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 #338

I am very lucky, one of my responsibilities within an art group is to manage the groups social media output. Part of that role is to keep an eye on the groups Instagram page. Another friend does the same for Facebook. During the Pandemic, Social Media, Zoom Meetings, a Newsletter and a fabulous new website have been the groups only way of keeping in touch and sharing their creative outputs with members and the wider community. In normal times there would be Workshops, Drawing Days, Exhibitions and Open Studio events.

Checking the Instagram page of Drawn To The Valley daily is an absolute pleasure. Our members and other artists work appear on our feed. It took no effort to find these great images from todays feed.

Our Social Media team meet monthly to plan what we need to promote for the group but we also work out ways to increase engagement and attract followers to our pages.

For 2021 each month will have a # that brings the art created in that month together in a grid. #januaryinthevalley, #februaryinthevalley and on for every month of the year.

So far #februaryinthevalley is looking good.

We’ve really had to reconsider how best to use social media to support our members during the Pandemic. We are lucky that Drawn to the Valley adopted social media early and effectively a long time ago, we have some vibrant and effective wisdom in our team. Zoom meetings are never dull.

The pandemic has forced us to shake things up a bit.

Below is a link to our website.

Home

We can also be found on Instagram and Facebook.

There is some lovely art.

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.

Pandemic Pondering #228

It’s a red dot kind of day. By tradition when an artwork is sold at a gallery or exhibition it is marked with a red dot.

This painting has set off on a journey to Brighton with a new owner.

The picture started life in Marylebone, London. Strange things happen around the Mews Lanes behind Harley Street in the middle of the night. Famous people arrive under the cover of darkness and florists clear out the previous days blooms, near perfect they are dumped in the back of trailers to be replaced by freshly bought blooms from New Covent Garden.The Mews were my regular night time walk, bleep in hand, to clear my head towards the end of 24 hour on-call shifts. I took to photographing the discarded blooms. There have been several paintings inspired by these nocturnal wanderings.

I’m not sure where this one is off to. It is an early sketch from a new project. I’m exploring androgynous figures being both overwhelmed and enhanced by abstract fields of colour.

I suspect this is the last ‘red dot day’ of 2020. After yesterday’s announcement of a second national lockdown by the British Government there may well not be any more chances to exhibit until 2021.

Huge thanks to everyone who attended the exhibition in Tavistock, especially to those who bought original artworks. You have made many Artists very happy.

A celebratory ‘Red Dot’, the lid of a Pinot Noir

Pandemic Pondering #210

https://www.thegardenhouse.org.uk/

Goodness me, pondering is never predictable. Today was about a bit of outdoor sketching and some social nattering with other artists. The location was always going to be spectacular at The Garden House perched, as it is, on the edge of Dartmoor. The weather was very kind , a brilliant sort of day, bright with sunshine and dark with marvelous shadows.

10 acres of arboreal beauty makes it very easy to lose your fellow artists, not that that was the plan. I was lucky enough to find the heart of the garden.

There were so many pictures to capture and many stories to tell in future blogs but this lovely heart image deserves a blog of its own. It was really comforting to be able to gently natter to people I haven’t seen in reality for 8 months but it was also comforting to be alone but amongst friends in a beautiful place. Our conversations were blissfully honest, when they happened, so many shared stories of Coronovirus hardships and disappointments, but also the sharing of creativity and optimism in a beautiful place.

Pandemic Pondering #139

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 Pondering #133

Some days, pondering takes place beyond the blog.
This morning I was pondering or puzzling over a conundrum of my own making. Prosecco was involved.
I’m running the social media presence of an art group throughout August.At an informal planning meeting, I may have drunk a little prosseco.
At the meeting we were planning the August social media activity. I am not enlivened by prompts.In the art group world, prompts can be considered- helpful, inspiring, bonding, stimulating. I find them the reverse, Stifling, controlling, enervating .

Prosecco led me to be particularly blunt about prompts. Understandably, after I left, the others ignored me and went on to plan prompts.

Suddenly this morning I realised the prompt hater (me) would be managing a month of prompt related posts.

Not awkward at all.

Luckily I caught a programme on the radio. Serendipity had struck. the dogs are big fans of BBC Radio 4.
I caught them engrossed, listening to a woman talking about being creative.

In half an hour she cured my awkwardness over prompts. She is someone who embraces and creates from uncertainty.

I completely reccomend sitting down and listening,

30 minutes of down time listening to someone so much better than me at expressing a love of serendipity, or uncertainty and how it can be a positive thing

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000l7zh

More importantly, while listening to Caoilinn a lovely way of coping with prompts has revealed itself. I will embrace my awkward and consider the unwanted structure of daily prompts as my uncertainty and some days even use the prompt to inform and structure the blog.

These two morning events and the bees on the Artichokes are a fine example of a blog falling, unexpectedly into my head and then into the blog world.

Sunshine in poster form

All over Cornwall, daffodils have been raising their heads, looking for sun, in the darkness of winter in preparation for a big Spring reveal. Similarly artists and makers have been using the snatches of winter daylight to create work for this art exhibition in Gunnislake, Cornwall. The first visible sign that an exhibition is beginning to come together is the arrival of boxes of posters and flyers.

@theoldmortuary also has two pieces of art featured so that is another reason to feel zippy and spring- like this morning.

March, how lovely to see you.

Bright shaft of sunlight.

This morning the sunshine demanded to be noticed @theoldmortuary.

It highlights.

1. Tissues, we have been bogged down with a shocking virus this weekend. Not the headline grabbing sort just one that saps the strength and deadens the creative soul.

2. Hidden books, I have no idea how they get there.

3. Shadows, we have cast metal fish in our windows . In spring as soon as the sun comes out the fish shadows swim all over the ground floor.

4. Phalluses

Today is Ash Wednesday, an important date in the Christian calendar and #ash is the prompt for the social media account of Drawn to the Valley an artist collective I am involved with.( I used David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes lyrics to fulfil the prompt) I mention this only in passing to illustrate that although I am not an active Christian I do have a good grip living opposite a church and being culturally shaped by Christianity, the gentle moves of the Christian calendar and it’s feasts and rituals are integral to the shape of our daily lives. Weddings, funerals and baptisms shape the way we park if nothing else. Paganism too plays it’s part in todays blog about Bright Shafts of Sunlight. There is almost an eponymous characteristic to those words. #4 explained

Our garden traps confetti, even after a winter of harsh storms and few weddings, today’s ‘ bright shaft of sunlight’ has its own special meaning @theoldmortuary as the garden twinkles with golden phalluses.