I am excited to share that I will be showcasing my abstract artwork to the public in May 2023.
I was contacted by the Health Service in Antrim who wanted to purchase some of the abstract artwork as it is based on mental health and the way our minds work.
12 paintings have been purchased from a larger collection of work and so this is a rare opportunity to see all abstract paintings together in one space.
The staff of Aeon Community Arts have graciously been able to host it for me at 12 William Street, Lurgan. This building is used by Saint Vincent De Paul, but what makes this place special is that it is the birth place of Ireland's poet, artist and mystic George William Russell otherwise known by his signature AE.
I myself have been inspired by his work and feel honoured to have my work displayed here if only for a short time.
The exhibition will run over the last bank holiday in May before the pieces are sent to their new locations. I really hope you can come and see it.
I am part of a collective group of artists in Craigavon area, and our members have a group exhibition on currently in Dungannon. This show hopes to be annually and showcases some of the painting created in our weekly meet ups.
Art clubs are a great way to meet like minded people who enjoy painting as much as viewing it. In our weekly art groups we work with different mediums and subjects.
We encourage one another and every year we put together a collection of some of our favourite pieces to go on display.
We hope to encourage more people to join the club.
Meeting every Monday from 7-9pm at Craigavon Hub.
It costs £25 per month.
Of course you can try out before signing up as members.
For more information see Loughside Art Club on Facebook.
I have a new love for Pinterest.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a new account or a big following.
Instead, my account is so inspiring and creating my own pins to share with others is bringing me so much satisfaction.
So, a little back history. Starting Pinterest easily 10years ago with only a few friends following me and me them. These people were teachers, other creatives and planners.
I used my boards to collect pretty images that made me want to pick up the paint brush. It was only 3 years ago I started to use it as a way of showing off my murals as appose to getting references for painting them.
This later has led into a showcase of all the artwork I do and create.
According to my analytics I had a spike of interest January last year, which is when I started my abstract art and posting more regularly. As a user I look more in January too. To make up mood boards for New Year Goals.
What I wanted to share was my new system. The key was to keep it simple. Goodness knows I didn’t want another task to try top keep up with. So, on my mobile when I do a post on Instagram, I do the post on Pinterest too. Good news is I don’t need a caption, just a description and a link to my website and shop. To date I have 4856 pins saved, but 480 pins are ones I have created. It sounds like a lot but my Instagram has near 600 posts and that’s just my paintings not the murals I have done over the past 8years.
Pinterest is a search engine like google and so it is brilliant for building your SEOs. What’s that you say? Search engine optimization: the process of making your site better for search engines. This is a way for your customers to find you and your work.
Basically, a customer can scroll, find an image click on it to link to your website, Instagram, YouTube, etc. They can also save it on there boards and other people may find it through their collection, but the link will follow the original pin.
To see any real results takes ages in fact that is why I am posting. It has been almost a year and I am finally starting to see some growth. Not a lot. Just a new follower every 2 days on average. This is just the motivation I needed to keep posting.
My most popular pin to date is a short video showcasing my painting collection of abstract circles. A close second is of my painting process. Even though these videos were posted early last year they are still being seen today. The algorithm values good quality pins that are of interest and provide knowledge or skills or entertainment regardless of when they where posted. Social media platforms have a short time when people can see it, yes, it’s always there but their algorithm will not push that content out to others. Pinterest wants to serve and will share things of interest to the user.
Downside to Pinterest
It can be a bit overwhelming all the images that you are sent and so an image really has to pop to grab your attention. Pinterest tends to send images that are similar in style so I see other artists who paint similar to my style in circles. This does not help my imposter syndrome. I regularly see work of super talented artist Rachelle Kearns and her stunning circle paintings of chandeliers and flowers. She also does some abstract paintings that Pinterest recognizes similar to my work. As she has been painting since 2006 her following on all platforms is massive. She has said her artwork is inspired by light and water. She mentions her faith and how flowers bring her joy.
Although I can see her inspiration in her paintings, I know that my inspiration source is very different. I love buildings, satellite photos from space, colourful colour combinations that I see on my son’s video games or on gift cards.
Yet I would dread to think that people would think I was coping her. This led to my development in adding more texture to my pieces and elements such as gold leaf and iridescent paint. So far, I can now see there is no other artist that is producing work like me and that brings me great pleasure for I feel like I have found my voice and my style. So what started as a negative I used it to push my work and develop it further. Resulting in a better outcome.
Many other artists would advise to have boards of topics not on art related to your work, so it does not get influenced by others. I would agree to this, we never really know what our brain steels and stores away for later.
Boards I like to keep are of photography. Digital images made up on the computer. Colour palettes and interior design. My boards are a real insight into my interests outside of my painting practice. My home, my goals, or things of great beauty that light me up.
I hope next year to give a further update on this platform and more importantly if any good leads ever come of it.
Even if they don’t I believe sharing will inspire others and beautiful things need to be seen in as many ways as possible.
My link will be below to view for yourself
'Transitions' Solo Exhibitiohn
What a wonderful opportunity to exhibit my work. I honestly didn't think it would be possible this year. You have no idea how many places never answer phone calls or respond to emails. So when I recieved my contract to exhibit in The Hill of The O'Neill and Ranfurly House, to say I was excited would be an understatement. I was gigdy.
These two were the first paintings chosen. Enniskillen in Blue and Lough.
Enniskillen is my home town where I grew up and this lake is behind my Mum's house where I learnt to swim.
I also knew that my paintings of buildings would be perfect for the corridor. I love architecture. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful buildings. In this exhibition I have included paintings of Hillsborough, Brownlow House and Belfast City Hall.
These smaller paintings are dotted throughout my house. Painted years ago when I was still developing my style I decided to include them as they don't often get shown.
Then of course there is my abstract paintings of circles overlapping. These large colourful paintings are such a constract to the other paintings. Instead of having a fixed outcome to trigger off a memory, these paintings invite you to stare and let your mind wonder around the composition. For these paintings its about creating a mood.
Hill of The O'neill & ranfurly house
tuesday 3rd august - monday 30th august
The set up was another learning curve. It had been 2007 since my last solo exhibition and in group shows I usually just had to drop off my artwork and someone else did the hanging.
I pulled in the help of my sister and with level ruler, screws hooks, step ladder and the hanging system that was provided we had it all up and displayed in one day with the second day for labelling.
My launch was to be a morning coffee and tea grathering with everyone on my mailing list invited and then some good friends.
Now I just want as many people to come and visit while it's still on.
So you like what you see, but fancy something unique that best suits your style
You may have a clear idea of what you would like.
Well, it all begins with a conversation.
So let's talk!
Getting a commission can be the most exciting process as it's not often we get the opportunity to have our creative input.
This input already starts out on a positive note as you are in the driving seat.
Price seems to be the main concern people have, so let me be transparent about this.
I have a fixed price list based on size.
Canvas 10 x 12" (25 x 30cm) £200
Canvas 10 x 14" (25 x 35cm) £200
Canvas 16 x 16" (40 x 40cm) £300
Canvas 20 x 20" (50 x50cm) £400
Canvas 40 x 40" (100 x100cm) £1000
Other sizes are available and custom canvases can be made with an addition time added on as they will be outsourced.
There will be free delivery throughout the UK and Ireland.
It all starts with a conversation. I will ask you questions such as :
Who is this painting for?
Is it a gift or special occasion?
What size would you like the piece to be?
Do you have a budget?
Name 3 key colours it must have to suit the room it is going in?
Can you send a photo of the room it will be in?
What piece of art inspired you to request a commission?
If you would like a representational piece based on your photos, can you send a minimum of 2 clear photographs?
Our conversation will continue with my intentions for the piece and a quote of how much I will charge for the artwork.
I will request a deposit of 50% which will be requested through PayPal. This will cover Art supplies needed to complete the piece.
The painting begins.
A timescale will be drafted up so you have a rough date of when to expect your painting.
Most painting will take no longer than 2 weeks.
Videos will be made of the process.
Mid way, photographs will be sent to show progress. This is an opportunity to make any minor requests, and give feedback.
Artwork is completed. Photographs are sent for your approval.
Final payment for the remaining 50% is to be paid.
This is the cost of the Artwork only.
Varnish: matt, satin, gloss. I will recommend what I think best suits the Artwork.
Optional Framing, I can arrange framing at an additional cost.
Artwork will be shipped by a reliable courier.
Shipping will be an additional cost outside UK and Ireland.
Please note International shipping will have Taxes and Fees to pay, please see your government website to find out more.
Commissions in Northern Ireland will receive their paintings directly from me.
Hang your painting.
You may also receive a short video as a time-lapse of some of the stages in making up your piece. This is an excellent keep sake and also informs you of the process and materials, for when you are talking about the artwork to friends and family.
First abstract on the website
I am so excited to finally post up my first abstract piece.
I cannot lie it is a bit scary to put your work out there and not be sure of how others will recieve it. Will they see the hours and many many layers that have went into these?
Or will they simplly say ''Why circles?''
Time will tell.
Introduction to Abstraction
Abstract art is more than just representation but more a message of what the artist is exploring, a feeling they are trying to evoke or sending a message. Rather than starting out with a reference and a planned outcome, this form of painting is based more on intuitive painting.
Abstract art is a perfect balance or colour, composition, line and shape.
My approach is to simplify this form by taking out the line and shapes and using a series of circles, all similar in size. This is so the viewer can focus more on the colour palette selection and the over all composition.
So why circles?
Lots of shapes hold symbolic meaning and circles has some very interesting references. Circles, ovals and ellipses tend to project a positive emotional message. Using a circle in a logo can suggest community, friendship, love relationships and unity. In fact, circles are psychologically proven to be the happiest shape and pale pink is known to be the most calming of colours. Engaging with these visual tools, my practice responses directly to the current world wide anxiety through acrylic paintings.
The repetitive nature in repeating the circles over and over hold a similar familiar routine of our jobs and role in a job, or household duties. The creative thoughts come when doing this repeatedly. Apparently studies have shown that being bored gives the brain more freedom to be creative and from that comes the creative thought.
The paintings will have a play on light, which can resembles a camera effect such as Bokeh (out of focus) A balance of dark and light, or a range of tones and complimentary colours placed beside each other.
Many of the paintings start from a place of being overwhelmed. Too many things to do, too many balls to juggle. It is when we step back and see that picture as I whole… then you see the beauty and how it is made up many small things, each one formed with patience and thought. In the same way the job list never ends the layer of balls could go on and on. But there comes a time to stop and see the beauty of what it is. While still providing enough for you to continually come back to the piece over and over. Eventually making the painting seem peaceful and part of the environment it’s placed in.
So you know how to begin. You can draw out, block in add detail but
when do you stop with the finishing touches. When is enough to stop and call it done.
I know I’m not the only one that has trouble with this.
And the only answer I can seem to come away with, is to stop.
Set it aside for a few days and then revisit it with fresh eyes.
After a new glance, you will notice if it is done.
Other ways would be to look at it through a mirror, it has a way of
tricking the brain to take away the familiar image you know so well
and show it differently allowing you to notice things that doesn’t sit so well.
I have also taken photos of my work, played with the brightness
contrast and filters to see if it can look better. I sometimes load the image into a room app to see what it might look like on someone wall.
It helps to evaluate your work, without sounding like science class in
high school after completing a project. But this reflection can have many benefits to your personal growth.
And learning techniques of what worked what didn’t so much. Elements you really enjoyed.
You build on the things you like and your style will form.
"The Everyday Life of a Working Artist".
And yes, that working artist is me. Arlene Marks
I have a tendency to take on a variety of projects whether they be murals, commissions, or my own fine Art. I frequently have to update my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And don’t get me started on YouTube, Tik Tok and Pinterest. I love those platforms and rarely post on it as I love browsing on them more.
So how do I get all done in a week. I have decided it is time for me to tell it all. The good and the bad. (To be more specific, the good is my accomplishments. The bad is the crazy stress, moment of being overwhelmed and then things I don't ever get done.)
This NEW blog will be full of tips and advice for anyone who has ever thought to follow their dreams and are just at the early stages of their journey. By starting my blog now, you will hopefully see my business grow and maybe by following me in my journey you can learn from my mistakes made and things I get right.
This includes all of my ideas, both the good and even the really bad ones (because I don't usually figure out they are bad ideas for quite some time). I will share how I manage my time, my tips to organization and the apps and software I use to get the work done. One of the most gratifying parts of my day is crossing off items on my to do list.
My goal is to blog all of the time instead of none of the time.
It will be a crazy ride but I think you will learn a lot or at least get a look into my world and have a better understanding of the work load a Full Time artist does.. Don't feel sorry for me as I am doing this all to my self. Since I am my own boss, no one is making me do all of these things. Except me.
Here we go.