Thursday 24 July 2014

Grace in the frame!

Yesterday I explained how I was getting the frame I'd designed for Grace's Pre Raphaelite portrait delivered to the studio and it arrived courtesy of Tom the carpenter this afternoon. I absolutely love it! Here it is with the portrait in situ.

As you can see it has a wide flat surface and little roundals in each corner. The roundals are going to have small wooden butterflies placed inside. The butterflies are there to continue the theme of the painting. This being a celebration of transgender femininty, the butterfly is a symbol of transformation and beauty which I think is very fitting.

I based my design on frames that had been designed by Pre Raphaelite artists to enhance their art work and show it off it it's best advantage. Nature; flowers, animals and insects were a usual sorce of inspiration in the symbolism they used.

A detail of the frame for Holman Hunt's The Scapegoat showing Heartsease and Egyptian Palms to reflect the story of the Scapegoat


This weekend I will cover the frame in gold metal leaf so it will look something like the frames you can see above. Sumptuous, yet simple and stylised. I think it will look gorgeous! Once again thanks to Tom for making such a wonderful job of my frame. 


This work along with several chalk studies of Grace will be exhibited at the Cornerhouse from 31st July next week until 9th Sept. There will be drinks in the bar 6-7pm  on Thursday so come along and say hi and see the finished thing!

Gemma ***

Wednesday 23 July 2014

A trip to the framers...

Last week I took a trip to Frames in Didsbury to get some of the chalk studies I've done of Grace Oni Smith framed for the upcoming exhibition at Cornerhouse next week.

 I don't usually frame my work so this was a whole new experience for me. I went in and asked for 'some gold frames please'. I never realised you had to think about cool and warm tones when chosing mounts and frames, and consider colours that would enhance and not overpower the art work. The lady at Frames was so lovely and helped me choose a frame and mount combination that was contemporary but with a nod to the classic style you find in art galleries.

The reason I was so sold on gold is because I am having a frame made specially for my painting of Grace which is inspired by Pre Raphaelite designs, and I want this golden theme to continue throughout the work. I got very excited today as I got some photos of how the frame was coming along from Tom the carpenter who is the go to man around Manchester for all your carpentry art needs!

You can't see it yet but it will eventually look like this rough sketch I did.

Like the frames often designed by the Pre Raphaelites to best show off their work, this frame has a symoblic purpose to enhance the message in the painting it will surround. More to tell about this tomorrow, as the finished thing is being delivered to the studio. I can't wait to see it and show you!


Sunday 6 July 2014

Girl with a curl, or two

So this week the end finally looks in sight, and I have to say I am loving working on this portriat of Grace Oni Smith my beautiful transgender muse! I really really love this picture! This week I have been finishing off her hands and tattoos and filling in her masses of hair. Nothing says Pre Raphaelite goddess like a head full of glorious tresses.

I enjoy painting hair very much and this was no exception. There's are still a few little highlights and definitons to be added but this crown of curls is the definative statement of the painting. Next to add is the rose in her hair and just a suggestion of clothes (if you know Grace you'll know that's about usual for her. See her perform live if you don't know what I mean!)

I cannot wait for my specially designed frame to be made to finish this piece off once she is fully painted! Now I still have a few drawings to tackle and a trip to the framers for those. So keep posted and remember to put 31st of July in your diaries as this is the opening night for this work Cornerhouse.

More soon...


Tuesday 1 July 2014

Tips on how to write a press release

Hello hello! It's a lovely sunny day and the bright skies are making me feel all inspired!
Today I am writing the press release for my upcoming work to be shown at the Cornerhouse next month. Anyone who has ever written one of these will know it's not as straight forward as you may think. 

So here are my top five tips that you won't always find on 'how to' websites. I hope these help you if you ever want to promote an upcoming event or exhibition. (this applies to all subjects not just art)

1. Check the newsworthiness of your story.
You may be sending your press release out to blogs, newspapers or mailing lists, but in all instances a subject matter that has interest and will catch the imagination of the public will always be preferable. So think about your target audience and try to keep the 'golden thread' pulled tight throughout your press release.

Imagine you're a busy journalist, and you have hundreds of press releases to go through every week. You are going to use the ones that are easy to read, concise, detailed and basically ready for print. Make the journalists job easier:
  • Always write from their perspective (unless you are quoting someone).
  • Use a clear font
  • Keep it short (no more than two pages).
3. Proof read, then get someone else to proof read, then proof read again!
Sometimes simple errors in grammar can let a whole piece down and ruin your chances of it being used.

4. Good photos mean a better chance of being printed.
So spend time to get a good high resolution image that doesn't need any adjustments and relates exactly to your written material.
5. Research who to send your press release to
Don't send it to everyone at a publication send it to the most relevant person. If in doubt, contact the publicatiopn and ask. Also:
  • Send your press release in the morning
  • Never send at the weekend
 Writing this has reminded me of so many things I need to do in my own press release, so I better get on! Updates of my work to come soon :)