Studio Journal — a visual diary of sorts, documenting studio life and work in progress since moving into my studio at Yew Trees in August 2020. You can receive a summary of these posts in your inbox once a month by signing up to my newsletter.
Fellow artist Anne Guest and I collaborate on photography based projects together. In theory this is an ongoing process; in practice we usually cobble something together when there’s a deadline looming… In 2019 we were fortunate to have a body of work displayed in the Elysium Gallery as part of the ESPY Photographic Awards and so with a new call on the horizon we have started work on a new series.
We’re looking at non-native plants and their importance as markers for us at the start of spring in the English garden. This is Forsythia, originally native to China and Korea. This is the first stage, we’re looking at producing stained cyanotype prints as the final presentation but plenty of experimentation to get through in the meantime.
I’ve printed out and hung a couple of new prints on the studio wall today. Top one is a crop of a Reconstructed Nature print taken last autumn, the bottom one is a brand spanking new shot of a couple of intertwined allium seed heads. On my table in the background is the very early beginnings of a new large stripey piece. I’m just starting to put together the colour palette and thinking about the design at present.
Spent the day at the studio getting ready to open on Tuesday. The gallery wall is all ready and the studio is looking a bit tidier too. Still some jobs to do though, so looking forward to getting those out of the way and then I can make some more work.
We’ve got some new poster frames up on the outside of the building. When we’re open we often hang work up outside but that’s obviously weather dependent – these should be a bit more hardy. It’s added publicity for each of us and we can swap over the contents on a regular basis to keep things interesting.
New identity = new business cards. Not that I’m on witness protection or anything, but what with my expansion from mere photographer to artist _and_ photographer it might have looked a bit odd and I don’t want to cause any confusion and be forced to explain myself…
I’ve painted my gallery wall a light/mid grey (it says Turtle Dove on the tin, I couldn’t get Battleship). The old wall was magnolia which is fairly bland; not white but not a shade of anything really. The wall needed patching having removed one shelf and then moved another, so I took the opportunity to change the colour to somethimg which I think shows off my work better, especially with white frames. It also photographs much better, the magnolia either looked off-white, or if I tried to brighten the image afterwards, it was a balancing act between getting the wall to look less creamy and over-exposing the artwork.
It wasn’t until just now that I made the grey connection with the traditional way of metering in the black and white zone system. A grey card was used to calibrate the film exposure. The mid grey used reflects 18% of the light hitting it hence the term 18 percent grey. Getting far too technical I know, lots more here if you’re interested.
Spent this afternoon at the studio getting things ready for opening again in, hopefully, ten days or so. My new artwork is too big to fit on anything but the top gallery ledge, so I’ve removed the middle one, shuffled the top one down so that will take larger pieces, and then added the now spare one into my studio. Not finished yet but here’s a sneak preview with the pieces I was using for sizing.
I’ve just finished this diptych which, needless to say, has taken on a life of it’s own and turned out quite different to how it was envisaged. When the colour stripes are initially laid out I get an idea of how they work as a block of similar colour but when there’s a join, the two areas often interact in ways that aren’t apparent from the start.
This pair started off the other way up and I was thinking about channels and funnels but the heavier red/blue works better on the base and so it becomes more pyramid or mountain-like. The jagged join looks like the ragged edge of a volcano to me and the ‘sky’ has pieces falling from it, hence the ‘Vent’ title.