Friday, 29 June 2012


Hello again,

I thought it was high time I let people know what arty things I've been up to over the past few months, and it's not as much as I'd like it to be. But enough for a blog at least.

Anyway, first up in May was my second time participating in Maidenhead's biannual
Art on the Street event. This time the sun shone and we had local musicians gigging up and down the high street for added entertainment. I didn't sell any of my pictures - just a few cards - but I was proud to be part of the growing artisan movement that the event's organiser Marie-Anne Leonard is trying to generate in the town. She has big plans for Maidenhead and I'm sure, with her enthusiasm and energy, she will succeed in revitalising the high street. Hopefully I will get my work into one of the many pop-up shops Marie-Anne is now setting up. Perhaps someone else will be more successful at selling my work!

Back to painting, then. I've only managed two oil paintings of late. The first was the last of many chicken paintings I've done. This time, instead of focusing on one or two birds I've opted for a group composition. The following photos show how the work progressed:

Chickens in Wales (oil painting) 25.5 x 30cm (by Karen Davies)

The second painting came about after being invited to take part in an exhibition at Elizabeth House in Cookham to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I decided to paint a Corgi being walked by Her Majesty - anything to get away from all that red, white and blue. I didn't have much time to work on the picture before it had to be handed in for the show. In fact, it was still wet when I did turn it in. Oh well, it will be dry by the time the exhibition ends in five weeks' time (it opened on Saturday 16th June). Here's the painting:

'Loyal subject' (25.5 x 30cm) oil painting by Karen Davies

So, this picture is being shown along with Jubilee-inspired artwork in a variety of media by 15 other local artists. Pop along to Elizabeth House one Saturday to check them out, they're all for sale too. 

This week I've been inspired by David Hockney's charcoal drawings in 'A Bigger Picture' to get back to doing some sketching. It's an area that I've neglected as I tend to sketch straight onto canvas and then paint. It's good to get back to basics, though, and should help improve my painting.

Bye for now...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Double top


My art cup well and truly overfloweth of late with 'blockbuster' exhibitions of my two favourite artists - David Hockney and Lucian Freud. I've been so impressed with Hockney's Yorkshire landscapes that I even bought the book to accompany the exhibition, A Bigger Picture, and intend to visit Bridlington one day, to see the source of his inspiration. I admire that he never stands still artistically, but is always trying new ways to depict his environs; be that using the camera obscura, photography, watercolours or even an iPad. Generously, he passes on what he has learnt on this quest to fulfill his own curiosity. One nugget of wisdom I found interesting was what he said he learnt from the Chinese approach to art: 'They say you need three things for paintings: the hand, the eye, and the heart. Two won't do' (Gayford 2011). So that's where I've been going wrong!

As for the Freud exhibition, simply titled 'Portraits' at the National Portrait Gallery, well, it's brilliant. The work on show spans seven decades, from when he was a student in the 1940s through to the unfinished painting of his assistant David Dawson and Eli (a whippet) called 'Portrait of the Hound'. It was poignant to see the last brush strokes this great artist ever made. After reading the book by Martin Gayford about his experience of sitting for Freud, 'Man with a Blue Scarf', it was exciting to see the painting for real. It's a very engaging portrait. However, I had a chuckle when I saw they were selling blue scarves next to the book in the gift shop. Those marketing people don't miss an opportunity! But the proceeds go to the gallery, so I hope they sold loads. And the hand-rolled felt whippet for £65. All in all, though, I came away with even more admiration for Freud's work, because what really came across was the utter power of his scrutiny and his dedication.

Anyway, back to my offerings. In between family life I have managed to get three paintings done in readiness for the next Maidenhead Art Market on the 12th May. There are two chicken paintings and another version of a fox painting done last year. Here follows the progression of the first one, called 'Golden chicken':

Golden chicken. Oil on canvas (25.5cm x 30cm)

Next up is 'Two chickens' (which isn't strictly true, because there is a third one in the background walking away):

'Two chickens' Oil on canvas. (25.5cm x 30cm)

And lastly,

'Fox in snow' (version II) oil on canvas (25.5cm x 30cm)

In preparation for the market I decided to get some of giclee prints framed. Rather than go to a shop,  I tried a framer online to cut down on the cost. I'm pleased I did. By uploading jpegs of pics to their website you can try out a range of frames and mounts to suit the image, the delivery was efficient and the product top quality. So I'll be a returning customer for sure. Now I just need to sell the prints…

Martin Gayford (2011) A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney. Thames & Hudson.