Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Big day out in Edinburgh

Pencil sketches of horse's head

day in Edinburgh. But who would have thought it? I was not in the mood at first.
My first destination was the vet school up in the Meadows area. Lots of walking to get there, stop off at Edinburgh College of Art shop to get some pencils and other things, then arrived to a wonderful welcome at the vet school. By this time the sun was shining, and it was a change NOT to be headed to the print workshop for once.

My reason for being there was to study the skeleton of the horse, and I was lucky enough to be allowed access to the big room where, in the term time, the students do their dissection. Damien Hirst, hello! There were 3 horse skeletons to look at, I learnt a lot and the hours passed so quickly.

This evening I was booked into a course on Photoshop at the Stills photography gallery, also in Edinburgh. I felt more confident about this since the course I did last October. Tonight I made this composite layered image from the ready-mades they gave us, it is nothing special, but it is 3 layers combined and I am pleased to have achieved this. Though I like the drawing better.

Photoshop overlay!
Altogether one of those totally unexpected days of pleasure energy and relaxation that I sometimes find in Edinburgh.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Getting back on track

It has taken three weeks since the hectic Highland Show to recover a bit of focus and equilibrium.
I have spent a week or so sorting out the workshop so that it works more smoothly.

Peter Eisenman Romeo and Juliet project, model

Now I am back
on track with my research work. It is quite unpredictable. Sometimes it tires me to read and work with ideas, and I am more in the "making" mode. Other times my "left brain" feels starved and desperate, and I need to review my thinking. Then I read and find, miraculously, that I have reached a better understanding.

Today I read an article by architect Peter Eisenman (see a model by him above), and it has led me to review my material in a fresh perspective.

I am going to get the confidence to find some knowledgeable people and discuss my ideas with them. Not as an applicant for approval or admission to some course, but just as an interested party who will help me focus.

I have to pick up the tai chi as well. That has fallen by the wayside in past week or so.

Screen printing

Work in progress!

I was lucky enough to spend a week studying hands-on screen printing at a state-of-the-art workshop in Glasgow. I learned sooo much and it was a pleasure to work in a supported environment and to be able to ask as many questions as I wished - and know I was getting an informed and accurate reply.

A typical scene in workshop

I immediately came home and reorganised my own workshop, even though it is on a far simpler scale.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

So busy so dangerous

I seem to have been working for months. Now I can ease off a bit, but I am still running like a hamster on a wheel. I am rushing through things without much consideration. There is a danger of getting sloppy. But perhaps it is OK to relax and just write a few words as I feel. This blog is a happy way of collecting energies and thoughts. I try to write only about the progress of my work and about other things that just especially catch my interest or imagination.

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Hare with Amber Eyes

I discovered another book last week, "The Hare with Amber Eyes" by Edmund de Waal. This is a beautifully written account of a Jewish family's experiences during the twentieth century. Edmund de Waal now lives in London and is an well known potter, with work in many collections. He himself inherited a collection of netsukes, traditional Japanese miniature carvings, from his uncle, who lived in Japan with his lover.

But the collection had been in the family long before this, as it had been purchased by a distant relative who lived in Paris during the early 1900s. He duly presented it to a cousin as a wedding present and so it went to Vienna. Somehow it survived the Anschluss in 1938 and became linked with the family again.

De Waal traces the story back to the original purchase of these pieces, and thus he tells the story of the twentieth century, but in such an exquisite and beautifully written way. I have just started to read the book and knew from the first pages that I was in for a treat. The author writes both a family history and a political history with great sensitivity and aesthetic awareness, as well as with a subtle sense of distance and gentle ironic detachment.

If you would like to read Veronica Horwell's review please go to www.guardian.co.uk and search for "Cabinet of marvels".

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh

Diana Hand "Horse" Charcoal and wash drawing

As always, this show is a special occasion when the Scottish farming community come together to do business, share the craic, and show their "products" in the form of splendid cattle, horses, sheep and other creatures.

For us exhibitors, however, it is a long slog. 10 hours a day in the big crowded marquee for four days. I was distinctly wilting by the fourth day!

For this show I wanted to display some horse images, and found to my delight that I received a positive feedback, and that quite a few people bought drawings and I also sold one of my paintings.

Open Studios

This was such a pleasure. The sun shone, my marquee was perfect, I was able to set up my own "solo" exhibition, I had lots of visitors .. and an American friend, Elliott, made delicious cakes. What's not to like?

It was a revelation to discover how many artists live and work in this area. I really felt encouraged by this and hope to make friends with many of them. The marquee, being semi outdoors in my garden, which bloomed for the occasion, made a great place for people to relax and chat.

Invisible Cities

While hanging in there at the busy Royal Highland Show I found a review by P.D.James which helped me to understand Calvino's famous book, "Invisible Cities".

She writes:
"Marco Polo, the narrator of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, does not attempt to describe the city of Zaira by simply listing the number of steps in its streets that rise like stairways, or the precise type of zinc tiles used on its roofs. He knows that mere facts alone are not sufficient. For Zaira, like all great cities, consists of "relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past". Monuments, city squares, even street names are dense with memories and recollections: the city is a place of living history, a mashup of past and present." www.guardian.co.uk search for "Boulevards of dreams" (26.6.10).

Diana Hand "The destroyed place" lithograph

I have owned a copy of this book for many years and always found it impenetrable. Looking on-line I am not the only one. I feel I know exactly what he is writing about but I cannot quite "get" it, which is frustrating, particularly as my drawings and prints are about this. But now I am a step nearer. I am reading a chapter a day... most days.