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

Pandemic Pondering #393

The Artists Companion- dog slobber is an essential part of sketching and painting. ©Drawn to the Valley

Tuesday was a proper out day. Not just out, but out out. Out with other artists talking, painting and sketching in the grounds of Pentillie Castle. Such a beautiful place and so many options, so little time to opt.

© Clare Law

15 members and their guests gathered in the car park before setting off to find a cosy space to get creative.

Pentillie Castle ©Alison Freshnay

@theoldmortuary wandered down to the Bathing Hut at the riverside but other artists found lovely places of inspiration.

Texture ©Mrs Marvelous – Jo Shepherd
© Clare Law

As usual I was a complete sucker for an empty bench.

Meanwhile at the Bathing Hut I had a huge amount of help with my sketching.

I had taken my Christmas and Birthday ,art material, presents with me to experiment. But the biggest discovery of all was how these materials worked when mixed with an enormous amount of dog slobber.

©theoldmortuary The Bathing Hut, Pentillie Castle

Dog slobber as it turns out works very well with water colour and acrylic pens. Apparently I can also paint while nattering- on like a person who has only recently been released from a Pandemic Lock down.

©Kathy Lovell

Luckily my lovely dog companion was very intent on ball throwing and retrievals as well as adding slobber to the painting. This little fellow landed about a metre behind Stephanie, my fellow painter.

©Stephanie Yates

Painting and bat watching ended when I needed to find a loo, nearby I found these two circular things. I have no idea what they are but they make a great photo.

They look like the most amazing biscuits.

Thanks to Anne Crozier for organising our Drawing Days and thanks to to Pentillie Castle for making us so welcome. The link below takes you to their website .

https://www.pentillie.co.uk/

Pandemic Pondering #374

Lovely news this week. Drawn to the Valley will have a Spring Exhibition this year. This time last year we were recycling the leaflets and posters of the 2020 Spring Exhibition after it had been cancelled.

Looking at the #marchinthevalley on Instagram we have some interesting work emerging from the Valley this spring.

Even more exciting is that the working party can meet outside after April 14th to start making plans.

Some of us have met on Zoom meetings and a few of us managed a drawing day in October but beyond that we havent seen each other in over a year.

Positive engagement with social media has increased during this Pandemic year, there is a greater diversity of work being shown by more members than this time a year ago.

The Spring Exhibition traditionally kicks off the artistic year for Drawn to the Valley. Although considerably later than the usual March dates . 2021 promises to be a vivid reflection of our endeavours during a very unusual time.

Pandemic Pondering #244

I’m doing a bit of time managing Drawn to the Valley  art groups Instagram page. In these ever changing pandemic times it is a quick way, combined with Facebook and Twitter to communicate with both the artist members and people who like to buy original art. November in any year can be a little slow artwise before December explodes into Christmas Fairs and Markets. 2020 takes slow November to a whole new level of slow. This morning I came up with a # inspired by an early morning walk in typically November West Country greyness.

#lightupnovember2020

@theoldmortuary November life was certainly brightened up today by two things. Firstly the most gorgeous Orchid arrived clutched by a lovely friend. Definitely something that cuts through Cornish grey #lightupnovember2020

The other thing that twinkled into @theoldmortuary was a tutu . Just a little one for a little person but it certainly fits the brief for #lightupnovember2020

#lightupnovember2020 spreading a little bright in the grey.