Monday, December 19, 2011

Bicycle Drawings at Pegasus

Framed bicycle drawings at Pegasus Bicycle Works, Danville, CA.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to place some of my bicycle drawings in a seriously cool bicycle store in Danville, CA. It was fun to squeeze framed pieces in between the latest model road bikes which were hanging on the wall. It's a dynamic space and all the action energizes the drawings. Much better than a white-walled gallery!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Works on Paper

Pier No 1. 17.5" x 11". Mixed media on paper.

Pier No 2. 17.5" x 11". Mixed media on paper.

Pier No 3. 17.5" x 11".  Mixed media on paper.

Pier No 4. 17.5" x 11". Mixed media on paper.

Still on the theme of Piers I have recently been working on some smaller pieces on paper.

I am exploring the idea of using screen printing on my paintings and recently made a small screen depicting pier posts from one of my drawings. I applied the screen over collages created with fragments of street posters. I then developed the pier building and the water using acrylic paint, graphite and colored pencils.

After working on large paintings for the last six months I really enjoyed working at this intimate scale.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Development of a Pier Painting

Pier Posts (diptych). 36" x 94". Mixed media and oil on wood panels.
I've just finished the first painting of a group destined for a show in New York in the spring. The finished piece is shown above. The stages of development are shown below:

1 - Text and posters applied to two 36" x 48" panels.
2 - Pier structure added, allowing text to show through in some areas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nargilehs - Istanbul

From my recent travels:

Narghile, Nargile, or Nargileh n. another name for hookah.(C19: from French narguile, from Persian nargileh a pipe having a bowl made of coconut shell, from nargil coconut).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Drawing Animal Woman

Animal Woman No 1. 14" x 11"

I spent my evening yesterday drawing at the monthly Dr Sketchy's event in San Francisco: great music and lots of artists. One of my friends was modeling as “Animal Woman” and had made some great costumes for the evening.

Animal Woman No 2.
14" x 11"
Animal Woman No 3.
14" x 11"

Drawing: instant gratification and a lot of fun - what's not to like?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getting back to the studio....

St Pancras Hotel, London.

Istanbul, Turkey.

I haven’t posted since my Open Studios in early October.
After I closed my studio doors on the evening of Sunday 3rd October I went home to pack and the next day I flew to the UK to attend a family event.

Tate Modern - back wall exposed during construction for new addition.

I was away for most of the month. In between visiting family and friends I saw some great art and great buildings. I also squeezed in a four-day trip to Istanbul where I saw more great art and great buildings!

Warehouse on River Trent - Nottingham, England.

Tacita Dean - Film installation.
Tate Modern
 I’ve been back in my studio for a couple of weeks now and, as is usual after a long break, have been finding it hard to know where to begin. (I am taking part in a two- person show in New York in the spring and have a large body of work to do between now and then.)

Aya Sofya. Istanbul.
I need a kick start to get the energy going in my studio and I’ve just got it – I’ve been asked to do a large Pier painting for next February’s Marin Showcase Home in Belvedere,CA. I’m working on it already and am having fun again!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Painting in The Huffington Post

Huffington Post article.
 Today the Huffington Post published an article which included one of my paintings. The article highlights the upcoming Open Studios events in San Francisco!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Patchwork Paintings

Patchwork with Walter. 20" x 16". Mixed media on wood.
 During my creative process I work on wood panels with posters, paint, and texture. I often end up trimming the panels to suit the final composition and the off-cuts get thrown into a bucket in the corner of my studio. Recently I have been using these discarded pieces to create small patchworks over which I have applied paint and stencils.
Framed with wood trim these are delightful little paintings – just in time for my Open Studios this weekend!

Patchwork with Hooks.  20" x 24". Mixed media on wood.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Open Studio

Come and see me in my studio!

Art For Aids Auction

Art for Aids Auction - San Francisco Design Center
Last night I attended the 15th annual Art for Aids Auction which benefits the UCSF Aids Health Project. It was an amazing experience: fabulous location; lots of really good art; tasty food and cocktails; interesting people; and extremely well organized. The live auction was run by an ex-Bonham’s auctioneer and he made it SO exciting! I had donated a small bicycle painting which was selected for the live auction. Despite the obvious skills of the auctioneer it was still nerve-wracking not knowing whether my painting would be bid over its reserve price. But when my turn came it was all over very quickly! Four people were bidding and it went for more than its advertized value. What a fun evening!

My painting - Globe Bike No 3. 24" x 24" - on stage during the live auction.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pier 19 with Bicycle

Pier 19 with Bicycle. 36" x 84". Collage, Acrylic and Oil on Wood Panel.
Here’s another Pier painting I’ve just finished: Inspired by Pier 19 on the Embarcadero in San Francisco the painting depicts the architectural rhythm of the building and construction of the piers. But is also a collage of street posters and old wall signage that I have found elsewhere in the city. The bicycle is mine – I often ride the length of the Embarcadero, armed with camera and sketchbook, looking for material for my paintings.

Pier 19 w. Bicycle - development in studio.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two Bicycle Paintings - Two Auctions

I have two bicycle paintings in two great auctions this month:

Globe No 3.  24" x 24".  Mixed media on wood panel. Art for Aids Auction.
Art for Aids - An auction benefiting the UCSF Aids Health Project.
When:  Friday September 23rd, 2011. 6.00pm
Where: The Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center
Globe # 3 will be part of the live auction which starts at 7.00pm

OS No 2.  31" x 18".  Mixed media on wood panel.
HeartGifts: Artists supporting Doctors Without Borders
HeartGifts: Artists Supporting Doctors Without Borders.
When:  Saturday September 24th, 2011. 6.00 – 9.00
Where: SomArts Cultural Center. 934 Brannan St. San Francisco.

Both events will have fabulous food and wine. Please come and join us for fun and great art! 

Bayview Boat Club.

Bayview Boat Club.
Collage, Acrylic and Oil on wood panel. 36" x 35"
My friend Trish and I were recently exploring and photographing the docks in the Mission Bay district of San Francisco. We got permission to go onto the back deck of the Bayview Boat Club and had to pass through the bar area to get there. I was stunned by the interior. The skylights directed the sunshine down through dozens of colorful flags hanging from the rafters and the walls were covered with paintings, photos, and sailing mementoes. I loved the Blue and Red lines created by the lights and the barstools. I haven’t painted an interior for quite a while but this one just had to happen!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pier 36 Painting Completed.

Pier 36. 48" x 120". Collage, Acrylic and Oil Paint on wood panels.
In late July I posted some images of the early stages of a new painting. Well….I think it’s finally finished. It is based on Pier 36 which is on the waterfront south of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. The old pier building is unused and dilapidated and the Port of San Francisco has slated it for demolition. I imagine it will soon disappear in the clean-up frenzy which will precede the Americas Cup in 2013.

At work in my studio

Thursday, August 4, 2011

City Streets - Group Show

Pier Modules No's 5 & 7.  Each 36" x 18"
Two of my small pier paintings have been selected for a group show at STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco.

City Streets – Urban Views of the Bay Area
August 10th – September 14th 2011

Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Opening reception: Sunday, August 14th, 2 – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New York Painting in New York Gallery

NY Pier No 2. 48" x 72".
Stricoff Gallery. 564 W 25th Street, NY.
I was in New York a few weeks ago to spend time with one of my sisters and a friend. One morning, despite the extremely hot weather, we braved the streets and hit the High Line – part two had just opened. There’s not much shade on part two just yet as the trees are mere saplings, so half-way down the line we decided to descend to street level for a break and some shade. We headed for the gallery on West 25th St. which represents my work. As we approached we realized that one of my larger pieces was hanging in the window at street level and it looked really good! The painting depicts an old New York Pier which is located on the Hudson River just around the corner from the gallery.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beginning a new painting:

1. Setting out the architecture.
 This week I started work on a new painting in my studio. It will be four feet high by ten feet long and it will be based on an old unused pier in San Francisco. Here are some images from the first days of its development - after I had constructed and primed the two cradled plywood panels:

2. Adding collage elements.

3. Spray paint and text stencils.
The painting probably won't be finished for a while as I am working on several others at the same time. I hope to display them all at my Open Studio in early October. I'll post more images of this one as it develops.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New York Sketchbook

I’ve just returned from a long weekend in New York and boy was it hot! Most of my time was spent sitting and sketching in whatever shady place I could find: trees in Central Park, unused doorways, under an old building which straddled the High Line, and a 14th century cloister from a French monastery.
Here are some of my sketches:

Looking south from Central Park

Clouds gathering over Central Park West

Boating Lake - Central Park

Gansevoort Street NYC

Iced coffee on the High Line

Wall painting from a 12th century
 spanish monastery - Cloisters collection.

The Cloisters NYC

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shadows in Architecture

Bus Depot with Flowers 52" x 38"
 I'm working on some paintings about shadows in architecture. I think this one is finished. It has several layers:
The bus depot outside my studio;
Text copied from a wall in the Meatpacking district of New York;
A vase of flowers on a checkered tablecloth;
Some French posters given to me by a good friend.

It's an unplanned organic process which takes time, relies on accident, and is a lot of fun.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Framing "Dad's Army"

I’ve just spent the better part of three days framing ten works on paper (my Dad’s Army series - see the post dated May 22nd). I ordered most of the components necessary for creating shadow box frames so you might think it would take me a day maximum. That’s what I thought too. But the required precision and cleanliness was time consuming and tedious. I began to understand why framing costs so much. But the final pieces look great!

Setting up my tables with all the components and artwork.

Lining them up - I still have to seal the backing and wire the frames.

On the wall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fort Mason piers

Fort Mason No 13. 48" x 48". Mixed media on wood.
I started going to Fort Mason in 1996, a few months after arriving in the US. I wanted to see how I would fare as an artist so I signed up for a beginners painting class at the Fort Mason campus of San Francisco City College. I remember being stunned by the location right on the water’s edge – after having lived and worked in London for many years the freshness of the air was amazing. And having being involved in the architectural field for many years I was taken by the simple proportions of the utilitarian pier buildings. The colors also inspired me – who chose those two different Reds to use on the door openings? Did they know how, even when the paint is peeling, it would glow at sunset? These buildings never stop inspiring me! After a long gap, during which I have painted many other buildings and piers, I returned to Fort Mason to visit an art fair and saw the buildings again as if for the first time.
As you will see from the name of this painting I’ve just finished I have done thirteen paintings of the Fort Mason pier buildings so far, and that doesn’t count the really early works. Who knows when this will end?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Val's artwork

A friend in of mine in Nottingham, England creates beautiful art pieces out of found and salvaged “bric a brac”. She uses everything from lace trim, sequins and buttons to packing materials and the foil from chocolate bars. Her work is often inspired by European religious icons and is based in sewing and fabrics.
Unfortunately she does not exhibit her work and it is not seen by many people. I get lucky every Christmas and birthday when a wonderful gift arrives for me in the mail.

I thought I’d share these recent acquisitions with you:

Birthday card. 7" x 6".
Fabric, sequins, buttons etc. sewn onto card.

Christmas card. 9.5" x 8".
Fabric, foil, buttons, photos, lace and crucifix
sewn onto silver padded packing material.

Fabric photo album. 7" x 6".
Front cover: Foil, beads, medals, and color
copy of British postage stamp commemorating
 the late Queen Mother.

Thank you Val!