Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rewarding reading

At present I am working my way through the Cezanne Portraits catalogue.  In many ways I don't see them as portraits, rather as still life pieces of people - especially the paintings of Cezanne's wife and the locals to his Aix studio home.  It's a fascinating read.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


I sometimes wonder whence visual ideas arrive - but it does not trouble me for long.  I just enjoy playing with the results.  The main thing is not to go poking away trying to replicate, because, as far as I am concerned anyway, it doesn't work.  Like overnight elves, these gems arrive when I'm not looking.
Playing with the idea of symmetry (or not quite) produced this:
Don't ask what it means - if anything - but I am enjoying the sense of drama and mystery, and that mental drift it induces.  After all the birds which have been my companions over the recent years, it is good to get back to fish.  So far it calls itself Worship.
It also has that stark wintery feel to it; pared back, ... which reminded me of another design I started many years ago and put on an almost forgotten back burner: Winter sunshine.  Perhaps I shall work on them both as small stitchings in January after my hibernation.
No snow here, just cold that is not much felt because of the sunshine and lack of wind.  Sunglasses and ice.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

As ever ...

... when I should be settling down to something serious
a silly idea pops into my head: a hare-raising story!  A doodle to add to my lino cutting pile perhaps.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

I do like to be beside the seaside

On Sunday we set off for the East Sussex coast: to two exhibitions.  First we visited the Towner Gallery to see a most interesting collection of landscape photographs.  I was also intrigued there by the diversity of architecture around the gallery - and the fact that it abuts the tennis courts which I have seen on television when the international competition just before Wimbledon is taking place. Please forgive the lack of quality in my snaps - some were taken from inside the gallery, and it was a rather misty day (well, those are my excuses!).  This was a day of extraordinary visual feasts - art and life.
There I also encountered a collection of holm oaks, a tree not often seen in England.  It is a tree I know from Greece, and a favourite of mine.  The tree is also known as the holly oak, and lo - there was a holly growing out of one next to our car (note the silhouette above the cut branch in the second snap)!
We did not wander far in Eastbourne for we were set for points East: Hastings to see the Rego exhibition mentioned in my previous postThe Jerwood gallery, like the Towner is relatively new, and is positioned near the shore next to the wondrous working chaos of fishing folk.

There were a couple of amusing sights:
And then of course there was the calming sight of the sea.
A great day trip to the seaside!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Self examination

Paula Rego: Self Portrait III (image from here)
Far from a bland smiley selfie, examples of profound self examination are to be seen at the exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings: Paula Rego - The Boy Who Loved The Sea and other stories.  It is always a joy, an excitement, and an inspiration to see Paula Rego's work, and three groups of work in particular struck me when we went to Hastings yesterday.
The more powerful two were the 'damage' self portraits and the Depression pastels.  Rego fell onto her face early this year, causing much damage to herself and needing hospital treatment.  She became fascinated, however, in drawing herself in this state, and it was a wondrous experience to witness her curiosity through her drawings.  They have been compared with Bacon's work, but the latter were metaphor while Rego's are so immediately, straightforwardly truthful - and also a look at oneself as if an object.
Paula Rego: Depression V detail (image from here)
The Depression pastels are equally powerful, but in a slightly different way.  First they were a means of working through a period of depression.  And then they are at a remove in that the figure is not drawn from Rego herself.  Her usual model posed for them. (Eirene wrote a post about the Marlborough exhibition earlier this year here.)  This time the drawings were of someone else, but about oneself - one's own feelings.
The third group that impressed me yesterday were a delight: three aged mermaids.  (Image above from here)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Black flowers and berries

Plants reward looking.  On the one hand there are the spectacular which demand attention even from the most casual gaze.  They too are worth closer examination for even more delights and astonishment (think for instance of Georgia O'Keeffe's flower paintings).  My own preference is for the perhaps superficially boring, but which contain gems when given time and careful observation.
Today my delight in the garden is the flowers and berries of the pittosporum shrub.  I am no photographer, so have borrowed the ones shown here from this site which also has several other beautiful examples of the flowers and berries.

Friday, November 24, 2017

November light

So many reasons to love November, not least the light.  Colour - colours, yes, but the subtle greys, the shining light, ....  That last may seem a contradiction with the daylight hours getting so much shorter - but it's because of that the light becomes more precious, and more noticeable.
Because there is less light, and it is angled more directly from lower in the sky, I find that the landscape can beautifully be sliced vertically to appreciate the diversity of the light's effects.
And the blues become subtly intriguing, entrancing.