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Sunday, 30 September 2007

Putting a dream out to pasture


Have you ever had one of these moments where you feel incredibly sad but also relieved?
This is how I feel right now.
I brought my gorgeous mare to her retirement home today.
It's a great place where loved and well cared for horses come to live in peace. She walked off the trailer and into her new home with a serenity and a calmness I have seldom experienced.
It was with a sense of great relief that I watched her walk off confidently and happily into her new home; relieved at her acceptance, relieved at knowing everything is going to be OK.
The sadness comes from knowing that I have closed the last chapter (for the time being) on my life with horses. Family commitments and too little time have meant that, for now, horses are a thing of the past.
It's a strange feeling knowing that something you have worked so hard with for so many years, with a passion and a devotion you never suspected you possessed , should have no more room in your life.
Rugs, blankets, bandages, wraps, grooming kits, shampoos, potions, bridles, saddles, numnahs, ropes, head collars, boots, medication, girths, all are packed away safely hoping to see the light of day again. A symbol of a deep hope maybe...

I once read this quote by Mary Beth Danielson: "If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again."

I feel she really hits the nail on the head.
Horses were my dream, my life and all that this entails.
Now life has asked me to show maturity and let go.
I have.
This chapter of my life is well and truly out to pasture.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Drawing of a little friendly pony named Beauty


This is a gorgeous little guy known by the name of Beauty. I took the reference photos down on my knees he's so small. His portrait is the first of a double commission, he has a little brother (literally) that I have also been commissioned to draw.
Have started on his portrait today and hope to have him finished to post by the end of the week. Like Beauty I am drawing Bonfire on Steinbach paper using graphite pencils (6B, 2B and 2H) and a touch of charcoal.

What is art?

What is art?
Now that must be one of the most controversial and complex questions to answer.
Controversial in its subjectivity and complex if only by the number of art forms there are.
This actually means answers (usually long and longer) can be given at so many different levels and in no definite way.
Having said this, answers have been given and in quite a large way.
So why ask I hear you think.
Well, I believe it is an important question for every artist to think about at least once and to attempt to give a coherent answer.
(You can read a a good critical article on defining art by Arthur Dirks about why and what)

So I will put my thinking cap on and probably bore you all to tears.

OK here goes. If you don't want to read any further you could always check out the wikipedia, free encyclopedia for their definition and answer to Art.

A spontaneous answer would be the classic: "it's a fantastic means of expression". How shallow is that?

Start again.
Art, is something comes straight from the heart.
It is something which comes alive without boundaries. making it unlimited.
Art is something that takes your mind places, your heart places.
In my case it has been a steady discovery of myself, a wonderful way of facing fear and dealing with life. A reason for stepping up to reality.
Art is the reward for patience, deep emotion and gritty determination.
Art causes the viewer to react, to feel, to think.
It connects with the viewer and becomes something that you (the viewer) cannot take your eyes off. Something that stays anchored in ones memory.
Great art stirs thought and something very deep within.
There is something intangible that makes it special and at the end of the day it really boils down to what we like.

Have I come any closer to answering the question of what makes art art? Maybe not but one thing for sure is that I have been pondering about the answer for days now. Focusing on making some kind of sense of the ramifications the question has lead to. The nice thing is that there is no wrong answer and I feel as though have dotted my I' and crossed my T's.
Back to the drawing board to let loose some of that gritty determination...
Ciao ciao

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Kim Santini, painting with colour and personality.

There are several artists out there that are having a great influence and indirectly helping me with my art and my understanding of the art world. Over the next few months I would like to pay credit to them, pay credit to their talent and the way in which they generously share their knowledge and experience.

The first talented artist I would like to mention is Kim Santini

Kim is the founding member of the CAG and fellow EAG member.

Kim Santini’s work is worth taking time to enjoy.

Once in a while you are struck by an artist, by their use of colour and light.

By work that is alive, colourful and vibrant.

I remember the first time I saw Kim’s work. It had all these attributes and more. It struck a chord.

The painting was entitled Patience.

I stopped, looked and really enjoyed.

“Patience”, a close up painting of a donkey, shows an imaginative use of colour and light to portraying a classic pose of a donkey. Kim brings emphasize to the donkeys mood by her use of colour and interpretation of light. Detail is left to a minimum.

The result is one of serenity, calmness and beauty.

Throughout all her work the colours appear bold, are always strong, leaving a very marked presence.

Somehow the looseness and carefree brush stokes really highlight her joy for life; her way of combining and using colour make her work memorable.

Her subjects are overflowing with life.

In “Rapt”, a portrait of a black lab, you wouldn’t be surprised if he was just to come out of the canvas to say hi.

In “Turlington” the emotion in this Border collies eyes so beautifully rendered.


Kim is also a dab hand at “controlling” her use of colour. This can be seen and enjoyed in Caravaggio.

“Caravaggio” is just superb. The palette is smaller, the effect enormous. Kim’s portrayal and interpretation of the sunlight on the baby boxers coat quite stunning.

A great artist with spirit and life, Kim’s work will make you stop, make you look, listen and remember...

Kim's energy and outlook on life have been a great eye opener to me. She has shown me how good it is to be oneself and all that one can achieve by just "getting up doing!". that life is to be lived with movement, feeling and memorable colours.

Monday, 17 September 2007

New art project, drawing of hands and cats.


I felt it was time to master a great but (I find) very difficult paper called Mellotex.
I had the great opportunity to assist Mike Sibley's workshop in July and saw first hand the stunning results this master achieves using this paper. Apart from possessing an incredible talent, I am hoping that this paper has a lot to do with his stunning drawings. (Checking out his work is really worth it and a definate feast for the eyes.)
The very interesting thing about this extra smooth sheet of paper is that forgives no sloppiness or rubbish pencil strokes but on the other hand allows for an incredible range of greys and textures.
Needless to say that over the last couple of days I have been going through a string of emotions ranging from utter frustration to letting out very loud sighs of relief.
Here is the second step of this "out of the comfort zone" drawing. I am soooo curious to see what my end result will be. The journey there is definitely a great learning curve ... no short cuts allowed just concentration and control.
More to come.....

Friday, 14 September 2007

The internet maze

It is truly amazing how far and deep one can travel through the Internet.
I joined on on line news letter (really interesting I must say) by a chap called Clint Watson. Fineartviews comes out daily with great info. Well this has lead to a new website through fine art studio online and a whole load of very informative and important information.
The avalanche has begun and before I know it I will no doubt have gone from dabbling in to actually knowing a little about the art world and business.
I have woken up and am now pushing further.
The direct result: my first WIP on the CAG about my entry the Traditionalist
The indirect result...a million new ideas and ways to go.
Back to work

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Schools in

Summer is over, school is in and the house is empty. My work has been coming along well. Have completed 2 commissions in the last 10 days with loads of energy to spare ...which is I guess why I have started up my blog again. Expect more chit chat inthe days to come.
Great to be back.
For all of you out there interest in one thing or another about the Hamilton-Grant art doings, I have been working on my new website. Nice, classy and no fuss. Will get the shopping carts up and running soon. Marketing and promotion will then be close behind on the run up to xmas.

So, I'm off up to my studio to get started on a new piece...still life or a portrait.
Great having such a choice and sooooo much more time to do it in.