Okavango Delta Aerial

Okavango Delta Aerial

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Email banner design

Today I have designed a 'banner' to go as part of my 'signature' in my emails. For those that think I have just spoken some alien language..... basically it's a picture that will show up automatically, along with the other information text that I already have,, at the end of each email I send out. 

I am having to think now of promotion for the exhibition and find ways I can 'spread the word'. We use banners on emails where I work at the zoo and today whilst sending out a couple of emails it suddenly struck me that this would be a good thing to do with my own emails. Never done one before ... but I have based it on the flyer I did earlier this year. This is so I have a running recognisable theme for my promotional activities for this exhibition.  

Bearing in mind that I am not a graphic designer, although I did pick up some rudiments at college, please don't judge my attempt too harshly.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Artist in Residence week

Last month, for the first week, I was Artist in Residence at Nature in Art. Their programme of artist residencies runs almost a full year annually, starting in January and going on through to the end of November. A wide variety of artists participate, sometimes as a solo artist sometimes doubling up or as part of a group. A wide variety of skills are covered such as sculpting, printmaking, calligraphy, woodcarving as well as painting and drawing all in a diverse range of mediums. During my week I concentrated on oil painting, but started a pastel on the last day to save me transporting a very wet oil painting home in a very tightly packed car.

The front of Wallsworth Hall with a magnificent Geoffrey Dashwood sculpture, on loan for his exhibition, standing outside.

I set the studio up into 'zones'. As you entered the little 'porch' of the studio there was a display of my work from my job as Wildlife Illustrator at Bristol Zoo. Then moving into the main part of the studio you first saw a small selection of my paintings, then there was an area set out for my In The Footsteps of Elephants exhibition project, followed by a table with cards and other small merchandise on. 

Lastly I sat to one side of the studio painting at an easel.

I started the week off with a loose bull study. When I do these at home I usually limit the time I spend working on them to a max of 4-5 hours - just as a challenge to myself to speed up and not then go on to work in too much detail. The eyes are finding it harder to do detail work so, preparing for the future, I am developing a more loose style. This does sadden me as I do love doing detail, but I am also enjoying trying something that goes against my need to create something precise.

I have in mind a painting of a bull by water that has been formulating for sometime... so this study also doubles up as a kind of try out for it. 

Next on the easel is another piece that I have been consolidating in my mind for a couple of months.  I will do a post, called 'The Message Piece', all about the thoughts behind this piece very soon.. so look out for it.
I saw working on it during my residency as an opportunity to gauge reaction to it. It is something a little different for me to do and therefore I'm not too sure of a) how it will turn out and b) how people will react to it. But it is something that is in me and has to be done... so here goes...

This was as far as I had got by the close of play on the day before I went home. I am pleased that it seemed to strike a chord with a number of people who saw it, so I hope that it will work out well painting wise and therefore make it into the show. I have some worries (challenges) ahead, as I will have to battle with my desire to keep working into a piece to get it finished in detail. Holding back and making each subsequent elephant looser will be a huge challenge for me. I am confident the next bull in line will go fine.. but it's the three after that, numbers four and five in particular, that I wonder if I can achieve the look I am after without being able to keep on painting to 'get it right'. But hey, what's life without a challenge!

On my last day I decide to switch to doing something in pastels. The reason for this was I wasn't keen to transport and risk smudging a very wet painting home in a car that will have so much in it that it will be stuffed to the hilt. So I started this little study. The surface is a sandpaper finish that is almost black and I figured a brightly lit bull would stand out lovely on it.

I didn't quite finish it on that last day, so it was completed (as you see it here) back in my studio near home. I am pleased with the look and have plans to do at least one more like this, probably as a 'pairing' for this one.

I had a lovely week, as usual, during my residency.. meeting lots of lovely folk, some new to me, some well known. The interest in the exhibition is encouraging and I hope to see some of those, who plan to come and see it, again next year. 
If you popped in to see me - Thank you so much, I really appreciate you taking the time to do so.