Just been along to visit the studio of Seamus Cuddihy, a sculptor in Chessington, which is my neck of the woods.  And while I really enjoyed looking at his work and learning about the processes involved in the making of cast sculptures, it was the WOOD which “got me” again.  I think I might be requesting another visit when I decide to start making my next woodcarving, or even when making some woodblocks for printing!

Seamus has a great selection of beautiful work on display in his garden and studio.  There is plenty to see and it is well worth a visit.  I am hoping that maybe next year it might be possible for more artist/makers in Chessington to take part in the Surrey  Artists Open Studios.  It cannot be that it is just myself and Seamus in the Hook and Chessington area?  I would be interested in hearing from other artist/makers in Chessington/Hook who might be interested in looking into the idea of taking part as a small group in the Surrey Artists Open Studios in the future.  It might work out well.  It helps if more than one person get together with something like this, because people are more likely to come and visit is there are several types of work on show.  I have been meaning to sort out joining KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios) for ages, but still haven’t got around to doing it.  Another thing for the “must do” list!

Seamus has a great collection of indoor and outdoor contemporary wood carvings and cold cast bronzes.  I think my favourite is “Self Assured” in which Seamus has managed to express a very strong sense of inner vitality and  centred emotional expression, to such an extent that I cannot remember when I last came across such an engaging sculptural head.  I found myself wanting a conversation with it!

See his website:  www.3dartwork.myby.co.uk

The sculptures are very reasonably priced indeed, many under £200, and it is worth taking a look and making a visit to Seamus’ studio if you have a special occasion coming up, as he does Life Casting (Nothing to do with the theatre!!! – Rather your own body parts used to make a cast… Don’t worry, it can be done while they are still attached to the rest of you!) and also Commemorative Plaques.

I did not realise that it is not only metals that can be used in the casting process but also non-metals like marble and slate.   In fact, most dry materials can be cast, for example ash.  This made me think that if someone had died, you could get their ashes cast using a cold casting technique, and I wonder if this is common place?  I have thought previously of using ashes in paint, because I have heard of this being done, but never quite got around to trying it out.  Plus I didn’t have any ashes around.  Mmm,  we won’t go there.  I am worried about imaginary accusations of being “morbid”, but this is a silly thing, because we all are born and we all die.  I think having ashes in a painting or a sculpture, in the very fabric of it, is an excellent idea.  It seems very harmonious and fitting to me: You can  have the remains of a life in something of beauty. It will  both remind one of the creative power of life, and also the person (or pet) who, while they are no longer right by us, live in our hearts and thoughts through the memories we still experience, and through the connections we make when we sometimes see things which were meaningful and had a special significance, for whatever reason.  Painting and Sculpture are made for such things. I am surprised that more of this kind of thing doesn’t go on!

If anyone wants some ashes in a sculpture or a painting, I guess you now know where you might enquire!

Take this opportunity to visit Seamus at his studio in Chessington, Surrey.

Thinking of painting, I think, for an abstract painting incorporating ashes, “Niche” would be a  meaningful pattern composition wise to follow. I see this dimension and expansion of the meaning here:

niche– an enclosure that is set back or indented

alcove, bay – a small recess opening off a larger room
apse, apsis – a domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church; usually contains the altar
cinerarium, columbarium – a niche for a funeral urn containing the ashes of the cremated dead
enclosure – a structure consisting of an area that has been enclosed for some purpose
Below is my painting “Niche” painted a while back now, but one I am enthusiastic about, and which contains lots of visual elements which I can see myself utilising in the future:
nice non objective multi coloured abstract canvas painting expressionistic lyrical surrey south west london painter painting sale buy

Ah yes, it is my favourite place.  West Dean College is where it all started for me in 2005 when I attended the “Sculpture with Wire”  Course tutored by David Farrer.   My sculpture “Articulation” hangs in my studio as a beautiful reminder of a kind of birth… I nearly sold it a couple of years ago, but I am quite glad I still have it for now. I may well continue working on it in the future.  That course worked as a kind of take-off pad for me I think… to suddenly have a whole week to be creative made me realise how fundamental my creativity is to my existence.  And one course turned into several more over the years, mostly involving working with metal, but two in painting.  Short but sweet.

I am playing it safe this year and attending an excellent course by John T Freeman.  I know it’s excellent because I did it a couple of years ago.  (I say “playing it safe”  because I have attended a course which just wasn’t the right kind of thing for me before, and this is a very discouraging experience.)  The painting course is only for a week,  but I just cannot wait.

Image is one taken at West Dean Gardens in the Spring.  My heart’s gone out of making photographic images right now, but I take a little time now and again to fiddle around with past images with Adobe Photoshop.   And it is a very handy skill to have as an artist.  Good for putting work up on the internet, sending it here and there, entering competitions and all that stuff.  However, I worry at times that there may be glue on the stool that I sit on in front of the computer.  You sit down, thinking you are just going to check your emails, and then look up one hour later, and realise you are still there!  So I presently work as little as I can on the computer, and as much as I can with paint.

Having said that, occasionally I am tempted to play around on screen.  Hence  “Morning River, West Dean”, which was an image originally taken in 2007.   It’s a nice little game, but I would not claim that my current photographic images are anything special in themselves.  They are an artistic product without any great craftsmanship.  Some knowledge, a limited tool in the shape of my  distinctly unprofessional camera, and the computer magic of software.  Yet there is value in it for me all the same.  But I am not a photographer, no, I am not.  The beauty of it, for me, has all drained dry.  I am pleased with what I have done in the past, and I am keen to continue some threads started in the past,  but I don’t see much future in it for me.

This type of black and white image ” Morning River, West Dean”  IS something I will continue with, and rather interestingly, it is something in the vein of which I started with. Stuck all over my “Articulation” sculpture (2005) are black and white photocopied images of the branches of a tree in my garden.   I was struck so by the patterns of the branches of different trees, by the whole system of a tree, by the relationship between the overarching pattern or design and that of each unique individual tree.  So it appears I have come full circle!


Take a look at my website and see some examples of my current art working.

Oh, how pleasing. My painting  (Apple Orchard)  has been accepted for the Surrey Artists Network 1st Anniversary Exhibition! After quite an adventure getting it to the gallery ( which involved me and one child on one train to Guildford, and my husband and other child on a different train)  I am particularly pleased.  There is so much wonderful artistic talent in Surrey; it is exciting and interesting to see what other artists are exploring and the vast variety of their work. Do pop along to the Otters Pool Studio in Guildford and take a look at the work on show if you are in the area. I think they may need to rotate the exhibition, as there is more art than space, but what a great problem to have, eh?!  Image is of Apple Orchard.

My pottery course is coming to a slow and gradual end…I have to stop it soon (for a while)as my painting is the main focus at present. It has been a revelation to me…it’s achieved its mission, which was to bring me back to a greater sensitivity with a physical material…necessary because of several years spent with manipulating images digitally. It is also interesting to me with regard to the type of forms which seem to flow from me…shell-like, fossil-type sculptural objects. The next image shows one in progress.

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