Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Value of Art?

I sold a lot of work today - more than any other day in my life, actually - via my personal facebook page. It was work that needed a better home than my studio floor, never destined for a gallery wall. As such I decided to price it between £10 and £45...

So, loads of lovely friends said, yes please, I love your work! And I thought, well, this is fantastic, but all twisted. A lot of them have never been able to buy my work before. I never wanted to become an artist to sell to only those with hundreds of pounds worth of disposable income! Myself, I wish I could buy loads of art, but never really consider it as I just do not have that kind of money each month. And yes, I'm rubbish at saving... That was what dictated the prices - they are priced in a way that I could afford them, either for a gift or my own special purchase. If they cross the £45 border - doesn't matter how close - well, that goes out of my and many other's league, really. A friend saw the idea and did the same this afternoon, so now I'm the proud owner of a Jenny Oldknow painting - for a fiver. Happy Days!

Ok, the debate though. I need to make a full time living from this, as do thousands of other artists around the UK. This wouldn't be possible, selling work at prices this low. Can't paint 20 a day - don't want to, that really would devalue my work - and these paintings I sold are the result of expensive materials, weeks of work and obviously a lifetime of experience and study. Does it just devalue the work? I don't know. Who sets the values anyway? Is the value of art set through collaboration between artists, agents, galleries and customers? Not sure how balanced it all currently is...

I've kept this little sale all to private friends anyway, I'm not about to drop the good relationships I have with the galleries and various middlemen with whom I'm fortunate enough to have a relationship. Just trying to figure out how this could all work a bit better.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Todays work in progress

Well I'm having fun :)

Sometimes its a strangely torturous process, a battle in some way between me and the paint - right now I'm in this happy buzzy period where what I think and envisage is almost exactly what is emerging on canvas... Long may it last...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Musical transportation

Though it wasn't a mixtape today; it was the sound of the storm in the trees. Crashing white noise, rushing through in waves, took me to a coast about 500 miles away north west; always a good thing!

This is a work in progress; I like more lines, shape and more softness around the focal point to create rythym and balance. This is simply a rush of feeling, plastered on with rags and wide brushes, and fingers still blue...

Going to leave it smouldering for a few days to dry and go back with clean rags and stronger shape in mind. Liking it so far though!
Music wise - Bon Ivers been keeping me company :)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Coast. coast, coast

Think I should go to the sea every weekend. So bubbly full of shape and colour. Here's todays work: 


Finally, got to spend some precious time by the sea.

Spent a couple gloriously windswept days in the van in South Shields. Was hoping to get to Bamborough Castle a little further north, all sand dunes and stretches of wild empty coast - but maybe next time. Stuck with Marsden Bay, with its sea stacks and quirky cliff pub, and Whitburn/Seaburn where the sandstorms threatened to take a layer of skin off our legs. Lighthouses, fulmars, even bodyboarding. YES.

So, a head full of picture! Grey days, but the seasalt in the air made up for the lack of colour. About to go studiowards and will post results as and when. *big beaming smile*

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Line in

Right, so unfortunately patience didn't develop overnight and I had to go back to the canvas today. The weather being warm the paint was actually just about ready...

So here's the result:

I'm a lot happier with this.

The reasons for this are not, perhaps, immediately obvious...

I am simply looking for the feeling of a place. It isn't much more complex really. I want the ground to rush to your feet and pull; I want the atmosphere to hit you in the face. That sparkling essence of a mental snapshot, recalling why it was so evocative in the first place. I want to look at these paintings and see why I painted them.

So this one - well, ta dah, its a coastline. 'Line In'. But its pulling me, and asking me why I'm not there in it. And other big questions! And ultimately I just feel that these pieces that speak to and work for me are somehow better paintings.

I'm not sure me and Line In are finished - it certainly hasn't asked for the trek I was predicting yesterday. But we've reached an understanding in the relationship :)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Art of patience

So here's a taster of a 'bad day'... or a work-in-progress, depending on how positive a light you want to shed!

Think I'm going for the positive, as I sit in the sun listening to Lamb armed with tea, writing this. New Lamb Album is BEAUTIFUL.

Sometimes I just do not know what I am doing. I literally have to go back to the colour-wheel!! I've given myself so much freedom to paint intuitively, emotively, that I get lost in the physicality of it - the smearing of creamy paint, cleansing of turps, and tiny knife marks where it counts... I'm so desperate to get the strength of image in my head onto the canvas, but with each painting it seems as if there is only one possible outcome, and its a marathon journey to reach it! Other times its just round the corner...

This one - is definitely a good 26 miles to go. Aaargh! How can I produce such boring, twee imagery when the stuff behind my eyes is just buzzing?!

Anyway... perhaps his will turn into something beautiful. These seascapes always take me three or four visits, and I am only on the second... I'm just so impatient!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Busy hols... moving best friend Dawn from London to here - woo hoo! - and general lovely business with the lodger Duncans. They're going home soon and its going to be far too quiet!

First day back today and as usual not the best results painting-wise. Always seems to take a couple of days to sink back into Jenny Aitken : Artist before it all starts flowing again. Unquenched desire to go coastal not helping either - not sure when I'm next going to get to the sea and I'm feeling a little bit lost...

However had a near-perfect walk round Shining Cliff Woods near Belper at the weekend. Bluebells, garlic and a 2000 yr old Yew. A family lived in it 200 years ago, carving a cradle in one of the boughs, engendering the nursery rhyme 'Rockabye Baby'. A magical ancient woodland, wanted to hang around all day.

Hopefully watch this space for more success with paint...