Noticias: What I’ve Been Up To…

art, drawing, Drawing in Public, Drawing in Public, Illustration, Painting, portrait, Prints, sketchbook, Sketchnotes, text and image

So I realize it’s over two months now since I left England, packed all my paints, charcoal, inks, pens, papers and a few clothes, and came to Barcelona.

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My three month trip has morphed into a six month one and I am completely at home for the moment. Home is in two parts, a room with light, a view over the city, an easel, and white walls becoming a patchwork of line and colour, and a communal studio where I spend my evenings painting from life alongside the Catalan retirees of Barcelona. This is also, pretty much, my social life.

And it fits.

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Trying to find my way back into oil painting and really understand it, i’ve been taking a lot of process shots which has resulted in these little animations which I love. Sometimes my favorite part is an in-between, unfinished stage – reminding me that sometimes you have to  just stop! This one was done on a portrait i had scrapped and sanded down.

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Not only painting, I’ve had some great models, known and strangers and been drawing –

A LOT.

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Some of these drawings are already up on Etsy and the shop is looking more spry than ever, and, much more representative of my current work. No painting up there yet but i’ll bargain on it soon!

Drawing from movement and dance has been the best thing…. finding  where observation, memory and imagination meet, giving each its space and letting them play together…

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See my works in progress on Instagram @BlancheEllisArt 

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Also, in MUSIC NEWS...

I’ll be playing solo as part of a showcase on April 1st at The Boarderline for Before The Gold Rush….

In my absence the EP I recorded last autumn with Maya McCourt as Various Guises has had some airtime on BBC – Radio 6 – (listen here). And, the stunning film, Purple Heather by Alfie Dale, for which we wrote some music has been finished! see the trailer here:

Purple Heather

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More to come soon.

x

Blanche

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Looking back, and forwards….

art, drawing, Drawing in Public, Exhibition, folktale, Illustration, location drawing, location painting, Market Stall, portrait, Prints, reportage, sketchbook, text and image

So, I hear it is a new year. I thought, seeing as I’m sitting in bed with the flu, I’d use the time to reflect on a few things that happened this last year, and where I’m going next….

Jagriti Yatra

This last year that has had me drawing on windows in high rise buildings, sketching at festivals, partaking in several exhibitions and starting new series’ and collaborations…. began, what feels like a long time ago, on a train.

I was traveling the width and breadth of India with the Jagriti Yatra, a charity for young social entrepreneurs. Working with with my colleague and good friend Temujen Gunewardena we captured the two week train ride in a 15 meter long illustration….

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and all the while I kept a personal sketchbook of our travels…

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Mythologies Series

In the late spring I made a call out for an author to create written illustrations for this series of over 40 drawings and their myriad cast of eccentric characters.

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Since then I have been working in collaboration with the Ines Ferreira a visual artist, maker of art-books and author of humorous, strange and serious, magic-realist worlds. I entrusted Inez with my Mythologies family and have loved reading the stories that have emerged. The concept, of creating a book or exhibition from this combined work, continues to develop in response to the work.

I cannot wait to read more and find the full shape of this series but I am also enjoying the slow pace. The project has a staying power,  I so often quickly abandon finished work for the next project, it a great practice to keep returning to pull more threads from the initial fibre.

Portraits At The Ashmolean

I spent a great evening in the spring at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford as ‘The Wandering Portrait Artist’, creating colourful portraits of the guests at the museum’s Andy Warhol inspired Portraits night.

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Black and White

My usual palette is fresh, bright and bold, full of citrus, sun and luminous shadows. The Ashmolean project pushed my colours to pop-art saturation… but, in the autumn, I had a brief period of black and white.

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This series was twice as unusual because I was not only working predominantly in black and white, I was working from photographs rather than from life, or from my mind. The effect was rather like collage, taking elements from my own photographs and other images and interweaving them to create cryptic narrative scenes. This series was exhibited at the Creative Connections studios in East London in November.

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Various Guises EP

November saw the launch of the Tide Take Him EP by the folk duo, Various Guises, myself and Maya McCourt. I was able to bring my art and music together in artwork for the EP and in song illustrations. I curated an exhibition at the launch and exhibited the EP artwork alongside the work of other artists on the theme.

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Etsy Shop

Having clambered onto the social media of Instagram the year before I forged even further into the world of zero’s and ones this year by opening an ETSY shop… currently it is stocked with prints and framed work and I look forward to putting more original work up.

Believe it or not – it seems to be working, I have so far sold prints in the UK, Austria, Australia and the USA !

Colourful Nudes

As December grew darker and greyer, I began a new series of delightfully colourful, naked ladies with extremely strange hair.

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 The Christmas Market

In December I also returned, almost by surprise, to Christmas Markets for the first time in 3 years, and had a fantastic time. It’s that lovely feeling of selling your work to someone personally, knowing where it is going to and what kind of home it may have…

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I sold a lot of original work including two members of the Strange Familiar’s, another series that mixes text and image in a short story, or mysterious narrative, style. The rest of the Strange Familiar family may be found in exhibition in 2017

and last but by no means least…

Crisis

I had the privilege and pleasure of working with Crisis this year as a volunteer, making portraits of the guests, giving drawing classes and helping in any other (totally unrelated) way I could. There is something in a portrait, that means you have been seen, and recognised. There is also a connection that is made by sitting face to face with someone for ten minutes, completely aware of one another without having to talk, only letting conversation come of its own accord. Many guests kept the portraits, others sent them to family, to their kids or mothers. I don’t think could use ink, paint or graphite in a better way. I’m very grateful for the experience.

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What next?

On Friday I leave for Barcelona for a period of self-directed study. Very little is decided except that my oil paints are coming with me and I plan to wrestle the caps off the tubes where they have gummed up and become stuck from lack of use. Drawing will continue, of course… and the rest, is all adventure. The main question is if there will be space for clothes in my suitcase, when all the art materials are in there.

And, of course, the eternal question of wether the gods-that-be will allow my banjo on as hand luggage.

¡Adios!

CALL OUT to Authors and Poets – Textual Illustration for The Image.

art, Design, drawing, Exhibition, exhibiton, folktale, Illustration, metamorphosis, Painting, portrait, press, Prints, short story

‘Cubs’ Another from the series – Mythologies.

CALL OUT: I have plans for a book and am looking for a writer.

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This series has over 40 pieces and most of them emerge as if from some old myth, folk tale or strange internal narrative. This is why I call them ‘Mythologies’.

But… the tales they tell have never been written. 

In the reverse to the usual relationship of text and image I am looking to collaborate with someone (or several people) to write text to accompany each picture, to illustrate the images, if you will.  The idea is to combine these into a book. This writing, be it a paragraph of prose or a few lines of poetry, will sit opposite the artwork on each page and make a pair to be ‘read’ together. 

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The Story-World…

The idea is that each piece of text be another ‘moment’ from the images story-world, a suggestion or clue that opens up the narrative to further interpretation rather than attempting to complete, or explain the picture itself. Instead of finished stories I’m looking for writing that echoes or extends the sense of mystery and magical-realism, and may do so without obvious reference to the image itself. It could be specific, detailed, atmospheric or impressionistic. 

I’m very excited to see what emerges from the birth of this project…..

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If you are interested….

I’d love to see any snatches of writing inspired by this as starting points and inspiration for the project which is just beginning and is a brand new idea, so do share this with anyone who might be interested, and email blancheellis@gmail.com for more images if you’d like to try writing something, or to discuss ideas for the project.

More images from the work can be seen on my Instagram @BlancheEllisArt

I also plan to have an exhibition of these artworks with the text in the future.

Thanks for stopping by!

Blanche

New work… Strange Friends….

art, drawing, Exhibition, folktale, Illustration, Painting, poetry, portrait, Prints, sketchbook

A new body of work has been growing… always bodies, always metamorphosing, always emerging from I’m not sure where, and becoming strangely familiar by the time they’re finished, as if I’d seen them a long time ago, and only just remembered them.

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As usual I don’t know their story before hand, but after I’ve seen them I can guess, and these guesses go into the titles.

The series is growing quite fast, the question really, is whether the pages of this sketchbook, or this particular 8B pencil, will run out first and mark the limit.

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I would like to exhibit them all together, as a community, but for now the community is still growing… you can see them emerging here

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There is a narrative stream working its way through these figures, like a collection of short stories, myths or folktales. I’m not sure of the theme, but the work reveals itself, and answers are dead ends.

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So, many minds, the crown hands, tea, and more to come.

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India: Travels and Drawings – Part II

art, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, location drawing, location painting, metamorphosis, Painting, portrait, sketchbook, Sketchnotes

For the first 15 days in India this was our mad itinerary,

 travel by night…

new place each day….

except for when we travelled for up to 42 hours without stopping.

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In all the different places Tem and I met projects and role models for social entrepreneurship and took graphic notes, on walls, and floors, and trains…. all over India

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And in the meantime I kept my personal sketchbook going…

Instalment II of India Sketchbook follows:

Blanche-India-Sketchbook---FAST---0.2- 20%

 

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We visited Gram Vikas and heard about their work in community health particularly their surrounding water and sanitation in rural areas. We visited the village pictured above. It was beautiful, particularly the amount of care that went into decorating each home and the hand-painted entrances and doors… but also very strange to be 450+ outsiders walking through a small village, looking at peoples homes.

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Mohit from the School of Social Entrepreneurs  – on the left was our bunk mate and a great host (despite being a guest himself on the train.) He never looked that glum in reality.

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At the amazing stone carved and brightly coloured temple in Madurai I experienced a ‘blessing’ form a ‘boff’ on the head from an elephants trunk.  It felt a bit like a head hug.

We ran drawing workshops in our compartment on the train some evenings and the lovely Kinjal was a great model! Amazing bone structure and poise. It was great to facilitate other peoples artwork, come up with games and do a little teaching along the way. It’s something I really enjoy.

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I occasionally had a moment in my own mind and came out with the strangenesses therein… and drew the cities flying by the train window.

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More strangeness from my head, after having an allergic reaction to UV light (which is a problem I have with sunny places). I thought about how even when bodies are broken, failing, somehow undermining their own purpose… still they’re strangely fascinating and beautiful things. Maybe this is one reason I’m so drawn to the image of the twisted body. I doubt anyone does, but I certainly don’t know what it is to have a ‘perfect’ body. The imagery that I relate to, internally, that comforts me, and that which fascinates me, is not the ‘ideal’ but the fragile, twisted Egon-Shiele-like bodies. They are so alive, not in spite of their defects and distortions, but because of them.

Their tension is their life.

distortion egon shiele

In contrast to this, is the watercolour on the right hand page above.

On new years day, for the first time, I used the UV filter film that I have recently discovered. I put it on a window, and sitting at my train seat, with my sketchbook, curtained off from the rest of the world I sat with the sun on my face for the first time in some years. It was beautiful. And I watched the sun come up through the haze, a blood-orange rag in a haze-cotton sky, and watched it sink, grey and purple into the black.

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Sunlight Spills From My Window Sill 01/16

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India travels 2015-16.

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More artwork from this and other projects:

@blancheellisart

Miscelanea Art Club – Exhibition

art, Design, drawing, exhibiton, Illustration, Painting, philosophy, poetry, portrait, Prints, Quotes, sketchbook

Really looking forward to being part of this exhibition in Vauxhall at VGCC on September 19th – it’s going to be a real mix of artists and mediums and raising money to keep the community centre open.

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My contribution will be a little cast of characters that have been emerging from my desk of late, combining the strange bodies of my imagination with equally strange advice that has jigsawed into place from cut-up text, books, newspapers and other once innocently printed and now mis-used words.

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more info here :

https://www.facebook.com/events/1675668462652087/

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Exhibition and Instagram

art, Design, drawing, Exhibition, metamorphosis, Painting, portrait

New Instagram Fan

Well, after dipping a dubious toe in the waters of social media I have found that Instagram is a perfect language for me. Just pictures. So I have that now @BlancheEllisArt – as a way to share my daily sketches and reflect the way I work.

Exhibition in Vauxhall

Also… I will be part of a group exhibition in Vauxhall Community Centre on September 19th. It will be a mix of artists and of arts from music to sculpture and I’ll be putting in some of the characters who have emerged this summer from my pen, watercolour palette and cut up text. As usual they all appear to be in some stage of distortion or metamorphosis.

I’ll introduce you to a few of the ones currently tacked to the wall of my studio….

things you don't know

One untrouble

Mr Happy Hormones

‘Frail’ – Beginnings

art, drawing, Illustration, Painting, portrait

A Frail Series

The characters in this emerging series are perhaps the less abstract cousins of the ‘Mistakable Bodies’ series.

Mostly created in the same manner, with no prior vision, the pen reaching around on the page looking for shapes and finding familiar faces and shapes.

The words and the images sitting together to make a moment – a short story of an image.

Click to view larger images

So Not So Sure

So Not So Sure

Group Exhibition at Primrose Hill Community Centre – Faces On The Hill

art, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, portrait, press

The exhibition at Primrose Hill Community centre is coming up on Sunday 31st of May.

There will be lots of drawings by locals of locals and an auction of the works for which donations will go to keeping the local library open.

Do come down and have a look – it’s been a great experience meeting all sorts of local people and getting to know them while drawing them.  Running over to people’s houses and workplaces in my lunch hour to make sketches and sitting over tea and pencil shavings in pubs and cafes.

Here’s a few of the drawings that will be in the auction in Sunday……

Sadly I can’t make the exhibition but i’m looking forward to the book which may be published of all the drawings in many artists different styles…..

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Portraits for ‘Faces on The Hill’

art, Camden, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, Painting, portrait, press

I’ve just become part of a lovely little project in Primrose Hill where people in the community are drawing and photographing each other. There will be an exhibition at the community centre and a book of images and interviews published and called…

‘Faces on The Hill’.

It’s such a lovely idea and I’ve just finished my first portrait which is of the lovely Rachel Poulton who took my photograph.

Rachel - Photographer copyThe exhibition is on May 31st I have on my list to draw, a local lawyer, an art curator and a retired ballet dancer amongst others so I think this is going to be a really fun project !

more to come……