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Inspiring exhibition : Frances Hatch

Posted by on Jul 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

I went to a wonderful exhibition of landscapes  by Frances Hatch at the Old Fire Station, Ely on Friday 8th July.  It runs until the end of August 2016 – time enough for the several visits it is worth. I met Frances Hatch at West Dean College where I am doing a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design on a part-time, flexible course. She is not only a wonderful artist but also an outstanding teacher. I knew that Frances loved to work ‘en plein air’ using materials that she gleans from the landscape that she paints – however I had little idea of how much complex and detailed the techniques that she has developed are. Frances uses juice from fruit and vegetation, sediment from rocks, wood, charcoal and almost anything else you can imagine from the landscapes she paints. The results are quite stunning – and recently Frances Hatch won the Shenzhen International Watercolour Biennial Prize at this year’s Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) exhibition at the Mall Galleries – designed for those who have encouraged innovation and development of watercolour techniques. She also has two pictures in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition this year – appropriately housed in the ‘radical landscape’ room. It is worth making a long journey to see this marvellous exhibition and spend time reading the...

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OLSA exhibition; Exchange Gallery: Saffron Walden

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

OLSA exhibition; Exchange Gallery: Saffron Walden

Exhibition at Exchange Gallery Saffron Walden, Preview on 9th May, 2016 Exhibition runs 10th May to 11th June 2016 Monday to Saturday 9-5pm, except Wednesday 9-13 hours Many of the people describe making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela as one of the most memorable and transforming  experiences of their life and I share that feeling. There is no sense of Damascene change but rather a  gradual perturbation of consciousness – you integrate your experiences of the journey into your interior life. An experience of beauty that truly enriches. I took the journey after a serious relapse of SLE when I had recovered well – walking with my daughter who had just finished her GCSEs. In the eyes of many we took the easier option – having our bags carried and staying in small hotels or pensione rather than refugios. I think those who are censorious about these options do not realise that these easements make the pilgrimage possible for those with chronic illness. I did not want to add the uncertainties of finding a bed for the night or getting up very early or risking infection (I am immunosuppressed). As it was I found the last part of the journey relatively easy. This drawing (in pastels, chalks and drawing ink) shows a way through the woods and was done when I was studying with Caroline Wendling at West Dean College.    I have been working on these prints on my courses at Gainsborough’s House and West Dean...

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Caravaggio: inspired by writing

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Discussion, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I heard a short story (not yet finished at a writing group) which centred on a Caravaggio (1571-1610) painting of The Beheading of St John. I was very pleased to be introduced to this painting though, of course, the subject matter is very shocking and the killing depicted in graphic detail. Sadly there are modern resonances and this gives it an particular edge. The depiction of the shocked bystander, said by some to be Herodias, is very lifelike and to me, represents us, horrified at the callous way the executioner goes about his task and the ghastly way the life of a good man is ended. It seems that Caravaggio was an aggressive man, difficult to get on with and violent and died at a young age (approximately 38 years old) as a result of the delayed complications of injuries sustained in a fight. It is astonishing to me what he accomplished in his lifetime particularly considering his erratic way of life and his need, periodically to be on the run from the law – at least once after committing murder. Then there is the picture of Salome with the head of John the Baptist which I shall now rush to see at the National Gallery  He did seem to want to depict the more violent episodes in the Bible, like the beheading of Goliath and of Holofernes by Judith. Once again it is interesting to see how an artist’s style changes, what he focuses on in the same story at different points in his career. Very pleased to be reminded to look at Caravaggios’s work...

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OLSA at Denbies

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

OLSA at Denbies

Jane will be at Denbies with a friend Emma who has patchwork cushions on sale. OLSA will have a selection of original prints and textile goods. The print of The Hare is taken from an 18th century children’s book ‘The Cabinet of Beasts.’ The original book is in the Houghton Museum at Harvard University, who were very charming when I wrote to them about copyrights and permissions. The screen print uses the image from a photo stencil and I have printed it in two stages – an ivory background and a light brown ink for the hare itself.  A lovely image but reminding us they were thought of primarily as a food. There will be other prints there but only a selection there are many more...

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West Dean : Drawing on the Foundation Course

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

West Dean : Drawing on the Foundation Course

I meant to write more on Saturday but was so busy that I did not have time during the day – I was living out of the main house in the houses that the full-time students use in term-time. It was lovely to have a short walk into college, past the Parish Church and through the scent-filled garden but once I was back in my room in the evening (and the wifi is really only active in the main house) I tended not to venture out. I am home today and took it easy as I was surprisingly tired (as I was resident and had no travelling)..  I was determined to experiment with what we had learned. I wanted to apply all the guidance  that Dale Devereux Barker gave us in a final powerpoint allied with Alison Baxter’s (the Head of Creative Enterprise and course director) urgings for us to get as much out of the course as we could – starting straight away. I have decided to record what I have done each day for my foundation diploma – as a good way of making sure I actually do practise. I have probably drawn more in the last two days (and now today) than I have in the whole of the last two years, possibly more than in the last forty years I am surprised to say. I am surprised because one you feel free from the idea that ‘I can’t draw’ it is wonderfully enjoyable.  I took up Dale’s point about drawing everyday objects (there is no excuse not to draw, and guilt is good for artists) and had a go at drawing shampoo and hand-cream bottles from an advertising leaflet   for ‘ L’Occitane de Provence’ – having drawn a champagne bottle for the drawing exercise on Saturday I became aware of the sensuous lines of their shapes and how difficult it is to get the smoothness and the curving out just right – but how enjoyable it was to try. Now I will notice everyday objects differently, notice their shapes and try and draw them. More...

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West Dean College: drawing

Posted by on Sep 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

At West Dean for a foundation weekend: tranquil and beautiful surroundings and excellent teaching. We went into the gardens this morning – although it is now unquestionably  autumnal the gardens are alive with flowers – and everywhere you walk you you are followed by scents. Our tutors are Frances Hatch – who spent the morning enlightening us about colour and colour mixing and pigments and paints. The difference between hue and shade and how not to mix colours and, helpfully, how to mix your own colours using a limited palette. We then went into the garden and used what we could find (bark, twigs, branches, moss) and diluted black ink to draw a...

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