Monday, 28 July 2014

Hearing Loss And The Artist

This post is a wee reminder to folks that I am a wee bit deaf. By which I mean, of course, profoundly deaf in my right ear and moderately deaf in the left.

Most of the time as an oil painter this is not a problem, indeed can count as a blessing - I don't notice traffic noise and people in other studios being very loud doesn't bother me. When I have someone modelling for me there is little background noise and I can lip read easily so again it doesn't tend to be an issue. Also I rely on body language much more than most, which must help in portraiture.

Openings and (even worse) dinners are another matter.

To recap a little, I have mainly a conductive deafness that I have had since being a toddler. This is different from most peoples deafness - which tends to be sensorineural, comes on much later in life and mainly affects higher pitched noises.

Because I lost most of my hearing on one side when I was very young I find wearing my hearing aid difficult - I am so used to sound coming from the left that I find hearing stuff on the right disorienting. Unfortunately the sound I do get from the aid is not actually enough to understand speech - just enough to be aware that someone is speaking. It also tends to rub, leading to infections. Bah. However, at openings I do try and remember to wear it, because it does seem to be common for people to start talking to you before you can see them and without the aid I am quite likely to entirely unaware that someone is speaking to me. I'm sure I've probably lost many potential friends over the years through perceived rudeness. But if I cannot see your face directly I am unlikely to be able to hear you.

Background noise makes life more difficult as well. If we are in a crowded, noisy space and you are trying to tell me someone's name, especially an unusual one, forget it - what noises I can hear and lip read relatively easy are vowels - consonants are much harder to distinguish. This is one reason I often have a notebook with me and may ask you to write a name or word down - this is much quicker, often, so please be patient.

What else? Dinners - urgh! If you are on my right hand side, you'll notice that I virtually turn round in my seat to talk to you, as I try and get the good ear closer. But this is tiring so I may well end up just talking to the person on my left - much easier. As for those across the table, no way. Just too far away. Which means, of course, that generally at dinner parties I talk to one person all night. Great when it is my husband, but then, why be at a dinner at all?

Towards the end of the night I'll often be tired and prefer to talk to long term friends - this is easier for me as making sense out of the noises I hear is simpler and less exhausting when I am familiar with their turns of speech and body language. So please don't be offended if I don't want to party the night away - maybe next time.

If you are at all interested in reading more (and do remember my kind of hearing loss is unusual, if you know someone bit deaf, the best thing is to ask them what is best for them.) then the Action on Hearing Loss website is generally useful with lots of information on how to communicate, different types of hearing loss and so on - there is even a test to see if you need a hearing aid yourself. If you know any other good webpages, bloggers etc on the subject, please let me know.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Turn

As some of you will know by now, the date has been set for my solo show at Mansfield Park Gallery . The private view will be Sunday the 24th August and the show will be open for about three weeks after that. The gallery is now much further up Hyndland Road, being next to Peckhams and near the junction with Clarence Drive - so lots of good eateries and bars nearby and in one of the parts of Glasgow I remember from when I was very very little.

In this wee bit of Hyndland not much has changed in the thirty or so years since - new openings in the area is rare, so I am very honoured to be the first solo show the gallery is holding in the new premises - when I was there the place looked smashing so I am very confidant that the owner make my work look it's best.

One of the works will be The Turn, pictured above, which is my biggest painting so far. It should be a good size for the window so hopefully the denizens of hyndland shan't disrupt her dream of reason.

There is also a portrait of Donna, The Clown Princess, which I will show later on when I have a good photograph to show you - the above painting was photographed by the very talented Ian Marshall . All my paintings from now own will be photographed by him, unless I specifically mention I did it myself (in which case it is likely to be a wip or just a duff photograph!).

Anyway, hopefully see you there!.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Giving It Laldy - Glasgow Art Club Summer Show

The Glasgow Art Club Summer Show opens on the 29th and I'm planning on putting a couple of things in this time as I missed the spring show, being busy preparing the solo show (upcoming in August, so not long now!).

Since starting (back in February) to draw in preparation for painting I have got really quite into it, now using charcoal and chalk rather than graphite and watercolour. The new materials give me more scope for tonal changes and feel closer to my painting procedure - and I think make better drawings. The paper I seem to be settling on is mi-teintes touch - although the biggest size seems to be 50x70cm, which might not be big enough for some stuff. The colours are nice though and I have high hopes for them being lightfast. There is a bit of paper sitting on the windowsill presently as a test - we'll see be christmas!

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to see this drawing in among other more formal art works at the show and see what kind of response it gets, especially as how people present themselves is becoming one of my main themes. My model was the lovely Moira Buchanan , who does feature in quite a few of my works - it is great to have someone willing to mess about, use her imagination and push a few boundaries of how a proper young lady is meant to look.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Edinburgh Drawing School Gallery

Last week a lovely lady came to see my studio and took five paintings back to Edinburgh. She was from the EDS Gallery and it is the first time I have shown in Edinburgh.

But already they have been photographed and added to her web site where there is a wee blurb with photographs - she does seem to be a very organized lady, I'm very impressed.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

(Almost) Finished

These are the paintings for my solo show in August. The date has been set back, which is great as it means I have a bit more time to get everything as perfect as possible.

In this painting you can see the rogue's gallery of studies - a new face was added to this last week.

And this is the new couch, looked down at disapprovingly by Super Woman.

The Sleeping Clown up and on the wall - it will be exciting to see her framed, but that is still a while off - varnishing first!.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

In Progress

What have I been doing since the end of February?

A bit of painting, that's what - as seen in this youtube video.

Somewhere along the line I had the idea of trying to measure my progress (so I could figure out how long it would take) so started taking a photo at the end of the night.

Unfortunately progress is not quite so easily measured - some days nothing much at all seems to have happened - the days in which the detail is added to the face or hands, for example, whereas on others several paintings can be started or large colour changes take place.

Oh well, never mind. Overall, though, there has been a lot of progress - eight probably finished paintings (the ones near the top), four nearly done and six started but with a fair bit still to do.

Hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be able to post a finished photograph and then after that an installation view!

Friday, 28 February 2014

Day 28 - All The Work Done For 28 Drawings Later 2014

If you count you will find there are 27 drawings here - all the ones I have posted, in order. Day 12 I posted a photo of the drawings and paintings I had done by that date, and of course today I'm also posting photographs instead of a drawing. Day 23 two drawings were posted although that was not the only day that I did more than one drawing - there have been plenty of maybes and rejects along the way.

I've also been painting. Comparing this to day 12 is a little disappointing - although there are six finished, in comparison with two. But since I can't paint full time yet I've only had six painting days since then it is actually a fair bit of work - especially if you remember that two of those days were spent messing about with lovely model volunteers.