This is my first post of the year. I think a lot of last years posting was reflective and unsure about where I was going and where this blog was going. Still no closer to an answer for that! Hopefully you will stick with me if what I am doing is interesting…
In the last 2 months of 2014 I produced a number of paintings, the main set was the “Tomioka” series. Over the last 2 weeks I have produced another painting which I would include in the set, although its called “Dance To The Music“.
Image shown here just a crop of the full work. Its a large canvas at 5×4 ft, and you can see the full work here, within the Tomioka section.
The reason behind the title? Well roughly I take a lot of inspiration from the Scottish landscape, more in terms of energy not direct visual copying scenes. When you listen to music, if its good it ‘moves’ you spiritually ,then it will begin to move you physically. You dance.
When you look out upon a beautiful natural scene and it moves you spiritually then why not also let it move you physically? Dance to the music the mountains are creating. The music of the trees and the sky. The stars.
(Its also the title of a brilliant Sly & The Family Stone song…)
There was a second reason that kind of kicked this line of thinking, as I painted the tress and as opposed to blending and merging the tree areas into one another as I normally do I made very defined blocks of uniformed tone. As the painting progressed I thought the ridges of the tree line looked a little like a sound wave.
This got me thinking of music and I went down a wee rabbit hole of thought and concepts about if I could take a particular bit of music, view the sound wave form like above and paint my trees just like it, perfectly…
Then I thought about reversing the process and taking my painted scene and using that as a sound wave pattern and could a program generate a sound from the forms I had painted….. What does a painting actually sound like?
Yes I know, bizarre thinking. But not that crazy as some technology has been developed and I think there could be a concept project in this. I made a video with a very basic program I found.
I also decided to restore the first window I had ever made, from way back in 98/99 when I did the NC Decorative Glass work course in Glasgow. It had been in a garage ever since and the lead had deteriorated past just giving it a brush up. The general leading could of been better, well it was my first window, so I decided to take the whole thing apart and rework it.
The design was good essentially, I just made some adjustments using as much of the original glass as I could.
This window was originally inspired by Neil Young’s first album cover from 1969. I have called it Dawn and its available to view on the webpage also.
Currently I am gearing up to the Southside Fringe Festival. If you follow the blog you’ll know what I did last summer, and this year I have been asked to coordinate the arts side of things. So lots to do. 96 days away!!!
In line with the efforts that will take both time & finance I am having a studio sale. I also just want to start this year with a bit of a fresh palette. Clean water in a way.
I did produce around 30/40 works last year alone, but I am sitting on some paintings 2/4/6 even 10 yrs old. So I’ve made sweeping reductions on the prices in a bid to clear some space for myself. After producing a lot of good work last year I want to maintain that, and not have to spend my time on sales of old work.
Most of the works are now under £250. Those that are not, are the largest paintings which just took a long time to complete and I feel are worth more than punting for less than I spent on making them. To put it bluntly! But if something is outwith your budget do let me know and we can agree on something! I do need the space first and foremost. I am sitting on around 70 works!
(I thought I might stick in a brief bit about how I come to the conclusion what a painting should cost. First up is the surface, a canvas may cost £20/100. A frame anything from £30/100 Materials inclu paints sprays inks pens tape and varnishes £70 average spend on bits and bobs. So we are already in the region of £150+. Then there is the time, if I was to work minimum wage stacking shelves 40hr a full time week I’d get £250aprox. So if I work for 2 weeks on a piece, and I far exceed 40hrs a week, is it unfair to ask the same? Aside from this work is a unique one off idea using skills I have spent years developing. Its not stacking shelves which can be repeated the same way the next week. This is a one off situation. Is there a monitory value to that? So quite quickly after a week working on a painting and upwards of 150 on materials and finishing even abase price of £400 is minimal. So thats how I price. Add together time &materials.)
That said it does get to the stage where if something is priced at 500 legitimately do I hold out for that price for a month, 6 months, 3yrs, maybe never. Or just set a limit on time and cut the price. The longer I have something the more chance I have of damaging the work and potential losing its entire value. I just got one large painting back from London with both stretcher bars on the back on the canvas totally busted. I cant sell that now. Everytime I put something into exhibit there is the chance of the a sale, also the chance of a wrecked work.
So its a hard place to be in, unfortunately that is the artist life, right now I just want to paint.
Cheers see you soon.