Saturday, March 31, 2012

Paint and Robots

I'm doing lots of things at the moment. I've decided to focus on competitions and events and I'm working on three paintings at the moment, a leaping tiger (theme "moving"), a flagellation of Christ (for a competition about religion) and a giant chromium man embracing a giant chromium skeleton (for a competition about the future). The last one is the largest and most complex, and probably the most visually impressive too. All of the shiny little bones were difficult to outline but I got there in the end, and the underdrawing looks good already. I'll be doing that on canvas for a change, "Top Gun" polyester, which doesn't require priming but does resist drawing/pencil marks so I'll be outlining in oil paint.

Next month I'll be attending two events; the launch of a new three-month exhibition at Crewe Hall. The opening night next Wednesday is free to attend and you are welcome to come along if you are nearby. Find full details on the Art Up Close Website. The second event is an open mic. poetry night, Poetry Blast, on the 23rd of April. I'll be reading something from 365 Universes there.

And later in the year there are plans for a Steampunk event. Actually more of a mini-festival, organised by Carol at The Cubby Hole (their blog is here). It's a bit hush-hush at the moment but several people are now working on art for it and I'm hoping to make a sculpture and a watercolour painting for it. Here's a look at the bits of steam-train robot I want to make.

I'm really just making it up as I go along, gluing this to that here and there. I'll plan more when needed. I'm painting a watercolour because there are lots of watercolour competitions these days, so I thought I'd paint something I could enter into one of those in future.

All of these events made me think of the comparison with art and sport. I wonder if professional artists could work like professional sports people? Being paid prize money that falls not just to a "top three" but down the ranks. Is that how sports competitions work? If so it might make for a good way of funding art, and would require a standardised set of rules of entry for competitions, so that prize money, fairly divided, had a more even spread. It might create a circuit of artists, like golfers or snooker players, that compete regularly in art events.

Finally I'll end with some mentions. I met with a photographer and printer last Wednesday morning called Terry Davies who has a professional attitude and creates good quality giclee prints. I may use his services in future. On the same day my art group had a watercolour tutorial from Paul Brotherton, a nice friendly teacher with a good knowledge of art techniques. That day was fraught as I was telephoned the day before to make me feel bad for not being able to attend the tutorial in the morning and then told that I was not permitted to go in the afternoon - we each need a space to work, but hardly "permission" (some of the attitudes at that club drive more than me mad)! In the end the afternoon was great, and my picture benefitted from splurging darkness and improvising as I went! I think it's fair to say that everyone learned something from Paul and it was nice to see people who had never touched watercolour have a go.

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