Friday, May 08, 2015

Snapshots of colour in the garden

Yesterday morning I quickly took a few snaps of colour in the garden.  I try to do this regularly to top up my digital colour palette.  This year is proving to be a bumper one so far.
Pulmonarias still flowering
as are the Euphorbias
Bluebells beginning to go over as the earliest geraniums appear, with the tolerated white nettle.
Fresh Berberis leaves, with one of our too many Aquilegias poking through
More fresh leaves on the Spirea...
two Spireas and another Berberis - red this time, and the growing Acanthus leaves in the top left background.
Yet another Berberis with its delightful yellow blossom
Bergania in dramatic pink bloom
Two kinds of Ajuja: dark
and paler.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Immediately inspired

The better the art, the more it sets me off wanting to work - not to copy, but simply to work, to put in the effort.  This was certainly true of my trip to see Wanderlust.  (Above is a pic I took of the back of a small piece - a delight in itself.)
Jilly Edwards' work inspired me not only because of its general qualities, but also the particular use of colour - and specifically yellows and greys.  This is a combination which evokes different emotions.  This Spring's greens have been strikingly yellow because of a lack of rain.  That has been joyous.  But sometimes yellow can evoke a contemplative, and even a negative response.
I stopped at the cafĂ© at Walford Mill for a coffee before I returned to the exhibition.  The day was so sunny, and warm in the sheltered courtyard, that I decided to drink outside at one of the picnic tables.  The wooden slats of the table top intrigued me: they appeared to have scars.  Scars as if flesh cut and then stitched.  I took photos.
My head was full of all of what I had seen as I worked, and with other thoughts swimming about in my mind resulted in a clear impetus to produce something which I think calls itself Scarred.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wondrous weaving

I am a great fan of tapestry weaving.  Had I parallel lives, one of them would see me engaged in trying to weave.  Meantime I savour the delights by magicians of the art.  One such who is definitely worth a journey is Jilly Edwards, and today I did just that: I drove to Walford Mill gallery (pictured above), in Wimborne to see her latest exhibition: Wanderlust.  (This was on previously at the Harley Gallery in Nottinghamshire.)
It was a perfect day for it: the sun shining, the yellow of oilseed rape fields spreading in patterns with green on each side of the landscape as I drove south, preparing me for the bright light and colour as I entered the gallery.
Edwards' work is joyous, and especially so with the yellows, and that glorious marriage of yellow with white and black and grey.  But it not only provides that happy top note; also, bringing a deep feeling of fulfilling satisfaction is the breadth of subtlety.  The combination of threads, of textures, of pattern, of absorbing and reflecting, of expectation and surprise, of always, always, always being worth looking at closely, distantly, closely, again and again.
I did not pay attention to the titles.  I was absorbed by the pieces themselves, and I apologise for my inadequate snaps.
Not all the pieces were yellow.  There was also blue, and the most beautiful subtle range of whites and off whites.
In the exhibition notes there is mention of Edwards reaching a pause at the end of her previous exhibition tour, and that her wanderings anew took her amongst other inspirations to an exhibition of Agnes Martin's work.  I loved the weaving I've pictured above for that loose pencil-like mark-making: the look of the emotional rather than the rational taking over hand and implement to respond, to note, to understand.
Below is an even worse snap close-up of a small piece like the ones above.  (The image above came from here where there are a few more pix from the Harley Gallery.)
In a short film the work pictured immediately above was shown in development, and can be seen here.
The piece which I think I am drawn to most, however - probably because I find it dramatic, enigmatic, changeable,....  It rubs against my mind with its layers of black, its poured yellow and black, the fields of whites, the delicious symmetries/asymmetries - the movement, the solidity - it is just utterly wondrous: The Cut Line
Even the title makes me wonder.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pots on a sunny day

We are fortunate to have an excellent couple of galleries nearby, showing high quality work.  The Craft Study Centre in Farnham is the University Museum of Modern Crafts attached to the University for the Creative Arts.  At present in their temporary exhibitions gallery is a show curated by the director Simon Oldfield with Magdalene Odundo the potter and professor of ceramics at the university.
I have long been a great fan of Odundo's work (image above from here).  She acknowledges the influence of Ladi Kwali whose work is on exhibition at present.
It's the hand built pots which spoke loudest to me, pulling me towards them, wanting to hug the warm shapes with their beautifully elegant scraffito decoration.  (image above from here, image below from here)
I find something visceral about hand built ceramics in traditional round shapes like this.  In today's Guardian newspaper there is an interesting article by the writer Orhan Pamuk about having wanted to be a painter, and how he visited Anselm Kiefer who had wanted to be a writer.  Two means of expression which attract my imagination are tapestry weaving and pottery - especially using coil and pinch hand built technique.  When I saw Ladi Kwali's pots this morning I had that longing feeling again.  Here is a vimeo of Ladi Kwali at work.
And to complement the pots perfectly, seen behind them through the transparent display window, hanging on a long wall a beautiful printed textile made by Zimbabwean artist Babette Fitzgerald, part of the Craft Study Centre collection. The image of the cloth does not show the detail,
so here is a close-up of another similar piece (from here), showing the similar scratch-design style.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Digital collage of lino prints

I am always delighted by the magic of digitally collaging traditional prints.  I've been working on a piece which I'm calling Birdie.
I started with simple drawings for two colours of lino printing.  The drawings were done digitally, printed out and then traced onto the lino to be cut.
I like to use crumpled tissue paper which has been covered with soft pastel as the paper base on which to print.  It was not my intention to keep any of the prints as individual finished items, so hence the use of simple tissue paper alone rather than as chine collĂ© with a more substantial paper.
I made several prints, using not only the 'pastelled' tissue paper, but also a rough collage of commercially printed tissue paper with random leaves on.  Of all the prints I chose this last, and two others to combine digitally.  I then scanned the three prints and began my collage.
I also decided to add a thin film of grey on parts of the figure.  That was taken from my digital files of previously scanned pastelled paper.  I also decided that I preferred the figure facing to the right.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tulips, and so much more

We decided that this year we will try to get to our favourite nearby garden West Green at least once a month.  Today the temperature felt as if August was upon us - at least 23 degrees C, probably more in the walled garden which has a red and green theme, capitalising on the beating sun!  What attracted my attention however was the clematis armandii in full white blossom.  I would love to have one of these, but it is far too vigorous for what we are trying to make into an easily maintained garden.
The tulips were in all stages of flowering, from bud to almost over.
Leaves and blossom were the other themes - with Spring flowers to remind us that it is still but the middle of April.
And in the Edible Hedge Garden it was grass laying day.  Nut trees have been planted here, and soft fruit hedges, as well as edible fruit climbers.  We have watched this area develop from scratch, and are amazed at how relatively quickly it is taking shape.
The Edible Hedge Garden above was based on a design for a previous Chelsea Flower Show .