New Blogsite

As this project draws to an end, so also will this blogsite. I am pleased that I have this comprehensive documentary of my journey over the past 10-months. But fear not, I have started another blog to document what happens from here at:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Midwinter and Little Miss Sunshine

Well it's midwinter - well almost as the shortest day is actually tomorrow. So very soon we can look forward to our daylight hours getting longer. I'm soon to be migrating south to (slightly) warmer climes. Last night I stayed up late and watched Little Miss Sunshine which I thought was fantastic. So if you want to bring some sunshine to the short dark winter days I would recommend it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I think I've done it!

Today I think I finally finished my painting (well actually it is five paintings that make one). I've done everything I intended, so at the moment I cannot tell whether it needs anything else or not. The Christmas break will hopefully distance me from it so that I will be able to view it with fresh eyes. I've been here in Derby for almost sixteen weeks and feel that I have achieved a lot (but not quite as much as I would have liked). I have completed two substantial pieces of work which amounts to 59 paintings. Although I'm not publishing the work on this blogsite yet - I thought I would post a couple of details, hopefully to keep a few of you intrigued.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Today's visitor to the studio

This was my little visitor to the studio today - a 10 week old Papillon. The day got off to a very, very slow start due to the party season. However, I did manage to paint - I am hoping my next piece of work finished by close tomorrow. Hmmm watch this space!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

York and Tracey Emin

Self Portrait 12-11-01 by Tracey Emin, Copyright: image courtesy of the Tracey Emin Studio

I took a trip to York yesterday with a friend - another city I had never visited. Apart from being bitterly cold we had a great day. The city looked very beautiful and impressive. We had a very decadent lunch at the famous(?) Betty's tea rooms (great cake). There was a very small Tracey Emin exhibition at the York Art Gallery which contained drawings, prints, embroidery and photographs. I love so many of her drawings, the mark-making is simple and beautiful. I can't express how powerful some of these images are. They are so delicate and it is a shame that so many people just associate her with the unmade bed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Where is my mind?

"With your feet in the air and your head on the ground - Try this trick and spin it, yeah - Your head will collapse - But there's nothing in it - And you'll ask yourself - Where is my mind? Way out in the water - See it swimmin'?

I was swimmin' in the Caribbean - Animals were hiding behind the rocks - Except the little fish - But they told me, he swears - Tryin' to talk to me, coy koi - Where is my mind? Way out in the water - See it swimmin'?

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground - Try this trick and spin it, yeah - Your head will collapse - If there's nothing in it - And you'll ask yourself - Where is my mind?"

The Pixies

I'm having a big battle in my little mind. I am determined to finish the series of paintings I'm working on before Christmas. I have GOT to do it. The problem is my mind is mushed today from Christmas shopping and I'm tired, cold and need a break (poor me eh? Nothing quite like a drama Queen!). The past two weeks I've been obsessively listening to The Pixies again in my studio - so having a retro moment. I remember seeing this band at Exeter University when I was a first year Fine Art student at Falmouth School of Art. Perhaps working in a University amongst art students is bring all this lovely stuff back to me? Legends. Due the the immense genius of the world wild web I have found out that this was the 16th October 1989. The following night they played at Portsmouth Guildhall and I'm sure my sister saw them there. Oh the data you can find!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Calling artists of the world...

How important is drawing? Please post your comments or register your vote on the poll on the right hand side of this blog. I know this question is a bit 'same old same old' but the question was born from a conversation I had today - which has made me curious to find out other artists' views (or anyone for that matter).

Monday, December 10, 2007

In a whirl

I'm in a whirl and Christmas is fast approaching. I have travelled this past weekend: a trip to the Lake District to see friends (thank you for lovely food and films), then down to see another in Lancashire (thank you Juno for my lovely miniature Christmas tree for my very small flat). Today I've had a meeting with the curator of my first exhibition in June - and now have set deadlines. This has made me realise how little time for working I have left. In fact in those terms I'm half way through!! So I find myself in a bit whirl, so need to make the most of the two weeks' working time before Christmas. Thank goodness for online Christmas shopping - as long as it all arrives in time! So now I'm off to the studio for a mammoth painting session...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Green Door Launch

Last night I went to the exhibition and launch party of the Green Door Open Access Printmaking Studio. You can become a member and use the facilities at an hourly rate or attend courses in photopolymer etching, acrylic relief etching, monoprinting and collagraph. For further details follow this link.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


The sky above the shed with rainbow 2.30pm today:

On Monday the Vickers gang organised a 'meet the artist' event at the Mayor's Office in the Council Chambers in Derby. It was a lovely evening with drinks and canapes and plenty of people to meet. There may be something in the press so watch this space for dodgy photos. At the same time there was a demonstration outside to save the Derby Playhouse (it has recently been put into administration).

The sky above the shed 3.30pm today:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Three months

I have been in Derby now for three months and it now feels quite 'normal'. I am becoming very familiar with my immediate surroundings and Derby is beginning to feel like home. I think it is routine that gives us a sense of belonging as well as the people that we meet. I now feel more than just an oberserving outsider.

Around and about the shed today

The sky above the shed today:

The sky above the shed 20th October:

Britannia Mill:


Saturday, December 1, 2007

QUAD progress

This is the latest progress with the QUAD building with the temporary ice rink in front.

QUAD 13th September (see previous blog entry):

The big screen showing the action on the ice rink:

Thursday, November 29, 2007



As part of the Vickers award I have been teaching a few days in the Fine Art department at the University. I have really enjoyed this on the whole - but today was particularly rewarding, hence I feel compelled to make a blog entry. Thank you to the students who took part in the group critique today and sharing your work with me. Today had a excellent vibe and energy about it and it was a pleasure to invite you down to my studio.

First painting on canvas

I recently bought some art materials for my niece for her birthday. This is her first acrylic painting on stretched canvas. Now I can see I'm not the only artist who can't resist painting around the edge. Thanks for the photo E, it's a bit out of focus though.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still working hard...


Drawing Restraint

I have just been to see Drawing Restraint 9 by Matthew Barney at the Broadway in Nottingham. A feature length art film featuring Matthew Barney and Bjork (Bjork also composed the music). I've had the soundtrack for a couple of years which I always found hard to listen to due to its eeriness. As suspected the film was a little strange and self indulgent (but then again I can't talk). However, I found it quite beautiful, eagerly watching to see if I could decipher its message through its heavy symbolism. I could go on and on analysing it but essentially it is about love, sexuality, ceremony and (anti) Whaling - not to be confused with wailing - well to my mind anyway. Oh and lots of vaseline, lard or perhaps it's blubber? I can't find a copyright free image anywhere so sorry no picture. I quite enjoyed the two-and-a-half hour experience - but I don't think I will need to see it again in a hurry.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Open Studios, Banks' Mill

Today I visited the Open Studios at Banks' Mill in Derby and met some really lovely people and came away with a handful of cards and literature. The building and studios are fantastic and the spaces are open to all art forms from Fine Art to Product Design so there's a good mix. Banks' Mill is one of three business incubation units run by the University of Derby, and exists to support the development of new businesses in the creative industries.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A day in the life of an intellectual artist

So today didn't go exactly as planned. The day started with me catching up with some essential book-keeping and then followed by a couple of fruitful meetings. In between times and afterwards it was my intention to go on a walkabout exploring with my camera - actually two of them! Firstly, I wanted to photograph the progress of the new QUAD arts building and the ice rink that has appeared in the city centre (yes like those that you see in films based in New York at Christmas - very romantic).

To cut a long story short the first camera didn't work - flat battery. Swiftly on to backup camera number two - yep you got it - turned it on - batteries went flat. Arghhhhhh!!!!

Then I thought (as sometimes an intellectual artist does!!!) camera phone. Yes that's it - the third camera. However, after waiting for what felt like 5 minutes it merely asked (as inanimate objects often do), "check camera connection" WHAT the hell???? Of course I take no responsibility for checking the batteries - nothing to do with me is it?

Shortly after this someone let me touch their new Apple i-phone - tasty.

So what then? Well I went and had a fantastic hair cut instead - shallow but delightful and relaxing. Perhaps now I can see out from beneath my fringe I may be able to think more clearly? May be I'll start by organising back-up batteries or checking them on a regular basis.

The upshot is I do not have a photo for today's blog entry, so here's a picture of my friends new motorbike. Well it is not actually HIS bike - but his is apparently the same. I can't wait to have a go on the back.

Thursday, November 22, 2007



Home now.


Going off to work with 3rd year students at the University today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Green Paint

I am currently working on my next piece and believe me painting never gets any easier. As I am not posting the work on this blog yet, here's a clue to the colours I have been using today.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I've had visitors this weekend and have travelled around some of Derbyshire being a tourist. Matlock Bath, Bakewell (bought puddings - not tarts), Buxton, Burton-on-Trent (not so beautiful), Ashbourne and Wirksworth. Today I have seen snow (well a few flakes between the rain!) SNOW already!!!!!!

(Oops just looked on the map to discover that Burton-on-Trent isn't in Derbyshire but it's right on the south west boarder with Staffordshire. I should seriously do my research!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

London Event Pics

Artwork: Copyright Jane Jones, Rupert Record, David Shilling, Natalie Dowse & Christina Niederberger 2007

Well as predicted it was an exhausting weekend but very successful. The Charity event was packed and had a really good buzz. A substantial mount was raised for the Robert Grace Trust (details to follow). Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera for the evening event, nonetheless managed to take some pics of the exhibition yesterday.

Friday, November 9, 2007

London Exhibition & Charity Evening

Charity Evening:
The Robert Grace Trust celebrates 20 years with an evening of contemporary art
Canapes, Wine and Drinks - Tickets £20
Artists: Jane Jones, Rupert Record, David Shilling, Natalie Dowse & Christina Niederberger

Saturday 10th November 2007 - 6pm - 9.30pm
at Candid Galleries, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ
(just behind Angel Tube)
The Robert Grace Trust provides immediate support to people with HIV/AIDS and their carers in Africa and the UK. All proceeds from the exhibition will go the trust.

Artists: Jane Jones, Rupert Record, David Shilling, Natalie Dowse & Christina Niederberger

Sunday 11th November 2007 - 12 noon - 6pm
at Candid Galleries, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ
(just behind Angel Tube) Admission free

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Dome

The Dome at the University of Derby campus in Buxton.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A City Walk

It's been very grey and wet today - so here's a couple of bird photos I took a few weeks ago on a sunnier day on one of my walks through the city centre and along the river.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lovely new stretchers

These are my lovely new professional stretcher bars - total nightmare to put together though (many thanks to Scott Green at the University - without his help I probably wouldn't have any hair left!). I have some sizing and priming to do this weekend to get these ready for next week.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


There have been blue skys above Shed 5 today and the past few days. It's getting a little bit cold down there though. However, these cold but bright days are my favourite in Autumn. Still plugging away at my first installation piece - however, 40 paintings complete and only another 14 to go! I'm looking forward to getting it finished and pushing on with the next piece.

(Play up Pompey, Pompey play up!)

Friday, October 19, 2007


Last night I went to the launch of one of the Hinterland Projects events. It was an exhibition of large-scale photography by Mark Excell exhibited at the Hinterland temporary HQ - a unit on an industrial estate, Colwick, somewhere on the outskirts of Nottingham. A free bus was laid on from Nottingham city centre - and drinks and BBQ on arrival (unusual for late October, but it helped to keep the visitors warm!). There appears to be a lot of art events and projects going on in and around Nottingham - due to what seems to be a bunch of very pro-active artists.

This is my friend Steffie above (sorry Stef just had to mention to the world! She has been inviting me places and has a brilliant handle on the regional art scene:-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

SPIKE IT (and Christmas come early!)

Image copyright Jeannie Driver 2007

This weekend I traveled back to Portsmouth. My trip included a visit to the Aspex gallery where two exhibitions were on show. The first is SPIKE IT by Jeannie Driver. This exhibition was to launch the new SPIKE IT website and celebrate the progress of the project so far though the Office Investigations. This is a project that has been running since December 2006 after Jeannie was awarded an Arts Council Investment in Individuals Award. This project has a lot to say - including environmental issues and getting people to interact with artwork concepts. Also check out the interactive ATMOSPHERE board (click question mark symbol for concepts and instructions), which collects data about the mood of the people participating. This on-going project continues at the Millais Gallery, Southampton Solent University from the 3rd November 2007.

In contrast the other exhibition was a painting show The 1000 Yard Stare by Gordon Cheung. It was good to see this work on account of Gordon Cheung's work being pretty ubiquitous at the moment. I thought that these two shows were of high quality and really complemented each other well.

PS I've just found this out:
Oh well missed it by a day!

I still get excited about materials:

One good reason to be working from home today is to take delivery of materials. This is one consignment - another is as yet unopened ... and if I'm really lucky a third will be delivered today. It really does feel like Christmas - even though I've chosen my own presents! However, look at the amount of packaging!!!!!!!!!

Six Weeks

I'm now six weeks into the project. I just wanted to flag this up as this is the same length of time I spent on my residency in Latvia last year. In Latvia I had made work for an exhibition - which was a personal achievement for me as I consider myself as a slow worker! I'm not ready for exhibition on this residency yet - but the extra time has enabled me to carry out a lot more research. However, I am well on the way to completing my first piece of work, but to put this in perspective it contains 54 small paintings.