Two weeks in two minutes. This is a hare I painted for the Cotswolds Hare Trail 2017. His name is Bolt. He was sponsored by Cricklade Leisure Centre where you may see it until around October 2017. Special thanks to my daughter Sophia and her friend Karolina for helping me paint it.
I had a wonderful meeting with the director of Cricklade Leisure Centre, Mr Gary Walker, and their designer, Alison Fisher, to discuss the artist brief around sport, and ‘heritage’ that is the theme of this year’s trail. The hare features famous Cricklade’s landmarks: the Jubilee clock erected in 1898 in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, historical St Sampson’s church dating back to the 12th century, and North Meadow that preserves some 80% of Britain’s Wild Snake’s Head Fritillaries.
There are also three groups of people present in the hare’s composition.
The group of runners is the most important one as it has the key to the name that I gave to the hare – Bolt. First of all, Bolt is the name of the renowned, one of the world fastest runners, Usain Bolt you can see him with his charismatic smile as the leader of the group of runners. Secondly, the word ‘bolt’ means to run away, to spring forward, and also a lightning. That is to reflect how fast hares run. By the way, did you know that there is the annual Cricklade Fun Run, which is held in the first Sunday of October and raises funds for local charities?
The second scene is the illustration of a swimming pool – elderly people doing their aquatic workout and a very fit swimmer jumping off a diving board.
Finally, the third scene shows children playing a ball game in the park.
All in all, I painted people of all ages, of both genders, and of different physical abilities, as Cricklade Leisure Centre welcomes all members of the community. I was deeply touched by the story of the Leisure Center that was saved from closing by Cricklade residents. In the end of 2006, North Wiltshire District Council tried to close the leisure centre. After a campaign, local residents took over the running of the centre and were successful in turning its declining fortunes around. It now has a swimming pool, squash courts, sports hall, climbing wall, bar and lounge area with balcony and barbecue, skate park, and play areas for children.
I have spent about two weeks trying to work out the design of the hare in flat profiles. I must confess, I failed. When I began working on the actual 3D sculpture, everything that I sketched on paper seemed completely out of place. So I put my primarily drawings aside and attacked the hare with the pencil and my ideas in the head. I then felt much more comfortable as I used to be a mural painter and I take large painting like a duck to water.
The hare shows some of many more sport activities provided by Cricklade Leisure Centre for the community. It was a real feat for me to complete the painting over one month as I have a “full-time-job” to look after my dearest 9-month-old daughter Sophia. I could not have dealt with the challenge successfully without my husband’s support and our wonderful nanny Karolina. I can’t thank these two enough for their help with little Sophia.
The hare is now installed at Cricklade Leisure Centre and is greeting the visitors at the entrance. It is waiting to be auctioned in October this year in the aid of the National Star College in Cheltemham, UK, that provides specialist education for people with disabilities and brain injuries.
Very soon I will be able to show you a time-lapse video of the whole process of creation.
Laurence Stephen Lowry himself said: ‘I am not an artist. I am a man who paints’. Nevertheless, for me he is an embodiment of a genuine artist for whom creating was a real necessity equal to physiological need for breathing. This is the reason why I want to write about L. S. Lowry: about his approach to art, and what influenced him. This post is based on my recent visit to Lowry’s exhibition last week at The Lowry gallery in Manchester.
The Lowry gallery claims to host the world's largest collection of his work. It houses 55 of his paintings and 278 drawings.
‘… You get used to painting and you paint, and you
paint, and you paint. Whether you are in the mood of painting makes no
difference. You can be not in the mood when you start and get used to it, and
you carry on just the same. I think, from my own experience, the lesser the mood for painting, the
better pictures you paint…’ - L. S. Lowry, 1957.
The development of Lowry as an artist closely relates to and derives from his childhood. His state of mind was traumatised by his mother since his very birth. The woman wanted to have a girl and was greatly disappointed about having a boy. Her son was a disappointment to her for all her life. She never encouraged his love for art and thought of it as merely avocation. During her lifetime Lowry painted only secretly in his room at night, while working as a rent collector during the day. Being very much attached to his mother, all his life Lowry was seeking her appreciation, but all in vain. The broken relationship with his mother laid foundation for unusual relationships with women in his adulthood. He, it seems, was never romantically attracted to any woman and never got married.
‘… Had I not been lonely, none of my work would have happened. I should not have done what I’ve done, or seen the way I saw things. I work because there’s nothing else to do. Painting is a marvelous way of passing the time, and very interesting when you get into it…’
He never sought recognition as an artist. When in his later life he finally got recognised and started to command large sums for the sale of his works, he purchased a number of paintings and drawings by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was obsessed about his romantically idealised female portraits, which he hung all over his bedroom. Lowry considered Rossetti to be his chief inspiration, while himself predominately depicting grotesque portraits of low-class society, industrial landscapes dominating people, and empty land- and seascapes.
Lowry is an artist who locked himself in his inner world full of ghosts. He could free himself from them only when painting, picturing his fears on a canvas. Therefore, his creativity was his way of survival, his physiological need, without it he could not exist.
‘… When it came to painting I really liked to do imaginary compositions in my room. I used to start in the morning in front of a big white canvas, and I’d say: “ I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, but by the evening I’ll have something on you.”…’
I have come across a month long 30WORKS30DAYS project where artists should produce and submit one work every day for the month of April 2016.
This was like a flashback into May 2012 when I came up with a similar project, which was called 31 DIGITS: https://www.flickr.com/…/79719914@N…/sets/72157629578277616/ . By then I had just discovered iPad as a creative medium and was amaized by its mobility, accessibility, liberalism and relevance in the Age of Mobile Devices. The aim of the project was to discover its creative abilities, take iPad art more seriously, and to discipline myself. Since then, many good things have happened and a lot have been achieved with an iPad as my creative tool that I could not even dream about in the beginning of my creative journey.
Now, 4 years later, I find myself at the same spot, but at a new level of creative development, which I guess, as many things in life, evolve in spirals. Having overgrown iPad, I am discovering new art mediums. Rich textures and mixed media techniques are my main focus of interest now. Through collective 30WORKS30DAYS project I hope to explore as much in that direction as possible. It feels great that so many people are taking part in this project, which does not limit artists in size or medium of their work. I look forward to the end on the project when I will look back and see how far I have progressed. In my opinion, nothing helps an artist to evolve better and to achieve that mysterious and elusive creature called inspiration than pushing yourself to be disciplined about your work every single day.
In this post published selected images in mixed media that I produced in April as part of the project.
We have had this plain chest of drawers for a year. It looked good in the contemporary white interior of our previous flat. But then we moved into a beautiful country-style house and it looked totally out of style.
So I decided to change it with my oil paint in hands.
I found inspiration in Chinoiserie – artistic style that reflects Chinese artistic influences.
The original drawer hardware was too plain and I decided to change it too. I removed handles before beginning my painting and then replaced them with bolder and more beautiful ones of bronze colour.
I bought bronze oil paint to create a few bronze branches and a strip of the chest top.
The painting covers three sides of the chest and flows from the front to the left and right sides.
Last touch is the coat of varnish over the dried paint to protect the painting.
New handles went into places when the varnish had dried.