Pandemic Pondering #527

The sun was out yesterday. I was out yesterday. All was well with the world. Have a wonderful Sunday.

I’m not actually planning to stop there. Yesterday was full of lovely people and great art which I will share as the acceptable face of Saturday. Because nobody needs to see pictures of, or read about, my ranting on the subject of traffic blockages and crazy redirections. Or framers who haven’t framed. The pursuit of Art is not always comfy but it always repays with gorgeousness. Thanks to the artists of Drawn to the Valley for soothing a grumpy driver. The amazing print below exactly represents my head after more than two hours of road congestion. Except my busy head was not filled with such beauty.

©Beth Munro at Ocean Studios

Looking and talking about art is very soothing, by the end of the day the traffic and complexities of the day were all forgotten, my life view was much calmer!

©Melody James, at Isambard House, Saltash Station.

Pandemic Pondering #525

Friday in the first week of September in the second year of a pandemic feels like a strange place to be. The end of another summer of uncertainty with summer traditions modified or cancelled. One regular event of late summer that is going ahead with appropriate Covid-19 precautions is the Drawn to the Valley Open Studios event. 9 days of art and making locations, open to the public throughout the Tamar Valley.

Locations and opening times can be found in the virtual brochure on our website.

Home

There are 3 more days to visit studios. I’ve spent my free time this week calling in on artists and catching some beautiful art and conversations along the way.

All the artists have been very welcoming but one welcome was very special.

Pippin in Bere Alston gave the most enthusiastic welcome so far.

Pandemic Pondering #500

500 Pandemic Ponderings and the world is still in the grip of something that affects everyone. Currently our planet is still gripped and the Pandemic is far from over.Who knows how this part of our history will end.

@theoldmortuary, just like everyone, is in quite a different place at #500 to where we were at #1. No longer living at the actual Old Mortuary, that was never a plan!

Today though, beyond PP#500, is pretty average. We took a trip out to Tavistock in the rain. The rain gave me all the images for this blog. A rain swollen river + my silky water feature on the phone camera is as good an illustration for time passing as I could muster today.

We went to Tavistock to visit the Drawn to the Valley exhibition again and to visit the Saturday market.

We also had a Bubble Wrap popping and styling date with our grandchild in Hong Kong.

Not something we were planning to do in the street but that is where we were when the call came through. We had planned ahead and just whipped our Bubble Wrap out of a handbag and struck some poses and popped away. Passers by were certainly puzzled! A fine way to spend half an hour on a normal day with an auspicious number.

Pandemic Pondering#456

Visiting artists in their workspace is a multisensory experience. One I always have mixed feelings about beforehand but nearly always come away enriched in so many ways. Not always arty embellishment of my soul either. My mixed feelings are caused mostly by an inate shyness and reticence about walking into someone else’s creative space. Yesterday I visited three creatives participating in the South Tamar Art Trail. All in a small hamlet in the Tamar Valley known as Rising Sun.

My first visit was to Gudrun’s fused glass studio. A buzzy place with a bead making workshop going on.

Bead making is mesmerising. Fire, dexterity and concentration are significant factors in the magic of fused glass bead making. Gudrun also fuses ideas and creativity with her neighbour John who creates his craft in a woodshed filled with equipment and wood for recycling into wondrous objects.

Gudrun walked us over to John’s workplace. The smell of freshly drilled or cut wood was intoxicating as we first entered. John recycles wood from all sorts of places and the fragrances from unusual woods create a heady brew. From John’s workshop we walked to Suzy Billing Mountain’s unit on a small industrial unit nearby.

Suzy has been making fluid art for a couple of years. Walking into her unit blasts your eyes with colour. It is everywhere, including on Suzy. She gave us a demo of her style of working and we nattered a lot. Having said that our eyes were blasted, I’ve chosen a really subtle piece to show her style. Mostly because it sums up the colours of walking in the Tamar Valley in early summer.

South Tamar Art Trail runs until Sunday 27th June.

Pandemic Pondering #430

©Sarah Brown Drawn to the Valley

Today, Saturday is the last day of the art exhibition at Tamar Valley AONB. It has been a remarkable exhibition with good visitor numbers and many sales. Every time I’ve been there has been time to concentrate on different areas of the exhibition. Hares were my thing on the last visit. The sleepy one above and the mythical one below are so peaceful.

© Gilly Spottiswood Drawn to the Valley

The mum and leveret below make me smile.

©Shari Hills Drawn to the Valley

Stewarding at the exhibition has been a great chance to meet and talk with visitors and artists, and we have heard some fabulous comments and conversations but the real take away from this first post pandemic ( we hope) exhibition is the smiles and happiness that doing something normal  has given people. There has also been plenty of chance for a good natter when the exhibition has been quiet

©Sue Richardson Drawn to the Valley

But this afternoon it will be time to call in the hard hats and take everything down.

© Julia O’Dell ( detail) Drawn to the Valley

And all head off for the Hills.

© Allie Cole Drawn to the Valley

Or the quiet waters of the Tamar Valley.

©Clare Law Drawn to the Valley

The remaining unsold works will appear on our website very soon.
https://drawntothevalley.com/.

Pandemic Pondering #428

What an amazing day! First a perfect un weather-damaged Poppy bloomed.

And the sun came out, so hopefully pollinators were busy later harvesting this tasty purple pollen.

Then I got to take a friend, who is recovering from surgery, for a little road trip to visit the exhibition. We also met another friend there so some nattering occured. The red of the morning poppy was much in evidence as we looked round the works on show. Red dots all over the room. Red dots are the traditional way to denote that a piece of artwork is sold.

There are several columns like this around the exhibition showing the success for many artists in selling work. As one of the co- curators of this exhibition it is incredibly exciting to see so much work selling. Even better was the huge hug I got from a very happy Allie Cole who was so thrilled to sell a new style of work. She still has two more to sell but her happiness felt better than seeing a red dot on one of my own paintings!

©Allie Cole- details from her paintings awaiting new homes.

We couldn’t have picked a better day for a small trip out , the sunlight was amazing and the views across the valley as stunning as ever. The sunshine lasted through to the evening swim.

A fab day of sunshine, friends and red dots ( of two sorts).

Poppies @theoldmortuary

Pandemic Pondering #424

©Drawn to the Valley

The last two days have been both busy and hugely enjoyable. Finally we have been able to put on a Spring Exhibition featuring the work of artists and makers in the Tamar Valley. Last year we did all the planning and preparation work, only to have to cancel the exhibition at short notice. Planning for this year certainly felt like deja vu but with the added bonus of factoring in Covid safe planning for a public gathering in an indoor space.

‘Hanging Out’ with other humans for the last two days bringing the exhibition and its venue to life after so long was as much of a pleasure as seeing all the artworks blow in from all over the Tamar Valley.

And ‘blow in’ they certainly did with gusting winds of up to 55 mph and torrential rain.

After one day of construction and one day of curating and hanging we are ready to open the doors at 10:30 this morning. Here is a glimpse of what we have been up to.

The first floor mini gallery. Tiny works of art at affordable prices,with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside

Hanging in the stairwell, maximising available space to allow safe distance to enjoy the exhibition.

The ground floor gallery. If the weather improves this area will be flooded with fresh air and sunshine. What a shame we are not able to host a ‘Private View’ event this year. Doors open at 10:30 this morning. Opening hours are 10:30-4:30 daily for a week and then just a morning opening next Saturday. The address is on the posters below.

Pandemic Pondering #423

Today was spent setting up this exhibition with a fabulous team of artists working hard together with the mundane, but essential, tasks of making an exhibition space out of a multi-purpose room. The weather, a wind speed of 45 miles an hour did not help with the delivery of boards.

Later in the afternoon artists were blown into the venue to deliver their work. Canvases turning themselves into sails propelling them to the door at speed. Friday is hanging day so tomorrows blog will be filled with wonderful works of art which were all delivered by the end of the day. It was lovely to work with a large group of people sorting things out and collaborating together, in person, for the first time in a very long while. I pinched the image below from a poetry brochure, but it sums up well the idea of the artists of a valley working well together.

Pandemic Pondering #409

Things are warming up on the creative side of @theoldmortuary . This cunning device is squeezing the air out of greetings cards that I packed yesterday , ready for the Spring Exhibition of Drawn to the Valley. Who could have guessed that a fan annual from the seventies would create the perfect size to support a heavy weight to exclude air in the wrapping envelope. In the interest of honesty and with respect to Mr David Essex this annual has not been under my pillow for ever. That would just be very strange.

An old friend sends me gems like this from time to time. I could also have used a David Cassidy Annual from the same era and source but yesterday I chose David Essex to spread the load.

Added to my current domestic admin, of which there is lots, I now have Exhibition Admin, which is much more pleasurable.

#mayinthevalley

The closing date for the exhibition has passed and now myself and the rest of the organising team have the pleasure of sifting through the entries. Some of which are featured on the #mayinthevalley Instagram posts above from the artists_of_the_tamar_valley Instagram page.

All this activity and business is an exact replica of the work we did last year only to have to cancel the exhibition at two weeks notice.

This years exhibition will be unimaginably different . 50 artists who have lived through a pandemic. 50 diverse experiences of love, loss, isolation and change. There is an amazing energy exuding from the works we are unwrapping ( currently in the digital sense )

The Spring Exhibition is always about new beginnings but the Spring Exhibition of 2021 is promising to be an altogether more zingy new beginning than usual. On a more self interested level I still haven’t got the gold leaf on my little pictures or even started the large one. It is a theoretical picture right now.

New beginnings are one thing, just getting started is the current problem!

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/