Thursday, 23 February 2017

Photographs and the Artist

The digital camera is both a godsend and a curse to the modern artist.

Mary Kemp
Sacrawell Farm
See a paintable scene and snap it! Once, twice, a dozen times, each shot just that tiny bit different.
Life is fast. People to see, places to go. No time to stand and stare, let alone stop and do draw like a proper artist.

It's not the same working from photos is it? Something is lost. Everything takes on  an homogonised feel. Insignificant objects, a rougue plastic bag, a street sign, have the same significance as the thing you really want to concentrate on.

When you draw or paint from life you select the important elements and everything is seen in relation to those.

Mary Kemp
Orton Mere
Drawing, as opposed to taking a photo lodges the view in your brain and immediately gives you a better understanding of what you see.

Now I'm not an advocate of painting en plein air. I know it's what the hard core artists do but all that wrestling with the elements long term is not for me. Rather I like to sketch in short bursts outside, gathering up information in a sketch book and sparingly snatch a few photos àlong the way. If you take too many photos you spend all your time trawling through them to find the one you want, and then discover it actually wasn't what you thought it was anyway.
I will confess to having taken too many photos in the past and I never like to delete them. You don't know when you'll regret it! But how many are on my computer???

But I've got over my photo addiction now.

The best photos are in your head, and the best paintings are all the better for a bit of direct observation.

Friday, 3 February 2017

New Painting "Stop Running Away!"

Do you ever have that moment when your day feels as though it's going to end in chaos, with those you want to keep an eye on scattering in all directions.
I had that in mind when I painted this picture.
Mary Kemp
"Stop Running Away"
Oil on canvas panel 40 x 40 cm

Sunday, 1 January 2017


I wish you all a Happy New Year. 

May it be filled with health and happiness, fun and laughter, and art aplenty!

Mary Kemp.
"Rock Pools" detail

Thursday, 24 November 2016

How to Care for Prints

I'm often asked by my customers how to look after the prints once  they've bought them from me.
Prints are a great way to enjoy art, and cared for properly a print will look just as good decades down the line as it does today.
Advances in technology have meant that inks and paper are much more stable than they used to be.
This doesn't mean that you can mistreat your print any more than you could before, but it does mean that given good conditions it will last longer.
There are four main enemies out there, dust and rogue particles, light, moisture and bad chemicals, and of course the aim is to avoid these.

Care should involve:

  1. Protecting behind glass.
  2. Avoiding direct sunlight.
  3. Not keeping your print in the kitchen or bathroom or any other steamy atmosphere.
  4. Making sure  the surfaces that are in direct contact with your print are acid free.
    Mary Kemp.
    Ginger and White Cat with Lilac
There are many off the shelf frames out there in all different sizes and styles and I for one often use these. They are cheap and you can usually find something to suit your requirements.
Ideally your print should have a mount. This serves to keep it from directly resting on the glass. Attach the print to the top back surface of the mount so it hangs behind the mount, anchoring only the top edge. This way the print won't crinkle as it accommodates changes in moisture and temperature in the atmosphere. The tape you use is important. Don't use sellotape. Framer's tape or even masking tape are better.
Next put the mount in the frame, cleaning the glass well, and seal the back of the frame, with tape so nothing can get in. You'd be surprised how dust and tiny thunder flies can penetrate.
So it's all ready to hang.
Remember the cord on the back, strong nylon cord, tied with a proper knot.
One of the most embarrassing things that happened in our house was a picture falling off the wall in the middle of the night. It hit the burglar alarm box, setting off the alarm and waking up the whole street. We were not popular! It was a lesson painfully learned.
If the diy option is not for you visit a local picture framer. It might not be as cheap but this is the bespoke option, and you will be guided through your choices by an expert.
So diy or bespoke I hope I've given you a few tips about how to care for your prints.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Feeling Wintery.

In the winter the weekend is an oasis in a desert of darkness.
All week you see only work and darkness and given a day off it's time to explode into the light. But it's not really light, it's cold and locked down and when you get out there is a feeling that we've all dashed out to see the weak glow of the sun before it sinks below the horizon and then it's back to feeling cold and wanting to eat cakes and drink hot chocolate.

I've called this "Winter Beach with Figures"
but really I'm looking for another title.
Any ideas?
Leave a message in the comments box.

You can tell I'm feeling a bit wintery (Is that a proper word? Spell checker says No!)
I painted this picture after a cold Sunday afternoon at the seaside. There were a lot of people about despite the awful weather. Sometimes you need to just get out there and take what nature throws at you.