Friday, 31 July 2009

Ducks and Days

The end of July has turned out to be as busy as the rest of it. The art show season is finished, but I'm now in the throes of preparations for Herts Open Studios - for further details click here. During the week I've had off work, I've wrapped & labelled photo cards & posters and mounted originals, painted and wrapped cards, and received so many art-related packages (including that linocut set that I wasn't going to bother with until later in the year . . . ) that I've started my own bubblewrap mountain! I'm also now the proud possessor of a card rack, folding camping table and two collapsible chairs, although that has quite a lot to do with a visit to the open-air theatre at Tolethorpe, which involved eating a picnic sitting on a slope in a howling gale. Luckily the play was excellent.

Flying Ducks
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

I haven't been entirely idle on the painting front in July, however. I finally got round to doing two cherished projects - my Flying Ducks, which is supposed to be a pastiche on the ceramic ones which everyone had on their walls in the 1950's - and The Days are now Short, which I first thought of doing during a performance of the Merry Widow at the ENO last year. I fell in love with the lighting and it has stayed with me ever since. It shows Elrond and Arwen in a scene which we don't actually see in Lord of the Rings: waiting almost desperately for the outcome of a battle in which they can take no part. The full quote is: "The days are now short. Either our hope cometh, or all hope's end." I like Tolkien's word-play here. Aragorn, who is fighting the battle, is also known as Estel (Hope).

The Days are now Short
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

I have plenty more Tolkien-related paintings in my head, and many non-Tolkien ones too. Eventually I will get round to completing them all!

Monday, 20 July 2009

A Plethora of Printmakers

July kicked off with the Childwickbury Arts Fair, just up the road from us here in Harpenden. A great opportunity to meet with and chat to other artists - all those demonstrating were extremely accessible, and had lots of ideas to share. Within an hour of arrival we had a list of hints and tips! There was a great range of paintings, ceramics, woodwork, metalwork, jewellery, glassware (my friend bought a wonderful vase from Siddy Langley) and - best of all - a barn full of printmakers.

printmaking in the barn at Childwickbury Arts Fair

© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

Until now I haven't been particularly interested in printmaking but I found it fascinating to watch. Barry Goodman was demonstrating collographs and took the time to explain how he went about creating his amazing prints of retro verhicles. I decided that it's definitely a subject I need to find out more about.

Merlyn Chesterman inking a woodcut at Art in Action
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

Two weeks later we visited Art in Action at Waterperry. Despite the horrendous traffic queues outside - and the struggle through the mud inside - our trip (eventually) proved to be well worth it. With my appetite whetted, I made straight for the printmaking tent. Merlyn Chesterman was making huge hand-printed woodcuts - and encouraging her audience to join in - while Jason Hicklin drew an enormous crowd with his lively demo of etching. I had to smile when he said that the best bit was using the press - it's such a boy thing - and his enthusiasm was infectious.

So at some point - probably over the winter - I'm going to take the plunge, although I think I'll stick to small hand-made prints, at least to start with. Even my small box-room studio will accommodate a bit of lino-cutting!