Textiles & Prints

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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Art in Verona: not a print in sight.

Posted by on Sep 9, 2017 in Discussion | 0 comments

Visited the Torre dei Lamberti today  – a wonderful climb to spectacular views over Verona. I cannot think of any tall building of today, built with many more aids to design and construction, that matches it for beauty and grandeur. There are so many of these astounding buildings in Italy (think Siena) – this one essentially built to show off the wealth and power of one family.  Trying to work out what it is that makes it so imposing and yet attractive is harder than it should be. There is its age (started in 1172)  the warmth and solidity of the brick work, which alternates with tufa. This is a soft porous rock, a limestone, made of calcium carbonate which was supplanted by travertine or marble in many later Italian buildings. It is reassuring and magnificent at the same time.  A work of art that is part of the fabric of every life.  It was added to over many years and houses two great bells, the Rengo and Marangona, which regulated city life.  You can look out over the city, orientating yourself with ease, the Via Mazzini, the Via Stella, the station in the distance. The ancient part blending well with the newer areas over the river.  We came down from the Tower and climbed the great gothic staircase, the, Scala della Ragione, (stairs of reason)  to the Palazzo della Ragione, which houses the new gallery of modern art.  The buildings around it are so ancient that I wondered what modern would mean – but it was a very interesting exhibition in stunning surroundings. Light and airy and with plenty of space giving the exhibits – paintings and sculptures – room to be seen at their best.  It made me ask what makes an artist become famous all over the world, a household name – so many of these were distinguished but not widely known.  It was also clear how important art was to the modern Italians to express the tensions, the horrors, the joys of becoming a nation and then being asked to ‘return to order’ during the second world war.  ‘The Manifesto del Realism di Pittori e Scultura’  (The Manifesto of Realism in Painting and Sculpture.’) was a protest against this and Emilio Vendova an important voice in the idea that art was part of protest and politics.  In times of turbulence and violence art is part of the debate. ...

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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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Gallery 5 Post Impressionists

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

Gallery 5 Post Impressionists

Gallery 5 contains more landscapes but these are Post-Impressionist, Fauve or Cubist.  There are two by Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)- a most beautiful landscape of an Aqueduct in the Aix countryside. The Aqueduct  itself (in this painting) is seen in the distance, through tall trees which really dominate the painting.  Reading round, trying to understand more, it seems he painted many different views of the same landscapes showing just how different the same area can look from different view points, in different lights and different moods.  This painting was apparently very influential in the development of Cubism – Cezanne emphasising ‘a geometric approach to shapes and space in order to apply a “logic of organized sensations.”‘ Not much understood in his life time but having a profound effect on the development of...

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Gallery 4 : landscapes by Monet

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

Gallery 4 : landscapes by Monet

Gallery 4 is full of landscapes.  Shchukin was clearly a deeply thoughtful and spiritual man as well as a successful businessman and great traveller.  He came into contact with Paul Durand-Ruel (whose collections formed a subject of a recent National Gallery exhibition) in 1898 and began collecting the French Impressionists – long before most people became interested.  Gallery 4 contains 8 works by Monet painted between 1866 and 1904 – this beautiful painting of foggy, dirty London was actually completed when Monet was living in Giverny.  Shchukin had a collection of over ninety landscapes – he travelled extensively in the middle east and wrote extensively about his personal spiritual, reactions to changing light and the undulating, shifting landscape of the...

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textiles and prints: Gallery 3 Louis Vuitton

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in Discussion | 0 comments

textiles and prints: Gallery 3 Louis Vuitton

This gallery feels very different from all the others.  It displayed some of the first pictures that Shuchkin collected between 1898 and 1905.  The pictures seem more conventional,  selected for their decorative and narrative attributes and framed in  heavy gilt.  There is a a pre-Raphealite painting – an Edward Burne-Jones(1833-1898) which is very beautiful and shimmers with light and colour but it does look oddly out of place.  ‘The Dauphin’s Salon at Versailles’ by Lobre (1862-1951) is very beautiful and was apparently a particular favourite of Shuchkin – who seemed to work hard to try an understand the paintings he bought. He placed this one at the centre one of the rooms of his home exhibition. It emanates calmness and a sense of...

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