Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Suburban nights

Quiet evenings catching up in my garden. Accompanied by a soundtrack of pigeons cooing, neighbours mowing, and even a horse galloping in the field behind.

My neighbours' plum tree comes right over the fence, ripe for plucking! On the other side an apple tree is spectacular but out of bounds.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

It's only rock 'n roll but I like it, I like it ...

... up to a point.

All this week I have been travelling into Edinburgh and selling some of my textiles at the Festival Fringe Art Craft and Design Fair.

Good company, good weather and, vitally, good sales. But very tiring. Four days I drove into the city, sinc
e I needed to carry things around and get used to the set up. Yesterday and today I took the bus, but it was a rush. Everyone has been most friendly, and it is brilliant to meet a wide range of people and learn lots.

I spotted this installation outside a nearby church. The orange figures are not real people but dummies.

For me they
oke many associations, from helplessness and oppression to extreme violence.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Inception - the movie

At last I made time to go see this movie. Was it worth it? I think so, just for the mixed-up and over-lapping narratives which truly denote the wild irrational energy of the unconscious. Violence, upside down cities and architectural interiors, out-of-control driving, delusions and reality of love and passion - all aspects which tend to be marginalised from our conscious minds because of their power to disturb. "Which is the reality?" is a question frequently asked by the characters as they move between different states.

My favourite, gasp-inducing sequence came towards the end of the film, when de Caprio and the female lead return to a deep place in his mind, the place where he and his (now dead) wife had created a kind of eternal world. They built a great architectural landscape of skyscapers and other high buildings, now gradually being submerged under water and eroded by the sea, in the grand tradition of dreams. Among these super-modernist archi-scapes are also old, crumbling traditional houses and other buildings, which are the echoes of our deep childhood mind.

I have never seen this relationship between architecture/buildings (different things?) and our unconscious mind portrayed so wonderfully. I sat up and wanted to shout out loud in the cinema with recognition and delight I only wished that I had had my camera with me, though I probably would have been ejected from the cinema if I had used it.

Some things about the film I cared less for. In particular, the context of extreme power and wealth in which it was set, and also the frequent dramatic and very violent sequences. I suppose these aspects are an indispensable part of its commercial appeal, but the basic surreal message of the film might have been more effective had it been made in a more subtle way. I got bored sometimes with the overpowering special effects and speed, as well

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the film and its appeal to the imagination.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Horse drawings - traditional

Not much time for this at present. I did go to Gleneagles tonight because there was a dressage clinic there and I wanted to do some drawing. But when I got there at 8 it was very quiet and just finishing, so I came home and went on making the scarves for next week.

This is such a busy period, I am up until 11 each evening working. Hopefully I get a bit of slack at the show next week in terms of being able to sit down for a while- though obviously I do not want too much slack. No! no!

These are some quick charcoal studies based on a photo I took in Lisbon earlier in the year. The rider is teaching the horse a movement called "shoulder-in", I th
ink. I have tried to look at the figures from several different angles and in simple tones.

Edgar Degas "Hacking to the Track"
oil on canvas c. 1892

When I read about and look at the marvellous Degas horse drawings and paintings, I realise how very carefully he prepared his free-looking compositions. He consciously was NOT spontaneous in his approach. I decided to try and work in a few simple tones at first,which I might be able to build into colour and paint, rather than only making drawings.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Henry Coombe and Edinburgh

Henry Coombe, Portrait of a Swiss Restaurateur(2009)

Today visited Glasgow School of Art to catch an exhibition before it finishes. The artist is Henry Coombes (www.gsa.ac.uk/exhibitions), and I was attracted by the invitation I had received. I liked the figurative and gently tonal look of this drawing/photo (?). I also thought the exhibition might be about our confused identification with animals.

Remote chance.... the show turned out to be a clever and comic scatological video about pre exhibition processes, as portrayed by naked man (who could have been
Coombes' father??) producing drawings by means of pencil stuck in his rear end. References here to art as shit etc, also to the nightmarish and distorted anxieties of exhibiting.

Also wall pieces, kind of paintings, collaged mixtures of cut outs and mark making, rich and dark and varnished,needing deep study. Quite interesting, bu
t not what I expected from the original invitation. And ... well I am glad I saw the video, it made me smile.

Then bus to Edinburgh from Glasgow. Bus queue very long due to Edinburgh Festival. I got a seat, but then spilt my cappuchino on the bus. Fortunately my copy of Guardian newspaper came in handy for mopping up the mess. Enough of newspaper left to read "Mrs. Cameron's Diary", a hilarious weekly column about the PM's wife as imagined by Catherine Bennett (look on guardian.co.uk, search for Mrs. Cameron's Diary)

Diana's velvet scarves with the horses!

In Edin
burgh I stopped off at the West End Art Craft and Design venue to have a look at my stand for next week. Then to the Royal Mile to deliver some velvet scarves to a shop there. I did some with a primitive horse motif. I like them!

Felt pretty tired but popped into print workshop for an hour or so and did some work on current lithograph. The head technician was doing some special work of his own in the litho section, and the atmosphere was highly charged. This is energising.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Life in fast forward

What have I been doing I last posted in this blog? I will have to look back at my diary because it is a blur which seems to gain momentum by the day.

One way to look at it is that the ideas and techniques I explored in the first half of the year have "come through" so that they are useful and exciting. There is always for me a sense of relaxation from July onwards - I work out a sort of plan early in year, then just "do it".

Main thoughts are:

the usefulness of screenprinting course in June, which helped me to run my workshop in a much more systematic way. This is calmer and the work is hopefully better, at least more predictable and satisfying

Edgar Degas "Hacking to the Track"
Oil on canvas, c. 1892

My work on the horse st
udies is proving really exciting. I try to make time for it each day, and now I am thinking of making compositions. I looked at a book by Degas, the French 19th century painter, and saw how he put compositions together really carefully from his sketches and colour studies.

I will soon put some images into this text. I am working hard this week to prepare for the Edinburgh Fringe. I have a stand there next week.

Tonight I am off to a meeting of artists. We have formed an exhibiting group.

In my studio, the yurt makers are moving out. They have found a wonderful farmhouse with a big barn and they are all going to live there. They are a sort of clan and it is a family business. Rather to my surprise, I am really going to miss them!
Good luck, yurt company!