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How do you choose one image that represents all your paintings? If part of the process of painting is eliminating and refining ideas then one image simply can’t say it all.

This is what I had to consider earlier this month when the deadline arrived to choose an image to submit for our annual open studio event, Artists at Home. The only trouble is that the event isn’t until June; that’s six months away. Visitors need a representative image as they decide which of the 68 or so participating artists they will choose to visit – it’s simply impossible to see everyone so visitors use the website or the collectable booklet to make their choices.

The problem is I’m not sure how my work will develop over the next few months… and if this image will give them a good clue and a desire to see more, or will be quickly flipped over. It’s a snapshot of where I am now, not where my work will be in 6 months. And who can tell the future?

Alice Sheridan Blue Horizon: etching with chine collé. One of a series that uses collaged elements to create variations creating an invented landscape using a section of the damaged wall in the London Underground as a starting pointA few artists in the group solve this dilemma by showing some of their previous work that will be familiar to regular visitors. But my work has been very different each year I’ve shown, so reminding someone of last year’s work isn’t going to be very appropriate. Last year I was coming to the end of a period where most of my time had been spent exploring different printmaking techniques so the show was an assembling of a variety of approaches. Two years is nowhere near long enough for the sometimes painfully slow print process (so it seemed to me!). So I went ahead with the feeling that it would be a sort of “work in progress show”. To be honest I felt it wasn’t very well curated as I had been trying so many different things but I framed and presented the work in series as much as I could and felt that at least it would be an interesting show for anyone keen to see how ideas progress and transform. Over 300 people came in one weekend and it was a great weekend with lots of interest, and sales too.

So what to expect this year?

Alice Sheridan sketchbook drawing of Scorhill Down, Dartmoor

The sketchbook drawing done on the walk

Well, not so much printmaking for a start. I realised that I was trying to split my time too much. Working over the summer in sketchbooks had re-kindled my love of colour. Yes, I had been including colour within the prints I was making, but not that lush mixing of glorious colours as sage green turns to grey and is offset with the soft yellow of dried grasses…. Theses were the things my sketchbook is full of and the essentially monotone blackness of etchings is not the right thing. For now.

But as with any new series, it takes a bit of time to jump from sketchbook to finished paintings and much of my time in the autumn had been spent working on a large commission. So I just picked something I liked; a small progress painting done after a sketchbook walk through Scorhill Down in Dartmoor. I suspect it is too traditional, it still feels too straightforward. I suspect by June that my work will have changed. I know it won’t appeal to everyone, but as always that is fine.

Alice Sheridan abstract landscape painting showing river in blue colours

This is a section of the painting which was done as a steping stone to a much larger piece

Thankfully there will be a mini-site on the Artists at Home website where I can also show newer artwork. I hope previous visitors will return to see if anything tempts them into buying art this year. But however this series develops; into purer abstract colour forms, with added graphic elements, this is one of the starting points. Rather appropriately it shows a running river cutting through the landscape, making it’s own progress. Which is what I shall be doing too. I hope you will check back to see how things develop!

Artists at Home 2015 will take place in Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush, London from Friday 19 June to Sunday 21 June. Work is displayed within the artists homes and it is a fun and relaxing way to discover new artists and a great way to buy new artwork directly.

 

The last time I showed at Artists at Home my work was mainly landscape paintings. I had started to incorporate printed line and collage and was keen to try printmaking techniques to explore the mix between a controlled and gestural mark in a medium which can be very technical.

I’ve had a great couple of years! There is so much to discover and each new process demands to be investigated. There is a mix on show this year; carborundum, collograph and intaglio processes of etched metal and drypoint. I have been a bit like a child in a sweet shop: a glut of choices and sometimes I haven’t known which to choose next

Looking around the work I have on show many may think this doesn’t look much like landscape. But all these pieces are my landscape. I live in an urban environment and looking at my surroundings and judging them with new eyes is what I need to do to challenge myself. Even a journey on the Underground can spark new work . If you can spot it from my sketchbook bonus point for you. (I’ll come back and show you the sequence sometime…) Where we find ourselves and what our selective mind chooses to see is a way we have to control how we interpret our situation. Working it out is where the fun is.

Counter intuitively I don’t want to use printmaking to reproduce a replica image so I try to find ways to make an image unique. Not the most efficient solution always, but this has hopefully resulted in an interesting mix of work.

If you are in West London, come and visit. I’m at Studio 24 in Chiswick full details at Artists at Home

Now it’s all framed and hung I’m excited to start welcoming visitors… let tomorrow begin!

Etching with chine collée; each plate is a unique variation

Etching with chine collée; each plate is a unique variation

Biography
I studied Foundation Course at Kingston in 1992 followed by a BA in Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University where my work was selected for exhibition at the Business Design Centre.

Working as designer for London agencies didn’t seem so important once I had children, but the times I have stopped creating visual work have caused me problems! It is an essential part of what I am. Finding a way to fit this in and develop is essential – I know what I’d like to create next, but we’ll have to wait and see…