Month: July 2015

Fresh from the kiln

I have filled the kiln with flowers leaves and seaweed, dipped in porcelain paper clay slip and air dried, it is always a bit of a lottery what will survive, and this is the first time I’ve tried seaweed, bladder-wrack to be precise.

fresh from the kiln

most of the bladder-wrack survived, along with other pieces. These pieces are very fragile as they are only dipped once, if I dip twice I lose definition, which I want to keep. The fragility is also a metaphor for the fragility of life, and here I think of the coral reefs that are dead or dying, that have all their colour and life leached out of them, also the bleached bones and fossils, survivors of artifacts that lived once.


Today I have completed another layer on panels, and I am close to completing this phase, all that’s required now is for layers to completely dry out, and then I can commence with under-painting.

I have just taken out of the kiln some flowers and leaves that have been dipped in porcelain slip, it is always interesting to see what has survived and what hasn’t, and sometimes the unusual not quite’s are more interesting.dips                …………….. just out of the kiln, and survived burnout

Detail from Fossil Jar 1 3D assemblage,  porcelain paper clay slip
Detail from Fossil Jar 1 3D assemblage, porcelain paper clay slip

Hard Slog

Its a rainy Tuesday morning, and its a hard slog today, building up layers, and concentrating on getting textures and levels just right. These panels although inspired by a previous work, will of necessity be different, as each time you approach a piece, there are many things that come into play, including, the mood you’re in that day, how easy it is to pick up the flow of work, any interruptions, and even the weather. Over all i’m pleased with how things have gone today, so check out the images.

july 28                         july 28-2                          july28-3

These images show the panels with layers of texture being slowly built up, the brown is sand embedded into the still wet gesso. The first image shows the split between the two panels. This part of the build up requires a lot of faith, as the exciting part is adding colour, but if this isn’t right, then the panels wont work out.



Naming the work

Work continues with commission, but I have decided to give it a working title, much easier on the ear, I am calling it “Chosen Lands”. Why?, because it is based on a panel called “Terrain”, and chosen because it has been selected by clients for their home, nothing very complicated, but it has a resonance beyond the obvious, something about choice, and home, and ownership. Appropriate really. I am working the panels side by side, as I need them to flow from one to the other, almost as if they are reaching out to join, (another metaphor?) I also want them to be able to stand alone, be similar yet separate, thereby giving more options.

Panel progress 5                  Panel progress 6

1st image, close up of layers      2nd image you can see the two panels side by side.

I have had to move out of inner studio, to larger space until I have got all layers fixed, fun and games.

Group Exhibitions

I belong to an exhibiting group Called Lincoln Artists Society, we have regular exhibitions to showcase our members work, but trying to choose what I am going to submit to selection panel, is always a quandary for me. Do I choose my particular favorite of the moment? or do I go for something that is going to stand up for its self among a plethora of diverse styles, shapes, colours, sizes? Do I choose 2D? or go for 3D. When people buy works, they choose pieces that are sympathetic to each other, or within the bounds of a certain style that they like, but a mixed exhibition is a huge battleground of differing styles, techniques, of bold, and quiet, modern, post modern, and on and on…………. What did I decide? I hedged my bets, and submitted 2 x 3D assemblages, and 2 x 2D assemblages.

Fossil Jar 1
Fossil Jar 1

The result was 1 panel selected and 2 assemblages.




1st Layers

My panels are ready for 1st layers, its always exciting, and at the same time frustrating, as each layer has to be given time to dry out before  going on.

Panel progress 2

Panel progress 3

As you see I have used sand to create texture directly into wet mixture, I have to work quite quickly and physically to apply large amounts like this, I use a number of methods to apply, including, spreading, trailing, and pouring, at wet stage materials can be embedded, at soft stage I can make marks into gesso, at hard stage, I can sand and carve.

I always have other work to hand, and often work on several projects concurrently, at present I am harvesting and dipping plants, and flowers in paper clay porcelain slip, to eventually become part of my assemblages,

Visual Record of Commission

I have been keeping a visual diary of this commission for anyone interested in the journey from bare board to finished piece. I start by preparing m.d.f. panel of size required by sanding and priming. Why mdf? because it is a reliable sub-strait on which to apply layers of gesso, wood moves too much.

sketch book exploration
sketch book exploration
working sketch
working sketch
working sketch
working sketch

These drawings are my first tools, and I use the working sketches as guides for the panels, of which there will be 2,

4′ x 2′ each. Once the panels are drawn out, I can start to apply gesso to create the textures and  the layers. It is a slow build up, allowing for each layer to solidify and dry out before moving on.


I have a commission which came from my last show at Sam Scorer Gallery, and I have already got a fair way on with it. The commission is based on inspiration by the panel shown below, however, the clients have a specific place for their piece, and have asked for me to interpret this panel for their space, which I am happy to do.

Terraine 1 Raised Gesso relief on panel, acrylic paint, gilded and distressed. 3' X 4'
Terraine 1
Raised Gesso relief on panel, acrylic paint, gilded and distressed. 3′ X 4′

My panels are very highly textured, and so there is a lot of drying time between layers, and so I work on other things whilst waiting for gesso to prove, like, forming elements for my assemblages with porcelain slip.