Finally got my shop online this week at ArtFinder. Will be interesting to see the reaction from a wider audience. www.artfinder.com/mikehallart
Discovered a great little venue in Roath, Cardiff called Cardiff MADE. Run as a cozy coffee/deli place that sells a great variety of home grown and made produce. Great place to hang out. They hold regular art exhibitions promoting local artists. The quality and range of work is high. Also they hold evening gigs, recently with a 20’s style jazz outfit. Well worth checking out. www.cardiffmade.co.uk
Great Craft show this weekend at Cardiff County Hall. I was very surprised at the high standard of work and love the presentation style of most exhibitors. A lot of effort had gone into the design of most stands. If ceramics and jewelry is your thing, this is definitely one for the calendar. Apparently the selection process is very tight, hence the quality of work found here. Look forward to next year…definitely consider applying for a stand myself.
Spent a fab day out in London with a friend I haven’t seen in many years. In between eating and drinking around Soho we visited the NOA (National open Art) exhibition at Somerset House and later the Threadneedle Prize, ‘Figurative Art Today’ at the Mall Galleries. A real broad mix of styles (and abilities) at both. If I had to choose one, I’d say I found the NOA more interesting. What makes this event quite unique is that there are three resident artists working on site. Professionals invited to stay for the duration of the exhibition and use part of the space as a studio. They freely offer their individual perspective on the exhibits and are happy to discuss their own practice. I thought this was a fantastic way to help people become more engaged with the work. Listening to some of the conversations gave an interesting insight into how other artists interpret images and certainly offers food for thought. The NOA annual competition, in it’s 18th year, aims to give artists from all walks of life a platform to exhibit and gain exposure. From what I understand, each work is chosen purely on it’s individual merit alone. Background, education and professional status of the artist ignored (although a CV is requested on submission). Refreshing in a world that often seems to place reputation above quality of work.
A piece by photographer Marcus Lyon caught our eye straight away. A huge print entitled Exodus VII – Tin Shack City, Cape Flats, South Africa. Lyon refers to these works as ‘Landscapes without Horizons’. A great title I think and a provocative statement concerning our ever increasing urbanization.
At first glance I thought it was a single shot but on closer inspection you can see it’s a composite. Still powerful non the less. Lyon’s website is well worth checking out. http://www.marcuslyon.com
I particularly like this piece, also part of his Exodus collection:
We loved a piece by Lottie Jackson Eeles. http://www.lottieje.com A concertinaed sketch book with wonderful graphics using multimedia. Here’s an extract:
One of the most intriguing works for me was by an artist called Sarah Ball. www.sarah-ball.co.uk Entitled ‘Soldiers Hexaptych’
Injured Soldiers from the American Civil war. Regimented yet stripped of all insignia, a level parade ground, their blank expressions inviting us to ponder. On checking out Sarah’s website you’ll discover a whole range of these superbly executed, mini portraits. With her choice of palette and grouped title’s that include ‘Damaged People’ and ‘Accused’, you know these aren’t happy portraits, but rather images that stir and provoke further investigation. You can’t help wonder about the circumstance and back story of these people. Sarah’s work reminds me in a way of Anthony Scullion’s images. Haunting portraits that unnerve and yet draw you in with increasing curiosity. I love them!
Sarah also featured in the Threadneedle Prize Exhibition and was shortlisted.
The prize was won by artist Tina Jenkins with ‘Bed Head’. Themed ‘Figurative Art Today’, I thought the quality of work here was of a higher standard in general but still preferred the NOA. I may have been looking forward to seeing figurative art in it’s more traditional sense I guess, especially since I have been doing some life drawing recently, so a little disappointed in that respect.
One piece that did float my boat, was Vicky Wright’s ‘Pacifist’ found in the curated space within the gallery. Really like it’s rather dark, ambiguous, dream like quality and the way it was executed with thin oils on plain wood allowing the grain to add textural interest and a very organic feel.
I’m very happy to write that my dear friend Yvonne now owns one of my paintings and it sits pleased as punch on her dining room wall. An interior designer and trend watcher, she obviously has impeccable taste :). You can check out Yvonne’s Blog here at http://www.curatedfutures.com
This particular painting is a slight departure for me in the palette department. It’s the first, and only to date, that I have used such a dominating primary colour on this scale. I like its impact and think it’s something I’m going to be revisiting again soon. The subject was inspired by the view I had from an apartment looking out across the channel from pebble beach, Barry. The red represents the often turbulent and dangerous riptide associated with this stretch of coastline. The grey headland is Fontygary Point looking westward and the golden yellows represent the sands that are revealed at very low tide.
….thank you Yvonne for your continuous support and faith in my efforts. 🙂 x
Saturday last, exhibited at the Cardiff Country Fair held within the walls of Cardiff castle. What a setting for a show!! Although a little apprehensive at first, as I’ve never exhibited at such an event, it turned out to be a great weekend and I managed to sell a few paintings which put the icing on the turrets. The weather was good, food great and an eclectic mix of bands playing throughout. Received some great feedback and met a couple of very cute Alpaca’s, who apparently are not to be messed with if assigned the task of protecting your flock at night.
There’s a huge difference between the reaction you’re going to get from showing the actual painting, compared to a jpg or printed image which looses so much in translation. Struck me that it would be a good idea to show like this on a fairly regular basis. Exposure being the objective and it’s so satisfying watching someone staring, transfixed at a work that I have toiled over, knowing that somehow it is stirring an emotion within them on a very visceral level. Of course, you also get the occasional person pulling an expression like they’ve just swallowed a bug… but that’s all part of the fun! :)… the way you gauge your potential market.
Life Drawing!!.. when will it get easier??. There’s a certain meditative state that the sheer level of concentration forces you to enter.. little room left at the inn for idle thoughts… leaves me exhausted but extremely content.
Sunset on Pebble Beach
I spend a lot of time with my head in the clouds… taking photographs and generally feeling inspired and awed in equal measures.. last evening was stunning. This was taken from The Knap’s pebble beach, Barry. The view looks towards the headland of Fontygary which has featured in a few of my paintings to date. I lived on this beach for a while and the extreme change in mood, especially during winter, is often spectacular.