Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Quick Review

Yes, I am a lazy blogger.  However, I aim to try harder from now on. 

I have worked on some excellent shows at The Gallery, Ryedale Folk Museum with its director, Andrew Dalton.  The artists have been deeply committed to their individual visions and richly rewarding to work with.  I have learnt an enormous amount and feel privilideged to have had such opportunity.  Check out  for details where you will find The Gallery At Ryedale Folk Museum.

Jumping about timewise; the winter was extremely cold and long, but I did manage a couple of walks in the snow in the lanes near our house and they will be material for some work in the future.  Now the hedgerows are turning white again, but this time with blossom, their structure is disappearing beneath a shimmer of new bud, blossom and leaf, time for some more studies to be made.  June, my wonderful next door neighbour told me that a swallow has been seen flitting about up at the farm, I have not spotted any yet, but they are two weeks earlier than last year if the sighting is accurate.

Last month I met up with Matt Lyon, Tracey Havil and my daughter Sarah, we went to Dulwich Picture Gallery at my insistance as there was a Vermeer on display from the Queen's collection.  We were all very impressed with the gallery space and it's educational fascilities and I enjoyed the Vermeer!  We then went to the Hayward for the Year of the Comet show, some of which I found interesting and most of which I found trite.  I think it is a great shame when the words printed in an accompanying booklet, (which I didn't read until I got back to Sarah's flat), are more interesting than the work itself.  Surely it should be the other way round?  And what is happening to painting?  It's like everyone is afraid to be painters and use the stuff and let it do its work so they mess about a bit on a support and then talk lots of nonsense to try and make it CONTEMPORARY.  Listen, if you paint today, you are contemporary and if the work is good, you won't need that many words to accompany the works, they will communicate to viewers themselves.  Oh, and where was the naked man?  We waited about for ages!   Sarah and I went to see the Watercolour show at Tate Britain, which was interesting.  Some of the early works were fascinating, I can't think which ones off hand.  The later rooms with the more modern works were really good, showing how modern  artists are using and experimenting with what most people perceive to be a traditional medium.  Personally I think watercolour is a wonderfully fluid medium and I use it for sketching and for layering up using wax resists to create time based work.

Now that the warmer weather is here I am dividing my time between trying to create a new body of work and a new garden.  I am not sure which is the hardest, but both are rewarding.  I think that I should start a new blog entitled "How not to garden" . . . .

The new Ryedale Artist Directory has been published and is a winner with all the artists involved.  The forum group is currently working on constituting formally in order to provide support and to increase opportunities for professional artists in Ryedale.  Some really positive and constructive development is on the way and I am excited about the future.

Last night April 8th, was the opening of Lyn Wait's show "Castle"  at the gallery at Ryedale Folk Museum.  I had worked all week with Lyn to support her as she prepared for the show as Andy was off sick.  It is an interesting piece, using sound recorded by a choir of local people using their voices to reflect the movement of starlings as they flock to roost and to express their feelings about their own "roosts", their villages.  I hope to learn more about it when I listen to it properly on Monday.  The evening was a great success and was well attended.

Tonight, I attended the opening of Rob Moore's show, "Landmarks", at Duckett and Jeffreys Gallery, Malton.  The work is very sensitive, sophisticated in its use of media and marks, bold in its execution and left me feeling a real connection to the way the work is made and to landscape all over again.  Rob is a very talented and humble man and I enjoyed our brief chat.  I hope to get him over to the gallery at Ryedale soon.

I now have a mitre saw that will mitre accurately, so that I can press on with making the supports for a series of experimental pieces that are going to be left in the landscape to see what marks arrive on the surface.  I did this in a small way some years ago and it was interesting to see the delicate and subtle results so I am looking forward to working on the idea in a more measured and formal way.

My pact with my good friend Matt Lyon, who is a graphic designer, to do a drawing a day has, I am ashamed to admit, been broken.  Matt has stayed committed and produced a stunning collection, I on the other hand, have made some trite drawings in January and some sketches out in the field and taken lots of photographs.  But, I have really enjoyed it when I have been out in the landscape making small observational drawings and notes, so I plan to be more disciplined for the rest of this month and see what happens.  Matt has been there to encourage me when I get all bleak about my work, thanks Matt!

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