#305 theoldmortuary ponders

A late blog because meetings and swimming kept me busy from early today. I rushed through the early morning chores and quickly typed this little thought on water colour paper. Or that was the plan, the mornings meeting was a creative one where planning and exchanging ideas are accompanied by people creating small projects at the same time. What I had actually typed onto was blotting paper, so the words were more prophetic than the original plan. Painting onto blotting paper is highly unpredictable. Some colours just stuttered to an immediate halt, no hope of all the usual watercolour tricks and effects. But something emerged. The conversations also flowed and stuck in unexpected places. Two succesful exhibitions have just closed. The talk as it often is, was about change in general and the role of Social Media in promoting the work of arts organisations and indeed communicating with members via social media and electronic newsletters.

Electronic Newsletter
Instagram post reminding members about a meeting

I’m sure most people involved with any small to medium voluntary or creative organisation must be wrangling the same discussions. The love of familiar hard copy, something to hold onto, something to keep V information only accessible by using a computer, tablet or smartphone. The only time we have produced an actual paper brochure post pandemic is for an Open Studios Arts Trail.

Even this is best used with a QR code.

Feelings and opinions are strongly felt and the old ways of doing things worked but I think a global pandemic has pushed forward so many things often in unexpected ways , I think however that going back to even how things were done three years ago is a boat that has already sailed.

On a more personal level I probably don’t need to paint on blotting paper ever again.

#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.

#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

#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 #516

Hot on the heels of yesterdays morning blog is an evening blog of the same day, and two pictures from the exact same position with only a dog walk between them. Between yesterdays blog and this one lies the path of a day taken up by stuff, complicated by maintainance work on a local bridge. A normal 20 minute journey swelled to fill an hour and I missed an appointment. Rebooked for two hours later I filled my time with delivering brochures for an upcoming Open Studios event.

And took a trip to the supermarket. The appointment required me not to drive for two hours after so I was ‘forced’ to enjoy a late lunch in a friends garden and soak up the sun whilst my eyes returned to a normal, not blurry, way of life. Time then to head for home and get all the day jobs done. Before heading out for the evening dog walk which provided the two pictures that top and tail this blog. Since moving, our evening dog walk always takes in the area around the Royal William Yard, especially since the evenings have started to get darker. Royal William Yard is a collection of Military Buildings in Plymouth.

https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/explore/areas-to-visit/royal-william-yard

Between the two photos we walked up to a meadow and the dogs chased each other inside the old, second world war gun emplacements of Devils Point.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/history/world-war-two-defences-you-2750611

I’m sure the longer we live here the more the history will soak into our bones but right now every slab of concrete is a complete mystery to us.

Returning to our original position, night was properly upon us.Time to turn our twelve feet for home.

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