Liverpool Biennial

It was Reading Week last week. I didn’t read. I went to Liverpool though. The Liverpool Biennial is currently on, basically a huge art festival including the works of 242 artists spanning over 27 locations. It was packed. As well as the vast selection of art I was able to view, I also found time to visit the Cavern Club, do a bit of vintage shopping, drink questionable cocktails, and generally have a nice break with some good people.

It was very refreshing seeing artworks from lesser-known artists that I’d never seen before, while still getting to visit the Tate and be impressed by works I’d only previously seen pictures of in books. There was a lot of good art. Vague statement I know… Art that makes you think, that provokes a reaction, in a variety of mediums too. I want to do this sort of thing more often. Getting out of Dundee for a couple of days was bliss, sometimes the studio can just get a bit stifling. Again, this has just reinforced that I need to get going somewhere, keep seeing things.

I Like Old Things

It’s often a source of amusement between my friends, “Rachael, why don’t you listen to a song that’s less than 40 years old”, “Rachael, Bob Dylan will never marry you, he’s practically a walking corpse now.” Shut up guys. I like old things. I like old music. I like old fashion. I like old photographs. And in a warped way – yes, if you’re going to count Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan or even Charlie Chaplin, then I suppose I like old men too. Though I’d rather not word it like that.

Perhaps I just enjoy stereotypes too much. Its easy to fall in love with the idea of the 1950’s or 60’s. Things depicted in films, long braided hair, tie-dye,  rebelling without a cause, and a Volkswagon Bus. The whole tarnished image of it. I’d rather cart around an old battered suitcase with a visible story than buy new luggage. I’d rather spin a record than plug into an mp3. And yes if theres a Vintage blazer on the rails I’ll pick that over a label. Once again I’m exploiting myself and all my kitsch cliche glory. It became apparant to me today how much of a geek I am over the age of something.

I bought a typewriter about a year ago for a tenner from the recycling centre. The ribbon ran out after a few hours of typing and so I stored it away and forgot about it. Being home for the summer though means I’m kind of stuck for things to do. So I dug it out today and went on a little Google spree to look into the history of the thing and see what kind of ribbon I needed.

From my research online and the information given from the manual (which is in surprisingly good condition), I’m guessing its a Royal Royalite Portable typewriter, dating back to 1963/64. Which in my opinion, is pretty cool. So now I’m just waiting on my ink ribbon arriving and I’ll have a new toy to play with.

The manual describes it as a great tool for mothers to type up club reports and recipes etc, and in contrast, for husbands to type up important business documents. I guess when I’m prancing around in high-waisted shorts, singing the Beatles and dreaming of vintage typewriters, its easy to fall in love with a stereotype and forget that we live in such a better time now. The sexism that was around back then is clear even in that little instruction manual. Still though, I’d love to go back to that time for just a day. I’d totally do ‘the Twist’.

(And yes I did edit the photo above to give it that old vignette effect.)


Self-Portrait, End Result

I’m actually sick of the sight of my own face.

Ok so the day by day updates ended when I started getting sick of this thing. But its done, or as done as I can do. I’ve looked at it too long and I just can’t bear to keep fixing what needs done. So it will just have to be finished. Hmm I’m not making it sound great am I?

Whoever can be bothered counting how many heads there are gets a prize.

Self-Portrait, Day 4

Hooray 🙂 It’s finally clicking.

Tonights been great, I’ve been painting for about five hours and its finally flowing. I’m so pleased that I’m getting into this project now and looking forward to seeing it finished.

I’ve had such a good night just listening to podcasts and covering canvas.

Its different from my initial idea but I think its turning out better than I’d imagined. Fingers crossed that its still flowing tomorrow.

Its 2am now so I should probably sleep, really want to stay up and keep going but its probably better to take a break.

Peace out 🙂

Self-Portrait, Day 3

Theres something creepy about this fourth head. I think its the eyes, theyre too narrow and I think they’re squint. And the mouth, seems like a ‘Joker’ smile. Its looking at me 😐

Wednesday is the aim for finishing. All four main faces are painted in, three out of those four need a lot of work done to them though. I’ll get there.

I’d forgotten theres another project to start though. ‘Belonging’. Huh?! I have nooo idea what to do for that and the brief is slightly confusing.

I havent been out the house in a few days, my Falkirk friends are back at uni and anyway this painting is confining me to my room. I also havent properly spoken to someone out loud in a few days…head is very much in the clouds when mid-project. Maybe I should try to reconnect with the outside world before I go back to Dundee.

Now playing: Bob Dylan – She Belongs To Me
via FoxyTunes

Self-Portrait, Day 2


Its going ok. Slower than I’d hoped, I don’t usually pay this close attention to detail. Im used to slapping paint about, but this portrait requires more intricate work.

Today I got the base colours in for two more of the faces and also did a lot of pointless sitting around.

I miss my disposable palettes, I left them in Dundee. I genuinelly forget about washing up after painting. This leads to a lot of brushes having to be thrown out as well as wooden palettes only being able to be used once.

Having deskspace in my room now is great though. Last year I did all my work sprawled out on the floor. Not that I minded, but this is more comfortable 🙂

You can’t actually see much desk in that photo but still.

So today wasn’t really the day of ‘intense-painting’ like I’d hoped…theres always tomorrow.

Now playing: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Official Teaser #1) [HQ]
via FoxyTunes

Self-Portrait, Day 1

Oooook, so finally I’ve started painting the dreaded self-portrait. A couple of hours of painting tonight proved less disasterous than I had expected. This leads me to thinking that its all downhill from tomorrow onwards.

The concept of this portrait is kind of complicated in my head…to put it simply there will be 4 views of my face, with smaller images in the background. Think Beatles Revolver 🙂

So the first head was started tonight.

The eyes and hair still need a lot of work, and the neck is non-existant. But I think it resembles me which is good considering I’m hopeless at portraiture.

Really this is less than a quarter of the work done so tomorrow will be intense painting…sounds exciting 🙂 I’ll need to come up with music and a candle before then…
Now playing: The Beatles – And Your Bird Can Sing
via FoxyTunes