April Open Studio

02-DSCN8374On 7th April 2019 I opened my lovely new studio to the public.

It was a great day to meet new people, to chat over a cuppa and to talk all thing ART!

Thank you to everyone who dropped by and who made this a very enjoyable day.

Here are some photos of the day.  Please contact me if you’d like to visit or if you’d like to know a bit more about what I do and what I offer as non-toxic Printmaking Courses.

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STATEMENT

SPENT 6

I have been a contemporary artist/printmaker for over twenty years with a studio in Tring, Hertfordshire. My work is driven by political and cultural concerns covering issues from Maternal/Female Subjectivity, Eating Dysmorphia and Memory to the Civil War in Syria; it is therefore conceptual and photographic in influence.

An interest in and knowledge of the Polymer Print process is the transformative tool which enables me to create visually strong imagery. Non toxic polymer printmaking is perfect for layering the documentary authenticity of photography with the versatility of Relief and Intaglio processes and its use of line, sumptuous texture and colour.

My Blog https://cyberslog.wordpress.com/ permits comment on recent exhibitions and other artist’s work and Art Theory, and this Blog is where I share some insights and images of my own practice and enjoy the feedback and support.

I have written about Art theory especially Feminism & Psychoanalysis in Art and have been published in the peer reviewed Journal of Visual Arts Practice. I have had technical essays published in Printmaking Today and I devised, found funding for and organised a Community Arts project called ‘A Day in the Life of Grovehill’ in Hemel Hempstead and would like to do more community work.

I open my studio to the public annually and this year I am opening in June as part of the Bucks Open Studios.  I enjoy sharing my knowledge and teach Non Toxic Polymer Printmaking in schools and colleges and in my studio.   I constantly look for new opportunities and collaborations to generate artworks and to find a new audience.  I am interested in new ideas and technologies and welcome exciting challenges.

Coming over all Colourful

Random feather - cobalt & burnt umber

 

I have never been all that bothered with colour.  As a printmaker I have been obsessed with achieving good, opaque and solid blacks – get two printmakers together and they’ll spend most of their time discussing the relative values of the black parts of their works.

 

Flite I

But recently a funny thing has happened to me, I’ve been getting really excited about COLOUR!  I have no explanation for this, am I trying to cheer myself up,  or am I expressing some kind of inner harmony?  Who knows, but I’m enjoying the fun of discovering pleasing and unusual colour combinations.

goose - rose pink & terra cotta 2

I have posted a few here for you to see, I hope you find them pleasing.

peacock x 4 cobalt & raw umber

THE OPERATOR. THE SPECTATOR. THE SPECTRUM.

Monotone Obscure.reveal - no border

OBSCURE / REVEAL I

Double-Plate Polymer Etching

280 x 385 mm

August 2015

“Whatever Photography grants to vision and whatever its manner, a photograph is always invisible:  it is not it that we see.”

Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes

This is the first of a new body of work that aims to explore the power of the partially obscured, or inadequately seen, photographic portrait.  In this print a powerful abstract swathe of ink threatens the image with invisibility and doing so adds potency to the impassive face.

We live in a world in which the art of memory seems almost obsolete, having been outsourced to communications technology, through which perfect, high-resolution images and information are endlessly uploaded and reproduced. These contemporary methods of digital record-keeping let me to wonder what impact this would have on our perception of ourselves, and the loss of meaning on our sensibilities. And what affect the proliferation of so many perfect representations of the human face would have on the appreciation of old and unclear photographic souvenirs, and whether their very fragility by contrast would confer some mystery and power on these fragments.

This triggered a new direction in my practice and an exploration into the impact of partly obscured portraits.  Francis Bacon stated that his portraiture sought to “Deform into the Truth” and in a similar way these prints aim to reveal by obscuring the unique nature and moment when this image was fixed for all time.

SILENT EPIDEMIC

I read this week that eating disorders are on the rise again among girls. They are starving themselves in a tragic, tormented attempt to achieve perfection.  It’s been dubbed the ‘silent epidemic’, and is a disease that creeps silently through the country’s schools, colleges, universities and is devastating families.

It is difficult to know how to halt its progress once the illness has taken hold.  It affects boys, too, albeit half as often as girls, and no one can predict where it will strike deepest.  A slew of figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre his week shows the number of teenagers being treated for eating disorders has doubled in just three years to almost 1,700 last year.

That we should resist the temptation to pressurise our offspring to achieve, is self evident.  How to do this is the question; the answer surely must to let light onto the subject.  We must talk about this.  Educate those vulnerable, impressionable minds not to fall prey to their obsession – drip-feed by advertising, fashion and the media – to be the thinnest.

We must use everything we have to counteract this pressure by meeting each ‘perfect’ image with another ‘real’ image of what bodies should look like.  As an artist, images are my stock-in-trade, and I have created a new artwork  called Dis Miss in an effort to throw light onto the relationship we have with our bodies, and the impossibility, for some, to see their own body as others see them.

This line of thought also led me to think about the use of the prefix ‘dis’ when used to express a negative, like ….

distort                                                         dishonest

dislike                                                         disrespect

disengage                                                   disbelieve

disappear                                                    dismember

disable                                                        disappear

distinguish                                                 disperse

disbar                                                         distrait

– and ‘to diss’ it has become a colloquial term meaning to treat someone with disrespect, or ….

to                                   dis miss                              them.

Dis Miss 1A DISS MISS 6

DISS MISS 2 DISS MISS 9 DISS MISS 16

The six ‘doors’ are photopolymer relief prints of ‘normal’ body parts being clutched by anxious, evaluating hands; and these open onto a charcoal drawing of an anorexic woman’s body.  The inside of these doors cast a fluorescent glow onto the wasted body beneath, that, coupled with the words written on them, are my attempt to counteract negative perceptions towards our bodies.

Tum 2 Bum 1 Boob 1

A VIEW OF MY STUDIO

Sheila_show_Dec_2014_2

Last weekend I organised a little pre-Christmas gathering at my studio.  Five other artists joined me in displaying their works on my walls and we invited friends and fans to come and look at the work whilst enjoying a glass of mulled wine, some mince pies and convivial conversation.

Sheila_show_Dec_2014_5

Barry Gowers, Terry Sadler, David Reed Elliot, Julie Boyce and Nyree Kavanagh all displayed work.  It was great to get together before the panic of Christmas and look forward to a creative year ahead.  Here are some pictures of the studio and some of the work on display (thank you Barry for the photos).

Sheila_show_Dec_2014_4 Sheila_show_Dec_2014_3 Sheila_show_Dec_2014_1

BESPOKE MEMORY PRINTS

PART TWO – PLACES

Last year I completed a commission for The Falcon Hotel in Rutland.  It’s a very old 16th century coaching inn situated in the centre of the historical market town of Uppingham, just four miles from the shores of Rutland Water in the heart of the natural splendours of Rutland.

The owners had some very old photographs of the Inn through many of its incarnations which were in a bad condition.  He was interested and proud of the history of the building and wanted to preserve some of its history and celebrate it on the walls of the Hotel.

03     06      07     08

Falcon Coach Photo-001       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This project required a lot of renovation work using Photoshop software and took a lot of time to restore the picture, often pixel by pixel.  As you will see from the original photos many had deteriorated or had been folded or stored badly; and some were just not up to the correct quality for my photo-etching technique.  Below are some of the many stages needed to improve the image (eleven changes in total).

Falcon Coach Photo -003     Falcon Coach Photo - 3rd changes     Falcon Coach Photo - 6th changes    Falcon Coach Photo - 9th changes

A first meeting was held at the Hotel and the changes were approved.  I could then go ahead and create my plates.

The photographs were printed onto OHP film in the right size, black & white and with good contrast, sometimes it was necessary to posterise the images using a Photoshop Filter.

The acetates were positioned in close contact with the Solar Plates and exposed to ultra violet light which were then developed and light hardened.  Once they were dry the edges and corners were bevelled so as not to cut the paper when passing through the printing press.

panelled fireplace 4b reading by the fire -6th change The Falcon  OUTDOORS X-001 The Falcon manipulated The Falcon courtyard from back 3

Each plate was then inked-up with oil-based Intaglio printing ink and passed through the press with the dampened 300 gsm Cotton Rag paper.  Once through the press the paper was stored flat under pressure in order to dry. A final visit was arranged for me to present the owner with the finished prints which now hang in the hotel entrance.

100_5149

The framed works displayed in The Falcon Hotel   100_5154