Following the success of Café Oswald’s, I was absolutely delighted to be asked to create a bespoke painting of a good friend’s family caravan. It was a bit trickier as beforehand I could choose the features I wanted to play a part in the painting, but here I had to stick much more to the truth. I still used my artistic licence to play around with a few things but tried to stick to what was there. A big part of the painting we discussed was the river. We really wanted that to feature on the image even if in reality it was much lower. The caravan was in particular bad spot to photograph from the front but a few sunset shots helped me out greatly. (And climbing over a few fences helped too!)
With a four month delay in the next coming posts, I can only apologise for my lack of up to date blogging. I’ll go into why later, but there is so much to write let’s get on! So way back in August, I was hard at work completing the The Great British Caravan series. My tribute to the time I’d spent caravanning in Cumbria. I had completed the series and was excited to be given the opportunity to exhibit in Penrith. I spent a great deal of time curating the layout of the series. Steering the caravan viewpoints towards the central eye line and positioning the sizes symmetrically. I think the photograph of me arranging the paintings is just fantastic- The Great British Caravan, in my humble yet great caravan. It was a novel feeling leaving my works with the café to install, but a really brilliant feeling to walk in the following week and see them displayed for all to see. I felt extremely proud of the work I’d produced. The red walls looked fantastic and although they didn’t all sell, I loved the experience and it was amazing to have a cup of tea, see my work on the walls and watch from a distance people admiring them.
The exhibition ran from 2nd August- 12th September 2016
This was something I’d been thinking about making for a long time. In fact it’s been a fair amount of time since I actually painted this piece. I made it as a Christmas present for my fiancé. We were considering buying the screen print shown above from Rheged’s Great Print Exhibition, when I said I could paint it myself. I instead intended to paint it with our own caravan home in mind. With a backdrop of Lake Ullswater, our caravan stands proud in it’s beautiful surroundings. The Great British Flag waves in the wind just like the American flag does in the print. The flag adds value to the painting, as for a time we’d been toying with the idea of emigrating to Australia. This painting translates as a big thumbs up to staying here in our English Home.
Waiting for gloss paint to dry takes a really long time! It worked out pretty well- in between jobs I’d paint another layer/section and then leave it overnight to do another bit the next day. Each day another bit would come together, and there would be another hurdle to jump. One hurdle being that I’d originally planned to use masking tape to create distinct lines between the black and white paint; however the gloss was too thick and easily peeled off when removing it. That meant careful hand painting was required, taking time, but achieving a great finish. I’m really pleased with the whole look of the piece, the occasional hand wobble only adds to the authenticity of my home made signpost.
What was really strange for me was making work outside of the studio for the first time. I’ve done some small scale stuff but making something of this size was much more difficult. I was working outdoors- so the weather was an issue, finding a suitable place for work to stay dry (under the caravan). Plus I didn’t have all the facilities of the woodwork space, the advice from technicians. There was no support group around me to bounce ideas around (Especially missing my studio partner Lis). Tutors had warned us not to take this for granted but I understand it much more now.
As well as a bit of painting this week, I’ve been introduced to a new artist who for the first time since completing my degree I felt excited about. I saw the artist on a friend’s Facebook post, which showed the winner of the National Open Art Competition. Indeed it was this guy I’m talking about- Andrew McIntosh who won the award. And I’m not surprised, a painter none the less, Scots man Mackie, managed to paint the very thing I was trying to express in my work almost 2 years ago. He plays with the idea of the private v public, our personal space, our re-treat, our sanctuary. Exposing what’s behind closed doors. As I currently call my home a caravan I immediately fell in love with his work. Not only does his work relate so closely to my current lifestyle he also picks up on the role of contemporary art. He seems to poke fun at the art world, painting an image of Jackson Pollock’s famous Autumn Rhythm in the humble caravan.
To see more of Mackie’s work check out his website http://www.mackie-art.com/portfolio-options/