Sunday, 31 August 2014

David Pettibone and Nikki Gardham

One of the highlights of the residency at Dumfries House for me was getting to know the other artists who were also doing residencies at Dumfries House.

David Pettibone, Nikki Gardham and I all shared accommodation in the artists lodge, and although we each had a separate studio, they were all housed in the same building.

I really enjoyed spending time with Nikki and David. It was fascinating to find out about their backgrounds and varied working practices. Although we have had different educational experiences, work in different ways and address different concerns through the work we make, we have a lot of shared interests, for instance art and education.

David Pettibone is based in New York and completed his BA Painting Degree at Rhode Island School of Design, followed by a MFA in Painting at New York Academy of Art. He is an experienced Painting tutor, regularly exhibits his work and has been on a number of international residencies.

In 2013 David spent several months with the Inupiat Eskimo people of Barrow, Alaska and experienced the whaling culture. He is creating a series of paintings that depict the subsistence whaling culture of the Inupiat Eskimo people of Barrow, Alaska and the tradition’s integration into a modern Arctic coastal community.

It seems so appropriate for David to be using oil paint for these paintings as the texture of meat seems to be brought out by the paint's properties.

Whilst at Dumfries House, David has been working on paintings of trees. It has been fascinating for me to see the development of the paintings, and the stages that the painting goes through before reaching its finished state.

I have great admiration for David's amazing observational and technical skills, evident not only in his landscapes, but in his portraits and life drawing too.

More of his work can be seen via his website:

Likewise, Nikki Gardham has an exceptional talent for drawing people. She is able to capture the person and transfer it onto the page.

I admire Nikki's energetic and free style of drawing, and I very much enjoy her quick studies which have a fresh and uncomplicated feel to them.

I am attracted to the layers that Nikki builds up on the paper and appreciate the way that she incorporates the background into features within the drawings.

Nikki uses a variety of inks, paints and drawing materials to create varied surfaces. Seeing her work has encouraged me to explore the properties of acrylic and water based ink and how they react to each other.

Nikki also has vast experience in teaching art, and has done many interesting projects. She studied at the Princes Drawing School.

Nikki had been at Dumfries House for a month, so had built up a considerable amount of work, and David has completed 2 weeks of his 4 week period at Dumfries House. More of her work can be seen on her website:

I look forward to seeing more of the work that David makes in his remaining time at Dumfries House.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Green Man by Fiona Robertson at Necropolis, Glasgow

Artist Fiona Robertson introduces The Green Man Project, an ongoing project that features the third grass sculpture she has made, in the Glasgow Necropolis. The original idea was to create a pagan-like head, situated somewhere in the East End of Glasgow, combining the rural and urban. Friends of the Necropolis commissioned Robertson to create her piece, and she received help from TVC Conservation Volunteers Scotland and local school children from Haghillpark Primary School.

Fiona Robertson is an artist based in Glasgow. She studied at Chelsea School of Art, London Glasgow School of Art and Warsaw Academy of the Arts. She has been a Lecturer in the Painting and Printmaking Department at the Glasgow School of Art for the past 17 years. Fiona works over a range of mediums including drawing, painting, installation and film.

The Green Man is situated in Glasgow Necropolis Wildlife Garden. It is near the Drygate side of the cemetery Enter through the main gates, cross the bridge and turn right. Stay on the same path and you will be able to view the green man after a 5 minute walk. 

For more information visit

Read more about the ideas behind the artwork and Fiona Robertson's process via her blog on Central Station

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Inspirational landscapes

I love getting recommendations from friends with artworks I should see, books I should read, films I should watch, places I should visit etc, and the sheer excellence at what they suggest shows how well they know me and how lucky I am to have such interesting friends.

The photos below featured in The Guardian's Culture section, and are truly breathtaking.\

 Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Photograph: Jeff Foott

Dallol, a volcanic crater in Ethiopia. Photograph: Dr. Richard Roscoe

 The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Photograph: Xuan Che/Getty Images

 Mustard fields in Yunnan province, China. Photograph: Katie Garrod/Corbis

 Rock formations at the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in Gansu Province, China. Photograph: Xin Ran/Corbis

‘The Wave’, a 190m-year-old Jurassic-age sandstone rock formation in Arizona. Photograph: Blaine Harrington III/Corbis

Please keep those recommendations coming!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Helen Shaddock Artwork Sale - in aid of MFA tuition fees!

As I prepare to move to Newcastle to embark on a Master of Fine Art postgraduate degree at Newcastle University, I am packing up the contents of my studio and trying to earn a few pennies to add to the tuition fee fund!
I will be selling my artwork at a discounted rate, and there will be a variety of art materials that are up for grabs (any donations welcomed!)

Sunday 7th September

Studio 312,

3rd Floor,

Wasps Artists Studios,

South Block,

64 Osborne Street,

Glasgow, G1 5QH

I hope that you are able to come along, pick up some art to add to your collection, and say goodbye to me!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Friday 22nd August at Dumfries House

Sadly, today is my last day at Dumfries House, and as I have to be out of the studio and apartment by 10am, there is not much time to make work.

It was a bright morning and the Estate looked as beautiful as ever.

The cafe, and the building in which our apartment was located upstairs.

Typical colours of the Dumfries House estate

 The artists studios (back view)

 The artists studios (front view)

My studio was the one on the top left of the image above.

It contained some lovely objects.

I was a little dubious about the concoctions next to the sugar!

 I dropped off my donated artwork with Charlotte, the Curator at Dumfries House, and enjoyed my final hours spending the time with David and Nikki (I'm going to blog about them over the next few days).

Nikki and David sat on the steps up to the apartment

The whole residency has been fantastic, and definitely not long enough. I've met some wonderful people, made a couple of great friends and feel my practice has been enriched by the experience. 

The next few weeks are full on with preparing for my move to Newcastle, but the residency has given me a taste of what it is like to have the time and space to intensively focus on my own practice, and I am really excited about having the 2 year MFA course at Newcastle University to do just that!

My thanks go to everyone at Dumfries House for making the residency so beneficial. I hope to be able to spend more time there in the future.

Thursday 21st August at Dumfries House

I know that I am going to donate the series of 5 drawings related to Chippendale's 'A Lady's Writing Table and Bookcase', but in the set of 5 that I showed Charlotte, one of the drawings had the image in reverse to the others, so I wanted to make a version that follows the same pattern as the others, and see how that looks within the series.

This is both versions together in a direct relationship. 

I also wanted to create a couple of similar collages for me to keep to remind me of the work that I have donated.

I then experimented with the order of the drawings within the series.

I decided that I like having the one drawing slightly different to the others as it adds a little variation. 
After much consideration, I have decided on the following order for the piece.

I had to complete a artwork donation form, and write a bit of text to go with the work. This is what I came up with:

Title: A Gentlewoman's Studies

Artist Statement in relation to donated artwork: Shaddock's interest in structures and layers prompted an investigation into the Chippendale furniture within Dumfries House. The studies are a way of reimagining 'A Lady's Writing Table and Bookcase' as found in 'The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Directory'.

I produced the final postcard drawing to complete the frame. There are a number of empty frames within the studios and I was interested in the notion that in the House there are frames that have been made in plaster, as a feature within the wall, and therefore the artwork for inside it needed to be a suitable size.

As each of the drawings is on a separate postcard, my intention is to send each of the postcards to a member of staff at Dumfries House that has played a part in my experience on the residency. I am going to work on the text for these postcards so that they are individual to each person they are given to, but when put together, tell the story of my journey on the residency and the development of the artwork. 

When talking to Nikki about this, she came up with an interesting suggestion - namely to frame it within 2 pieces of glass so as to be able to see the front and back of the postcards - 'recto verso'.

Sadly, as I leave tomorrow, tonight I need to pack up in the studio and apartment.