Heralds of Spring

My mind will be much taken up by the Heralds of Spring for a while. Living in Cornwall and specifically the Tamar Valley the term is applied to the Daffodil.

It is the subject of an art exhibition at the end of March.

There are other Heralds of spring even in the Tamar Valley. The first to arrive were the Snowdrops.

Closely followed by Crocuses.

and finally the Daffodils

Creatively, for the exhibition, I’ve been working on some Daffodil yellow abstracts and some fantasy birds with a yellow theme all finished and framed up today. Freeing me up to paint my own personal Heralds of Spring.

Everything about this painting is the opposite of my yellow creations. The painting is big. 2 metres by 50 cms. The yellows are 60×60 or 25×25. This dirty,big, grunge image has been playing with my head whilst I painted in shades of pastel yellow. Yet without the constraints of the yellow images their dirty blue sibling would not exist. A couple more days of tinkering and the Big Blue will be released. A Herald of Spring also.

Traces © theoldmortuary

Advent#12

Baubles and Fish. Today was all about catching up with bauble chores, after yesterday’s bauble debacle. There was also a painting commission to be completed .

The commission has to be based on fish, painted, printed and divided into three separate canvases that will look abstract. I’m struggling a bit .

Here’s the first image.

Then I desaturated it but picked out the eye.

Finally I selected portions for abstraction.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, but I’ve got another week to work it out.

Tethering my Abstracts

Abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead uses shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. The term is also applied to art that is based on an object, figure or landscape where forms have been simplified or schematised.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/abstract-art

Synesthesia is a condition where one sense ( for example hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses. The word synesthesia comes from two Greek words syn ( together) and aisthesia ( perception) meaning joined perception.

https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html

My abstracts are mostly landscape inspired. Rooted very much in a particular place but also informed by the history and geography of the place. In some respects they are also created with reference to my synesthesia. Whilst creating art I often listen to music, sometimes deliberately chosen , other times just random. I often choose not to allow synesthesia in and listen to spoken word radio. A painting created with Joy Division as background music would be subtly different if it were created while listening to Benjamin Britten. These things are hugely important to me but joyously insignificant to everyone else.

http://www.joydivisionofficial.com/reimagined/

https://brittenpears.org/

It’s important to me to know where a painting comes from once I’ve committed it to canvas or panel. Naming it is obviously a start, but that has never quite satisfied me. Owners of my works often read something quite different into them , sometimes I share the geographical location or the synesthesic source, but they are of course, free to interpret the art on their walls however they see fit. However for me there has always been a tethering that I couldn’t quite catch, something that satisfied my need for a location but that didn’t dictate too much to the final work . I’ve recently discovered ‘what3words’ It is a location system that is simple and accurate to a 3m x 3m square anywhere in the world.

https://what3words.com/daring.lion.race

Retrospectively I’ve started giving my pictures a ‘ what3words’ tethering.

Beast From The East.

From the title anyone can roughly work out the timing of this painting. It is an amalgam of a few wintry walks in the village of Forder near Saltash in Cornwall.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=beast+from+the+east+2018&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari

The walk takes you along a creek into Churchtown Farm Nature reserve. Most days I stopped at the same spot to contemplate the cold . What is never obvious is that this was painted when I was personally very chilly as our central heating boiler broke down and we were without heat during this period. However I can perfectly express where I was standing when the inspiration for this picture formed using what3words.

Breathing. Frowns. Index. Curiously appropriate words , I’m sure this won’t always be the case.

Coincidentally I’ve discovered a whole new story for the next work that I was going to tether, I was doing a little research about the pillow in this picture, prior to giving it its ‘what3words’ location. As it turns out there is a whole new story which deserves a blog all to itself. Here it is at Tate Modern as part of the Pillowtalk Exhibition, with my lovely daughter.

Here is its estimated ‘what3words’ location while at Tate Modern.Loaded.Tiger. Salon.

The story of this pillows journeys and my experiments with what3words will be the next blog.

https://www.southlondonwomenartists.co.uk/pillow-talk-conversations-with-women/

Serendipity has its way. Joining Drawn to the Valley.

Serendipity plays such a part in life. I have serendipitously joined an art group local to me in the Tamar Valley. I’ve joined but I was not quite ready, obviously I applied to join but I had no expectation of being accepted so I hadn’t factored in my unavailability for various key events, or the fact that I was barely able to create any art in the critical early months of my membership.

The art group was not completely unknown to me. I reviewed their London show in an earlier blog.

Drawn to the Valley, Drawn to London. Artists of the Tamar Valley.

I had also often been to exhibitions over many years that were held in the Tamar Valley organised by the group

Joining a new art group is always a little tricksy. No two are the same and getting involved is the surest way of navigating your way in. A few months in I’m finally able to participate more fully. Here is a trio of my experiences so far.

The Summer Exhibition was a wonderful experience. For the first time ever the exhibition was curated in a new public space, Butchers Hall in Tavistock.

http://www.tavistock.gov.uk/

The Private View was fabulously busy, the venue was probably the star attraction for many but the art was not overshadowed. Visitor numbers were high and sales were impressive. As a new member I was thrilled to sell a piece. Anyone who buys a piece of original art at these events is more appreciated than they probably realise. A red dot 🔴 is guaranteed to make even the coolest artists perform back flips, mentally if not physically.

Open Studios is a fine arty tradition organised across the length and breadth of Britain. Artists open their studios ( obviously) but also their homes. Some group together and share a larger space. It’s a chance to grab a bargain for art lovers and a chance of a good clear out for artists.

I couldn’t participate because all my recent work is hanging at UltraCardiac, a cardiac ultrasound facility at The Science Park in Plymouth. Next year I will be better prepared, but for now I’m thrilled to have big white walls to show my pictures on. Grateful thanks to Sean and Sarah for their space.

https://www.ultracardiac.co.uk/

Not participating made it easier for me to get out and about to see other people’s work. There was a helpful guide book to assist people to locate artists around the Tamar Valley .

Drawing Day at Kelly House.

Once again the location was the star, that and the amazing hosts Sophia and Warin. Kelly house has been in the same family since 1100. About 15 artists were given freedom to sketch and draw both inside outside the house. There was also a room to gather in and chatter over drinks. I found a crumpled crown, previously used in a pageant in the 1930’s, and hunkered down for five hours of painting still life. A crime, I know, in such beautiful surroundings but it’s not every day that a crumpled crown presents itself to me.

https://kelly-house.co.uk/

I can’t say I’m the most sociable person when I’m painting but it was lovely to meet some other members over a cup of tea. I’m intrigued to see where Drawn to the Valley will take me.

Glut

I love the word glut, even though it’s harsh and ugly in sound and shape, it reminds me of the fecundity of autumn, lush and abundant with harvested produce.

It’s meaning is an excessively abundant supply or to satisfy fully.

The last weekend of September in Plymouth had an outrageous glut of arts and culture. Three different arts organisations included this weekend in their programmes.

Drawn to the Valley , straddles the area adjacent to the Tamar Valley. Predominantly featuring ‘Open Studios’ the work of just under 100 artists was available for 8 days, finishing on this weekend.

Plymouth Art Weekender also has some open studios , but it also features performance art, sound art and interactional art experiences over 63 venues all over the city. Events started on Friday evening and carried on until Sunday afternoon.

The Atlantic Project is three weeks of an International Festival of contemporary art starting on this weekend with sites both indoors and outdoors across Plymouth.

www.drawntothevalley.co.uk

plymouthartweekender.com

www.theatlantic.org

With so much to do and so little time to do it in the weekend passed quickly. Flashes of recycled plastics in a green and white funeral-like procession with discordant music. More discordant music and watery sounds. Amazing enthusiastic people doing their thing everywhere. It was a brilliant weekend. I could list the stuff I saw but that would be very dull. I’m going to write about three artists, one from each organisation. They happen to all be women but that’s a coincidence . I also saw some amazing work from men.

Drawn to the Valley- Jill Coughman Open Studio.

Jill was one of my art lecturers , she is inspirational. I’m drawn to her work even when I don’t know that she is the artist. Much of Jill’s work is autobiographical, it is emotional and evocative of both herself and her environment. Even tough subjects feel safe to explore through Jill’s response to them. I bought a print of Dockyard Blues. I love it.

Plymouth Art Weekender- Juliet Middleton- Batts

Juliet invited me to visit her group exhibition ‘Work In Process’

The group comprises both graduate and post graduate students from Plymouth University.

Juliet’s work was stunning. Her title Heroes gave no hint of the works definitive topic but a bike outside embellished with flowers and ribbons in the colours of the Women’s Suffrage Movement was a not so subtle hint. Inside her installation, 100 discs laser etched with the names of imprisoned suffragettes hung on fine thread . The discs represented the medals awarded to all of these women who had endured participation in Hunger Strikes.Illuminated, they cast typography shadows on the walls or flashed a quick bright reflection into the viewers eye. It was mesmerising to look for familiar names but also intriguing to catch the names of people not so well known. The small scale of the Perspex discs massed together as an installation were a fabulous representation of the power of combined and cohesive effort.

The Atlantic Project – Chang Jia

Chang’s work was the only one that made good use of the phenomenal setting that is the Melville Building at Royal William Yard. The other works in this building made no use of the industrial sized epic architecture. Such a shame for them . It would have been amazing to see work projected onto those beautiful walls. Thankfully Heavenly, Corrupted Landscapes has the scale and impact to drag my eyes away from the internal architecture . Her massive canvases owned the space. Referencing traditional Chinese landscapes from the Ming Dynasty the image is created using microscopic photography of the bacteria that is polluting four rivers in South Korea.

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The Atlantic Project runs until 21 st October.

Art events like the three mentioned are not all about planning. Serendipity and missing things is also part of the experience.

I missed meeting Nikki Taylor www.nickitaylorscupture.co.uk . I’ve loved her mesh sculptures since seeing them in London and was thrilled to find out she works from a studio in Plymouth. When I popped into her studio she was knee deep in great conversations , so actually I got no closer to talking about her work than I ever have in London.

It’s always good to run into people unexpectedly, and really great when you can connect people from different parts of life.

I met a Fine Art PhD artist who was studying the seaweed of Devils Point. www.duncantheartist.tumblr.com that’s pretty specialised stuff but coincidentally I have another friend whose Biology PhD covered the exact same topic. Surreal things happen, in a good way,when you talk to strangers at art exhibitions. Apologies to Duncan, every photo I took chopped your head off.

To make amends for chopping off a head I will finish with some serendipity. a head from Nikki Taylor superimposed over a mural.I love this image of a mesh head in front of a mural by www.loci-collective.weebly.com

So there we are, a seasonal glut of art and culture. All showcased in great venues surrounded by beautiful scenery and radiant sunshine. Summer slipping into autumn with a huge creative Boom!

Artworks/Portfolio

I’ve been adding some recent images to my Artworks/Portfolio page, I’ve got a pile of work that needs just little bits of attention to get them ready to sell. There is also a commission that needs a good stretch of time to get it ready for delivery . The better weather this week would have been perfect for art but it was also time to attack the Cornish hedge that runs in front of the studio windows. 10 years of routine maintenance had kept the lane passable but optimum hedge health had not been on our agenda. Many woman hours later it is trimmed and bramble-less , looking pretty sparse with one or two holes that need to be filled with some climbers . Boston Vine , Evergreen Clematis and Japanese Wisteria will add some natural colour alongside any incidental splatterings that embellish the garden and hedge during a summer of painting . Time to get back on the paintbrush…


Continue reading “Artworks/Portfolio”

Sunshine and Art

Plymouth Art Weekender Saturday was perked up , if perking were needed, by glorious weather.

The city was like a creative ice cream van offering choice and temptation in equal measure . Following the analogy, it was great to be able to sample so many different flavours of art. Not all were served in a way that encouraged me to prolong the experience but others were made for gluttony.

In the gluttony category was the ‘Open Studios’event at Ocean Studios. Architecturally pleasing, box-like studios, make the best of the original features of the Royal William Yard. The uniformity of the studios alters immediately you open a door and step into the creative space. I loved the art and skills I experienced there, more importantly every one of the artists or makers was engaging and interesting.

Elsewhere I experienced a vignette of a pretentious arty person. If this had been a comedy or theatrical festival I would have stayed and marvelled at the accuracy or wit of the performer. As it was it was easy to move on and enjoy the work of other artists more deserving of my time, that is the beauty of a diverse art event.

Today the Plymouth Art Weekender will be robed in ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’. The weather is shocking. Jumpers are packed for a full day of art.

Ocean Studios, Bakery and Cafe.

IMG_0998This summer Ocean Studios at the Royal William Yard has opened a bakery and cafe. Sourdough and other bakery products are supplied by Column Bakehouse of Devonport.

IMG_1001.JPGThe Bakery also sells jams and other luxury provisions all displayed beautifully.

The Cafe spills out into the gallery area of Ocean Studios.

IMG_0995.JPGIMG_0992.JPGCoffee at Ocean Studios is great, full bodied and fruity. Beans are supplied by Origin Coffee.

There will be regular art exhibitions in the gallery that envelopes the cafe . Currently and running until 11th August is Made In Plymouth. An exhibition featuring contemporary souvenirs created by students from Plymouth College of Art. Held in collaboration with the Real Ideas Corporation it featured Plymouth specific art.
Plymouth has culture and history in abundance and is establishing itself as a creative hub with a thriving and diverse arts scene. The bespoke items at this exhibition show the talents and creativity that the city has to offer.
The merchandise on display is exquisite, some of it so gorgeous it might slip from souvenir to fetish object without any trouble at all. I’m thinking particularly of the collection of Pilgrim Hats , preserved in an old Victorian shop fitting.

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Close to the cafe servery there is s display of silk scarves, moving as only silk can do in the gentle breeze.Each one giving a slightly different, colourful,perspective to the Plymouth theme.
The mundane objects, tea-towels, tote bags, beer mats, badges and aprons are not overshadowed by their more sensualist competitors for attention. Well thought out and stylishly created they present an edgy contemporary example of how good souvenirs can be, both representational and abstract at the same time.

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Fashion is represented by Fisherperson smocks and Jewellery by badges both intriguingly different from the standard coastal fashions.
Ceramics are well represented by Paulina Chromik, simple black and cream designs that are calm and considered.

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2D art and printing fill the walls of the gallery. It is stunning, even the difficult subject of Plymouth Blitz is rendered in a way that is considered and beautiful.
Alan Qualtrough was the artist in residence on our visit .His Kiss and Bite Letterpress prints are both lexicographically and visually pleasing. The usual quiet of the gallery  gently disturbed by the rhythmic thump of an Adana hand printing Press.

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Home

https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/

ocean studios plymouth

First paintings of the summer, finished and ready to go to their new homes.

Two paintings, inspired by an early morning walk, were finished yesterday. Back in May I took an early trip to the Barbican in Plymouth. The early sky was, an impossibly clear, Klein Blue. The colour was reflected in the waters of the harbour. As usual the harbour water was full of the detritus of a busy fishing port.

In Barbican Detritus II the wake of a boat washes into the harbour and breaks on a roll of fishing net. 50cms x 50cms  £300

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Barbican Detritus I

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Barbican Detritus I,  has a super-shiny resin coat which makes photographing it impossible. The shine gives immediate impact but closer inspection shows the texture and detail. It is a macro landscape of a corner of the harbour where rubbish, oil and paint gather.

50cms x 40cms £300

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