Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Edvard Munch

I learnt something last night - firstly that 221 minutes is actually almost 4 hours. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to start watching a film that long at around ten o'clock last night. I also thought Edvard Munch was German, died young and only really painted 'The Scream' (originally 'The Shriek'). It turns out he was Norwegian, died at 80 and painted a lot. He died on the 23rd of January 1944, so I am only 7 days too late for a memorial post which is a pity.

I also didn't realise Munch was the first exponent of Expressionism - trying to paint how you feel rather than exactly what you see. As I am a firm advocate of this style of art I felt slightly ashamed I wasn't aware of this (as well as everything else).

The Sick Girl - the 'first' expressionist painting.

After watching Peter Watkins documentary style film (a docudrama apparently) about Munch I now feel I can appreciate him a lot better. 221 minutes better in fact. It was an impressive film, holding mock interviews to express emotions at the time and illustrating the climate surrounding Munch in terms of the Norwegian Bohemians, the culture of Christiania (where he spent his early years, now Oslo) and the main activities of the world. There is nothing quite like hearing the words 'The French have just given the Statue of Liberty to the United States of America.' Oh, wasn't it always there!? It certainly clearly laid out his influences, the struggles of artists at the time and the current trends in philosophy.

If you would like to get to know Munch better, watch as his life, loves and emotions slip through his fingers, get splatted on a canvas, his shows and exhibitions torn to pieces and get to the point where you want to give him a huge hug then I thoroughly recommend this film. An artwork in it's own right. You need to be keen though otherwise 120 minutes in, you may find yourself asleep.

Madonna. The Scream. Melancholy.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Aimee Mann

I was privileged enough to go and see Aimee Mann at the Royal Festival Hall last night. What a fabulous lady, with such a good voice, she was quite mesmerising at times. Pretty good going as I am not that familiar with her work!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Mulholland Drive

It would be rather irresponsible of me to imply that I frequently watch more unusual, arty, left field films and not watch something by the director David Lynch.

David Lynch - surreal, creative, controversial, genius, nut job, it is difficult to say. I would say, after watching Mulholland Drive that surreal may well be an understatement.

The film started normally enough, with a few slightly brush-under-the-carpet strange moments and a growing tense atmosphere. Then BOOM! What is going on? What is happening? Isn't that? Where has? WHO.....? WHY.......? The end.

Yes it was confusing but it had just enough of a thread of sense running through it that it was difficult not to spend the next three days trying to 'figure' it out. I think I need to watch it again. So if you want to be tested, a little creeped out, then confused and slightly incredulous this is the film for you. If you like a story that makes sense, then please, run away screaming.


As Mondays go, this one is not so bad. I sorted out my online print gallery issues on Friday and rearranged my flat at the weekend for the anticipated arrival of 15 blank canvasses. This would imply I am ready to burst forth with paint flowing and ideas spreading across the 19 canvasses patiently waiting. Good thing I am not feeling very inspired then.....nothing like some artists block pressure. Oh well, creativity comes in the strangest fashion and a walk normally sorts me out (please let a walk sort me out!!).

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Today, I need help.

What a frustrating day!!

I have been trying to set up an online print gallery that will manage my prints and leave the user in control over the size, type and image they want printed. This will not only take the pressure off me (especially when my architecture freelance work gets busy) but also makes the end product more flexible. I thought this would be perfect for my Limited Edition prints but it turns out the controls aren't tight enough. Just standard prints it is, if only I knew this before I spent 14 years trying to sort the Limited Editions out.

I have also been contemplating setting up some of my photographs as stock photos but then you are faced with the dilemma of choosing between Rights Managed or Royalty Free. It is just as well I have no experience of either of them and don't have a clue what is going on. That will make deciding easy.

Today is definitely a bogged down day, confusing,  frustrating and never ending. I shall be glad when I have completed all the things I decided were a good idea to sort out. Seriously all I want to do is PAINT A PICTURE and let the rest just run on its own for a while. Unfortunately I am not very good at deciding to do something and then 'doing it later.' Even now is not soon enough.

Anyone want to be my assistant!?

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Market Hike Hot Cakes

I said I had some exciting news and here it is - the last website of my 'experiment' yielded some results at the weekend as I randomly sold 2 paintings to 2 complete strangers! This is my first (and second) full sale to people I have no link to. I have sold paintings to people I don't know before but they have always been along the lines of a sister of a friend of a friend of a friend, so there has been a tenuous link. Not so this time. I really do think 2013 is going to be a good year. It also means my 3 experiment websites have all had positive results and generated a bit of cash.

Fine Art America - card sales
Premier Gallery - 3 competition wins
Art Gallery - 2 painting sales.

It looks like they were all worth doing in different ways and worth continuing. It also makes me feel a bit more like this might not all be a massive waste of time. Maybe one day I won't be a struggling artist with holes in my jeans, I can be one that just needs to sell a few paintings a year to survive (and go on holiday, at least twice).

I am also enjoying the fact that I now have a gold star against my name and I've been referred to as a 'trend'. Me? A trend? You must be joking.....

One of the paintings I sold, 'Chrysler Top' has been on my wall for its own protection since I painted it 18 months ago, it seems wrong but I do kind of miss it. Time to get the paintbox out and fill the space I think. Oh, and by the way, if you already own a painting by me, I think, after this weekend, that it has just gone up in value....

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow Blindness

So there is no business like snow business, and finally I can say 'I never love England more than when covered in snow'.... (any excuse to showcase another Laura)

However I am not entirely sure it is true. I went out to take some photos this morning and came back with a slightly paltry selection of four. It turns out I may prefer England when covered in frosty fog or just plain sunny. Considering I am a lady of contrasts you would have thought I would love the dark trees juxtaposed against the white snow but it just makes my eyes hurt. Maybe I just needed to be somewhere more beautiful or more out in the sticks. After all the beauty of snow quickly turns into the brown mud of disappointment photography-wise, there is nothing for it - snow angels and snowmen it is.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Little Miss Sunshine

I watched another 'must see' film last weekend, in fact this film pretty much makes it into my top ten as it has a little bit of everything in it; Failure, beauty, death, suicide, embarrassment, silence, desperation and perseverance in the face of adversity. It sounds impossible but this film is both funny and uplifting with a good heartfelt family moral at the centre of it. I love films where everything that could go wrong does go wrong but everyone comes out of it ok in the end.

Now that, is real life.

If a film can show you all the bad things that could happen and still have a good feeling at the end of it then that is how I want my life to be. I don't believe anyone can get away with not having some trauma in their lives but it is about dealing with it, not dwelling on it.


Right, having mentioned previously that I am getting behind with my blog posts it is time to churn out a few as the situation is only getting worse. The problem is I have had an exciting art weekend so do I a) ignore all the other posts because I am excited or b) write about a film I watched last weekend before I can't remember it? I guess as my memory is on a weekly refresh rate I ought to do the film first. Oh well, exciting news coming soon....

So my film of choice is a little left field and maybe at the time a little odd but it is definitely a grower - one of those films that makes you smile/laugh a few days afterwards. It is a quirky teenage coming-of-age film from the perspective of a teenage boy but is refreshingly not hopelessly full of sex references (well it kind of is but not disgustingly so). It has some really classic moments in it and is utterly hilarious in a quiet Welsh way so I thoroughly recommend giving it a watch. I had been waiting to watch it for ages and it certainly didn't disappoint.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Just because...

So before anyone says anything I know this is totally irrelevant but.... a new guy came to my yoga class the other day and he bought with him something rather unusual.

....He brought a .................................saucepan!?!

I don't know either.

Monday, 14 January 2013

One, two, miss a few....

I am getting a bit behind with my blog posts as I had the weekend off - obviously serves me right! I technically have two paintings to write about, two films and I have found some more places to showcase my work, or at least an English version of Fine Art America. I think I might have to do a post along the lines of one two miss a few ninety-nine, a hundred! The problem will come with all the snow that is currently peacefully floating past my window....if it settles, then I will have some photos to write about as well! Better to have too many ideas, I suppose, than not enough!

So post one of  two miss a few, ninety-nine, a hundred is going to be about In the Night Air - a shiny new painting based on a photo taken whilst wandering (and wondering) around the more scenic parts of Maidenhead. Basically it can be summed up as Maidenhead + The Secret of Kells  = In the Night Air. It is unusual for me to be so influenced by a animated film but I think this one was just good timing - I was heading along the lines of painting trees anyway with the introduction of The Bay and I am obsessed with patterns. All I needed was something to show me the way!

  So for the moment at least In the Night Air is my new favourite. (I was also going to resist including the following song in this post in case it alters the feeling of the painting but seemingly I can't....Good idea/ Bad idea? Answers on a postcard...)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Verbal diarrhoea

I have been trying to think of ways to give my blog a bit of a boost on the exposure front. I did think I could list it on some blog index sites but it turns out a lot of them are no longer in service. I did manage to find one which said due to the high volume of registering blogs there was an 8 - 12 month waiting period for verification!! I guess that might not help very quickly if at all!!!

The problem with doing artist blog list searches is at that quite soon you appreciate just how many blogs you are up against and the sheer enormity of it all (and how structured theirs are in comparison to your periodic bouts of verbal diarrhoea!)

So wow, I think I give up at the moment - I am going to paint some pictures, watch some films and let my blog and website fend for themselves on the promotion front for a while, they're tough enough.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Come and see the (re)view

With the years end comes the year reviews, the 'how was this year in comparison to last year' - 2012 how did you do? And 2013 how are you looking so far?

This is probably the moment where someone needs to say Laura - it is the 9th of January - seriously, maybe you should at least give it a month, maybe even just two weeks before you start seeing how 2013 is going!? But I am impatient and I haven't really been checking my 'numbers' recently.

The problem is that a lot of the time you are updating, adding things, painting, trying to shout LOOK AT ME as loudly as possible, analysing, thinking.......... How many views did this get? How many likes did that get? How many posts were viewed on Monday? What comments did the photo get? What shall I paint next? The list goes on forever and each one is it's own little success or failure - sometimes it is difficult to see if things are going well or otherwise and it is always easier to focus on the niggles, the disappointments, the let downs than it is to see the success.

It is just as well most of the time I am happy to skip along in the fields singing (well, walk around them vacantly at least).

But maybe I am missing the bigger picture (and I am too sensitive) - my blog is getting about 4 times as many hits as it was in the beginning and my website is getting 5 times as many. The hits are starting to creep all around the world so I know it is not just my Mum (and Judas) so maybe I should put the boxing gloves down and stop beating myself up.

Either way I can't stop painting (or seemingly posting now!) and I won't. It's just sometimes, you get by with a little help from your friends (or fans, or Mum (and Dad)).

So thank you.  Yep you(!) who is reading this have helped me skip through the fields a little bit longer.....

Monday, 7 January 2013

At the stroke of 2013...

I did have one other gift for Christmas that I wanted to mention, another one that I will become obsessed with no doubt. I got a new cutlery set - 4 knives, 4 teaspoons, 4 regular spoons and 4 forks. BORING I hear you say! Not so as each handle is decorated with a different pattern - I say EXCITING. However, after spending 10 minutes trying to take a decent photo of all the handles I decided there probably must be something more constructive I could be doing! There is nothing like that 'what are you doing' wake up call, it is a bit like standing on the scales for the first time after the Christmas binge - maybe I will weigh less if I take my glasses off.....

So glasses and cutlery aside, I did battle with my first painting of 2013 three days ago. It always feels like the first painting of the year sets the tone for the rest (it doesn't but it still stresses me out slightly) so I was a bit apprehensive. It was painless though, I liked it, it liked me, and everyone else liked it too. That is better - none of this tormented artist stuff. It is getting difficult now though as I really want to paint an image of a building, like in the old days, but seemingly my brush won't let me, I say building, my brush says trees. I can feel some torment coming soon.

For now though, let's just feel 'Enchanted'

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Have you seen my Watch?

Seriously....have you seen my watch!? I am obsessed with it, partly because a) it is ridiculously colourful, b) it changes colour c) It comes from New York and d) I love watches and clocks regardless. I have never really worked out why this is especially considering the fact I am a very poor time keeper, my middle name should be 'by the skin of my teeth.' Judging from the fact that I keep having moments where I sit watching the colours change, I don't think this watch is going to make me any more punctual.

I defy you to watch the video below and not say ooh though, I am sure it is impossible. The rotations are massively speeded up - this 15 second video relates to about 4 minutes real time but I am kind enough not to make you sit through the whole thing. Now if I was Andy Warhol I would have slowed it down so 4 minutes equated to 3 days watching time. Never say I don't have your interests at heart.

Enjoy....I know I will.M7CQK8MPT5RQ