Friday, January 18, 2019


Concern (preliminary doodle)
Over the festive season it was a relief not to hear anything about the current UK political situation because I had become thoroughly depressed.  I found that even reading anything serious during my usual hibernation period was not sufficient relaxation, and so I turned to my tried and tested means of escape: detective novels.
This time, however, there is a twist.  I had only just found out that Susan Hill had written a series of crime novels, and decided to get the first one for my Kindle.  Well, I enjoyed that - it did the trick of distracting me - and so I went on to the second, ... .
Darren Thompson: Winter Coat on Subway Reading (image from here)
Now I am on the 7th, and intend to go right up to her current latest one before I emerge.  It is rather like reading a doorstop saga of engaging quality, and is helping me to put news and commentary programmes into a small box.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

More pages

I decided to try using one of the illustration pages - this is the first design doodle.  The birds were the easiest place to begin.  Rather than a book to read, I have tried a notebook - or sketchbook.  

Monday, January 14, 2019

Cawing of the crows

Bird (image from here)
The title of the Elisabeth Frink exhibition is Humans and Other Animals.  One category of those animals which always has an effect on me is her birds.  Ravens and the crow family generally come with menacing baggage, and although I can see why, I also find them of great interest.  I find jackdaws playful in their gang, and persistent in attacking the bird feeder.  My father used to hate the crow family largely because they walk like man which he described as obscene.
Laura Ford: Bird boy (image from here)
He definitely would not have warmed to Laura Ford's sculptures which match children's legs and stance with bird bodies and heads. And I must admit that I find the one I have seen at the New Art Centre sent creeps up my spine - while also attracting my positive curiosity.
Douglas Gordon: Looking down with his black black ee (image from here)
With the Frink works and those of influences there were two contemporary artists, one of whom was Douglas Gordon.  We were fascinated by his three video piece, and the sound of the cawing could be heard in the room where Frink's birds were displayed, adding to the atmosphere.  The title of Gordon's piece is from a Scottish poem which begins  
A corbie sits at the tap o' thon tree
And he's looking doon with his black black ee, ....
Corvids are popular in folk tales, and there is a lovely one The Stolen Sun written and illustrated by Amanda Hall, with whom I had the pleasure of working many years ago. (images above and below from here)

A couple of years ago I read an interesting book: Corvus: A life with birds by Esther Woolfson.
I am attracted to the rook/crow etc. family in my work as seen in Stretch, below.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ceramic delights: two servings

Our exhibitions and landscape tour took us from Cumbria across first to York, and then to Norwich.  Two much admired women and one man were the reason: Frink in Norwich, but also in both destinations the two potters, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper.  My admiration for all three has been firm since forever, and increases as time goes by.
There is currently an exhibition of Lucie Rie's work at York Art Gallery.  Eirene's blog A Place Called Space has many photographs showing the exhibition.  The image above (from that blog post) shows a Lucie Rie bowl with a beautiful work, Portent, by Claire Curneen in the background.  She is also an artist whose work I have admired.  The added benefit of the York Art Gallery is that its collection of ceramics gives the opportunity to admire, enjoy, refresh, and introduce the pleasures of others' work as well as that of the main focus.  Gordon Baldwin's work was well represented too - see again Eirene's specific post on him.
While at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich to see the Elisabeth Frink exhibition, I also made a point of seeking out the ceramics collection.  There is a large vitrine each for Lucie Rie 
(image from here)
and Hans Coper, 
(image from here)
and both vitrines full of such extraordinary pieces.
It has been a positive stimulating start to a new year, and I am raring to go on my own work.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Humans and other Animals

A wondrous exhibition of Elisabeth Frink's work, sculpture, prints, and drawings at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.  Description here and here.  The show is beautifully laid out, with excellent information, and also showing examples of the work of sculptors and artist contemporary with her.  I was particularly delighted to see again work by Lynn Chadwick, Henry Moore, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon, Marino Marini, and Genevieve Richier (Storm Man, seen below from here).
I absolutely loved a piece I'd not encountered before: Cesare Baldaccinni's The Man of Saint-Denis, inspired by Leo Valentin - the Birdman who also was a great inspiration for Frink.  (image below from here)

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Mist, mossy 'trousers', and other details

When the mist comes down, it's what's in the immediate vicinity which grabs the attention.
So much moss, and these looked like mossy trousers.
The ladybird was still active - just.
Not so long till full flowering:
Mysterious, and rather menacing, ... strange growths of twiglets.
What lies down the magical path?

Saturday, January 05, 2019

A new year trip

Kate Bentley: Woodsman cottage (image from here) 
We decided to take a few days away, touring landscape and exhibitions.  A start, through thankfully quiet-ish motorways, took us to Cumbria and the Great Print Exhibition.  Of all the exhibitors there the one which made the most impact with me is Kate Bentley.  From her website it seems that she is better known for her oil painting, but I really was attracted to her photographic prints with watercolour.  Their feeling reminded me of the prints by Elizabeth Magill, that kind of hovering state.

Kate Bentley: Fern Woods (image from here)

Kate Bentley is a member of the Society of Women Artists, and more images can be seen here.