Day 1

The exhibition "Our flying shapes the sky" opened yesterday and will close this evening. Its primary purpose was to say thank you to Cinepoetics at the Freie Universität Berlin for my fellowship and artist residency. It was a lovely afternoon - I'll miss the people there so much. And the ideas.  

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display of work from our Studio Interludes

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New paintings on canvas  

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Adding colour to the conference room

The Cinderella painting

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When all the paintings for today's exhibition were packed into the car, I walked through the apartment. It's beginning to look vast and empty like it did when I arrived eighteen months ago. There was one painting left, leaning against the wall of the study. It had come from UK to be finished and then I decided, after discussing with an artist friend, that it was indeed finished. 

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The painting seemed to ask why it had been left while the others went to have fun at the ball/exhibition. 

"You will go to the ball!" 

So the Cinderella painting went too. It's at the end of the corridor, inviting guests to come inside and explore. 

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 I don't mind  (detail) acrylic on canvas 100 x 150 cm. Lynne Cameron 

Moving the work

So all the new paintings are varnished. One of them needed some last minute attention this morning. Then they were all packed up ready for moving. Corners protected.

My lovely assistants arrived to help pack the paintings into the car. Later we will unwrap and start to hang the work in the corridors and conference room of Cinepoetics.

Here's a glimpse of one of the new paintings I'll be showing for the first time:

Speech flower fragment (detail) acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm. Lynne Cameron, 2017

Speech flower fragment (detail) acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm. Lynne Cameron, 2017

A big week

Getting ready for the exhibition at the end of this week. It's shaping up nicely, with new paintings on large canvases and paper. And exploratory work with film stills and collage.  And today, a brand new song arrived from a talented colleague - more later about how we're using it.  

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Detail from Speech Flowers, acrylic on canvas. 

It's somehow reassuring that, as the residency comes to a close,  I'm seeing so many new possibilities for future artworks. 

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From the series Notes in the Dark, viewing the film 'Carol' 

We open on Thursday at 13.00 in the Freie Universität Berlin. Details on the Exhibitions page of this website.  

Marking the end of the residency

I'm in Berlin until the end of September but as the end of the academic year approaches, I am planning an exhibition to thank my colleagues here at the Free University and to share with them the kinds of work I've been doing.

Paintings on paper and canvas; sketchbook pages made while watching films, and a new book to launch (more soon)...

If you're in Berlin, you are most welcome to join us

Transgressing

The idea of the transgressive came up in one of our university colloquia. The next day in a Studio Interlude, we were making greens. Someone asked, "How do I know how much yellow I need with the blue to make this green?"

Answer: Keep adding yellow until you pass the green you want. Then go back by adding a little more blue.

"Ah"! said several people, "transgressing!" 

... theoretical concepts experienced with paint ...

Watching the flowers die.  acrylic on paper, 43 x 60 cm, Lynne Cameron 2015.

Watching the flowers die.  acrylic on paper, 43 x 60 cm, Lynne Cameron 2015.

On making a mess

One really big plus of acrylic paint for me is that I can wash off mistakes if I catch them quickly enough. And if not, I can paint on top. I have come to accept that I am someone who makes a mess. Until a few years ago, I disliked this aspect of myself and tried hard either to 'get it right' or spent so long thinking about alternatives that I'd wear myself, and others, out.

detail from work in progress, acrylic on canvas.  Lynne Cameron

detail from work in progress, acrylic on canvas.  Lynne Cameron

Then I realised that making a mess is not a problem; it is human. And that what matters is how I sort the mess I make. Often it is in sorting out and clearing up the mess that something good happens.

So this painting sat around for months, claiming to be a landscape, but not doing it well enough:

It was a mess. Then it was turned on its side, mostly covered with a layer of stone-coloured paint and became something quite different.

work in progress, 1 May 2017. Lynne Cameron.

work in progress, 1 May 2017. Lynne Cameron.

It's still not finished - there's a mess to be sorted at the bottom right and I have a feeling that one of those 'blooms' may need to hide behind a veil of some sort. But it is on its way. And it needed the mess to happen first.

Strength and the woman artist

My indoor day was productive in prompting some research on painting and ordering this book

I had so wanted to get to this exhibition in Denver last summer but didn't manage it. Along with the wonderful images, the catalogue includes several essays which illuminate the historical and social background to the painting movement that came to be called Abstract Expressionism. And if I sometimes think it is hard being a woman in the art world, these women's stories made me grateful for how it is now. And more determined than ever to be strong in the service of my work.

Being strong for me includes:

  • going to the studio and engaging in the work most days
  • holding my work to high standards and to my core values
  • taking care of the work: framing it well, protecting surfaces etc
  • thinking about the finished pieces and the process so that I can talk and write about them
  • speaking out on behalf of the work, in galleries, competitions and here.

Here is one of my recent pieces, painted with the strength of the wild west wind blowing around the studio:

Under the west wind. acrylic and pencil on watercolour paper. 59 x 84 cm. Lynne Cameron , 2017.

Under the west wind. acrylic and pencil on watercolour paper. 59 x 84 cm. Lynne Cameron , 2017.

I'd be proud to call it an abstract expressionist painting, with gratitude for those strong women artists.

Explorations on crumpled paper

Setting up my new studio/house involved unpacking most of my possessions as they came out of store. I piled up the empty boxes and pushed the discarded wrapping paper into bin bags to dispose of.

Once the table was set up for painting, I started hunting around to see what paper and canvases had come out of store. Ping! a connection made, an affordance noticed.

I started to explore what the thin crumpled paper could offer as a painting surface.

I first laid some large brushstrokes across the paper before unfolding it - this layer thus carries a memory of my plates or glasses that it once held safely for 6 months.

The paper was opened out and the next layer of paint used the creased surface to respond to the new scenery outside my windows, through choice of colour and gestures with the brush - lots of dabbing in the spaces between creases.

More layers: more contrasts and combinings - of wet and dry paint, short and long strokes, lines and masses.

More layers, and the final piece mounted on heavy paper. I love the way the creases and crumples remain, as themselves or as echoes in the painted surface. And how they randomly connect my reunion with loved pieces of crockery with my first impressions of Bute.

Explorations on crumpled paper. Acrylic on paper, Lynne Cameron, 2017

Explorations on crumpled paper. Acrylic on paper, Lynne Cameron, 2017

More Explorations are posted on my Instagram feed - search 'Lynne Cameron' to find them.

Instructions from an earlier self

I am taking some weeks to get to know the Isle of Bute, which lies off the west coast of Scotland.

I have found a light-filled and warm house here, and have brought my furniture out of store. When I opened a drawer, I was greeted by this helpful suggestion, under the heading:

"How to start a project on arriving in a new place"

I don't remember writing this but it seems like good advice, so am following these instructions from an earlier self.

My attention has been drawn by the huge skies and by the clumps of tiny snowdrops on banks and at the edge of woods. And I am experimenting with painting on the crumpled paper that the removers used to wrap my glassware.

tilde

~        this is the tilde         ~

I am using it in describing my artworks that bring together paintings and poems in a kind of dialogue. I'm experimenting with various formats and placings to best support that dialogue.

There's a lovely account of the origin of the tilde as a 'mark of suspension' in Wikipedia:

The tilde (/ˈtɪldə/;[1] ˜ or ~)[2] is a grapheme with several uses. The name of the character came into English from Spanish, which in turn came from the Latin titulus, meaning "title" or "superscription."

The reason for the name was that it was originally written over a letter as a scribal abbreviation, as a "mark of suspension", shown as a straight line when used with capitals. Thus the commonly used words Anno Domini were frequently abbreviated to Ao Dñi, an elevated terminal with a suspension mark placed over the "n". Such a mark could denote the omission of one letter or several letters. This saved on the expense of the scribe's labour and the cost of vellum and ink. Medieval European charters written in Latin are largely made up of such abbreviated words with suspension marks and other abbreviations; only uncommon words were given in full.

In my academic work, I used the tilde in describing the parts of metaphors brought together:  Juliet ~ the sun

The poems emerged with the paintings and it feels right to to put them back together.

There's a growing pile of these 'tilde artworks' that I'm putting together into a collection. More news soon! and any suggestions for publishing are welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief reconnecting

Last weekend I made a short trip back to the UK. I needed to re-connect. I enjoyed wonderful conversations with friends and family, and it was a treat to go back to the Royal Opera House to experience the incredible dancing and beautiful music of the ballet 'Woolf Works'.

Several years back, I spent time drawing and painting ballet dancers - those stretched muscles and finely-honed bodies are demanding to draw, and the costumes are fascinating objects in their own right.

The most fun and most difficult was drawing live, as the dancers moved to music.

Although difficult to do, these drawings capture something of the truth of dance and its energy. The energy of dance, and of excited talk about art and poetry, is an essential aspect of life that Ineed to connect with on a regular basis.

The end of the exhibition

We organised a Finissage event on the final weekend of my exhibition at Berlin's Under the Mango Tree gallery..

A colleague of mine from Cinepoetics, Eileen Rositzka, played and sang her 'soul songs', and I talked about the different sets of work, how they originated, and what can be seen in the paintings.

Paintings were looked at, which always pleases this artist's heart. And paintings were sold, which pleases the accountant.

Soul song on three notesacrylic on paper, Lynne Cameron, 2016. SOLD