Monthly Archives: January 2016


I often return to grids and mixed media in my work, getting to know new materials and letting those materials make the marks.

I produced several pieces that involved cutting up material and sewing it back together. Some included elements of painting or drawing. In each case though of most interest to me were the imperfections within the repeating structure, and the shadows and movement created in hanging as only the top row of the work is attached to the wall.

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Approximately 80 x 80 cm

PVC and cotton

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture

Last week I finally made it to the Alexander Calder exhibition at Tate Modern. It was a wonderful experience. I went to get my fill of the fantastic and elegant mobiles for which Calder is best known. While these beautiful and meditative sculptures more than met my expectations I was also surprised and delighted by the earlier figurative works on show.


Image: Calder’s Vertical Foliage 1941, source Tate Modern website 20/02/2016

In my opinion the best works in the exhibition are the simplest; the ones that demonstrate an absolute understanding of the materials used and do not appear self-conscious about the desire to make something whimsical or that involves a lack of control from the artist / curator / viewer. While it was interesting to learn of Calder’s experimentation with built-in backgrounds and motorised movement, I feel that these pieces lose something important through being constricted.

Throughout the exhibition I could overhear visitors saying that they wished there were more breezes in the rooms to allow the work to move. I agree with them! People were even trying to blow or waft at the works (when they thought the Tate staff weren’t looking.) To me this just shows how well people identified with the work and understood, perhaps better than the curators, how it should be experienced. The relationship between the environment, the viewer and the work was clearly very important to Calder. Some of the later works are large enough or multi-faceted enough to pick up even the tiniest of air currents and so do move despite the gallery setting; others are too small or too heavy to easily have life breathed into them in these sanitised spaces, or were expressly designed to need a nudge by the viewer in order to move.

For an exhibition called Performing Sculptures it’s a shame that more couldn’t have been done to allow these works to show themselves at their best. Nevertheless it is still a  great show. I found it hard to leave.

Using space

I think that big work can work well in a small space. There’s a risk that people shy away from having and displaying art that they really like because they don’t feel they have the space to show it well. Consider the space that you have and how best you could use it, and take a risk to live with something you love.

These paintings were not made as a pair, but they’re currently hanging alongside one another. I like the dynamic between them and that they’re always in view as I’m writing at my desk.


Each painting is 1m x 1m

Circle: Emulsion, acrylic and blackboard paint on canvas

Tree: Emulsion and blackboard paint on raw calico (detail below)



This painting takes up almost a whole chimney breast. The room is barely 3m wide, but it’s a great use of this space. Be bold!


1.2m x 1.2m

Emulsion paint, pins, oil paint, turpentine, and linseed oil on board

Circles in squares

I’ve made several pieces exploring circles within square formats. These examples were made a couple of years ago and would ideally be hung together as a tryptic.

3 paintings, each 50cm x 50cm

Emulsion and spray paint on canvas

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Painting again

This is the painting I completed shortly after deciding to make art my job. It feels good to be back.

I have been making work on and off alongside working full time since I graduated with a First in Fine Art from Bath Spa University. Now that I work part time and on a freelance basis I hope to give my art work the time and attention it needs to develop.

IMG_20151012_113333 (2)1m x 1m

Emulsion, watercolour and acrylic on canvas