Posts made in December, 2015

OLSA: The Goya exhibition

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015 in Discussion, Exhibitions | 0 comments

Stunning exhibition at the National Gallery of portraits by Goya. Since seeing this exhibition I have decided definitely to renew my membership to the gallery as I went almost because I wanted to use it – the ‘moneys worth principle.’ That extra motivation made me go on a day when it was not really convenient. I came away quite stunned – the portraits were so lively and fresh.  I imagined that each individual could easily step out of their canvas and start a conversation.  As I walked round the early galleries it reminded me how we like to be remembered at our best – in our finery surrounded by the symbols of what is important to us or represents something  about us which we consider absolutely central to our view of ourselves. I thought – you never see anyone ill at a portrait gallery. How wrong I was. In one of the later rooms there is a portrait of a friend of Goya’s – `Friar Juan Fernandez de Rojas – ‘taking his last breath.’ It is a quite extraordinary picture (in graphite and chalk) of a dying man. The friar was apparently a great friend of his and, in earlier years in health, a reluctant sitter. He allowed Goya the intimacy of seeing his last moments. Further on there is a self-portrait of Goya being supported by his doctor, Arrieta. Goya developed a life-threatening, distressing illness. He made a good recovery and his portrait shows his enormous admiration for his physician. Goya went on to live a very full life – including a move to Bordeaux when he was over 80 years old, because of his political differences with the rulers of Spain. A wonderful artist and  engaged interpreter of the world in which he lived and lived...

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OLSA: West Dean College Drawing in a Landscape

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in Discussion | 0 comments

OLSA: West Dean College Drawing in a Landscape

Very excited to be back at West Dean though the light is very different now. Just started a drawing course and on the very first evening we went out in the dark to walk round and experience the landscape – without speaking, without taking any extra light with us. Then we went back to the studio and (tried) to draw what we had experienced. It was wonderfully peaceful and although we did not speak as we walked – I experienced profound sense of the group.  There was a surprising amount of artificial light around the site and I felt very curious about what was happening in the brightly lit rooms. The trees seemed to loom out of the landscape as we approached and some had very complex branches that reached down to brush our heads as we walked. Used charcoal for most of the drawings and learned today about fixing the charcoal by using a spray. In art there seem to be many dangerous chemicals – well dangerous if cumulated over many years – this is one thing that has surprised me. Apparently some people use hairspray but this darkens over time so is not recommended. Hope to have some pictures to post tomorrow....

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OLSA: at Annabel Ridley’s Suffolk studio

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Discussion, News | 0 comments

OLSA: at Annabel Ridley’s Suffolk studio

I had the great pleasure of working at Annabel Ridley’s Suffolk studio. Annabel is a most generous tutor as well as a distinguished artist. At the beginning of her career she had printed bridal silks and I wanted to improve my fabric printing skills. A friend has commissioned a silk scarf in autumnal colours and I am using Vanners silks. This silk mill has been in Sudbury since 1740 and has a wonderful shop where you can buy beautiful, perfect silks that are no longer being sold or supplied. The one that is pictured is a rich deep orange. We started by preparing our colours – fabric dyes are different from the paints that you use when silk-screening onto paper – it is amazing how little dye you need to add to make the colour strong. I was using a screen that I developed on the first course run by Annabel that I attended at Gainsborough House print workshop – I now go every year to improve my skills and learn more – and was made with household objects. There is a piece of lace, a shopping bag, a necklace and a thin chain which makes the stencil have lots of textures I was combining this with a screen I made this year which used rubbings from the furniture in the garden at Gainsborough on newsprint which was then oiled and dried and laid against a screen. I have started with a picture of the three layers of print – the darker background is the table print, the lighter yellow the string bag area and the pink the necklace …all now...

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