graphite & granite

This page features notes from  my sketchbooks and walks and provides an insight into my working process, as well as occasional posts about other activity such as framing and curation.

Foggintor Quarry, work in progress (detail)

Corvid Calls

I was asked to write a blog post for Number Seven Dulverton about my experience of Lockdown, time out and curtailed adventures! You can my thoughts on Lockdown and the work that emerged from it in the post here

The Bridport Times

From January 2018- June 2020, Emma and I wrote a monthly walk for The Bridport Times. Each month, we delved into the network of ancient lanes, pathways and tracks in this secretive corner of West Dorset. You can see online copies of the publication here

Number Seven Dulverton

I was asked to contribute to EX Libris, by Number Seven Dulverton and share the following with them:

‘What publication would you like to tuck into your pocket to be engulfed by the golden flames of your funeral pyre…’

We spent a wonderful few hours discussing influences and inspiration in the depths of Horner Wood on Exmoor as well as revealing my choice. You can discover the answer on their beautiful  …and if you are on Exmoor do call in and see them!

Drawing in Horner Woods
Drawing in Horner Woods

Tyneham House

In 2015 I was fortunate enough to have access to Tyneham Manor House, within the MOD firing ranges at Lulworth in Dorset. Here is a selection of some of the sketchbook responses from that visit and an insight into some of the work I am making at the moment as I prepare for Somerset Open Studios in September.

Quartz Festival

I’m pleased to announce the 46 artists who are taking part in Quartz Art Festival in Taunton this December, which I have been asked to curate. It will be a great blend of South West artistic talent, alongside the evening performances which are also part of the programme. Featuring a mix of printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, textiles and wood work there will also be a display of artist books and a few pieces will have accompanying drawings showing how the work was developed. A programme of artist talks, workshops and demonstrations will be announced and of course, tickets are available for the evening performances. I am currently working on the layout plans for the Performing Arts Centre in Queen College, where the exhibition will be held, as well as looking at the marketing, advertising and catering and am very excited about announcing further details soon.

Artists are listed on the Quartz Festival Website which has now been updated with an artist profile and link to website:

Quartz Festival 2016

Spring 2017 News

I’ve been busy with ‘Sculpture and Drawing,’ a joint exhibition with Bridport-based sculptor Brendon Murless at Duke’s Fine Art showroom in Dorchester. We had a fantastic launch and many favourable comments since and Duke’s have been generous and professional in their support with the exhibition, obtaining a lot of coverage in the local press. Visitors have also commented on the benefit for Dorchester to have a new visual arts venue that supports and continues it’s cultural heritage.

I’m very pleased to announce that I will be curating this year’s Quartz Arts Festival at Queen’s College in Taunton. This year’s event launches in early October and will feature the work of over 40 predominantly South West-based artists and practitioners. As well as looking forward to working with the staff at Queen’s, I feel really honoured to be given the opportunity to follow on from Sara Dudman RWA, maintaining the reputation of the festival and developing new ideas for 2016. I recently helped curate ‘Collaborative Works’ at Black Swan Arts in Frome, so it was a privilege to work with Sara  as well as Debbie Locke RWA.

I am now an area representative for Somerset Art Works (which this year is Somerset Open Studios). As with the Quartz curation role, I’m looking forward to working with artists and those behind the scenes to share ideas and information to help develop and deliver these events. We are very lucky to have such a wealth of artistic talent in this area and some great venues too so I’m excited to be taking an active role in the event.

Finally, as a trustee at Black Swan Arts in Frome, it’s exciting to be part of the 30th anniversary celebrations that are taking place there- several events are planned but one of the most exciting ones is an ambitious sale and exhibition of 1000 Postcards, donated by artists and celebrities. It’s an anonymous sale, so for £30 you could end up with something surprising! It promises to be an exciting showcase of talent and a great way of showing support for one of the region’s best known and loved arts centres. And you may end up with a serious bargain! The trustees, programming group, volunteers and tenants work extremely hard in ensuring the Centre continues to run despite funding cuts. The money raised will go towards refurbishment of the Round Tower as well as other projects to ensure it continues and develops it’s programme of exhibitions and workshops, ‘to educate and engage through Arts and Crafts.’

Autumn Highlights

I’ve spent the last few weeks transporting work to shows and visiting various exhibitions, partly as research, as well as taking a break in the Brecon Beacons for a long weekend full of walking and inspiring sights. This included walking the Cat’s Back, waterfalls near Ystradfellte and Pen-Y-Fan. I also caught the Agnes Martin and Barbara Hepworth shows at Tate Modern/Tate Britain as well as take a look at this year’s Jerwood Drawing Prize. This was the day after attending the Private View for the Society of Graphic Fine Art Open, which was a great opportunity to finally meet other artists who I follow on social media. Other highlights have included Somerset Art Weeks, especially the walking-themed show at Taunton Musgrove, Cavaliero-Finn, Sense of Place at Brean Down and Step in Stone- Fairy Cave was incredible.

After all this running around, it was nice to come back to the Black Swan and spend a week working on the hang for the Annual Black Swan Arts Open. This was a great opportunity to work with the volunteers, programming committee and trustees to put on this show and a brilliant insight into the decisions that have to be made when displaying 100 pieces of art!

I’m now focussing on making more work, mainly around my visit to snow-bound Dartmoor earlier this year and finishing some existing pieces. I’m tackling a piece about water which will be my largest piece to date. I’m also focussing on sales of prints and cards leading up to Christmas- more information on the ‘Purchases’ page.

I’m very happy to announce that I am now supplying Wells Cathedral with a selection of images and currently working on supplying other outlets. There are also a couple of things which I can’t announce for a short while, so watch this space for updates!

Study for the Ynis Ihr Oak

6 x 9

I’ve spent part of the week in West Dorset helping organise work ready for the Bridport Open Studios ‘6×9’ exhibition which is coming to the Round Tower at Black Swan Arts from Monday 14th September. Bridport Open Studios is an annual artist event led by Kit Glaisyer, this year with the help of event co-ordinator Nicole Burt. I’m really excited to be helping curate this as I’ve been an admirer of the arts scene in this part of Dorset for a few years now. There are some really talented people working in and around Bridport who I’ve been really lucky to get to know and work with.

‘6×9’ showed at Bridport Arts Centre at the end of August as part of the Bridport Open Studios event and  then travels to Frome. Featuring smaller, affordable works, the Round Tower show  differs with the addition of a selection of larger pieces showcasing some of the best of the arts scene from that area. Frome and Bridport are such similar communities in creative outlook it seemed a good idea to ‘twin’ and put on an eclectic mix of work in the Tower.

I’ve been actively involved as a trustee at the Black Swan for just over a year now and one of my roles there has been to develop the Round Tower as an exhibition space and enable the Black Swan to put on a greater mix of exhibitions again. It’s vital that this space supports emerging artists and that we give them the opportunity to put on solo or group selling exhibitions which in turn supports the aims of the Black Swan.

I’m pictured here with Alice Blogg, when I visited her beautiful workshop in Nettlecombe, West Dorset, with Kit Glaisyer earlier this week. It’s an inspiring location, nestling amongst the deep network of West Dorset lanes and surrounded by some peculiar, characterful hills, such as Shipton seen here in the background and overshadowed by Eggardon Hillfort. Alice works here alongside other artists and makers and we were fortunate to spend a short while watching Swallows as they gathered ready for their southward journey.

Visiting Alice Blogg's studio
Visiting Alice Blogg’s studio

The preview evening will be Friday 18th September, all welcome. Thanks to Jenny Newbury at Mount Art Services for a beautifully-designed poster too!

Sketchbook pages

Although my finished pieces are always in graphite, I enjoy trying out other materials in my sketchbooks (which really feel more like notebooks). BIC Finepoints are particularly good.

Eddie, BIC Finepoint
Eddie, © Paul Newman 2015
Jellyfish study, Plymouth Aquarium
Jellyfish study, Plymouth Aquarium, © Paul Newman 2015

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