Wednesday 28 April 2021

Incognito 2021 complete!

Every year, I think since 2013, I have taken part in the Incognito fundraiser for the Jack & Jill Children's Foundation. This foundation provides in-home and respite care for young children with neuro-developmental issues and their families. The premise of the fundraiser is that the artist creates up to three images on specific sized cards and only signs the back of the card; all cards have the same price-tag, regardless of who created them (well-known artists and public personalities take part, as well as lesser-known people!); the identity of the maker is only revealed when the sale is done.

This is the second year, because of covid19, that the fundraiser was an online affair. Works were available to preview for several weeks before the sale and potential buyers would register in advance to take part in the sale.

Leading up to the sale, there was a fair bit of online promotional activity, and I also took part in this by posting screenshots of some of the pages that included my work.

I tend to either use print proofs or painting sketches of whatever I happen to be working on at the time.
This past year I have been working on a number of prints related to my body of work, Memory Is My Homeland, so it was a simple enough matter for me to affix several tests of my linoprints onto the Incognito cards. If you are familiar with my work, follow this blog, or follow me on other social media, you will easily pick out my black and white linoprint tests in these three screenshots.

At this point, the artist names have all been revealed on the website. The exhibition sold out and raised €188,000 for Jack & Jill which is the value of 11,000 nursing hours to ill children! Congratulations everyone! 

Wednesday 21 April 2021

Portraiture workshops

In February I had taken a free portrait drawing workshop from Raw Umber Studios and greatly enjoyed it. I blogged about it here. A few friends had also taken the workshop at the same time and we posted (via whatsapp) pictures to each other, after which we decided we would do something similar again. With some simple google research I found that there were various drawing workshops available online and even Raw Umber Studios had its own YouTube channel where they posted some previous portrait drawing workshops. So another session was planned with my friends, where we all watched the same video. Although the format was exactly the same, with workshop facilitation by instructor Lizet Dingemans, there was not the livestream capability of having real-time questions answered. This, however, was not a huge deterrent for any of us, as we weren't availing of the question and answer facility anyway. We decided on the model "Heather" and got to work. As with the previous workshop, there were three "poses" (well-lit photographs) starting with a basic ten minute pose.

I had previously found that the charcoal I was using was harder than I wanted, so I simply used a black pastel, which was easy to smudge. This is the twenty minute pose.

For the thirty minute pose I decided to use black and white conté on grey paper.

At the end of March I found out that another free workshop was available (I have since discovered that during the pandemic Raw Umber is providing a monthly free workshop) and the group of us signed up for it again. I decided that working on the flat table led to a few foreshortening difficulties for me, so I decided to set up my easel. This is my workshop set-up in the kitchen.

The model "Arnie" had a great head of hair, dreadlocks pulled back in the ten minute pose, so I decided to work horizontally.

I seem to enjoy the shorter poses the best. This is another ten minute pose, "Raveena", which was part of a YouTube recording that I availed of recently. There will be another free workshop at the end of the month, which I plan to sign up for. The workshops for me are just an excuse to "get together" with friends and enjoy a Sunday afternoon doing something that we all like doing.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Pluid Project

I can't remember how I heard about this project, but after reading about it, I decided to take part. "Pluid" means "comfort blanket" in Irish, and the point of the call-out was to think of ways we, as individuals, have found solace in this past year of covid lockdowns and isolation/separation from our usual life interactions.

I have actually not seen any major disruption to my work - in fact over the past year I have been inspired by so many things which I normally did not have access to. I have attended various artistic workshops & weekly artist talks through zoom and I have had the time and inclination to found Precariat Press, which I have blogged about here. In addition, I have been working on painting and printmaking for an upcoming exhibition next year, so I have been quite busy professionally. I have of course missed out on being able to meet up with friends physically and some major travel plans were cancelled last year (and I am not making any travel plans for this year). But I have been enjoying a lot of remote international entertainment - archaeology and music podcasts, theatre, opera, poetry readings, literary events, and music - and quite a lot of this I would have been unable to attend in person if there was no pandemic!

So essentially I would say that I found solace through activity!  I decided to make images inspired by my daily park walks and continuued my experiments with contact printmaking, after taking the Graphic Studio Dublin zoom workshop (facilitated by Clare Henderson) a awhile ago. I created several pieces in the format required by Pluid. Rosehips, ink on kozo paper (contact print), 15cm x 15cm, 2021.

Wild Rose, ink on kozo paper (contact print), 15cm x 15cm, 2021.

I was happy with two of the prints, so packaged them off and sent to Pluid to be included in the national comfort blanket exhibition. I am also happy if these prints help raise some funds for Piéta House, which I think is an amazing charity.

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Open Fragment

In the past year especially, I have seen quite a lot of open calls for online opportunities. As I had recently dealt with destroying a large oilstick work from 1989 but couldn't part (yet) with a number of elements from the painting/drawing (I blogged about it here) the open call for "Open Fragment" was serendipitous! As recent work was requested I wrote to the curators for clarification - while the original work was created in 1989, the fragments created by destroying Sea of Roses could be seen as new works from 2021. 

The curators wrote back to me and encouraged me to make a submission and it was a simple enough process, so I did.

The online exhibition was organised by Pragmata Collective, a UK-based artist/curator duo (Adele Lazzeri and Toby Kidd) who are interested in an experimental approach to curation, which they fully outline in the exhibition statement.

I submitted an image of my piece along with a short statement about it. The various artist statements were submitted to an electronic device which randomly read out parts of statements during the online launch of the exhibition. It was very interesting to hear this electronic mash-up of words, though my computer could not handle the TWITCH site for the duration of the launch.

I retitled this fragment from Sea of Roses as Jetsam. I thought the definition of jetsam as "unwanted material or goods that have been thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore, especially material that has been discarded to lighten the vessel" was appropriate to my destruction of the original 1989 work and personally lightening my load...

It took me awhile to figure out the numbering system, but that is because I was randomly clicking on the numbers on the site rather than simply looking up the list of artists which was provided.