#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/

#144 theoldmortuary ponders

Work in progress.

Most artists work in isolation, myself included. Today was quite different, 12 artists from Drawn to the Valley got together in a cafe to natter and get to know each other. Most of us were unknown to one another or had not been in contact for a long period. We plan to meet regularly from now on, once a month, in the same location, Ocean Studios Cafe in the Royal William Yard, Plymouth.

Ocean Studios

Some of us brought small projects to work on, others just brought themselves and fabulous conversations.

I wondered if it was possible to paint a meditative mind map whilst in the company of others and it turns out that I could. Depicting the flavour flooding out of my herbal tea and mingling with the intriguing topics of conversation that were surrounding me. It is currently unfinished because I also talked a lot, no surprises there. But I am further along than when I took this picture.

#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

#20 theoldmortuary ponders

A really late blog today. Floods and powercuts are the reason. Finally the exhibition in Tavistock is set up and the doors are open. After 18 months of being affected by plague it is somewhat irritating to be affected by a flood for this exhibition. Tavistock issued its first flood warnings for 11 years overnight.

© Sally O’Neil Scallywags

Fortunately we have some Scallywags as good omens for the rest of the exhibition.

Thankfully we are awash with colour and amazing creativity.

©Jayne Deane

And personally I am currently in a sun beam.

©theoldmortuary

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 #499

©Lesley Hoffman Detail from Freddy at Sunrise

Unashamedly another Drawn to the Valley Summer Exhibition blog . This one welcoming Saturday with the gorgeous colours of sunrise by Lesley Hoffman.

The colours of sunrise are all over the exhibition. Colour and texture combine in this lovely piece by Lyn Edwards.

©Lyn Edwards Detail from Seed Heads

Another flower head that grabs attention with the colours of a vibrant, stormy sunrise rather than a peaceful one is this.

©Jayne Ashenbury Detail from Seduction

These are the sort of pulsating colours that absolutely suggest seduction, assignations and fecundity. As this blog shifts from sunrise to symbols of fertility I am struggling to think quite how to link the last two pictures. While pondering that, I realise that all these works are by women. This is entirely accidental. Seed heads and passionate colours take me towards the last two pictures of this blog . Serendipitously hung together at the exhibition, these are the works of two Tessa’s

©Tessajane
©Tessa Sulston

Why did the curators of the exhibition hang these two works close together? For me it would be hard now not to see them together. They both take the dark colours of fecundity and also demonstrate the meaning of the word ” the ability to produce many new ideas” so perfectly they both include bright white that fizzes with potential. Together they have given me an earworm and the chance to share a favourite line of a chorus from a lyric.

” Til morning comes lets Tesselate”

The track ” Lets Tesselate” by alt-J is below

https://g.co/kgs/CLokiB

Rather a blogging rabbit hole today, enhanced by art from Drawn to the Valley. The Exhibition runs for two more days at Butchers Hall, Tavistock.

Pandemic Pondering #498

©AlanDax. Detail from Dartmoor’s Timeless Spirit

Life imitating art as I drove through typical Dartmoor weather to get to the Drawn to the Valley Summer Exhibition at Butchers Hall. Alan Dax captures the meh of Dartmoor perfectly. I have had nothing to do with the summer exhibition beyond some Social Media posts. So it was with a fresh pair of eyes that I made my first visit to the exhibition today. There really are some stunning pieces of work to be seen. This blog just contains snippets of some of the work. For people local to Tavistock you can pop along for the next three days to see the full glory for yourselves. For the sake of this blog I collected some images that can tell a story. The one above obviously tells the story of crossing the moor in the rain.

© Peter Davies. Detail from 8 minutes 20 seconds

How I wish this image was an album cover. I’m not sure what leads me to make this statement, but if I had a vinyl collection and this was an album cover this image would always be visible. Truth be told in my Vinyl/Album buying days I did just buy albums for the artwork.

©Sally O’ Neill Detail from Through the gate softly

I love the acidity of this painting It reminds me of home made lemonade on a hot summers day. I might not choose to pass through the gate softly, I could rest a while in the cool shadows, slowing down the day to a complete standstill.

©Simon Young Detail from Still Morning

Still morning is an image so familiar to me,until recently this location was my regular morning dog walk. I’ve seen this stretch of water on the Tamar in so many different moods, always busy and rarely still. Once I thought I saw a porpoise, cleaving the water in a distinctive way, no-one else was around to corroborate or simply tell me I was imagining things. Another time I slipped twenty feet on the slipway nearby( warning in the name that I failed to acknowledge.) I landed in the silky mud that the small orange boat is resting on, a friend who tried to save me toppled in headlong after me and we laughed like mad women because we could and because it was the only sensible response to two grown women doing something daft.

©Charlotte Sainsbury. Detail from Southdown Marina

I’m not yet hugely familiar with Southdown Marina but it is a planned walk in the future with the friend who accompanied me to the exhibition today. We are going to catch the ferry across from Plymouth and explore intriguing places. Helen is known for many admirable qualities and for the flash of turquoise in her hair. She is a Bobber and she loves turquoise, so this picture is particularly apt.

Maybe turquoise is a good place to stop this meandering. More tomorrow.

©Suzy Billing-Mountain. Detail from 1121 Ripples

Pandemic Pondering #452

©Suzy Billing-Mountain

It would be true to say that for many of us the last 18 months have not gone to plan . @theoldmortuary this weekend has not quite gone to plan but where unplanned gaps in my schedule appeared I was lucky enough to fill some gaps with art. Drawn to the Valley are supporting an Art Trail that shows the work of both members and non-members.

©Sue Coleman

The trail has also had its own unplanned moments and was postponed because of Covid restrictions. Suffering the same fate as the Open Studios event that is was organised to replace for the same reasons. In consequence it has been some time in the planning. Sadly one contributing artist has died between the planning stages and the actual realisation of the trail.

©Glenis Blakiston

The widower of Glenis Blakiston had decided to open her studio just as she would have done.

Pandemic Pondering #223

Today was Vernissage Day at Butchers Hall in Tavistock. It was a triumph of creativity over Covid – 19. The excited buzz of a well attended Private View with vividly dressed artists and guests it was not. No canapés, no music, no performance poetry, however in its own quiet, socially distanced way it was a celebration of hard work and achievement. What impressed me was the texture of the experience.

The Mayor of Tavistock opened the exhibition with words that by now, in 2020, we are all too familiar with, unusual, difficult, unpredictable. She noted that many of the 70+artists were experimenting with different styles because of the experiences and challenges of 2020. For this blog I thought I might just choose a few uncredited images to illustrate some of the textures and colours that I experienced today. A more formal blog of the exhibition can happen after it has opened to the public.

In sharp October sunshine even the building got into the texture category.

Butchers Hall – It’s Complicated.

Exhibition of Drawn to the Valley Artists. Wednesday 28th October – Sunday 2nd November 9-30-5-00 except Sunday when it closes at 2, Butchers Hall, Tavistock.

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.