Taking a new approach to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2021
Time and tide wait for no man – and so it comes to pass that once again, The Royal Academy have relieved me of £35 by way of my entry fee for this year’s Summer Exhibition. Those of you who follow my artistic adventures closely will no I am no stranger to not getting selected for this show, and this will be my fifth attempt.
Previously I’ve submitted works on canvas and board, made using acrylic paints, spray paints, and varnish. This year – after a brief conversation with local art shop owner Jackie Khan, who suggested I might choose to see this as an opportunity to experiment…I settled on something different.
This year – I’ve chosen to submit a book of magic, titled Spellbound. I’ll be using some of the zen doodling techniques I’ve learned to create illusory drawing patterns – and I plan to add various other icons as I create the work. Instead of canvas I am using a concertina sketchbook made up of 20 panels each approximately 17cm tall by 9cm wide, plus a similarly sized hard cover at the beginning and end.
Progress is slow, these designs take time to build up, and the deadline of May 24th already feels like it is looming large. At this moment I can’t tell if this is one of the best or daftest ideas I’ve had – maybe it’s a combination of both! Importantly – I’m enjoying seeing the work come into being, and I’m pleased that I’m on a very different, exciting path for this year’s entry – wouldn’t it be great if the judges feel similarly to me this time too?
Gardens are lovely places. Space to wander, think, breathe, remember, and more. I’m not a keen gardener but I am thankful to have some outside space to escape to.
In my role as Artist In Residence with GameShift – I’ve recently had the opportunity to artistically explore the garden as a place of remembrance. I’ve been working with some good people at Barts Hospital, designing an image to represent an online garden of remembrance. I chose to work in a representational style using ink and watercolour. Not my usual thing – but very little feels usual right now, so I used this as an opportunity to stretch myself and to hone my drawing skills a little too. Here’s what I came up with:
I showed the work to the people at Barts, and I got some positive feedback and was asked to add some flowers into the mix. Flowers eh – good idea. See, I told you I’m not a keen gardener 🙂 A few flowers duly appeared:
The design will now form part of Barts Hospital’s online garden of remembrance. I found the evolution of the design and collaboration process very calming, and I hope a sense of that is conveyed in the art work.
Having spoken with the staff at Barts Hospital – we have agreed to raffle the original art work to raise funds for Barts Charity. The art is A4 in size, painted using Winsor and Newton watercolours, and drawing pens, on 300 gsm watercolour paper. The art is unmounted to make it easer to ship – and it will be accompanied by a signed certificate of authentication.
Tickets for the raffle cost just £3 each and are available here until 10.30pm on Friday 26th June 2020. I hope you will consider supporting this idea, enjoy the art, and good luck in the raffle.
The treasure of a life Is a measure of love and respect The way you live, the gifts that you give
In the fullness of time A garden to nurture and protect It’s a measure of a life
We have a garden. I’ve never been a keen gardener and right now, I’ve never more thankful for immediate access to outdoor space. As well as sitting in the garden, I’ve been contemplating outdoor space artistically too. My new role as Artist In Residence with GameShift, has yielded an opportunity to consider the importance and significance of being outside, and the results of a small garden project will become visible soon. For now, here’s a preamble, in the form of an imaginary path.
I based this drawing on a recollection of a magazine cover. I forget the title of the magazine, but it was something to do with wellbeing and contained an article about being outside. I recalled the image and sketched a version from memory. The work symbolises gratitude. I’m going to offer this A4 pen and watercolour sketch as the next online free art drop. If you are interested in taking part – head over to my Facebook page, where some clues will need to be solved.
As well as thinking about gardens for the GameShift project, I’m also taking time to think about how I chronicle my work in this time of lockdown. The heritage department of our local authority has a project underway called ‘The Locals: Diaries’. It’s an invitation for residents in the borough to keep notes in whatever form they want, and submit copies of the documentation for the borough archives. I’m looking forward to supporting this project, both directly through my own contributions, and as a member of Arts Network Sutton too. More to follow…