This is the paradox that lies at the heart of the mystery of artistic creation. The meaning which a work of art has for society is not the same meaning that the artist was conscious of putting into it. This is because a work of art is not just a telephone exchange which facilitates straightforward communication. The work of art is in some profound sense an independent, live entity. It has its own life. It draws nourishment from its creator that he was totally unaware of having put into it: and it redistributes nourishment to the spectator (including the artist himself, for he is merely a spectator once the work is completed). What the work itself communicates is a transformation of all that the artist was conscious of investing in it. Its success or failure, as a transmitter of thought or emotion, simply cannot be planned and guaranteed beforehand. This is why I say that to demand a certain result from art in advance is utterly to misconceive the central creative process itself. It is to suppress spontaneity: to batten down on the subconscious.Patrick Heron, Art is Autonomous
First published in The Twentieth Century, September 1955.
Reprinted in Painter as Critic, Patrick Heron: Selected Writings
Editor: Mel Gooding, Tate Gallery Publishing, 1998
I’ve made a minor change on the Shop page. You can now browse everything in the shop by clicking on either ‘Medium’ or Collection. If you do, you will find several sub-categories. ‘Art under £50’, is self-explanatory. The new link, Current Work, only shows my most recent work, representative of my current practice.
Everything seems to be working correctly, but if you find any problems, please let me know, either in a comment below or by email.
Stay tuned for an announcement soon for special offers, only available to subscribers to my Mailing List.
I’ve been making some changes to the shop behind the scenes, tidying up the shipping side of things. I’ve extended the range of places I will ship to, and I hope this time set the shipping costs up correctly. With luck, you won’t notice, but if you do find any errors or inconsistencies, please let me know.
Off-line, I’m also building a proper database of completed images and where they are placed. This should help me keep a better eye on things and make sure my prices are consistent. I’ve started by exporting the contents of the shop to LibreOffice. In the process, I have learned a few new tips and tricks with LibreOffice Calc (the Excel equivalent) so that’s an extra…
I’ve just made a set of digital images built around stripes. Working digitally is my fallback position when I’m prevented from doing anything else, whether by time, health or anything else. I had no great expectations for these. I picked on stripes for the same reason I first picked on the cross, and recently the fuji-like peak silhouette. They were a recognisable starting point.
When I posted them to my Instagram account, I made reference to Sean Scully and Johnnie Cooper, in particular the latter’s ‘Fractured Light: Johnnie Cooper, Collages 1992–1997‘. There are of course many other artists who use the stripe in their work. See here, from the Tate, for example, or here, from a US site.
I’ve been adding some of my recent digital images to the shop. I’m not sure if these will make it though. The outcome was interesting, although not quite what I’d been expecting. That’s not a problem, of course. I like these on screen, but I think they might need some physical texture to really come alive.
They started life as gel prints, which I cut up to make collage. You can see those here. To make the digital images, I used the scans of the collage made for the shop listings. I brought these back into Paint Shop Pro and then edited and recombined them in various ways.
I’m not sure of the next steps if I don’t offer them digitally. One option is going back to collage. The tissue I use to remove excess paint from the gel plate before printing would work well over solid blocks of colour, whether painted or collaged. It’s certainly a path worth exploring.
It also occurs to me that scans of the tissue could also be used in digital prints, taking the cycle round again.
The improvements to the shop structure have now been completed. You now have several alternative options for browsing. You can choose between either the art medium used, or the subject. In addition, you can also browse through images priced below £50.
There is still some tidying up to do, but the shop seems to be functioning as it should. In particular, I am still editing, or in some cases writing, the descriptive text for each of the categories, This should also improve my presence in searches. There is some editing of product descriptions also needed, partly for style but also to clean up typos. The price structure for digital products needs reviewing, if only for consistency. Some of the prices may need adjusting to allow for the significant increases in materials costs. Finally, I need to rationalise the options available to get consistency across the board.
In a minor change, featured images in posts will from now on be clickable. Clicking will take you to the relevant product if it is in the shop or to another relevant URL.
I’m also going to be making some changes on my personal blog site, to improve links to the shop.
The next step, here, will be adding more products. I have lots of new work still not even scanned, so keep checking back. You can always sign up to my mailing list to be kept updated.
In January, I hope to begin restructuring the shop. It’s frankly a bit of a mess at the moment and not very logically organised, which I don’t like. I’m physically messy, I know, but mentally I tend the other way, obsessing about clarity of expression and language. That’s what makes me enjoy writing and editing, I suppose.
I have tried to avoid major restructuring up to now, but the site is now configured to automatically set up redirects, where a URL changes. This should prevent any bookmarked links from breaking. I’ll give further warnings before I make the changes.
One big change will be to do away entirely with the printmaking category. I am primarily a printmaker, after all, so finding prints shouldn’t come as a surprise. That means that the categories like Collagraph, Drypoint etc will become the first level when you open the shop.
I would also like to offer a search by image subject, landscape, townscape etc. I’m still thinking about the subjects people might find useful, and also about the changes to structures behind the scenes, that I’ll need to make. More on this later.
Comments on this aspect, or on site navigation in general, would be very welcome.
In order to help spread the word on the site in general and the work n the shop in particular, I’m going to start offering newsletter subscribers a discount voucher each year. I’m still setting that up, but don’t let that stop you signing up below or go here.
Watch this space for more news soon.
I’ve just extensively revised and updated this post, dealing with the issue of Reproduction and Original prints, and why the distinction is important, especially for printmakers.
I’ve started adding some new digital prints to the shop. I’ve always worked this way, it is where I started as a printmaker. Because I’ve been doing this for a while (more than 20 years), I’ve written several previous posts on this aspect of my work, but this one is probably the best place to start if you want more detail.
Originally, I priced these at a similar level to my work in other print media. On reflection, though, I have decided to try a different approach. I have always tried to have work available at a wide range of price points, and decided to use these new prints to support that strategy. Apart from images made by photomanipulation, I have withdrawn all the digital work I had in the shop, I’m now in the process of adding them back, but at a much lower price (£40 reduced from £80) and with a slightly larger edition size (70 instead of 50).
No one has been affected by this change. None of the work I had in the shop had been sold, so no one has been adversely affected by this change.
These are still originals. There is no pre-existing image in another medium. I created them digitally and they had no physical existence until I printed them. See here for a definition of digital printmaking from the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. You can read my own take on it here.
Edited for style and to include extra links 31/12/21
I haven’t been able to get into my studio for a week or so. The time hasn’t been entirely wasted. I have a couple of monotype prints in an open show at Pound Arts in Corsham. A couple of submissions for other shows were unfortunately not successful. That’s not unusual. The selection process for shows always seems a bit of a lottery.
I’ve also been making some digital work. These won’t stay entirely digital, but will probably end up as RISO prints. Silkscreen or cyanotype are also a possibility. They will be the subject of a separate post, since the techniques I used may be of interest.
Check this link for other posts on digital printmaking.
Mixtape No. 2 is the second of these online shows I have been in. As before, it has an eclectic mix of artists and styles. Please head over there and look at the work on offer. There are links to follow if you want to look at an artist in more depth.
One of the things taking part in these two shows (Mixtape No.1 is still up, so if you haven’t seen it, do check it out) has done is made me look afresh at my own work and wonder if perhaps it’s just a wee bit too tidy. I don’t know for sure yet, but it’s made me think, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?