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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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The Wellbeing Journal

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Wellbeing Journal

One of the themes of this blog is the contribution that creativity can make to our health. I became interested in this when  I worked as a palliative care consultant. Perhaps when we get very ill, our creativity, although it may be diminished by illness, is one of the important aspects of us  that remains and may even be stimulated by our fear of having limited time left in our lives. The Wellbeing Journal was published in collaboration with The Fitzwilliam Museum education department, in Cambridge.  It took about five years to complete the journal which was based partly on research I had carried out with Professor Felicia Huppert of Cambridge University and also on the Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by a think tank called  ‘the new economics foundation’ (lower case deliberate). The Five Ways to Wellbeing are ‘evidence-based actions’ which, if followed regularly, help to enhance our own personal resilience.  More on this tomorrow.  ...

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Olsa – beauty enriches, creativity sustains

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Every year millions of tonnes of textiles are deposited in landfill across the world. Added to this creating textiles is one of the most resource intensive and polluting industrial processes – surprisingly enough cotton – which seems a pure, natural material, is perhaps the most polluting to create. Olsa uses fine fabrics that would otherwise be thrown into landfill.

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