From Asses to Bottoms…

June 7, 2017 § 2 Comments

IMG_8331In honour of the election, a portrait of Bottom. The latest work to be finished for the forth coming exhibition ‘Images of A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Sandhill, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5EP, Tel. 01728 452035 or email: a.cuddigan@btinternet.com

Opening on Sunday, runs for 3 weeks.

image: ‘Bottom Sitting’ – gesso & oil on hardboard, 32 x 24″

Drawing Asses

June 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

I have been drawing fantastic beasts for a year but no ‘Bottom’s’…

‘Bottom & Titania’ – Pen & ink & wash 5 x 8″, one of a series featuring in the forthcoming

‘Images from A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ 11th – 30th June 2017

Sandhill, Priors Hill Road, Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Images of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

May 31, 2017 § Leave a comment

 ‘A Festival Exhibition’ for the Aldeburgh Music Festival 2017

An exhibition of new work inspired by Benjamin Britten’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and other things.

Sandhill, Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Opens 11th June.

Please get in touch for more information or to receive an invitation if not on the mailing list. Invites are coming out by post, late, (my fault!), apologies…

Dancing for Doctors!

May 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

Ballet in Berwick raising funds for MSF, tomorrow, Friday 19th May 4.30-6pm at The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed!

I am not allowed to reveal my sources because boys don’t do ballet, (of course!), but it has come to our attention that The Jane Keenan School of Ballet is doing this brilliant charitable event tomorrow: https://www.facebook.com/janekeenanballet/posts/10154898463509191

But I can confess an interest in MSF, Médecins Sans Frontieres, whose work across the world is well known and, sadly, needed more badly than ever. Two years ago, we raised nearly £6000 through donating a percentage of sales from the exhibition ‘With New Won Eyes’ along with a blind auction of fantastic artworks by younger artists attending local childcare along with the boys who don’t do ballet. https://olivialomenechgill.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/the-cabinet-of-curiosities-art-for-auction/  for MSF’s work in Syria.

Those artworks are now gone, but tomorrows event is not (even if it is short notice on my part!), so if anyone wants to come along to see another form of talent, or support the event and MSF remotely, the above link has all the info, including a link for donating.

Thank you! (And any similarities between the above drawings and what appears on stage tomorrow is entirely coincidental!).

A happy new year for poetry…

January 13, 2017 § 2 Comments

photo.jpeg…not ‘just’ Poetry Book of the Year but Book of the Year!! And why not? Congratulations to Kathleen Jamie for ‘The Bonniest Companie’, a brilliant anthology of poems, for which I was honoured to produce a cover artwork and which has recently won the Saltire Society ‘Book of the Year Award 2016’ (as well as ‘Poetry Book of the Year’!). Working with poets is my favourite kind of illustration, less words = more pictures, (only joking!!). Here’s to more poetry in 2017, especially given the new powers in charge; after all, who really wants a ‘war of the worlds’…?

PS. Congratulations to Waterstones in Edinburgh for the lovely display, and the collage technique…are you running workshops?

Canus Lupus Familiaris…or Impossibilius?

November 1, 2016 § 3 Comments

canus-lupus I just read about a mother being told she couldn’t breastfeed her small baby in ‘Mothercare’, a shop which, I think, would like itself to be a well known store for mothers and, erm…babies, those noisy little things that occasionally need food! Well, good luck to her, when we seem to live in a world where companies claim this and that for retail purposes, and yet act in an entirely contradictory fashion in terms of genuine empathy, help and support. What has happened? Store assistants, if we are going to be ‘american’ about it, are there to provide something called ‘assistance’ which is meant to be helpful, I think. Any new mother who has been out with a small child knows the stress, the feeling of disapproval, when one’s child becomes noisy. Yet getting a breast out, in the real world, however discreetly, is somehow controversial. Better to conjure up some formula ‘milk’, made from the eye sockets of tuna fish and other waste products, YUM!

Whatever it is that Mothercare sell, I hope they provide it free to the mother concerned, and a door to door service for the next 12 months, that is the least they can do. But the reason I am writing this is because I felt very similar sentiments when I travelled a considerable way to see a remarkable exhibition. I am not going to advertise it as it might contravene their privacy policy, but suffice to say I am studying some animal anatomy for a project I am working on and the exhibition in question is in Newcastle, currently, and is a global phenomenon, (quite rightly because the science involved is really astonishing, as are the results). I looked up their policies online before going, and it mentions that still photography is permitted, but not of the one human body on display, which I thought quite reasonable. The trouble started when I got a sketchbook out. To draw. This is an activity which involves observing a subject, a drawing tool of some sort and a surface on which to record the observations. Archaic, I know, but it is what I do. And it is how every artist worth their salt has learnt to draw, from life models and from cadavers. Being a complete amateur myself, having skipped art school, I am always catching up. But in twenty five years of drawing in exhibitions, to learn about what I am looking at, I have never been hassled, or, as in this case, asked to leave the exhibition to fill out a form, and provide all my personal details ‘for the records’. I wouldn’t mind if this was specified on the website of the venue where the exhibition is currently on display, (‘no artists please’, something like that would get the message across), or if it wasn’t for the fact that every other visitor, without exception, wandered in with various forms of mobile technology, photographing and filming the exhibits, even the one that had a notice clearly displayed saying ‘photography not permitted’. I wouldn’t mind filling out a form and wearing a sticker if it wasn’t for this, but as it was I had limited time to get some (dare I say) ‘work’ done, having young children with me, a broken down car outside, and a long journey home.

I feel sorry I didn’t attend The Slade all those years ago, like my excellent and unbeatable counterpart Justin Mortimer and various other proper artists I know, because it seems that the way the world is going, in terms of corporate blockbuster exhibitions where artists are unwelcome; the education of young children who used to be allowed to ‘make a mess with poster paint’ but aren’t anymore, and that of art students attending colleges whose tutors don’t know how to draw; there is no hope for people like ‘us’ anymore…

As you can tell from the above image, I didn’t get any decent drawing done, I could blame it on the fact I spent most of my creative energies filling in forms, but maybe it is just down to the fact I don’t get to do any proper drawing anymore…it’s bollocks, and not the dogs’ either!

From Wellies to War Horse at Paxton

September 13, 2016 § 3 Comments

farm-pictures

An exhibition currently running at Paxton House, until 31st October, celebrating the book ‘Where My Wellies Take Me…’ which I was commissioned to illustrate by the writer Michael Morpurgo in 2009.

As well as the fifty or so framed works, which include original spreads from the book, etchings and paintings, there are several display cases with work in progress…

display-case-mockup

The original ‘mockup’ book

display-case-mockup-i

…experimenting with a little paper engineering!

Having never illustrated a book before, I did everything the wrong way, including making a full size mockup of the book to work out how many pages the finished thing would be.

display-case-maps

Work ‘from the field’, quite literally!

I also went camping in Devon, to do my research, part of which was mapping out the local landscape which is the geography of the book itself.

display-case-watercolours

Always keep your paintbox clean…

The best thing about the book is that it is written and drawn (I supposed) by an eight year old, so it was a fantastic opportunity to learn about all sorts of things like wildlife, and erm, how to draw…(not mastered that one yet, but keep practising!).

display-case-matchbox-etc

Copperplates and Matchboxes

In the display cases are things no-one normally sees, all to do with how the book was made including some etching plates, which I used for some of the pages, and also one of my favourite things, the matchbox that Michael lent me when I was camping in their garden. I later painted this matchbox in the book…

display-case-matchbox

The Blue Cross Safety Match, thank you Michael!

By a series of misfortunes I was lucky to land myself in the lap of the villagers and to get to know many very kind people, all of whom helped to a great extent with my work on the book, and some of whom even modelled for characters in it,  so thank you once again to the good people of Iddesleigh!

All this, and the finished article, is now on display at Paxton House. For more information please get in touch, www.paxtonhouse.com

There is also a wonderful Michael Morpurgo exhibition on at Seven Stories in Newcastle, also featuring some of the ‘Wellies’ & ‘War Horse’ work. Please visit www.sevenstories.org.uk