Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Make Art Anywhere!

You can make Art anywhere. That was my parting shot in the introduction I wrote for the Open Studio booklet, which has just been published.
I was asked to write something appropriate, several months ago and had quite forgotten what I had said.
 However, in my piece, I was able to claim  I had first opened my studio 31 years ago which gave me the idea for Ted Coney's Family Portraits.
You can read it in full when you pick up your free copy, informing you of the 270 artist's studios which are open throughout July.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Mid Week Special

I got a call from a lady in Leicestershire the other evening, asking if she could make a booking for her and her friends, as they were visiting Ely Cathedral the next day.
Although I don't normally do tours around the gallery on the days I am teaching, I felt this was  an opportunity to good to miss.
Out came the vacuum cleaner (I had been meaning to do the floor for ages) and at 5am the next morning I was  putting up the signs for my pop-up gallery.
I think the tour went well and when I intimated that it was quite daunting to follow a visit to the Cathedral, one of the women replied that while she had seen many Cathedrals she had never experienced anything like Ted Coney's Family Portraits, before. You can take that, how you like.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Eel Traps and Meeting Houses

While in New Zealand recently, staying with Leo and Paul, we visited several museums, which gave me ideas for a new painting.
I made sketches of eel traps in Rotarua and Wellington as they have a direct connection for me, with the ones which were once so prevalent in Ely
I was also fascinated with the  Meeting Houses we saw in Waitangi and Auckland and  made drawings and took photos of these, also. The very structure of them is sacred to the Maori people because it represents the bones/ribcage of their ancestors.
This got me thinking, how I could represent Leo going to work in a far away country and our worry that if he stayed too long, he might not be able to get back so easily.
The symbolism of the trap is obvious and the beams of the Meeting House could represent New Zealand but how to show the country he might want to get back to?
I am sometimes laid on the sofa (increasingly, it seems!) staring up at the beams in our 300 year old cottage  and marvelling at how each one is so different.
Perhaps this structure could make a connection with the houses many thousands of miles away?
 I'll let the ideas swish around  for a bit longer and see if an image starts to form in my head.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Magnificent Obsessions

The other week, Hazel and I went to see an exhibition at the Barbican entitled 'Magnificent Obsessions'. It featured the collections of objects that artists acquire both for their work and pleasure.
I was particularly interested in seeing the dolls and puppets gathered together by Peter Blake and the Indian Miniature paintings of Howard Hodgkin. There was something particularly bizarre about Andy Warhol's obsession with objects. Almost every day he went shopping for possessions but when he got them home, he hardly looked at them again.
Well, I am not quite so bad as that! I only ever buy objects which I can use in my paintings. Sometimes it will be for a cultural reference, as in my collection of 'Mexican Day of the Dead' objects for the painting 'Offrenda' and other times it will be buying something I once had as a child. For example, a Muffin the Mule puppet which I then used in the painting 'David's Journey'. I have since bought two more versions of Muffin the Mule. Maybe that is the beginning of a 'Magnificent Obsession'?!
You can see these paintings (and the objects when you visit) on the
 PRINTS FOR SALE page of my website.