Friday, 2 November 2012


Have you ever felt like you've lost your way?....grasping at straws....going round in circles...searching too hard for inspiration and missing the point?....that's me at the moment!
Our "Beach project" from quite a few years ago! (see Sue Lawty info below)
...and then not only that but also, how do you connect and communicate with other artists and art professionals? As someone said to me while wandering around the gallery..." There are fewer galleries now than ever before...It's so hard to get your work out there...and there are less opportunities in the creative sector...."sad fact but true! 

I've realised how over the last few months I have hardly done any of my own art, you know, the type of art that consumes you and drives you to get up early and go to bed late exhausted but equally excited of the possibilities and the outcomes....something that I was feeling 6 months ago!

I've decided that I need to go back to the drawing board, stop fretting about making "something" and find the missing element that can re-fuel the fire ....I'm hoping to get out over the next few weeks and go exploring. My faithful companion of a camera had a miss-hap at Leeds Festival so I am going to have to get use to taking our larger camera out....great camera but doesn't fit in may pocket!....I need to  find a subject, connect with it again and look at the realistic options of working with it and just get on and stop dilly dallying...get sketching and just enjoy the freedom of no deadlines, no boundaries and the freedom of experimenting and playing!

Do I carry on with my pebbles and work more into them?...I think so....there's elements I have thought about but not tried out yet...I need to experiment and push myself.....go back, re-visit, re-evaluate and re-make...

On a good note...
...I've just received my last piece back from the framers for my HAFNEY commission,  I now have 6 pieces ready to deliver to Scarborough Hospital...I'm looking forward to seeing the response from the nurses, doctors and patients ....lets hope its positive and they go down OK.
"Pebble traces" relief framed piece.
laser cut pebble marks
on linen maps, handmade paper and art paper
coloured with acrylic inks

 I  also created 4 smaller, similar pieces along with the two larger ones for my commission. I wanted to be able to add continuity to the pieces and offer art that could be placed within an environment that could be seen throughout the area....elements of... yet all slightly different....

Most of the visiting patients at hospitals are all there to seek medical help and advice but not many of them are there for the same reason or symptoms...Ahhh they joy of being unique and individual...just like a pebble on a beach, they have travelled and gathered but each one is "one of a kind"... similar... but never the same.

 I was really pleased when my artist mentor popped in unexpectedly to see me the other day...Sue Lawty (website under construction at the moment) Sue's work is so detailed and really interesting... and the fact that I took part and also encouraged my family and the school I was working with at the time to take part in her Beach project she was running while a resident artist at the V&A... just made the opportunity to be mentored by her even more appealing....and what a wonderful coincidence that she often uses stone and textiles is an additional bonus considering my line of work at the's always great to see her, I find her advice and help so valuable.
Calculus 2009 by Sue Lawty 2x3m Natural stone on gesso
 John   Coombes)

 John Coombes)

 John   Coombes)

Here's a small statement about Sue & her work...
The work is rooted in an emotional, spiritual and physical engagement with the land, drawing on direct experiences of remote, raw and edgy landscape.

Constructed pieces and drawings in two and three dimensions are abstract and minimal. They explore repetition and interval; investigating territories of expression in raphia, hemp, linen, lead, tiny stones or shadow.

Lawty says of her work… 'I seek an understated restraint, balance, tension, rhythm. I seek to produce work that is essentially still'.

An ongoing association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and an enduring interest in links between art and science, led to Lawty devising the World Beach Project. Open to anyone, anywhere, this global project is hosted by V&A Online. It celebrates the human desire to make pattern and speaks of time, place, geology and the base instinct of touch.

One of my ideas is to use thread to create more pebbles....I really want to try and incorporate ceramics and thread together, glass would be really exciting too....the fragility of porcelain, glass and fine threads interwoven especially using light to create shadows....(I wanted to use light for my final degree show but wasn't able to do so!)  I'm also interested in trying out more with water soluble  paper, I've used it a lot in the past but never as a free standing piece....artists such as 
Amanda McCavour and her clever way of using suspended creations fascinate me...

There's something about suspending art that intrigues me, Cornelia Parker influenced but with more delicate materials.

While I remember, I went to see a small exhibition the other day by an artist called Iona Calvert

One small installation that is really quite beautiful and clever. Small porcelain fish hung delicately from precious metal, suspended from a net...the lighting reflects the glazes giving an ephemeral and fleeting glimpse of fish like silhouettes.
Well worth a trip if you can make it.

so, no time to flounder....It seems I've got work to do!
Have a good weekend and if you've got any tips or advice as mentioned earlier feel free to let me know
bye for now

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