The secret gallery’s blog

Maybe the first secret gallery in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

Archive for May 2009

No Formula continued

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“No Formula”, oil on canvas, Marianne Potterton 2009

I finished this painting last night. It was really fun building up some glazes over the first coat of paint. I hope it has not lost any of its strength because of it, it certainly feels allot nicer up close. I really love paint! I really liked using text in a very painterly way, this is a bit different to any work that I have made before; it is more spontaneous and bold!

Written by Marianne Slevin

30 May, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Oil on canvas

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No Formula

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“Angel” Work in progress, oil on canvas Marianne  Potterton 2009

These are the two paintings that I am working on at the moment in thee studio. The one above I think is finished or very nearly, but you never know, I might do something more to it. I had an urge to put it up in the Secret Gallery yesterday, but I think I will wait till it dries!

DSCF2879 Work in progress, “No Formula”, oil on canvas Marianne Potterton 2009

Thank goodness for spell check! I must go and spell it right in the painting now! This is a bit bolder than my usual paintings, I think. It is a sort of attempt to paint in the moment, a sort of meditation, as Alan Watts once said about meditation “Digging the present, grooving with the eternal now!”

Much art seems to be latching on to the past, artists repeating what they know they are good at, but they are not in it any longer. When I go to an exhibition and all of the work looks the same I wonder has the artist just found a formula ? Of course there are exceptions to this, where the art can look very similar but the artist was still open and aware while making it. Such as Mark Rothko, I just could not do it though; do the same sort of thing for years. I even find it hard to finish a painting without wanting to paint it differently the next time I go back to it ! This unknown territory can feel a bit uncomfortable because we have never been there before, it can be a bit hit and miss, but what can come out of these adventures have more life in them than art we make on the journeys that we have repeated with only slight deviations!

Written by Marianne Slevin

27 May, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Every Child is an Artist

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“It looks prettier with blue in it”    Oil paint and natural pigment on a paper bag  by our Daughter aged nearly 4

Every child is an artist, children can also see art more than adults, often. I recon that if art was” taught” in a more encouraging way in schools and by parents, and adults nurtured children’s creativity that the next generation would be a lot more confident about making art and looking at other people’s art.

Written by Marianne Slevin

14 May, 2009 at 9:27 am

Posted in I would say...

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Some Words on Drawing Crash Course Part One

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Draw on

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine that you are really good at drawing! Now sharpen your pencils( HB,2B,3B,4B,5B,6B)! Make sure your rubber is clean and you have some paper taped down so it does not move about while you are trying to draw on it! If you are drawing from life it is much easier to draw if the paper is on a tilted board, easel or wall rather than flat on a table. If you are working on a wall it feels nicer if you put a couple of layers of paper on top of each other, unless you are going for the look you get when you draw over a hard or slightly rough surface.

Draw outwardly

Hands are one of the hardest things to draw, I think, so why not practice by drawing your other hand. Years ago Kathy Prendergast did an amazing hand drawing that was like a map, it was huge, and blue. I love the way our hands look like maps. Feet can be good to draw too. When I was in collage in Crawford in Cork I did a series of drawings of my face drawing by touch.  Some of them I built up layers of card, paper, material and netting they all had a map like quality and felt like landscapes almost. So no excuses we always have something we can draw! We are surrounded by things we can draw. After a while you may find it boring just to draw for the sake of drawing and need to draw  whatever you are really interested in, confused by, obsessed by! It could be folds of material or it could be space travel ! It might be very illusive but every so often you get a glimpse of it’s tail and it leads you somewhere interesting and you want to keep following it!

Draw inwardly

It can also be really interesting to start to draw but not allow ourselves to draw anything recognisable, just to kind of doodle and keep going with it to see how it develops. Make marks and experiment with what you can do, and have fun!( I remember we all did this for weeks maybe months in college, and our own personal work developed out of it; over time our real interests were revealed.) Draw with your eyes closed, draw with the hand you don’t usually draw with, draw really quickly, draw really slowly, see how inventive you can be. Tune into how you feel and see how your line and instinctive marks change as your moods do. I like to draw as if the pencil or whatever I am drawing or painting with is an extension of me. Bold as I am bold, subtle as I am subtle. Sometimes I let the pencil lead the way as if it has a complete mind of it’s own; I guess this is when my subconscious mind taking over!

A word of advice, don’t throw away anything. It is great to look back over drawings, they often look different after a little hibernation! Not everything is meant to be a ‘finished’ piece some pieces are just stepping stones, but just as worth while as the ‘finished’ ones. One day they might look even better! Soon I will be giving some free drawing and art classes at the Secret Gallery. So if you are in the Doolin area you are welcome to join the Art Classes.

Written by Marianne Slevin

11 May, 2009 at 12:40 am

Posted in Thoughts on art

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Nobody Cares About Art!

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“Tree Horse”, oil on canvas  2009 Marianne Potterton

I finished this painting today. It was so good to be painting again. I kind of switched my brain off and let my hands do the thinking. Sometimes it is nice to let a painting sit for a while and not rush into finishing it too quickly. Then just trust in your own ability to finish it.

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As you can see from the sign above and the title of this post, I am feeling a bit disheartened about peoples lack of interest in art. If you are reading this you are an exception ! Thank you! 

Written by Marianne Slevin

9 May, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Oil on canvas

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Great Value and a perfect Day!- Part one

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My Family Cooking mussels on the beach at Fanore

Mine might start in a tent. We have a slight addiction to buying tents, the best value one was £12 from Argos in London.  I would wake up in a beautiful place on some common land beside the sea. I’d brew some coffee in a Mocha pot and enjoy it far more then when I wake up in the comfort of my own home, and having coffee. Ever since walking the Caminos (we walked the Camino de Santiago three times in total with James), morning coffees while camping have been a lovely ritual. Though Jasmine tea, hot chocolate or whatever you love to drink in the morning is a great start to the day. Next I would go for a swim or walk or do a little bit of yoga, Reiki or meditation, it is amazing they are all free! Remember to breathe and drink some  natural spring water.

For breakfast for best value for me it has to be porridge or if you catch your  your own mackerel that is even better, fried in a dusting of flour on the camping gas, or on an open fire make with driftwood. With some flour a pinch of salt and some water, mix into a dough for flat breads to accompany the mackerel. You could go out on the rocks when the tide is out and pick some mussels for lunch too! 

The postal service is one of the best value things these is, in my opinion. Emails are great but here is nothing like getting real physical letter. I would spend the rest of the morning writing a couple of letters. Another thing that is  great value, well in fact it is free is to video call on Skype to other people who use Skype. I would love to have a distant gathering of friends who cant get to see each other often enough. Or reading a library book book for hours would be good too, libraries are brilliant!

Do some land art on the beach and the rocks. Find out how to make a Camera Obscura out of a shoe box so you can take photographs without buying a camera. They have a very different quality to a normal photograph, I think they look amazing. Remember to bring a shoe box or two with you. I have not made one for years so I am a bit rusty.

Another possibility is to go kayaking, either in the sea or on a river, or like we did along the canal. Maybe go for a walk and look for a veggie garden and offer to buy some or do some barter, such as  I will let you borrow our kayak for a couple of hours in return for a dinners worth of fresh vegetables! Or give an art class on the beach to them or their children, tell a story, sing a song or help them in some way. You could also travel with some of your wares such as hand make jewellery, poetry, mounted photographs, or whatever you make so that you can offer something that is often worth more then money.

There will be free art classes happening soon in the Secret Gallery, all welcome!

Written by Marianne Slevin

6 May, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Grass Hearts, a little journey

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Cut grass, aluminium printing plates and tent pegs on the way into the Secret Gallery. These are my alternatives to news papers! My friend found these sheets of aluminium beside a skip, I think they are used for printing news papers. I have used some of them for dry points and a few of these even have marks scraped into them ready for printing. Our children helped gather the grass for me. I wonder will they turn into hay hearts! I enjoyed doing some land art/ interventions again and hope to do more, maybe along The Burren Way and the coast of Clare.DSCF2848

Have a Heartfelt journey where ever it my take you! And remember I am having an exhibition in the Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon, Co. Clare with two other artists on 14th August at 8pm, I hope you can make it!

Written by Marianne Slevin

3 May, 2009 at 12:57 pm