Sunday, March 31, 2019

This time of year

takes my mind to the delicacies of Nature, and coincidentally I have been reading a catalogue which does that, and more.  David Hockney, Vincent Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature is an exhibition on at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam until 26 May.  The catalogue is available in this country, published by Thames and Hudson.  I am not illustrating it here because I think that the cover design is execrable - but I'm probably out of date with typographic fashion.  
The content is fantastic, however, putting views from both artists side by side.  I have spent a most enjoyable time looking and looking.
A long and interesting review of the exhibition in Studio International is here - but I think that the reviewer had not read the catalogue, not quite getting Hockney's fascination with perspective/points of view.
Linked with what I was saying about this time of year, I found the drawings a delight.  There are fascinating examples from both artists.  I had forgotten about, and was pleased especially to be reminded of Van Gogh's elegant and eloquent pencil lines.  The Van Gogh Museum website has an excellent search facility through which I have spent a deal of pleasant time wandering.  Then I look through the windows to the growth outside, and am filled with delight - and perhaps even a glimpse of inspiration.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Garden outing

A couple of days ago we went on our first garden outing this Spring, to Waterperry just north of Oxford.  We used to visit in the 70s when we lived nearer there.  Then we stumbled across the first Art in Action, and for many years after I used to visit until the crowds became unbearable.  But all in all we have not been over in that direction for ages.
We were astonished that we had to park in the overflow overflow car park, but found that once in the gardens there were not many folk about.  It was a glorious Spring day.
There were many delights, and these are but a few.  The Pasque flowers were looking good.  I have never had success with these, but am attracted to them.  They have a very short season, and do not like to be swamped, so need their own space all year round.
The Pasque flowers are growing in raised beds within a kind of walled garden where the walls are beautifully clipped high hedges.
There are many magnificent trees in the gardens, and now is a time when the beautiful structure can be appreciated while the nascent leaves shine like jewels in the sunshine.  
This is also a time when the bark can fascinate.  I was drawn to the bark of a stately tulip tree
as well as to the subtle range of colours as well as the shape of these ancient apple trees.  Later in the year blossoms, leaves, and fruit can distract the eye.
On the outside of the real walled garden I was attracted to a shaped forsythia.  I had never seen this shrub grown in this way before, and found it lovely.  The colour of the blooms complements the pitted bricks so well.  I suspect a deal of work is involved, however.
Waterperry gardens holds the National Collection of saxifrages.  I'm someone who generally prefers small flowers rather than blowsy ones anyway, and I find that alpines are exquisite when blooming.  It helps also that 'in captivity' they are grown in raised beds, closer to be seen.

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Karolina Larusdottir: Pancakes
I was sad to read that Karolina Larusdottir died last month.  I very much admire her images, especially her prints.  I love her characters, the curiosity about their lives aroused by their tableaux ... what stories could they tell?  What stories are they telling?
Karolina Larusdottir:The Boat
Images from here and here.
Karolina Larusdottir:The woman who didn't see the angel (image from here)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Wrestling with myself, and an exemplar to admire

One of the aspects of my creative output which causes me guilt is that it adds stuff to an already overburdened planet.  At my most depressed moments I think that my self-fulfillment is otherwise simply creating more landfill in the long term, and causing me storage problems in the short term. 
My husband's photographs are mostly stored digitally, and thank goodness most of my own designs similarly never get beyond the digital.   And recently I came across a wondrous artist's book which is digital - so appropriate as litter is its subject.
Caroline Fraser: page from On the moon (image from here where the book is explained)
I had no idea that the astronauts who visited the moon left behind such litter - I am appalled, but certainly not surprised.  I am so cheered, however by Caroline Fraser's book pointing out the thoughtless trail of detritus.

I think that with my own work, at present I cannot stop the physical manifestation because the feel, the stitching, the display are all part of what I need for myself.  But I shall try to cut down as much as possible the creation of detritus, and perhaps think more about digital projects.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Nothing is given: someone somewhere always pays a price

Spring is the time when so many begin to visit National Trust gardens.  The image above is of a garden in Cornwall, and is borrowed from here.  But watery views are not always delightful.
Mozambique after Cyclone Idai (image from here)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Flora, and some of the joys of Spring

Flora (lino print)
Flora (detail, on cloth, stitched)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday, March 08, 2019

Such an enjoyable read

Audubon's Flamingo (image from here)
So accessible, but with rewarding depth and complexity, reminding me so much of Muriel Spark, but very much her own glorious voice Kate Atkinson's Transcription was a most enjoyable read.  The story and its telling pulls in the reader straightway, with pace and humour, not knowing where we are going - if anywhere - a mystery tour with great views on the way.  I found it well worth the journey.  Here is the Guardian newspaper review.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Influential incomers

George Adams: Das Mechanische Ballett (image from here) Exhibition at the Isokon Gallery 
The Lucy Rie exhibition which we visited in January in York (and also covered in A Place Called Space blog here) is part of a year-long celebration of incoming artists, refugees from Nazi Europe.  Insiders/Outsiders is a festival of various arts, and also a book published by Lund Humphries.  
Cover image from Josef Herman: Refugees
My copy arrived yesterday and it looks to be a treasure trove of essays which will keep me going for quite some time.