I Am Very Dusty Rusty!!

Recently started Life Drawing and portrait sessions on Thursday mornings.
I was working out last week that I haven't done life drawing since 1998 or 1999...and boy, it shows!!
Can't quite believe I have left it seventeen years before I got back to it: 
I haven't taken my eraser with me yet as I quite like to see the story of the changes I make and how my eyes and hand are working out what I'm scrutinising..
week one: Lacking confidence, I only took an A4 sketchbook

week two: I was teaching a drawing workshop myself....so missed the first portrait session.

week three: Lovely Maddy lent me her table easel - so standing up to draw and A2 paper it is from now on; that's more like it..feels so much better:


week four: portrait session - even harder than life drawing:

week five: Sessions seem to start with short five and ten minute poses and then fifteen minutes, half an hour, a break for really lovely coffee and jaffa cakes (!!) and then another twenty minutes or so and finally a really short pose again - so no real chance to spend a longer time drawing, as yet: 

Although I am itching for an hour long pose so I can really get my teeth in to a drawing - looking back at them here, I enjoy the gestural marks that the quicker ones seem to bring out of my hand.

I am absolutely LOVING the process of sustained concentration and looking - a couple of hours when I completely forget the rest of my life and even lose the other people in the room!

I've Been Playing Again...

Having made a few collage pieces with the rectangles on top of the 'bridge' shapes, I had a feeling that I should try a 3D version. So this weekend I got out the workbench, some off-cuts, a few little saws and some sandpaper...and here is the first try: 


I trimmed a small piece of perspex / acrylic sheet to employ as a 'spacer' between the two blocks. I think it will be really important to indicate that separation. 
Not sure if it works that well, as it looks white in some lights - but backlit it appears clear-ish.
and it may all change if I paint the wood - or do some of the line drawing on the surfaces...

Anyway, happy with this little thing I went in and made a couple more small collages - to give me thinking time, mainly...then went back out and made some more:

Next thing is to play around with whether and how to develop the surfaces - any ideas...?

It Was Busy...!

A few photos from the putting up and the Private View at The Tea Lounge in Norwich...

Unfortunately I forgot to take and forgot to ask anyone else to take photographs when everyone was there! Luckily the lovely Jon did take one of Helen and me at the start of the evening...more people did arrive later, but it does look a bit quiet from these images!

All went well and pieces are selling - so thank you to those who came along, good to see you.
Plently of time to pop in to the cafe as the exhibition continues until 17 October. 
As I may have said before - the home-made soups are dee-lish-us..

New Work For The Tea Lounge Exhibition.....

Seemingly, a departure from the non-representational is occurring!
From where does this hail? I am asking myself
The only explanation that pops into my head is that my next exhibition is in a cafe - and cafes are full of cups, bowls and mugs - ??!!

Also, it was happening in the tiny little drawings I make that sometimes find their way into collages....see bottom left, here:

Well, whatever the reason - they'll all be there at my solo exhibition:
The Tea Lounge, Ber Street, Norwich
7 September to 17 October
and please do come along to the
Private View
Tuesday 8 September
6.30pm to 8.30pm

The Great Outdoors...

Took my six year old to the early evening preview for the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail at the River Waveney Study Centre at Earsham last week.
It's on until 6th September - 10am - 4pm - Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and the Bank Holiday Monday.
I thought my little lad would be bored quite quickly; hankering to get home and eat his salmon sandwiches on the way in the car.....but I couldn't have been wronger!
He LOVED it..
He had the map and all the numbered sculptures on the trail to find, "like a giant treasure hunt" he said.

I had forgotten to take my camera - but the young fella had brought his - so you may have to excuse the quality of a few images (only because the camera is not great, not because the small photographer is not great)

Umbrella pieces in the courtyard by Sophie Giller:

Mike Dodd's strong crossing sticks spiral was very in-keeping with the landscape, and serendipitously it turns out, half in the shallow black water and half in the mud (fully in water when Mike installed it apparently). It's positioning gave it an ancient emerging henge sort of feel:

The location is seductively inspiring with swathes of scrumptious wild floweriness. 
You are taken in and out of darkness and light, through and under trees, around ponds and lakes, as mown paths direct you to new secrets including a maze in the reeds. 

We traced out the map and discovered a massive variety of art pieces - some with buttons to press that made birds sing or switched on lights - imagine - the interaction - great excitement for a small one. 

These spheres can be 'gently rolled' as the label explained so My boy was enjoying doing just that. He lined them up nicely for this photo:

As ever Liz McGowan constructed a commanding image - 'Reflection' - with reeds (from the maze?) working with natural materials like Mike Dodd did:

There seemed to be quite a few circles or spirals in the trail providing a continuity spanning the site.

This piece by Patrick Elder places a circular mirror and a circle cut-out - so we had a reflected image and a framed image - focussing us on the landscape, rendering the piece itself seemingly invisible:

Next we were on safari - finding African creatures by Rachael Long and crocheted growths by Kally Davidson - strangely simultaneously alien yet familiar :

Very tired small person DID eat his salmon sandwiches in the car then nearly fell asleep - happy that we had, as the sun was dipping, found N and M at last

I Got Totally Saturated....

Saturated by culture that is..
Went to London for the day yesterday.
So happy to meet up with my great friend from art school - for the first time in fifteen years..
It was fantastic to catch up, thank you lovely girl

We went to two exhibitions - the Agnes Martin at Tate Modern and the Joseph Cornell at the Royal Academy.
Martin combined soft gentle pastel ephemeral colours and a wiry graphite line:


with the intense obsession of grids and lines, dots and triangles; sometimes with millimetres between the meticulously ruled lines:


Some of the pieces were almost exhausting in their intensity.
For me the smaller works on paper had more immediacy - but also her foray into working in 3D was interesting, with very bold, almost a controlled violence in the handling of materials on that one on the plinth:


Martin's earlier pieces showed a joy of working with paint and of mixing colours:

 - whereas the later ones seem to use the paint straight from the tube, watered right down.
I feel there is a demarcation in her work; it becomes clear when her mental state changes (she became or was bi-polar). Once she stopped teaching, when she began to cut herself off - the intensity strengthens and the freedom leaves her hand.
It is only in the very latest paintings - when Agnes Martin hit her late 80s and turned 90 years old that there seems to be a renewed ease and relaxed application of the paint - perhaps a physical frailty meant she had to start to let go of all that control..?:


There's a good review HERE

After that we made our way over to the Royal Academy for a very different exhibition experience - the Joseph Cornell:

What a charming show - an utterly absorbing collection of his work.
Cornell was a consummate constructor of poignancy and nostalgia - with just a smattering of romance.
Every piece of his was intricately composed - the placement of objects juxtaposed to create a balanced harmony - the ease of which on the eye deceives you into thinking they are simple and may have been speedy productions - but no.
They often took years to make as Cornell waited for just the right objects to present themselves for his combination:


We are used to seeing similar imagery these days with the renewed popularity of collage as a medium for art and illustration.
Also many mass-produced items replicate this mix-match of 'victoriana' type imagery, so I had to put this connection from my mind in order to see the freshness of Cornell's work.
It was a privilege to be able to spend time scrutinising his intricate pieces and to learn more about his process:


 He made a concertina - which depicted a kind of story - a little narrative sequence of images that related and led on from each other - a thought for how to develop on from the two concertinas I made for the exhibition in July...:

Cornell's - makes it look easy

mine - yep, needs work....