I’ve been busy over the cold winter months, but it hasn’t been all painting…
To start, I moved to a new space in October, from my studio of the past 3 years at Arthub in Deptford Bridge to Scena in Camberwell. The space is larger and brighter, and a bit closer to home. I made the move with fellow artist James Allen who also worked for the past few years at Arthub, so we’ve formed a small collective and enjoy having spaces next door to one another where we can test ideas, critique, and advise on the best type of white oil paint for the situation in question. Maybe a new artist group complete with manifesto on the horizon? If that happens I’ll post it. James is a very talented portrait and landscape artist, you can check out his work here.
Studio in Camberwell, London
I spent a few months during the latter part of 2013 working on illustrations for a very important project, a children’s book called The Daddy Haircut. You can see a number of illustrations from the book on my illustrations page.
The book was written by my sister Nicole Cable Scoubes, a two-time cancer survivor, to help young children understand what is happening with parents who are dealing with cancer. The book was published and released in January 2014 and is available in both hard and soft cover through many online retailers. If you’d like to buy a copy, you can find it here.
The Daddy Haircut
I have started experimenting with creating digital art on the iPad. I’m still getting used to some of the techniques and controlling the various apps for digital painting and drawing. Here is one of my initial attempts, Melissa NYC, created using Procreate for iPad.
I also took on a commission for another piece aimed at a young audience. I was asked to do a painting incorporating as many animals as possible to be used in a baby’s nursery. I considered many approaches to this piece, some very childlike with bright colours and cartoon-like qualities aimed at engaging and entertaining a baby, but in the end I decided to try and make it something that a child could enjoy for its colour and content while in infancy, and then for other reasons as they matured and could appreciate it as hand painted artwork. With this in mind, I tried out a few visual ideas before arriving at a composition of mainly African and jungle animals (plus a tiger), influenced by my appreciation for Mucha’s use of design elements, line work and muted, yet still colourful palette. The piece progressed through late 2013 and was delivered in time for Christmas.
Creatures Great and Small
In January, I started teaching art to a select group of 14-15 year olds through an organisation called Act On It who help engage their students in education and encourage progression in school through the arts. Until I was asked to run this series of sessions on visual arts, the organisation has traditionally focused on acting, dance and the performance arts, as well as a range of functional skills and transferable life skills, so I was very happy to be able to add to the repertoire of choices on offer to these students. The art sessions are once a week in Eastbourne at the Saffrons Sports Club and will finish in May 2014.
This was my first experience with teaching, and I was nervous at first not knowing what to expect, but I quickly established a rapport with the students, and immediately realised the reward of teaching. The students show a real enthusiasm for learning about art and have produced some great work, growing quickly in skill and confidence. We have worked with many different media and techniques, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and collage. We have also spent a good deal of time discussing the work of other artists, collecting reference material around Eastbourne, and sketching from life in local public areas.
Art classes in Eastbourne through Act On It
My good friend Rob Hale, founder and owner of the growing chain of gourmet grilled cheese restaurants Melty Way, has given one of my paintings a place of honour in his newest location in the Sugarhouse area of Salt Lake City, Utah. The painting, Warm Winter Night, portrays the very spot in Sugarhouse that the new Melty Way now occupies, before the area was redeveloped over the past number of years. Thanks to Rob and Melty Way for this, and if you find yourself in Salt Lake City, make sure the Sugarhouse Melty Way is one of your stops, to support the local art, and more importantly for the delectable grilled cheese experience!
Melty Way restaurant – Salt Lake City, Utah – with ‘Warm Winter Night’
Warm Winter Night, 2005
Currently, I am nearing completion of a commissioned oil paining of Blenheim Palace, Oxford, that I will post shortly. Following that, I’ll start a series of commissions of the Barbican Centre in central London. I’ve done the research for these paintings and the photographs alone have got me excited to start work on them.
Flats in the Barbican Centre, London
I continue to work on other paintings between commissions and my full-time work in education, managing the delivery and assessment of GCE and GCSE Art and Design for Pearson UK (Edexcel), with the aim of completing enough work to hold another exhibition towards the end of 2014…we’ll see how things pan out.
As always, thank you for checking in. Feel free to contact me directly if you have anything you want to share, comment or to discuss.
This weekend, from Friday July 26th to Sunday July 28th 2013, you can see my recent painting ‘Deptford Lights’ on display at Royal Festival Hall as part of Southbank Centre’s summer Festival of Neighbourhood. Alongside the work of around 40 excellent and varied artists from the area, the painting will represent Deptford’s rich art community and cultural heritage in an exhibition called ’8 Minutes From Here’. It should be a great show, so please stop in the the exhibition is you are out enjoying the Thames this weekend. There is also an informal reception on Saturday the 27th at 7:00 if you want to take part in the festivities.
Full information about the show and all that’s happening this weekend for Southbank Centre’s Festival of Neighbourhood can be found at www.southbankcentre.co.uk/
‘Deptford Lights’ is available to purchase by contacting me directly here.
The ’8 Minutes From Here’ Exhibit at Royal Festival Hall, London with Deptford Lights
Press from the Exhibition
I also recently took part in an auction for a great charity called Creekside Ahoy who give children the opportunity to bond and learn through sailing down the Thames! All artists submitted one to three postcards, and I decided to make my three entries into one triptych of the dry riverbed that runs from the Thames down through Deptford. The set of three pieces was sold in the silent auction on June 9th, amongst many other great pieces from artists both well-known and emerging, form all around the world.
Part of the ‘Creekside Ahoy’ charity auction
Last night was the opening of my new exhibition: Urban Landscape 2013 at Jane Newbery Gallery, Dulwich Village. It was a great night, and visitors really seemed to engage with the work, which I consider a big personal success. The painting W1 Alley also sold on its first day on display, which was a bonus on top of a great open house. Thank you to all those who spent their night with me and for sharing your interpretations, insights and feedback.
The show will run for the next 6 weeks until 28 June. Jane Newbery gallery is at 33 Dulwich Village London SE21 7BN. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday 9:30 – 5:30, and Sundays 11:30 – 4:30. janenewbery.co.uk/gallery
Stop in if you are in the area, and please share your thoughts and comments with me!
A special thank you to Jane Hole for hosting the night and backing my work, to Helen Nias for her help in promoting the night, and to the lovely Melissa Breitling Cable for supporting me in every way, all the way down to framing paintings and taking the great photographs below.
Jane Newbery Gallery (www.janenewbery.co.uk) in South London’s Dulwich Village will host a 6 week solo exhibition of my work, from 16 May 2013. I will be attending the open house on Thursday 16 May from 6 to 8:30 pm, so if you are in London, please stop in to see the work, say hello and have a glass of wine on me. Details of how to get to the gallery are listed on the postcard below, or on the gallery website.
I aim to have at least 13 pieces ready to display by opening night, but many of the completed pieces are a now displayed in the Portfolio – Cityscape section of the site.
I’ve drawn inspiration for the work from a number of great cities around the world, including London, Liverpool, New York and Paris, but in general, I’ve kept close to the streets and neighbourhoods near to where I live and work. I’ve focused on scenes that anyone might see while walking around a city, looking, and taking notice of something that seems special or beautiful, yet understated and unremarkable in terms of its normality. I am increasingly becoming drawn to the more ignored areas, or places in a state of deterioration, and starting to develop a way of representing wear, age and neglect in paint that gives a feel of dirty realism, but avoids straight photographic representation. This is the idea I had in mind with Brixton Clocktower, W1 Alley and others still in progress.
Thank you to my good friend, the talented Jonathan Price, for all of his help in putting together promotional materials for the exhibition.
Limited edition prints are now available, produced from 3 of my original tattoo designs. Each one is are printed on heavy weight archival paper, signed and numbered from an edition of 10 per image.
Each print is £50 (approx. $77) plus postage costs. Prints are rolled and packed in cardboard tubing, shipping to anywhere in the world.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase one.
2012 was an eventful and busy year, and somehow, updating my news blog just got away from me. I added some new images to the portfolio section of the site, all illustration and design, but without proper explanation of what they are and why I made them. So before I get on to what’s coming up in 2013 in my next posts, I thought I’d catch up by putting 2012 properly behind me.
I started 2012 with a new series of night cityscapes that I’ve been wanting to get me teeth into for a long time now, which will involve painting layered images and reflections. I want to develop a new complexity to these images that will at first confuse the eye, but become readable to the viewer the longer they look. It’s more than just a cheap ploy to get people to stand in front of the work longer, but I do like the idea of getting something more from an image the more you come back to it. I don’t want the viewer to digest an image and move on after just a few minutes.
After finishing the first of these images, Deptford Lights, I put the series on hold to do some commissioned illustration work for the cover of Rebecca Sams’s e-book Love London Hate London (available through amazon.com), and sample illustrations for a great new children’s book about battling cancer while raising young children called The Daddy Haircut, which happens to be written by my sister, Nicole Scoubes. This project is currently being submitted to publishers and is on my agenda to continue in Summer 2013.
During this time, I also slipped in a couple quick design jobs. The first was a tattoo design for a friend based on the cover of one of his favourite albums, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, in which I incorporated references to other classic soul and R&B bands such as Earth Wind and Fire, Heat Wave and Evelyn King, as well as a massive black panther in homage to the Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel video. The other was a series of t-shirt designs for the annual Copa Lagos Beach Soccer event.
In late summer, I agreed a 6 week slot for a solo exhibition in South London’s Dulwich Village, at Jane Newbery Gallery (www.janenewbery.co.uk), to open May 16th 2013. I immediately began work on pieces for the exhibition, which depart slightly from the comlex nightscape series I started the year with, in that they widen the focus of style and subject to include a greater variety, but still revolve around the central theme of urban landscape, and generally retain the somewhat sombe atmosphere that I like to project through my work. I’ve tried to narrow in on scenes that anyone might see while walking around a city, looking, and taking notice of something that seems special or beautiful, yet understated and unremarkable in terms of its normality. Paintings for this exhibition are still being produced. As I write this, I have around 10 complete pieces and a few more in progress, ranging in size from 30.5 x 30.5 cm (12 x 12 in) to 120 x 150 cm (47 x 59 in). I aim to have at least 13 ready to display by opening day.
Other plans that are on the works include an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Project tentatively called The Deep South – Images and Performances exploring the heritage of Deptford, Southeast London. If the grant is approved, work on the project will begin in late summer 2013, and will involve a collaboration between myself and 2 of the leading Performing Arts teachers/examiners in the UK to bring together visual and performance elements. The idea is to engage students in schools local to Deptford in the history and culture of the area through exploring the great visual characteristics in the immediate surroundings, and the rich historical stories that have made it what it is today through performance. For my part, I will initially be producing a large canvas (approx. 2.4 x 3.7 meters – 8 x 12 ft) portraying a historical view of part of Deptford with some of the local art students. Through this, I will teach them about visual research, photography, preparing to work large scale, materials, and expressing themselves visually to a deadline and a specific brief, and hopefully give them a practical idea of the reality of a career in the arts. The performance element will be done using the finished painting as a backdrop, and will tell the story portrayed in the image. The final performance will be held in Lewisham Library, who are also acting as our historical partner for the project. Based on the success of the initial piece, we will pursue a second grant to scale up the event, using the same concept, but done with multiple images and performances, and involving more students.
In August, I took a short trip to the States to visit family, and make a stop in New York City for the first time. I was inspired by the overwhelming visual complexity of the city by both day and night, and photographs I took while there have been the basis of one painting for the Jane Newbery Show called Hell’s Kitchen, but will also inform a number of others that I will paint for the series I initially put aside, full of reflections and overlapping images.
…And finally, I’ve been hosting a tumblr page for the past year called Exquisicity: The Exquisite City, where I upload artwork, photos and found images that either I have created, or just come across, but all of which inspire me in some way, loosely based on the same core theme that I address in my paintings, the exquisite city! Please follow me on twitter for more up to date information and general art/music chat.
As always, thank you for checking in, and please leave your feedback, or contact me directly if you have anything you want to share.
This painting was commissioned by Liberty & Co. of London to promote their ‘National Treasures’ campaign, which launches this week. The image will run on Wednesday October 19th in Stylist magazine, and then again on Sunday October 23rd in the Telegraph’s ‘Stella’ magazine and The Sunday Times’ ‘Style’ magazine.
The piece is currently featuring on the Liberty homepage at www.liberty.co.uk and a short video promo showing the work in progress has been put together for Liberty’s youtube channel.
The painting itself will hang in the store throughout the promotion from Tuesday October 25th, so if you’re in London, please stop into Liberty to see the painting, along with all the amazing limited edition products designed by the celebrities featured in the campaign.
The painting was completed over about three and a half weeks, and a total of 250 hours of painting time. Needless to say, some nights were spent on a mattress in the studio, and a few with no sleep at all.
From the initial composition and lineup of celebrities to the final outcome, the painting went through some major changes, but the print ad required even further alteration, so if you look closely, you will see that some of the celebs have moved around, or walked off altogether.
This week, I also removed a few of the original lineup from the painting and painted in Sir Peter Blake in preparation for delivery of the final painting to Liberty.
As you may have noticed, my website has been overhauled (and hopefully improved). This will allow me the ability to add new types of content through my blog, display more information about each piece, and hopefully make the experience more enjoyable for you. It is also easier for you to get in touch, so please leave me your comments and feedback below, or e-mail me through my contact page.
Many thanks to web developer Dominic Tobias (www.dreaminpixels.net ) for all his hard work on the new site.
I also need to acknowledge my multi-talented friend Rob Hale, creator of Melty Way grilled cheese (www.facebook.com/meltyway) for his continued support and expertise since he developed my original site in 2004.