#353 theoldmortuary ponders

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This one by Jane Athron sold really early on but has been replaced by another vivid picture from Jane’s studio.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.

#348 theoldmortuary ponders.

Yesterday was a surprise. Dawn was mighty fine and then I went to work at a gallery/exhibition that had been running for nearly a week with no publicity. I definitely anticipated a slow start but was pleased to see that there had been a few sales.

Red dots at a gallery signify that a piece of art is sold. The work is either taken away at the time or left in the gallery until the exhibition ends. A mix of both greeted me when I arrived and soon after we had a steady stream of visitors through our, quite remarkable, door.

There must have been something in the air because both myself and the other steward each sold a piece of our own work within an hour of being there.

Obviously, we couldn’t do the traditional artist happy dance of backflips and somersaults because we were in such an old and precious building. But the sentiment was the same without risk to life or limbs. I have a feeling this is going to be a memorable exhibition.

My plan for when the exhibition was quiet was to take loads of photographs to share our beautiful location on this blog. Now that has to be a job for another day. If you live anywhere near the Tamar Valley a trip to Cotehele in the autumn is always a colourful experience. Our art group has just added a little bit of extra interest.

https://drawntothevalley.com/

#347 theoldmortuary ponders

©Mark Fielding

There is an irony to this blog. For the last ten days I have had loads of time to do Social Media for an art exhibition at Cotehele, a National Trust Property on the Cornish side of the Tamar Valley. The National Trust asked us not to do any Social Media during the mourning period for HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Today I am actually at Cotehele and free to do Social Media and I have two problems. Firstly we are really busy and secondly there is hardly any signal. This blog will be published by me visiting the bowling green, hopefully, or perhaps by waving my arms at the Dovecote. Another touch of British eccentricity if the last ten days have not seen enough of it.

©Peter Ursem

Working at a National Trust property is always a treat, I am sitting in a room that was a bed chamber in 1485 or possibly earlier as that date is the first of the recorded redevelopments.

©Gilly Spottiswood

All of the work here is inspired by either Cotehele House or the Tamar Valley. The website of Cotehele is below.

https://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/place/cotehele#:~:text=Cotehele%20House%2C%20a%20rustic%20house,their%20principal%20residence%20near%20Plymouth.

For now my lovely readers I am off to wave my phone on the bowling green. Failing that, who could begin to guess, this is a medieval house there could be somewhere even more delightful to get a signal.

©Michael Jenkins

#331 theoldmortuary ponders

©theoldmortuary

Back to work. I’m showing work in a month long National Trust exhibition soon. Three paintings of four were completed before the holiday, although not yet framed. This one took shape today, it is not an accurate landscape but is a reflection of the landscape around the National Trust property. The area on the borderlands between Devon and Cornwall. For the most part views are obscured by Cornish/ Devon hedges . Tall hand built dry stone walls that are topped by0p small trees and other hedging plants. But every now and then the walls dip and the landscape falls away towards the sea or the River Tamar. Then drivers or horse riders get a peep of distant views, on this occasion at sunset.

#302 theoldmortuary ponders

Hang out the flags. The Print exhibition I have been curating and managing, with others, has come to a close. With its closure comes the end of the most delightful commute of my life. Just a ten minute walk from home, today I took my car and parked even closer, under this bunting which was caught in this tree during the Queens Jubilee during a windy spell.

At 8 am the gallery was very peaceful before the take down team arrived.

Despite our best efforts of restocking after prints were sold some gaps have appeared but we only started to rum out during this last, very busy, weekend.

Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard was a new venue for our art group. It has been a completely positive experience for the curating team and the Printers who took part. Our work has been seen by many of our regular visitors but we have also had a completely new audience and many international visitors. The next event for Drawn to the Valley is Open Studios.

The brochures for this Tamar Valley wide event were leaving Ocean Studios like the proverbial ‘hot cakes’

On a personal note I did sell enough prints to recoup my costs but I also bought quite a few prints so there may be a financial imbalance, but my house walls will thank me, I’m sure. And at last the purple note book and my emails do not need to be by my side or checked regularly.

#287 the oldmortuary ponders

The Eye of the Storm © Glenis Blakiston

Yesterday was a day of Drawn to the Valley , stewarding at the print exhibition during the day and then a quick trip to Tavistock for the Summer Exhibition Private View. It was refreshing to visit an exhibition that I had no responsibility for and no work submitted. Anne and Michael have curated a stunning exhibition at Butchers Hall.

Councillor Caroline Mott, Mayor of West Devon with Anne and Michael.

Visitors to the Private View were treated to a fabulous Mid-Century Modern buffet of vol au vents and intricate delicacies mounted on Ritz biscuits, served to accompany locally produced apple juice. The wines may have come from beyond the valley…

Vol au vents are an exploding confection of Coronation Chicken and flaky pastry. My terrifically arty outfit, a concoction of various blacks was a terrific background for the crumbs that my greed created. Undeterred by my flaky appearance I set about talking, a lot, to artists and friends and enjoying the art. The picture at the top of the blog is by a member Glenis Blakiston, she was a long term member of Drawn to the Valley until her recent death. Her husband, very kindly, submitted some of her pictures to this years Summer Exhibition. Her Encaustic wax image is one of the first things visitors to the exhibition will see this year. The terrific texture in her work gave me the theme for a few pictures from the exhibition. Texture.

©Andy Cairns
©Shelagh Brown

I love that the two creations above share the same colour palate but have a significantly different visual heft. Similarly the next two share similar colour and line but could not be more different.

© Gudrun Taresch
©Barbara Beckerleg

The Exhibition runs from today until Sunday at Butchers Hall, Tavistock. Well worth a visit.

#283 theoldmortuary ponders

© theoldmortuary

Another day stewarding at the Drawn to Print Exhibition. The two artists who were the primary curators and managers of this exhibition are not printers. I managed to dig out some old work from my long ago Fine Art Degree and,by complete luck, the act of applying typewritten text to watercolour pulls the work loosely into the Print family.

©theoldmortuary

What a family we have joined! The Printers of Drawn to the Valley have been an amazing bunch of people to work with. Trusting us with their beautiful prints with our invented hanging system.

But they have also nurtured us. Debs my fellow non-prntmaking curator, managed this fabulous trio of prints. Her first in this medium. Printmakers talked her through the process on the phone.

©Debra Parkinson

Debs has been commissioned to create several runs of ‘ Smeatons Thief’

This morning I was excited to dive into the world of Tetrapak printing.

Not my finest artistic hour because I had more excitement than talent, but I did create a half decent Tetrapak image and while printing it effectively eluded me, another lovely printer shared her wisdom for future success.

For now I have just applied some digital magic to make me feel better.

©theoldmortuary

The video below is the wall mounted Print hanging.

Drawn to Print at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth

#281 theoldmortuary ponders

My almost daily commute for three weeks is a ten minute walk from home. It covers the same paths that my normal daily dog walks take. Without the dogs, who are disinterested, for the most part, in a print exhibition, the familiar walk can be enhanced by taking a slightly different route. These stairs are just off my normally beaten path, but of no interest to the noses of my dogs.

Today was bin day and the big communal bins live in an old military building that has not yet been ‘improved’. The dogs would have loved to be with me as refuse bins and a hot summer day is a heady mix of flavours but I just nipped in to take this lovely old window in a grubby and unbuffed state.

Another love of mine is to see scarring on paintwork from regular use. Although that regular use stopped nearly 30 years ago.

And then there is the redundant heavy duty equipment with warnings , of limitations to men of my grandfathers generation.

Men for whom these numbers on doors had some significance.

I just love them as reminders of slightly archaic fonts.

I will leave you with two of my favourite doors.

One is an old storeroom and the other leads to a suite of artists studios. They are both at the end of the, currently empty, gallery space.

#280 theoldmortuary ponders

The exhibition today is in safe paws. Ralph is Stewarding this morning. Flushed with my experimentation on Yupo paper yesterday I whipped off a quick play on words this morning before I did the morning dog walk.

The morning dog walk was quite the sartorial revelation this morning. How many people really dress in the morning to match their local pavements/sidewalks!

Further on we sniffed out a fairy tale moment. A swimming Cinderella had dropped her golden slipper.

Its a been a busy morning so far.

#279 theoldmortuary ponders

These are the feet of a woman stewarding in a Grade 1 listed building. The floors and the walls are spectacular.

Celia Over, and her amazing prints.

We are in the second week of our three week run at Ocean Studios and the public response is very positive. Holding an art exhibition in a Grade 1 listed building is not without its challenges. We have had to design a whole new style of hanging system. We also needed to persuade the artists to allow us to hang their work unframed, just simply mounted. So many artists trusted us to treat their work with care and respect.

The artists were also hugely supportive of our £10 ‘ Off the peg’ feature.

Stewarding at exhibitions like this is the perfect opportunity to really take the time to enjoy other artists work. Today I had the pleasure of stewarding with Gilly Spottiswood and Celia Over, we were able to have a good old natter and share hugely interesting and informative tips and tricks associated with printing.

I was trying a new style of plastic coated paper, called Yupo. I painted mussels from memory. A painting that surely has named itself, Mussel Memory.

Gilly was giving Drypoint a try for the first time.