Wednesday, 3 August 2011

An afternoon of unadulterated baking....

A Lunch fit for Gulliver at Trevaskis Farm

Browsing the Trevaskis Farm Shop is like stepping back into the 1950’s only with extra virgin olive oil and chillies. Counters of glossy fish and serious looking meat jostle with a beautifully stocked cheese counter.

Fruits, fresh as you like vegetables, speciality home made bread, jam, eggs, chutneys, artisan chocolates and biscuits all wink at you suggestively as you pass, hoping you will take them home for an afternoon of unadulterated baking.

But for us, only long leeks, smoked cheddar and garlic make it into our basket.

Loading our produce into the car we notice the ‘pick your own’ signs and can’t resist an exploratory wander through the vegetable gardens and poly tunnels to find the fat, lazy pigs.

Walking up an appetite means only one thing, time to visit the restaurant.

We instantly feel as if we have been shrunk to the size of a small child as we enter the restaurant as a huge chiller cabinet full of gloriously creamy, sticky, fruity deserts greets us.

Pavlovas, gateau’s and cakes of all kinds that are impossibly enormous lick their lips as you pass, offering you a large slice of indulgent heaven.

We both order the Lamb and Rosemary pie, which is served with a rich, slightly sticky suet crust. The lamb itself falls apart as you look at it and melts in the mouth. Coupled with crunchy giant chips and sweet peas, the whole dish slides down effortlessly.

Feeling a little post pie sleepy, a large black coffee is quickly administered and we are once again wide-awake and heading home.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colours

There is a reason that oils are considered the king of paints.

And for me that reason is the sublime, buttery texture.

The malleable, juicy, softness.

And it is these characteristics that make me fall in love with oils over and over again.

Over the last twenty years I have worked in every medium available and have tried pretty much every brand, constantly searching for that holy grail of a product, a product that I can believe in, a product that I can trust.

I found it with Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colours.

The rich pigment quantities put these oils in a class of their own and now with a whole raft of oil mediums at my disposal the ability to alter the paint substance has never been easier or more exciting.

My main little ally when it comes to oil painting is Mr Liquin, that universally adaptable medium for speeding up drying and creating fluid strokes.

But where do you start with an army of mediums that perform every task imaginable from Safflower Oil that slows drying times, Blending mediums for helping to give your work that antique look, and for when you are feeling like a true old master Cold Pressed Linseed Oil for mixing with your very own ground pigments?

Adding any one of these mediums and oils will transform your paint, your strokes and your work.

Add more than one and a whole new painting experience awaits you.

I am often better known as a mixed media artist even though I have also always painted with oils particularly outside on location.

The main attraction for my mixed media work was always that I could flick, spatter, and drip the paint, this is something that I considered I simply couldn’t achieve with oils.

I was wrong.

Using the mediums, particularly Liquin I was able to create a semi translucent ‘melted jelly’ consistency of oil paint, which is an absolute joy to flick, spatter and drip, I found that I could also mix in found ephemera, sand and bits of seaweed with the Oil colour Gel mediums, again this worked a treat.

I slowly realised that I could perform a mixed media painting using the historic king of paints.

Now of course all of my talk of adding seaweed, sand and bits of old tat will horrify the purist artists out there, but then again I thrive on excitement, I thrive on the unexpected and I thrive on challenging myself and my materials.

For my painting I choose one of the worlds most iconic landmarks, and one that is only one mile from my home, St Michaels Mount.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Fat Face British Artists

Yay, the Fat Face British Artists site is up and running!
Check out the work, get involved and help Fat Face raise some serious cash for some great British charities!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I'm on a High Street near you!

Recently I have been working with my friends at the fantastic Fat Face clothing brand to help them re-dress their windows.
And for 9 weeks over the summer my work will be featured at Fat Face stores all over the U.K (and with 190 stores nation wide there is sure to be one near you!).
The original paintings and signed prints will be auctioned at the end of the summer for some great local charities including Shelter Box, R.N.L.I and Mountain Rescue organisations.
You can check out over the coming weeks to get involved!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Acrylic Mediums

Every now and again as if by magic a new product appears which totally transforms the way you work.

I must admit that when I was asked to test the new Winsor & Newton acrylic mediums I was sceptical.

I’m happy as I am thanks, I thought.

But then I tried them, and indeed, my work was transformed.

Firstly the range of mediums is developed to maintain all of the benefits of the Artists’ Acrylic colour range, a bold claim, but an accurate one.

Artists Acrylic colours are the only acrylics to truly have no colour shift (that annoying shift in tone from wet to dry), and the mediums maintain that balance.

The usual problem with acrylic mediums is the fact that they are milky when wet; which in turn appears to water down your colour mixes making it difficult to judge colours accurately.

This is no longer a problem as the Artist Acrylic Mediums are clear or translucent therefore maintaining complete control of your colour mixing

Why bother using mediums at all? I hear you cry. Because they raise your game to a whole new level, and by working with mediums and exploring the possibilities, you regain that kind of mad childlike enthusiasm you had at school in your art lesson.

I found myself almost starting from scratch to see just what I could do with the paint, and as an artist that was exciting.

I found that I could extend the colour, vastly improve the flow (which is something that I had struggled to achieve previously), create brilliant glazes and alter the sheen of the finished work from dead matt to staggeringly intense gloss.

In my study sample I started with a white gesso primer, which was perfect for adding extra ‘tooth’ to my mdf board.

The primer also dried really quickly which was ideal.

Then, straight on to a little bash with some glazing medium over the sky area.

This is perfect for layering colours to create luminous, translucent effects.

Again the glazing medium is completely clear so no worries about colour change.

I should say at this point that I had a choice of working Matt or Gloss or in fact both (if I was feeling a little crazy) but chose to go glossy for the painting.

Adding a little Gloss Gel to the Artists Acrylic helped me to control the shine of the paint, to keep that shine but without changing the buttery texture of the paint itself. This is used in the distant foreshore.

Then on to my favourite of all, yummy modelling paste, which kind of looks so good, you could almost eat the stuff (but don’t or I’ll get into trouble!).

I add the modelling paste to the near foreshore using a bit of old card before adding some sand, stones and other tat that I tend to collect from the beach.

When dry I can scumble neat colour over the paste to create some fantastic textures.

For my sea area I try out some Flow Improver, this slows down the drying time a little and greatly adds to the ability to paint an acrylic wash in one go, which is no easy task.

When dry I simply spread, wash, flick, dribble and spatter additional tints mixed with the flow improver.

Finally, I’m almost finished and decide that the painting could do with a varnish to pull the whole thing together.

Again I have a choice of Matt, Satin or Gloss.

I choose the gloss to create the most jewel like colour.

Will I continue to use Artists’ Acrylic Mediums?

As long as I can have this much fun, you bet!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Derwent Inktense put through it's paces

I feel a real empathy with Derwent.

You see Derwent are based in the wettest place in England; Cumbria, and I am based in the second wettest place in England; West Cornwall.

So I should have known really that testing a water based product outside, even on a bright, warm spring day would be a mistake.

Trouble is when I see a bright blue sky, I somehow deep down feel that it isn’t going to rain for ages.

Instead I manage a mere 25 minutes painting time before the rain starts to fall and I abandon ship to the comfort of my studio.

But 25 minutes is enough when using one of the fastest mediums that I have ever come across.

Derwent Inktense blocks are amazing, no word of a lie.

A block of intense ink, (hence the clever little name,) a block that is so adaptable to water based techniques that I feel instantly at home using them, having never used one before.

I begin by loosely sketching on my still life composition using a block of red completely dry. The block marks the surface in a way very similar to pastel but without the annoying chalky dust stuff, and the pigment is incredibly vibrant.

The magic begins though when I add a touch of water to my sketched lines.

Suddenly the ink spreads in a way akin to good quality watercolour, it’s richness unfolding into the clear water leaving a beautiful translucent wash.

Of course you may well ask, “Why not simply use watercolour?”

Well; and here is just one of the advantages of Inktense; the washes dry permanent, yes, permanent.

This in turn means that when dry I can work over the top of washes without moving or damaging the work underneath, this also means that it is easy to glaze the jewel like colours without creating the common ‘pool of mud’ problem.

How cool is that?

I also get very excited when I work back into the wash with the dry block. I can create all sorts of textures and varying degrees of saturation simply by dipping, drawing, brushing, washing and smearing with my fingers.

But you know me, brushes alone simply are not enough, so I fetch my box of rummaged paraphernalia.

This little treasure box of mine contains sponges, knives, sticks, bits of rope, stamps, old toothbrushes…basically anything that I can make a mark with.

The blocks sponge on exactly as I expected, flicked on perfectly and dripped and ran just as I demanded.

And all with a positive, bright, flamboyant intensity.

None of this wishy-washy malarkey.

If you are of a delicate nature and prefer not to cover your fingers in sticky ink, Derwent dutifully supply a nifty little rubbery holder thingy.

I must admit that I prefer the control of the ‘finger to block’ contact and choose to dispense with the services of the Gripper block.

Being able to draw with dry colour into wet washes is a real treat, you can of course use water-soluble pencils for similar effects but the similarity ends there.

These Inktense blocks are fifty times larger than a coloured pencil lead and a whole lot more intense.

This in turn means that you can work big, quickly and spontaneously.

And of course the twin attributes of Mr Quick and Mrs Spontaneous really come into its own when the sweet Cornish mizzle appears.

All in all, Derwent have really nailed it with these little blocks, and if they ever manage to make an Inktense block version of opaque white (there you go Derwent, there is your challenge!) this product really will have it all.

I’m heading to Lands End this evening with these new little Inktense friends of mine to capture the sunset over the Scillies.

I’m in good company as Turner painted that very same view and Turner would have loved this stuff, I just know it.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Oilbars and parrots

Using an Oilbar reminds me of being a child and scribbling on the wallpaper with my grannies lipstick.

The same luscious colour exudes and the velvety texture just begs to be smeared.

In fact opening a packet of Winsor & Newton Oilbars is like gazing into Fanny Cradocks make up box.

All those mad, beautiful, seductive colours; and all in stick form.

I am currently working on a fund raising project for my friends at the World Parrot Trust and can think of no better subject than a beautiful Blue and Gold Macaw to try out my sticky, glorious Oilbars.

I quickly arrange my favourite oil painting acquaintances next to my easel, Liquin, White Spirit, rags, stubbly old brushes and palette knives.

The Oilbars can in fact be used with any oil medium and are so tactile that you don’t really need any brushes at all.

I carefully study my small collection of Macaw feathers and realise that the intense, iridescent colours are tailor made for Oilbars (or should that be the other way around?).

Anyway, after squaring up my sketch onto a piece of 24” x 24” MDF which has had a few coats of gesso, I get caught up in applying the paint and begin working in a bit of a frenzy.

The Oilbars send out the same gorgeous studio scent of linseed that is so identifiable with oil paint and so inductive to creativity.

In fact Oilbars are just that; oil paint in the shape of a bar, well, with just a little top-secret waxy stuff added to help them hold their lipstick form.

Oilbars also come complete with their own little plastic sleeve to enable you to keep your fingers all nice and clean.

Unless you are a messy kind of creative, in which case you get to squish, squash and smear the pigment anywhere and everywhere.

Just remember though that as with conventional oils, these Oilbars don’t wash off easily, so before you start to paint in your best dinner suit or Fanny Craddock outfit, I’d recommend that you change into something a little more suitable.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, back to the painting.

After scribbling on some Cadmium yellow, Ultramarine and Sienna I begin laying on some heavier paint.

The Oilbars are able to give such a great buttery texture that I can work into them to help form the parrot’s feathers.

Mixing conventional oils and Oilbars together with Liquin means that I am able to drip, flick and spatter the paint to help me to achieve the interesting textures that I am after.

I also apply a few of the Macaw feathers themselves to the painting to give another layer of interest. I should say at this stage that the feathers are naturally moulted!

The Oilbars work so well with tube oil paint that they are truly a match made in heaven, the major advantage being that you can draw with the Oilbars in the way that you can with pastels.

This major advantage makes me wonder what Degas would have made of Oilbars?

After all Degas only abandoned working in oils after his eyesight started to fail, finding that pastels were easier to ‘paint’ with and ultimately more suited to his work.

I’m sure that Degas would have loved to have access to his beloved oil paints in a stick form, to enable his sweeping pastel strokes that are difficult to achieve with a loaded brush.

A really useful Oilbar item is the colourless medium stick, which can be used to easily blend the colours, and there are 50 new colours to choose from in 50ml (good handful size) sticks.

The Oilbars dry a little faster than normal oils and one of the many amazing feats that they perform is that they don’t mix in when you over paint, even when using white, I know, I know how can that be?

All in all, these juicy sticks of pure dynamite are an absolute joy to use; a joy to hold, to draw with, paint with and smear with.

Just don’t try using them as make up.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I Need Your Help!

Can you let me know your very favourite location in Cornwall, I'm working on a fund raising project for the R.N.L.I and will paint the 6 most popular locations.
Let me know your fav place and I'll put your name in a draw to win a set of all six limited editions! Yay!
P.S. please share this message with your friends so they can win too, you loverly people!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Rostra Gallery, Bath

To celebrate 10 years of the best gallery in Bath showing my work, my big show this year can be found at Rostra Gallery in Bath from 25th Feb, I'll be there from 5.30 - 7.30 on the 25th, it would be great to see you...!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Cornish artist Glyn Macey will be exhibiting a major new collection of paintings inspired by his camper van travels around Britain.

Known for stirring land and seascapes, Glyn's work is distinctive.

"The collection demonstrates Glyn's famously strong, striking style of work," said a spokesman for Rostra and Rooskmore Galleries, in Bath, where the artwork is being exhibited.

Glyn, was born in Newlyn, and attended the Falmouth School of Art, where he studied graphic design.

He has previously been involved in a year long project with the National Trust, raising the charity £22,000 through the sale of his paintings. He also completed an eight month coastal journey to raise money for the RNLI in 2009.

For his most recent exhibition, Glyn travelled round the country in a camper van capturing the most inspiring elements of the British landscape.

But Glyn insists that his heart still lies in very much in Cornwall.

"However much I love travelling and working in other parts of the country, Cornwall and especially Newlyn is still my home and first love," he said.

Glyn will be at the opening night preview of the exhibition, on February 25, 5.30pm – 7.30pm at Rostra and Rooksmoor Galleries, Bath.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Mixed Media Malarky

According to a reliable source, well; Wikipedia, ‘Mixed media, in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been employed.’
And that just about sums it up.
But what that statement doesn’t convey is the sheer excitement and pleasure in working with often miss-matched materials, materials that are not manufactured to work together but can, with a forgiving breeze, often out perform all other mediums in the creative invention genre.
Mixed media refers to a work of art that combines a mixture of traditionally distinct mediums, paints, collage materials, photography, drawing and inks.
A work such as ‘Royal Visit’ combines paint, ink, flags and collage and can justifiably be called a ‘mixed media’ work., as can ‘Cadgwith’ with it’s addition of part of the beach.
When you are creating your own mixed media work it is important to choose the mediums carefully and allow enough drying time between the layers to ensure the final work won’t fall apart after a week.
If different media are used, particularly heavy media such as stone it is also important to choose a sturdy base upon which the different layers are built up, I often use heavy duty card or MDF.
Oh, and one last word of advice before you start sticking everything to hand together…use strong glue!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Montana Gold Tests by Glyn Macey


1984, I am fourteen, and I have just acquired a copy of Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s seminal book Subway Art.
The first book to really focus on the New York subway graffiti artists.
The book is a revelation, no more than that, the book is an inspiration.
An inspiration that completely and utterly transforms the way I work.

Overnight I change from a boy of fourteen painting pseudo Newlyn School copies during my lunch break at school, into a fourteen-year-old graffiti maniac.
Now I’m not talking the lazy, scruffy and often offensive graffiti that is scrawled on every available surface in every town centre; no; I am referring to the beautifully designed, creatively made pieces; the town centre enhancing pieces.
The pieces that abound with exuberant colour and spray can expertise.

I spend the next two or three years terrorising Penzance with my midnight graffiti efforts, the results of which often appeared in the pages of the local newspaper.
Of course good old Penzance bus depot isn’t quite the New York Subway system but my intentions were the same, regardless of location.

Skip forward twenty-five years and apart from a few old Polaroid’s, my graffiti days are well behind me and almost completely forgotten.

Forgotten that is until I am sent a big box of juicy Montana Gold Acrylic Spray paints.

Unpacking the box, feeling the weight of the cans, hearing the jangle of the bearing inside and checking the various nozzles brought it all flooding back.

I resist the urge to creep out of the house at two in the morning and brighten up the local bus depot once more and instead wonder how I can experiment with these cans in a way that will show them off to their full potential?

I decide to paint a cityscape using traditional methods stirred up with my usual unconventional methods all topped off with a frothy topping of my old graffiti techniques.

The city I choose to depict is one that I know well, and coincidentally is also the original home of Banksy, graffiti artist par excellence; Bristol.


The first thing that strikes me about the Montana Gold range is the huge, and I mean really huge range of colours.
Over 200 glorious colours winking at me from the colour chart poster, “Go on Glyn, buy me, shake me, spray me” the colours tempt, “You know you want to!”
And I do.
I try and trick the colour chart by searching for shades and tints that I might one day like to use, shades and tints that I think might be missing; but they are all there, every last one, all available, and all in a spray can.

And where else do you find a colour range that includes the delightfully named Banana Joe, Make-Up, Scampi, Vampirella, Mt. Everest, Brain, Poison and who could resist Dirty Apricot?

So, the first test is passed with flying colours.

Next I study the application process and find the expected, ‘Danger! Extremely Flammable, Contents Under Pressure, Vapour Harmful, don’t inhale, spray on your skin or use as an ice cream topping usual warnings, so, OK, maybe Montana Gold Acrylic Spray Paint isn’t one for the kiddies but when using all your common sense safe practices these cans are awesome.

Next, I am slightly suspicious of the Extremely High-covering claim and try working light over dark, but the covering doesn’t let me down, it does indeed cover well and the paint dries quickly too, which is a real help when trying to avoid the dreaded drips of conventional spray cans.

So what next?
The literature states ‘CFC free’, I should think so to, ‘Low-Pressure system works on flexible surfaces’, and it does; ‘Weatherproof and lightproof’, again, tick, yes it does; and finally ‘High Accuracy’, yes, absolute high accuracy, if you want it; or if you want broader strokes, larger areas covered and other special effects you can simply pop on the relevant fat, skinny or inbetweeny cap.

Oh, and did I say that the acrylic paint is Matt which is perfect for over painting but also comes in Gold’s, Coppers, Silvers, pure Magentas, Cyan’s and Yellows; as well as every subtle shade imaginable from Pebble, Malachite and Elm to the dazzling Gleaming Pink.

Now I can’t guarantee that these cans will turn you into the new Banksy but they will open your eyes to new ways of working and that surely can only be a good thing.