Work In Progress at Halley Stevenson

Here are nine of the sixteen paintings I’m working on for my exhibition ‘The Loom Runs. The Smoke Rises’ at Verdant Works.
I’ve been working on them individually, but wanted to look at them as a
group so I can get the colours right for the final hang. I wouldn’t
normally share progress photos, but I LOVE the working Victorian factory
backdrop!!! Just over one month of factory painting until the
exhibition opens on 29th July!


The Loom Runs. The Smoke Rises

More on my project with Halley Stevensons…  manufacturers of waxed cotton fabric, based in Dundee.

I’m ‘Artist In Residence’ in every sense, as I now have my own studio in the middle of the factory floor. My new studio used to be the manager’s control room and has windows looking out at various points during the production line. It’s great working here, because I feel like I’m amongst the noise and action of the factory. And it’s noisy, even at night. I’m told that if the machines stopped turning, the wet dye would pool in the lower part of the roll, ruining the whole batch of waxed cotton. To avoid this, the factory is filled with this constant whirring of the machines turning the fabric around until it’s ready for the next process. On top of this whirring, are many noises that you might expect from such a large factory plus a symphony of different radio stations trying to drown them out. It’s far from your typical idea of a silent painter’s studio, but I quite like it. I hope it’s feeding into the work and I can’t wait to see the paintings hung together on clean, white walls in exhibition later this year.

I’m doing quite a few figurative paintings as part of my residency, which will later be exhibited at ‘The Loom Runs. The Smoke Rises’, Verdant Works (a former Jute Mill) from 29th July to 29th October 2017. It’s great to just wander from my studio and take a look at what the guys are doing. I’ve managed to get some almost gymnastic poses, as they’re reaching for different parts of the machinery. The guys seem to have got used to me, but they definitely notice me when I come into the room, camera in hand.

I love the project. It’s so different from everything else I’m working on. Sitting on the floor of a factory control room, painting Dundonians in their work clothes! The waxed cotton has been great to work with too. It doesn’t actually need priming, as there’s beeswax in both the cotton and the oil paint. However, I soon found out that it takes weeks to dry when working straight onto the fabric, so I’m now using my magic primer before the initial drawing. If I didn’t have 16 paintings to finish for 25th July, then I would absolutely leave the surface raw.

I will try to post a video soon, but you can see some photos from the studio below. 


The Vault Collection…

Introducing The Vault Collection: a series of paintings on canvas and
paper, created in London, 2012!!! These paintings were initially made
purely as research, but I think they are quite beautiful actually, so
I’ve made them available through an etsy shop. Canvases are £30, works
on paper are £12. More info about the paintings and how important 2012 was for my development can be found here.

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