Monday, December 30, 2013

Mangoes and stats

Mangoes, acrylic on canvas by Mary Adam (c) Mary Adam
Mangoes, acrylic on canvas, (c) Mary Adam

Mangoes was painted between May and September this year. 


End of year figures 2013

No proper statistics  since I didn't do an end of year post this time last year and am no longer using a hit counter except for Blogger's own minimal Stats.

Subscribers, email and RSS:  115 (about the same as 2011) (from Feedburner)
Posts in 2013:  35, up from 16 in 2012 (34 in 2011).
Page views -- the total is now 99,205 and is averaging about 2400 2200 page views/month.

Monday, December 23, 2013

ASTT Art Market 2013

The ASTT Art Market was a great success. It’s the second art market I’ve done, the first was last Christmas at a different venue. I’ve gained experience from it and have made notes of things to do for the next one. One of the things I will do is: take less stuff! I had 35 pieces, enough for a solo show in a small gallery and I had left all the bigger pieces at home. On the wall, the work was grouped into small oil paintings, linocuts and silkscreens, miniatures, and small acrylic paintings.

Traffic was steady all day. There were old friends and new ones. It was great for networking with fellow-artists. My mailing list has expanded and I sold a few pieces.

One odd thing happened. One of the visitors was a friend who had bought one of my pieces in 2004, which was before I started on the degree. I had thought that my work hadn’t changed all that much. In subjects it’s pretty much the same as before (Plumbago and Impatiens still appear frequently). The degree opened me up to more media and new approaches and that is where the main changes have taken place. But this friend said they didn’t recognise my work at all, that “this is someone I don’t know”. I was taken aback at first. It made me think. My palette has changed in that I haven’t used earth colours (umber and ochre) for a while now. I’ve been getting a good range and purer colour out of fewer pigments. This wasn’t something required by the degree, it just evolved from a decision I made to tackle colour in a systematic way.

I’ve heard artists who are more advanced than me say that collectors and galleries don’t like you to change. They want you to have and keep a signature style -- like a shrub that grows to a certain height and stays there. I can understand that. But . . . maybe my shrub hasn’t reached where it’s supposed to be yet, or something like that. I’ve also found that I make very different work in printmaking and painting, and it's different again in collage. For now I’m happy to observe and reflect on what happens and keep on growing for a while yet. 

Plumbago paintings pre-2006
Plumbago, 2011 onwards (four paintings plus silkscreen on right, collage second from right)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Drying an emulsion-coated screen

After coating a screen with light-sensitive emulsion, the next thing is to let it dry which can take a few hours or overnight. The place where it dries needs to be pitch dark. Any pinpoint of light getting in will send all the timings off and will make the screen much harder to wash out after exposure. My solution is a cardboard box with the chinks well sealed off. I put my head into the box and hold it towards the light to ensure I've got all the chinks. However you can't seal the front in this way, so after closing the flaps with tape, I put a heavy dark cloth over the box, making sure the front is well covered.

Another thing is that the screen should be dried with the screen side down. Therefore it needs to be raised so that the wet emulsion doesn't touch the floor of the box. You could put some blocks at the sides, but that's unsatisfactory because they can be pushed out of place as you are putting the screen in. So I add "risers" made out of cardboard and glued to the box, as shown in the photo below. It's rough and ready method but very effective.

A box for drying screens with "risers" on two sides

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas shows

Left to right: White, Maracas Bay, Peppers (c) Mary Adam

  • I will have a table at the Art Market at the Art Society in Federation Park, Saturday December 21st, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with small paintings, linocuts and silkscreens. Hope to see you there.

Monday, December 2, 2013

James Kalm's video reviews

James Kalm is an artist who does video walk-through reviews of New York shows. Here are a few:

Raoul de Keyser at David Zwirner --

Agnes Martin, the 80s and the Grey Painitngs at Pace --

The 2013 Armory Show --