#22 theoldmortuary ponders

©James Crozier

Full circle, two days of exhibiting with friends and colleagues from Drawn to the Valley at Butchers Hall in Tavistock is over. More than 3,000 people attended and the event was judged to be a huge success.

©Alison Freshnay

Thank goodness the weather turned down a few notches from the deluges of Thursday, the set up day. The watercolour filter on my phone makes the turgid River Tavy look a little more vibrant than it actually was as I carried my paintings to the hall.

Wind and rain did their worst to one of my paintings and it has been sold with the promise that when the canvas properly dries out I will make good any watermarks that appear. The wind had whipped off the wrappings and rain soaked the back of the painting. To my horror the super matt blackness of the background started to develop little white tide marks as the canvas dried out over the two days of the exhibition. The background will be the blackest of blacks very soon.

© theoldmortuary

Eight hour days in an exhibition hall made me very grateful that Black Sheep Brew on Pepper Street makes fabulous Coffee to keep hands warm and conversations flowing.

https://www.blacksheepbrew.uk/

The 2021 Exhibiting Season for Drawn to the Valley has come to a close. It has been a year of huge uncertainties, there was always doubt if any of our planned events would go ahead. Thankfully they all have and the public have supported us by turning up and buying the work of local independent Artists and Makers. Significantly our membership has grown which means next year there will be many new artists exhibiting with us. Many New Stars to find.

©Briony Upton

#18 Pandemic Pondering

Better late than never. The posh Dahlias have not taken to the move well. This is the only bloom of the season. I”m pretty certain there are no pollinators out there to enjoy this late crop of pollen. Should another bloom appear I will be busy with my paintbrush dusting pollen about while making the summer noises of gentle buzzing.

No such sound effects needed with my recent paintbrush action. The mind numbing job of painting the edges of finished paintings. Not even extemporised buzzing could make that job interesting. Eight canvasses needed tidying up on Tuesday, the job required more tea than paint but it took forever.

All ready to go with just over a day to go before they are needed. That might seem like an idle boast but it is not unheard of for artists to hand in paintings at the beginning of an exhibition with paintbrush in hand as they finish off their mistress/masterpieces.

Mistresspiece- an example of outstanding accomplishment by a woman. First recorded use in the 17th century and not really used often enough in my opinion.

I’ve gone a bit ‘ off-piste’ with one of the paintings. 4 square canvasses complete the full image, but how it is ultimately arranged will be left to the buyer.

I’m not too sure how well that will go down with the buying public.

Pandemic Pondering #530

©Beth Munro Continuum

Our trip to the theatre earlier this week was a double treat. Plymouths Theatre Royal holds art exhibitions in the the bar areas in the building. Freshly installed was Journey, a transatlantic collaboration celebrating 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower. Featuring Printmakers from the Tamar Valley and Cape Cod. Originally planned to be part of the Covid disrupted Mayflower 400 celebrations, this exhibition is a rare survivor of the planned events.

Tamar Valley Printmakers are the British group participating in this exhibition. Several members of this group are also members of Drawn to the Valley, one of the art groups I belong to. I tried to get good photographs of the prints of people I knew, even if only a name recognised from a membership list. It wasn’t always possible as the lighting in the theatre can reflect quite distractingly on the exhibited works. Sometimes I could only capture part of the image without getting unwanted reflections. My apologies if I missed anyone.

© Ley Roberts Migrants

The Theatre Royal in Plymouth is currently not serving refreshments during intervals. The printmakers will have everyone’s undivided attention as they sip on their complimentary cup of water.

©Oonagh Glancy Looking Forward, Thinking Back.

The all too familiar face of Donald Trump beamed from one of the prints.

©Fi Smart, Donald’s Journey to Enlightenment through Printmaking

If only enlightenment was that easy. If it were, printmakers would be the most popular and sought after artists in the world.

Just to clean your mind of Mr Trump I’ve included one print not created by a Drawn to the Valley artist. Boricua by U.S Printmaker, Adrian Tió. Not representing the European migration story, his work brings Puerto Rican flamboyance to the exhibition and reminds us that Mayflower is just a tiny part of the story of the modern United States.

©Adrian Tió, Boricua

Pandemic Pondering #527

The sun was out yesterday. I was out yesterday. All was well with the world. Have a wonderful Sunday.

I’m not actually planning to stop there. Yesterday was full of lovely people and great art which I will share as the acceptable face of Saturday. Because nobody needs to see pictures of, or read about, my ranting on the subject of traffic blockages and crazy redirections. Or framers who haven’t framed. The pursuit of Art is not always comfy but it always repays with gorgeousness. Thanks to the artists of Drawn to the Valley for soothing a grumpy driver. The amazing print below exactly represents my head after more than two hours of road congestion. Except my busy head was not filled with such beauty.

©Beth Munro at Ocean Studios

Looking and talking about art is very soothing, by the end of the day the traffic and complexities of the day were all forgotten, my life view was much calmer!

©Melody James, at Isambard House, Saltash Station.

Pandemic Pondering #501

©Nicola Beaumont Detail from Sunset over Bodmin

After 4 days of a glorious Summer Exhibition at Tavistock the sun has set on one part of the Drawn to the Valley #greatsummerofart. The next event will be Open Studios, a very different experience. Group exhibitions are a chance for artists to come together and show what a diverse group we are. Open Studios are the chance to visit individual artists or small groups in a variety of spaces. For this last blog of the summer exhibition I chose blue as the theme. Once again featuring details rather than the whole picture. There is actually a practical reason for this, many pictures are framed with glass which causes reflection problems for photographs. By choosing details I can crop reflections off and widen my choice. So off we go on a blue journey. From a blue sky at sunset ( above) the next picture has a blue sky reflected in water. Just to prove not all reflections are bad!

©Clare Law

Exhibitions are also a chance to meet other members, artists mostly work in their own little hobbit holes and just like the whole world we havent got out much recently.

©Geoff Dodds Detail from White Horses at Port Gaverne.

Geoff was an artist I had never met before and we had a little natter. Another coastal blue came from Gilly Spottiswoode someone I meet often, she gives fabulous nattering.

©Gilly Spottiswoode Detail from Breakwater

Gilly’s print leads me to another print, something a little more abstract from Stefania D’Amico.

©Stefania D’Amico Detail from Plantlife.

Abstraction returns me briefly to water with Janet Brady’s Drypoint.

©Janet Brady Detail from Nymphs at Play.

And finally a blue bird with a knowing look brings this blog to a close.

©Beth Munro Detail from Shoebill Stork

Pandemic Pondering #430

©Sarah Brown Drawn to the Valley

Today, Saturday is the last day of the art exhibition at Tamar Valley AONB. It has been a remarkable exhibition with good visitor numbers and many sales. Every time I’ve been there has been time to concentrate on different areas of the exhibition. Hares were my thing on the last visit. The sleepy one above and the mythical one below are so peaceful.

© Gilly Spottiswood Drawn to the Valley

The mum and leveret below make me smile.

©Shari Hills Drawn to the Valley

Stewarding at the exhibition has been a great chance to meet and talk with visitors and artists, and we have heard some fabulous comments and conversations but the real take away from this first post pandemic ( we hope) exhibition is the smiles and happiness that doing something normal  has given people. There has also been plenty of chance for a good natter when the exhibition has been quiet

©Sue Richardson Drawn to the Valley

But this afternoon it will be time to call in the hard hats and take everything down.

© Julia O’Dell ( detail) Drawn to the Valley

And all head off for the Hills.

© Allie Cole Drawn to the Valley

Or the quiet waters of the Tamar Valley.

©Clare Law Drawn to the Valley

The remaining unsold works will appear on our website very soon.
https://drawntothevalley.com/.

Pandemic Pondering #428

What an amazing day! First a perfect un weather-damaged Poppy bloomed.

And the sun came out, so hopefully pollinators were busy later harvesting this tasty purple pollen.

Then I got to take a friend, who is recovering from surgery, for a little road trip to visit the exhibition. We also met another friend there so some nattering occured. The red of the morning poppy was much in evidence as we looked round the works on show. Red dots all over the room. Red dots are the traditional way to denote that a piece of artwork is sold.

There are several columns like this around the exhibition showing the success for many artists in selling work. As one of the co- curators of this exhibition it is incredibly exciting to see so much work selling. Even better was the huge hug I got from a very happy Allie Cole who was so thrilled to sell a new style of work. She still has two more to sell but her happiness felt better than seeing a red dot on one of my own paintings!

©Allie Cole- details from her paintings awaiting new homes.

We couldn’t have picked a better day for a small trip out , the sunlight was amazing and the views across the valley as stunning as ever. The sunshine lasted through to the evening swim.

A fab day of sunshine, friends and red dots ( of two sorts).

Poppies @theoldmortuary

Pandemic Pondering #427

This over saturated sky is not benign. Todays ‘ Bob’ was always a risky call, the weather is just dire currently. No one could have anticipated a hail storm in May. It was the weirdest sensation to swim with piercing needles of ice bombarding our out of water flesh and continuing to penetrate well below the waterline. Not an experience we need to repeat any time soon. In other bobbing news many of us are doing two swims on Solstice Day 21st June. 4:30 am and 9:30pm. Maybe a snooze sometime between the two!

This was how the weather looked as we got out, calm, friendly, welcoming. Do not believe these visual lies …

In other news I have read a book in less than 24 hours.

This is a page turner!

Beyond that a day of domestic admin and a little socialising. A friend also made this cool video of the art exhibition we set up last week. The link is below

Tuesday is my day for visiting as a regular punter. I guess we already know what the blog will be about!

Pandemic Pondering #424

©Drawn to the Valley

The last two days have been both busy and hugely enjoyable. Finally we have been able to put on a Spring Exhibition featuring the work of artists and makers in the Tamar Valley. Last year we did all the planning and preparation work, only to have to cancel the exhibition at short notice. Planning for this year certainly felt like deja vu but with the added bonus of factoring in Covid safe planning for a public gathering in an indoor space.

‘Hanging Out’ with other humans for the last two days bringing the exhibition and its venue to life after so long was as much of a pleasure as seeing all the artworks blow in from all over the Tamar Valley.

And ‘blow in’ they certainly did with gusting winds of up to 55 mph and torrential rain.

After one day of construction and one day of curating and hanging we are ready to open the doors at 10:30 this morning. Here is a glimpse of what we have been up to.

The first floor mini gallery. Tiny works of art at affordable prices,with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside

Hanging in the stairwell, maximising available space to allow safe distance to enjoy the exhibition.

The ground floor gallery. If the weather improves this area will be flooded with fresh air and sunshine. What a shame we are not able to host a ‘Private View’ event this year. Doors open at 10:30 this morning. Opening hours are 10:30-4:30 daily for a week and then just a morning opening next Saturday. The address is on the posters below.

Pandemic Pondering #228

It’s a red dot kind of day. By tradition when an artwork is sold at a gallery or exhibition it is marked with a red dot.

This painting has set off on a journey to Brighton with a new owner.

The picture started life in Marylebone, London. Strange things happen around the Mews Lanes behind Harley Street in the middle of the night. Famous people arrive under the cover of darkness and florists clear out the previous days blooms, near perfect they are dumped in the back of trailers to be replaced by freshly bought blooms from New Covent Garden.The Mews were my regular night time walk, bleep in hand, to clear my head towards the end of 24 hour on-call shifts. I took to photographing the discarded blooms. There have been several paintings inspired by these nocturnal wanderings.

I’m not sure where this one is off to. It is an early sketch from a new project. I’m exploring androgynous figures being both overwhelmed and enhanced by abstract fields of colour.

I suspect this is the last ‘red dot day’ of 2020. After yesterday’s announcement of a second national lockdown by the British Government there may well not be any more chances to exhibit until 2021.

Huge thanks to everyone who attended the exhibition in Tavistock, especially to those who bought original artworks. You have made many Artists very happy.

A celebratory ‘Red Dot’, the lid of a Pinot Noir