Author: commaandco

Poet and blogger at encouraging personal creativity and linking arts and life

bottle, water, painting, Sarah Bush

Painting as thinking: Sarah Bush

“I have an idea, then the work helps me finish the thought” – Sarah Bush

Sarah Bush works quietly in her studio, which is also a quiet palette of light neutrals – her colourful clothes jump out as she moves in her environment.  Many of her paintings are also quiet: almost monochrome.

There is depth in her work – she uses layers to represent time and memory and space.  As a mixed media artist, she literally puts in delicate slices of nature into some of her work.  Text is also important, too.

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Sarah Bush at work in her studio

As always, my curator’s eye was caught by a visual throwaway, briefly featured – the bottle and water.  It was one of many still photos of her works, and then was in the background in her studio.  I love it so much, I made it the feature picture for this article, so you can’t miss seeing it.


Creative Takeaway

What are you thinking about today?

Try taking it into your artwork (of whatever medium) and see if that process develops the thought.


How to make a photography exhibition

Paul Duke documented the decline of the fishing industry in the Moray Firth, with a series of life-size photos.  He tells the story of how he took those and made them into a whole exhibition.

Paul’s Black and White photos are stunning, and have been put into a book by the same title as the exhibition: “At Sea.”

This is photography as documentary of a community, which will become a record of a traditional industry, as it fades.

At the same time, it is a study in portraiture – for Paul, it was very important that the size of the finished photographs be life-size, as though the people depicted were there, in person.

And finally, it is a collaboration between the photographer, the framer and the maker of the text for appearing beside the photographs.

“That’s what a de Koonig painting sounds like: liquid, fluid, runny”

If watching paint dry sounds boring – try listening to it.  The Museum of Modern Art has developed a whole series of “How to paint like…..” famous painters whose works they have.  This video is how to paint like Willem de Koonig, presented by Corey D’Augustine.

The comment about the sound came from the mixing of the yellow paint with medium – it sounded a bit like cream does when whipped.  I don’t even paint with oils, but the mixing of the materials has me intrigued.

Still interested?  Here’s the followup video:

Creative Takeaway

Already painting with oils paints but feeling a bit stuck?

The series of “Paint Like….” invites you to go through the process of another artist, with the knowledgeable curator.  Then you can take what you like into your own process, and ignore the rest.


Portable Sketching Kit

Sketching daily is a great art discipline and finding 20 minutes to sketch is fairly do-able even in the most hectic of schedules.  Grab yourself a few basic tools (set out by tutor Nina Weiss) and you’re good to go…

  1. A box of coloured pencils
  2. a small sketchbook (her hands give an indication of its scale)
  3. 20 minutes

Nina finds it’s important to have these basic tools to hand at any moment when inspiration strikes.

Soon, this blog will feature her on a much longer drawing assignment, working from a photograph she took while travelling.


Portable Takeaway

What drawing/sketching/writing tools do you currently have?

Pool them together – you might be surprised.

Now pack them in such a way that you can have them with you, easy to get hold of, for as much of each day as possible.

start small – Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter works across a wide variety of textures and formats: painting over photographs, painting from photographs but blurring, mirrors, versions of a major Titian painting…… where do you even begin?

On what basis do you choose your format?
I choose depending on the way I feel; randomly, in other words. When I haven’t done anything for a long time, I always start small, on paper.

Interview with Anna Tilroe, 1987 SOURCE
If you would like to see where Gerhard Richter went from his small beginnings with new themes and styles – see a 7 minute video of a gigantic exhibition of his works through his life, put together by the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist – equally as famous in his own line of work as the artist.
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Because Hans Ulrich Obrist is such an amazing curator, working together with the living artist, Richter – they have made an exhibition which is the best of both their work – the gathering together of series (currently broken apart, sold and living in separate parts of the world) – and Richter requesting that there be an added unexpected counterpoint on one part-wall, sometimes making a new piece specifically for that.  So you have the best of the old together with an added spice of something new.

There are even mirrors at the beginning and end of the exhibition – so that, as Obrist comments, the viewer becomes part of the exhibition.

Interestingly, as we see how Richter takes a classic painting, paints it blurred and draws interest from painting blurred photographs…. as I paused the video, I noticed that the curator himself becomes blurred in a mysterious way – see his hands in movement.