#287 the oldmortuary ponders

The Eye of the Storm © Glenis Blakiston

Yesterday was a day of Drawn to the Valley , stewarding at the print exhibition during the day and then a quick trip to Tavistock for the Summer Exhibition Private View. It was refreshing to visit an exhibition that I had no responsibility for and no work submitted. Anne and Michael have curated a stunning exhibition at Butchers Hall.

Councillor Caroline Mott, Mayor of West Devon with Anne and Michael.

Visitors to the Private View were treated to a fabulous Mid-Century Modern buffet of vol au vents and intricate delicacies mounted on Ritz biscuits, served to accompany locally produced apple juice. The wines may have come from beyond the valley…

Vol au vents are an exploding confection of Coronation Chicken and flaky pastry. My terrifically arty outfit, a concoction of various blacks was a terrific background for the crumbs that my greed created. Undeterred by my flaky appearance I set about talking, a lot, to artists and friends and enjoying the art. The picture at the top of the blog is by a member Glenis Blakiston, she was a long term member of Drawn to the Valley until her recent death. Her husband, very kindly, submitted some of her pictures to this years Summer Exhibition. Her Encaustic wax image is one of the first things visitors to the exhibition will see this year. The terrific texture in her work gave me the theme for a few pictures from the exhibition. Texture.

©Andy Cairns
©Shelagh Brown

I love that the two creations above share the same colour palate but have a significantly different visual heft. Similarly the next two share similar colour and line but could not be more different.

© Gudrun Taresch
©Barbara Beckerleg

The Exhibition runs from today until Sunday at Butchers Hall, Tavistock. Well worth a visit.

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 #487

A series of firsts yesterday. A wedding! Beautiful weather despite warnings of a storm as we gathered in St Eustachius Church, Tavistock, for the wedding of a friend. A large number of family and friends , cleverly seated and spaced by a beautiful team of ‘ Best People’* witnessed not only a wedding but the first singing in that particular church for over 17 months. People have worshiped on that site since 1193 and in the current church since the 15th Century. I doubt if there has been such a long silence in that place of worship ever before.

I wonder if St Eustachius was as thrilled to finally give his Eustachian Tubes a good blow out as we were.

Goodness this was a well planned Wedding Service, the music and readings celebrating, most importantly a marriage but also shining a light on our human need to begin to mark the gradual return to a more normal life. Sacred spaces of all faiths carry some magic left by centuries of worshipping. It felt lovely to tap into some of that yesterday.

The first hymn to the tune of Morning Has Broken had us feeling a little tearful. Thankfully the serious business of the actual Marriage Service gave us something to focus on before hitting us with a hymn sung to the tune of ‘Thaxted’ by Gustav Holst. You can take a woman out of Essex but you cannot take Essex out of a woman. Particularly this one who has a fair bit of her gene pool resting in the graveyard of Thaxted Church!

The penultimate treat for our happy ears was the Widor Toccata. There is nothing better than an organist who can get his fingers competently around Widors Toccata. St Eustachius organist did exactly that, beautifully. Wedding service done we hopped off for a cheeky iced coffee.

And then returned to the churchyard for the glory that is Bell ringing. Something I can share with you with the link below.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000mbqw

© BBC

As soon as pictures of people who were part of this wedding appear on Social Media I will include them in a blog but for now I just want this blog to reflect the flavour and sense of loveliness of just being able to be part of something like this once again.

Here is one of the readings, which was deliciously appropriate.

Hokusi says… by Roger Keyes

Thoroughly uplifted we travelled home.

To this face!

* Best People. The bridegroom did not have a Best Man but a delightful team of Best People. Surely the way forward. Have a fabulous Sunday.

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

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