My moss

In one of the Swallows and Amazons books I read as a child an uncle entitles his book of memoirs  ‘Mixed Moss by a Rolling Stone’ alluding to the saying ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’. This has always tickled my fancy so I thought over the next few posts I would like to share some of my visual mixed moss.

The first is little painting which is slightly smaller than A4, by New Zealand artist Nathan Rose which was acquired when we in stayed in an artists village in the Napier area in 2004/5.

I like this work because Nathan has captured in his strange hybrid little figure a sense of excruciating shyness and embarrassment which draws out a sympathetic response from me bordering on fondness. I can’t view this painting without thinking of Nathan and wondering what he is doing now as all the lovely memories of my time as an artist resident in the Waiohiki Arts Village come flooding back.

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The next  item is two mounted  swatches of Henry Moore fabric which we framed in light oak. Moore is better known for his sculpture but he produced a number of textile designs which the Ascher company printed for him. My swatches are from two rolls reprinted from Ascher’s original blocks and used to refurbish Henry Moore’s House. With the left over fabric 50 mounted squares  of each were sold by Pallent House  Gallery where an exhibition of Moore’s textiles and sketch books was held. I couldn’t resist as they were reasonably priced and now I have two little bits of Henry to remind my of my student days when he was all the go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third Item  is a painting entitled Blue by artist Pat Bell  and bought as a birthday gift for my husband. I first met Pat on Flickr and friended her when I joined facebook. Pat has done a series of sheep paintings which have proved popular and blue is one of them, She also has a stream of wonderful abstacts based on stones and tangled landscapes.

Pats  website address is:  – www.pat-bell.com

Blue by Pat Bell

Fourth is a large Zambian pot used for brewing the local Chibuku beer in  villages. Real village pots have different shapes depending of their function. A beer pot always has two handles. Different members of the family had their particular shapes. This is a coil pot made without a wheel and I particularly like the charred patch where it was in the fire pit. The incised decoration has some of the ash from the fire rubbed into it. We didn’t bring much in the way of artifacts back with us from Zambia but this was well worth the effort.

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The 5th item is also from  Zambia and was sent to us out of the blue from someone who bought some of my paintings over 45 years ago whilst we lived there. She had searched for me on the internet and renewed contact and as she was downsizing thought we would like this little naive painting of St Anne’s church in Mazabuka where we lived. It was done by a local man  on a piece of ply using house paints.

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Number 6 is my indulgence and is a painting called ‘In All Directions’ by Fran Donovan, part of a series with same title. I went to a preview of Fran’s exhibition in the Russel Gallery in Bournmouth with my daughter and  fell in love with this colourful painting. Fran works in oils using raw pigments applied over a soft  ground  and the result has a wonderful glowing quality. This painting has elements of a wide landscape but only hinted at and the suggestion of an  upward path seems to lead one over a distanf hill top horizon. In the foreground hedgerow plants and a fence are just suggested. To me its very positive work and I love the bright orange.

Egged on  by my daughter I took the plunge and bought the 90x90cm painting and today it cheers me every day in my kitchen diner.

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Number 7 is a painting by Sussex artist Sue England entitled ‘Can you hear them, can you hear them coming through the vines?’ which is inspired by Sue’s visit to friend’s vineyard.

My husband and I bought this as a Christmas gift to ourselves last year as it reminded us of a walk amoung the vines in Cyprus many years ago but also because we like Sue’s work and fell in love with it.

Link to Sue’s website: http://www.sueengland.co.uk

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Getting into focus

After my grand rant in the last post I have girded up something or other and begun a new project in my studio as the only way to start is to start.

Last year I took a series of photos  looking up into the trees  in Hotham Park and my aim is to produce a series of fresh work based on these. As Artist in Residence for the Park   I’m always looking for new ways to represent it. Here is the first stage of the first painting and it was good to get going again.

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A new year.

2017 was  a very barren year for me as  my  creativity seemed to dry up. This was partly due to a sick husband who had several crisis during the year whilst waiting for a major lung operation. Before you jump to the conclusion that it was the NHS’s fault I must say some of the delay was due to infection resulting in deferrals. Much to our relief the operation finally took place on the 30th October at the Royal Brompton and Harefiled Hospital in London.

Apart from the stress of my husband’s illness I felt discouraged about my work wondering what I should try to do with the limited time I have left to me.

Each year I take part in the annual Chichester Art Trail and in 2017, for the first time in the eight years I have been in the trail, I did not sell enough work to recover my entrance fees. Visitor numbers were low as I am on the fringes of a very large trail and  will never be as high as those who are in the centre of things with other artists around. Its always good to cover expenses even if there is no profit involved and one doesn’t mind that so much if visitors take the trouble to come and have a look. I found myself wondering if it was worth all the effort of getting my stored paintings out, hanging them, turning my house into gallery and tidying my studio for people to see my working practice. I had almost decided to not to enter this year but my husband who has been through so much said how much he enjoyed the trail visitors coming so I will be doing the trail again this year.

This has made me try to reassess what I want to do. All my paintings are a result of something that I  have seen or an event that has touched me and  I don’t repeat myself. I have sold quite a number of paintings over the years but have generally resisted the temptation to ‘do it again’ because a particular thing has sold. Someone said that if you do that you are in danger of imitating yourself which seems a very wise saying.

I’m not sure where this is going to take me but I have made up my mind afresh that I must paint for me first resisting the afore temptation to paint for market

As my studio was becoming crowded I gave away  a number of my larger works this year  though I know I will soon fill the space with fresh work.

This has been a bit of a self indulgent rant, I don’t usually write so much and it will not be repeated.

Below is the last drawing in Hotham Park of 2017

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A dry time

Since the start of the year I have had a rather desert experience regarding my creativity. I feel the need to do something different  but I’m not sure what. I had a discouraging Art Trail with few visitors and no sales. This has made me take stock and reassess what I want to do. An artist should paint for themselves but I guess we all like a little company and an audience but this can become a snare. Once one begins to look  over ones shoulder at the commercial merit of  work it has a deadening effect and it becomes stilted and repetitive. With this in mind I think I need to be a bit brave, not sure how yet so watch this space. Below is the only painting I have done this year based on a Hazel tree in Hotham Park where I am Artist In Residence. I am not sure what I will be posting next but I have a mind to try some pure abstract work.

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Art Trail time again!

It doesn’t seem long since I started this blog over a year ago and its time for my annual Marathon, not running, but getting ready for the trail. ‘It can’t be too difficult to hang a few pictures up’ I hear you say. Weeeell, you would be surprised how much there is to do:

Cleaning the windows, we live near the sea and get salt blown on them during storms and there is no point hanging pictures if folks can’t see them. Then there is the matter of my very dirty house, as cleaning seems to come at the bottom of my list of interesting things to do. Mounting and framing mono-prints and pastels, labelling them, making sure I have an up to date inventory as there is nothing worse than having to make up prices and details on the spot. All that is before I take down all our paintings ready to hang mine.  Unpacking the paintings from my studio which is a log cabin the garden and turning four rooms in our house into temporary galleries. On top of all that I need to get my studio tidied at least so that folks can get into it. Not much to do really!