Pandemic Pondering #140

Borders are the subject of today’s art group prompt.Borders have always fascinated me. I am a blurred borders sort of person, grey scale rather than black and white. Curiously a border is the underpinning geographic feature that defines the art group that these prompts are set for this month.The Tamar Valley divides and is the border between Devon and Cornwall. Conversely it divides Cornwall from the rest of the World.What creative things will the Artists of the Tamar Valley be inspired to create or share when the word Borders drops into their Instagram or Facebook feed today.It’s very difficult to predict. August is traditionally both quiet and busy for local artists. Quiet because the creative work is mostly done and busy because it’s open Studios time. Open Studios is a big deal in any art group , a time for artists to throw open their studio/workshop spaces to welcome in the public. Or to arrange a public space for groups of artists to show their work.Open Studios has been going on for years.But not this year.August will pass in the Tamar Valley without its usual artistic flurry.Time to sit in the sun and consider the word ‘ border’ or indeed any of the 31 words on the prompt list.PSI’m aware this is not the most scintillating blog but this little post script might make you smile. I’ve just finished reading this month’s book club choice. Post shower there was a visual joke.

Pandemic Ponderings #1

Ponderings at theoldmortuary are just that. Something that comes into mind or sight that can be the kernel of a blog.

Pandemic Ponderings will not be particularly virus related, but they will be shaped by a newly restricted life.

I’ve started them today because I had to make concrete changes to life yesterday because of new restrictions in the UK.

Hand washing and the prevention of spread of infection were for so long part of my previous occupation that societal increases in protective behaviours has made no significant impact on me, it has been second nature for all of my working life and switching to the same gear in private has barely registered

Now I’m responsible, with others, for putting on an Art exhibition. I’m hugely aware of the creative work, costs and administration that has got us to within two weeks of opening. But it is in everyone’s interest that we do not hold an exhibition now or for the foreseeable future. It also seems sensible to mothball the whole Artist Collaborative that has plans for many exhibitions before the end of the year. Mothballing allows us to not have face to face Commitee meetings or working groups, so vital to the running of most organisations.

Arrivals and Departures

I think I’m a bit of a romantic when standing in Arrival or Departure areas. There is something that refreshes my faith in human relationships. There is anticipation,sadness, anxiety and hope but familial love and the closeness of friendship are the uppermost emotions.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in a combined arrival and departure area of a train station. I have embarked on heart wrenching journeys to visit dying parents from here, excitedly started fascinating journeys to the rest of the world. Alternatively I have waited patiently to welcome many people I love and care for. On Sunday evenings there is often a gathering of young people just embarking on their careers in the navy being gathered up from all corners of the country to be bussed off to Torpoint to start their basic training at HMS Raleigh.

Yesterday I was going nowhere , just there to promote Daffodil Growing , Art and many other fascinating aspects of the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

What a perfect excuse to people watch. Plymouth Argyle were playing at home so the green and white army were the biggest recognisable group. Closely followed by happy Cosplay participants. Then there were the family or friend groups and the excited gathering of university students. There were some tears but there was overwhelming happiness too.

It was unpredictable who would interact with the joyous yellow of our leaflets and posters. The happy travellers of Plymouth Station took our yellow missives, who can guess how far they will travel.

Digital Learning Day

Every day is a digital learning day @theoldmortuary as we are both digital migrants, very far from Luddites we are early adopters of technology who have a fondness for the hardware of the pre-digital age. Currently involved,and failing, to engage local artists in the benefits of Instagram , this morning I adopted irony with my post.

© Guardian

This image captivated me over the weekend, it illustrated an article about Hilary Mantel and her new book. Another image from the weekend was this typewriter in Joe and the Juice, Wimbledon.

I love that the hardware of the pre-digital age are loved by so many people and not all thrown into landfill.

Joe and the Juice, Regent Street had another gorgeous typewriter when I was there in the winter.

Lurking in the studio @theoldmortuary there is a collection of wooden letterpress letters.

The sentiment is somewhat appropriate.

And, thank goodness, neatly brings me back to art.

I would be really grateful to anyone who has an idea or experience of engaging artists and makers to engage with Instagram and Social Media in general. Comments either on here or on theoldmortuary Instagram/ facebook page. Thanks in advance.

Drawn to the Valley, Drawn to London. Artists of the Tamar Valley.

As someone who has spent their entire adult life actually being drawn to the Valley and then drawn to London, on repeat, and loving both equally, this was always going to be a ‘ not to be missed’ exhibition. The Valley in question is the Tamar Valley, the natural border between Devon and Cornwall. Beautiful, spectacular and largely undiscovered this vivid corner of England is home and sometimes muse to a vibrant gathering of artists. Some of whom belong to the collaborative group Drawn To The Valley.

The group has over 160 members, thirty-five of the artists have brought their work to Pall Mall.

The exhibition which runs from 22-27th October at The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery is an eclectic mix of art, some very representational of the area from which the group hails and some inspired by world travels or fantastic imaginations. This exhibition has something for everyone. West Country expats will love seeing familiar landscapes rendered in so many different ways, while those who are quite unfamiliar with the area will be exposed to its charms by the skill of artists who really love the place they call home. Not all the art here is representational, there are some amazing abstracts and 3D pieces. London and other world locations have also inspired this talented group of artists. Some pieces are pure creativity and inspiration.

Invigilators or gallery assistants can be a huge part of setting the tone of an exhibition. It’s not an easy job to gauge how much interaction gallery visitors want. Drawn to London benefits from having the artists themselves as invigilators. During my visit everyone was warmly welcomed and conversation about the art flowed freely and enthusiastically.

The ‘Hang’ at this exhibition, which covers three floors, is whimsical. Not unlike the Royal Academy Summer Show. Works that look good together, hang together. Maybe this style is not for everyone but I think it adds to the really happy feel of this exhibition.

I hope I can get back for another mooch around, I can’t recommend this refreshing exhibition too highly. If you have a blank wall there is almost certainly something here that would fill it nicely.

www.jeannineallen.co.uk

www.nickybeaumont.co.uk

www.janet-brady.com

www.jenbradleydesigns.wixsite.com

www.martinbush.co.uk

www.martinclarkart.com

www.dartmoorlandscapes.com

www.monachorumgallery.co.uk

www.melanieguy.com

www.artgallerysw.co.uk

www.pippahowes.com

www.tessajane.co.uk

www.clarelaw.co.uk

www.nsltextileart.co.uk

www.mawdsley.co.uk

www.jillianmorris.co.uk

www.clarknicolart.co.uk

www.karennicoltextileart.ipage.com

www.sallyoneillartist.co.uk

www.glenrockstudio.co.uk

www.ianpurvisart.com

www.charlottesainsbury.co.uk

www.angelasmithsart.com

www.katystonemanart.co.uk

www.saatchiart.com for Marianne Sturtridge

www.callingtonartschool.com for Tessa Sulston

www.riichardsunderlandart.com

www.tinatianart.com

www.markwigginsart.com

www.annette-wrathmell.co.uk

www.simonyoungart.com

www.drawntothevalley.co.uk

Creative Port- Linda Winter talks to theoldmortuary

theoldmortuary is a place where artists and creative people come to talk. Creative Port is a series of conversations with artists and makers who have a connection with Plymouth, Devon, UK. Plymouth, the Ocean City, is a creative city of arrivals, departures and settlers.

Linda Winter is a regular at all three. She will be exhibiting at Bens Farm Shop, Yealmpton soon.

Coming from a family of creatives, it would have been easy for Linda to become a painter. Creativity is in her blood, descended from an East End tailor, her mother was a woman compelled to make the intricate and fabulous, if not always useful, fabric creations. Her brothers are Art School trained and successful. Christopher Stevens is a painter of note and Head of Painting at Brighton School of Art. William teaches art in Bristol. However, and perhaps perversely, Linda avoided the art school route, her work is solely the product of her innate ability. Sibling rivalry may have made her pick up a paintbrush initially but it did not lead her along a traditional route.

Linda had an uneventful education and then ran away to Cornwall and had a family. Her rebellion was short lived. Three young children, little money and a house on the edge of Bodmin Moor meant that she was thrown back on old painterly habits to keep her sane.

Using Gouache on Arches paper, she painted large vibrant semi abstract boats that quickly became her signature style. Selling though the Barbican Gallery in Plymouth helped to establish herself as an artist. In Plymouth in the 1980’s and 1990’s, being a female artist was a struggle. So, in spite of having numerous one woman shows, Linda went to University to learn how to teach. Again the rebel surfaced, instead of studying art, she studied Psychology and is now teaching Psychology in London, but she still comes home to the sea most weekends and holidays.

One eventful afternoon with only a small canvas to hand, she noticed some beetroot on her kitchen table that had been purchased the day before, (She paints in her kitchen). The leaves were beginning to wilt in the sunlight. The purple of the bulbs vibrant against their fading glory. She picked up her brushes and an idea was born. Although a classic still life subject, fruit and veg were not an obvious choice for an artist as vivid as Linda. The Fruit&Vegetable Series however made a serendipitous connection when Linda had a chance meeting with the Management from Ben’s Farm shop in Yealmpton (where the Beetroot came from). A unique exhibition will be held in the newly extended eating space at Bens, featuring paintings of her naked organic vegetables. The exhibition is special, following a conversation over coffee about the difficulties some families have in affording quality food, it has been decided that the commission, 20%, of each painting sold will go to the Trussell Trust and Plymouth food bank. Organisations’ that Ben’s already support. In addition, Ben’s will also donate a proportion of the afternoons takings from Food and Drink sales. Unconventionally, the opening, at 3pm will be a family event with kids painting, burgers, the paintings and Linda telling her story. Regular adults not accompanied by children are also very welcome. The fruit and veg show opens at Ben’s farm shop on the first weekend of June.

Bill Stickers is not only innocent, he is a genius. ( London gives good Palimpsest)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/25/passages-from-the-bible-discovered-behind-quran-manuscript-christies?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

I’ve never really known the correct term for the incidental art created by street posters, graffiti and general wear and tear. Some years ago I settled on Palimpsest, this article in the Guardian has made me question my decision but I can’t really find a word that works any better.

Cultural and creative vibrancy can be measured by these serendipitous spaces.

Not all owners or administrators of walls are fans.

Palimpsest fascinates me , even the corporate version on traditional , paper and paste, advertising billboards are a rich source of serendipitous art if you can catch them on the day old posters are ripped off . The current trend to advertise gigs with notices, cable-tied to street furniture gets around the Bill Sticker haters but removes a layer of lovely colour and text that could be adding to palimpsest.

Occasionally I use the technique to create my own art.

Sometimes the most intriguing stuff can be found down alleyways. Hunting it out can require a strong stomach as these places also gather the excrescences, of a vivid and active night life.

London gives great palimpsest. The images below were collected on a walk from my hairdresser to a favourite coffee shop, half an hour max. My phone is full of palimpsest images from all over the world, some of it from teeny tiny places and sometimes in locations that are unexpected.

Hunt street palimpsest out; you will be rewarded.

” Dull places have immaculate walls”

Artworks/Portfolio

I’ve been adding some recent images to my Artworks/Portfolio page, I’ve got a pile of work that needs just little bits of attention to get them ready to sell. There is also a commission that needs a good stretch of time to get it ready for delivery . The better weather this week would have been perfect for art but it was also time to attack the Cornish hedge that runs in front of the studio windows. 10 years of routine maintenance had kept the lane passable but optimum hedge health had not been on our agenda. Many woman hours later it is trimmed and bramble-less , looking pretty sparse with one or two holes that need to be filled with some climbers . Boston Vine , Evergreen Clematis and Japanese Wisteria will add some natural colour alongside any incidental splatterings that embellish the garden and hedge during a summer of painting . Time to get back on the paintbrush…


Continue reading “Artworks/Portfolio”

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.

Quiet blogging patch is over.

As a new blogger and website creator I try to get something on my site nearly every day. My tag line even says “Something Stylish Every Day”  it’s a big ask but it has been motoring me through many WordPress Tutorials , hopefully it hasn’t been too obvious that I’ve been working to a brief.

Too many blogs too little time would be my motto of the last ten days. Three return trips, Cornwall to London, in the last ten days has sucked the time out of my days. In addition to setting up and taking down some of my pictures at an exhibition I’ve been doing stuff that needs to be written up for other publications and my own blog/ website.  Here’s a snippet of yesterday with South London Women Artists.

IMG_0468Yesterday was my first chance to see the completed ‘My Place’ exhibition at Brixton East. It will be a blog subject all of its own in the next few days.

The Exhibition was brilliant and despite having a personal  ‘Big Elephant’ in the room, or gallery, I sold some art.  I still can’t quite believe my luck that I also managed to snap up a beautiful picture while tills were closing and the paintings were flying off the walls to snuggle once again in bubble wrap.

IMG_0467My Place by Valerie Lambert had to be purchased. Firstly it represents , to me, the defiance of London following the attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market. Secondly it combines Fine Art with text which is my current obsession. Thirdly it’s a political watercolour. Red Dot in the corner please.

Here comes the Elephant!

IMG_0466This is my main piece of art for the exhibition. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is not an Elephant . It is quite obviously a door. What this also is, is Contemporary art comedy gold. Sections of the media and comedians love to laugh and scoff at the futility or silliness of Contemporary Art . They report and snigger at Mark Quinn’s Self Portrait ( A sculptured head formed from silicone and ten litres of his own blood, frozen)  Made funny by a security guard turning off the power that kept it frozen. Tracy Emins bed, tidied up by an over zealous cleaner, and a recent installation , I don’t know the name of the artist, hoovered up overnight in Liverpool

The eagle eyed will notice a mismatch. The text accompanying the work is upside down.

The truth of course is that My Place ( my door) has hung upside down in a gallery for a week ( I’ve flipped the image above), worthy of a chuckle, I agree. Many people have commented and asked me if that was a deliberate decision. The answer, of course, is that I’m not that clever and that it was a simple error. But it does make you think and comedic, or not, that is exactly what contemporary art is about

 

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