Onwards, Upwards, Artwards : Not Giving Up

Rejection

Earlier this year, along with thousands of others, I submitted an entry to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Yesterday, March 15th 2018, this happened:

I’m disappointed by the decision. I wouldn’t have submitted the work if I didn’t think it was worthy of inclusion, and it isn’t, and that’s OK. I’m pushing my artistic practice pretty hard right now – making more works live in front of audiences, making larger works, experimenting. To some extent, the goal of submitting to the RA is part of what drives me on. The Gathering remains a piece I am proud of – it was exciting to make, and having it freed up by the RA means I can now offer it elsewhere. This rejection is just another step on the adventure. Congratulations to Anne McCrossan, a lovely friend who did make the short list, I’m delighted for you.

Acceptance

Yesterday morning, I dropped ‘Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again’ off at the London headquarters of AECOM, where it will be on display until the end of April.

You can read the background to this piece here, and hopefully you’ll see why this is a great place for this art work to reside for a while. The timing of this particular art drop was a great antidote to the letter I received earlier. Thank you to the people at AECOM who are making this possible.

Not Giving Up

Last night I played at the Project B open mic, hosted by Chloe Ray. I first met Chloe a little over a year ago when we collaborated on a joint art/music project called ‘Not Giving Up’. Not Giving Up is the title of the fourth track on Chloe’s Reprise EP, and it’s the title of this artwork, made to celebrate the 50th consecutive week of the free art project.

Serendipitously, Chloe performed Not Giving Up last night, what a joy it was to hear that song, and reflect on a day of rejection and acceptance. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do.

Sometimes The Angels Punish Us, By Answering Our Prayers.

I’m in the final stages of preparation for my submission to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In the run up to a decision like this, there’s a strong whiff of doubt in the air…will I be able to come up with anything vaguely good enough…?

At first I had it in mind to rework a failed experiment which you can see emerge here a couple of days ago, and I thought it was the one. Since then I’ve been reminded of this piece (painted in October 2017) which I am considering…

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…and then with just a day or two remaining I made this, a return to my recent angel designs. This is the largest of them to date, painstakingly crafted onto an 80cm x 30cm canvas.

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I like them all. Now here I am – with too many choices, and only a day left to decide. Sometimes The Angels Punish Us, By Answering Our Prayers.

On the plus side at least I have choices to make, much better to be in that position than staring at a blank canvas at this very late stage! This deadline has galvanised me to produce some interesting work.

Footnote 1: For completeness, this is the other painting I am currently considering. Acrylic applied with fingers and a palette knife, on a 75cm x 50cm canvas.

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Footnote II. Re: Winged Angels, in other news it’s the 20th anniversary of the unveiling of The Angel Of The North this week, cool huh.

Footnote III. I opted for the black and blue piece, titling it ‘The Gathering’. Let’s see how I get on…

Which Way Is Up?

This weekend I am finalising my submission for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. The deadline for applications is February 14th, and as the theme this year is ‘Art Made Now’, I’m planning on delivering something current.

As you can see, in the last 24 hours this canvas has undergone quite a transformation.

I took the art work outside today – to see how it photographs in daylight. As I was putting the art on the easel – I realised I couldn’t decide which way is up. Can you?

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Here are a couple of close ups, and a shot of the work in direct sunlight. I made this art on a 75cm x 50cm linen canvas, using acrylic paint, my fingers, and a palette knife.