Sunday, 30 April 2017
small teacup and an old tin of buttons
This week I have been working quietly on new still life compositions - working from life and really looking. I have felt a shift in my work recently, toward a more considered articulation; looking very intently at the same few objects for many hours can have an effect on you - it can make me feel incredibly delighted and at the same time I question myself and how I am seeing things. It is good to be challenged and I feel a need to follow through, one painting to the next, not knowing what will be next exactly, exploring shapes, quiet spaces....
Still life painting is a vast world, it is both current and historical. The different approaches can make you dizzy. I have known for a while now that as much as I love abstraction I find a need for some representional element in my own picture-making. I'm also interested so very much in light and space. I am not an exuberant pretty-pretty painter. My palette will most likely always remain quiet, quite muted, earthy. I enjoy painting foliage more than I do flowers. I enjoy ceramics and simple forms, the conversation things can have with things.
I have had a few wobbles this week - questioning what I am doing, where I am heading and how it is I can just take it one painting to the next. I realise now the wobble is because I am focused! I am not always so focused, and when I work I feel a sense of calm and contemplation. This is hard work, the concentrated effort takes hours and time flies.
It has been very helpful to discuss how I am feeling with my daughter, who has a very solid understanding of how pictures work through her own work in digital drawing and illustration - she knows about negative space and will give me an honest opinion about a set up of objects, for example. It really helps to have someone look before I share my work with the world.
I've worked a very public apprenticeship as a visual artist, and I am still and always will be learning. So much of my old work lingers online, it is almost like being haunted by your old school files, yet I am proud of how I have progressed, I am pleased to have worked in a variety of ways over the years, explored this and that, and found myself where I am now. In this digital world it is impossible to hide away from what you did in the past, especially if you have been selling your work as you have been developing, it's out there, and that's ok. But if I could choose I would of course prefer people to focus on what I am doing now! From time to time I get an email asking me: are you making new embroidery? And I will have to explain, no. Or I will be asked: can you make me a painting like this (something from 8 years ago!) and I will have to explain, no. But I do not wish to be ungrateful at all for the interest, goodness me, I am glad to have people looking and if my past work inspires interest, that is fine.
So over the weeks ahead I shall be slowly but surely working on new paintings, and these do take time. I'll be looking out ever more carefully for objects to put in still life arrangements (I have found myself staring at bottles and jars in the supermarket, wondering about the shapes....) Fortunately I have a good collection of objects and especially ceramics, including pots I made years ago. I enjoy painting the pots that are my own work, they feel right, which is not so strange....
I hope you may enjoy seeing the new paintings as they come about. I will be updating my shop every two to three weeks and my next update will be: Wednesday 10th May.
pears in a handmade dish with dessert fork
Monday, 24 April 2017
pinch bowl and teaspoon - a new still life painting - acrylics on Fabriano paper
Hello, we are in the final week of April already, the neighbourhood is looking greener, the seedlings on my windowsill are no longer tiny..... It has been a slightly sunny, bit chilly start to the week here, typical spring weather.
I'd like to say a special thanks to everyone for visiting my shop last week and thank you for all the orders. All interest in my work is much appreciated. This is a a fiercely competitive world - everything is out there to distract you from looking at original artwork - yet you choose to see and I thank you very much! My next shop update will be in mid May, most likely the 10th. Next week the house I rent will be having some renovations and so there will be a bit of disruption etc... all necessary and welcome, but this might slow me down a bit. So this week I am attempting to really get engrossed in new paintings and just focus-focus-focus....
I hope to share with you a few new photos by the end of the week. I'm focusing on still life paintings at the moment, especially working from life. I am finding the challenge of working with 'shapes to relate' is what I need and is pushing me onward in interesting ways. But I also hope to do some more experimental drawing and such, to balance things.
Have a good week ahead.
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
a quartet of smaller paintings - acrylics on Fabriano paper
exploring abstracted figures and shapes, a limited palette of greens, blues, whites, flesh tones....
saxifraga in a vintage garden pot - acrylics on Fabriano paper
another in an ongoing series of garden pots - I am enjoying working on these detailed studies made from life. I shall be continuing on with working directly from life, and so in the weeks ahead you may see other subjects - but for now I have enjoyed the terracotta tones....
these and other new paintings and drawings will be in my shop tomorrow - 2pm UK time. Thanks always for your interest, I hope you may like to see all the selection.
Monday, 17 April 2017
forget-me-nots in a vintage pot - acrylics on Fabriano paper
interior with portraits and model houses - acrylics on Fabriano paper
Hello, it's a bank holiday Monday here in the UK and so quite typically chilly and looking like it might rain... I have been enjoying a long weekend mostly not working - it has been good for me and my family. I confess here it is difficult for me to 'stop', to stop working, to stop thinking about work, but I recognise I need to do that from time to time. Once this blog post is written I shall attempt to slip back into my non-working mode, for the rest of the day, and tomorrow I'll be making that final push, completing work, gathering up, evaluating, photographing... in anticipation of my shop update on Wednesday.
I enjoy my work very much, I know I am a hard critic of what I do, and I want to always offer my very best. At the same time, I am realising I need to down tools just once in a while, and have time for others and other things. I've been reading more recently - if you are at all interested in knowing what I am reading then you can take a look over at goodreads - and add me as a friend if you like. I am trying to keep up with listing the books I am reading, (though there have been gaps in the past).
Social media is something we all juggle and negotiate with, at some level or another. Some of us have tried a lot of different stuff and then we decide what is or not for us. My sister has never been tempted by Facebook, for example, and that is just fine. I don't use it very much at all these days and that is just fine for me. I find Instagram is at times overwhelming, with so many images posted each day - but hey I was the one who clicked to follow over 500 people. I have, currently, 12.7k followers over there and appreciate each click and heart, but goodness me if you're not careful this can all become exceedingly time consuming and anxiety-inducing, so I recognise the value in posting just once or twice a day and taking time off when I need to do that. My learning curve, when it comes to social media, is a slow and wobbly one, like a multicoloured crayon wobbly line. Twitter is something I enjoy, mostly reading rather than posting, though I use it more for keeping up with the news than really marketing my work. Is marketing your work a conscious thing or is being anywhere part of the process, I ask myself, as I play endless games of Scrabble - my absolute favourite phone app (despite losing as many games as I win).
Back to work: I have been making a variety of paintings recently, the still lifes and the interiors dominating. Drawing-wise I have been more experimental in recent weeks and have felt a necessary playfulness, if that is not an oxymoron. If I am working on carefully considered still lifes 'from life, I feel I also need to balance that with some gestural, improvised stuff - even if that ends up being bits of paper stuck in a sketchbook and never offered as 'real work'. Over the weeks ahead I would like to consider further working from life and a variety of still life subjects. At the same time I'd like to continue exploring more abstracted drawing. Developing in two circles that somehow overlap, at times, perhaps....
I have written quite a bit today so will end by wishing you a good start to the week and with a promise to share more photos and less waffle tomorrow.
Shop update: this Wednesday - 2pm UK time.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
interior with chest of drawers and portrait
Hello - apologies for not posting yesterday, as I usually post on a Monday, but yesterday was my daughter's birthday and when not eating cake I was busy painting in the garden..... We are enjoying warm spring days here and I am making the most of this fine weather. Above you can see one of a series of interior paintings that I am currently working on.
I'll share more work with you this week. My next shop update is next week on Wednesday 19th April.
You may note this blog has my domain address (cathycullis.co.uk) - no need to update any link you might have, things will redirect automatically from the old blogspot address.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
sempervivum - acrylics on Fabriano paper
I am currently making a series of smaller paintings of garden pots and plants. Working from examples in my own garden, these are detailed yet expressive observational paintings. I hope I may find inspiration through spring into summer (and beyond). I've got a small collection of vintage garden pots and I particularly enjoy painting their dark terracotta tones, varying from pot to pot. In many ways I enjoy the challenge of making something 'simple' eg. a red earth pot, into a painting that is more than... if I can. This series will also be a good reason for me to keep up my interest in gardening, growing from seed etc... We shall see how this goes....
A few weeks back I took a break from painting very much at all and focused on drawing. I am glad I did this, it helped me get some ideas and to consider what wanted to do. A shift of media often helps. I realised I was drawing a lot from looking about me, my home and work spaces, just observing stuff. And I realised too that I was still interested in painting but very much as an observer of painting. So with this in mind I have been working on new interior paintings, featuring paintings within.
'the bathers painting' - acrylics on Fabriano paper
You may also note that I have cracked open my acrylics paints again - after painting in gouache only for the past three months. This shift into working in acrylics is interesting to me as I enjoy the freedom to work with expressive brush marks and layering of paint. My brushes never last for long because I do like to scrub into the painted surface at times, though I have one or two 'best brushes' that I use more carefully due to the fact they cost me about £20 each. My main brushes for doing what ever with are student quality, perfectly adequate for me, if I then switch to using my better brushes when necessary. It's all about having the right gear, not the most expensive but the right for your own work. I now stick with what works for me and will invest in what matters the most, for example I only work paintings on the best paper (though I will sketch and make marks on just about anything).
interior with bowls and portraits
I hope this gives you some idea of what I have been working on recently. I look forward to sharing more and will be having a special shop update on 19th April.
Monday, 3 April 2017
group of four - gouache and acrylics on Fabriano paper
Hello, a happy April Monday to you. I am writing this early in the morning rather than my usual afternoon effort.... lots to do today. It is a fine spring morning here and we are set to enjoy another warm day of blossom and bird song. It is easier to feel motivated to get on with things when the sun is shining, but at the same time there is always so much to do. I am busy exploring several ongoing projects at the moment, and must be patient with myself and pace my work, which is not something I find easy.
This week I'm going to continue on exploring, making.... No shop update this week. My next will most likely be on April 19th. Please check here for news (or over at my shop). I am not updating for a few weeks so that I can spend some time with my family and support my son as he revises for his GCSEs.
Please note: I have a series of paintings currently available via The Edition Shop - and the prices have just been lowered (a new one just added to the selection also). So please do take a look. Thank you.
Apologies for no sketchbook post last week - time went by and other things happened. I hope to share a post of new work with you here soon.
Have a good week ahead
a group of paper vessels - I am working toward making a larger group of these, exploring shape and forms together....