#163 theoldmortuary ponders.

©Angela Bobber

There has been an abrupt cold weather change this week. The sun is out but the temperature is decidedly chilly. Goodness knows what the sea is doing, from a distance in the early evening it appears to be very dark in colour. Closer up during a bobbing session on Wednesday the bay was this gorgeous teal colour. Bobbers can have lively imaginations about the sea creatures they can see when the water looks like this.

This week I’ve started work on a longstanding commission for some paintings of things that are actually in the sea.

My starting point is Mackerel.

Three jolly mackerel posed in the bright sunlight this week.It was so cold they didnt thaw out at all during the half hour posing session. Natural sunlight brought out all the colour on their backs and the subtle iredescence of their bellies.

It must be amazing to sail close to shoals of mackerel. I find them a really beautiful subject to photograph and paint. But being near them alive and swimming must be really special.

For this commission mackerel are going to pose on the fishmongers paper they arrived in. The crumples and creases make some really interesting shapes on a neutral background when lit by sharp morning light.

Enough of fishy posing and pontificating we are nearly at the weekend, we have arrived in April and here the sun is shining. Happy Friday, take care with cunning April Fool jokes, my early morning wake up by Alexa was the first to catch me out this morning. Enjoy the weekend.

#32 theoldmortuary ponders

I have a fascination for empty staircases, this one caught my eye, not particularly because it was empty on this occasion but because some tiny reflected lights appeared to be moving up the stairs. Like small invisible creatures climbing the stairs with hand torches.

Empty staircases often tell a story, this quietly grubby staircase resonated with Dance Music most recently as the unused back staircase of a fabulously glamorous night club housed in a building that has been a pleasure dome since the 1930’s

I love everything about it apart from the smell of old wee. But my imagination of the historic encounters that would have occured on this staircase just a few steps from the dancefloor give it a mingled,musky, secretive vestigia that spans almost a century of pleasure.

Not so these steps to a now unpermitted destination.

Which are the exact opposite of the steps below.

So many permutations of places and directions for the mind to travel. This particular photo is a real life encounter with a scene from one of my recurring dreams. A fine place to end a blog. I have stuff that needs to be done upstairs.

Pandemic Pondering #368

This is the last photograph I took in March 2020 before the first Covid-19 lockdown in Britain. It was mid afternoon at Cotehele and I was recovering from a nasty virus. My last virus as it happens, a welcome benefit of adhering to Covid restrictions is that @theoldmortuary we’ve been virus free for a year now despite doing public facing/touching jobs.

In colour this picture is nothing much. Reeds on a managed flood plain on a typically greige day in the Tamar Valley. What the colour picture would never have shown was the amazing sound that was produced as the wind blew through the reeds. I took the picture just to remind me of that sound. True Whispering Grasses.

Really the original picture was nothing much, just a diary note to remind me of a lovely serendipitous sound on a walk that was being done more out of a sense of necessity and desperation than for pleasure.

I tinkered about with the image altering the contrast and then converted it into black and white.

Ta Da!!

A dull photo has turned into a sound. Not perhaps the gentle sound of whispering grasses, although I can hear them when I look at this with an imagined low volume. If I switch it up to medium volume I hear the interference on a television in the eighties or nineties when the signal was lost. Up a notch again and it is the feedback on a performers mic ( when ever have I felt nostalgic about that piercing scream ) it could also be, currently, two people having different Zoom meetings with their laptops too close together. My final auditory assault from one picture is this.

Imagine sketching it in chalk on an old school blackboard.

I’m fairly certain that last suggestion was not kind. The link below is a gentle salve to give you a good earworm for Friday. The mellifluous Sandy Denny.

Whispering Grass

Pandemic Pondering #167

August was a blast. September is the month of holidays @theoldmortuary, but most importantly it’s the month of more interesting light and textures. This year September will be all texture and no holidays. The angle of the sun both in the mornings and evenings makes everything look a little bit more interesting. Trawling through my photo archive some gorgeous textures popped up. Textures are my references for abstract paintings. I stuck to textures photographed in past September’s to illustrate this blog.

The first one is a lovely Palimpsest photographed in Devonport. It is a traditional paper advert posterboard. I drive past it a lot , you have to catch it at the right time. Seemingly one team rips the old posters off and another one follows up and sticks the new one on. I drove past between the two visits and luckily got this lovely piece of serendipity.

The next two are also in Plymouth, one in a hotel and the other in a restaurant. I’ve stuck them together because that is what I do when I’m trying to work out the way forward in a painting.

Textured inspiration also comes from the preparation of food , another two stuck together, one coffee and one gravy.

A couple of years ago we went to a Jazz Festival in Nafplion in Greece.


https://www.fougaro.gr/

The venue is an Art Centre and was also holding an exhibition of wedding dresses. Not normally something that would attract us , but I am so glad not to have missed it . The textures of the wedding dresses were amazing and deserve a blog on their own but there were also this colourful, textural piece that can brighten up this blog first.

I love the juxtaposition of beautifully crafted metal and plastic flowers.

If I wasn’t sticking to the ‘photographed in September’ rule I could share loads of pictures taken in European Cathedrals of ornate gold leaf work , gem encrusted and beautiful, with plastic flowers in a jam jar, close by,somewhat ruining the aesthetic.

Black and white texture comes from a negative image of a blackboard and plastic wrapped rolls of hay, looking other worldly in the sharp sunlight.

Finally a little pink texture, the Dahlias grow in our garden and the Crochet and cracked paint were an installation at Plymouth Art Weekender a couple of years ago.A city wide art festival held every September.

https://plymouthartweekender.com/

Despite Covid-19 the Art Weekender will be held in Plymouth this September.

Aqua Menthe, Lush Lava, Phantom Blue

© Shutterstock
It will be no surprise to regular readers or viewers of the blog that I love a deeply saturated colour almost as much as I love black and white.Any ‘colour of the year’ headline grabs my attention. Coupled with lovely descriptive words Shutterstock have analysed their way to a great trio of colours.
https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/trends/2020-color-trends
Synesthesia is always part of my life, I’ve had to learn to override it but these three colours make my heart and head thrill with their energy.
https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html My own collection of images is lacking Aqua Menthe and Phantom Blue but Lush Lava plays a big part. I’ve set myself a side project of finding more of those colours this year.A trawl through my collection earlier today has found these.Lush Lava
Flowers on a memorial bench. Devils Point Plymouth
An image I created to show a curving corridor entrance to a dark room.
Red Currants at Butler’s Cottage
Aqua Menthe
Detail from one of my paintings . From the collection of UltraCardiac
Boat at Port Wrinkle
Nightclub on the Barbican, featuring Jules and Lola
Phantom Blue
The Levellers at Minack Theatre.
Mediterranean Biome at Eden Project
A phone box at Royal William Yard during Illuminate Festival
All three colours in an abstract.The cover picture or frontispiece of this blog is a play on words. The shallow pool is at The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall. The strip of red simply had to be done. I’ve slightly re- edited it to also be the Endpiece.

Greyscale

Diagnostic imaging was my trade for many years. The majority of modalities in imaging produce pictures in black and white or more correctly in Grey scale. As an artist grey scale has always been my guide when judging my coloured work. A black and white photograph always lets me know if a painting has the balance I am hoping to achieve.

Cookworthy Knapp © theoldmortuary

In photography I often search out a monotone image in the real world.

Petersham Nurseries
https://petershamnurseries.com/

Hugo and Lola have been known to pose in locations that lend themselves to Black and White.

In this case at Dungeness, Britain’s only desert on the Kent coast.

The unusual environment lends itself to greyscale.

All round the coast of Britain, black and white somehow brings peace and silence to an image that could, with colour be garish or over ripe.

Wells-next-the-sea

Gigs at Saltash, Cornwall

Another monotone shot in real life colour.

Retaining walls at Samphire Hoe Country Park. An artificial land mass built from the extracted materials created by the tunneling for the Chanel Tunnel. A Nature Preserve.
http://www.samphirehoe.com/uk/visit-us/

And finally back to Radiography.

A cardiac angiogram of the left coronary artery, the basis of the pattern that heads this blog.

Left coronary artery

Plymouth Art Weekender

Plymouth Art Weekender started yesterday. A city-wide celebration of all things arty. Yesterday theoldmortuary team took in black and white photography by JoJo at Ocean Studios. JoJo captures the human condition seemingly effortlessly. His exhibitions are thematic and this one features couples who have chosen to spend their lives together and single mothers with their offspring. I’m not sure why only single mothers were selected or indeed why these two separate subjects don’t quite work for me as a theme. Regardless, the photography has all the hallmarks of JoJo. From experience, I know that JoJo puts his sitters at ease and gently extracts the stories behind the people. I’m a huge fan of his latest book, Naked Truth, partly because the photography is skilled but more because he tells the tale of body image so deftly. Returning however to this current exhibition, I was struck by his ability to show both passivity and defiance in the faces of his single mothers and contentment in those of his couples. The more I view these photographs the more I learn about the sitters without ever meeting them, he is a very clever photographer. A longer review will be published later.

A weekend with Milly

A weekend of giving Aunt Milly some love and attention is enhanced by sunshine. I have a pile of books to keep me occupied and a view to distract me.

IMG_1032I popped into the Royal William Yard to buy some bakery provisions at The Ocean Studios. A home made Pork Pie somehow slipped into my shopping bag. Cue a bit of bakery porn, posing in the old clome oven, giving me the chance to use the term ‘Crumbshot’  which I have stolen from memoirsofabaker.

IMG_1021.JPGMy reading for this weekend if the sunshine and the views don’t distract me is:-

How To Write About Contemporary Art by Gilda Williams.

Recommended by my art writers group. So far I’ve only dipped but it seems like an easier read than I had imagined.

 

 

Long Live Great Bardfield: The Autobiography of Tirzah Garwood.

Edited by Anne Ullman. My entire gene pool comes from the Bardfield area and I know very little about the village. Coupled with the narrative of a female artist, this will suit me very well.

 

 

Cant Stand Up For Sitting Down by Jo Brand.

A friend gave me this after I took a shockingly bad selection of books on my holiday. She thought this would chear me up literarywise. She was right. Living near Jo in South London, being grey haired and inclined towards curviness, I am often asked if I am her sister by shopkeepers. I think she would make a fabulous sister but the answer really is NO but if you insist I will sign your till receipt.

 

The Saturday Guardian,.

Regardless of the general opinion of our newspapers the arts stuff is well written and I enjoy reading it over the weekend.

 

Living Etc:

A style magazine that offers interior design that can be modified for normal living.

 

Cornwall Today: July. The Poldark Edition.

Colin and Diana had a copy of this ,when we met them at The Sorting Office Coffee Shop at St Agnes, yesterday. I’m more of a Winston Graham Poldark fan than a BBC fan . I read all the books in my early teens, I’m intrigued to see how Poldark is reimagined within real Cornwall.

IMG_0899

 

 

Evening Standard Magazine: 07.07.17 London United Edition.

My love affair with London never fades, I voraciously read other people’s stories about their feelings for our capital city.

IMG_0874

Naked Bunting

17 years ago I posed for Jo jo’s first book Plymouth Unveiled. In many ways it was a life changing experience. Body confidence is a funny old thing and it’s odd that a virtual stranger with a camera and a disarming manner gifted me mine.IMG_0629His new book, Naked Truth, was launched tonight. A cornucopia of real women, curves, crevasses, confidence and contradictions, it is simply brilliant.