Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year from Australia

This has been a funny old year, and like each passing year it seems to have rushed by in a whir. 2013 was in two parts, first half, a time of rest and recuperation, the second part, a time for travelling (hence I'm writing this in South Australia). 2014 will be a time for settling down and making new work from all the sketch books I've amassed since July.

New Year's Eve was spent watching fireworks and drinking sparkling red wine with friends (and believe it or not listening to the sound of bagpipes), under the stars on the beach at Port Willunga.

That very same beach the day before . . .

With meringue like rock formation,

and sparkling sea.

It's difficult to remember that this really is New Year with sun screen and insect repellent as constant companions, but we're loving it . . .

Tawny Frogmouths in the garden.

A stroll around the botanic garden.

And of course a trip to the Art Gallery.

This 'snap' cannot do justice to these works, but it does give a flavour of the most stunning work by Australian artists.

From left,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 11 November 2013

Cheltenham Art Gallery - Casting Brilliance

On a recent visit to Cheltenham and with an hour to spare, I dropped into The Wilson the sparkly new Art Gallery and Museum to check out the fabulous new gallery space, and to see a truly inspiring exhibition by glass artist Colin Reid.

If you're at all interested in glass in any of its forms, and want to be astounded, don't miss this show. A fine retrospective of work from over 30years.
Ring of Fire (Kiln-cast and polished glass)
Ring of Aqua (Kiln-cast and polished glass)
Colour Saturation Crescent (Kiln-cast and polished glass)
Still Life with Books and Gilded Lens (Kiln-cast and polished optical glass with gold leaf)
Moulds on show

Casting Brilliance: Glass by Colin Reid is currently on show at the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum. Until 5th January 2014 and open daily from 9.30am until 5.15pm

Friday, 8 November 2013

Newlyn School of Art - and a full weekend in lovely Cornwall

Having booked myself onto a workshop at the Newlyn School of Art I persuaded Mr B to come to Cornwall with me for the weekend and then while I was painting he could spend a couple of days working from there. 

The Old Coastguard in Mousehole came recommended, for which I'm so glad. With lovely helpful and smiley staff, a great atmosphere, good food and views of the sea from our room - what more could we want! 

We intended to include a bit of walking so Sunday morning found us heading off along the coastal path, wet weather gear tucked into a rucksack . . . along with my trusty fish-eye lens. 

The harbour in Mousehole was like an Alfred Wallis painting come to life,
and again, looking back and seeing the harbour wall wrapped around the land . . . another painting?
Although a blustery day with the ever present threat of rain, it was still mild and these little violets scattered along the path show how clement the weather can be down this neck of the woods.
Sumptuous and splendid ferns, 
Following the footpath through densely wooded areas we found little gaps in the undergrowth (like small illustrations) which allowed us glimpses of the rocks below.
Lamorna cove comes into view,
we arrive at the Lamorna cove cafe just as the rain starts to come down so decide to stay a while!
Eventually we accept that the rain has settled in and we head back to Mousehole.
Monday morning dawned bright and sunny (dam) and I spent all day inside an old school building working at, Still Life: Essence of Form a painting workshop with tutor Jessica Cooper.

A selection of exercises followed - drawing with eyes closed, continuous line drawing, tearing/cutting coloured paper and using masking tape as a drawing tool
continuous line . . .
. . . using masking tape
and playing with colour proportion and the effect that has on the 'feel' of the work.
Returning home I found that the germ of an idea had taken root. It dawned on me that I could use the cup image as a metaphor for sibling (or family) relationships. 

Two simple mug or cup shapes, (objects already invested with meaning, we make tea for friends, to sit and catch up . . .) to symbolise; closeness, mis/understanding, distance, silence, non/communication etc. 
This is heading in the direction of a book, concertina and probably quite large scale.
Gauging colour effect on composition. 
and finally, time to take one of these cups and put some coffee in it . . .

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Artist's Book Yearbook 2014-2015

With the light fast draining from a sullen sky I've scuttled down the garden path and into a cosy warm kitchen for coffee and a proper look at a BOOK . . . not any old book, but my copy of the Artist's Book Yearbook 2014-2015.
This is a biennial reference which focuses on international activity in the field of book arts. 

It serves as a resource for artists, academics and students, for librarians and researchers, in fact for anyone who is interested in artists' books!

In this issue there are many and various essays and interviews - so I'm already planning to set aside some afternoons for a couple of weeks to get through them all, maybe bake some cake? . . 

First off, John Bently's Against Orthodoxy: A ramble in the woods of art. Looking at how effectively the criteria in Art Schools (these days Uni's) is now a worrying tendency to make a 'one size fits all' approach to both students and learning . . . as someone with experience of Art School in the 70's and as a recent mature post-grad student of course I found myself nodding in agreement as I drank my coffee and read this, but then . . . there is some sense in creating standards from which to assess a students work . . . mind you should there be any rules in art? 

In the craft element, most probably, but in the concept, the idea of a piece, who should we allow to decide on those rules. Why one set of rules and not another? I know, I for one, don't like to be boxed in. 

Surely, the joy (and the acquisition of skills and knowledge) in being an art student is in the freedom to try out ideas and not to be constrained from the get go . . . constraint inevitably will come soon enough.

As you can see, half an hour with this BOOK and hours worth of cogitation. I highly recommend you get hold of a copy.
And there are over 190 national and international artists listed with examples of their recent book works. I shall be engrossed for some while yet . . .