Saturday, 18 August 2018

Hampshire Open Studios

http://www.hampshireopenstudios.org.uk/artists/basingstoke/item/amanda-bates
http://amanda6614.wixsite.com/amandabates/open-studios

Today was the first day of Hampshire Open Studios! I have lots of new work, especially on paper, so if you are thinking of visiting, don't forget to have a look through the browser and the rack of "4x4"s.

Sunday 19 August: open 10am - 5pm
Monday 20 August: open 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 21 August: closed, but the Artikinesis Exhibition, Traces of Prehistory is still open in Andover (10am to 5pm)
Wednesday 22 August: closed, but the Artikinesis Exhibition, Traces of Prehistory is still open in Andover in the morning (10 am to 12 noon)
Thursday 23 August: open 10am - 5pm
Friday 24 August: closed
Saturday 25 August: open 10am - 5pm
Sunday 26 August: open 10am - 5pm
Bank Holiday Monday 27 August: open 10am - 5pm


Full details on my Open Studios page here.

Monday, 13 August 2018

4 inch squares

Three "Crashing Wave" squares
It all started earlier this year when I got my hands on a supply of square mounts, eight inches square with a four inch square aperture. They were a nice size, but I didn't have very many pieces on paper to suit them. Then I realised that some bigger pieces, which didn't quite work as a whole, would look great if they were cut up and the choicest parts presented in these mounts. It seemed to work especially well with pictures done in acrylic ink, with trees and waves being good subjects.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The boar tree

The boar tree, ink on A3 paper
The roots of this roadside beech tree reminded me of a wild boar - I could see its head and one giant piggy trotter. I haven't deliberately enphasised either feature, not least because the tree is a beautiful sight in itself, with the large, sinuous branch to the left curving up like the muscular neck of a herbivorous dinosaur (I'm thinking diplodocus or brontosaurus), set against the sundappled screen of leaves.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Hanger: two drawings

Hanger, ink on A3 paper
Square Hanger, ink on paper, 29 x 29 cm

These two pictures were drawn to investigate the way that the beech roots cling to the steep slope of the hanger (a hillside wood). I had no intention of introducing fantastic beasts, but they crept in, nonetheless...

Monday, 30 July 2018

Downed

Downed, ink on A4 paper
I found this dragon lying between two roadside beech trees on Nuthanger Down, its tattered wings spread on the ground, looking intently up. Was there a squirrel up there? Or was it remembering its days of flight?

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie, ink on paper, 29 x 29 cm
More serpentine beech tree roots, this time on Nuthanger Down, and this time in Noodler's Walnut Brown ink (which I think is based on the colour of walnut ink, but probably isn't made from walnuts).

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Re-Henge: Dragon Roots - SOLD

Dragon Roots, ink on paper, 29 x 29 cm
The serpentine roots of the Avebury beeches, last seen in Henge, led me to imagine a mythical creature dozing on the bank. Has it become one with the trees and the earth, or is it just very well camoflaged?

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Henge

Henge, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm
What is a henge? In short, it is a prehistoric ring bank and ditch, with the ditch on the inside. The word is a backformation from Stonehenge - which doesn't actually have a henge! It's all a bit confusing, but what is certain is that the large earthwork that encircles Avebury (village and stone circles) is called a henge.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Prussia Cove cliffs

Prussia Cove Cliffs, oil on linen canvas, 46 x 55 cm
Prussia Cove is a secluded part of the south Cornish coast, with a turbulent history of wrecking and smuggling. Now, however, it is known for its natural beauty and an International Music Seminar. When the tide is in, the beach is all rocks, pebbles and rock pools. Here I have focussed on the cliffs, which had some reddish vegetation clinging to them. I don't know what it was, but I do like the extra colour, which drew my attention away from the sea back towards the land.

Prussia Cove Cliffs
oil on linen canvas, 46 x 55 cm
£360

Friday, 1 June 2018

Blue and Gold

Blue and Gold, oil on canvas 46 x 55 cm
A reprise, of sorts, of 2016's Gold and Grey, this is a view from a local footpath. These distinctive trees are visible for miles around and are a welcome landmark as well as a favourite subject.

Blue and Gold
oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm
£340

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Red Wine and Apricots: a series of three oil paintings

These three paintings were made on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday of the long weekend just gone. I had my studio open as part of Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire on all three days, and it seemed like a useful sort of thing to be doing in between visitors.

I was attracted to the glassy reflections and to the subtly varying colours of the bottle and its dark contents. I also enjoyed the contrast with the duller texture of the apricots and the book, which toned so seredipitously with the fruit.

Each painting is 33 x 41 cm and is executed on clear-gessoed natural linen in oil paint with a knife (more accurately, a selection of knives). Together, they tell a sort of story - a very ordinary story, of things being consumed - but they aren't necessarily intended to be a set. Despite that, I can't help but think of them as being the beginning, middle and end...

Read Wine and Apricots 1 (Beginning), oil on linen, 33 x 41 cm, £140

Red Wine and Apricots 2 (Middle), oil on linen, 33 x 41 cm, £140

Red Wine and Apricots (End), oil on linen, 33 x 41 cm, £140
Just in case you were wondering, the wine was a smooth but unremarkable Bordeaux, the book is Leonardo by Martin Kemp, and the apricots were - well, they were apricots, and they were very nice.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Sentinel: Danebury Hillfort

Sentinel, oil on linen, 70 x 50 cm
I've painted this beech tree before, but this time it is in leaf, and more of the lumps and bumps of the hillfort's earthworks are visible.

The tree stands, tall, proud and solitary, by the entrance to the fort (here, we are looking out of the fort). It made me think of a guardian or sentinel.

Sentinel
oil on linen, 70 x 50 cm
£260
Painted 19 May 2018 in Open Studio

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Embankment: Beech Wood at Danebury Hill

Embankment: Beech Wood at Danebury Hill, oil on canvas, 40x50cm

Earlier this week, I visited Danebury Hill, where there is a large, well preserved, iron-age hill fort. There is also a very lovely beech wood on the side of the hill. Here, the beech trees are growing over the outer ramparts of the fort, their shallow root systems rising from the ground as the trees cling to the earthworks.

The painting is based on photographs that I took at Danebury.

Embankment: Beech Wood at Danebury Hill
oil on canvas, 40 x 50 cm
£210


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Blue Twist (Wolverton Blue 3)

Blue Twist (Wolverton Blue 3), oil on linen, 46 x 38 cm
Last Friday, I revisited Wolverton Woods to catch the end of the bluebells. I was attracted by the fantastic contortions of the large beech tree that became the focus of this painting.


Blue Twist
oil on canvas, 46 x 38 cm
£160

Friday, 20 April 2018

Devil's Den, or, The Resting Place - SOLD

Devil's Den, oil on linen canvas, 46 x 38 cm
The Devil's Den is a reconstructed (c. 1921) dolmen (neolithic) near Marlborough in Wiltshire. As far as I can tell, it is the closest such monument to where I live (there seems to be a shortage of suitable stone in Hampshire; certainly the chalk and flint in the immediate vicinity would make very poor building material). Dolmens, which look like stone tables, are actually the structural remains of burial chambers that were once covered in earth. Most have three or more uprights; this has two, but one of them rests on a third, recumbent stone. The stones are sarsens, which are blocks of sandstone created by glacial flow. They are plentiful in that area (which is not far from Avebury and Stonehenge).

I have visited the Devil's Den before, with sketching equipment, but this time I took my painting gear. It was a gloriously, unseasonably, hot and sunny day. I spent maybe two and a half hours on site and completed the picture in the studio, where I empasised the darks (which have a tendency to get lost on site) and the reflected colour on the stones.

Included in the group exhibition, Traces of Prehistory (Artikinesis).

Devil's Den
oil on linen canvas, 46 x 38 cm
£160 - SOLD

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Beech Hedge - SOLD

Beech Hedge, A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper
This is one of the pieces I did for Artikinesis' exhibition We Are Forest. These beech trees are growing in a line between two fields and are part of a grown-out beech hedgerow.

SOLD

Forest cathedral

Forest Cathedral, A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper

This is one of the pieces I did for Artikinesis' exhibition We Are Forest. It is based on the overhead branches of the Cathedral Oak in Savernake Forest.

Forest Cathedral
A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper
£75

Friday, 16 February 2018

Downland beech - SOLD

Molotow acrylic marker pens on paper, A4 (21x29.7cm)
Another monochrome beech tree, albeit with a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) sky. It makes it look rather cartoonish, I think - or is that the "googly" face that I keep seeing in its trunk?

This tree is part of a grown-out hedgerow on the ridge of one of our local downs.


SOLD

Savernake Beech

Molotow acrylic marker pens on paper, A4 (29.7x21cm)
There are many wonderful old trees in Savernake Forest in Wiltshire. Oaks tend to dominate the selection (they do get impressively old and gnarled), but there are other trees as well, including many beech trees. I encountered this particular example when I visited the forest earlier this month, and this picture is worked up from a photograph I took then (it was a bit cold for lengthy studies).

This is an exercise in the use of limited tone: black, white, and a middle tone (grey).  I used three Molotow acrylic paint marker pen colours for the drawing, deliberately keeping each shade separate and distinct. (I used a fourth colour for my signature).

It looks a bit like a lino print to me, albeit a rather complex one with two printing plates. I like cutting lino (and wood) to make a plate, but have limited patience with the printing process itself and have yet to master the art of registration (printing multiple plates / colours accurately to build up layers). This was rather simpler to do, and very nearly as satisfying.

Savernake BeechMolotow acrylic marker pens on paper, A4 (29.7x21cm)
£50

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Winter trees

Winter Oak (detail)
Winter is the best time to capture the structural essence of a tree. On a bright, clear day, the branches are dramatically stark against the sky, the patterns in the bark are unobscured by the shifting shadows of foliage (and any undergrowth will have died back a little, affording better access to that elusive perfect vantage point...).

These two pictures have been created as part of my preparation work for the Artikinesis exhibition at Sticks Contemporary in Gosport.

Winter Beech (detail)


Winter Oak
A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper
£75 

Winter Beech
A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper
£75

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Artikinesis: We are forest

image by Elinor Cooper

The next Artikinesis project will be in Gosport. We will be creating a temporary, room-sized artwork - an installation - on the walls of Sticks Contemporary Gallery. The piece will explore our relationship with trees. We have published a statement for the piece on the Artikinesis web site.

The painted part of the installation will be created on site in five days during February this year. There will also be some projected images (as yet undecided) and an audio element. The latter is being created by Tanith Lawrey. The completed work will remain on show until the end of March 2018.