Leap Year

What to do with the extra day in 2020.

©Hong Kong Ballet

Obviously after just one Barré lesson we are fizzing to leap around on Leap Day, but this young man does it so much better .

February always needs more red.

Leap Year attracts flimsiness and fun, see my efforts above, or read Guardian flimsiness.

But it exists to keep us all ticking along nicely in time. Introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago.

Leap day recalibrates and corrects time keeping because every year is actually 365 days and 6 hours long (one complete earth orbit of the sun) so once every four years those extra 6 hours are gathered together to make an extra day.

29 pictures in red to fill your extra day.

Red car Plymouth Hoe
Miss VV
Tywardreath rail crossing
Crystal Palace Rail Station
VV and Mum talk Rothko
Posters Devonport Playhouse
Redcurrants Butler’s Cottage
Red vase @theoldmortuary
Poppies @theoldmortuary
Jewel Salad @theoldmortuary
100 Homes Project, Plymouth
Chinese New Year , Hong Kong
Bowls South Korea
Hugo and Lola hit the Red Carpet
Gipsy Hill Brewery at The Lord High Admiral , Plymouth
Detail of painting
Street Art Haggerston
Chilli lights and cook books
Welsh Guards
Autumn Leaf Dulwich Picture Gallery
Beach plastic, Portwrinkle
Croxted Road, Dulwich
Detail from painting
Street Art, New York
Dodging the spray, Niagara Falls, Canada
Post Box, Barnes
Brixton Market
Hoi An

Muscle Memory

It’s been a while since attending a ballet based class was a thing for the humans @theoldmortuary.

An exercise class called Barre enticed us in.

My previous ballet experience was in a mirror- less room at the Institute, Braintree so even the word Barre was a little bit exciting. Holding the Dado rail was the Essex way. Plymouth Ballet lessons were a lot posher for Hannah and involved lessons from Wayne Sleep and Bonnie Langford as well as mirrors and Barres.

As it turns out we didn’t touch the Barre.

The movements and language were a revelation. I had completely forgotten that French is the language of ballet.

The strange thing is that our bodies had not forgotten, effortlessly getting into the positions required before our brains had fully processed the command.

‘Effortlessly’ is slightly disengenuous, we didn’t turn into giddy, gauzy, whisps of women seemingly floating across the dance floor in a chiffon of pink. How I wish that were the case; but it was noticeable that none of the moves were unfamiliar to us and we threw in little ‘Jettes’ quite naturally and our ‘arabesques’ felt as beautiful as the word suggests. As with all things exercise there was a punchy soundtrack that encouraged movement and time keeping. The only downside to all this ballet nostalgia was the mirror, in keeping with its well-known cliche. It didn’t lie.

Digital Learning Day

Every day is a digital learning day @theoldmortuary as we are both digital migrants, very far from Luddites we are early adopters of technology who have a fondness for the hardware of the pre-digital age. Currently involved,and failing, to engage local artists in the benefits of Instagram , this morning I adopted irony with my post.

© Guardian

This image captivated me over the weekend, it illustrated an article about Hilary Mantel and her new book. Another image from the weekend was this typewriter in Joe and the Juice, Wimbledon.

I love that the hardware of the pre-digital age are loved by so many people and not all thrown into landfill.

Joe and the Juice, Regent Street had another gorgeous typewriter when I was there in the winter.

Lurking in the studio @theoldmortuary there is a collection of wooden letterpress letters.

The sentiment is somewhat appropriate.

And, thank goodness, neatly brings me back to art.

I would be really grateful to anyone who has an idea or experience of engaging artists and makers to engage with Instagram and Social Media in general. Comments either on here or on theoldmortuary Instagram/ facebook page. Thanks in advance.

Bright shaft of sunlight.

This morning the sunshine demanded to be noticed @theoldmortuary.

It highlights.

1. Tissues, we have been bogged down with a shocking virus this weekend. Not the headline grabbing sort just one that saps the strength and deadens the creative soul.

2. Hidden books, I have no idea how they get there.

3. Shadows, we have cast metal fish in our windows . In spring as soon as the sun comes out the fish shadows swim all over the ground floor.

4. Phalluses

Today is Ash Wednesday, an important date in the Christian calendar and #ash is the prompt for the social media account of Drawn to the Valley an artist collective I am involved with.( I used David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes lyrics to fulfil the prompt) I mention this only in passing to illustrate that although I am not an active Christian I do have a good grip living opposite a church and being culturally shaped by Christianity, the gentle moves of the Christian calendar and it’s feasts and rituals are integral to the shape of our daily lives. Weddings, funerals and baptisms shape the way we park if nothing else. Paganism too plays it’s part in todays blog about Bright Shafts of Sunlight. There is almost an eponymous characteristic to those words. #4 explained

Our garden traps confetti, even after a winter of harsh storms and few weddings, today’s ‘ bright shaft of sunlight’ has its own special meaning @theoldmortuary as the garden twinkles with golden phalluses.

What becomes of a careless Seagull? Not exactly Mardi Gras.

Obviously theoldmortuary has some history with the deceased. Today is Mardi Gras in many countries and I was trawling my photo files for masks as you do, and these popped up. I can think of no time when it would be appropriate to share these images of forgotten Seagulls extracted from our chimney, but they do have a feel of Mardi Gras. So today they are getting their moment in the spotlight.

I posed them on decaying flowers and in bright shafts of sunlight to enhance the feel.

In the Pink, the morning commute and other stories.

theoldmortuary team has spent the weekend fixing fences ravaged by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Eileen. As garden party guests go these three are banned. In consequence we are a little jaded and completely over February weather. As inspiring, luck would have it, the Artists of the Tamar Valley Instagram prompt for today was #mondaymotivation. It seems Pink is a thing for me on Monday mornings. A simple search for Monday’s in my picture library bought up this 12 year old painting.

Battersea Power station was always my motivation on my journey into central London to produce radiographic images. Neatly demonstrated in pink by this piece of lightbox art in Hong Kong.

©Ovolo Hotel Southside Hong Kong

Making x-ray images used to involve dark rooms. One Monday I produced this image to demonstrate dark room illumination. It was a freak image but very pink.

For a while I produced the social media for an exhibition at Tate Modern, this also appeared in the Monday file.

Not all art images are hugely positive, the next image is a piece of commissioned work that was personalised with the addition of Slovakian poetry. Niche,for certain but the commissioning person ultimately refused to buy it.

A fabulous, pink, Monday image is the wildflowers in early spring that cling to the walls of Trematon Castle. Also sometimes a commuting journey.

Flowers fill the Monday Photo File. These Tulips were captured last February, caught in a sharp ray of sunshine.

2020 take note. Sunshine is permitted in February.

Less in-your-face pink is this February roses. I’m not sure I want to think about the air miles.

Finally to shine a little more pink light into the February gloom. Lightbulbs.

Hoping these pinks have perked up a February Monday, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Pink is so much better as a #mondaymotivation than black fences and quick drying cement.

Sticky Quickie#18

Pondering today feels a little more relaxed than yesterday. Today the word is Sticky. Once again inspired by the Instagram prompts for an art group.

I’ve always considered the word sticky to be onomatopoeic, the two syllables mimicking the breaking sensation when stickiness loosens it’s hold and the breakaway occurs. I could well be hopelessly wrong. That doesn’t particularly bother me. What bothers me is my indecision on my like or dislike of the word. Context in this case is everything.

Is sticky a sensuous word? The Rolling Stones gave it a libidinous thrill with their album. Sticky Fingers.

©The Rolling Stones

And then sometime later turned it into a finger licking, gustatory delight with the London Restaurant, Sticky Fingers, owned by band member Bill Wyman.

©Sticky Fingers Restaurant

A meeting yesterday prompted pondering as sticky gave me another use of the word. There were evident under currents,mostly due to people not listening accurately. My slightly awkward discomfort manifested itself in a doodle of the words ‘ Sticky Situation’

” But can we make it stick” either literally as in bonding together or metaphorically, for applying evidence or data.

Is this image sticky?

That’s a sticky one.

Buds/Justice, the usefulness of an abstract image.

I took this photo yesterday, not expecting to use it today. But the prompt word for the Instagram account I’m managing, this week, has led me down such a rabbit warren of thoughts and philosophies I’m quite exhausted.

#justice such a big word, so deep, so complex, so personal.

I’ve read some amazing quotes and read some fascinating stuff but is my theoldmortuary pondering mind right to share anything on an arts group Instagram page that is beyond the simple image of the scales of justice.

The simple answer is ” of course not”

What I have comfortably shared is this photograph of Daffodil bulbs, because it makes me think; and for me, today, it illustrates my hopes for justice if not always the lived experience of the word.

Dozing with a good book Gangnam Style

My favourite place to read is at home in the World’s Most Comfortable Chair. It is not always the most effective place to read.

My particular ‘World’s Most Comfortable Chair’ was bought on eBay from Penryn . It was in a sorry state but was an original from the 1960’s, the deep chocolate brown velvet was faded to an unattractive lilac . Reupholstered and recovered it lives in theoldmortuary with other bits of mid- century modern furniture.

The chair is the problem. It makes any book soporific. Not for me sleeping on hard surfaces with a book.
This preamble is a shameless lead-in to share two of my favourite book related images. I captured them within the same few hours in Seoul, South Korea. The first was a wall mural in Bongeunsa Temple, Gangnam-gu.

I imagine this photo would have rested undisturbed in my Seoul photo archive had it not been reconstructed in a contemporary way just a mile or so away at the Kyobo book store. I love the peace expressed by the relaxed hands in both images.

I had completely forgotten these two book related dozes were captured in Gangnam district, so more shameless image sharing and with it, hopefully, an earworm. Seriously, you’re welcome no problem at all.