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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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NADFAS lecture Frida Kahlo

Posted by on May 18, 2016 in News | 0 comments

Wonderful lecture today at NADFAS meeting in Saffron Walden. Concerned Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera – he seemed the more important in their lifetime. He concentrated on big, bold, political images, impersonal and designed to make a historical point. His work is found mostly in public buildings and was commissioned by some of the important people of his time. Frida painting her private sorrows, like her miscarriage, her sense of isolation whilst in the USA or while her husband had one of his numerous affairs. Now it is Frida Kahlo who is better regarded – the intensity and honesty of her work evoking emotions we can share with her, sorrow being an important one. She endured so much and died so young – leaving a significant body of work in spite of her years of pain and ill-health....

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OLSA : Along the Road to Santiago

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Exhibitions, News | 0 comments

OLSA : Along the Road to Santiago

Last night had a very enjoyable  preview of exhibition of my prints and drawings inspired by walking the last 100 km of the Camino from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. This distance is the minimum you need to do to be awarded a pilgrim’s certificate and was a most wonderful experience – although entirely free of Damascene sudden conversions. Very pleased that the mayor (who everyone agrees has been a stunning success) Heather Asker attended as well as Paul Rutter  of Rutter Uk. I admire the work his firm does in creating printed images on many different media. There were a number of friends there and I am very grateful for their support and interest. I will post some photographs over the next few days. Sarah Turpin (librarian) did  a fine job of organising the occasion. Looking forward to reading the comments book over the next few weeks  – it  is always interesting to hear other your images are interpreted by other people. This image seemed particularly to catch people’s attention – the beauty of the small cottages along the Camino was breath-taking. Learned so much about preparing for exhibitions. Intend to get my own hanging equipment as technically very hard to get the picture hooks and pictures loaded up....

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OLSA: Santiago de Compostela

Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Exhibitions, News | 0 comments

OLSA: Santiago de Compostela

Every year over 100 000 people make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This phrase may be literally translated as St James of the Field of Stars – and relates to the story of how the tomb of St James was found. It is said that St James preached in Spain before returning to the Holy Land where he met his death as a martyr on the orders of King Herod Agrippa. He was beheaded and his body was thrown outside the city walls – his supporters retrieved it and managed to take it to Jaffa, whence it was miraculously transported across the sea to Galicia in a stone boat. It was undiscovered for over 800 years until a hermit, Pelagius, saw a lights in the forest and informed the local bishop, Theodemar who was led to the tomb of St James (the Greater) by a star – from where the expression field of stars is...

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