Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Painting exercise

'Pineapple on Plate'
10" x 12"
oil on canvas panel

I finished off a painting exercise today that I began last week. In the first session, I made a rapid underpainting which I needed to dry completely before continuing. I used cadmium yellow in the underpainting along with titanium white. These pigments have a slower drying time, but luckily the pineapple survived the drying time :) and I carried on with it this afternoon. I gave myself no longer than 2 hours working time from start to finish. The first session last week took around 45 mins and the second session an hour. The result is fresh and energetic, and unlaboured, which was the kind of result I was looking for :)

Friday, 17 October 2014


15cm x 15cm
oil on canvas panel

After many months of making charcoal, pastel and gesso drawings, (and if you remember, re-constructing drawings into mosaics) I have my oil paints out again...! Don't get me wrong, It's been exciting working in that way (and I will return to it soon), but I have to say it's good to smell that sweet fragrance of turps again! :) I have begun by re-working 'Alison' as I've always felt she needed further work as I never felt I had totally resolved her. I have softened some of the transitions of colour and placed some warmer hues into the flesh. One of the advantages of using a limited palette is that it's easier to carry on where you left off without struggling to recreate the correct colour mix. When painting the flesh, I change the blue on my palette from Ultramarine to Cerulean. Cerulean makes lovely cool flesh tints, and violet greys for some of the shadow areas. 
I'm satisfied that I've now managed to capture not only the softness in her skin tones but also the twinkle in her eye which is very much 'Alison'. :)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Pics of the opening of 'Healing Fibres'

'Healing Fibres' 
Sprinkler Factory 
 38 Harlow St., Worcester, MA, USA
The show opened on 5th October

Here are some pics of the opening.

What a fabulous gallery space!

My two pieces are on the far wall

The show opened with flamenco dancing...

Artists participating in the exhibition were:

Bayda Asbridge
Susan Black
Laura Cahalane
Charlotte Eckler
Jeri Gillian
Ann Hanscom
Patti Kelly
Ann Stoker
Mihoko Wakabayashi
Jill Watts

Here are my pieces 'Veil' and 'Veil 2 - the Girl with the Golden Hair' hanging either side of Bayda Asbridge's 'Kiss'

Below are a selection of pieces from the other artists in the exhibition

The opening was a resounding success and I only wish I could have been there :(  
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my dear friend Bayda for inviting me to show my work at the Sprinkler Factory and for all her hard work organising the exhibition. 

Here is a link to Bayda's Facebook page where you will find more pics of the show:  https://www.facebook.com/bayda.asbridge.7?fref=photo

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Back in my studio at last!

This is the first day since our exhibition in September 'Aspects of the Feminine' that I've been in my studio working. There's been lots to catch up on but most of it's done now apart from one or two walls I promised to paint once the exhibition came down! I've started gently today by reworking a piece that in the show I called 'Feeling Nature'. I've added colour in the foreground which I feel has strengthened the composition and given the piece a definite focus. While it was hanging in the gallery I felt like taking it off the wall and working on it there and then! Teaching tomorrow....making studies for paintings with crayons, sketchbooks and IPads...should be a fun morning! :)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Pics of our Private View!

It was a brilliant evening with lots of great feedback from all the lovely people who turned out for us :) A big thankyou to everyone who came to our private view and to Alice and Emma who did a marvellous job on the wine table.
Here are some pics: 

                             Sylvia and me...you can see we're two happy artists!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

All framed up and ready to go!

I've been busy putting work in frames and painting and waxing frames. You can see in this photo some of the smaller pieces going off to the show. The work in painted frames is already wrapped and ready to go. All I have to do now is print out the labels and...yay...all done! 

I'm now looking forward to seeing all my hard work in situ in the gallery space and looking forward even more to the private view on Tuesday. It's going to be a good do and I hope everyone who can will come along and partake in a glass or two of wine with us :) I'm also just about to send off my pieces to the States for the show in October...It would be nice to accompany it but hey perhaps another time :) 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

'The Birth of Ophelia'

'The Birth of Ophelia'
60cm x 1200cm (24" x 48")
gesso, charcoal and pastel on board 

This last piece, which I am pleased to tell you is now complete... :) has been influenced by Sir John Everett Millais' 'Ophelia'. The painting by Millais depicts a scene from Shakespeare's Hamlet in which Ophelia's father is murdered by her lover Hamlet and as a result Ophelia drowns herself in a stream. My Ophelia on the other hand, is in the process of rebirth! She represents the feminine and creative aspects of water in the way that for aeons water has been equated with the feminine aspects of creation and nature. There is a common and recurring image in many cultures, that of the Goddess emerging from the water. So here, my Ophelia is emerging from the water only to be reborn as a Goddess..don't you just prefer happy endings!...:)

Saturday, 9 August 2014


120cm x 60cm
charcoal, pastel and paint on board

Meet Jeanne d'Arc or as we know her Joan of Arc! She is also known as the Maid of Orleans and represents here the archetype of 'heroine' or 'woman devoted to a noble cause'. History states that Joan denied her femininity in order to fit in with the 'boys' on the battle field There are other 'heroines' in history whose story is similar, (Camilla for one, who fought in Italy against the Trojan hero Aeneus ) which might lead you to the conclusion that heroism is a male prerogative. Now we can't have that can we!  In my version she is portrayed as a strong, determined but nonetheless very feminine woman. She wears part of her coat of arms (a lily) on a pendant around her neck symbolising her devotion to duty and her willing sacrifice to the belief that she was to be emancipator of France. 
This piece will be part of the show in September. I have just one more piece still to make to complete the body of work for the show...nearly there!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

'Helen of Troy' Archetype of beauty or scapegoat?

40cm x 50cm 
charcoal, pastel and paint on board

Here is my version of a modern day Helen of Troy. Helen is a character that I find fascinating and who I tend to think has had a raw deal! Over the centuries she alone has had to shoulder the blame for the Trojan war having been arguably accused of being the sole reason for the battle. We know Helen was not squeaky clean but the accusation is just a little unfair as the Greeks and Trojans jumped at the chance to go in there and do battle with each other! They had their own political agendasbut they've been allowed to escape scot-free and haven't had to accept any responsibility!! So here is my homage to Helen as archetype of beauty yes, but also as long-suffering scapegoat who now deserves to be liberated :)

Monday, 28 July 2014

'Take 5' Private View - Sam Scorer Gallery, Lincoln

Here are a couple of pics from the 'Take 5' Private View last Friday. I took these at the beginning of the 'do' just as the evening was getting going. It went very well indeed and proved to be a great night all round :) We had a brilliant turnout and I'd like to thank all those who managed to get there. If you haven't made it to the exhibition yet, then there's still a chance to see the show as it continues all week finishing 4.00pm on Sunday 3rd August.

 Bird's eye view 1

Bird's eye view 2

Lots of engaging and diverse work to view

...and a great spread too!

Monday, 21 July 2014

'Take 5' Starts tomorrow!

I've been at the Gallery today hanging my pieces for 'Take 5', the second exhibition of artists Carol Butler, Jenny Hammerton, Janis Mitchell, Jo Slone and myself. Below is a taster of what's in the exhibition. Our work is very diverse as you can see from the images below, but hangs together beautifully. When I left the gallery, the hang was almost complete and I have to say it was looking amazing!  The show starts tomorrow and runs through until Sunday August 3rd at Sam Scorer Gallery, Drury Lane, Lincoln, LN1 3BN
Don't forget, if you're in the area and free this Friday 25th July 6.00pm - 9.00pm do come along to the gallery for a glass of wine at the private view. Hope to see you there. 

Ann Stoker

Carol Butler

Janis Mitchell

Jenny Hammerton

Jo Slone

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Second piece for 'Healing Fibres'

'Veil 2'
40cm x 50cm
mixed media

This is my second piece 'Veil 2' for the exhibition 'Healing Fibres' and my last post before I go to Spain for a week. It's a working holiday but here's hoping it will be more holiday than work! :)

Friday, 4 July 2014

'Healing Fibres' - Exhibition in Worcester, Massachusetts

45cm x 50cm
mixed media on paper

I've reworked this piece for an exciting new exhibition 'Healing Fibres' organised in Worcester, Massachusetts by fibre artist Bayda Asbridge. The exhibition is an annual event to raise awareness and discussion about political, environmental, gender, racial, medical, human rights and other societal issues. The theme for this year is violence against women. This image is to be one of my pieces. I have included threads in the drawing and placed a layer of slashed and distressed netting in front of the image to act as a veil. Both of my pieces will be 'veiled'. I should have the other piece ready to post tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


50cm x 40cm
charcoal, pastel and paint on board

I'm now in the process of pursuing the feminine archetype as it appears in myth.This is Brigid. She was a powerful, if not the most powerful goddess in the Celtic pantheon. Another name for her is 'Bride'. She was a triple goddess - Maid, Mother and Crone. Her face in my painting is from imagination. All I knew when I started drawing her was that I wanted her image to be in profile.  I placed the crown of flowers on her head as a symbol of the Celtic connection to the land. 

Friday, 27 June 2014


charcoal , pastel and paint on board
50cm x 40cm

This is 'Eve', mother of all mankind...or as Carl Jung described her, biological woman. Jung introduced us to the anima, the unconscious feminine side of man's personality and divided the anima into four levels, one of which was Eve. Jung's Eve is a fascinating character as she is a woman of infinite faces...this is just one of them! 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Mother and Infant

paint and charcoal on paper
50cm x 70cm

Still on the theme of archetypes, this piece represents 'the nurturing mother'. Following in the footsteps of the many and varied historic Madonna and Child representations, this image illustrates our idealised concept of motherhood. My subject, I must tell you, is not from imagination but taken from life...it's my daughter-in-law and grandson. They'd eventually fallen asleep on cushions on the floor having spent one of those 'typical' never-ending nights that parents inevitably experience with infant babies! 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Charcoal and paint

70cm x 50cm
charcoal, pastel, paint on paper

I've been continuing my exploration into combining charcoal and paint and have come up with this piece for my show 'Aspects of the Feminine' for which I'm now in the throes of making work!  I'm looking at the feminine archetype and searching for suitable characters. I love this character, she's going to be my woman of wisdom, 'Sophia'.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Class Exhibition!

This afternoon we held the private view of 'People, Places and Things', an exhibition of work by the two art groups that I teach. It was a great success and we all had a fab afternoon :) I took the photograph above towards the end of the afternoon when it was slowing down...as you can tell by the empty wine bottles! :) The photo below shows the beautiful flowers that I was given by the groups to say thankyou for teaching them...I was very touched and I thank you all :) 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Movement in line

'In Rehearsal 7'
charcoal on scored paper
50cm x 50cm

The 'In Rehearsal' series came about because of my love of dance. I was lucky enough to be invited to sit in and make drawings at a rehearsal session. As you can imagine the speed at which I had to draw was frantic as the dancers of course were constantly moving! There were very few moments of stasis! I ended up with energetic line drawings of at times, incoherent figures writhing about on my paper surface! Back in the studio I selected the more coherent figures and put together compositions attempting to depict the dancers' exquisite poise and expressive emotion and the wonderful shapes they create with their remarkably supple bodies. This is one in the series, the other I have already posted when it was showing in the exhibition 'Bodylines'.    

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

'Sub Rosa'

'Sub Rosa'
Charcoal, acrylic and gesso on board
60cm x 60cm

Since ancient times, the rose has been widely used as a symbol of maternal creativity, love and beauty. However, it has also been used as a sign of silence and secrecy. I discovered that 'Sub Rosa' means 'under the rose' and is used to denote confidentiality and secrecy. In the middle ages when a rose was hung from the ceiling of the council chamber, all those present at the meeting were pledged to secrecy. I found being 'under the influence' of the rose an intriguing idea and decided to make some work about it. I hope you find this piece equally intriguing. 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Steps leading into a wood

charcoal on scored paper
130cm x 70cm

This is another drawing I came across when I was sorting out my studio space. It's a large piece that I made on a trip to Germany. The drawing is of a wooded area that was close by to the house where I stayed. Finding the drawing again brought back some fond memories of my stay in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Lincoln's twin town. I spent a week at an artists' symposium making work in a glorious studio environment with 11 others artists from all over Europe. I stayed with a lovely and very hospitable family who provided the opportunity to experience a little authentic German living. Ahhh...happy memories :)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Portrait of a Woman

charcoal on scored paper

It's been a while since my last post but in between then and now I've had six radio interviews, been to Spain and back and, not before time, reorganised and tidied my studio! During the big sort out I had a look through past drawings and came across this one. It hasn't been exhibited before and I think it may go in my next show. I made this piece using my usual process of scoring into the paper surface first without any preliminary drawing. I like the marks this way of working produces and the unpredictability of the resulting image. I have another piece to show you in the next couple of days that I've recently finished and the work on the easel right now is an abstract piece (also for the next show) which could be ready soon :)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Today at Caistor

'Hestia 2'
50cm x 65cm
charcoal and pastel on scored paper

I've spent another really nice Saturday at Caistor meeting more interesting people and managing to get started on 'Hestia 2'. I chose the image 'Hestia' to work from as it's a tried and tested one and I've wanted for a long time to make another version, so today was an ideal opportunity. I worked  on it further when I arrived back home and have got thus far. It's not completely resolved but not too far off. Below is the original version .

Friday, 9 May 2014

Next body of work

oil paint and charcoal on board
60cm x 60cm

This is the first piece of my next body of work. I began making it a while back whilst working on my mosaic drawings. It's for the exhibition in September titled 'Aspects of the Feminine', an intriguing subject and one I'm going to enjoy working with. I'm exploring the use of oil paint and charcoal together. They're my two all time favourite media so I'm finding the process very exciting! 
I'm at Caistor tomorrow making a drawing in the gallery (and probably doing alot of chatting!) And then Monday we're off to our house in Spain for a few days, spending time with family and carrying out the usual annual maintenance (that's the down side!)  Hopefully though, there won't be too much to do when we get there :)

Thursday, 8 May 2014

I'll be at Caistor Saturday

charcoal on scored and cut paper
30cm x 30cm

I'm back in the gallery at the Arts and Heritage Centre, Plough Hill, Caistor on Saturday. I shall be there between 10.30am - 2.30pm to meet and greet visitors. I look forward to meeting all those that can get there :) 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

'Meet the Artist' at Caistor

I've had a very eventful week all round including being interviewed on the radio! I was asked on to talk about my exhibition at Caistor and the 'Meet the Artist' day which was held yesterday. It was a very enjoyable day. I met lots of interesting people who were intrigued by my work and asked me lots of questions and I have to say I had some great feedback. In fact if you go to this link: www.rodcollins.com/wordpress/  you will be able to read a review of the show. 
My thanks to Sheila and her team at the Centre for their help and assistance in organising and hanging the exhibition. And my thanks to everyone who came along yesterday to 'Meet the Artist'. There's still plenty of time to get to the exhibition as it runs until 1st June. 
Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre
28 Plough Hill
Tel: 01472 851605
The gallery is occasionally used for meetings so if you are coming from a long way it's best to telephone first on the above number.