Thursday, 28 November 2013

First Mail Chimp Newsletter and W0budong

I have taken hours to get to grip with the Mail Chimp thingy, and still, the newsletter does not appear in my own inbox!  Why is that, I wonder, does anyone have the answer to this?  If you do, please post me a comment or email me, I would be very grateful.

So, here is the link to my first ever newsletter:

Let me know what you think!

I have put the notification about the upcoming show in Manchester in the newsletter, but I shall repeat it here because I am so excited about it!  is the link to a website featuring the participants, artists Jayne Lloyd, Catherine Wynne-Patton, Claire Smith, Julie Brixey-Williams and Sue Gough.  During the next few months we shall be blogging/discussing ideas relating to the work and the exhibition on the site, the culmination of which will be the exhibition in Piccadilly Place, Manchester.  (details below)

The title, W0budong, is a phonetic translation of ‘I don’t understand’ in Mandarin, which I just love.  It reminds me of the title of the artists group I was part of, " Ennoia", meaning  "a thought before it is fully formed", taken from a Greek word if my memory serves me correctly.

The show is being held at:

Three Piccadilly Place, Manchester M1 3BN on 10th - 16th March 2014
The work by the other artists looks amazing from the photos on the web site; I am really looking forward to seeing it all properly and meeting them in the real world rather than the virtual one. Happy days!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Hull: City of culture 2017

I was really pleased to hear the  news that Hull is going to be our city of culture in 2017.  Since moving up to North Yorkshire eight years ago we have not done a lot of exploring around the region and beyond. (This sorry state of affairs is going to change next year; we have some serious exploring planned).  I have only visited Hull 3 times in my life; once as a child, en-route to the highlands of Scotland for a family holiday, this time last year, when I entered a piece of work for the Ferens Open, successfully, I might add, and during the summer when we went to the Freedom Festival, and visited Gallery 11 in the Fruit Market District.

I was really impressed with the vibrant visual arts scene as well as the music being played on that lovely sunny day.  I already know of the Hull Truck Company but am not familiar with their work really, finding a lot of performance art a bit too much to take.  Sorry, performance arts people.  I think the art collection at the Ferens is very good, and enjoyed the time I spent looking at it last February.

I have been enjoying a WEA course at Woodend, Scarborough for the past nine weeks called Ten Twentieth Century Poets, taught by the wondrous Jonathan Brown, it is, sadly our last session next Monday.  Phillip Larkin is one of the poets we studied; he lived in Hull for about thirty years, I think, and he is one of the stars of the city that will be featured in the celebrations, I am sure.  I am looking forward to learning what events Hull will feature in the twelve months; I know that their community involvement was an influential part of their bid and will be a strong part of anything they do.  I heartily approve of this.

I am glad that Hull is not too far away; I shall look forward to visiting many times both before and during their fantastic year of celebrations in 2017.

Images from last year's Freedom Festival in Hull

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Art Party Conference, Scarborough

The Spa, Scarborough, a glorious venue, I'd never been there before.

I nearly didn't go - I was feeling very tired after a busy week with the builders and re-painting furniture.

But I did go, along with Pete, (I've not seen him much over the past month or so, I bought him a ticket; how could he refuse?)  We were accompanied by Yvette Turnbull, Creative Economies Officer, RDC and made a merry trio.

I am glad I did go: it was really fab!  Apart from missing the talk with Jeremy Deller and Cornelia Parker, we were running very late for making this and then we got stuck in the lift.  How many men does it take to find the key to a lift?  Answers via the comments box please!  

Opening the conference; the Mayor of Scarborough, left; Bob and Roberta Smith, centre and Stewart of Crescent Arts, right.

Bob and Roberta's opening, the reading of his letter to Michael Gove set the political tone for the afternoon; Art must not be marginalised or excluded from our education curricula; it is as important as any other subject and sidelining/deleting it will lead to a decline of creative individuals and industries in this country.  

For details of the progamme, speakers etc use this link:  and for a brief report on the conference:

Aside from being stuck in the lift, another cause for excitement and slightly overawed giggling happened when Cornelia Parker suddenly sat next to Yvette during the talk we attended about the importance of Art! Our favourite speaker on the panel for this talk was Sam West, actor; he put into words with passion the importance of the subject so succinctly that he has become one of my new favourite people in the world.

I have amassed a goodly collection of posters, fliers and info regarding arts groups, projects etc.  There was cake too!  The stands were manned by people eager to impart information about their projects/organisations, there were many, many regular short speeches about the importance of Art in education, in society, in life.  In fact there was so much to see, listen to, contribute to, it was all a bit of a blur!  

One of my favourite stalls was the one run by Nailwraps: Influences, an Artsadmin commission for the Art Party Conference.  This project is the work of Phoebe Davies, who, working in collaboration with groups of women, has been exploring current attitudes to geder equality, feminism, female expectations and aspirations.  Working with nail wraps and young women, they are making a real difference to their lives. The nail wraps available on the stand were all women working in some form of the arts or youth projects.  I chose Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre, b. 1969, a Uraguayan artist, activist lecturer and writer. (See pic above).   Ana's practice is community based and concerned with collaboration, exchange, self directed learning and pooling knowledge.  From 1995 - 2012 she worked continually on the long term project the artist as a neighbour, working locally as an artist and as a community organiser around her home in South London.  (Info taken from their leaflet at the stand).

Congratulations to Crescent Arts and Bob and Roberta Smith for organising this conference, which I believe is the first of its kind.  I hope there will be more.  After all, if artists do not agitate for their subject and careers, who will?

Bob and Roberta Smith's web site contains his letter to Michael Gove:

For information about Crescent Arts:

And here, Susan Jones argues that new measures are needed to support artists financially:

Friday, 8 November 2013

Art Connections web site, an old pine cupboard and a new opportunity

My page on the Art Connections web site has finally gone live.

I think they are still working on the site though as Andy Black's work is being used as the thumbnails for the drawing and illustration categories, but his page is not there.   It is beginning to look very good though and I am pleased to have been accepted and placed amongst the other artists represented there.

Art Connections is part of Chrysalis Arts, an organisation that supports artists in Yorkshire, although they rarely seem to reach to the Eastern region of Yorkshire, which is something I think they are working on at the moment.  Their work at the moment seems mainly focused on the western areas of the county.

At the last meeting of Ryedale ArtWorks, a member asked me what I was working on at the moment.  I said "a cupboard", which startled them, to say the least and made us both giggle.  While all the building work is going on at home, it is proving extremely difficult to make work, so at least I am making good use of my time.  I am indeed working on a huge old pine cupboard, which I bought earlier in the year.  It is heavily and badly shellacked, and I had been dreading painting it until I discovered chalk paint by Annie Sloan.  I know, I am sounding like one of those crafting moms on YouTube now!  This paint is making the transformation of my cupboard so easy that I cannot begin to tell anyone who reads this how thoroughly excited and absorbed I am.  I am painting it with two colours, which then have to be sealed with clear wax to protect and seal the paint over which I am altering the colour with dark wax.  I am a painter, so the blending of colours has come quite naturally to me and I am really enjoying the process of bringing the cupboard back to life.  And, if I decide I am not happy with the colours after all, I can just repaint it!  Here are a couple of photos showing the stages of painting and waxing I am undertaking:

This is what the whole of the cupboard is like, with its heavy dark brown varnish.  I removed the knobs on 2 sets of drawers as they were ugly, mismatched ones.  I need to source some replacements now.

Showing the three stages of paint and wax application.  The inside of the cupboard and drawers in Scandinavian Pink, I mixed Old White and Duck Egg Blue to make a blue grey which goes over the pink and when the surface is distressed a little, the pink shows through, and yes, I did also paint the drawer sides on the outside!  The drawer on the top shows how the colour is altered with the dark wax.

The reason I have digressed with this happy tale is because I am trying to set the scene of me, working away on the cupboard in my kitchen singing along to Minster radio with the builders, who are just through the new opening, working away, or upstairs sorting out plumbing, with brief stops for tea and lunch.  After a long day of painting and waxing, (the waxing part is really hard work, but it has kept me warm), I sat down on Tuesday evening to check my emails.  One, from Jayne Lloyd caught my eye as it had "exhibition" and "participate" in the title, although I could not at that moment place Jayne.

Imagine my delight when, on reading it, I realised it was the Jayne Lloyd with whom I had conversed via our a-n Artists Talking web site, and she was offering me the opportunity to participate in an exhibition that she is curating as part of her Chinese project, to be held in Manchester!  I felt a bit sick, but in a good way!  The exhibition is taking place in an emtpy office building, close to the railway station and is in effect, a "pop up".  I am looking forward to meeting the other artists involved.  Jane has requested one of my large paintings, so I shall have to make sure I sort out the transport.  The exhibition takes place in Feb/March.  It is such a good feeling to have another show on the way.  We have been discussing how we can present the work because we are not allowed to drill holes in the walls.  At the moment, the plan is to paint breeze blocks white and rest the painting on those, leaning it against the wall, which will look fine and I happen to have a supply of said blocks in my garden at the moment.

The theme of the exhibition is artists who have visited and or been influenced by Chinese script.  I cannot wait!  It proves that social networking is a valuable tool in the development of an artists' career; if I had not started my a-n blog, read Jayne's own blog and contacted her, which led to her looking at my paintings on my facebook page, this opportunity would never have arisen.  I like the Artists Talking site; it is a fantastic community to belong to, with access to the insights of hundreds of artists.

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