This period of lockdown amidst Pandemic has been such a challenging, confusing and emotional journey for so many of us who find ourselves out of all recognisable comfort zones. Just before lockdown, but very aware of the immensity of what was coming, we suffered a very human “belly punch” moment of bad news about a beloved pet’s chances of surviving a grim diagnosis. We found a need to be quiet amidst beauty and grandeur that was accessible nevertheless to human interaction and visited St Mary’s church in Bury St Edmunds. The Angels have supported the hammer beam roof for 600 years without a grimace or slipped disc and their permanence and presence as a backdrop to so many lives and moments held our attention when we needed it to. When Lockdown inevitably came and during the subsequent last weeks of our cat’s life it was the Angels we returned to; initially The King and Queen and in progress, as I write, Gabriel. As Artists it is not difficult to move along timelines of history and grasp some of the contexts and compositional challenges the Artisans, craftspeople and designers of the day would have debated whilst visualising the impact and success of their work. We find ourselves having the same conversation 600 years later. Over these weeks we have worked on our Angels during a time that is not so easy and we find ourselves thanking them for being there yesterday, today and tomorrow whilst carrying on the conversation.
We’ve been invited, as Ambassadors of St Cuthberts Mill Art papers to visit their factory near Wells in Somerset to see how their world renowned paper is produced and the high environmental standards that make their production sustainable. Water used in the process travels a matter of metres from the River Axe, before returning to the same river, cleaner than when extracted, leaving a negligible carbon footprint. We are delighted to have the opportunity to see this first hand later this year.
Our new studio nestles in the Lark Valley, the very matter of nature suffusing our perspectives, in turn makes us value the materials we use and the way they are produced. We have no doubt that new work will illustrate the holistic synchronicity between artist and material.
We look forward to sharing our visit to St Cuthberts Mill later this year and thank them for this wonderful opportunity.
Stephen and Lorna
We had a wonderful auction night at RIBA, London in November and were so delighted that the funds raised from the sale of our painting ‘One Dock, Two Views’ will be helping to rebuild communities around the world through Article25’s extraordinary work.
We were in very good company indeed with over 100 great works exhibited; most notably Anthony Gormley, Jeremy Deller and a Giacometti (that we were hung next to!)
We wish Article 25 all the very best with their amazing work and hope to participate again next year for the 10th Anniversary of 10×10.
We were delighted to donate work to a local Mental Health Charity FineNotFine earlier this year after becoming aware of the work they were doing with young people and their projects in negotiation with local schools. Local Artists were asked to work in situ around our local Town using Edvard Munch’s iconic image of The Scream as a reference point, whilst being open and accessible to the public and raising the charities local profile. We produced 2 pieces on the day which became part of an exhibition and silent Auction at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in October. We are delighted that both pieces sold and together with all the funds raised on the night, this excellent charity will be able to further realise the potential of their crucial work.
The body of work generated from this project remained on show in the cloisters at the cathedral for 2 weeks and we were glad to have been invited to do a residency during the exhibition. The architecture there is so extraordinary, we wanted to combine the essence of the structure with entwined hands imbuing a sense of security and support.
We are delighted to have been asked by Article 25 to contribute to their annual 10×10 drawing the City London event. The culmination will be a live Charity fundraising Auction of around 100 pieces of work, including ours at RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects in Portland Place London on the 18th of November.
Our work takes inspiration from a view of Limekiln Dock, E14 from both Rotherhithe and Limehouse overlapped collaboratively.
Yesterday we delivered our work (together with Lorna’s charcoal piece) to Article 25’s office in Canary Wharf in person; via car, train and taxi. It has to be said that we carried them both with a certain degree of pride and pleasure to have contributed to and participated in this great event. We so hope that our work will help to raise much needed funds for the amazing projects this charity undertake, supporting and improving communities around the world.
With just under 4 weeks to go until our exhibition at Ashdown Gallery, we have set about getting ourselves organised. As well as producing a robust body of work, there is a significant amount of planning and ground work needed in the run up to the show. We thought it might be of interest to write a little of our processes here. This might be a bit dry, but bear with us.. or look at the lovely picture of the mug of tea and cake, of which we have plenty too!
Each work is photographed and catalogued here at our studio. It’s a useful start to keeping track of a sizeable portfolio, particularly when each piece is at a different stage of completion. We keep these in a chronological file and add notes as we go; size, medium, print run for example. It’s a really good habit to get into and provides really useful reference to answer any enquiries. (Files can later be marked as sold, archived or the relevant gallery where the painting is being shown can be noted.)
We have selected 2 images to be released as limited edition giclee prints during the show. We use the most excellent Jim Holden in East Hoathly, East Sussex, who creates the most exquisite reproductions of our work. He goes to such lengths to precisely colour match and ensure the tonality is perfect. We love working with Jim and are very proud of the resulting prints. These will be the images used, please note they are our snaps!
We wanted to have some cards available too, so have used high resolution jpgs of the following 4 paintings;
The company we always use is Digital Colour Services and again they are fantastic. Be sure to send CMYK files, not RGB, as the professional printers won’t interpret the colours quite right. This is a standard requirement of most reprographic services and Photoshop is a good place to start to convert your files.
We have spread the task of framing 22 or so paintings over several months and have used 2 excellent framers close to home, Denny’s and Bury Framing Centre and my old favourites, Uckfield Framing Company in Sussex for the very large pieces, (so that they can be easily transported to the gallery). We are so grateful to each of them for their professionalism, high standard of craftsmanship and vision for each piece. We are delighted with every single painting and each one is presented to its very best.
Finally the framing is almost done, cards are packed and prints are in the hands of Mr Holden. Next on our list is to sign the backs, print certificates of authenticity for each painting, and generate a comprehensive schedule for Ashdown Gallery… oh and publicise the show as much as possible! We are delighted to have such a nice article in Ingenue magazine and have been adding each new work to social media platforms of course.
It would be so wonderful to see some of you at the exhibition, but we will be posting full coverage for those of you who can’t make it.
Finally thank you all for your support and kindness, we really appreciate it.
Lorna and Stephen x
This particular painting has taken us on quite a journey. We had planned to begin a diptych of Adam and Eve, but the woman staring back at us simply suggested something else. We went with it and reserve our initial intentions for another day…
Here are a few stages in her development. She was drawn on a full sized piece of St Cuthberts Mill Bockingford paper that had been monoprinted with ink and watercolour. Lorna referenced Rossetti in her initial drawing; the classic freshness of her face and gripping gaze was a good place to start. We had also been researching traditional Adam and Eve imagery and Stephen began to work into the hair using Dürer as a marker. The combined elements and strong colour took us on an exciting tangent and after several sessions in the studio, our Firebird gradually emerge instead.
For us it’s important to maintain an open approach to our work and the resulting subject matter, it’s essential in fact. We work with what the image dictates and respond to each other’s marks. We sometimes have a firm idea, but have learned that that can often change; each painting has its own story to tell and we embrace the journey they take us on. One of the many wonderful things about working collaboratively is that the development unfolds with at a pace that is challenging and reactive to each other’s marks. We can be both subjective and objective at the same time. Each piece is deeply cognitive, full of discussion and debate with complete equality in direction.
This piece was completed with a little fumage… see last blog post for our small demonstration. Very worth a try if you are open to a surprising result and have a fire extinguisher to hand!
We felt that a little fumage was required to complete this image. We will take a better photograph in the morning, but we are excited about the result.