Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Art, the horizon, and math

Exploring the visual and mathematical horizon - paintings by Tina Mammoser

An excerpt from the gallery exhibition and and the new book "Scenes of Art and Science":

The main feature in most of my paintings is, of course, the horizon line. Where water meets sky.

But how far away is the horizon? It's all in the math of a circle – and the circle is the Earth.

A triangle is formed by our height, the radius of the earth and the distance before the curvature of the Earth starts to bend away from us.

The three sides of the triangle are:
  • A. The horizon: distance from viewer to where it meets the curve of the Earth. (Where a line meets the edge of a circle it always makes a right angle, 90 degrees, with the line that is the radius of that circle. That line is called a tangent.)
  • B. The Earth radius is the base of the triangle.
  • C. The Earth radius plus our height is the longest side of the triangle (the hypotenuse).
Using the Pythagorean Theorum for a right triangle:
A2 + B2 = C2
(Horizon) 2 + (R) 2 = (R + Height) 2

For example let’s take a very tall person: 2m tall. (about 6'5")
(Horizon) 2 = (6,378,000m + 2m) 2 - (6,378,000m) 2
(Horizon) 2 = (6,378,002m) 2 - (6,378,000m) 2
Multiply this out to get:
(Horizon) 2 = 25,512,004 m2
Horizon = square root of 25,512,004 m2
Horizon = 5050.94m
Horizon = 5.05km = 3.14 miles

Plus, due to refraction of light - the way lightwaves bend in the air due to the density of our atmosphere - we can actually see a little farther. Spookily, our vision goes slightly AROUND the bend of the Earth.

Exhibition runs until 15 November.
Grejczik Gallery
9A Hanover Road
Scarborough, YO11 1LS
Just behind the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Aftermath of a painting

It looks like some red and yellow paint exploded on my table...

My painting table/palette is a glass shower door - so the whole thing is a paint surface! After I've finished a project, I brush water over the whole surface to soften the acrylic paint.

Then just scrape it off with a blade.

The paint bits go in a plastic cup. (I fill about one plastic cup a year, so really not much wastage at all.)

A quick wipe with a cloth.

And the table is ready to go for the next project!

Drawing this time I think, even easier to clean up. ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New "easel"

Last week I got the bargain of the year with a new easel! Well, not quite an easel.

You see, easels are just a work space. Different artists need different things. I've not really been an easel artist for a long time - they usually aren't sturdy enough for my hard brushing. So for years I've just had nails in the walls and put canvases directly on the walls.

Of course, this creates a LOT of holes in the walls when you consider different sized canvases.

Add to that my shoulder tendonitis and the need to sometimes work quite low, to keep my arm below shoulder height. That means another level of nails.

In the new studio I've been compromising so far with some boxes on the floor and the large canvases propped up on them. This puts the top of the canvas just about shoulder height. A little more height would be nice most of the time, but it works.

Except, well, nan bread boxes aren't the most glamourous looking studio furniture!

A secondhand furniture shop near me had a cute 60s looking dressing table out front... my brain saw it and thought "hmm, nice height for a painting". I asked the price and for £5 my brain thought "yes!"

Here's a photo with it next to my rickety easel so you can get a sense of size. Because it's a solid piece of furniture it also means I can work lower and put the painting on the floor if I need to. The dresser won't move with the canvas propped up in front of it.

Add to that the bonus of 4 drawers for supplies. Hooray! (plus a full length mirror that should attach to the back and I've put in the bedroom)

I'm planning to decoupage the front with bits of art and clippings that inspire me. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Derwent Graphitone and why I use it

Some of my favourite pencils are the Derwent Graphitone water-soluble pencils. I mainly use the number 8 darkness and use it in almost all my drawings whether they are on plywood or limestone paper.


An atmospheric wash behind the very linear structure - detail from Memories of Alum

With the rigidity of the structures I'm drawing the watercolour like graphitones give a sense of organic structure. Something soft to constrast with the groups of lines and tight textures.

Creating a dark edge with Graphitone - detail from Stone Arch

It can also be used quite simply to create a dark black area or line that regular graphite doesn't give. So the drawing has strong contrast and the darkest area is a black.

If I'm feeling very playful, I can even take advantage of the water and make drips - detail from Black Rock Tides
And in my latest drawing, I played with the water and graphitone making a grainy texture - though I didn't leave it that way.

Overall, it's just another tool in the pencil arsenal! From a line to a wash look to a blended area, pencil can give many different types of look to an image and doesn't have to be a hard line or edge.

You can see the range of Derwent graphitones here (not an affiliate link, just sharing because I love them!).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Preparing Light

In August I will be including my work in a show called "Light" for Grejczik Gallery - and I wanted to create some new pieces in the series that were specifically related to stars and star colour.

The Light series (click to view them all!) is already all about light (of course) but has evolved slowly from colours of sea and cliff, to sky, to stars. And the latter is the direction I'd like the series to go now. The ideas are of course starting with the obvious yellow, white, red and blue stars - but then the spectrums are getting a bit creative from there. Can I create the pink/red of a star but surround it with a light or white light rather than dark sky? What about including some gold paint? How to transition yellow to deep dark surroundings? How about that magenta pink, could I make a pink star?

Add to that the Kickstarter campaign for the gallery with the rewards of Light paintings, and I have a busy painting schedule!

It's nice to have colour in the studio again. These are the early layers of some of the 12" and 6" square paintings on canvas. There are also 100x120cm canvases on the go for the Affordable Art Fair in October, so colour colour everywhere!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

3 shows in Scarborough

Next week you can see a bit of my work in THREE places in Scarborough.

Fisherman's Pier, Acrylic on canvas 40cm x 50cm

Fishermans' Pier is in a great little show of local artists at the Scarborough Art Gallery, our local art museum.


organised by the Scarborough Arts Forum group on Facebook
Scarborough Art Gallery
The Crescent
Exhibition on until 16 August
Open Tues-Sun 10-5

Colour 7, part of the Colours of Yorkshire postcard series

Several of my postcard-sized paintings have been selected for the anonymous exhibition at Woodend Gallery - with unlabelled postcards all for £20 from artists local and national. An exciting opportunity to discover something new!


Woodend Creative Gallery
The Crescent (yup, next to the art gallery)
25 July to 18 September
Open 9-5 weekdays, 10-4 Saturdays

Strata, acrylic on canvas 80cm x 60cm

And last but not least, Strata and two other coast paintings featuring Saltwick Bay are in the small geology inspired exhibition at my very own Grejczik Gallery.


Grejczik Gallery
9a Hanover Road
Behind the Stephen Joseph Theatre
Exhibition on until end of July.
Will extend into August but without a definite end date, as I prepare for the grand opening event. (ooh! Read all about that here! Everyone's invited!)

A good excuse to have a little art tour of Scarborough next week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ch ch ch changes - changes in the rock

After my outings with the Rotunda geology group I went back to Saltwick Bay last Thursday to meet with a photographer for a magazine photo. Two visits to my favourite spot in one week!

One of the things our fearless leader, Liam Herringshaw, pointed out was the assumption by a lot of people that because of the fine structure of the shale - the mudstone - it's quite consistent throughout and was laid down continuously without a lot of changes (or "events"). In fact there are event horizons that can be seem on a very fine scale if you look at some pieces or areas of the mudstone with a magnifier. Even something as subtle as a change of the grey colour shows something occurred at the boundary of the shades of grey.

So on Thursday I thought I'd go scramble over the rocks by Black Nab - the side of the bay I rarely go explore as there are very few ammonites there. But this time I didn't want ammonites. I wanted pieces of shale with macroscopic events in them that showed lines where something had changed.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Yes, these are really on a beginner's scale of things but it was fun to search them out. And will be fun to draw them.
Line of shelly material with clear mudstone above and below - a storm or other desctructive event? Maybe a scour where the materials was pushed together by water on top of the layer below. 

But what's this? A lovely line of calcite (?) straight through the rock but crossing through the original layers. A later sign of fluid flow. Pretty!
Perfectly pretty example of changes in the sequence (in the layman's context, not the geological term):
bivalve and other bioclastic materials in mudstone - mudstone. 
Bivalves sit in a certain orientation on the seabed in order to feed. This collection of fossil shells seems too dense and with shells in very different alignments (up, down, sideways) for them to be in a life position. So not differences showing within the stone, but a cluster of shelly materials probably brought together from some sort of event. 

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