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Last Days of ‘Cut and Paste – 400 years of Collage’

Posted by on Oct 24, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This amazing exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland is closing this weekend – get there while you can. It reviews 400 years of this versatile and inclusive art form. The chosen technique of both the 18th century gentlewoman and the twentieth century political radical.

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‘Are Cheap Clothes Ruining the Planet?’

Posted by on Oct 22, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dana Thomas ‘ Fashionopolis – the Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes.’ Do listen to this brilliant book review on the New York Times podcast. I am an addict of the New York Times book review podcasts as they are long enough to really give you a feel for the book and the author. The interviewers are non-intrusive and yet get their interviewees to reveal extra information about their subject. I often listen to them again. The amount of textiles going to landfill (as we have discussed before) is astounding and includes that go from manufacture directly to landfill. The clothes ‘dumped’ in some countries in Africa and other emerging economies are ruining local textile companies, tailors and seamstresses. One of the most telling comments was that a line of clothes designed for secretaries on sale a main New York department store cost the same in absolute terms (i.e. not with allowance for inflation) as they would now. Dana Thomas has done us all a favour by reminding us of the dreadful cost to the environment of our addiction to fast, cheap...

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Dragon vase – Korean – 17th century -immediate impact

Posted by on Apr 7, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

  This amazing vase is on show at the Asian Art Museum – it looks as it was made yesterday – it actually dates from the 17th century. It was made in Korea during the Joseon dynasty, which lasted five centuries.  The dragon has a great sense of movement and life and winds it way around the whole, beautifully curved pot. The shape of the pot and sinuous curves of the dragon – the dragon has a beautiful face and looks benign and wise.  Apparently in Korea the dragon is not a creature to be feared – like the dragons in European stories – it is associated with wisdom and goodness.  I try and imagine the person who drew this beautiful creature – what was going through his mind …what he created is still inspiring people hundreds of years later.     ...

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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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Caravaggio Exhibition: The National Gallery

Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I went to the members preview of the Caravaggio exhibition on Monday 10th October at The National Gallery – although it was limited admittance it was very full and reviews have suggested it will be the ‘must see’ exhibition of the winter. There are actually only 7 of his works on show; that said these are worth travelling to see in their own right, particularly ‘The Taking of Christ’ where Judas does not quite kiss Jesus and Caravaggio himself looks on in the background, seemingly both horrified and mesmerised. The rest of the exhibition focuses on Caravaggio’s influence on other artists – which was profound – in spite of his jealousy and anger when anyone seemed to copy him in his lifetime.   The darkness of his paintings, the horror and violence of the subjects he chose (Judith and Holofernes, The Beheading of John the Baptist, David and Goliath) reflect the darkness and turbulence of his own life. Caravaggio (1571-1610) had his greatest success in Rome where he was commissioned to paint religious subjects to fill the new Churches and counter the ‘threat’ posed by Protestantism. The naturalism of this paintings – where saints and sinners could be seen as real, living breathing people shocked and thrilled, as they still do today.   With all the court cases, brawls, escapes from goal and trials for murder with which he was embroiled and the shortness of his life, it is amazing that he could achieve everything that he did. A fine exhibition of someone whose influence is clear and unrivalled and still shocks and involves us...

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Colchester Arts Society : OLSA exhibits

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Colchester Arts Society : OLSA exhibits

I was delighted that three of my pieces were selected to hang in the Colchester Arts Society (CAS) 70th anniversary exhibition at The Minories, this August. I had heard that the CAS were opening out their exhibition this year and entered on spec. I was thrilled that three of my pieces were selected – and delighted to see the whole exhibition which was hugely varied with artwork in many different media. As you can see the gallery is light and spacious; it is the gallery for the distinguished Colchester School of Art which has many famous alumni including Linda Richardson.   The exhibition was opened by Ronald Blythe – who gave a moving speech about the differences between writing and the visual arts pointing out that both sorts of artists need support and soldiery in their work and must obtain it differently. A cake was cut to celebrate CAS’s 70th birthday and their new commitment to joining forces with other arts organisations in the area like Gainsborough’s House.   It was a lovely day. In the picture of the exhibition my prints are on the left hand side with a woodcut by another artist in the middle. The top print is called ‘Complexity’ and the one at the bottom is one of a group of mono prints that use a similar background of coloured shapes (though all are slightly different) with a photo stencil of different images from the same stencil on top. I will write more about each on subsequent...

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