I use a variety of media. This year, I have started to get back to painting and to explore printing seriously (I recently became a Northern Print member so I have access to a very well-equipped studio). Digital photography has been my main medium during the past few years. I have made mosaics, ceramics and sculpture in the past. Occasionally, I do more graphic work, and have designed things for print and digital media. I have used digital imaging a lot during the couple of decades, although it is not always evident in the resulting work.
I have rarely exhibited my work, despite a precocious start at 13 years old with an enamelled copper dish in a national exhibition of children’s art.
A couple of my pieces were shown at the V&A Museum in 2000, and subsequently acquired for the museum’s permanent collection. More recently, one of my photographs was included in a digital display – ‘Documenting Contemporary London’ – at the Royal Academy in 2010. My photograph of a village cricket match was featured in The Guardian’s The Northerner blog in 2011. A regional paper, The Journal, has published a few of my photographs: a baptism in the sea in 2010, a culture hack day event at the Discovery Museum in 2011, and one I took of Herb Kim and artist Kelly Richardson at a CultureCode event in spring 2012.
Some urban, river and coastal areas feature a lot in my photographs because they are places that I find especially fascinating as the light, weather and people change them. I like the details that make up the rich textures of the environment.
The subjects I tackle and the way in which I interpret and depict things can vary according to the materials and processes. I have a quite long list of themes to explore in print, including various aspects of the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle upon Tyne (its flora and fauna, derelict and demolished buildings, its past), railway buildings and locomotives, piers and seaside buildings, architecture, fairgrounds, and shop fronts.
I enjoy taking photographs of people at digital technology events. The available lighting is often challenging and sometimes wonderfully dramatic.
I would love to do more life drawing and painting, and to return to portraiture. Human beings are the most astonishing things that I have seen in this universe, and a lifetime is not long enough to study and depict them. As the years pass, I become more conscious of the fragility of human existence, the resilience of spirit, the sheer vivacity, and ever more driven to try to understand how people think. The people who appear most ordinary, the sort over whom your glance would scarcely flicker, can be the most extraordinary. I think that I still have a very long way to go to being able to portray people adequately and hope that I will get more opportunity to try.
I wrote a number of blog posts early in 2011 about my experience of life drawing after not having done any for years. These continue to attract a steady flow of readers.
Life drawings blog posts
The weekly blog posts that I wrote about life drawing again after not doing any for about 10 years are on my Janet’s Jottings blog.
I attended 3 blocks of untutored life drawing, and managed to write something about the experiences regularly.
Block 1 blog posts
- Life drawing 2011 (has links to drawing from other weeks);
- Life drawing 2011 Week 4
- Life drawing 2011 Week 5
- Life drawing 2011 Week 6
Block 2 blog posts
- Life drawing 2011 Week 7
- Life drawing 2011 Week 8
- Life drawing 2011 Week 9
- Life drawing 2011 Week 10
- Life drawing 2011 Weeks 11 & 12
Block 3 blog posts
- Life drawing 2011 Week 13
- Life drawing 2011 Week 14
- Life drawing 2011 Week 15
- Life drawing 2011 Week 16
- Life drawing 2011 Week 17
- Life drawing 2011 Week 18
Documenting Contemporary London, Royal Academy, 2010: The Great North Hotel, King’s Cross, digital photograph.
Best Wishes, 20th Century Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2000: Valentine for Simon, mosaic, copper foil, fabric, plywood, 2000; Millennium Card, lurex yarn, glitter thread, metallic thread, transparent tissue, fabric paint, Mirri-card, corrugated card, 2000.
Natural Inspiration, Batty’s Café, Coltishall, Norfolk, 1999: prints of digital images on mixed media.
Annual Summer Exhibition of Small Works 22x22cms, University Gallery, Northumbria University, 1999: Landscape Painting (Yet Another!), 1999, mixed media on canvas paper.
Annual Summer Exhibition of Small Works 21x21cms, University Gallery, Northumbria University, 1998: Isabella’s Pot, mixed media on paper; Pictish Carved Stones Series No.3, mixed media on paper; The Blues No.2, mixed media on paper.
Annual Open 1988, Great Barn Ruislip: Female Nude, Conté on paper, 1984; Warkworth Castle, watercolour on paper, 1986; Man Swimming with Goldfish, mixed media on paper, 1987.
Squires Foyer, Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, 1983: Nude Male, pencil on paper, 1983; Male Torso, ceramic, 1982-3.
Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design Summer Exhibition, Great Yarmouth Central Library, 1981: 15 Cylinders, ceramic with oxides and glazes, 1980; 8 Spheres, ceramic with oxides and glazes, 1980; Fennel, glazed stoneware, 1980.
Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design Summer Exhibition, Great Yarmouth Central Library, 1980: Portrait of David, pencil on paper, 1980; Study of female nude, pencil on paper, 1979; Pregnant Woman, pencil on paper, 1980; Walnut, part-glazed stoneware (2 pieces), 1980; Brazil Nut Part 1, stoneware, 1980; Brazil Nut Part 2, stoneware with iron oxide, 1980.
National Exhibition of Children’s Art, travelling exhibition in the UK, 1973 or 1974: Kingfisher, vitreous enamel on copper, 1973 or 1974.
Examples of artwork
Just a few sets as examples:
M Phil [art history – thesis title: Sir Luke Fildes, RA (1843 – 1927): His Social Realist Paintings]. University of Northumbria.
BA (Hons) History of Modern Art, Design & Film. Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic. (I also studied on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course for a year before transferring to art history.
Certificate in Pre-degree Foundation Studies [art, design, art history]. Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design.
Life drawing and painting classes, and portrait painting classes at the University Gallery, Northumbria University.