Tuesday, 8 February 2011
GOURDON HARBOUR, DRAUGHT EXCLUDER AND MR MUSCLE
Here's the latest work to become part of the "stock" at the Tait Gallery. It depicts workboats and pleasure craft at their moorings in the inner harbour at Gourdon, on the east coast of Scotland just south of Inverbervie. This painting took a long time to complete, as it was always competing for time with concurrent commissioned works.
I've devised a cunning plan to solve a ticklish problem I've been confronted with of late. It concerns the cheaper range of ready-made stretched canvases which are obtainable from all the best art materials suppliers. Ridges keep appearing in the canvas at the edges of the stretcher frames, caused by the tension in the material easing when brushwork is applied vigourously to the surface. The solution is so simple that only a numpty like me could have taken as long to fathom it out - draught excluder strip! You know, the kind of old inch-wide spongy stuff which used to be sold in rolls, and which my Dad used to lay on the sills of the old single-glazed windows to collect water caused by condensation, and which could be wrung out and replaced as necessary (the strip, that is!). The technique, as I envisage it, will be to place the strip along the back of the stretcher frame, close to the offending edge, with perhaps a little light adhesive to secure it, and tuck in the loose edge underneath, thereby cushioning the edge which causes the ridging. It sounds wonderful in theory. I expect to make my appearance on one of these awful DIY TV programmes soon. People have often suggested that I take art classes, but with much Uriah-Heep-like hand-wringing, I have explained that I have no teaching qualification and that I have learned all my skills in the school of hard knocks and split ends.
Of course, in these modern days of double-glazed windows, such products as I've described above are now largely redundant, but there are still a few online retail outlets which sell it online. (Mind you, when you google "sponge strip", you get some interesting results!) There you go, Petal! - yet another exciting piece of improvisation from the brilliant but tortured mind of your friendly artistic curmudgeon! Another thing - if I spent a bit more money on better-grade heavier canvas, the ridging problem would not be so acute. As my old Aberdeen mill foreman used to say; "Aye, Jimmy - if ye buy cheap, ye buy dear!" (I seem to recall he was referring to footwear at the time, but never mind).
My apologies for not posting on Sunday as usual. That day I had decided to spend a day of frantic effort to get some cleaning done in the flat/studio (conditions must have been bad before even I had noticed them!). By the time I had hoovered, wiped, dusted, sprayed, scrubbed, washed and dried my way through most of Sunday, I was mentally, physically and emotionally drained, not to mention reeking of Mr Muscle. I was incapable of composing a half-decent blog post, but my cooker, bath and sinks were gleaming!
All the best from a pristine (I wish!) Tait Gallery.