Arlene's blog

My New Series - Problems and Solutions

During my first day of working on my depression series, I encountered a few 'problems' and found a way round them. I thought it might be interesting to post what I came up with here, for anyone who might find themselves with the same issues.


Problem 1:

I had so many ideas and poems and possibilities for my series that I struggled to know where to start; it was overwhelming.

A New Series of Work Begins

I wanted to blog about a series I've just started, as its something very close to my heart.

The theme is depression and its cycles, from the blackest moments to the times when it lifts, and those grey periods in between. Depression can be unpredictable, easily triggered, and greatly affects the person's quality of life and their relationships.

June Workshop at the Gallery of Modern Art - British Art Show 7

This workshop involved some of the pieces which are currently exhibited in GoMA as part of the British Art Show.

In the Gallery

The first piece we focussed on was a sculpture contained within a large glass container. The main focal points were a life-size figure of a woman – a hunter whose had put down her gun – and a snake behind her. The whole case was filled with layers of dyed salt, made to look like sand.

May Workshop at the Gallery of Modern Art - Sinister Nursery Rhymes

The Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow sometimes run free workshops for adults; in fact, it was the first workshop I signed up for, in 2008, which got me back into painting.

Recently I've done two of their workshops, each two hours long and with a different theme, and this blog is about the first of these. It was based on the theme of sinister nursery rhymes and we used lino printing to create art.

A weekend of art and exhibition

Friday and Saturday of last week were dominated by art which is always a good way to spend a weekend!

On Friday I visited a friend who is also an artist. We explored her many treasures which ranged from paintings and antique ink wells to glass paperweights and tiny charity shop animals. I worked on another painting from my Italian House series, which is based on a ceramic tile created by my partner in high school, then experimented with my friend's Chinese paints.

Taking steps to move forward

I just purchased another square watercolour pad, as my other one was finished and I have a number of square paintings in mind - eg. more in the 'aerial' series. I'm looking forward to getting started on these as well as other projects. My lists are getting very long and I doubt I'd ever have time to work my way through them all, especially as they keep growing, but it's a lot better than having no ideas at all! I'm aiming to do a decent amount of painting tomorrow if possible. I'd also like to try some blind contour sketches based on a brooch that was my grandmother's.

Poetic Expression

As well as being a visual artist I am also a writer, mainly of poetry, and am currently looking at ways to fuse the two. My styles of poetry range from rhyming to haiku to freestyle.

I'm a member of an online poetry group and we each take turns to set challenges. The ones I set tend to be quite vague and open to interpretation - for example, the last two themes I set for challenges were 'Empty' and 'Room' - which I find sparks off lots of ideas and inspiration. This is one of two poems I wrote for 'Room':

The Inspiration Behind My Aerial Paintings

The run-up to Christmas seemed to leave less time than usual for creating art. Now that Christmas is over I'm looking forward to focussing on painting again.

I enjoy working with squares within paintings, especially in layers, and that forms the basis of several pieces I've created recently. They are what I call my 'aerial' works as they resemble, to me at least, aerial views of a city or town, houses or other buildings, even gardens. I have plans for more of these and will be creating various series of them, grouping them according to their subject matter, colours and size.

As a side note, creating aerial views reminds me of an activity I enjoyed in childhood.

Creating Titles For Artwork

I always find it disappointing when I see an abstract painting that intrigues me in some way, only to find out that it is untitled or has a rather unimaginative title such as 'Abstract 24' or 'Abstract With Circles'.

In a way, the title is very much part of the painting, and I want to get a glimpse of what the artist might have been thinking or feeling about his painting. In abstract painting in particular, which has no rules or restrictions,

An Italian Tile and Finding Your Balance

I recently started working on a small series of watercolours based on a ceramic tile made by my partner in high school. The tile was inspired by a photograph showing the front of an Italian building and is predominantly orange with smaller areas of white, green, yellow and black. I've chosen to use similar colours, mostly vivid orange, yellow and red, to evoke a sense of warmth and sunshine.

In 2008 I took up painting, which I hadn't done for quite some time, and from that point on began developing my own style.

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