I have now been painting in oils since February 2016, for 8 months after a very long break with just one painting in 2010 since 1975. My mother (aged 87) had asked me to finish one she had started and I did so, then later gave it to the hospital in Dorchester, Dorset; for the visitor’s room. She passed away two weeks after her request. I suspected at the time that she was really only trying to get me back into oils as I had not painting in oils since my fine art degree in 1975!
In January 2016 I did a refresher course to find out what mediums and solvents people use these days and I am still experimenting with my choice of subject matter and my ‘style’. I have learnt a great deal in a short time which puts me in an excellent position to teach beginners – 40 years experience in teaching and up to date in oils techniques!
This week was a very good week. Firstly I had two pieces accepted for The Oxford Art Society 125th anniversary exhibition and I am delighted. This is my first step up the ladder back into the main stream art-world acceptance, after 30 years in design.
The 125th Anniversary Exhibition is at St John The Evangelist Church, Oxford until 2 October 2016. It is in the cloister gallery – which means one can meander around a beautiful courtyard and view some wonderful artworks. There is a very high standard of art overall and it is well-worth visiting. http://oxfordartsociety.co.uk/
I heard that my work was accepted last Saturday and the very next day I sold my first two large artworks in oils – Open Parrot tulip and The White Parrot tulip as a pair, which pleases me, as I thought they looked good together.
I have been blogging since 2011 as part of my journey from calligraphy / graphic design back into fine-arts. I gave myself permission to explore as many different media as possible before settling on one main expression. I began with watercolour starting by painting orchids then moving onto thistles.
In 2013 I illustrated Rope of Words which was a short story by my daughter Megan Kerr, where she came first in the British Fantasy Society Short Story competition.
I had joined the Oxford Printmakers in 2011 and loved doing lino-cuts, woodcuts and screen printing. I would like to do some more collographs and I am still keen on trying monoprints. The leeks collograph was part of a blue plate series.
My love of life drawing and a desire to try acrylics led me to paint my friend Lois who was recovering from chemo.
I decided that I didn’t enjoy acrylics though, as they dried too quickly. My love of metals (aluminium in this case) can be seen in Lois’ shawl. I did a lot of Chinese life drawing combining calligraphic and life-drawing skills. I illustrated and published my second book Dance in 2014 – 2015. During this time I wrote and published some mini books for children on colour, tone and texture and Uncials. I was still doing printmaking and some calligraphic projects as well as watercolour flower paintings.
I had a brief fling with naive house-portrait painting and loved it, but felt that I could not commit to this long term.
I felt it was time to go back to oil painting. And then, almost as soon as I started using oils again, I knew that I was HOME! It has been a long circuitous journey (which has been dutifully blogged all the way) and I am much richer for having travelled the scenic route. Now that I have found my medium – oils – I need to establish my subject matter and style. I think that when you have trained as an art teacher and worked as a graphic designer you become versatile which is not always such a good thing because you don’t develop clearly in one fine art direction and hone your work in a recognisable progression.
This is a brief background story of my 5-year journey to where I am now, and I’ll talk about my beginnings back in oil painting in another blog post.