And the many colours they come in!
Remember that lovely commission I had at Brantwood. Well, I have just completed another composition, similar, but different.
It was so lovely to revisit this idea…. Similar but different. And this one is just up the road from my workshop on Beast Banks.
And then i had even more fun….!
Surely (I said to myself) blackbirds don’t just have to be black. (Mine are very rarely black!)
So I set myself the challenge (purely self indulgent) in taking my blackbird template to make three different panel.
The same but different…
I will be exhibiting these at Witherslack Art Exhibition together with some other bird sculptures.
And Ouli. Two.
Well. Never had a commission quite like this before.
My initial response was to say no, oh no, i don’t do folk. But when Laurie sent me her photos and i saw the wonderful glamour of Goldie and the gentleness of Ouli. Well, I said I would give it some thought.
This piece is to sit in a meditation corner. They are special individuals. And I have done my best to do them justice.
I am really happy. Sometimes when I finish a piece I may think, ach, I’d have done (that) a little differently. But this time. Well i think I gave it the best I got.
And how did i do it….
Laurie said red lippy and glasses… and big ears… and I’ll have nailed it. (Glad I didn’t get confused!)
So, thanks to Jo Vincent down at The Factory for her feedback and loan of her shot blast cabinet. I made Goldie using flashed glass and a hand cut stencil resist for her lippy smile and gorgeous red frock (I had two shots. It is a fine line indeed between red blush being there… and then gone!) And hand painted above. On a rainbow of amber golden tones.
Yep. Shot blasting is all about courage but knowing when to stop. And then of course you have to keep it clean through all the other messy processes. (Thanks to Jo for the tip of firing it to smooth the surface and make it bit more resistant to smears)
Ouli was hand painted too with the images united across sweeps of vintage muranese glass. All put together using traditional leadwork techniques.
And now it fly overseas…. Thank you Laurie.
Lapwings…. eggs…. feathers… landscape.
Were the elements that the customer came to me with….
I have taken my time (i usually do!) to get from doodle to cutting board.
I like the design.. the ‘thinky’ part of the process. The brain storm. The puzzle and the frown. And the fizz when you know you are on to something…
This moved from grids to exploding lines that hatch the landscape and pin it all together.
These. At the centre.
Eggs. Three firings. (A lot of work goes into a simple nest of eggs).
And the eggs; they’re the star of the show but they must not steal the show.
So interesting details and lines to lead the eye; beautiful colours careful paint.
Hatched… dotted.. leaded.. and displayed.
Well I know I know this works…
So when i got asked to do a panel to work with existing leaded lights… and i saw the colours… and i saw the classic shapes. I thought I could make it work again.
I presented my ideas to the customer and apparently a slow smile spread across Hannah’s face as it dawned on her what she was looking at. (Jamie her Dad had commissioned me to design the panel as a surprise for his daughter. I sent Hannah a drawing for Christmas. And now she has the real thing in her home).
Red and yellow goldfinches I presented. On spiky spiky teasels. And oh how these resonated with Hannah. She grew up in the cotton towns north of Manchester. Where teasels and goldfinches danced in abundance.
Here i show how this one came together….
Lovely old muranese glass and some gorgeous reamy clear (that came from somewhere!)(wish I knew where. I’d like some more) that complimented the reds and yellows of hand rolled tatra glass.
Painted in shades of sepia and tracing black.
And i loved them goldfinch so much i made a whole charming lot…
(No pretense this time…)
And finally. THIS….
I first drew bitterns years ago.
I mosaicked bitterns.
I made a sculpture that boomed.
I read Bill Baileys book… discovered collective noun for bitterns is ‘a pretense of bitterns’
I came up with a design for a present tense of bitterns to the tune of Radiohead…(see an earlier post for an exhibition at Lancaster Uni’)(sadly this design never came to fruition)
But maybe i was just waiting for this moment…
Or maybe I am not even finished yet. With bitterns.
Here. My journey. So far…
ps…. I add these… Just because.
Painted walls are beautiful.
Gosh. What a busy year 2018 was…
Here is what I got up to towards the latter end….
Sunflowers and swallows and Blackwell inspired this installation… (and lovely to get a bit of help fitting from my wee brother)
And back on the bench, these lovely commissions went out..
fox and badgers for granny’s… coots for friends… swifts for daughters… a wren that must be wee!.. oh and wiry wagers for auctions… and angels just because… oh and crazy feet on bouncy shoe stretchers…!
Yep. My first Christmas here at 11 Allhallows Lane, Kendal was rather lovely. (Thanks for all the support)
And, oh my, do I look forward to what is coming ahead…
Keep watching this space.
Lots of lovely window commissions to crack on with….
The year my eyes turned to the skies and urban bird, the swift…
They scream around the streets of Kendal i was told. So in the spring i eagerly awaited their arrival. They’ll come. Said the locals.
And they did. Circling the towers, spires, alleys and ginnels of my new home town.
After flying all the way from Africa they find a high place to build their nests and the eaves of my new neighbourhood, Fellside, prove perfect.
I found them quite captivating.
So much so i created a swoop of swifts..
A frenzy of swifts…
and now a completion of swifts…
They left too soon but this will remain. A lasting reminder of how they circle the roofs above old Kendal town.
“How did I get the idea”… a friend asked.
Katherine and Iain are art lovers. Their home is filled with beautiful colours and textures, I had previously captured their woodland garden in glass and now it was time for the flower garden and the view from a different aspect. A place where goldfinch feast on the evening primrose…
We want your paint this time..and can it be abstract they asked…
It seemed simple to me. I envisioned flashes of vibrant red and yellow amidst the chaotic hedgerow and soaring seed heads.
Small birds. Big space. So I broke the panel down into chunks fielded by the vertical lines of the cow parsley’s and evening primrose with the sweeping curves at the bottom to mimic the dark dark undergrowth.
Every ‘chunk’ I planned to do differently. Same subject different paint application. Fun fun fun with the paintbrush. And then side by side the jumbled pieces come together and make the eyes dart around the picture that is punctuated with splashes of the red and yellow. goldfinch.
Your eyes settle. And then move on. I was really satisfied by how this panel turned out.
Gentle and yet chaotically busy.
Vibrant and yet sludgily (beautifully) subdued.
It’s a place… it’s probably an ale.
Did you know it is also a sheep!
A prized specimen. Farmers pluck their flocks to get the perfect eyes!
Hope the farmer in question likes this one….. (?) (yikes)
Here is how I built it… (Honestly, the scaffolding behind this one. My job is never easy! ha)
So, the piece of wood. Found on a local ramble many moons ago. Awaiting the perfect head to peer above it.
The paint. A blend of tracing black and bistre brown. Manipulated and moved around on the glass for dense soft fur and scratched into for that gentle furry face.
Lovely. I really enjoyed this one too…..
But ummm, now… better go sort out my brows… ha (baaaaaaaaah!)
A beautiful tale of how a couple had met 60 years ago accompanied this piece…
And so a gift for his wife… collared doves and briar rose which hold special significance.
(I really enjoyed the talks with David on this one. Such fondness and sureness.)
Here is how they came to be. On that branch.
You can see the design being tweaked but the central pair were right.
Rich colours were wanted…
So if you want to come chat about your own…