Stephen Chambers at Lynne Strover’s Gallery and a new work in progress!

I have just returned from a talk given by Stephen Chambers RA at  Lynne Strover’s beautiful gallery in Fen Ditton, near Cambridge.  What a treat!  Just a fifteen minute drive from Melanie’s and I get to hear Stephen Chambers talk about his new large printed work inspired by the 1958 American Western, ‘The Big Country’, which will be opening at the Royal Academy on 24th October.

I was pleased to be able to see his smaller series of prints again, ‘When Trouble Meets Trouble’ which I absolutely love, and first saw at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  This suite of prints are a wonderful mix of etching and chine colle and has certainly inspired me to add this technique to my printmaking repertoire!

Marie Antoinette – Stephen Chambers

A few miles outside of Cambridge,  Fen Ditton is an unlikely place to find such an exquisite gallery as the  Lynne Strover Gallery, but well worth a visit to see some really good art!

When Trouble meets Trouble – Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers signing his book

And here is my latest little bug, a hornet, given to me by a fellow student, (thank you Susi!) .. it is a work in progress.  It started out as a test plate on the back of another test plate (copper is so expensive!!) for a bigger etching, using sugar lift, but I like the way it’s going and now want to do more little creatures.  This little one is only about 1.50 in square.  Sugar lift is a technique whereby you mix sugar and water and some black ink and paint it on a degreased plate.  The image you paint, is the image that is eventually printed.  You ‘stop out’ the rest of the plate with either a varnish or a hard wax ground and then put the plate in hot water, which lifts off the sugar solution.  After that you add an aquatint, which is what etches.  Some people put the acquatint on first and paint the sugar solution over this.  Ahhh… the joys of printmaking, so many ways to do the same thing! 

Susi’s Hornet – sugar lift with burnishing and scraping out.

Not the Royal Academy show

8 x 24 Oil/Wood Panel

This is the piece that I submitted to the RA Summer Exhibition, which was rejected. It’s OK, I wasn’t surprised. Apparently you have to apply more than once plus there were rumoured to be between 8,000 and 10,000 entries, 10% are accepted, 5% are Royal Academicians so that leaves 5% of regular old artists like me! I shall keep trying though… I now see it as a challenge and must succeed before I get too old to hold a brush in my hand!

Still, the good news is that it was accepted at the Not the Royal Academy show, which is inspired by the ‘Salon des Refuses’ in Paris in the 19th Century.

So that is a glimmer of hope in these dismal times.

Emergence 8 x 24 Oil/Wood Panel

At last a photo of my triptych. I think I am going to start using pastel colours! This was so hard to photograph (and to paint!). Fingers crossed it gets accepted, but I know the competition is enormous, so I am not holding my breath. You have to have a go at least!

I am back in snowy New Mexico now. I have left spring in the UK, with all the daffodils about to burst open for cold New Mexico. It’s so good to be back with my main squeeze after four months absence.

I don’t think there will be much time to relax though. I have loads of paintings I want to do and need to get the house ready to rent.

Nuthatch Commission – Coming along!

I think my little nuthatch commission is coming along nicely…. and today I posted my entry form for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Yay!! Last year I missed the deadline so I have been really working hard trying to get the paintings finished so that I felt confident enough to submit the entry form… and I did it! No doubt I will be rejected, (I always like to expect the worst, then I won’t be disappointed!!) but you have to try. I have been told that you have to submit a few times before you get accepted, but maybe that is an urban myth. So… this is my first time of trying, and hopefully I will eventually get accepted before I reach 60!