Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goodbye July

Soft pastel drawing.

Monday, July 28, 2014

And talking of figurative ceramics

The artist whose work I would really like to see for real is Gertraud Moehwald (images here).
I was tremendously struck by a head she made (the first one here) when I saw it pictured in the magazine Ceramic Review, and immediately looked her up. 
I found that she had had an exhibition in Toronto in 2007, and I found this long article about her (please ignore the ad about quilting at the top of the page) - the Gardiner exhibition is the same as the Toronto one.
I find looking at her work even in photographs, small and obscure though the views might be, inspires me, enthuses me to keep looking at people and their emotions, thinking about the stories of human lives, ....  Maybe one day I will even see a piece for real.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Still admiring from afar

It should not surprise anyone who regularly reads these posts that I am drawn to figurative art.  I am also a lover of ceramic forms, and so figurative art in ceramic form attracts much admiration.  One ceramic artist whose work I have followed from afar for some time is Claire Curneen.
 In the Tradition of Smiling Angels
One of these days I shall be fortunate enough to see the work for real, but meantime I make do with the magic of the Internet, and excellent catalogues and magazine articles.  For anyone near the Harley Gallery in Nottinghamshire in the next couple of months a treat could be in store.
There is an interesting short video here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I couldn't leave it alone

I just could not settle to do anything else, but must fiddle with what should have been left to simmer.  I think, however, that I've taken it to a point where I can leave all the options so far.  This morning I took another photo - Marja-Leena's comment  on my last post but one about my using a realistic background was spot on: I tried it, but was definitely not happy.  So, this photo was used
to lead to this:
And then, of course, I just had to play further to add an another acrobat to my files!
Perhaps now I shall be able to get back to the work I planned to do.

Excited recollection and anticipation

The work of sculptor Thomas Houseago gave me a tremendous thrill of the kind that made me feel I must continue to push myself to create.  It is also such a positive to respond thus to contemporary art, especially when increasingly I feel I can engage less and less with what is being lauded.
Pour-Head/Portrait Study
On seeing a note of the current exhibition of Houseago's work in the Hague, I was reminded of the exhibitions I saw in Oxford a few years ago, the pieces I saw in Wakefield, and look forward to seeing more in the future.
Once upon a time, with an artist whose work had such a strong effect on me, I would have booked a trip to the Netherlands.  There was a time when I would travel all over just to see an exhibition, but now I am much more discriminating - and I manage my excitement better!
Now that my dutiful daughter years are over, and I am recovering from them, I find that the importance of trying to make my own work is increasingly taking over.  There comes a point when one can see too much of other people's work and there's a desire just to work, work, work and think about work.
Of course that does not exclude reading about and seeing artists' work; but I'm finding it good to be discriminating, and to choose to revisit where an acquaintance was too superficial rather than constantly be pursuing the new.  So, while I often turn over in my mind my memories of Houseago's work, and look forward to having the opportunity to learn what he is doing, and see more at some point - I am content to work with what I already have.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back burner progress etc.

A short while ago I developed an image to stitch when my sea pictures ran out.  The last picture of it published here was this:
I was not completely happy with this however.  Somehow there was not enough of an audience, and also I was unhappy with the base border.  So it developed into this below which I have printed onto A3 silk and am already stitching.
Today I felt an itch to design.  The news, how we are informed about it, and how we respond to it, how it affects us, has been sloshing around in my mind for a while.  My work is most often an amalgam of allsorts of input - the thoughts (conscious or subconscious), new or previous drawing (often adapted), photographs, scanned work... all collected over many years, and frequently used again and again.  What comes out is an expression of how or what I think or feel.
With these ingredients:
  a design for a previous small stitched work,
  and a digital scribble done during an especially low time a few years ago
 I now developed this as my starting point (and which may well become a basis for a linocut later).
My 'crayons' to 'colour in' were the following:
 a scan of an embroidery design from at least 60 years ago,
 some notes I made when researching in an art library over 20 years ago,
  a photo I took this Spring, and
 the digitally developed extra element I had recently added to my last design. 
I came up with this, which I now have to keep on the back burner for a wee while:
 Read and recycle
After a short ponder, I have made a first edit:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Architecture in the park

We made our second annual summer trip to London yesterday - early in the morning once more - to Hyde Park.  The Serpentine Gallery commissions an annual temporary pavilion which acts as a piece of living sculpture, abuzz with visitors, their children and dogs, having coffee and taking snaps.  Each year I am delighted with the solution, whether I like the structure or not - most of them I have liked - but no-one has yet surpassed my favourite by Frank Gehry in 2008
This year's pavilion is the design of Smiljan Radic, a Chilean whose grandfather emigrated from Croatia in 1919.  It is a playful structure which I can imagine at the bottom of a (large) garden, functioning as a children's play space during the day and as a adult party venue at night.
The fibreglass curves look home made, and must resemble closely the papier mache model. 
The outside imperfections intrigued, but bothered me a bit.  I found them too much of a contrast to the precise metal wires etc. 
Once inside however, I was totally converted: I just loved those contrasts.  There were attractions in every direction I looked.
I very much liked the lighting solutions and all the struts, supports, and functional whatnots generally.
It also very much worked with people in and around it - there would probably not be enough seating inside for everyone with their coffee, but the stones at its base were perfect for perching, climbing, and sprawling on.
There is more architectural discussion on the pavilion here, and here, and here.
After our coffee we strolled across the Serpentine itself to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which is also part of the Serpentine galleries.  The Serpentine Sackler Gallery was a gunpowder store, and was converted with an amazing addition by Zaha Hadid, opening last year.  The gallery space is amazing: room spaces which currently contain video/film pieces and are perfect for that - a contrast to the otherwise prevailing large white cube space.  Intimate brick enveloping the viewer made the work powerful.
The addition to the existing building is the restaurant appropriately named The Magazine.  Coincidentally, the day before we visited, Eirene posted about it with illuminating photos of the interior in her blog A place called space.
Dramatic curves work so well with the existing building, each blending closely, yet with their own character intact.
I was also amused to see that it is not just we at home who suffer from a surfeit of spiders these days!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Not quite a 'fill in job'

When I was teaching, my pupils always let me know when they thought they were receiving a 'fill in job'.  They were usually right, and I have just created another. But in this case the purpose is to keep up the flow on the Ragged Cloth Café blog
I have filled in with a short post about a fascinating printmaker I recently stumbled upon: Susan Aldworth.  She is an artist very much involved with scientists, including scientific imaging and interventions with her own art.
There is a great deal to explore in the radio programmes and videos on her website, and I am still processing my thoughts arising from it all.

Thinking about liberty

European history was a favourite subject of mine at school, and I particularly enjoyed reading about French history.  So, around this time of year my mind turns to the subject of the make-up of societies and to revolutions.
Eugene Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People (from here)
I am not one for violence but it pains me to think about how many people still live in dire social circumstances. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blooms abound

This year we are having a summer, and these days we are enjoying the delights of many blooms. (And the lack of rain is providing my husband with lots of opportunities to remove the weeds!)
These clematis are right outside the dining room and catch the sun in the morning.
Tucked away on the tool shed is this clematis.
One of my favourite geraniums in the garden.  We have several, including the most prolific ! wild one.
A veronica.
The clematis in the herb corner.
Sheltered underneath on of the grasses, and facing the full sun the nigella and the sedums flourish.
The knautia was constricted a bit this year with ever-increasing aquilegias, but has done OK nonetheless.
Rogue snapdragons developed from the remains of plants which we have not seen for many years.
Another geranium nestled under the splendid macleaya leaves.
The macleaya's own flowers.
The acanthus with spirea froth amongst the berberis fronds.
This year the hydrangea is magnificent.
Annuals in the front where we are clearing out weeds before we replant.  I love California poppies.
In the shade of holly trees we have the striking combination of crocosmia Lucifer with lisimachia firecracker.
Mermaid climbing rose - not quite a rambler, but a shorter scrambler.
Another clematis.
And the hypericum which is right outside the attached annex.
Apologies for any fuzziness in the snaps, but it is rather breezy today.  However, we are expecting downpourish weather in the next couple of days, so I thought I'd catch the blooms before they are soaked.