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 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.
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.