Monday, 30 September 2013

Tiredness Kills: Take a Break!

I am too tired to write my usual full blog since returning from down South.  The builders are back on site and a potential major problem has already been identified and sorted out (I hope).  The title of this post comes from the motorway warnings I seem to have been seeing constantly just lately, and it is a reminder to myself to not push too hard.

However,I had a day in London on Friday and  I can report that the following exhibitions are very good:

  • Mira Schendel, Tate Modern.  Absolutely fascinating and absorbing as well as beautiful.
  • Richard Rogers; Inside Out, Royal Academy (Burlington Gardens): inspiring.  I feel full of hope when I read Rogers' words and see his models for human, urban living.
  • Li Songsong; We Have Betrayed The Revolution, Pace Gallery, Burlington Gardens. Great slabs of gutsy paint.  Loved them.  
I also saw Mexico at RA, but was too distracted by my lack of time to look at it carefully- I was not that impressed by the show but there is a good early Guston.  I didn't have time to see William Tillyer's work in Cork Street and I was sad about that.  

The reason I went down South again was to attend the seminar for SKETCH 2013 on Saturday. It was very interesting to hear the speakers talk about their own approach to keeping sketchbooks.  The discussion afterwards was thoughtful, although at present I cannot really recall much of it.  I am sure it will come back once I have some calm, quiet time.

I arrived home on Sunday afternoon with a little time to clear the kitchen of most of its contents in readiness for the great opening up of the new doorway and resulting dust and was up at the crack of dawn to finish the job before the builders came on site.  Then this afternoon, I was off to Scarborough for the second session of the short WEA course I have enrolled on entitled Ten Twentieth Century Poets.  Jonathan Brown our remarkable teacher enlightens and truly informs;  I always leave feeling completely uplifted.  I look forward to next week.  

Tomorrow, once I have checked the builders are OK, I'm off to Thirsk and from there Andrew Dalton and I are going to Leeds to discuss possibilities for the RAW flagship exhibition.

Meanwhile, I am considering participating in next year's North Yorkshire Open Studios and have sent off for the info pack.  I am longing to get back into the studio and at this rate, it will be the cold winter before I do, but I am learning to keep the faith and go with the flow, using my sketchbook to make small studies and put my thoughts down.  I am continuing to read, so it is not wasted time.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Chagall and Some Good News

We followed the good weather West to Liverpool yesterday; travelling to Tate Liverpool to see the Chagall exhibition before it closes on 6th October.  Chagall is not a particular favourite of mine and I certainly do not hold with the Picasso quote on the wall towards the end of the exhibition that states that with the death of Matisse, Chagall would be the only artist left who understood colour.  Chagall's colour seems to me, mostly raw primaries or hues used straight from the tube; the use of Viridian green straight from the tube is a pet hate of mine!  His gouache studies are much better with their use of colour and compositions that employed patterns to greater effect than in the large canvases.  I could happily have taken any of the small pieces home. 

I was disappointed that the exhibition did not include any of his more well know "dream" type paintings but this is because the exhibition deals with Chagall's time in Paris before WW1 and in Russia after the outbreak of WW1 and the Russian Revolution, where he became trapped after he had returned to Vitebsk, his home town, after his time in Berlin where he had an exhibition of his work.

What I do like about Chagall's work: 

  • His use of imagery that refers to his Hasidic community and the village of Vitebsk where he came from.
  • The development of personal symbols and use of colour that referred to his life and his belief that his emotions linked to colour.
  • His use of scale within compositions; tiny figures are depicted amongst huge ones.
  • His use of patterning within his compositions often referring to his Jewish roots.

When we returned home I found two nice emails; I am pleased to be able to say that I have been included in the selection of artists for the  Art Connections Artists Directory.  Information and images will be uploaded over the next month as part of the redevelopment of the web site. The selection panel were: Sara Trentham: Freelance Arts Manager & Consultant, formerly Arts Council England Visual Arts Officer; Grace Whowell: Freelance Curator, formerly curator at Platform Gallery, Clitheroe and the Art Connections team.  Art Connections are part of Chrysalis Arts, an organisation dedicated to supporting, connecting and developing arts and artists, and an organisation that I have a better understanding of since Rick Faulkner gave a talk about their work to Ryedale ArtWorks recently.

The second email was from Paula Briggs of Access Art, awarding me one of their stars.  An Access Art Star is awarded to people working at grassroots level who they feel have demonstrated particular commitment, enthusiasm or motivation in inspiring others through visual arts education. You can find out more about the AccessArt Stars here:  Needless to say, I am delighted to receive one.

Friday, 20 September 2013


General installation shot of the exhibition in the gallery space at Rabley Drawing Centre

The Rabley Drawing Centre is nestled in a soft green valley in Marlborough, Wiltshire, situated in a beautifully converted barn. I imagine that to attend courses here would be a real delight; their print making fascilities are pretty good and if I lived in the area would certainly attend some of their workshops.

 I am delighted to be part of this exhibition of fascinating glimpses into the thinking of other artists.  Many thanks to artist director Meryl Ainslie for curating the show, which allows visitors to handle and look through the books, (cotton gloves provided).   It is a refreshing change to the usual glimpse at one or two pages through the glass of a cabinet. 

My book is on the second shelf from top, far left.

I am looking forward to the seminar on 28th September despite the long drive down.  

The fact that the exhibition is touring to other venues in 2014 is a real bonus, especially for me as I work hard to establish myself as a serious artst after moving up to North Yorkshire.

Monday, 16 September 2013


It's been a busy weekend; the opening of SKETCH 13 at the Rabley Drawing Centre, Marlborough, Wilts. was on Saturday afternoon.  It was very well attended and the work is displayed brilliantly.  For more detail, read my blog on AN Artists Talking:

Today, the pages in which I am the featured artist on the Access Art web site go officially live.  I hadn't realised that I am the first artist to be selected for this, again more details on my AN blog.  

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

I Am Access Art!

Emerging Star mixed media drawing. 2012  Private Collection

No, really, I am!

I found the opportunity to become featured on the "I am Access Art" pages of the Access Art web site some months ago; I can't remember exactly where, it could have been on Twitter or one of those opportunities for artists web sites.

Anyway, I sent off all the information they asked for and got on with life, as you do. I was delighted to hear back from them that I had been selected!   It wasn't until many weeks later that I suddenly thought about it again and noted that I had not heard from them about when the pages would be produced and published and I assumed they had changed their minds.  However, not one to be too pushy, I decided just to wait and bide my time.  Which was a good decision because towards the end of the summer schools break, they popped up again, apologising profusely for the delay.  Paula required a little more info and some more images for the exercise I have devised for the second part of the publication, which I duly supplied.  I had thought that the pages would not go live until Monday 16th, but I am happy to say they are up already. Once I have been featured for the alloted time, the pages will be strored in their archive.

I am really pleased that the work looks so good on the site and that the exercise to make a layered drawing is up; I hope that people will have a go.  In my experience of teaching, so many students are afraid of drawing until they realise there are different ways of doing it. So good luck to all the teachers and students that give it a go, I hope you will be as absorbed and delighted in the process as I am when I draw.

It was a pleasure to work with Paula Briggs, who edited my words with skill and sensitivity. I wish the Access Art web site continued success.

All rights reserved

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Developments and Stuff

After a few days away in Whitby for a well deserved break to celebrate Pete's birthday it was back to frantic hard work.  

I had a couple of artists over to try and convince them that Facebook and social networking is worth making part of our artistic practice.  I showed them what I do, extolled the use of blogging as a way of making contact with other artists; we ate lunch and shared cake.  I think it was worthwhile - I have yet to check out their fb pages!

I am trying to complete the painting of exterior door and window frames at our house, plus I had an important Ryedale ArtWorks meeting out at my studio to prepare for, and again for Ryedale ArtWorks, we are working very hard to put in place the mentoring programme, plus planning for our showcase, out of district exhibition has begun.  See my blog on Artists Talking for more details:

Which all means of course, that I have not had any real time out at the studio to develop my work.  However it will come. . . 

I spent a couple of days out at the studio, preparing for the meeting, putting some work up for the first time since my major overhaul and reorganisation:

Most of my work is stored on racks at home, so I had to lug some back to the studio; of course this means I now need to re-wrap it all and bring it back home!

It was worth it though as the meeting was a great success.