Sunday, May 26, 2019

Divers threads

An exhibition showing how art can be made with thread: Thread: Contemporary Textiles is a show on at the Rheged Centre in Cumbria until 30 June.  Mid-week, early in the morning it was a glorious cool space, empty except for the exhibits, and such a pleasure to stroll round.  Although showing the variety of ideas which can be created with thread, the emphasis seemed to be more on those ideas rather than on the techniques of their execution.  It was for me the thought-provoking qualities of the pieces which attracted - my favourite being Louise Bourgeois' embroidered handkerchief: I have been to hell and back.
Louise Bourgeois: I have been to hell and back (image from here)
Others who particularly caught my attention were
Abigail Booth (image from here)
Sara Impey (image from here)
Rosie James (image from here)
Philip Sanderson (image from here)

I was familiar with the work of all of the above except Abigail Booth, but it was good to see unfamiliar pieces displayed so well and in such good company.  They made for me a powerful exhibition.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Blue skies

Blue skies and picturebook clouds today.  Southerness lighthouse is a delightful structure.  The tide was going out.
Wild flowers in abundance.
Even up on a spire!


Monday, May 20, 2019

An almost solitary wander

This morning, as soon as Threave gardens opened we went for a stroll round the place.  The blooms were perfect in the warm clear fragrant air.  Mostly birds, trainee gardeners, less than a dozen visitors, and us.  Bliss.
Such a glorious clashing of colours!



Saturday, May 18, 2019

Caught my eye

I was quietly reading the other evening, past dusk but with the curtains open, when my attention was drawn by a quick movement outside.  On the grass was a tiny fluffy black ball with huge feet, moving at tremendous speed.
Taking off my reading glasses I saw that it was a moorhen chick, looking for its mum - which it quickly found as it zigzag-ed around the garden then back towards the wetland. 
The photo here captures just the kind of chick I saw (image from here).

Monday, May 13, 2019

One thing leads to another

Christine McArthur: The Crimson Window (image from here)
I always like to follow up exhibitions with a poke about on the Internet for more information, more illustrations of the artist's work, and anything else of interest which might arise.  Pursuing the Still Life aspect of Elizabeth Blackadder's work I found the current exhibition on at The Scottish Gallery.  I was attracted to a very red piece, (see above) by an artist I had not previously encountered. 
Christine McArthur: Seven Pears (image from here)
Curiosity thus led me to Christine McArthur, and was lucky to find that she had recently had a solo exhibition at the same gallery: The Diary Series.  There is an online catalogue for this show on the same link as the title of the exhibition, and there is also a 45 minute You Tube film of the artist talking about her work here.
Christine McArthur: Sorted Threads (image from here)
I was delighted also to discover that Christine McArthur makes embroideries, inspired by her grandfather, as explained in her talk and in the catalogue.
What I found inspiring was the discovery that the paintings are actually collages in construction.  It has provided me with a spark of excitement and I have started a new notebook of ideas.  Of course my work will in no way be anything like the lovely works of Christine McArthur, but she has provided me with a glimpse of an inkling as to how I want to develop.
(image from The Diary Series catalogue)
Here is a quick look at a Christine McArthur sketchbook.  The integral use of words and writing also made a connection with me.  Inevitably, I now have a catalogue of The Diary Series exhibition.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

On at my local museum

Elizabeth Blackadder: Still life with lily and flute (image from here)
Recently I had a double pleasure: catching up with a now distant good friend, and seeing a lovely exhibition of a long admired artist.  The first piece of work by Dame Elizabeth Blackadder which I encountered was the print above.  That was many years ago, and I was immediately drawn to the composition, the mix, the feeling: the piece made me both calm and excited at the same time.
Not all of her work gives me that special reaction, but I always love seeing her work, and when individual pieces give me that frisson, it is priceless.
My local museum is the Willis in Basingstoke, and I have been lucky to see some excellent touring shows there.  
(image above from here)
Elizabeth Blackadder: From the Artist's Studio shows a range of her works, painting, drawing, watercolour, and print.  She loves flowers, cats, and buildings, and her compositions have the immediacy of a sketchbook while presenting the kind of timelessness of the carefully considered.
There was also the pleasure of seeing a tapestry made by the Dovecot Studios of one of Blackadder's paintings.
Basilica San Petronio, Bologna (image from here)
As well as the works there are also a couple of video clips to see at the exhibition - this being one of them on her printmaking at Glasgow Print Studios.
A brilliant day - despite thunderous downpours - each of which we managed to miss.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Busy doing nothing exciting

In that waiting limbo, hanging around expecting something to be moved forward - out of my control - getting on with work in progress, with the occasional doodle such as this one exploring pattern, and figures more or less how I feel.