Busy wizzy

The oh so tiresome repetition of #Letter365 is not lightened by No75
No75 goes in the box – nothing exciting about that then!

Been busy buzzing from place to place and still have loads to do for Dorset Art Weeks.

Is anyone interested in all this? I have posted another tedious picture of part of a hand holding an envelope near a post box. Whoopee!

The sad thing is that probably nobody will ever buy and thus never see the fine little artwork inside. They certainly won’t unless I manage to get my finger out and set up the ability to purchase them on this site!

Thunder and lightning

#Letter365 No73 goes in the box
Late posting for No73 because of the thunderstorms

I love thunderstorms – especially if you can see lightning – and we have not had a decent one for a while, but I confess that I chickened out and continued with preparations for Dorset Art Weeks instead of picking up a brolly and dashing up the garden to the studio. Twice! So that is part of the reason I am so late posting both the #Letter365 piece and this blog entry.

Preparations for Dorset Art Weeks are progressing slower than hoped, but I did actually put up the #Collage365 wall of 20 nicely framed pieces from the #Collage365 project and have pretty much planned out where things will go – though with some pieces still at the framers there will inevitably be some shifting and jiggling before I am happy.

One fifth of the way already!

#Letter365 No73 gets posted in sunshine with a nice stamp!
No73 goes in the box making it 20% of my task completed already

Well I have got this far without too much trouble so while there may be adventures ahead I am very confident that I will complete the project .

I am very excited by the last few day’s pieces though, as I have said, I am concerned that some may not like or understand them. If you want pictures of fluffy things, portraits, realism, impressionism, boats on water and that kind of thing I’m generally not your man. That is not to say I may not slip in a little sketch of West Bay harbour one day or even do a series of landscapes during this project! But as I say i am very excited by quite a number of the recent pieces: they please my eye and there is a good balance between tension and ease. But what interests me most is the emotional content: I find them surprisingly moving. Of course it could be, like I have hinted, I’m off my trolley! On the other hand they may actually be quite good!  Some seem a bit old-fashioned but in a way have a timeless quality. It’s like picking up a jazz album from the fifties or sixties with cool, jazzy graphics on the cover and when you start to play it it seems a bit dated, then interesting, then familiar, then exciting and finally sublime – the whole package is actually timeless. These pieces have got a little of that for me. Again, I may be deluded but the fact that I am excited by what I am doing a fifth of the way in bodes well for finishing the project.

Sometimes I wonder if I am quite mad

#Letter365 No72 gets posted in bright sunshine
a bright sunny posting for No72

What on earth is it in me and many other people who find joy and beauty in the most unexpected places. There is a group of us on Twitter that share picture of rusty, peeling, rotten things. Some of us tweet pictures of roads, tyremarks, paving stones and chewing gum spots. Part of the task of a visual artist is to look and see and notice on behalf of the rest of the people and make choices which things to say “hey, look at this” about. Yet sometimes I wonder if we are all just a bit demented to be so inordinately excited, awed and moved by the abstract patterns and colours of Nature’s decomposing? Which brings me to today’s #Letter365 piece. When I look at the photos I took of today’s piece I find it incredibly moving. It only took me a short while to make it and something comes up in me about its value and worth because of that. The components and idea had been sitting with me for a few days so with that time included the time it took might be trebled, but it’s still not much. Not like someone Tweeted recently, “you can’t create a piece of art in a day”. Does that mean this piece is not art? What about if I factor in 5 years at art school, years of personal study, a lifetime of considered looking, years of art practice, years of working in design, advertising and graphics? It could be said that this piece took over 60 years to make. Does that make it any the more art? Could it be that it is possible for an artwork, something that moves the guts and stirs the intellect, to be created in an instant and. On the other hand it could be that I’m delusional.


#Letter365 No71 goes in the box with a nice stamp and a hand-written address
Hand-written address and a nice film stamp for No71

Today’s piece gave me cause for a lot of thought about being true to myself and having the courage to stick to the visual statement I am moved or minded to make. There was something in me wanting to make this piece more accessible to a wider audience even though it was not the right thing. I wonder if Barnet Newman ever thought of sticking a little flower in on of his vast expanses of colour? Did Malevich ever consider a smiling face to make his chilling severity more friendly? Did Mondrian explore the possibility of a cute dog in one of his grids? I doubt it very much. So how come I am worrying that people may find my work hard to grasp or shallow or whatever? So then I worry if it’s derivative or of its time or out of fashion! I worry should I create things in the hope that people like them? It is certainly pleasant and reassuring when people like my work but I don’t always understand why.

Sketchbook abstract drawing by David Smith
Drawing from my sketchbook 3 May 2014

This piece to the right has been favourited and retweeted on Twitter much more than I could imagine. I have no idea what it is about. Moreover I have no idea what it is that people like about it. There are elements in it that I incorporate into my work generally but broadly it is not really my style – but maybe these sketchbook doodles are what I should be doing more of? Should I make work like this and see if people approve? I have remembered that I have created a large piece which has some of the feel of this one. I must photograph it and post it to see what reaction it elicits!

Creating an artwork is so odd

#Letter365 No70 being posted
No70 has pretty boring envelope – no mistakes!

Making art is an odd business. How come I can struggle for ages with an idea that seems really good in my head, but just won’t come together. Is it timing? Materials? How I feel that day? The light? How hungry I am? I don’t think it’s just because it’s a shit idea because sometimes I can work through the problem and other times I can revisit it later and it works well. Today was a struggle until I saw a different possibility and thought “oh that’s nice” and it all came togther like a dream.

So is today’s “deliberate mistake” intentional?

#Letter365 No69 goes in the box with the right number, a stamp and a mistake
No69 goes in the box with the right number, a stamp and a mistake

Well you have got to ask yourself, after yesterday’s mistake, if I would be so hopeless as to do it again or, knowing me a bit, think “he’s a tricky bugger, he’d do that intentional mistake thing!”

It was nice to do today’s piece.  A little time of calm in a maelström of chaos getting ready for Dorset Art Weeks – though words like ready and prepared are no longer likely to have any similarity to the factual state of affairs. I have already decided there are quite a few things that won’t get done. But I picked up 29 framed pictures from the framers today so with the ones I already have and the ones that will be done over/after the weekend there will be something for people to buy!

Spot the deliberate (not) mistake!

Peter at Bradpole PO has franked #Letter365 No68 as First Day Cover
My first #Letter365 First Day Cover and ! mess it up!

Chaos Rules OK again! I was so excited that I had remembered the issue of new commemorative stamps (British Films) that I forgot to date stamp the envelope and did not update the number – so it reads No67 when in fact it is No68! Bugger!

Peter at Bradpole PO  franked #Letter365 No68 as First Day Cover with the Bradpole stamp – the first of those in #Letter365. He also put the stamp on for me and used his tongue – you can tell he’s not been a postmaster that long!  I am not sure if the shape over Peter’s mouth is something that stuck to his tongue during the stamp-licking episode, a strange cartoon or cameo head stuck to the glass or just an odd reflection. Sorry that some woman behind you has got her hands in your ears. I had hoped that I would have got a better personal reflection but there is too much light in there Peter.

I chose the Lawrence of Arabia stamp as it is one of my favourite films – because “the guns face the sea”. Could it be the artwork inside is as bleak and dry as the desert?

Yawn! Not because I am bored, just sleepy

#Letter365 No67 gets put in the post box at night
No67 goes in the box by moonlight, so it’s dry!

Another busy day with preparations for Dorset Art Weeks. The decorator is here. I washed the curtains and did some cleaning. I went over to the framers. I did some writing for this project and of course the artwork for today. I have been asked for some more clues so here goes: same materials as yesterday, bold with a Spanish feel!

Something a bit different today

#Letter365 No66 gets posted at night
Another late night posting for #Letter365 as No66 gets posted at night

I know the picture looks much like all the other photos of me putting a letter in the post box but inside the piece I have made is quite different to anything else I have done so far in this project. I’m not sure that i have ever done anything quite in this vein before. Mind you I might not again! I tried playing around with some more things in a similar vein afterwards and couldn’t manage anything with the freshness and vitality of the #Letter365 piece.