It’s been far too long since I last updated you with news, and to be honest, it’s because there’s been so much happening that time just got away from me. Anyway, let me fill you in.
I suppose the most significant news is that since October 2015, I have been doing nearly all of my work on camera in front of a live internet audience on Twitch.tv under the screen name Mr_NightSky. Creative streaming is advancing quickly and there are a growing number of amazing artists sharing their creative processes from beginning to end through live streaming services. It’s rewarding to be able to see artworks in progress, watch different techniques being applied in real-time, and to be able to interact with the artists via chat while watching to ask questions and get instant responses. In some ways it’s like a fun interactive classroom environment (with great music and the occasional off-topic conversation). If only technology of this kind had existed centuries ago and we could learn from archived videos of the great masters at work, what an amazing learning tool it would be! Imaging having access to hours and hours of John-Singer Sargent discussing his technique or listening Francis Bacon try to explain his imagery as he paints. Documenting the creative process has always been important, and this is becoming more thorough and easy to integrate than ever through live streaming, so I’m excited to be on the front lines. It’s also a rewarding and motivating experience to get feedback from a dedicated audience. Thank you to anyone who has been there supporting the stream and interacting with me!
You can watch me on www.twitch.tv/mr_nightsky (create your own free account to get notifications each time I go live) and if you want to see some of my past streams, you can see them on my YouTube page www.youtube.com/user/joelcable.
Through live streaming and accessing a wider audience, I’ve had a growing number of requests for prints of my work. So, working with a local printer in Holborn, London, I am now able to offer high quality custom prints of any works on my website for a reasonable price. They are printed on professional quality heavy-weight 300gsm paper and the colours come out beautifully. They can be printed in any size to meet individual space requirements, and I can ship anywhere in the world. Each print will be hand signed.
If you have seen a piece on my website that you would like to own, you can now order prints (or the original where available) directly by messaging me through my contact page. Include details of the approximate size you would like and I’ll get back to you with prices.
I’ve had a range of my most requested pieces pre-printed in smaller sizes, approximately 11 x 17 in. (28 x 46 cm) or smaller, available for £30 + shipping each from my new Big Cartel online store at www.joelcable.bigcartel.com, or by messaging me through my contact page.
A range of signed fine art prints for sale
My Big Cartel store (also accessible by clicking ‘Shop’ in the menu to the left) also lists some of my recent and past original works which are available for purchase. One new piece listed for purchase is 275 St Leonards, the second in a series of oil paintings of darkened suburban doorways (the first was A Dark Walk), a theme that I plan to continue revisiting in the future.
275 St Leonards
Beyond this, I’ve complete a number of new paintings, and have many more on the to-do list, both commissioned and non-commissioned. I’m currently working on the second-largest painting I’ve ever undertaken, a commission depicting flats in Kensington, London. You can tune into my channel on Twitch anytime I’m painting and watch me work on it live on www.twitch.tv/mr_nightsky.
Here are a few pieces completed over the past months. I’ll update you again when anything of note comes up. Until then, thank you for reading and stopping by the site. Cheers!
Camberwell Snooker Club
Hope Springs Eternal
Night in the English Wood
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.
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.
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.