Thursday, 30 September 2010

Where is this?

What do you think?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Who am I? Artist's Statement

People keep asking me for an 'artists' statement'. This could be anything I guess, but this is what I've written:

I have been drawing as long as I can remember. My grandfather was a shop steward for years in the Pilkingtons' glassworks in St Helens, but after he retired he went to art school every day for 30 years. He died over 20 years ago, aged 99, still a communist, determined not to get a telegram from the queen.
He was and is my inspiration. I studied Art and design for four years in the UK and subsequently exhibited throughout the UK and elsewhere in the world. My work has appeared in exhibitions all over the world - in Japan, Poland, France as well as the UK. Last year a picture of mine featured in the BBC TV show The One Show.

For the last 30 years I have worked in the UK's charity sector, making a living for my family. 3 years ago we moved to France, and this year I have returned to full time painting, drawing and printmaking.
I live now with my family (plus a dog, 2 cats and 2 rabbits) in a small house in the beautiful medieval village of Les Matelles. I paint in my atelier and am looking to develop services for artists - studio space, gallery space, giclée printing - as well as doing my own work, and selling stuff at galleries and markets. I still have to pay the rent!
I am inspired by the local environment here: the village is beautiful, the area is dominated by the mountain of Pic Saint Loup, which fascinates me because of its shape, size, the colours it turns in different light, the different dramatic shapes it has from different angles. Pic Saint Loup is geologically fascinating – a sharp peak that rises out of the plain of the Hérault to the north of Montpellier. The mountain was featured in Jacques Rivettes’ 2009 film: 36 vues du Pic Saint-Loup.

To get reference material and inspiration I drive around and round the mountain in my little MG Midget (often accompanied by my black labrador Buffy) taking photographs and making sketches as preparatory work for my pictures. And then I paint in my atelier, where for the first time in my life I am well equipped and have plenty of space. 

Saturday, 25 September 2010

This is what it ended up as

But never fear, I saved the original drawing, and it's still available as a giclée print.

Friday, 17 September 2010

When is a painting finished?

This has cropped up twice this week, the most recently unexpected. The first time was after returning from the unpleasant experience of Cazilhac market I started a very big canvas - 185 cm tall, 110 cm wide. After a day of hacking away at the canvas, this is what I came up with:

I didn't think it was finished, but others (on redbubble especially) did. But I wasn't happy with the figure in the painting which looked to contrived, and sort of alien - and frankly it was unnerving.

So I kept on going at this painting and added various things, and took away others. Firstly I added a tree - like had been at the Cazilhac market - an enormous serpentine plane tree, with leaves everywhere breaking up the bright Mediterranean light.

I then decided it needed some life - some people and a dog. So I remembered some people I saw at the marketv - those that had stood out to me (not necessarily in a good way) and in they went. 

But I wanted to keep the abstract/expressionist feel to it, so kept on going the rest of the week. Adding more colours, shapes, contrasts, lines, textures. 

Anyway, this is what I finished today:

So was the extra work worth it?

So this afternoon I decided I wanted to start a new canvas. A bit smaller, but not small, 116cm x 81cm. After going to Ganges Market this morning I wanted to continue the market theme but build the new painting around the musicians playing in the cafe. Normally I sketch a composition onto paper first, but I had a strong image in my head, so i got out my pen and drew straight onto the canvas. 

This is what I drew:
I really like it. I'm very happy with the lines and the simplicity of the image and how it all fits together. But I can't leave canvas like this can I?

What do I do?

Friday, 3 September 2010

Things to do in France


Inspired by Les Matelles

Anglo-Welsh Artist exhibits in Les Matelles

David Abse moved to France over three years ago with his wife Kitty and his step-daughter Jemima. Originally moving to Ganges in the Cévennes, they have settled for nearly two years now in the beautiful medieval village of Les Matelles. “We feel very welcome here” says David “The Matellois are very friendly welcoming people, and we have really settled into the village”. So much so that earlier this year David took over the former Menuiserie on the corner of Chemin des Jasses and Ancien chemin du Triadou, to set up his new venture: Matelles-Art.

“I’ve been earning my living working with charities in the UK for the last 20-odd years” says David “But I never stopped painting, drawing and producing work. But now I am here in Les Matelles I am really inspired, and have been very productive”. David studied art and design for four years in the UK, and has exhibited throughout the UK and elsewhere in the world. “I’ve had pieces in exhibitions all over the place” says David “In Japan, Poland and the USA, as well as the UK. Now I’m able to show my work in France.”

From September 11th 2010 David’s new work is being exhibited at the Galerie Matelles-Art in Les Matelles. Much of David’s work is inspired by the local environment: particularly Pic Saint Loup, and the village of Les Matelles. “I love Pic Saint Loup” says David “I love the different colours and shapes it makes from different angles at different times of the day”. David drove around and round the mountain several times in his little MG Midget taking photographs and making sketches as preparatory work for his pictures. “And then I paint in the atelier. It’s great there, I am well equipped and have plenty of space”. David has converted the front of the atelier into a Gallery/Boutique – where David sells giclée prints of his work, hand-printed T shirts he has designed and original design clocks. But the shop is being cleared out now to exhibit his work. Paintings of all shapes and sizes are being exhibited, and as well as being able to buy the paintings, people are also able to buy smaller original giclée prints on canvas and paper of the artwork, produced by David himself. “I like the idea of being able to offer my work to a wide audience” says David “I’ve always produced screen prints and etchings, but getting together a printer so that I could do giclée prints is really exciting.” Giclée prints are produced on a high-quality large-format printer, by David himself, who ensures that the quality of each print meets his standards, printing with quality inks on top-standard canvas. Each print is signed by the artist.

The exhibition commences at Matelles-Art on September 11th – “My late mother’s birthday” David points out, “ She was an art historian, so I hope she would have liked my work”.  For those unable to get to the exhibition David’s work is also on-line at the Matelles-Art website at The exhibition runs until November 14th.  “After that we’ll be concentrating on selling things for Christmas” says David.

For further details contact:

David Abse,  Matelles-Art,  Ancien Chemin du Triadou, 34270 Les Matelles

04 67 58 93 57 • 06 98 56 66 24   •  •

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Listings, web presence

OK, my work is all over the web now! I'll attempt to make a list but this isn't, I think, complete:


2. Blogger: This blog

3. Facebook - Matelles-Art facebook page

4. ArtQuest - search for art...

5. t shirts etc

6. MySoti t shirts etc

7. RedBubble art and t shirts

8. ArtSpan - Art for sale

9. Lateral Arts - art for sale

10. - Art for sale again

11. - and again

12.  .... and again!

13. Flickr - photos.

But my favourite is this:

Art Scams

Yup - looks like it was a scam - not the first one I've received - watch out for the dodgy shows too where you pay thousands to exhibit one exhibition of suckers.. sorry, I mean artists. there appears to be some big ones out there.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

New work, selling, preparing

So did i sell a piece of work today for 900$? It seems so but I am an untrusting soul, I won't believe it until the cheque's cleared by the bank - and THEN I'll send the painting: this one below:
Pic Saint Loup - Raptor

On tyhe other hand I did definitely sell a giclée print for 30€, which is nice, and yesterday sold a framed cat drawing for 30€ too.

So I've definitely made 60€ this week.

As for the picture on the left, at least the whole thing has caused me to reflect and to come up with a 'terms of sale' which makes it absolutely clear - no money, no picture.

Have also done some new work, which you can see at RedBubble .

Slightly different, but I'm pleased with it. Meanwhile I have to start preparing for the show, which starts at the end of next week...