Commencing Once Again..

My new domestic//studio space

Yesterday, I was finally able to paint for the first time in .. a long time. I overcame the blocks that built my living world of the past few months: the effect of staying at my parents home, that space so vivid with lingering energy and objects. Now, moved into my new flat, I feel afresh and the possibilities of paint grow little buds. The process commences once again!

In addition to my novel living situation, my inspiration to paint seems to stem from the final completion of my most recent series, ‘Storm’s Eye’. Two days prior I was finally able to close a chapter as I saw, at last, after almost five months, my series on a gallery wall. It’s not as if I need every painting to be mounted on wall to finish, but with this series marks the end of my BA, where my chance for transformation and continuation begins.

Untitled, WIP

I began my paintings by continuing on a piece I had started months back. It was a rightful mess, my changed mind was following something different than before … I was not sure what I was following yet, all I knew was I needed to put brush to board and paint.

I painted roughly and quickly on a further two boards. Attempting to connect the three I painted on all at the same time, and will continue to do so as my mind, brush and intuition have space to breathe and to think.

I limited my palette from the get go – indian yellow, pthalocyanine blue and dioxzine purple, with of course transparent mixing white and titanium white for extra milage. I’m enjoying playing with the paint, applying it heavily, thinly, moving with the brush to create natural forms.

My plan moving forwards with these is to apply more contrast, more light and vary the colour. The purple is very strong and the composition needs improvement. But – the base is there and from this I will continue to build the painting – I am seeking to find my path once again.

Storm’s Eye at Llantarnam Grange

Exhibition // Update

Much has changed since my last blog update, again I have neglected somewhat this site, however, to reason enough!

‘Storm’s Eye‘ series at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre

In July, I applied for an exhibition titled ‘Portal’ in Llantarnam Grange and to my delight I was shortlisted. The exhibition offers Welsh graduates a platform to exhibit their art, a precious opportunity after the cancellation of my degree show.

I spent a handful of days preparing my boards for the exhibition: I limited from eight paintings down to five of the most successful, painted the edges white and prepared the boards with mirror plates for hanging.

This offered me a small insight into how I possibly could have prepared my works months before for my degree show. It felt great to finally complete my paintings – ready for exhibiting.

In between that I have been working at the National Museum of Wales, protecting the collection and discovering more about the complex systems, rooms and passegways within Cardiff Museum. It appears to me a giant beast, where lie those who wander its dark belly, chest and throat searching for… leaks…

Continuing on, life seems a little busy for painting at the moment. I hope that I can get back to it once I have settled into my new flat; my comforting space of excellent light and gorgeous energy. But more on that another time.

I’m also helping curate and organise an art event and exhibition with two fellow artists and close friends. We are all graduates who feel a little thrown into the deep end, so we thought to attempt to pull together our own stepping stones – titled LONE WORLDS.

Stay tuned for more of this..

Farewell Series, you’re fleeing the nest!

The Forgotten Seaside Town

Untitled, B&W film, 2020

Not too long ago I was isolated, bound legally to my small seaside town. Unable to visit friends or travel five miles outside my zone, I began working my way down the narrowest of paths and striding rolling hills dotted with some relieved sheep, newly shorn.

I made good use of my time which would have otherwise been dedicated to social gatherings and too-ing and fro-ing from University. I have always been a stroller, mind that I didn’t say walker, I don’t have the pleasure of a car, you see, and I took well advantage of the sudden freedom from busy bodies around my small town.

Everything, as most of us know it, became as quiet as a Christmas Day – I managed to capture a few stills with my Olympus Trip 35.

Untitled, B&W film, 2020
Untitled, B&W film, 2020
Untitled, B&W film, 2020
Untitled, B&W film, 2020
Untitled, B&W film, 2020
Untitled, B&W film, 2020

Art for Sale

A couple of weeks ago I was scouted for a site which exhibits promising up and coming artists: New Blood Art. I was (and am) beyond honoured and very pleased that at least a portion of my work is now publicly available to buy!

Five of Eight works from my Storm’s Eye Series are displayed on New Blood Art and are available to purchase. See the link below!

Alongside the five available on New Blood Art I am also able to sell any of my works – paintings or otherwise – displayed on my site! (just click on Portfolio and each project/series will be displayed for you) Just email me any inqueries, you can find my email on the contact page.

Storm’s Eye I, acrylic on MDF, 17.2 x 22.1 cm

Hiatus // New Steps. 07.07.20

I’ve recently made the trip back to Aberystwyth from Cardiff where for the first time I return for a short stay. You could call it a holiday – even if the rain tries to convince me otherwise: I have a view of Pen Dinas, shrouded in a misted veil of… rain!

The river Ystwyth meeting the Irish Sea, 05.07.20

I spent three weeks in Cardiff, recovering from my degree (and the melancholy weight of an empty climax). I was with family for the first time in sixth months, adjusting took its time which resulted in my hiatus from this platform.

St Matthew’s Church, Borth. 06.07.20

I eventually received my grades, and was met with a strange feeling: I was extremely unhappy. Upon reflection, it was not the grade that caused my unease, it was a good grade (albeit slightly disappointing to my ego) — it was the shock of a number, a statistic of worth, being placed on it which was a completely incorrect and poor translation of how I felt about it. I understand that everyone perceives and digests art in their own manner with their own opinions, but being graded on such a personal experience was unnerving and uncomfortable!

I am grateful for this, I have truly realized (after 6 years of being graded on art) that I am finished with being marked on my painting, or any very personal creative expression, at least in an academic sense! I therefore do not think I will be completing an MA in painting, as I have thought for almost a year now.

Furthermore, returning to Aberystwyth, my home for three years, makes the absurdity of the same being different a very poignant sensation indeed! Time transforms experience transforms perception! It has me understanding that Aberystwyth, my time here, is a chapter closed: there are ghosts of sensation and memory at every corner – an inescapable veil of nostalgia so tempting in its beauty. I choose a poetic exit – the pleasure pain of always look back from afar!

In any case, my creative practice will continue into the future, that unseen territory, with no guides and no restrictions. How strange these times are…

The Final Suite

Last week I laid down my brush and realised I was finished with my suite of works that would be submitted as my final pieces – eight in all. I have yet to put them in order, as if they were going to be mounted on the white gallery walls. I will take this order into deep consideration, talking to my tutor she has pressed that it is of upmost importance how the work is placed in the context of itself. It should lead the eye rather than hinder it.

Over the months in isolation, I have continued onwards in painting, at a slower pace. The respect I had for my painting constitution paid off, I didn’t paint if it wasn’t right and instead made an alternative piece – in video and charcoal. This broadening of my practise helped me immensly: it encouraged my creative thoughts and practise. I have discovered that while I am a painter I am many other things too, and to achieve the best result I have to spread my creativity over multiple mediums.

I’m happy with the final suite of works, I have only uploaded three here as I wish to keep them mostly away from the internet while they haven’t been marked still, they are still fresh to me.

There will be more to come..

Branwen / Coming to an End?

These past few weeks have flown by and my painting practise has slowed, as has everything else. I have been very interested in making films, it’s a refreshing mode of creativity, something that I feel very connected with.

My painting practise is still continuing, slugging onwards, and though I am not as productive, I’m enjoying it. I give myself time and space and paint when it feels right, I had a shock yesterday when I discovered I only had two blank boards left! Thus, I believe I am coming to an end of my BA painting practise, a few more weeks is all there is.

Branwen, 27.04.20

Between painting and my essay, I have embarked on a new artistic journey with my partner, Rezi. We are to make pieces of art, of any kind, present it to the other and allow them to respond to it. Hopefully this will create a long stream of art that grows and develops with a clear path we can look back on.

I started with Branwen, a short film that was inspired by the little blackbird in our backgarden. I wanted to make something short and sweet. The day of creation I picked up a delightfully narrow and slim blue skinned book, it was The Mabinogi, or more acurately Y Mabinogi, as it is a Welsh telling of the tale. Inside are the four main pieces of the Mabinogion, the earliest prose stories in Britain, one of which centres around the character Branwen, a beautiful young woman caught in dangerous rivalries and power struggles.

Branwen explores the nature of tales and symbolism, the gorgeous parallelism between a wild bird, delicate, beautiful and free, and Branwen, a young woman, beautiful, ‘delicate’ but containted in the hands of men, used as a pawn of alliance. Branwen is a revisit to an ancient tale, enveloping fantasy and mythicality, the abstraction of memory and of dreamy qualities that suggest more than tell.

I hope to create many more works in the future! The pandemic has closed doors but opened others, and I’m grateful – these things would not have been made if it wasn’t for it.

Light and Matter

My artistic practise has grown in relevance during isolation in the COVD-19 crisis.

I had discovered the subject of my painting earlier in 2020, it is the exploration into the sensation of meditative isolation, of being and of time in suspension. These are being expressed through paint in light and window motifs. I’m sure it’s easy to see how these things became extremely relevant as the crisis developed.

Light and Matter. 2020

The film is a sequence of shots that sensually follow rays of light as they retract off and across window frames and the space between. This is, of course, all filmed within my current, temporary home, not only is it a homage to light, but it is a homage to the space and the time we are in. The audio is a series of sounds created in my space: my voice, a chime, a bell and birdsong. These rustic sounds can all be connected to the element of air, insinuating that light materialises physically in the atmosphere itself.

This film will be a supplementary study to my main practise as a painter. It has really helped form my thoughts again and has reminded me of my desire to create as I have had a tough week trying to create through paint and I needed a new medium to work with! Living with my partner and friend, who are both artists, the former of which is an experimental film-maker has also been a huge help, just by being in their viscinity. It’s really highlighted the importance of an artist community!

I have written some more information about Light and Matter on ‘The Quarantine Art’ site, here is the link:

Light and Matter – THE QUARANTINE


Project Quarantine

We are almost two weeks into isolation now, and everything seems to be slowing down and speeding up.

Creativity never stops, it ebbs and flows, however it is a constant stream – or a deep pool which we gaze into, hoping to see the shimmering scales of inspiration within.

As I have said in previous posts, my School of Art has closed – no studio space access to any department and no degree shows. Everyone is pulling at strings to put some semblance of order into place.

To keep up motivation, I have joined a project titled, The Quarantine, in which myself and a dozen or so other art practitioners are working with our situation, rather than reject it. This project was created in response to the shut down of the exhibitions, it felt wrong for those doing the Creative Arts BA that they would be creating site specific art that wouldn’t even be shown on site. Thus this blog was effectively made.

It tracks our journey through quarantine, as a group and as individuals as we deal with the oncoming obstacles. As art practitioners we are here to create, respond and record this uncertain and unusual time humanity is facing – please feel free to follow us!

The Quarantine Art

(Here is my own personal page on the site as well — Grace Hubbard-Smith)

Do enjoy, and stay safe.