a local artist and illustrator, I was inspired by the children to get involved with a local community project called Window Wanderland. I thought why not?! Let’s give it a go!
I had no idea what I was going to make, or how I was going to do it, for a start I could hardly reach the top of my window! But in true Rachel Fenwick fashion I started making midday Saturday and I was still making right until 5.55pm ready for 6pm start! Lights on and here we go!
My practice has always revolved around the home, and back in my 2nd year of Fine Art I was obsessed with the idea of private v public. I made a piece called ‘Nothing like the Privacy of Your Own Home’ If my flat had been on the ground floor I think I would have been tempted to just open the curtains wide and have my home life on display to all. But being upstairs no one would be able to see in anyway. So instead I thought about a Gaston Bachelard quote I used to love. I couldn’t source the exact quote but I know it was something like- ‘Our Homes Frame our Memories.’ Initially I had hoped to write ‘Our Homes Frame our Treasured Memories,’ but lack of space only allowed only the first phrase. I wanted the viewer to think about all the time we spend in our homes. It’s where we wash up, wake up and kiss our partners, sleep, chill on the sofa, listen to our favourite song dancing around the kitchen, where we dine with friends, say ‘cheers’ with a glass of wine, listen to each others problems, share a cup of tea. Our memories are framed within those walls. Our private space. Our Corner of the World.
Carrying on that idea of painting more but painting small, I’ve started delicate watercolour paintings of my neighbouring houses. Inspired by the beautiful homes in Bristol I couldn’t resist drawing the city’s gorgeous architecture and adding those vibrant colours in watercolour. Using my artistic license I’ve added small details and extra colours to these paintings. As I continue painting in this style I’m gaining confidence and I can see the collection building. My phone is full of photographs of houses, so I’m definitely not short of inspiration! Everyday I find yet another house I can see as my next painting. I can already see them as prints too! #bringonSBA #SouthBankArtsTrail #Bristol You’ll be able to see them, and purchase originals as well as prints at Southville Community Centre, Bristol 12th & 13th of May!! See you there!
Since announcing my new year’s resolution of becoming an artist again, I’m proud to say I’ve been pretty busy! BEING AN ARTIST! Although being a busy artist doesn’t leave much time to spend time writing about my progress and more importantly my ideas. My new Instagram page @rachelfenwick seems to have taken over from blog writing. This is probably because it’s quick and easy to add an image and write a few words. Especially seen as I can do it quick and easily from my phone. But now and again I do miss a blog write, just for me really, to talk through everything and get it on ‘paper’ instead of in my head. So here it goes…
So here goes 2018! I’ve begun my new years resolution, I’ve started being an artist again, and I’m enjoying it! More small little paintings of Bristol’s houses to come… then as usually is the way, hopefully it will lead me onto something new!
I painted this as a gift for close family friends moving into their first home. I liked it at the time, but I was even more pleased that the couple seemed to like it! It has become really important in the next steps of me getting back into painting. I’d not painted so small before, the only reason I did this time was because I’d originally set out for this to be a card. It opened up the idea of painting small but painting more.
(And that I should start doing house painting commissions!)
I might not have made much art, but I saw a lot during 2017! One of the things I love most about Bristol is the Art’s Trails. Throughout the city, on weekends throughout the year, suburbs in Bristol open up their doors and transform their homes into gallery spaces. I had the pleasure of being involved in Totterdown’s Art Trail in 2016, and since I’ve absolutely loved the idea! It combines two of my favourite things- houses and art. Not only is it a chance to nosy around other people’s homes but you get to see some amazing art too. I’ve been so inspired by the trails and I’ve been able to take so many photos of houses along the way too. Some of the house photographs are here plus some of my favourite artists from Southbank Arts Trail, Upfest, West Arts Trail, Totterdown and North Arts Trail.
Before I go onto talking about new works for this year, I just wanted to reflect on last year, show you some of the artworks produced by the amazing children I worked with. Working in four diverse schools across Bristol provided me with an amazing experience. Reflecting back on the year I learnt so much and picked up so many skills. It cemented my motive to teach and I know that teaching art is where I want to be. I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone I worked with and the children I (hopefully!) inspired.
I’m back! I’ve been terribly neglectful of my artwork and especially blog posting over the past year, but with good excuse… Last year I got married!! 09.09.17 I became Rachel Bradley and it was by far the happiest day of my life! Although officially now Rachel Bradley, I’ve chosen to keep my maiden name as my artist name. #RachelFenwick I set up a new Instagram marking the start of my artist name and now it’s time to continue blogging and get making! Big things to come in 2018!
‘The Parish Church of Saint Peter Martindale’ Rachel Fenwick, 2017