‘Switchback’ Encaustic, watercolor, ink, paper, metal on panel. 12 x 12. Nard Claar and Sheary Clough Suiter Collaboration
Today Sheary Clough Suiter and Nard Claar arrived in Listowel from Colorado USA. The first of twelve artists to call Listowel home for a month in 2016. Sheary is also the first artist in residence working exclusively in encaustic…very exciting!
Less than a year ago the concept of an artists residency was just an idea. In March 2015 I put the idea together and shared it with painters and mosaic artists internationally and have been overwhelmed with the response with applications coming from as far afield as Australia! The amazing Emily Andress and Kerry Griffin were the first artists in residence last August followed by the first mosaic artist Deb Aldo in October (equally amazing!).
One of the great things about the residency is that it is mutually beneficial. Many of the artists will teach workshops while in Listowel. One such workshop is ‘Making Your Work Sing’ with Nard Claar, this is the affect the residency is having on my work! Many of the ‘songs’ are still in my head, but they are loud and clear and bursting to come out! Thanks to these wonderful artists who continue to influence what I do. We have an incredible lineup of Workshops at the gallery this year. Something for everyone and for all levels!
I am very grateful for the studio time the residency is allowing and for the wonderful friendships that are forming. I look forward to exhibiting at Ciel Gallery Charlotte NC in November with Emily Andress and other Ciel Gallery partners who will be artists in residence in the coming months. In fact many familiar Listowel faces were featured in Emily’s exhibition’Storytellers’ at Ciel Gallery this month
Please pop in to see Sheary and Nard’s work and welcome the newest residents of ‘Lovely Listowel’ to town! Or follow Excira and Delira the residency blog…from the artists perspective! More information on the Artists Residency Program
Oil on Panel
I feel the need to reveal the story behind my recent ‘blue stripe’ series of paintings! The blue and white striped napkin had been sitting in a drawer in my kitchen for some time. It was a souvenir from a special weekend shared with family in London, the highlight of which was an unforgettable dinner at Barbecoa. We also dined at Jamie’s Italian, Covent Garden (highlights for me usually involve good food!). I don’t recall exactly how the napkin ended up in my possession, but I have to confess it did and it has been playing on my mind ever since!
A while ago I was planning a still life painting, I gathered together all the ‘ingredients’and played around with various compositions, but it was missing something. Then I remembered the blue and white napkin hidden deep in the drawer of shame! Everything fell into place, it worked and has become an intrinsic element in many of my recent paintings.
My first introduction to ‘Jamie’s Italian’ was while visiting friends in St Albans several years ago, I can still recall the Plum and Almond Tart! The blue jug is vintage Irish ‘Celtic Ceramics’ Kilrush, Co Clare. The jug of lightly whipped cream is a perfect accompaniment to Jamie Oliver’s Plum and Almond Tart!
Recently I came across an article stating a staggering 30,000 napkins per month go missing from Jamie’s Italians! Which has only served to exasperate my guilt! All I can do now is apologise publicly. Hope for forgiveness and permission to keep just one napkin…there’s a lot more in this series!
Mixed Media Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″
This tiny pair was among the collection of little old shoes I purchased on eBay! They’ve been sitting in the box in my studio since 2010 (a parcel from America)! Judging by the size they look like they would fit a 1 year old or there about! It’s fascinating how worn and tattered they are, I imagine they were passed down from every member of a large family…but will never know for sure! In order to prop them up, I had to stuff them with tissues, because of their delicate condition.
This is my final painting, on day 30, of 30 paintings in 30 days and what a challenge it was! It has been so rewarding, spending most of everyday in the studio. Starting the year as I mean to go on! Thank you for following the journey over the past 30 days. I will continue to post updates here, just not so frequently. Please do stay tuned! My website will be updated in the next few days (now that I have time) with lots of new and available work!
Mixed Media Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″
Today I continued to experiment with new techniques. The drawing from yesterday has become one of the many layers. These shoes are the same pair, from a painting in a previous post. They belonged to my Mother and Uncles as children, I was lucky enough to discover only one of each! The words coming through are lines from one of the songs that our Grandad sang, as he did his daily jobs during his 101 years! It’s an old Irish song about children gathering to sing at ‘The stone outside Dan Murphy’s Door’ in Ennis Co Clare!
Staying with the same theme, another study for the next mixed media piece. I had forgotten how much I love to just sit and draw. Maybe when I sign up for 30 in 30 again I’ll do a drawing a day for 30 days…think I could manage that! It’s hard to believe that the month is coming to an end, when there’s still so much more to do! So glad, I made the commitment to paint everyday. For the rest of the year, I look forward to carrying on the habits that have become so natural over the last few weeks. 2016 is my year in the studio!
‘A little Girls Shoes’
Graphite and Encaustic on Cradled Panel
I know this looks very similar to the image I posted yesterday! In fact it’s the same graphite drawing with a few more touches…and a whole lot more! Today I decided to experiment by encasing the drawing in encaustic medium on a cradled panel…all very exciting! It’s hard to see from the picture, but the subtle texture of the brush marks on and around the shoes adds a softness and tactile quality and the build up of layers seem to give even more age! I’m not sure if this is finished…I might come back to it in a few days. I can’t wait to continue with this technique and explore further ideas and possibilities…starting in the morning!
This is the first of the drawings for the Encaustic Mixed Media series. It’s a follow on from a couple of other ‘shoe’ paintings. The first came about when I was visiting a friend and noticed a little pair of old and well worn boys shoes on his mantelpiece! He explained that he had worn them as a child, as did all of his brothers. He had recently uncovered them in the family home. I asked if I could borrow the heirlooms and this is the painting that followed.
A year or so later I came across a pair of my own family heirlooms! I only found only one of each, a girls and a boys shoe, worn by my Mom and her brothers (and possibly cousins also)! I painted them on a wonky chair, another heirloom and they now sit on my mantelpiece!
I’m sure that the little black shoes from today’s drawing have an interesting story to tell, but unfortunately I know nothing about them or the girl who wore them. I bought them as a job lot on eBay! They came in a box with eight other little pairs of old and very old children’s shoes. Some are very well worn, but one pair is unused and still in the original box marked ‘Crib Shoes’. The logo on the box reads “A gift for an ideal baby”!!
‘Trio of Plums’
Encaustic on Cradled Panel
This is a piece I’ve worked on over the last few days. Adding layers then melting some away! The blue stripe has been a recurring element in many of my recent paintings. A common thread that unifies the collection!
I’m looking forward to exploring further the medium of encaustic and already have ideas for the next series, combining drawings with wax! The possibilities seem endless! Also excited about having the first artist working predominantly in this medium as artist in residence at the gallery in March.
One of the challenges with working from life is that nothing stays the same! I sat in front of the daffodils this morning eager to finish what I started yesterday and of course it all looked very different! Yesterdays bud on the left was this morning in full flower and pushing its way in front to get to the light and this one had decided to raise its head! So I had to improvise! I think I’ll keep this little painting as a happy memory of another special milestone!