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Lockdown blues

With life turned upside down during the pandemic and lockdown, which for me includes little time to be focussing on art while our wonderful schools and nurseries are closed and my day job (which I’m delighted to be in a position to continue from home) wraps around childcare, it’s easy to feel blue. I’m trying to stay positive by taking stock of what I am able to achieve, however small, and planning what I really want to get stuck into when I get the chance.

This small piece – part painting, part sculpture/collage – was made just after lock-down was imposed. It started with an accident – the smashing of a favourite mug that reminded someone of holidays by the coast. I call it ‘breaking waves’, and hope that the coastal memories still come back to them even though it’s not much good for holding their coffee.

Emily Jolley_breaking waves_2020

Colour tests

Sometimes you just have to play. I’ve been testing colour combinations in preparation for a large scale commission which I’m really looking forward to working on. I love the mark making and energy in the resulting sketch.

Feb 2020 colour test

Minimalist and expressionist

When describing my practice I often say my work is in the modernist tradition and particularly influenced by abstract expressionism as well as artists that reference minimalism. Some of the approaches I’m experimenting with at the moment are allowing me to show these two influences in a playful, tactile way.

Farrow and ball ‘Pelt’ emulsion paint on torn paper

Sizes range from 25cm x 18cm to 36cm x 26cm

Testing time

I’m testing some new approaches. Smaller scales and working directly onto paper or fabrics without stretchers to encourage me to experiment more and not worry so much about ‘failures’.

I loved tearing some fantastic paper to size before starting to test a dripping technique I’ve been meaning to try for AGES that will provide a more continuous line. I’m really pleased with the results so far and look forward to doing much more of this.

20200124 testing

Studio reflections

Some challenges I’ve set myself for the new year include:

  • enjoying making the most of my (tiny!) studio space (it may be small but it’s mine)
  • seeking some tuition from my photographer friends to get better and more confident at photographing my work
  • being playful with my materials – this means not hoarding them (what am I saving them up for?!) and embracing the chance to make mistakes

One of my favourite paintings from 2019 was a result of an accident – a cracked paint tin leaving me with congealing paint – which forced me to experiment with the materials I had immediately to hand.

This pink and blue painting (congealed emulsion paint on found board) is so expressive both of its making and in showcasing its materials and their qualities… it is also VERY difficult to photograph now that it’s framed! It’s currently hanging on my studio wall to encourage, inspire and challenge me.

 

Testing new paint

I’m enjoying testing out some new colour-ways and textures having picked up a new colour from Providence paint at their shop at Burwash Manor. It was tricky to come away with just the one!

Print editions for COS 2019

I’m working hard getting ready for my COS weekend at Burwash Manor next weekend where I’ll be showing my abstract paintings alongside the lino prints I’ve been working on. I love learning new techniques and am really happy with how the final editions have come out. I don’t have access to a press so they are all hand burnished, and I’ve married the fixed quality of the lino print with painterly backgrounds which make every print unique.

New lino prints

It’s always good to try something new. Having attended a lino printing workshop by the fantastic printmaker Nina Sage I’ve fallen in love with the process so will be developing some prints to show at Burwash Manor on 27th and 28th of July alongside my paintings. I’m still at the test print stage but am encouraged by the results so far.

Whereas my paintings (often influenced by the natural world) are usually abstract I’m enjoying sticking with representational images while mastering the printing techniques. The prints also allow me to use my preparatory drawings and observations in a new way.

Using the processes and materials to evoke/capture movement in a print through mark making, as in any medium, is very satisfying.

COS 2019

I’m looking forward to taking part in Cambridge Open Studios again, this year at fantastic Burwash Manor on the 27th and 28th of July. This will be a new venue for me and I’m delighted to be exhibiting alongside other artists at such a great location with the farm, fantastic shops and Art Hound gallery also on site, which will make it a great day out for anyone coming to see the exhibition.

I’m working on some new ideas to show at COS in July at which I’ll be showing paintings and hopefully some lino prints too. I’m 130 in the guide and you can also download the COS app which is brilliant for navigating your way to the artists and makers you most want to see, whether by location or discipline.

Art festival buzz

There was a lovely buzz about the towns of Huntingdon and Godmanchester during the festival over the weekend and it was great to meet so many local people with an interest in art and crafts.

My work was displayed in the assembly room at Huntingdon Town Hall alongside permanent work by the likes of Gainsborough! I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new.

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