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So excited finally to share this! One of three ‘secret’ projects which I have been keeping under wraps since the end of last year when I was asked to lend paintings for a Zoffany photoshoot. I love these experiments – there is no payment involved but I get to see my work styled in an amazing setting.

OK, it’s playing second fiddle to a roll of (fantastic!) fabric but still feels good to see my paintings can hold their own against such exquisite design.

Abstract blue painting Alice Sheridan
‘Split Fused’ 90 x 90cm abstract painting on deep wood panel

OK, so this one is a little more “need a magnifying glass”, but it’s still there! Personally I loved to see how all the elements have been pulled together. I’m a sucker for dark walls. My own home has deep smokey blue walls and almost anything looks great on it.

‘Poised Earth’ just peeking through in the new ‘ICONS’ by Zoffany photoshoot
‘Poised Earth’ 60 x 60cm acrylic on wood panel, framed

We may not all be so slick and beautifully styled at home in real life, but if this range inspires you to go a bit bolder that would be amazing! It feels brave, but makes such a harmonious space.

Want a little colour tip?

For stronger colours always go much less saturated to make a space feel sophisticated rather than in-your-face colourful. Choosing a greyed-down version rather than saturated colour will feel more elegant – we really don’t need much colour to ‘see’ it. And then you can have fun with accents, the walls are just the backdrop for your personal things (like paintings!).

Now on display at Gallery Top

I’ve spotted the photographs in a feature in the March edition of Living etc but chance co-incides and you can also see both paintings in real life as part of the current ‘Modern Works’ show at Gallery Top which runs 2-31 March 2019

“this an exhibition of contemporary paintings by a group of artists who have a diverse, though connected, approach to their work. There are five painters in the exhibition and their work has reference to many of the signifiers associated with the development of abstract art – fluid spirituality, geometry, hard-edged and gestural. What unites the exhibition is a passion for painting – for colour and form but also the physical process which the media offers to develop and mould their unique creative identities.”

There will be also be paintings from Andrew Bird, Val Hudson, Brian Neish and Ian Rayer-Smith

The gallery is open in Rowsley, Derbyshire on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.00 until 5.00 and on Sundays from 11.00 until 4.00 and you can also visit their website or call and speak with them directly if there is a painting you like.

Gallery Top Modern Works
‘Decorate the Silence’ acrylic and oil pastel on wood 50 x 50cm

You can always contact me directly if you have any enquiries about a painting you see, whether it’s to see more details or ask about shipping. In the meantime, if you see the paintings featured in a magazine or advert, do share it with me – tag me on Instagram @alicesheridanstudio.

Discovering your favourite art and artists can be a tricky business. You can visit art fairs and meet the artist or see what your favourite gallery has to offer but it’s good to see innovative ways to bring art buyers and artists together.

So I’m thrilled to be part of a new art event curated by The Auction Collective, coming to London this Autumn.

Inspired by John Masefield’s 1902 poem of the same name, Sea-Fever presents 50 sea-inspired artworks direct from 27 contemporary artists. Starting bids begin from £60 and there is 0% buyer’s commission so this is a fun alternative to online or art fairs – you don’t even have to leave home (but there’s ice cream and drinks for you if you do!)

 

 

They have selected a wide-variety of skilled and exciting artists, and have brought together a group of beautiful seascapes and sea-themed works of art. “Photographs, paintings, prints, collages and sculptures make up this auction to celebrate how the water around our island continues to stimulate the artists of today”

The sea isn’t a major focus of my work so I have just one piece showing, but the underlying themes of exploration and open space totally apply. They interviewed me for their blog which you can read here to find out my favourite place by the sea.

inspiration for sea painting

secret place by the sea – yes, it looks cold, but we did swim!

 

 

 

And of course I wanted to invite you along to the event – which is going to be a fun night out:

It’s happening at the Hoxton Arches, E2 8HD
September 13th starting 7.00 pm (and the auctioneer goes fast!!)

You can bid in one of three ways:

  • In person, by coming to the auction on 13 September (I’ll be there, watching nervously!)
  • Through absentee bidding, which closes at 6.00 pm on 13 September
  • Via the telephone on the night of the auction

Visit the Auction Collective website to see the range of work on offer and register.

Sea-Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Visit the Auction Collective website now

And let me know – where is your favourite sea view?

 

Art fairs are a fabulous way to discover new artists and to buy exciting original art for your home, but they can also be overwhelming. I often see visitors wandering with a slightly glazed expression as there can be so much to look at.

So a few tips to make sure you have a great visit, especially if you are looking for art to bring back home…

affordable art fair

1. Pick the right fair

Fairs where artists show directly to the public are a great opportunity to discover emerging artists who are prepared to invest in their career. If an artist has created a solid body of work, paid for space, invested in framing you can bet they are committed to their practice and growing their art career. You could discover a new talent!

Some fairs (such as Frieze or the Affordable Art Fair) allow only galleries: this gives you the benefit of a prior authority approving their work, however galleries vary according to taste and it does generally mean the prices will be significantly higher. They can be more visually daunting as 100 galleries each showing work from say 10 artists, means 1000 different styles! So it helps to be clear about what you are looking for.

2. Find advance tickets

Get free or reduced entry by joining the mailing list of the organisers or one of the galleries or artists involved. Printed tickets are not usually posted out as a matter of course so make sure to open your emails in the run up… and put the date in your diary as reminder to check!

3. Have an idea of how much you want to spend

Having an idea of how much you want to spend is helpful. Prices can vary hugely depending on how established the artist is, but there are many ways artists try to offer alternatives. You may be fixed on wanting a large original painting, but perhaps a drawing could have the same impact, or a reproduction print?

If you fall in love with a particular work you may be prepared to be flexible about your budget. Remember – that exact painting is a one-off and it won’t be available again – now is your chance! Art can feel expensive so put in context with your spending on furniture if you are redecorating a room, or how much you would spend on an evening eating out with friends. See no.8 for other ideas to help spread the cost…

4. Get out your tape measure before you leave home

If you are looking for artwork for a particular place, be prepared. Take measurements of the wall where it will hang, take photos on your phone so that it’s easier to visualise the artwork in place. But if you fall in love, be prepared to adjust your ideas – small paintings can be hung in groups for impact on a larger wall, and a small space can look amazing filled with a larger painting.

5. Do a fast first route – with a pen in hand

If you give a lot of attention to every stand you will feel wrung out before you’ve covered even half of what’s on offer. My tip is to do a fairly swift walk around the whole venue – certain pictures may catch your eye but don’t stop too long now. Mark artists you like on your map. Once you’ve looked over everything you will have a better idea of the work on show. Maybe your ideas have changed, maybe you feel stronger in your conviction of what you are looking for. If you feel that you haven’t yet seen anything you like you will certainly have a clearer idea of what you don’t like. The second time you will be more attuned to visually pick up on work which appeals to you – and may spot something you didn’t notice at first.

6. Revisit your favourites and talk to the artist!

The second time round you are revisiting particular paintings or artists you liked before. Does it still grab you on a second viewing? Maybe this time the work feels more enticing? Listen to your instinct. If there is a piece of artwork you are interested on, talk to the artist or gallery and let them know. This is the most exciting part of an art fair – you get direct access to the person who made the work so ask away.

Feel free to ask more about the piece. If you feel it’s the one for you – go for it! If you are still a little unsure then find out if they will hold it for you. The last thing you want is to come back and find it just sold to someone else! It’s unfair to ask an artist to reserve a painting for you indefinitely, after all they are there to make sales, however most artists or galleries will give you time to consider.

7. Take a break and restore your energy

Don’t be surprised if you find your energy flagging – its a visual feast but it’s a lot to take in! Take a break, find somewhere to rest your feet and have a coffee. It’s easy now to feel overwhelmed and head home without making a choice – but then you will just be back to square one. Go back to stands you spoke to and let them know your decision – either way. They won’t be offended, no one will try to persuade you, but there may be a way to help you out with some of your considerations….

8. Ask about paying in instalments

Many of the big fairs offer payment plans through the Own Art scheme which allows you to spread payments over 10 months. But even individual artists may be open to this idea for larger work. I have taken payment for work in three parts. Just discuss terms and remember you are both trying to get to the same solution – a way for you to own a piece of work you love!

9. Keep in touch

If you have found an artist whose work you like – congratulations – that’s like a needle in a haystack! You don’t want to lose touch and forget they exist. Even if today isn’t a buying day, what about your birthday coming up, or an anniversary to celebrate? You can always contact them after the art fair too – I can promise they will be delighted to hear from you!

Even if you never plan on buying it’s worth getting on to gallery or artist’s mailing list – in my experience they rarely bombard you with too many emails and it’s a good way to see more about how an astist works, or how their work is developing. And of course, get free tickets for next time!

10. Take home what you love – and have fun!

Last and most important is to choose what you like. Don’t be swayed by your friend who prefers flowers. A painting doesn’t need you to stay the same dress size to continue wearing it. You can’t lose half of it like a pair of earrings. It isn’t something you enjoy just for an evening or a week, like the theatre or a holiday. All those things are wonderful too, but I continue to get great enjoyment from the paintings I have bought over the years. Some remind me of a certain time in my life, or wake me up in the morning, or remind me just to slow down a little and notice the details. Buy what you love and you will never go wrong.

I will be showing new paintings at Windsor Contemporary Art Fair 10-12 November 2017. Join my mailing list below for Free Private View and reduced entry tickets. If you come along be sure to stop and say hello.

Nadia Waterfield Fine Art is a leading art gallery near Andover, Hampshire specialising in contemporary paintings, sculptures and bespoke furniture. Coming soon is their bi-annual Art Fair which draws collectors and interior designers.

Twice a year Nadia builds a collection from artists all over the country and displays them in the Old Dairy building where art is shown alongside painting and furniture. This really helps give you an idea of scale and how a piece may look in your home.

The next event is coming soon:

Autumn Art Fair
Wednesday 11th October – Saturday 21 October 2017

Preview Wednesday 11th October – 6.30 – 9.30pm

  > request an invite <

The exhibition will be open every day from 11.00am – 5.00pm

If you would like some personal guidance she also offers a bespoke art consultancy service to help you select and arrange the best paintings, sculptures or ceramics to suit your home and reflect your taste, need and pocket. They can rearrange and rehang existing art collections, source and acquire new and original art to suit your taste and guide you making those tricky decisions of which pieces will really feel at home in your home.

“Our aim is to work with you to make the most of your love for and investment in art and to create the ‘feel’, impact and atmosphere that you wish to achieve.”

I love the careful approach Nadia takes to find the right selection of work – she focuses on showing new and exciting artists along with more celebrated names so it’s always a varied but carefully collated mix.

This is the second time I have been invited to show work and she has chosen four paintings of mine from this large centrepiece painting down to more intimate pieces.

From Autumn 2017, Nadia is expanding her gallery and will be open three days a week so if you’d like to visit please find directions here (and tips for tempting local places to eat) or drop her an email.

If you would like my help choosing art for your home, maybe you are tempted by one of my paintings but you’re not sure if the size is right, or the colour would look good in your room, then you know where I am. I understand it can be hard to imagine what will work best so let me help. You can always get in touch with any questions and I will get right back to you. You can even send me a photo of your room and I can create an image like the one above so you get a better visual sense of how a painting will look. Fun, right?

 

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When I paint, I never know where a painting will end up. Sometimes I imagine the home it may go to, or a room I think it would be well suited for. Usually though, I’m just figuring out the painting itself.

This summer I was asked by a stylist if she could borrow some paintings to use in a photoshoot. The timing and location suited me, so I agreed. She was styling rooms to launch a new range of wallpapers by Harlequin, part of the Sanderson group of design and textiles for interiors. I knew the company, but I had no idea how my work would be used. Fun!

When I delivered the work to the location I realised what a big deal this was – there were two vans of furniture and accessories and teams of people. I was certainly glad I wasn’t co-ordinating the whole thing! Three days later I collected my work and waited….

I had a sneak preview of the images but was under strict orders not to show them until they had ‘gone public’. And here they are!

photo credit Andy Gore photography for Harlequin

It was such a thrill to see how the photos came out. Of course the wallpaper is stunning, the room is amazing and everything is so elegantly put together! That’s why she is a stylist and my house never looks like this 🙂

In my mind ‘Tangent’ is a rather calm and quiet painting. It has its strengths, but ultimately that blue is rather peaceful. Perhaps that’s why it works well within such a riot of pattern and gold, and lamps, although I like it in a more gentle setting too. It would be especially serene in a bedroom I think….

blue abstract painting by Alice Sheridan

‘Tangent’ painting 50 x 50cm

 

photo credit Andy Gore photography for Harlequin

The other image shows ‘Drift’ which is a fairly large painting. At 90 x 90cm in most rooms this would make a pretty striking centre piece – it just shows you what a large space this was. It’s almost camouflaged against this wall, but below you can see the painting itself.

Drift abstract landscape painting by Alice Sheridan

‘Drift’ 90x90cm

Even more exciting was seeing the image printed within the pages of the October issue of House and Garden magazine. I had imagined the photos would be used mainly on those hulking great sample books, so seeing it a glossy interiors magazine was a surprise bonus.

‘Tangent’ is available here and if you choose to make it yours I will send a copy of the magazine too – just so you have the thrill of seeing it in print and can show it off to your friends (who possibly won’t be quite as excited as I am!) ‘Drift’ is due to go off to a gallery show, but if you are interested to know more about owning either of these pieces, please get in touch.

If it’s the wallpaper you love more (because I know you will ask and I’m honestly not offended!)  you can find it here.

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ukHandmade is an amazing online publication which features artists and makers from many disciplines – find great textiles, jewellers, potters, illustrators and artists. Actually it would be a great starting point if you want to buy unique and special gifts but don’t know where to start.

I was thrilled when they got in touch and asked to interview me and sent me some wonderful questions…. I’ve included three below which touch on ideas about how work evolves from different influence and the importance of handmade to us as humans…

(PS. this is not me!)

Your work has a strong, graphic feel, how has your training influenced your painting style?

The problem solving element of design always appealed to me. The idea of setting a brief I find helpful too – with art the possibilities are endless so it can be very helpful to set some guidelines for yourself. Limitations encourage you to explore. For example, I have filled a sketchbook with colour notes and small paintings done from only three colours when I wanted to learn more about the mixing properties of different paints.

A couple of years ago I spent time working with different printmaking techniques. In a way it didn’t suit me well; creating an etching plate can be so time consuming and the idea of simply reproducing multiple prints didn’t appeal at all! Some of the more unpredictable processes such as spit-bite (where you paint with the acid) I enjoyed and now bring that freedom back to my painting where I now feel more comfortable with welcoming unplanned elements into the work.

I also included elements of pre-printed graphics within the prints as chine collé (the paper is collaged into the paper as the print is being made) and this has now become part of my practice – both in a small collage sketchbook I use to create compositions, and I include collage within the early stages of many paintings just to break the surface.

Overall my work has become edgier in the way I use colour and tone, and I seem to like paintings with clear definition. At the start I’m always thinking about placement and this reminds of balancing a page layout. Towards the end, the changes I make become increasingly subtle and careful and I think this attention to detail amongst the more expressive marks brings a real focus and feeling of attention. That attention to detail definitely comes from my design background.

What does the term handmade mean to you?

It means someone has put something of themselves into it. I think as we grow increasing digital with our interactions there is more need than ever for something which feels human. People have a strong desire for things which are unique and handmade objects or works of art can be intensely satisfying for people. We need that tactile connection which can be missing from much of modern life. I think there is a move away from mass produced items as people make more conscious choices towards things which they treasure and enjoy.

What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do?

The most rewarding is collecting work from the framer. I love the process of working through a painting, but as they near their end it becomes more anxious for me. That moment when you say “there, that’s finished” you are also saying “that’s as good as it gets” and it’s open to judgement. It can be nerve wracking. While they are at the framer I often dream about them, I forget what I finished, I forget the detail… but unwrapping them I have a sense of distance which really allows me to see them fresh and enjoy them. Hanging them at an event and seeing people’s enthusiastic response is always wonderful of course.

What’s frustrating can be all the associated technology we need to know now. My image storage system really needs some work! But getting to grips with all this stuff makes you feel more empowered and I’m stubborn and stick at it until I get what I need. A few years ago I had to track down a photographer for my work and now I have someone I trust and I’m so pleased with the quality of prints I can offer as result. So the headaches are usually worthwhile.

 

We also talked about advice for those starting a creative business, how to clear creative blocks and how always learning new skills is important to keep fresh. Great questions always make me stop to think – if you have any for me, please ask below or join me over on Facebook 

You can read the full magazine here, for free! Look for the Autumn 2017 edition, and flip to page 58 to read the interview with me. Plenty more wonderful artists and makers to explore so I hope this has also introduced you to a new and inspiring resource.

 

 

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Exciting news that my painting ‘Breakwater’ has been long-listed for the Secret Art Prize run by Curious Duke gallery. UPDATEVoting has now closed

Secret Art Prize Alice Sheridan

As always with a gallery display, this just shows the final painting and I know you like to see all the stuff that happens before I get to that stage….

abstract ideas become a paintingAs is my usual practice now, I started on four 20 inch paintings together which helps me to explore and be a bit free-er. At the beginning they are often similar; usually all pretty messy and jumbled until I have added enough to begin to unpick what’s there.

You can see in the bottom image there is no rhyme or reason at this stage. Anything which disrupts and changes the surface is a good start. I use water soluble colour sticks, and thinner washes of paint and next I usually bring in some really dark tones.

It doesn’t matter at this stage if it becomes too black or too gloomy.

In fact that can be good…

If it feels too dark, that tells me what I need to do next to bring the next round of changes.

There was no plan for these, but I had been working a lot in my collage sketchbook and was enjoying creating many small non-square compositions where the colour blocks of found papers seem to break into the white space.

With a fixed shape panel I have to work within the edges but I wanted to bring in this idea of the painting extending outside the edge of the square.

I added bold white shapes to create a superimposed framework. These immediately suggested space and sky alongside the more complex layers of paint texture.

Colour decisions here are also fairly subconscious. I wasn’t working from this sketchbook page in particular, but maybe the frosty image had settled in my mind.

It was early in the year and the light was cool so the cool blue start and stark black and white is reminiscent of winter.

 

As the painting moved on I added some translucent lime green. The unexpected combination of the white circular forms, the overlaid brightness and diagonal scrapes through the white paint started to feel like sunlight coming through clouds. The dark form had become a mountain and the blues made me think of water.

There is no direct relationship, but a few years ago we spent time in the Lake District. One day we climbed a mountain (well, it was a hill really but we only got the children to join us if we made it a little more exciting!) and when we reached the top, the sun was low in the sky and you could see all the movement of clouds and weather and sunlight on the land below.

I started to think about this moment when I had felt on top of the world. It was a little windy and everything felt alive and full of movement. Using vivid colours like the cobalt blue is quite unusual for me; the british landscape offers a more muted palette. But they bring a more urgent and lively sense to the painting which I enjoyed, it feels vibrant and full of unexpected marks and mini compositions.

 

Although the painting is not directly of that view, it feels that way to me; a mix of those impressions – the sideways sunlight, the bright and dark contrasts. For me the more graphic feel of the shapes brings a harder edge to such idyllic scenery. It creates a crossover of that outside expanse with manmade shapes and my life in London. It makes an exciting combination.

I often turn the paintings as I work on them; it’s one reason why I like a square format. At this point I was’t sure how much further I still had to go, but turning the painting around helps to be sure the whole image is working together, and means when you turn it back you can notice clearly any parts which still need clarity or attention.

The pace slows right down towards the end and I make very considered changes. Edges are defined, colours finely adjusted. I’m very careful to keep the loose feeling of freedom, bit some control is needed. A sharp slice of white against a rough or soft textured area is very satisfying somehow.

what started loose and bold becomes more carefully adjusted. It’s a fine balance!

And here is the finished painting. Next I seal and wax the surface to bring a soft lustre.  60 x 60cm and sits within an off-white handprinted frame.

This painting was a challenge but as often happens, those works which have the most confusion at some point led to the strongest paintings – where you have really pushed and tested and moved forward. ‘Breakwater’ is a bold vibrant and exciting painting. Some paintings feel like turning points and I will really miss this one so I look forward to seeing who chooses it. See more details about owning this painting here.

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There is nothing like sneaking things in at the last minute. The Robert Rauschenberg retrospective exhibition at Tate Modern ends on 2 April. If you’re reading this too late, I apologise – go and look up the catalogue which is a hefty almost two inch thick book jam packed with writings and images. (link here)

But, if you can, get yourself to Tate Modern this weekend to see the Robert Rauschenberg retrospective. Eleven rooms filled with work spanning almost fifty years.

Art work entitled 'Ace, 1962' by US artist Robert Rauschenberg during a press preview at the Tate Modern in London

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

What struck me most as we walked through was the sheer energy and exhilaration. You never knew what would be waiting in the next room – this man never stopped! He collaborated with dancers, with musicians, he used dirt and found materials. He turned comic books into paintings which were dismissed as irrelevance. He added found objects: socks, ties, window fans, bits of wood, a brightly painted quilt…

And just as you are getting used to this approach of using objects for their own sake rather than representation, we have a room full of the most beautiful, delicate and almost fragile drawings using transfers and quiet subtle colours. Except the whole series is based around Dante’s Inferno and the tiny figures taken from contemporary news images are highly political.

Rauschenberg Canto XIV Dante transfer drawings

Canto XIV: Circle Seven, Round 3, The Violent Against God, Nature, and Art, from the series Thirty-Four Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno

Robert-Rauschenberg-screen-prints

There is a strong sense of the era in which he was creating – JF Kennedy crops up repeatedly. Space travel, references to the Vietnam war and later the restraint upon citizens of China, our position within a consumer world all make their mark.

This is a hugely visual collection of work from an artist who didn’t restrict himself to any particular medium or approach. It also feels like work full of thoughtful consideration – a lifetime of opinions. It bristles with energy that never lets up. There is a record of a performance piece involving (from memory) roller skates, three dancers in wedding dresses, parachutes…. It seems a little out of context to me until I feel it is simply a lively reaction to what is possible.

No point in asking ‘why’ when the obvious answer is simply “why ever not?”

He seemed to move through relationships just as quickly. In 1949 he marries Susan Weil and they have a son, by 1951 he is in a relationship with the artist Cy Twombly and then another art contemporary Jasper Johns. At the time of the Pelican performance piece in 1963 he is living with the dancer Steve Paxton who talked about the idea of incorporating everyday action into dance “We began with this idea of Bob’s that you work with what’s available, and that way the restrictions aren’t limitations, they’re just what you happen to be working with.”

What did I take from it?

Think – take ideas from everywhere, it’s all valid. Don’t think – don’t be obsessed by proper materials or delicacies.

Be aware of your surroundings – use whatever you can. There is no limit. Don’t be precious. Some paintings were completed on stage and stopped when the alarm clock integrated into the canvas went off! Have fun!

Testing. From the early days he sets out to question what the role of art is. Is it new art if I just erase an existing drawing by Willem de Kooning, a process which took many hours and over 40 erasers?

Can I investigate the role of chance by creating two almost identical paintings simultaneously? 

Robert Rauschenberg Factum1 and 2

Left: Robert Rauschenberg. Factum I. 1957. Combine: oil, ink, pencil, crayon, paper, fabric, newspaper, printed reproductions, and printed paper on canvas, 61 1/2 x 35 3/4 in. (156.2 x 90.8 cm). The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The Panza Collection; Right: Robert Rauschenberg. Factum II. 1957. Combine: oil, ink, pencil, crayon, paper, fabric, newspaper, printed reproductions, and painted paper on canvas, 61 3/8 x 35 1/2 in. (155.9 x 90.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase and an anonymous gift and Louise Reinhardt Smith Bequest (both by exchange). All works © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

 

It seems his work moved in clear ‘batches’ as he leaps in steady jumps from clue to clue. Almost scientific in approach by following the leads he has already uncovered; so, I’ve done these large brightly coloured ‘funfair’ paintings and combines, what happens if I now create 34 relatively small drawings with very limited colour – what are you looking at now?! 

If you’ve ever felt as an artist that you have to have a ‘style’ this blows it out of the water!

However there is a thread and an evolution. By the end of his life, his work using silkscreened images is refined further and the last pieces combine photographs from his own collection. It feels like a cinecamera on quick rewind – quick glimpses of the world, flash backs and always on the move. Isn’t that how we now see things? 


 

 

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12,000 people apply to the Royal Academy summer exhibition each year. They limit the applications and the limit is often reached much earlier than the deadline so you have to be on your toes!

Back in January I chose two paintings I had recently completed, filled out the online submission and tried to work out all the terms and conditions. In the meantime life carries on as normal, work is on the website and someone chose one of the paintings as a birthday gift for her husband. I did mention I had entered it, but I was just happy she was excited about finding him something original and surprising. You know how hard it can be buying for the man who has everything!

The day before the Talented Art Fair, when I was eye deep in packing and labels I was reminded to log-on and check the results – and was super excited to see that BOTH paintings had been shortlisted. Thrilling news – now I just needed to work out what to do about that sold one – presumably it was easy enough to contact the Royal Academy and change the sales status to Not For Sale?

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

However another artist warned me I had made a silly error – you can’t mess the RA around, and indeed I couldn’t find any information within their terms and conditions or by searching online about what to do if you have submitted to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the painting has already been sold…

Surely I couldn’t be the first artist to, deep breath, actually have the nerve to sell their own work!

So, slightly heart in mouth I contacted the RA to ask if it was possible to amend the details, and the buyer to give them the good news about the shortlist. I felt it was cheeky to ask for the work back, after all, it belongs to them now. But, then again – the chance to see something you own hanging in the Royal Academy? Surely it was up to them to decide.

I was genuinely happy either way.

And you know what? The RA can change details if they know swiftly and the buyer was thrilled at the news and totally happy to see what happens next with the submission. So if you’re an artist in a similar situation I hope this helps!

‘Unearthed’ is the SOLD painting, but it is also available as a print in different sizes >> see here

‘Chasing the Window Seat‘ is the other painting which has been shortlisted. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

art at home Alice Sheridan

 

 

 

Art space reading to hang

Art space reading to hang!

It’s always exciting to see the empty walls of art fair stands transformed during the day into a show with a rich variety of colour and styles as artists hang and arrange their work.

It was my first time exhibiting at Windsor Contemporary Art Fair and it didn’t disappoint; I found it to be a welcoming and well presented art fair – exactly as promised! There was a happy buzz on Friday preview evening and steady visitors throughout the weekend. Many people enjoyed flicking through the pages of my pocket ‘walking’ sketchbook and seeing the transition of drawings done outside, often quickly while on the move, and how these begin to inform the paintings as they evolve.

 

display-space-windsor

You can never know in advance who will be drawn to each painting. As I hang them, I may have my favourites, but that is often a result of the relationship that builds as I make them. Viewers are seieng them fresh and this allows me to see through their eyes too. Commercially it may be tempting to find a style which sells well and stick to it, but the constant challenge involved in questioning and developing each work is a source of great enjoyment when it comes together. So it’s always wonderful to hear when this approach is recognised by people who enjoy looking at my work.

choosing-work-togetherOften as people are looking you can feel if one person is interested and the other is a bit ‘meh’ about it – which obviously makes it hard to arrive at a decision! Many people just choose art as treat for themselves, but this time I was interested to see much agreement between partners together. Perhaps these new paintings appeal equally to a masculine taste with their slightly sharper more graphic edge? Who knows, but it’s good to see when both parties are pleased with discovering work they know they will both enjoy having on their walls.

This week I have been busy having a selection of framed prints made and delivering them to their new homes. Original paintings are being hung and enjoyed in new surroundings and the paintings are now all shown in the SHOP section if you would like to see them before Christmas….

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‘Cloud Watching’ original painting on wood framed size 50cm

logo-ing-discerning-eyeThe other recent show has been The Discerning Eye which is a unique opportunity for showing work in central London. Work is selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. Each person curates and hang their own choices within the gallery so it has a very personal feel and is different each year.

There were over 3000 entries in this anniversary year so I was thrilled when my painting “ Spaces Between” was selected. When I went along on the opening night it was fun to discover it was chosen by Celia Imrie who had clearly enjoyed putting her display together.

Mall Galleries – on The Mall!

The other thing that makes it special is that all work must be under 50cm in size which means a fabulous range of affordable work and an Aladdin’s cave of choice.  In their own words “It provides an unusual opportunity for works by lesser-known artists (that’s me!) to be hung alongside contributions from internationally recognised names.”

 

It was so busy on the opening night it was impossible to take photos so I will be going back myself over the weekend for a proper look.

This exhibition is open to the public from 17th-27th November 2016 and is free entry so pop along to The Mall Galleries if you can make it and maybe I’ll see you there!

Spaces Between framed 40cm print Alice SheridanSpaces Between is the painting which was chosen, original size is just 20cm but it has been popular as a ;arger print as shown here, available in two sizes…  > SEE OPTIONS

Now, after all this excitement, I’m back in the studio and getting on with new work and planning events for next year!

I’d love to know how you find art for your home… is it through galleries or friends? Do let me know below…

 

unearthed-framed-landscape-painting-grey-wall-alice-sheridanEver wondered what happened on a painting before it was finished – how it looked along the way? I wrote a while back about knowing when a painting is finished but sometimes it’s hard for me to remember where it began, and quite how many stages it passed through on the way. So I thought it would be interesting to search back through my photobank on my poor groaning phone and share how this one progressed. The story of the painting if you like. There may be some jumps where I forgot to take photos, but hopefully there are enough for you to follow.

I started painting over a previous painting where I had used just black and white, which I really didn’t enjoy! However it gave a good base and something to react against from the start. With absolutely no preconceptions about where this would lead, I was free to experiment and be led by the painting each stage…

This was an entirely new way of working for me, prompted by taking part in Nicholas Wilton’s Art2Life tutor programme earlier this year. The images below cover time from May until November. Yes, that’s a long time for a painting, but I was working on others at the same time. I mention it to show how impossible it is to answer the question “How long does it take you to finish a painting?”

I hope you enjoy seeing this develop, it’s fun to play spot the difference between each image!

first-layer-after-black

Large loose marks using colour, any colour, after that black! The brighter cobalt blue is strong enough to stand out from what went before and jolt this into a new space so I’m no longer connected to the dilemmas of the painting underneath.

light-blue-notebook

I rotated the panel to get a fresh perspective on it and decided I wanted to introduce a sense of horizon and skyline. As well as drawing through the new layers of wet paint I began to add oil pastel linear marks, almost picking a colour at random, yet knowing the mustard yellow would contrast well with the blue…

blue-yellow

Taking more cues from yellow, but keeping it light and bright and bringing in deep purple… heather and shadows perhaps?

with-orange

Time to do something radical – the colours are all a bit minty green and blue and I prefer more richness. Starting with a thin layer of a deep russet orange, this earthy tone knocks back all the existing colours on the painting. Another layer of thicker rust and the blues and turquoise underneath begin to sing – and now it begins to get exciting – and risky. Once you have parts you begin to really like, it’s harder to move on and keep a sense of loose and lively elements.

orange-white

As the lower layers were full of more painterly brush marks, I like the feeling of the sharp edges of the orange shape. But I didn’t like the shapes I had created which felt like an obvious layer of ‘windows’. Adding more brings more intrigue and the sense of depth starts to grow. The thick creamy neutral colour is scraped through and scratched.

orange-on-floor

Some small dark areas to overlap the white and play with a sense of distance and foreground. And some smoother areas of richer greys bring a natural balance to the areas of multi colour. I’m still not sure what it is I’m trying to paint but I’m enjoying the complexity which is emerging. By now there are parts I can’t remember how I achieved them, and this makes it slightly easier to see what I need to add or remove to try to make the painting work as a whole composition.

with-paper

Using torn paper to experiment with where to add new areas of colour. The scratched marks revealing the blue from the beginning layer encourages me to think about bringing in small chips of blue in other places, and I want a much stronger dark area in the foreground. The paper is only an indication though, and of course, once the paint mixing starts again it goes in a slightly different direction…

unearthed-painting-almost-finished

This is a big jump – I got carried away and forgot to take photographs! It feels like it’s almost there. The biggest change is the rich indigo blue which leads you back through the painting. A lighter area brings definition to the horizon and multiple layers translucent blue now links the sky to the colours below. Small areas and certain edges are more defined, but just some finer details to tweak…

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Final adjustments. I always think this will be quick – not much more to do, maybe it’s hard to see the differences, but for me they are the changes which take me from being unsure to knowing there is nothing further I want to change. Some deeper blue right up in the top left of the sky, tiny swatches of white and turquoise like the flight of birds across the grey sky and many more too tiny to notice perhaps – the subtle variations within the lighter shapes which lift the overall painting.

Having started so boldly, it was a surprise to end up making finishes with a tiny brush to refine small differences which add richness and areas of discovered detail. It’s not time efficient! But it’s a strong indicator that this is complete. I could go on forever, but it’s time to take those sparks into a new painting.

I called this ‘Unearthed’. There is a feeling of excavation, of history and discovery. A rich red of soil,  the movement of changing weather, man made scars in the land and large boulders of rock which won’t be moved.

This painting was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2017 and is  now SOLD  but it is available as a print in different sizes > click here to see buying options <

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NationalOriginalPrintYesterday I delivered a piece of work that has been selected for the National Original Print Exhibition, to be held at the Bankside Gallery.

Stone Calligraphy II is one of a pair of large plates (58 x 20cm) created by layers of hard ground and spit-biting where strong acid is painted across the plate with a feather. This creates a more painterly, but unpredictable, effect as the acid etches through the aquatint. It was a difficult piece to make – inking up a large plate takes longer and handling large sheets of wet paper takes some practice. It was an experimental technique for me and working over the plate at each stage was difficult to keep the sense of spontaneity I wanted. The large image below shows the stages and techniques that went into creating the plates.

I started noticing stonemasons marks scraped into the old granite kerbstones. Originally there to ensure payment, these individual marks for each craftsman lie under our feet but are gradually being removed as stones are replaced with clean cut new granite. Similar marks are found in ancient Minoan pottery although there is no other record of the original makers and I wanted to record and react to this in some way.

It will be great to see this hanging alongside other people’s work so if you have time over the next few weeks, do go in and take a look.

Alice Sheridan, etching, Stone Calligraphy II

Stages of Stone Calligraphy plates

 

The show will be at 
Bankside Gallery,
48 Hopton Street,
London SE1 9JH
(next to the Tate Modern)

16 – 28 September 2014

for directions please click here