Steyning Arts online portrait exhibition

Since first lockdown I’ve been trying to make the front of the house a bit more cheery with bunting and painted pebbles. Then for Halloween, I dressed a christmas tree as a witch [because why not?] and put her in the porch with pumpkins, a shiny metal beetle, and some supposedly luminous stones. Steyning Arts portrait exhibition is online for obvious reasons but I’ve popped mine in the porch for anyone passing by to take a glance at – safely of course.

On the left, ‘Who do I speak to about this PPE?’ Acrylics on cartridge. On the right, ‘Dignity’ from an unattributed photograph of an unnamed woman. Acrylics on canvas. Both are works made as part of my *painting degree and so not for sale as yet.

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*Painting degree: this is with the Open College of the Arts, the part time distance arm of the University of the Creative Arts. [Details here.] We use online blogs to record progress and, embarrassing as that is, they’re public so feel free to take a look. Drawing1 (my first and thankfully passed), Practice of Painting (my second module, awaiting results of formal assessment due this month), and Understanding Painting Media (the third and final module at the equivalent of year one of a full time degree; expecting to submit this body of work for assessment in March 2021).

Seas of Mars

In July, NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, left Earth. In February 2021, it is due to land in Jezero crater which was formed billions of years ago and where there is evidence that water once flowed from the hills nearby, dropping mud and sand on its way, forming a delta. It’s a hot spot for the likelihood of finding signs of ancient life.

This painting and video were made using NASA images of the surface of Mars at Jezero crater, and the subtitled commentary of NASA’s video of the landing site.

Steyning Arts Summer Exhibition – from ancient to modern

Loch Arkaig Osprey

There’s a beautiful old church in Bramber that dates back to the 11th century and sits next to the ruins of Bramber Castle. This is where the Summer Exhibition is usually held; where glasses of orange juice and homemade cakes are sold, and where within the stone walls that have seen so much, Steyning Arts members display their work.

COVID-19 has turned all that on its head and booted us straight into the 21st century with an online-only exhibition that will take place over the Bank Holiday weekend. I am lucky enough to have had some paintings selected, all of them the product of COVID as lockdown affected every part of the painting module I have been doing as part of my degree. Ever tried to paint a ‘landscape outdoors’ when outdoors is a foreign country suddenly? Or find a person other than yourself to be your model for figures? Luckily, the university has been as accommodating as you would expect and while I got very fed up of the sight of my own face in a mirror or a selfie, I was able to use some of the many photos I’ve taken of this beautiful place over the years.

The pieces that may appear in the exhibition include two of those landscapes and four rather contemporary paintings that made use of protective packaging, brown paper, cardboard, and string.

There is also a video but while the invitation said something about ‘you in your studio’, I’ve chosen one I made around a piece of art that spent several weeks outside collecting hedgehog footprints (and poo!), snail trails, and bits of windblown garden debris. It’s called ‘Made by Wildlife’.

Filmed on iPhone, processed in Filmora9 by Wondershare. Sounds my own recordings also processed in Filmora.

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Lockdown art #Two

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Outside from inside #1

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Outside from inside #2

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Broadwater, Lancing

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Broadwater, Lancing

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Brighton street with extra vavoom

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Landscape on a piece of old wood

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Evening landscape with two sanitisers. After Evening landscape with two men, by Caspar David Friedrich 1830-35.

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Collage from the freezer paper palette and OHP film used to make Evening landscape with two sanitisers.

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Swans on the Adur. Gridding exercise.

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Ghost house in rubbish bridge/boat-scape

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Cosy corner

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Recreation ground, Shoreham.

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Landscape on cardboard.

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Imagined scene over the A27 on August 22nd, 2015

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Tin Pots Hill, Adur valley

Steyning Arts Trail – Beeding Chapter

On the verge of Day Three of my first arts trail and I’ve found that time evaporates between chatting to visitors and co-exhibitors, and dashing into the tent to put everything upright again after successive gusts of wind suck the tent sides in and out like a cosmic hokey cokey. As far as I know, it’s all still there so I’ll be off to sit to attention under a camper-van awning and brace myself to take charge of dog, cats, and chickens while Jill goes off to check out some venues in Steyning.

 

Chuck chucks with fluffy knickers 🙂

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Literary artiness

fat mo cover7Some of the prints on sale at The Basement are from my book, Not Being First Fish, which is on sale at Steyning Bookshop. Also on sale there is Fat Mo, the cover of which I painted at school when I was about seventeen. I’ve manipulated the colour in Paintshop Pro and added the text (obviously, or that would have been well prescient!) Fat Mo is alternatively available from here where all the revenue goes to a charity, Respond, that supports adults with learning (intellectual) disabilities who’ve experience sexual abuse and exploitation. As you might imagine, Fat Mo is not a cheery read; First Fish though – different kettle. Here’s a snip:

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 Glastonbury, Meteorology, and Shouting at Swans

Saturday and I’d spent most of the morning keeping an eye on the weather as we had been promised our seasonal blend of sun, showers and thunder storms and, finally judging it safe to head for the fields without a wetsuit, I strapped the dogs into their harnesses and hit the road. Naturally, as soon as we arrived at a wide open space devoid of any cover, the sky assumed the quality of the inside of a biscuit tin and the rain came down in stair rods, thereby putting paid to any chance of a future career as either a psychic or meteorologist. On reflection though, the latter may not be entirely out of the question as, in 1987, Michael Fish famously dismissed the approach of the hurricane that flattened most of the south east and left me with somebody else’s shed in my garden and a bemused looking sheep outside my garage. That kind of meteorology I can manage.

Of course, the biggest clue to forthcoming weather conditions is the open air music festival calendar and this week it’s Glastonbury where the mud is traditionally at chest level and after about half an hour nobody knows what gender anyone else is because of the layers of variously baked on and reapplied primeval loam. Liberally mixed with E.coli and various exotic herbs, this stuff is guaranteed to expand the minds of sleep deprived and over-indulged punters or at the very least peel off a few layers of alimentary epithelials and chuck them over the fence into next door’s tent.

There’s something remarkably special about Glasto; it’s not polished, it’s not slick – well it is if you’re up to your fundamentals in sludge and you take a run at something – it’s raw and intimate, personal and communal. Back in the day when I was spritely enough to leap about in a field with several thousand other people to a band of unwashed youths at a headline gig rather than sofa-bopping in front of the telly, there weren’t any such shindigs to go to. Hendrix pretty much started it at the Isle of Wight, and Glastonbury followed with a hippy, folksy, medieval fayre event that got entirely upstaged by Hendrix himself who’d had the bad grace to pop his clogs twenty four hours earlier. These days we have multi-acre swamps for the hardy young creatures of the twenty-first century who are willing to queue in the rain for the privilege of taking a leak in an oversubscribed and thoroughly dispiriting portaloo. Probably the wacky baccy and litres of Stella Artois go some way to knocking the edge off that particular experience while, curiously enough, enhancing the rest.

Back in the fields, there is a bit of a ruckus going on up ahead. Apparently, a large swan in an ugly mood is attacking another that has got in the way of him and his mate who is sailing majestically down-river with her flotilla of tiny cygnets. People on either side of the river are doing what people do when two large entities start slugging it out – they are standing back and shouting ‘Oi!’ One group is smiling; they think the birds are mating. We give them a country look as we pass by; ‘stoopid townies’ it says. It’s Saturday.

I’ll be taking copies of First Fish to my pitch on the art trail, along with some cards and prints from the book. Mo, you’ll be relieved to hear, will be sitting out that gig.

Steyning Arts trail

img_2769I’ve a feeling this month is going to zip by at a rate of knots, like that time between October when Christmas is forever away and December 24th when you realise a black hole ate all of autumn. I’m pulling together my bits and bobs; paintings, prints, cards, and arty sundries, for my pitch at Jill’s in Beeding. There’ll be sheep, brooding landscapes, some things with Tin Pots Hill on them, and a ‘Winter is Coming’ snow globe because obviously. Also cats, there’s always cats.

Steyning Arts trail – where to find trail guides

arts trailThese are the fab folk in Beeding and Bramber who are hosting our trail guide this year:

Beeding

Beeding News, High Street (river end) Upper Beeding – leaflet, natter, papers, eggs, bread, magazines, and a cross-dressing gorilla.

The Beauty Box, opposite Beeding News – leaflet, nails, and new eyebrows depending on if you fall asleep in the chair or not.

Jayze Barbers, next door to the Beauty Box – leaflet, bloke talk, and exactly what you came in for on your head.

The Pharmacy and Store, just down from the newsagent – leaflet, hair colour, an ointment of some sort, and a bottle of milk.

The Kings Head, along the High Street from the Pharmacy – leaflet, beer, beer, and did I mention beer?

The Hub, cross the road from the Kings Head, mosey on up Church Street and it’s on the right – leaflet, carrot cake, coffee, and many many smiley people.

Khushbu, between the Beauty Box and Church Lane – leaflet, takeaways, and a chance to sit on a big leather sofa like a boss.

Beeding and Bramber Village Hall, – leaflet, craft fairs, yoga, line dancing, and BYOB 40th birthday parties.

Beeding Surgery, a bungalow next to the Village Hall – leaflet, doctors, vampire nurses, and something to take to the pharmacy at the other end of the street.

The Rising Sun (or the Riser, if you’re in with the in-crowd), along the High street, right to the end after Beeding’s Bungalow Surgery and it’s on the roundabout. Well, not actually on it, obviously – leaflet, beer, brain strain quizzes, and beans.

The Towers, a school for girls up the road from the Riser towards Henfield and on the left. It has towers. Leaflet, educational education, and fun nuns.

Back along the High Street turning right up Hyde lane, there’s Hyde Square and more leaflet hosts.

Handsome Hounds – leaflet, get your pooch primped, come out with a glittery collar that doesn’t fit either the dog or you but it’s lovely.

iMendLtd – leaflet, sort out your scratched screen, speak words you read in a manual but don’t understand, get your PC back working perfectly.

Studio 44 – leaflet, glam, more glam, and also glam.

Blue Sea Fish and Chips – leaflet, chips, fish, chips and fish, probably featuring vinegar.

St Peter’s Church and Gladys Bevan Hall, along up Hyde/Pound Lane, left along Deacons Way and off up the top end of Church Lane to the um church. Leaflet, vicar, parties, and a very big tree.

In Bramber

The Castle Inn Hotel – leaflet, pub stuff, garden, and more parties. We like parties.

The Maharajah – leaflet, classy Indian food, takeaways and also sit-ins (no, not that sort).

The Old Tollgate – leaflet, yet another pub and food haven, very posh parties.

Text in red means we haven’t dropped off yet. We’ll try again soon, maybe take one of those police battering rams just in case.

Disclaimer: in case of complaints, all text as written is mine and nothing to do with Steyning Arts, its members or committees.