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Hot Pot- Oonagh Glancy

What to ponder on a warm Bank Holiday Monday. This fabulous painting by Oonagh Glancy is the nugget of this ponder. It symbolises a coming together. For the first time since Covid, Drawn to the Valley also threw in mass catering at their Spring Exhibition. Coffee, tea, cakes and other treats were served at a huge communal table. It was the highpoint for visitors, simply sitting down and talking between artists and visitors, old friends, new friends, complete strangers and hungry bowling escapees from the Bowls Club next door. Competition whites smudged with spring-green grass stains.

Sally O’Neill  Asheltor Woods

Everyone was talking about how much they loved the communal snack table. Isn’t that fabulous. The art, of course, covered all the faces of the Tamar Valley and was as glorious as has come to be expected of the first exhibition of the year.

Julia O’Dell
Lynn Saunders

Artists of the Tamar Valley also get further afield.

Michael Jenkins St Ives Harbour
Jane Athron Looking Towards Lancaster Gate.
Julia O’Dell Godrevy Lighthouse

And some of us stick close to home.

Juliet Cornell Tidal Pool

There was so much to contemplate and consider, what a great exhibition.

Tessa Jane Yet It Seemed So To Me

#552 theoldmortuary ponders

Six original paintings and 3 prints , wrapped, labelled, priced and packed along with 20 cards, ready to go to Dartmoor for an exhibition later in the month. It has been a busy month artwise. Some of my bigger pieces have been hanging,for sale, in a large waiting room for some years. Relocation and an interior designer with differing tastes has returned the unsold ones to my studio. Some have subsequently sold but others will find their forever homes later in the year.

All the pictures for the latest exhibition look like classical landscapes but there is a twist, I have been galvanised recently to represent wind in pictures, using abstract imaging to demonstrate buffeting and movement, or not, when the experience of gusting storms affects the way the landscape feels.

One picture is vaguely accurate but is actually entirely imagined. The Rock at Yelverton is a place to go for families, hikers, dog walkers and lovers. This rocky outcrop is a destination and holds multi generational memories. A virtual geocache of love.

It is both exactly as I remember it and yet always different whenever I visit.

Currently it is in a box with all the other artworks. Memories and sensations trapped first on paper, then mounted and framed, snuggled in travelling blankets and boxed up ready for their big moment. A Spring Exhibition at Yelverton on Dartmoor.

#550 theoldmortuary ponders

© Clare Law

What would be the wisest thing to do on a dreadfully greige day that is coincidentally World Earth Day. We took ourselves off to a fabulous friends solo art exhibition at Cotehele in the Tamar Valley. Clare creates landscape magic with a palate knife.

Wonderful pictures of landscapes at their vibrant best.

© Clare Law

She is also super clever at creating realistic and enticing, to cold water swimmers, waterscapes.

Clare and I have sat at opposite ends of the same Wisteria Pergola on Drawing Days at Pentillie Castle

I don’t think she was as troubled as I was by the black labrador.

©theoldmortuary.design https://theoldmortuary.design/2023/04/12/532-theoldmortuary-ponders/

Link above for the dog story. Image below to more clearly see her painting.

You night even see me at the far end of the picture… I joke of course, I would have been off canvas interacting with a big dog!

World Earth Day, a greige old day spent in glorious technicolour. Clare’s exhibition is on at Cotehele House until May 1st.

#473 theoldmortuary ponders

Gallery walls and thieves. Hannah @theoldmortuary has finished the gallery wall and the inspiration for a weekends work has been hung. I bought her three original prints for her birthday from Debs Bobber, one of our cold water swimming friends. As soon as they were unwrapped their new home was planned and this weekend the plane was executed. Debs Bobber, real name Debra Parkinson is currently working on a theme of thievery. In this series a mythical creature steals the gold finial that tops Smeatons Tower, the iconic Lighthouse that stands on Plymouth Hoe.

©Debra Parkinson
©Debra Parkinson

Of course the gallery wall is just the beginning of the kitchen, dining room refurbish but it is always good to get the essentials done first!

#442 theoldmortuary ponders

Procrastination gets a bad rap. I absolutely am a procrastinator. I have always felt that procrastination, done well, is a force for good. In the exact opposite of current psychological thinking I believe procrastination is a force for good in my life.

Yesterday I definitely procrastinated, deliberately and mindfully. There was a small list of things that needed to be achieved but I delayed starting them. Then a whole new task arrived which required action and the use of old skills. The task was completed in a couple of hours. That squeezed the required tasks into a more compact time-frame, which made me sharper and more effective. Art got done, the washing was done, the dogs were walked and I felt like I had achieved.

There was also a bonus for someone. My delayed dog walk meant that they stopped a little earlier to poo. In a pile of leaves they have never bothered with before. As I rummaged around collecting their morning offerings I found a small gold ring. Someone else’s lucky day.

Positive procrastination, positively powerful!

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It is a misty murky weekend in the Tamar Valley. I’ve been overwhelmed with a virus and have had to watch on as my fellow bobbers took to the water on the one day that our swimming zone was not treacherous.

But out of the gloom came a red dot indicating that I had sold a piece of art at the exhibition where I caught the virus earlier in the week.

I am super pleased as it was one of my experimental pieces with alcohol inks. Alcohol is also involved in other art projects this week. My ongoing urge to draw a Dublin back street complete with inebriated man having a pee. He is not so much the focal point, more a piece of street furniture as nearly every historic back street had at least one man relieving himself in a pool of light. I will spare you the Google images that I will be drawing from but there are days when I am glad my artistic researches are no longer tracked by the NHS IT department. There is a funny old system of on- call where you are only paid for emergency work that you actually do. In theory it can be done from home but often it was just easier to stay on site and do self interest work/ study in between cases. Mostly I did work related study but sometimes when I was doing arts courses. I would knock out a Fine Art essay. Me and IT got particularly close when I was researching ‘ Finding the Erotic in Nature’ . The nature of work in the NHS means that almost nothing except actual porn gets stopped by their filters. But fleshy looking plants really set the IT logarithms on me. Thankfully I had a good relationship with IT mostly because some of my colleagues could not keep their fingers out of the Porn Sweetie Jar that is the Internet, even at work. So they alerted me when my colleagues had transgressed. The quiet ones are the worst!

This plant, which makes beautiful tea was a very awkward search.

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A busy day in the beautiful Tamar Valley helping to set up an art exhibition has given me no free time for a blog today. There have been some amazing pieces of art delivered, and I will share some stories from there next week once the curators have worked their magic.But one picture caught my eye today. When I moan on about greige weather I should remember that not all greige is dull and tedious. Sometimes it is as beautiful as this painting.

Late evening Dartmoor by Paul Kemp

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Art Exhibitions don’t always play to my strengths. Face Value which starts on Friday, naturally calls to Portrait painters. I love painting portraits, I just don’t do it very often. This is the only true portrait I have submitted. ‘Fred’ is a fondly remembered school friend. He is a singer and can sometimes be found performing in Neds in The Hague.


For the rest of my submissions I took myself off in a wordy direction. The border lands between Devon and Cornwall are home to some of Britains few remaining areas of Atlantic Rain Forest, quite a stretch of ‘Face Value’ but I painted a portrait of the forest floor in October.

The third submission is faceless and undervalued. The Tamer Valley is famed for its important role in the Industrial Revolution. Mines from this area exported minerals all over the world. The mines and the miners who worked them are celebrated all over the Tamar Valley.

Rarely mentioned are the women who worked in the Mining Industry. Bal Maidens we’re consider to be low skilled, manual workers. In this painting I have designed a commemorative Stained glass Window to honour the women who played an essential role and rarely get a mention.

And finally a tongue-in-cheek image. Landscape with Coffee stains. Mugs of tea and coffee are a regular sight in the studio. There is nothing more irritating than putting a mug down on expensive paper. Today I just thought a bit laterally, saving face and getting good value.

#367 theoldmortuary ponders.

©Sue Rigg Instagram @sdrigg38

Our days in Wimbledon are a blur of activity and stasis. Our adult timetable rescheduled to the needs and desires of a two-week-old baby. Her timetable runs on four hourly shifts, adult activity continues on our 24-hour night and day schedule. The two do not run in an entirely compatible format and the one that shifts is the adult one. Slowly we are gaining more adult achievements. Walks to coffee shops, supermarket visits, a farmers market and yesterday an art exhibition. Charging my phone is one of the adult activities that sometimes gets out of synchronisation, so my apologies to Worple Art Group, I didn’t capture every artist in my hour long visit of a fabulous exhibition.

©Jeanette Carr

There was a good crowd of visitors when we called in and some of the artists were there to talk with. The great thing about visiting a group art exhibition that is completely unknown is the anticipation of what you might see. Not all Art groups are capable of putting on a great show but the Worple Group were showing some really interesting work. The group consists of 20 artists of which 14 were exhibiting.

©Kevin Williams

Kevin was the artist I spent most time talking to, although being an artist in Wimbledon, just 6 miles from central London is a very different proposition from the rural/ urban mix of the Tamar Valley where I live and create art. He expressed the same changes and challenges of being an artist in the Covid and post-Covid world as The Tamar Valley Artists have experienced in Devon and Cornwall.

From being a plein-aire artist he was forced to paint indoors. His subject matter became what he dug out of his garden.

©Kevin Williams
©Kevin Williams

We are a very small family, our other portion of family live in Hong Kong so the painting below caught my eye too.

©Mark F Lodge

Far too soon the needs of our small family member and my lack of a camera battery drove us out into the streets of Wimbledon but I will be sure to be back in time for the next exhibition.

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Despite declaring the arrival of autumn yesterday.

#352 theoldmortuary ponders

Autumn put in a very summery face, today, for my visit to Cotehele, despite being in the midst of Drawn to Cotehele, two more exhibitions are in the pipeline. We sat in the bright autumn sunshine planning a winter Portrait exhibition. It was our inaugural meeting, time for the curatorial team to get together and set a schedule. As if on cue, as we were discussing 3d art, we were visited by a chap called Alfie.

A very fine example of flesh and blood 3D.

Cotehele was looking gorgeous.

But you can see from peoples clothes that the seasons are on the turn. Spring and autumn sunshine is sharper than baking hot summer days. The clarity of light gave me one of my favourite ‘ it’s complicated’ shots.

The exhibition we are currently running at Cotehele was bustling with visitors and the red dots, signifying sold work, are stacking up. The art is constantly restocked so the exhibition looks fresh every time I visit.

©Jane Athron

This one by Jane Athron sold really early on but has been replaced by another vivid picture from Jane’s studio. Another Jayne, Jayne Ashenbury is also selling well.

It is such a pleasure to have Cotehele as a base for Drawn to the Valley for a month, I am not sure when I last looked forward to meetings quite so much. Maybe I wouldn’t feel the same if it was raining but I am really excited to see their pumpkin harvest display towards the end of our time with them.

Yesterday was just so lush, bright sunshine and glorious pools of shadow to give contrast and relaxation after the stimulation of early autumn colour.

Zoom meetings were never like this.