At last and as promised here are a couple of images of the paintings in progress for my first art commission.
If I hadn’t mentioned it before, the commission is from a very dear friend, Scott Ireland, who happens to make some of the most delectable wines in Australia for his own range, Provenance Wines, and for many other boutique labels. He has commissioned me to do two paintings inspired by wine. So hard for me to get enthusiastic about wine…. NOT.
I am not your stereotypical artist in so many ways with this one exception. I do appreciate wine in a similar way to my appreciation of art and the way historically, many artists have enjoyed this nectar. I love wine. I love the taste. I love the colour. The chroma. The aroma. The feel. The process. Scott and I have had many long discussions, usually over a bottle of red, on the similarities of our chosen obsessions. The sameness in the process to art making and art appreciation. But more on this later.
My friend, Scott has requested that one painting be inspired by white wine varietals and the other be inspired by reds. The added excitement is the prospect of the artwork being used on the labels for a delicious Pinot Gris and luscious Shiraz, if all goes to plan. Well with the fervour of a wine loving artisan I have taken the plan a tad further. My enthusiasms lead me to create a mini series of works inspired by the heavenly ambrosia.
As mentioned last blog I have been experiencing some rather arduous trials with colour blending. The wine colours have been creating challenges for me. It is amazing how many times you create the right colours when you don’t actually need them and the nearly but not quite rights when you do. Despite all the mixing, blending, considering and tossing out, I feel like I am beginning to kick some goals and at last getting closer to where I want the paintings to be. As these were taken last Wednesday, things have moved a long way forward since then. I have really just about finished four out of the series of eight I am in the process of creating.
There has been much about trusting the process and knowing there are always going to be mistakes. Some good, some bad. Learning from these then making things right again. I dare say Scott would nod his head in recognition of the journey. Learning all the time and building on from this, all amazingly great stuff.
So with ‘a bin of wine and a spice of wit’* I voyage forward to complete my series.
Cheers, til next time
*Envoy, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1887
At last, I have landed myself my first ART COMMISSION. Well what I think is a real one. Not just ‘could you paint some fairies or witches for my daughter’s birthday’ (that is okay I do not mind, but well you know). No this one is about my artwork, what I do. It is for dear friends, so I hope that still qualifies it as a real commission.
I am more than chuffed. And my take on it is that ‘what a great thing to be supported by those in your own tribe. And all the better to make something beautiful for those you think are grand. And it is just brilliant.
Now if I could only just get started. I have to say it is exciting but more than daunting, especially when I am struggling to get back into a routine post school holidays.
At the moment, I am on edge, tad panicky. I feel I have so much to do with no leaping off point. Damn those school holidays and bah humbug while I am at it. Having the little darlings around for so long has put all my thoughts out at sea. Maybe not such a bad thing for me except I have a deadline.
Okay now I have had my grumble I am free to start. Starting point has now been located. I am off to St Kilda Art Supplies to speak to Fiona about a nice fine tooth canvas or linen for the job. Smooth, delicate and fine that is what I need.
Well I got my show on the road this week with the help of the trusty truck below.
Okay it is not quite a semi-trailer but I did have a few truck driver moments listening to some very cool country & western on PBS, giving the nod-wave to other truckies. Nearly even picked up a hitchhiker but common sense got the better of me.
Hope you can make my show. Here is the link to the invitation 775 Gallery
Here is another sneak peek of a painting in the coming exhibition.
Don’t be shy, tell me what you think…
Time has rocketed past propelling my painting and me into another art sphere. The exhibition at 775 Gallery looms. Starting on the 26th November. All very thrilling, the process, the making, the new directions that have developed along the way. I have been having a stellar time in the studio with the paintings. And all the artwork is coming together wonderfully. There are some exciting new twists that I feel work in with my aquatic theme beautifully. So hope I can continue being industrious and keep up the momentum. Today I finished the varnishing. One of those big stinky jobs that just has to get done. Naturally I chose one of the warmest days this year to varnish my 15 paintings. So now not only am I manic and stinky from the fumes, I am also hot and grumpy. But hey I am glad that jobs over. I had been putting it off until the end and I also wanted to be alone in the studio so I didn’t stink out anyone else.
Looking forward to having a special sneak peek preview of the paintings at the studio next weekend for those in town that are not going to be able to make it to 775 Gallery at Flinders. Not for sales but for friends and fans who are truly interested in what I do to come and celebrate what I think is a pretty great achievement after my year full of injuries.
Here is a little look at some of the images I have been working on for the show.
And, Dearest Reader,
I am very open to any feedback or thoughts you might have. I so appreciate those that do make a comment.
I have been working very hard on getting my painting exhibition together and am planning a sneak peek studio preview of the art before they depart to 775 Gallery at Flinders.
Here is another finished artwork. Well, I think it is finished.
I had to put together an artist’s statement too. Not always the easiest thing to do without blabbing on for ages and sounding tired and clichéd. I am not too sure if I nailed it completely but I was proud that I edited it down from five pages to close to 200words. Here it is below, tell me what you think.
Artist Bio/ Profile Jacquelyn Stephens 2011
I am a pathological painter. Painting is my lens, my looking glass, my microscope to view and make sense of the world. Painting is a magical micro-world where there is light, color, matter and me.
Patterns fascinate me, in particular the natural world with its boundless chaos and order. Be it a flight of gulls or microscopic algae floating in a drop of seawater.
The sea is a feature that ebbs and flows in my artwork like the tide itself. I have a strong emotional and physical relationship with the briny elements, having grown up looking across the vast blue of Bass Straight and spending endless summers snorkelling at Flinders Back Beach.
My current work continues with aquatic themes, exploring the minutiae of life. The ovoid cellular forms in my work are often placed in infinite fluid like spaces reminiscent of deep water, drifting like migrating jellyfish and dainty aquatic-life. The organic clusters also allude to the pulsating patterns of universal forms that often stop us in our tracks in awe of their magnificence.
I intend the paintings to be sublime, uplifting and create a sense of wonderment in the viewer yet also have the feeling of fragility and vulnerability.
Just relaunched my ‘ARTWHATSON’ website. I still have a bit of editing to do but at least is up again. You can check it out at http://www.artwhatson.com.au/jacquelynstephens
Have I been making spectacular art today? Well Hell yes. I have been working on my big 66” x 54” painting for my exhibition. Been nutting away at it for about a week and it is really starting to come together. This is it in the ground development stages late last week. There is another, just about finished painting at the back.
When you are making a painting there is always this fantastic moment when even in the early days, everything starts happening. All the elements start singing together and you know it is going to work….Okay, that is if you do not stuff it up the next day or there after. But what is more important is that “Ah Ha’ moment when the painting declares itself as it own being. And when it is a big painting this can be quite an overwhelming moment. It was pretty spectacular for me. Of course at this stage I am hoping all goes to plan. But hey if I stuff it up who cares, I just have to start again. It is only a PAINTING not someone’s life.
Speaking of little lives to stuff up, I am currently sitting at Oscars swimming watching kids struggling up and down the big blue lines. Glad it is they and not I. Oscar hates going and complains from school pick up to the moment his toes get wet. Then he is as happy as a seal. I have to say I do not bemoan his complaints. He has this overly strict Nazi teacher this term that really pushes them beyond exhaustion. His group started with 5 students and they are down to 2, sometimes one, that’s how hard going it is. On the very first lesson one kid ran screaming from the pool within the first ten minutes. I am pretty proud of Oscar because I knew after the first lesson he was going to hate it. So I quickly mustered up all the positive aspects of having such a CHALLENGING teacher and now he gets out and says how much he feels like he is improving each week as opposed to “Don’t make me go Mum”. I will worry about all the psychologists’ fees later. Holly and I are watching him pelt out the laps. Holly is writing secret messages in her notebook that obviously I am not allowed to see. Another secret club she is inventing so she can organize all her friends to do what she says. Another dictator in the making.
I am thinking of my list of things to do for tomorrow.
I must photograph the new paintings for Michelle at the Gallery. This will be a big day as I should take shots of some other little paintings too. Then I will need to process them all. More time eating pursuits but I do actually enjoy doing this as I learn more and more about photography and photoshop.
I have to fill in my entry form for the charity show for The Lighthouse Foundation I plan to go in. That means another image to process for this form too.
Re-list another Etsy painting.
Have to type out this blog. Yes readers I am not really at the pool right at this moment, but I kind of am. While I have been by the pool I have been scrawling this blog out longhand with an ancient ballpoint pen on parchment. Do you remember those materials? Sorry to play with your mind but I am one of those luddites who has to write out freehand first then transcribe onto the Mac. I get white screen fever when I am placed before a blank computer screen. Maybe I will grow out of it but for now who cares. This is the way I write.
Just one load of washing, but three to fold up. Dishes, cleaning, dishes, cleaning, cooking Blah Blah Blah. Actually what am I talking about, I never clean.
Should go and purchase some thermals, woolly socks and stuff for family as we head off to snow and Diner Plains soon. Even though there is not much of that white stuff left.
And Oh! Soccer practice tomorrow night too.
Swimming is finished I am exhausted from watching and thinking about tomorrow. Limbs weak, Oscar can just walk. I suppose I should feed them now.
Lets go eat.
See you all soon.
Whoops! Nearly forgot to tell you. I have been included in another fabulous Etsy treasury collection. Really sweet monochrome artworks. Check it out if you want and let me know what you think. I also love the title – The Darkness That’s In All of Us
Getting back on track now but where was I. Oh yes back to my plan to over through the aesthetics of the globe with my art. I have not heard back from my potential patron in the US in relation to my big painting and that is a shame, but then again maybe they were not right for me. Kay Sarah, Kay Sarah or something like that with all the tweeness of Doris Day.
Very cross with myself for not blogging as much as I should. Been feeling pretty drugged out of recent times, getting back on track has been hard work. The path of my wobbly psychological state and brain fitness has been like a seismology graph. Attempting anything meaningful had been a major challenge.
This blog has taken me seven goes already. And you will see it is all over the place.
My neck is finally improving. I had my final appointment with the Neurosurgeon the other day and am definitely relieved that surgery is no longer an option unless my condition deteriorates drastically. Last time I saw him was following my MRI. I still do not quite understand what is actually going on in my neck. I have asked for the MRI report so hopefully I will get a better picture about what is happening. My neurosurgeon is excellent at being a neurosurgeon but really does not like to explain my condition in my language, English, too well. To his credit, he did attempt to explain the MRI and the blackened area on the image where my nerve is being compressed but I still do not have a clear idea of what is causing that. Thus far, I understand that I have a bulging disc, plus some rather odd growths on my bones called spurs and then some other ‘age related’ deterioration issue that I did not quite comprehend, well do not really want to (maybe he was talking at this point about my brain). Excess damage now caused via surgeon mentioning the Aging factor. That just cannot be right I am only 40 or something. Although the good news is my disc remains in one piece. If it had ruptured as the neurosurgeon first diagnosed then surgery was imminent. So the last month has seen me on the surgeons plan to wean off the morphine, manage my pain levels and get back into life. I also had to slowly disengage from the cortisone too. This is cause for celebration, steroids are awful awful chemicals. I never want to go on them again. My mood swinging like Tarzan. Gorgeous puffy moon face look. Hot and cold chills, like Melbourne. And then spoilt sleep, actually no sleep. I have to say though I probably have the cortisone to thank for reducing the inflammation and swelling in the disk.
And a very interesting month it has been too. In this same month, I have also had to complete my very late tax return. I really think one needs more than morphine to complete that task. Plus Oscar and Holly’s school art show and I need to get some work together for another couple of charity exhibitions.
Okay enough of that health stuff now to my other more important business.
Listening to “Let’s Pretend” by Tindersticks in the studio at the moment. One of my top 10 songs ever written. Well at least one of the sexiest. Silky, velvety clearly divine. The whole ‘Curtains’ album is sweet sweet sweet. Okay it is a few years old but I still love it.
Lovely things that have been happening to my art, but ever so strangely, all since injuring my neck. I have sold several artworks from online. Hooray with some excitation marks!!! Cannot give up my day job just yet but hey it is a start. And it feels so thrilling and inspiring to be connecting with an audience.
What is even better is that in one case, I had the pleasure, joy and privilege of actually getting to meet one of my buyers, or should I say collectors now. That is the usually anonymous dude on another end of a screen somewhere.
But how did this happen? I met my patron online about a year ago via a blog I had written about Bushrangers Bay on the Morning ton Peninsula. I was still a baby blogger then and had not conjured up my plan to dominate every inch of wall space on the globe with my art. Greg (my new patron) was doing some research for a story on the Cape Schank Bushrangers Bay area (he is probably the only other person apart from mum who has actually read my Bushrangers Bay entry so he gets points for that too). Anyway, this is how we ‘got connected’.
My new patron, Greg’s has a blog titled Hiking Fiasco; it is well worth a visit extremely entertaining. Stories about day hikes and explorations in local and out of the way places. A kind of warts and all experience of hiking, nature, human nature and more. Plus some great pictures to boot.
Since that time, we have been keeping an eye on each other’s websites and one of my paintings finally enamored Greg enough to want it on his stylish walls. How cool. He came to pick it up and it was fantastic to meet the person on the other end of the computer. And what a buzz it was to be able to have a chat with a buyer. That has not happened since I first started out all those years ago as a student putting on my own exhibitions.
I also have the privilege of knowing that my painting is going to a wonderful person and that this person has actually chosen to live with my art. To have it as part of their life and travels. And believe me; it is going to be a very well travelled piece of art.
I have recently seen the new exciting life my painting is leading. This particular blog entry shows a much more exhilarating existence than being a wallflower in my studio. I think it is almost as if this aquatic painting has returned to its source after all those years I spent snorkeling at the Flinders Back Beach. What do you think? Have a peek at http://www.hikingfiasco.com/search/label/Flinders
Thus, my art life has been going along very nicely indeed. Especially after the horrors of last month. I am even listening to music again. Now it seems I am getting back into the swing of painting again too. I am meant to be taking it easy, not the simplest of tasks for me especially with so much lost time and catching up to do.
Have been included in another beautiful Etsy collection titled ‘a lot of ….’ and curated by Zehra at ‘boutiqueseragun’. Here is the link if you want to check it out http://www.etsy.com/treasury/ODQxMzEwOHw2MjIxMDAwMTk/a-lot-of
By the way, my advice reader is that you must read the wonderfully entertaining Hiking Fiasco. For months, it has successfully taken me away from the humdrum. Check it out at http://www.hikingfiasco.com/
Okay so I did not get all the painting and studio bits from my list done on Wednesday. But here is the proof I did something. I know they do not look very special at the moment but it is early days yet. These are the grounds and believe it or not they are likely to be completely painted over and unrecognizable in a day or two. Or week or two. Maybe a month depending on how forgiving my Art master is.
Now they are just waiting for the next layer. What will that be?
The Ripper Art Show is on tonight so it will be interesting to see how my new little paintings go in that. Be a great way to get some feedback about them if nothing else.
Hope you all have great weekend. Cheers
Gorgeous day in Melbourne. Great day for some artistic victories being my Art Studio Wednesday and my health being on the improve. Still chilly enough to be an Ugg boot day as the concrete floor in the studio is freezing.
I have ambitious plans for today; there is no time for cold feet, excusing the pun.
Here is what I plan to achieve:
Varnish the painting that I just sold. Yes, did you hear that. THE PAINTING I JUST SOLD!
I never varnish a painting until it is on its way to an exhibition or been sold as I think it is very important to get reacquainted with an artwork before it goes away and you get to have a last minute check to make sure it is all in order. Then you are happy for the work to go so you can proudly say farewell.
Next I want to put grounds on some new canvases. In this I want apply the paint really intuitively so I will need to work really quickly so my randomness does not become corrupted. When that happens and everything becomes too self conscious and tight. Nope that is no way to start a painting. Need to keep it fresh from the start.
While the grounds are drying need to write an email to my special patron who, to my joy, has asked some insightful questions about the artwork he has purchased. If I am able to successfully accomplish this task I might publish part of the email in my blog. I am hoping it will tell a part of the story of my art and make the paintings more accessible to my audience.
Need to write this blog. Well thank goodness I am working on this now, often hard to get started here especially with so much else to do.
I will need to put in my blog that I was included in another sensational Etsy treasury collection called ‘Hello!’. And that it is curated by Sarah Giannobile. And that this is the link if you want to check it out http://www.etsy.com/treasury/NjcwMzcyNnw0OTU2MjMyMTk/hello
Will probably need to Tweet and Facebook some stuff too.
And now I am getting to the ‘if I have time to’ section:
Have lunch and drink water.
Create a new print for Etsy from my works on paper series.
List the new print on to Etsy or re-list a painting.
Start work on the next layer on this mornings painting’s when the grounds are dry.
Buy coffee for my new coffee machine.
And then the completely boring awful jobs that need to be done before school pick up, usually in a mad crazy rushed panic:
Wash brushes, Yuk, Yuk.
Pack up laptop, sort of okay
Put out the rubbish Yuk Yuk Yuk
And general tidy up & get organized Yuk Yuk Yuk Yuk.
If I have any talents in domesticity they do not lie here; I really do need a little army of slaves to do the jobs I don’t want to do. Anyone got any ideas?
Now I have sculled my now tepid coffee, rolled up my sleeves and ready set go.