A Quieter Time

Gosh! I’ve just realised how long ago it is since my last post from Australia!

Art-wise, a quiet few weeks, with work taking more of a back seat. The FRESH! exhibition has finished and my piece, Winter’s Song (Robin) remains for sale – more likely to appeal in the winter rather than during the hottest summer we’ve had for years!

Two community projects in our village have required my time and attention, along with home renovations, but I’m just enjoying getting back to work again. I’ve started working on a commission for an Australian client but, at her request, have promised not to reveal anything until she has it in her possession.

More to be revealed …

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Visiting a Wonderful School in Geelong

Still in Australia, I was delighted and privileged to be invited to speak about Art from Recycled Materials to Year 9 boys at St Joseph’s College, Geelong. The invitation came from the school’s Sustainability Co-ordinator, Kelly Jenkins, as part of the school’s response to the year of ‘Living the Golden Rule’. From her introductory address:

“As the world population continues to escalate, there is an ever increasing need to become more resourceful and sustainable with our finite resources. This necessitates a move away from a linear economy toward a circular economy… one that involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and using waste products from one system as the raw materials of another.”

The boys proved a great audience with lots of intelligent questions asked at the end of the presentation.

Seeking a creative response to ‘Living the Golden Rule’, the college is to commission me to create an artwork to represent its faith and identity, using plastic and other found materials, collected by the students of St Joseph’s College.                                                                                                                                                                                                        How exciting is that?!

Below R – with two of the lovely staff, Nicole and Kristen, modelling WEARABLES!

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Van Gogh at The Lume, Melbourne

Also in Melbourne, Van Gogh at The Lume is an interactive exploration of the artist’s work using moving images, lights and classical music.

One can sit in Van Gogh’s bedroom for a photo or have a coffee at the famous Cafe Terrace at Night (below right.) [Apparently this painting ranks second in a list of most reproduced artworks 2000-2010, with The Starry Night, also by Van Gogh in first place.]

 

 

 

 

 

The  cafe still exists and is renamed Cafe Van Gogh (below right). Looking at this photo, Van Gogh was correct when he wrote to his brother that “the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day.” 

 

At The Lume, one could also visit a room of Sunflowers and mirrors, or be inspired to get drawing in a designated area.

 

 

 

To be honest, I found the show a bit gimmicky and kitsch and would prefer to see an exhibition of original Van Goghs – but I can see that it might be a good way to attract a new or younger audience to the world of Art. There were certainly many school parties visiting, as well as smaller children wandering around freely and dancing to the music. I’m glad I went!

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Hello from Australia!

Currently on holiday in Ocean Grove, near Melbourne, staying with my son and his partner, I’ve been fortunate to visit two very inspiring and stimulating exhibitions in the City. Whenever I visit an art exhibition, I’m happy if I find just a couple of images that really resonate with me and help me gain a greater understanding of the world around me. I certainly found that this week.

Picasso Century at the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne) explores the many different phases and styles of Picasso’s long career, alongside the work of his peers who both influenced him and were influenced by him. A beautifully presented exhibition with a unique take on Picasso (1881-1973), there were so many works I’d never seen before, both by Picasso and other artists. Whole rooms were dedicated to the different genres such as Cubism, Surrealism and Classicism. I learned that Dora Maar, one of Picasso’s many lovers, was herself a photographer and surrealist artist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L. Portrait of a Woman (Dora Maar) Pablo Picasso 1938                       

R. Hand-shell, Dora Maar

QUEER, also at the NGV was a fascinating and far-reaching exploration of LGBTQ related material from the NGV archives, from Roman times to the present. 

In this exhibition, I was greatly moved by the silent dual video pieces called Ruel and Bram. Two young men stare at the camera, blinking but otherwise motionless. The artist, Drew Pettifer (b 1980) aims to draw attention to forgotten queer history. 

In 1727, two men aged 18 and 22 were on board the Zeewijk, a ship belonging to the Dutch East India Company. Found to be lovers they were convicted of sodomy and, as punishment, left marooned to die on separate islands on an archipelago off Western Australia.

This work sent shivers down my spine. The use of present day photographs tells us that these were real young men who lived and loved. 300 years ago, this might have been my son and his partner.

 

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FRESH! at Thelma Hulbert Gallery

My son Matthew and his partner Casey are visiting from Australia. Here we all are beside Winter’s Song in the FRESH! exhibition at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Devon until July 23rd.

 

 

 

 

I’m wearing “Summertime” (Wearable Art necklace).  A selection of WEARABLES are on sale in the gallery shop for the duration of the exhibition:

 

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“Winter’s Song” – Robin Finally Finished!

After many a false start and detour, I think I’ve finished my Robin. My experiment with vintage fabrics for the background didn’t work out – I was going to post an image here on 22/4/22 but it looked so bad that I decided not to!

So I scraped the fabrics off, painted the background with white house paint and started again. Now it looks cleaner and more restful to the eye – a Robin against a winter sky.

 

The bird’s wing tip is the clasp from my late father’s briefcase which he used every day in his teaching career. I found the pieces of wood on the wing and tail whilst out walking. The paler wood of the underbelly arrived in a shoebox from Loren in London!

 

 

 

 

And now here’s my earlier effort with the fabrics – I loved the colours but there was just too much going on! 

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Playing with Ideas

Robin: breast now more orange than red and I’m much happier!

Previous                                                     Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now playing around with ideas for a background using worn fabrics, samples I made for my textile degree, and haberdashery – I love the subtle colours. I was planning to do this on one of the Fabulous Beasts last year but chickened out. Nothing decided yet.

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Robin in Progress

I’m making this Robin for the exhibition to be held at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Devon, May 28 – July 23. It’s from a photo taken by my husband whose hobby is bird photography. John’s photos are very sharp, showing every feather and I thought (naively) that I could replicate that detail. However, it’s impossible! And I actually think I prefer the ‘rougher’ areas with larger components on the wing and lower body, to the smaller details in the orange-red breast.

Actually, now I’ve taken the photo, I think the breast needs to be much more orange and less red. Very often, problems become more visible in a photograph because I’ve been looking at the real thing for so long.

The blobs of blue-tac are there because I use it all the time to try positioning things before I glue.

The next dilemma will be what to do with the background … Originally I was planning to fill it with white and sparkly things (as I also intend to use the image for this year’s Christmas card) but now that the sun’s shining warmly, it doesn’t feel quite appropriate for an exhibition in May!

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Essential Tweaking!

It was no use – I couldn’t leave the Hokusai sky as it was. After a little more paint, I’m much happier!

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Hokusai Finished

Here’s the new Great Wave – I’m not terribly happy with the sky behind Mount Fuji but feel if I fiddle any more, I’ll just make it worse.

As usual, I’ve been making lots of tiny changes – I’m terrible for last minute tweaking!    But finally think this one is done. Time to let it go …

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