Saturday, November 28, 2015


Surfacing (detail), 2009
I do not often get head colds these days, but when I do they seem to hit me hard.  I am delighted now, however, to be surfacing gently.  Yesterday evening was my first outing, and we went to a great concert by Julian Joseph - who when I first heard and saw him live inspired this piece:
Jazz piano (JJ), 2007
and set off all my various instrument playing images.
In between sinus headaches I find that it has been lino cutting which has predominated in my thinking.  Online shopping being so exhaustion-'lite', I indulged myself in a couple of new cutting tools.  I am not completely comfortable with the traditional mushroom-shaped handles, and so wanted to give these RGM tools a trial.  They have now arrived, and I'm about to do some gentle vinyl cutting.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Temporary absence

while I recover from a horrid head cold, and boost tissue sales.  Now we are back home, but I'm indoors wrapped up right now, frustrated that I'm not in a fit state to work.  Jane Smiley's Last Hundered Years trilogy is my comfort along with cocoa and the wood stove.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

and then there was snow!

We had planned to walk round Lanercost Priory this morning, but there was treacherous black ice!
The landscape was fantastic under the bright sunshine despite the temperature never rising far enough to melt the snow and ice.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Skies and hills, and a powerful performance

The above snaps were all taken yesterday, after which we saw and were moved by a tour de force of a play: The Bogus Woman, a powerful one-hander written by Kay Adshead, and performed by Krissi Bohn .
The remaining images were taken today.  Can you make out the faint rainbow?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Seeing the light; hearing the height!

We went to Edinburgh for lunch.  Well, my husband and I, who met at university in Edinburgh in the 60s, went to a wee gathering of those of us who became firm friends then.  It is 50 years since we started university, and we had lunch together to catch up.  So from Carlisle, near where we are staying this week, we took the train.
Now that I seek out lifts rather than stairs we ended up at the back of Waverley Station, and there next to the exit is the gallery I thought I would never be able to visit now with my knackered knees, because of its level.  Those of you familiar with Edinburgh will know that it is a city of lows and highs with bridges many storeys above and streets many steep steps below.  The Fruitmarket Gallery is in the bowels of the lower wynds - at the base of the back of the bridge shown below.
Adam Bruce Thomson North Bridge and Salisbury Craggs, Edinburgh from the North West

Such a joyous delight to be able not only to visit the gallery, but also to see the unexpected bonus of a beautiful exhibition: Another Minimalism: Art after California Light and Space.  Light and space was what it encompassed, with thought-provoking pieces - there is a review here
I loved the whole thing, most of the individual pieces, and particularly enjoyed the projected shapes and colours of Olafur Eliasson (the after-images which I experienced fascinated me),
the work of Uta Barth, and
that of James Welling.
Also absolutely brilliant was the lift (elevator): stepping in, onto a work by Jim Lambie, I smiled - not knowing that more was to come.  A Martin Creed work, commissioned during his Down over Up exhibition at the gallery is still in place: a choir sings up a scale when the lift ascends, and down when descending.  Simply marvellous! and certainly beats "Doors closing ... doors opening ...."

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pauses in the rain

November is an interesting month for visiting landscape here in the UK.  We have encountered all kinds of weather and temperatures over the years.  This year we are near Hadrian's Wall, and experiencing rain - almost constant, but with the most marvellous effects when it pauses.  It really is worth being here during the downpours in order to enjoy it when it stops.
I was never ready or quick enough to catch a snap of any of the many fragmentary rainbows unfortunately.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Need or want?

Not much seems to go to waste in what is left from my various throw-outs.  The joy of using a drawing program as a tool means that even the most unpromising bits of stuff can perhaps become the basis for something.
When I began exploring how various marks made on an etching plate would print I played around with a repeated figure and other kinds of lines, scratchings, and lettering, to which I subsequently added after a preliminary proof. 
Fine, I now saw a way forward to make a 'proper' plate, abandoned everything on this plate, and went on to develop different ideas.

However, because I scanned all my printed material for my notebook, the images were stored digitally too.  And something there started calling to me.  I 'cleaned up' the image to give me a good look at what was there.
What struck me particularly was the upward motion of the arms and hands.  I cropped to isolate that motion, and was almost there.
I just needed to add some more texture.
A conjunction particularly comes to me at this time of year : the growing consumer excesses of the festive season, and in contrast the ever more glaring increasing quantity of poverty and oppression.  Something to contemplate as I stitch the piece, now printed onto silk.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Snaps on a stroll

We are fortunate to live in a verdant oasis in the midst of arterial roads and within fit walking distance of a town.  A short stroll to the post box provides endless diversions, and this morning I remembered to take my camera, even tho' t'was raining.  My instinct paid off, however, as the rain stopped almost as soon as I was out of the gate.
Last winter we replaced the fence, and planted a new hedge along our boundary with the public path, and now the tangle that is our wetland is exposed to view.  The birds seem to like it, however, and we have several moorhens resident.
Springs arising in our and our neighbours' back gardens flow through to the pond on the other side of the public path.
The path is known as the church path because, of course, it leads past the church.  The old graveyard is round the church, and is quietly picturesque.

Every year at this time the magnificent white berried sorbus /rowan tree is showing off (that's the village primary school in the background).
And here are some of the other delights that were seen on the way to the post box.