Friday, January 29, 2016

Spring approaching

Inspired by the lovely display we saw on Sunday I put together this rough idea of Spring approaching the Winter garden.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Benefitting from the unpopularity of the unfamiliar

We saw two exhibitions at the Hauser and Wirth gallery:  a solo show of Don McCullin's photographs which was consistently crowded, and a mixed show titled Qwaypurlake - a title which hardly trips off the tongue.  There were many interesting pieces in the latter, but my favourites were two birds by Elisabeth Frink:
Elisabeth Frink: Large bird from here
Elisabeth Frink: Bird from here
Tucked away was a quiet attractive painting by Peter Lanyon:
Peter Lanyon: Anticoli Snow from here
At the end, on a large end wall were three beautiful large paintings by Ian McKeever:
Twelve - Standing III from here
Twelve - Standing V from here
Twelve - Standing IX from here
There were very few folks visiting this show when we were there, and of those who did wander in most seemed to whizz through.  I enjoyed a quiet long peruse.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The beauties of beige

Yesterday we went to Hauser and Wirth's Somerset gallery.  The Piet Oudolf designed garden is splendid in its dormant season.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A rewarding read

Photo of David Hockney painting in Yorkshire by Christopher Simon Sykes
I have just finished reading the second volume of Christopher Simon Sykes' biography of David Hockney, subtitled A Pilgrim's Progress.  It is a book that needs short bursts of total immersion in order fully to appreciate Hockney's obsessive enthusiasm in his pursuit to find out about and try.
As with Picasso, I have found following the curiosity, the single-minded seeking, and the exhaustive trying, practising, achieving, infectious - always filling me with a need to do something creative.
Whether it is his many painting series, the prints, the stage designs, the paper pulp images, the photographic collages, the fax pictures,
(image above - Pacific Surf -detail- from here)
the camera lucida portraits, the iphone and ipad images, the films,
even the strange Very New Paintings (image above from here) some of which I was lucky enough to see at an excellent exhibition at the Hayward Gallery many years ago - almost every piece excites me, helps me see more, and impels me to look more.  Even reading about David Hockney gets my mind twitching to get going.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

From the workroom window

This morning we had a hard frost, so I made sure to put out more food for the wee birds. 
Our local pheasant came by to pick at the spillage, and then to sunbathe as the light went down.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Lino trial

I am trying out a different versions of a digitally printed background for City breakfast. Below are a couple of examples. 
I also tried another plate - Shuffle - with another digitally printed background - in this case printed onto Lokta paper.  All very much work in progress.
I have decided to keep my new work blog for myself in order to be more useful to me, and so have removed the link.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Crisp and chill

Today I have been thinking about the beauties of Winter.  The temperature has fallen from the unseasonal balmy days which seduced the new shoots to show themselves.  Despite the sunshine, a crisp wind cuts through all of the protective layers, but I have been enjoying the birds from the graceful red kites, the passing heron, the ducks, and many tiny birds down to the treecreepers and the wrens. 
The remaining berries shine among the lines of bare branches, the scratchy twigs marked against the pale yellow sky.  The beech leaves glow with a deceptive warmth.
I came across this print and love it.  It is by Hester Cox, and is from here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Painting with paper pulp

I was reading about David Hockney's Paper Pools yesterday evening and decided to have a quick google to see if anyone else has been using the technique.  I found this image which I like a lot.  It's by Durant Sihlali.  The image comes from here, and there is more information about the artist here.

Added on Tuesday:
Ellsworth Kelly also used the same facilitator Kenneth Tyler to make pulp paintings at more or less the same time, the late '70s. Image below detail from full pic.: MOMA.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Exquisite minimal ceramics ... patchwork pots

These elegant and pieced ceramics attracted me the minute I turned the page of my latest Craft Arts International magazine and saw the photos of Carina Ciscato's work. (The image above came from the Craft Arts link, and the beginning of the article is there too.)
Starting with the lid, she throws pot shapes with minimal markings, cuts the bodies and then fits them to make a new body before fitting on the lid.  There are two films showing her technique.  The first on the Joanna Bird website which shows the whole forming process without words. (Image above from here)
The second film is from Ceramic Review magazine with Ciscato explaining her technique.
I find the work stunningly beautiful - for me it represents visually what hours of hand stitching provide: calming meditative contemplation.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Ghostly visitor

This is fast becoming a nature diary!  A few years ago I was astonished to see a pair of egrets on a tree overlooking the pond in the village.  I thought I must be mistaken, but no, little egrets are now living in Britain.
Yesterday I was at the computer, and something white caught my eye.  Under the hawthorn, at the edge of the wetland, shining in the light of the setting sun was a beautiful little egret.  It stayed long enough to probe between the matted reeds, and then it flew off.  (image above from here)

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Vulpine antics

It is extraordinarily quiet round us at night, and thus the odd sound makes quite an impact.  We used to warn folks staying that if a shot went off it was probably our neighbour keeping the rats off his prize fancy duck eggs - but he has upped his security and we no longer hear those.
We do, however hear the wildlife.  Owls are the most frequent.  The snuffling noisier than one would expect hedgehogs are rare these days.  The other night - well, very early morning - I was startled by screaming.
It was not human, and because I'd heard the cough/bark beforehand I knew it was a fox.  I looked it up, and it's to do with amorous intent rather than distress - well certainly on the part of the male.  This is what it sounds like.
The photograph comes from here where there are some lovely pictures.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Stand back, to take it all in

Shingle picker (digital design)
Every few years I find it necessary to look up from whatever I'm immersed in to see where exactly it is that I've reached.  I can too easily move eagerly from one impulse to another, distracted by my curiosity or inspirations.  The comfort of familiarity can also lead to remaining in the same place for too long.  So, I have reached a point when I need a good view.
I realise that when I was turned down by a prestigious art quilt group many years ago now on the grounds that they thought my interests were not entirely quilt-centred, they were right.  I want to detach labels, and to examine what it is that I want to express, and in what way(s).
One way of achieving a kind of clarity is to write - to stand outside what I am thinking by reading it.  I have this blog, which is indeed called Threading thoughts, but I want to try to isolate my work from my wider thoughts.  Although that might seem like categorising pebbles on a beach, I am going to try in a new blog: Hand, Eye Mind, devoted to process, progress, and projects.  I will continue to cover my work in this blog, however.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Ready for the New Year

With a new week beginning tomorrow I am ready to face a new year.  I finished reading Drawing People, and towards the end found another Janus image. 
Sandra Vasquez de la Horra: El nino Janus (from here)
I found the book gave my self confidence a positive boost, and I want to build on that.  I have a lot to get on with, so I'd better get started!  Next on the reading pile is the second volume of the David Hockney biography: A Pilgrim's Progress.