My weekend in a nutshell …

Well .. I went to a lovely private view / Q&A session at The Green Man Gallery last night … Unfortunately, I missed the submission deadline, but some of my friends had some gorgeous artwork in the show.

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After a mooch about and a glass of wine, we had a bit of a talk about the Buxton Spa Prize ( link below) … Now the thought of being given a subject to paint (not of your choosing) and being judged in an art competition puts the fear of god into me, but after hearing a little more about the event and it’s exhibition, I am considering taking the plunge and entering. I very much doubt I’ll be winning any prizes, but the open night is, so I am told, PACKED with prospective buyers … so …. watch this space !

http://www.buxtonspaprize.co.uk/

 

Yesterday, I also took delivery of my first small batch of printed greeting cards … exciting !

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And to finish off my weekend, my son came to visit and took me for a spin in his new car … with the roof down … weeee !!

It was lovely and sunny and lots of fun. We took a short drive up to Mermaid Pool … the views were glorious !!!

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Hope you had a lovely weekend, what ever you got up to

Painting number 2 for my graduation show – Ramshaw Rocks

After painting the hilltop that is Shuttlingsloe, I moved on to a more imposing and dramatic landscape. The wind weathered sharp fingers of Ramshaw Rocks are one of Leek’s most recognisable local beauty spots.

I wanted to portray the eerie, sometimes menacing nature of the rocks in this piece. The rocks are often shrouded in low cloud during the autum, winter and early spring. It gives them an almost mystical quality.

Here’s a few progress shots and a reference image so that you can see where I am coming from.

Here’s a couple of quotes to set the scene …..

“Arrive there on a summer evening, fighting fit and determined – preferably with a few preliminary bouts under your belt – crash the jams in, move quickly and the climbs submit. Arrive on a bad day, and it is a different story; the rock will maul you and you will retire bloodied to lick your wounds.” Martin Boysen, Rock Climbs In The Peak, Volume 6. Staffordshire Area 1981.
“We noticed all manner of weird and fantastic shapes along the skyline of the Rocks, and readily realised we were in the Highlands of North Stafford.” W.H.Nithsdale. In the Highlands of Staffordshire. 1906.

Ramshaw Rocks

Acrylic

40 x 50″

First composition choice … I decided against this, so changed it to …

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Composition number 2 … more emphasis on the iconic ‘Loaf and Cheese’ with some moody crags in the background

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I worked on the background first

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Then concentrated on the foreground detail

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And decided to pretty much leave this one here …

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Photo reference …

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Shuttlingsloe – My first finished painting for my graduation show

After what has been a bit of a roller coaster ride recently, I finally managed to get down to the serious business of painting for my graduation exhibition at Astound 2017 … without going into details, I have had to work extra hours at my day job and wasn’t able to start working on my pieces until 2 weeks ago.

I finally have enough materials to make a serious attempt at furthering my painting career and (hopefully) start improving.

Anyway … here are a few progress shots of Shuttlingsloe plus a source image of the location itself.

 

Shuttlingsloe .

Acrylic

40 x 50″

Composition roughly sketched in … hill, horizon and pathway.

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Some rough textured underpainting is added.

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After many layers of paint and texture medium, it’s finished.

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Source image of Shuttlingsloe showing the path leading up to the hill itself.

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Finding new inspirations, even at this late stage in my course

I love being a visual person. Learning to paint has been a pleasure from the very start. Yes, sometimes it’s heart-wrenchingly difficult, and often uncomfortable, especially when you are reticent to share your work in public and open yourself up to criticism ( yes … I know … it makes no sense to choose to be a painter !). Still, the positives FAR outweigh the negatives.

Research is a pleasure. In all my years of being a glass artist, I have always strived to plough my own furrow and pay no attention to other people’s work for fear of accidentally stepping on someone else’s toes.  College has changed all that. We are actively encouraged to research other artists, mediums  and techniques.

Letting the work of others fill my head is just wonderful ! I am (slowly) developing my voice as an artist. It doesn’t happen over night. It comes in little flashes of inspiration, or from mistakes and dark times, but it does eventually begin to develop.

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Something I’ve been working on recently

In researching my latest paintings for our Astound exhibition, I have stumbled across this fabulous landscape / abstract painter from Cornwall.

His name is Steve Slimm and he’s been exhibiting since 1979 … why have I never heard of him until now ?!

I feel that he kind of ‘speaks my language’ … I love his use of colour, light and texture. Something I aspire to ! Here’s some of his work … I’m afraid there weren’t any titles on his website, so I’ll leave a link to his page and a bunch of his artworks for you to look at … gorgeous !!!

Steve Slimm

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I’ve been busy …

Learning new skills and making glass beads like a woman possessed, in order to be able to dedicate my next month to painting and finishing off Uni work … Our end of year exhibition is fast approaching … I’ll post more about that soon enough, but May 20th at The Nicholson Institute will be the place to see Astound:2017 !

For now, here’s a few images of my recent makes.BeFunky Collage

Save the date …. Just a quick post and run for now …

Staffordshire Contemporary Artist and designer fair 2016 @ The Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek Market place 3rd & 4th December

Sunday Supplement Christmas Artisan Market 4th December, Leek Market Place / Derby Street

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Do you think these would make nice little gifts ??

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What I’ve been up to today

 I’m thinking office desk colour … nice as themed sets … discount for multiple purchases ?? I do like that these are bright, cheerful and (when out Christmas shopping), very easily portable 

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I’ll be taking a selection of mini paintings (both framed and unframed) to Leek’s Christmas Market on Friday evening … come say hi if you are local .. we’ll be by Oxfam in the Market Place
Wrap up warm though ! Brrrr

It’s that time of year already ….

Yes … it’s time to switch on the Christmas lights in town ! 

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Leek Town Council Christmas Lights Switch on.

Abbas Angels will be heading the line up for Leek’s Christmas lights event this year and the Mayor, Cllr. Rebecca Done will switch the lights on at 7.30pm.

The evening starts wilth a “heroes” parade led by Santa and 5th Leek Scout & Guide Band, starting from Stockwell Street through the town centre, with children (and adults!) dressing up as their favourite heroes.

Carols from the Salvation Army band will be getting the crowd in a festive mood, the Totally Locally market stalls will be in Market Place selling unique gifts and food, John Collins funfair rides will be in High Street and Market Street

 

Festivities start from 6pm … I’ll be on our College market stall (further details to follow later)  .. come say hi !
We’re in the Market Place, opposite Oxfam.

 

See you there … don’t forget your woolies !!

 

 

 

More new work .. A proper catch up post will appear sometime soon .. Promise

 

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Exciting Times – Our end of year foundation degree show

Hi there … well I did a bit better this time, didn’t I ? Just a few weeks between posts instead of a few months (gold star for moi) !

Well, after a flurry of print making, reflective journal catch ups and sketch book annotations, I managed to get all my work in for assessment … phew ! I can’t quite believe that I’ve completed year two of my foundation degree. It all seems to fly by so quickly !

There’s not much let up in busy-ness though, oh no ! We now need to get the end of year show up and running. Planning and exhibiting is the main focus of the third year on our course.

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Our graduating third years are doing a marvellous job of  planning, logistics, inviting, hanging and launching the exhibition. We have to do it all next year …eep ! Anyway …while lots of squirrelling is going on behind the scenes, here’s a sneaky peek …. a few pictures of our graduates’ exhibition pieces :

Ilsa Elford’s  wonderful banners

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Jon Green’s lighting installation

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Cathey Yardley’s fused and slumped glass dishes.

(I am yet to see the final ‘reveal’ of her finished piece!)

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Its all go at the moment ….

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Our Private View is on Thursday … not long now ! I must remember to polish my dreads, locate my dress and pick the paint from under my nails !

Wish us luck!

In the meantime, I’d better get a wriggle on and paint more artwork for our Take Ten Exhibition in Buxton, Derbyshire over the bank holiday weekend.

No rest for the wicked, eh

Well Hello Again

It’s been a while … again … I am SO going to start giving this blog site some much needed attention from now on.

Well …. I can’t believe that year two of my Foundation Degree is almost over already. This course seems to be racing away and just burning up the years. It’s a bit scary if I’m honest with you !

As far as my artwork goes,  I have decided, for this final module of the year, to depart from my safe (ish) space that is painting and give another technique a try before committing to my final year. So I chose print making. Collograph print making to be precise.

We had a day’s workshop with the wonderful Mary Wardle during our first year. A collograph print is basically a print taken from a texture collage. These can be made using all sorts of materials, from fine sand to scrunched up paper. Once the print plate is dried and sealed, the ink is rubbed on, into all of the nooks and crannies made by the collage. Excess ink is then removed before the print is taken. I am still a bit hit and miss with this process, but I am learning with each print I pull from the press.

I had one proper attempt at this technique over a year ago. I enjoyed it immensely and figured I’d delve a little deeper 🙂

My first ever collograph print .

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It’s not very contrasty, but I was pretty pleased with it 🙂

I am currently, frantically working on a new series of print for imminent assessment. These are all based on a local set of standing stones, Nine Stones Close, in Derbyshire.

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I am limited to black and one accent colour at the moment, as my budget is very tight. This explains the lack of technicolour in my newest prints !

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And I thought I’d also have a go at an abstract composition.

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Assessment is on the 12th … I am still having technical issues with wrinkles appearing in my paper (eek!), so I am starting to panic a little … fingers crossed I get it all sorted and ready to exhibit in our end of year show, Astound ( coming up in a separate post)

 

Well Christmas was busy !

It’s about time I caught up with things on here !

Blimey, it’s mid February already … where did the time go ?

Well … Christmas was mega busy … I had work exhibited in two, two day exhibitions. It is always a nervous time, showing your work to the public, especially when you spend most of your time creating it either home alone or cushioned in the supportive atmosphere of college.

I was so pleased with the results though. I couldn’t attend both events, as I had to be at the Foxlowe show as part of my degree course. I had more sales than I expected at both venues !

What did surprise me was the number of unframed pieces that I sold. Some were not of a standard size, so the buyers would have had to go to the trouble of using a bespoke picture framer, but they didn’t mind … that was a real confidence boost, I can tell you !

It was also great to spend time talking about art / my art to prospective buyers. I do find it difficult, talking to strangers about my work, but it’s something I really do need to work on.

Fast forward to now, and I am still busy with things.

I have just recently had some mega hand in’s for uni, but they have now been graded and feedback was all good … phew ! Now we need to embark on our final module for this academic year. I am going to have a go at printmaking this time, as we are advised that this is our last real opportunity to experiment before our final year.

Other cool news, too …. I have just taken on a studio in town !!

It’s right in the centre of Leek and in a beautiful building !

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Well … when I say I, I mean WE … I am going in with my partner and his brother. It’s all very exciting, but I am hoping that soon, I can get in and sort the space out … I’ll have storage … a table and running water !!

Watch this space !

Some of my available pieces are still, well available to buy …. here’s a few to keep you going 🙂

 

If you are interested in any of these pieces, then please drop me a line via email, at lesley92@gmail.com and I’ll be able to tell you more 🙂

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Another Exhibition !

Christmas is fast approaching ! I haven’t even thought about making a start on the shopping yet, though … I should really pull my finger out !

Anyway … I promised to mention another exhibition to you.

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This year’s address is : 67 Albert Terrace, Wolstanton, Newcastle, Staffs ST5 6AY

Exhibition : Home is a fantastic annual show. I love the concept of it. Each year, somebody turns their whole house over to the exhibition an it becomes a gallery ! The ambience and atmosphere are just perfect for some relaxed gift buying. There is always something different to be found. From beautiful glass work, to delicate ceramics or original artwork, there is something for everybody.

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Stag Teatowel by  Lauren Van Helmond

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Beautiful porcelain tea lights by Perry Walmsley-Pitts

Mist
Mist

I am also feeling honoured to have been invited to exhibit a few paintings, including this one (above)

The exhibition runs from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th of December …. the address is further up this post, just below the banner image.

All are welcome … bring heavy purses 😉 !

Happy Shopping x

 

 

 

 

Christmas Shopping – Staffordshire Contemporary Artist and Designers Fair

Another reason for being so very busy is our annual Christmas fair in Leek, Staffordshire.

The Staffordshire Contemporary Artist and Designers Fair is a fantastic Artist and Designer fair, set in a beautiful venue, The Foxlowe. The building is set at the top of the town’s ancient market place and acts as a focus for all things related to the arts. They have a rather smashing fine art café, too !

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The event is a fantastic chance to start your Christmas shopping with a huge range of beautiful objects of desire !

The Artist & Designers Fair is a showcase for original and contemporary art, craft and design from both local and National artisans.

Anyway, I digress … busy … yes !

As part of my Foundation Degree studies, I am part of the year 2 team who is coordinating  our college submissions … as well as finding the time to create our own artwork to show, we are holding planning meetings, talking with the press and liaising with college press officers … phew ! It’s a great opportunity to get hands on experience of exhibition planning though.  Fingers crossed it all comes together on the day, eh !!!

Here is a quick preview of what I’ll be exhibiting …

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Photobombed by my cat !

As if this event isn’t keeping me busy enough, I am also exhibiting in ANOTHER exhibition … on the same weekend …. eeek !!

(see my next blog post … phew !)

Busy Busy Busy – Getting ready for the Christmas gift Buying season

Wow .. we really do seem to be hurtling towards the busiest time of the year for us makers and designers ! It’s the one time of year that we can pretty much guarantee a few sales, at least !

Well … what have I been up to ?

Making lots of new beads … not as many as I’d like to, but time is at a premium at the moment. If I don’t pencil in some bead time soon, I’ll miss my Christmas buying window .. eek !

Here are a couple of my recent makes though 🙂

Sugar Skull Focal Bead by Mad Cat Glass on Etsy
Sugar Skull Focal Bead by Mad Cat Glass on Etsy
A recently commissioned clowder of kitties
A recently commissioned clowder of kitties

I have also reopened my etsy store … there’s not a lot of stock in there just yet, but if I do get a couple of beading days to catch up, there soon will be. You can browse for Christmas gift ideas by clicking on my Etsy tab at the top of the page.

Anyway … beads is only part of my reason for being so busy ! I have a couple of art exhibition events coming up at the beginning of December, which I am frantically making art for, but more on those events to follow in new blog posts 🙂

I do hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the unseasonably mild November weather ? I hear it’s about to change and get a bit cooler. I’ll be glad #sorrynotsorry. I love frosty mornings and wrapping up warm !

Anyway … catch you soon … very soon … about 5 minutes actually, as I’m about to write my next blog post 😀

Stay warm !

Finally ! I have new EtsyUK listings !

After months and months of procrastinating, I have listed on …..

Etsy     !

etsy uk Etsy UK

I have been so incredibly busy with my art studies and facebook selling, that my poor shop has been languishing in a dark corner. I do solemnly swear that I will be much kinder to my little shop

You can visit my shop to see what I have on sale by clicking the link below:

MY ETSY UK SHOP   will gradually fill up over the next few weeks … I promise 🙂

These pretty beads were listed earlier today 🙂

*Although this post is relatively short, I have taken ages to write this and include as many SEO optimisations as possible …. I think I deserve coffee … and maybe some therapeutic spinning *

Etsy UK
For sale on Etsy UK

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SEO Stress

SEO Stress 

I know that blogging is just one of a myriad of ways to get ‘out there’ on planet social media, but, boy ! I am feeling like a tourist in an exotic country and being utterly lost for words !

Oh my word !!! What on earth have I lined myself up for ?

 

seo stress
SEO stress

Is not optimising my SEO content the reason I never show up on google searches ? Probably.

Do I understand how to use SEO ? Probably not.

Will I ever figure this out ? Doubtful.

Jetpack ? Squirrly? Help !

Some Lampwork glass bits I sold yesterday

Just for posterity, I thought I’d share some of my recently sold and commissioned glass art beads.

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Days like yesterday are good days. They make me smile and help me pay my bills.

Thank you to all of you who support self employed artists … we couldn’t do it without you x

Inspiration and thinking about monochrome ….

I had a really interesting tutorial session at college last week. Previously, I had taken a colour study and desaturated it, just to see what it would look like. I liked it …. I liked it a LOT !

See for yourself … here’s the original …

Original sketch

And here’s the desaturated sketch

Back and White

Now … I have always loved colour. I love it’s volume, depth and vibrancy, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the starkness of monochrome. After the initial shock, I do now feel that it has its own bleak beauty. And maybe a place in the market, too.

My tutor pointed me in the direction of Franz Kline. I had heard of him, but had never really looked at his work before.

Now, I don’t really ‘do’ straight lines and abrupt angles, but there is a way of working that I really like in his work.  I love the harsh black that shouts from his canvasses … it is confrontational, yet it also invites thought and contemplation ( to me, anyway).

The work of Franz Kline

He did also use colour …

 

So … where does this leave me ??
Buying a huge bottle of black indian ink and searching for a large canvas at which to throw it … it will be interesting if nothing else.

I do think it will also be a lot of messy fun …

Ciao

Seasonal Landscape Inspirations

I love being up on the moors in early autumn. I love taking photoghraphs, too. Perfect for capturing those bits of inspiration when I don’t have a sketchbook to hand.

Abstract Landscape Art : It’s what I live for (on a god day, anyway !)

I do think that these would work well as landscape paintings …

Axe Edge Moor
Axe Edge Moor
On the Way to Buxton
On the Way to Buxton
The Blood Moon
The Blood Moon
The Roaches
The Roaches
Mermaid Pool
Mermaid Pool

Ahh … The winter logs have started arriving

I love the smell of fresh cut logs, don’t you ?

Ahh … A great big stack of fuel 🙂

 

 

My Instagram snaps

Instagram

 

I love using my camera phone, don’t you ? It’s so much easier than it used to be 25 years ago. I remember all of the hassle it was, getting my old Ilford HP4’s developed at college in the dark room … yes … I was an art student 20 odd years ago too … Some things never change, eh … Anyway …

You can keep up with what’s going on by checking out my Instagram feed .. I am a habitual camera snapper who loves Instagramming and vintage-ifying absolutely everything !

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Its snowing !!

In the Cairngorms and up on Ben nevis, heh !
I saw this, posted by Cairngorm Mountain Company, earlier …

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It makes me think of snow days and crunchy, icy walks.

There are so many delicate, pale colours reflected by snow. It is far from plain old white.
I am looking forward to the challenge of painting snow, this winter.

Here’s hoping we get a white-ish  one !

Last year was a good one for snow 🙂

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Hello !

Welcome to my first blog post.

Hi … I figured I should start my shiny new blog with a short introduction … My name is Lesley .I am a lampworker (I make hand crafted glass art beads for jewellery designers), and I am currently studying for a foundation degree in Art at Leek School of Art (part of Leek and Buxton College).

I have always loved being creative for as long as I can remember.

After many years spent living in the city, I finally relocated to the highest village in Britain, in the Peak District a few years ago. It was to be the best move that I ever made. It was also the most interesting move I ever made … especially in the winter !

My career has taken on a whole new direction since the move, so alongside my glass work, I am now studiously training to become a fully fledged fine artist.

Here’s my artist statement … It all sounds very grown up !

I am a mixed media artist, based in the Peak District.
I am influenced and drawn to  mood and colour within my surroundings.
I mostly work with acrylics, but also love to explore using charcoal, collage, textiles and printmaking.

Wild Peak District Moorland

Some of my glass work

recent painting

Recent artwork