News

Textiles and Prints; both at Matisse in the Studio

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Discussion, Exhibitions, News | 0 comments

One thing you must do this autumn – sunlight and inspiration Make sure you go to https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/matisse-in-the-studio – it’s a wonderful exhibition of an eclectic mix of artworks and the objects that inspired them.      Jonathan Jones, writing for The Guardian  said the exhibition was less about art and more about the creative process (as if this was a fault). For me, and anyone else studying art, it makes it even more important to see it not once but many times. Mr Jones felt that the exhibition amounted to ‘genius crowded out by bric a brac.’   As a lover of bric-a-brac myself this would also be an attraction – a genius’ s bric-a brac collection, what could be more appealing? It is so much more – Matisse’s beloved object that he carried around throughout his life and with which he populated his studio – old friends themselves- are transformed into some of his most famous works.  Laura Cumming describes it much better for me – ‘a few of his favourite things’ ….’reused, reworked, transformed into new phrases and poems’ To  see how much-loved possessions, everyday things,  that Matisse had lived with and had studied  over many  years were transformed into great inspiring art that has come to be part of our lives. The creative process is in some ways a mystery to be entered into rather than understood. Some feel it can never be understood. I have now worked with two artists at West Dean – Sarah MacCrae (jeweller and silversmith) and Kate Boucher – who both use processes to work through an idea and develop it into the beginning of a finished artwork.  Both suggest taking an image, then concentrate on one area and then working into it. Perhaps drawing it twice as large, or half as big, drawing it upside down. The image then becomes yours and you make choices about...

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Drawing with Kate Boucher

Posted by on Jun 11, 2017 in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Back to the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at West Dean College – fantastic teaching in a beautiful setting.  Today we were discovering how to use charcoal to draw landscapes – and also thinking about how we discover new ideas.  Kate Boucher is a QEST scholar and has thought deeply about how we have creative ideas (i.e. what sparks them in the first place) and how we develop them, as well as being a fine artist in textiles, forged steel and charcoal. She is also a wonderful teacher and full of ideas as well as practical ways to approach creating a piece of art.  Today was incredibly useful –  we used one photograph over and over again as an inspiration for charcoal drawings, sometimes combined with watercolour and /or graphite We learned: not to use the charcoal like a pencil but to use it on its side, or held loosely at the end of piece exploiting its natural properties rather than trying to make it work like something it is not. It is a an organic material, essentially a twig.  the difference between conte and willow charcoal, the former being compressed with a binder and less likely to splinter or crumble to use our fingers to apply watercolours (not to apply charcoal or to smear charcoal as the sweat and proteins shed by our fingers makes the charcoal less amenable to being rubbed away) to use cotton cloths to both remove or attenuate or  spread charcoal out on the page in a thin almost luminous layer to use rubber erasers to remove charcoal – both putty rubbers and hard rubbers.  There are even subdivisions of rubber erasers within these subdivisions – they make very different ‘marks’  to time ourselves to take actions and experiment within limited parameters and with limited equipment so that we explore the idea to its limits  to spend 1- 5 minutes only on each sketch  to deckle our paper with a wooden knife (very effective) to organise ourselves so there is minimum time between having an idea and finding the equipment to execute it! (note to self, get organised) All in all a wonderfully useful day – and the idea of exploring how we come to a creative idea and then do we begin to understand how we want to use it that idea.  I will certainly use what I learned today in my textile work …a few images below. ...

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Louis Vuitton Centre Paris: wonderful exhibition

Posted by on Nov 6, 2016 in News | 0 comments

Louis Vuitton Centre Paris: wonderful exhibition

There is a wonderful exhibition of French Impressionists and Pablo Picasso at the building that Frank Gehry designed to ‘recognise Paris’s  cultural vocation.’ This is now called the Foundation Louis Vuitton . The centre is in the Bois De Boulogne – from a distance it looks rather like a large plastic insect with unfolded wings. I decided I would not like it : I was wrong. As you approach it there is a beautiful waterfall – continuously flowing water down some grey steps but very engaging, holding your attention and producing a sense of restfulness and calm.  There was a long, long queue enveloping the building: tip buy an internet ticket or enter through the Jardin d’Acclimatation (worth a visit themselves) where there is no queue. Then prepare to queue for each salon but it is a magical exhibition in a (yes I came round to this) a stunning building with wonderful views of Paris from its...

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Abstract Expressionism: The Royal Academy

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in Discussion, News | 0 comments

This is a stunning exhibition at the Royal Academy  : I suddenly understood what Mark Rothko (1903-1970) meant when he talked about the relationship between painting and viewer as ‘a consummated experience between picture and onlooker. Nothing should stand between my painting and the viewer.’ Like one of my tutors who was very sceptical about whether you could think of Rothko as a great artist because his paintings are apparently so simple. I had no more doubts when I saw the Rothko room at the exhibition. His work is powerful and serious. His works are grouped together in a circular gallery and the effect is sombre and all-encompassing. You feel held in the atmosphere created by the paintings and slowly you perceive what they mean to you. I was sad to find out more about Rothko’s life . It started with hardship (in Russia, now Latvia, with persecution as a Jew) and ended very sadly.  He committed suicide, quite unexpectedly though in retrospect his paintings showed the darkness of his mood. After his death, he became clear he had been  swindled by his agent  and many years of legal action followed before the wrong was righted. Many of the abstract expressionists, including Jackson Pollock, died sadly and in a period of personal hopelessness. They were serious about what they were trying to do and it meant much to them so the arid times must have been particularly unbearable.      ...

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OLSA : On the Road to Santiago

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in News | 0 comments

OLSA : On the Road to Santiago

OLSA Exhibition ends with success. The exhibition at the Exchange Gallery at Saffron Walden library ended in mid-June. It was a very encouraging experience with the opportunity to have direct feedback on the prints, drawings and embroideries that stemmed from my journey to Santiago de Compostela. The picture featured here was bought by a friend.  We had a moment of great connection when I was showing her round and she said ‘that reminds me of the woods in Galicia‘ which was the exact subject of the ink and pastel drawing. This may sound trivial but it meant so much to me that something I had created alone had triggered a whole series of happy memories for Karen. I walked the route with my daughter and although there was no Damascene conversion or life change immediately walking the last 70 miles of The Camino has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Each day had a simple structure – walking to the next destination, and in company with other pilgrims and with history. It was a beautifully complex experience. Earthly life is often described as a pilgrimage in Christian theology. Our history, physical and internal, has many layers and as Rudolph says in ‘Pilgrimage to the End of the World.’ “These sites, including Santiago, are not the goal. From the medieval point of view, the pilgrimage was not just the physical arrival at a holy place, but the experience of progressing towards that destination.”   I guess that is why so many of the images that spontaneously arose from the journey are of paths – taking us forward to new landscapes....

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Degas and printmaking – Monotypes

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in News | 0 comments

Degas and printmaking – Monotypes

I returned to West Dean to learn about Edgar Degas and his pioneering Monotypes with Caroline Wendling of Wysing Arts Centre. There was confusion about the difference between a monotype and mono print – it was good to get that cleared up. Monotype: is one of a kind, completely unique and made from inking a plate (originally an etching plate, but now it may be glass or plastic) and then drawing into it. The one I have shown was drawn on our first experimental night where inked a plate with a roller, applied a piece of paper and then drew into it. Degas, who first re-introduced the monotype, often worked into the monotype with pastels. Apparently later in life he is reputed to have said “I should only have used black and white.”     Monoprint : is also made from a plate but it may be one of a series, albeit each slightly different,  and there may be use of added found materials such as material or lace or leaves. Degas created monotypes prolifically and was one of the first to observe people at work and in movement. Influenced by Japanese prints – that arrived in Europe wrapped around porcelain – he started to move subjects to the periphery of the image, only part of a person, building or other object would be seen. We are so used to this now that we do not even realise that it was an...

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