Good evening and Happy New Year to you all.

This blog entry will be slightly disjointed and I will jump from one thing to the next – apologies, I have a lot to share with you and not much time.

So whilst in the studio over the Christmas period I have come to think that some of my drawings is an art of accumulation, an art of collecting marks…watching, nurturing and ensuring they grow. I guess this falls neatly in with how I have thought about my work for years and the originals concepts that interested me. The gradual but unyielding passage of time along amongst other things that I won’t go into and bore you with again! So anyway, this thought – to me at least is a very pleasing one.

Meanwhile back at the studio…I have been involved recently in a lot of studio sessions where to the naked eye (via photograph uploaded onto various social media sites) not much is progressing, this is probably something to do with the fact that my work is extremely labour intensive coupled with the fact that I’m quite slow in producing them (deep breath) and…working full time. So I’m wandering, rather plodding through a restricted creative nirvana and I think to myself all these hours and I cannot show real progression, hmm, then I thought it it the constant motion that drives us all forward – regardless of speed, after all glaciers change everything – given enough time!

I am always looking to try different things in my practice – not so much because I want to change things but so as to enhance what I already do, then if things change completely, albeit incrementally- that’s great. I read a magazine article recently in which was about the work of street artist Connor Harrison (incredible – if you do not know his work – trust me you are missing out) and he said something like a change is not really a change if it doesn’t scare you. I’m not sure I agree with this. Change doesn’t have to be big and/ or brutal. I shall also point out that wasn’t a word for word quote, however the principle of thought still stands.

Im very close to finishing a large (for me) drawing, literally the next few days (pictured). I am pushing on with three large drawings at the the moment – each quite different but each as stimulating to create as the next. This works well for me as it keeps me interested in what I’m doing and it really doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish a piece. I’m actually quite lucky in that sense.
I will be embarking on a series of small drawings using coloured backgrounds in between finishing the larger ones. This will continue to keep things fresh and you never may also inform the larger pieces in their later stages.

 
Thanks as always for reading my written self indulgence.

http://www.stuartbelton.com

Twitter and Instagram: @stu01621

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This piece is the initial stages of a new drawing, I have made several smaller sketches in the last few days so have decided to go large and see what happens.
A thought crossed my mind earlier, my work trades a lot with repetition, I routinely spend endless hours in a state of concentration repeating a form over and over again. These small, simple forms interact with one another and develop into a much larger mass. I have always worked from a “base” of ideas in mind but allowed the drawing to build itself using this base as a springboard only. This led my to think that my drawing practice is not so much about the actual image and its content but actually about what that particular form allows me to think about whilst the pen is in motion. What does the image spilling out in front of me
Remind me of?  Does it fit with my base ideas – if not, how is it informing and updating them? There’s no doubt about it that within these often small and delicately detailed drawings lays a machismo where I pit my nerve and my patience against the possibility of failiure in terms of not realising the drawing to its conclusion.

Drawing to me is becoming as much about the thought whilst in flow as the finished drawing itself.

I have toyed with the idea (only in thought to be honest) about using these thoughts and images that my mind conjures to create other drawings that are in a sense totally abstract and removed from what I normally do. I am talking about bringing figurative elements into my work – maybe even full figuration to be displayed along the works from which these ideas came.

Needless to say I am only in the very earliest stages of this potential new route but to my mind it is going to be worth exploring as it could add an interesting dimension to my practice.
I would definitely consider beginning a regime to develop and sharpen very rusty observational drawing skills – maybe an hour a day would be manageable with my current life/ workload. The thing is I am a certain type of artist that does a certain type of drawing, to diversify I would need to accept a different skill base and approach would need to be learnt…actually quite an exciting thought since I haven’t drawn anything from observation in the best part of ten years.

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Incidently one massive benefit of reflective writing such as a blog is it incubates ideas and open doors that drawing alone would probably not of opened. Get writing and enjoy the benefits!
Anyway, I must dash. Thank you as always for reading my splurges of thought.

After talking to a friend about my artwork the conversation turned to problems within his private life. Perhaps building from the mild philosophical base of art it lead me to start thinking about what my drawings mean to me and what vision I work with.

I had explained my drawings to my friend as trying to express – maybe even – dare I say it illustrate or map the interactions, passages, experiences that we have as we all move through life. I know this all sounds very cheesy and clichéd but, actually I really don’t think it is. What more important, interesting subject could an artist possibly hope to investigate? It is a subject that welcomes philosophical thought and it fascinates me to think about this and what it entails – and how to express it. I suppose I see my drawings as working in two ways: firstly as a larger, whole mass that is seen as one and then the finer details that could be taken as an individual, autonomous microcosm of its own.

The winding, intertwining forms that slip onto the paper appear to me to have a natural – if not obvious appeal to this subject. Push all this to one side for a second… if an artist doesn’t feel a sense of wonder with what he or she is investigating, producing – what the hell is the point of doing it? Art is one of life’s self indulgent pursuits that is rare in the fact that it doesn’t damage its practitioners – in actuality it actively enhances whoever decides to explore its delights.

Needless to say even even at the modest level I operate at I couldn’t love what I do anymore. As Chuck Close said “inspiration is for amateurs” work hard and reap your rewards, this could be materially or spiritually…whatever is your poison.

Thank you for reading my ramblings.

So, it has been almost a couple of months since my last post – a shocking lapse in blog related productivity. However, it has not been because of my natural inclination to procrastinate about even making a cup of tea – it has been because I have been working furiously on drawings. I will share a few of them with you in this post.

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It has now been a good couple of months since I moved into the my studio and I now really feel like it is a second home, I have my processes in place and have established a history (albeit a very short one) with the place. I love it. I have also realised I am naturally slipping into a nice momentum with my drawing practice.

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I have found that working only on one large drawing as I had been previously (and I use large in the loosest of terms) to be massively counterproductive, slogging away at one piece can lead to a very stale existence so I now have several on the go at all times, some are larger and some are smaller. The smaller drawings provide the lubricant for the larger, more time consuming pieces, they keep things fresh and provide a buffer for specific drawing burnout.

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This approach allows me to look at each piece with a fresh pair of eyes, a reinvigorated spirit and also allows all of the other pieces to subtly influence the others being developed around it. Balance is key here. Some of the drawings are fast and take no more than half an hour or so, some take months so breaking things up like this works very well for me.

Heres a a couple of weird and abstract motivational springboards I use sometimes:

a line from a Beastie Boys song “…all you spazes and you freaks – go and do your thing because you’re unique…”
I sometimes think about that one line and it helps me to remember that doing what you do – no matter what anybody says about it is what you should do – and don’t care what anyone thinks. Stellar advice and so true.

A scene from from the film version of the incredible Phantom of the opera in which the singers and dancers are all busying themselves practicing lines, warmer voices up and rehearsing. I find this very exciting as they are all trying to hone their respective crafts and that really resonates with me. Romantic fool? Yes. Does it have relevance in a pressurised modern world – definitely.
Both of these things will no doubt make anyone charitable enough to be reading this blog entry cringe – but it really does help me out, and anything – in my experience at least that can help production/ motivation/ spirit/ enthusiasm is an invaluable tool in my book.

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Thank you as always for reading and I promise to be back more regularly from now on.

Instagram: stu01621 or streetart01621

http://www.stuartbelton.com

Twitter: @stu01621

Email: stu.belton@aol.co.uk

 

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I have written this over the last couple of days as i have been so busy and unble to post so the first part is from the other day and the last is from today.

20th September

Frustration and other collected thoughts

Since settling down in my studio I have felt a vast expanse of fertile ground open around me metaphorically speaking and this has injected new life and vigour into what I have been doing – this is great. The influx of new ideas and directional changes have been amazing and quite unexpected. What is not is the ideas that come flowing and translate poorly onto paper, especially those that were previously thought by myself as almost a sure thing. A very naive thought I know but everyone must surely fall into this trap once in a while? Perhaps the idea is there for the taking but is in fact a slow burner in need of time, reflection and some patience and not the instant result I thought it could and should be – who knows? Perhaps this kind of idea requires a more painterly approach, or indeed a painters approach? All questions that I’d like answers to immediately please.

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I shall persevere.

In other news I have sold three more drawings this week which I am ecstatically happy about, even more so as I know that each and every piece has gone to a good home. Thank you all if you are reading this.

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On the subject of selling work I have come to learn that it can be a good gauge of how I feel about what I have been up to when faced with a potential sale, sometimes I feel good, sometimes not so much in the fact that I think I wish I could of done this or that…whatever the intuition is it seems to be an accurate gauge. Sometimes I wish it was other work leaving my possession – especially when I have a particular emotional attachment to whatever it is I am selling, it could be that I am particularly fond of a drawing, or have had it for a long time or one that I am very proud and then with the sale feel almost to not only lose ownership but part of myself.

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Anyway moving along now onto framing, much the same as photographing drawings in poor light or out of focus a bad frame can inflict terrible damage to the desirability and online life of a drawing, and lets face it artwork nowadays needs an online presence in order to promote and sell it, perhaps more accurately like a person in a suit: if a suit is badly fitting and baggy, the wrong colour, cheap looking it can take away incredibly from whoever is wearing it and ironically make the wearer look scruffy – or at very least not their best. If however a suit is sharp, well tailored and considered it can do wonders for the person wearing it. This long winded explanation is exactly how frames work, recently I had a drawing framed and whilst it looked smart because it had been neatly sanitised in a white, glazed rectangle my immediate thought was “I wish the frame was different”. Not good. Though it was another lesson learnt in not leaving the frame as an afterthought and considering what would look best: colour, style, depth…you get my point. Something I will definitely be more aware of in the future.

Thursday 22nd September

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So afterall these little drawings have grown on me a bit – still at the very early stages of experimentation but nonetheless I can see a future in them and some potential pieces. the next big project is a skateboard deck for a friend of mine on which i shall make a drawing, quite an exciting prospect. Running along side this I will begin to make some very large drawings, maybe A2 or larger, i shall see how things develop.

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Thank you as always for reading.

A few developments since my last post, mostly on a positive note.

Firstly the drawing I submitted to the ING Discerning Eye was rejected – bummer. I had to do the walk of shame and collect it on Tuesday. Whilst being disappointed it revealed questions and tested the faith I have in what I do. I can confirm my skin is extremely thick and after some very minor doubts my resolve saw off these thoughts.

I know this is a very small bump in the road – and for most a par of course occurrence but it was the first time I’d put myself out there so in my mind it was magnified somewhat, having said that the whole experience has been a great learning exercise and it has shown what I can do if I put my mind to it (in terms of meeting a deadline) and ironically given me bags of confidence, I feel although I have grown in some way as a direct result of the whole submission process. The moral of the story:

Get your work out there as much as humanly possible.

I am now the very proud inhabitant of some proper studio space. BIG WIN. It is a heated, secure, very well lit space – and I already love it. I spent a while last night moving in and tonight i have adorned the walls with a multitude of sketches, drawings and ideas that have otherwise been out of sight and therefore out of the minds eye.

After splashing my drawings all over the walls I decided I needed to “bed” into the space by starting to actually work, I made a pencil drawing over the space of about four hours (no pictures sorry). I couldn’t believe just how much I had missed working in an area in which I could see my other ideas and drawings, it definitely helps in terms of resolving ideas, pushing work to new standards and solidifying patterns of sketches and drawings that haven’t made it off of the mark. I am going to push as hard as I can now and try to accelerate my output.

Exciting times ahead.

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I’ll jump straight in I think with an update as to what I’ve been up to the last week or so since my last update.

I’ve been extremely busy which is good news and have managed to finish my drawing and submit it into the ING Discerning Eye exhibition. This is a huge leap for me and would be an utter triumph if it were to be accepted on my first time of asking. It has however highlighted some deficiencies that I guess can only be addressed by gaining more experience coupled with a healthy curiosity to learn.

Whilst getting the piece framed I came to realise that there are many types of frames and you get what you pay for in terms of tape, backings etc being acid free and the actual quality of the frame itself, this also made me think more about the materials I use in whilst drawing as well, now I’ve always been aware of the quality of what I use to an extent but think I will conduct a lot more research into this and be more choosy about how and where my work is framed.

I found the actual process of applying for exhibition quite nerve wracking as I have never really done this before, filling out the forms, making sure they are correct, making sure the piece is correct in terms of the requirements and then delivering it. I’m quite confident within myself but did wonder whether I’d stick out like a sore thumb or not – no, the reality is there are all walks of life trying to exhibit and one size certainly does not fit all. In the end I actually really enjoyed the process and feel it is an achievement just to get that far, if I’m not accepted so be it, I will keep ploughing on, luckily my skin is thick, my hunger and perseverance are at an all time high. I want this so badly and if I am denied I will keep coming back. I expect to be rejected but you simply never know, looking at some of the other work flooding in I felt good about what I do – and that alone was worth the rigmarole of applying. That pressure that can only come from your peers (when confronted by the work of others) has seemingly opened up a new and fresh train of thought and made my resolve even firmer. With every drawing that passes through my fingers I feel my hand becoming stronger and more sure. I should just say as well that the Discerning Eye application was stupidly easy and I applaud this – just one form and one label along with a £12 fee, I don’t know what other applications are like but this was a good way to start.

As I was so close to the National Gallery (I parked on Carlton House Terrace) I wandered over there after submitting my work yesterday – it would of been rude not to, and I had put 100 minutes on the meter as an insurance against the unknown quantity that is submitting work (I was there 5 minutes) so thought I’d use the time constructively and visit my old friends who have taken residence in these hallowed walls, I gorged on Cézanne, Seurat, Canaletto and many others. Whilst strolling on my own through the halls I realised that I have connections with so many of the works at the National, so many of the paintings are stitched to different times in my life, I felt a wave of nostalgic passion rush through and overcome me. My favourite room is 45, the territory of the (post) impressionist, having stood in front of my favourite painting of all time (a Cézanne landscape) for a good 10 minutes I decided to take a seat just outside that fabled room, above the main stairs I people watch for a while whist absorbing all that was flowing through me – I felt at ease and very at home. Needless to say I fizzing with new ideas and cursing myself for not having my book with me to record these – schoolboy error.

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(The incredible Paul Cézanne)

 

If you are reading this sentence thank you for taking your time to read my rambled thoughts and feelings.