Friday, February 25, 2011

Next Blog Post 13 March

We had a wonderful day out on Sunday with good friends H, K and A in Oxfordshire. They entertained us beautifully but didn't arrange the weather very well and we all got an unbelievable drenching. On our way home from a geocache walk we had our backs to the wind and the rain and it felt as if someone had sneaked up behind us and thrown buckets of water at us. Where were my waterproof trousers? In the car of course. I remained quite chilled until I had a piping hot bath hours later. Where is all this rain coming from? Don't answer that.

This is the detail of my latest drypoint etching - Friendship And Understanding. I enjoy depicting my idea of the relationship and interaction of people and birds. I am wondering about painting the leaves with watercolour but leaving the rest unpainted.

Complete etching

I have only got as far as a pen and ink drawing at the moment but this is destined to be a painting eventually.

The usual quandary here - is it a hare or a rabbit? A soapstone lagomorph anyway. That will cover them both. I found it in a charity shop and it took a shine to me and asked if it could come home with me. Of course I agreed.

Meet Smudge - she is the softest, silkiest and nicest natured cat you could ever meet, and I have met a lot of cats. Sadly she doesn't belong to us but to some (very nice) neighbours who adore her. I also love her for her potential as a photographic model and her extremely low fees. The only problem with photographing her is that as soon as you squat down to take a shot she walks up to you for a cuddle. Still, you cannot have everything.

On a recent walk we discovered this interesting beast. It is a poor photo due to the deer being perched up high and the sky very bright in comparison but you can see that it only has half its antler rack. The corresponding half is on the deer on the other side of the gateway. I think it is a uni-antlered deer. I quite like it - quirky.

No one could call contemporary Scottish artist Margaretanne Bennett's work "pretty". Her paintings are a combination of realism and abstract with a definite hint of darkness to them. She uses a subtle palette with lots of texture. On her "about" page on her website she talks about being inspired after a visit to France and seeing old cemeteries. She is obviously fascinated by decay and rust and the sense of sadness and abandonment connected to such places - very similar to someone else I know. Anyway, pop over to her website here and have a look. I absolutely love everything about the painting beneath including the scrappy, almost grafitti-like, bits of text.



Well, we are into March now and we have had the full gamut of weather as usual.

Some frosts...

some sunshine...

some mists...

and a whole shed full of rain.

In the fields we have seen beasts gathered in brotherhood...

some familiar ones staring with beady eyes

and some not so familiar but with beady eyes and beady beaks. (I didn't venture too close) PS I know this is in twice but I like it)

Who could resist tea time in the country with these gorgeous jugs by Stacey Manser-Knight. Lots of lovely colour and detail. Stacey was born in America but has lived most of her adult life in Brighton and has participated in the Brighton Festival Artist Open Studios event in May. She mentions being at the Dragonfly House which hosts participating artists' work and is somewhere I visited myself. They are famous for the wonderful displays of art they exhibit and the intriguing dragonfly on the outside wall of the building. I exhibited my work during the festival for two years running quite a long time ago now in the home of my nephew and his wife. It was great fun but even more than that I enjoyed visiting all the other artists studios and having a good nose around. I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Brighton during the spring. You can see more of Stacey's work here on her website and here at The Castle Gallery.

I first came across Rita Kearton's lovely work when I saw her exhibiting at the Art In Action event at Waterperry several years ago. She was in the printmakers' marquee. I was very drawn to her use of figurative folkloric and naive style imagery. She creates collagraphs and drypoint etchings and they draw you into her imaginary world very easily. You can find Rita's website here for more delicious artwork.


The King

Sleeping Dog

The Man And The Woman

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When The Music's Not Forgotten

I am feeling sad and deflated just now which is one reason why my blog is so late. A friend who was treated for lung cancer a few years ago and declared "cured", who lost her husband last year, has now developed liver and pancreatic cancer and has been given months to live. It makes you wonder why life throws so many terrible things at some people and others seem to get away relatively lightly. So here is a song for Doris and all those others who haven't got as long here as they would like.

This is a pen and ink and watercolour drawing I started several months ago and I really couldn't get on with it at all. It all came together this week. Strange to see trees in a boat I know but nothing is impossible.

This is called The Journey Was Long But She Was Never Alone

These are quirky birds from my scrapbook pages which have worked their way into a pen and ink drawing. I think I have the birds the wrong way round though. The red one would have looked better against the black tree.

Although we get some very dull and wet days in winter, there are some days when the light is beautiful. Some of the photos below are recent and others aren't but they are all favourites of mine.

This is a scene taken from one of our walks recently and immediately made me think of the GK Chesterton poem - The Rolling English Road. The first verse goes like this:

Before the Romans came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

There are another three verses which you can find on Google.

Just when I thought I was finished with hares for the time being - up they pop again.

Jane Ray artwork - published by Roger La Borde. This is the back and front of the card. It is nice to see the full image spread out. Twice as much card for your money.

Andrew Waddington - Return Of The Sun King - published by Art Angels in their Printmakers collection.

My family brought me back a lovely collection of artists cards from Cornwall some time ago and in amongst them was this delightful painting of a goose by Suzy Sharpe. Isn't it beautifully spontaneous and fresh. More of Suzy's work here.
I saw a piece of craft created by Jan Guest in a well-known magazine recently and was extremely impressed with her work. Jan is based in Bosham and uses reclaimed coastal wood and sea pebbles to create her lovely marine themed plaques, wall hangings and free standing pieces. Her fish and little coastal houses are lovely and make me hum "I do want to be beside the seaside". You can catch up with her website here.

Rock Pool Wreath With Fish

Harbour Cottages

A Swell Day

I love the delicate, lacelike tracery of these winter trees at Harefield, but you have to remember to look up because sometimes the magic is above your head.

Mary Fedden has long been a favourite of mine and I was delighted to find this little book at a car boot sale back in the summer. Seems a long time ago, now doesn't it? It only cost around 50p and I couldn't resist it. Nowadays her paintings cost thousands to buy. Mary is a very well known and popular English contemporary artist in the naive, expressionist tradition. She doesn't observe the rules of perspective but paints what she likes, when she likes and doesn't pay regard to the opinions of others. I like that. I also like all the lovely birds she paints and the texture she gets into her work. You can find lots of her work if you enter her name into a search engine.



Great Spotted Woodpecker

Park Birds In The Snow

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February Fox

We have noticed quite a lot of detritus in fields and hedgerows from the very popular Chinese Floating Lanterns recently. They are becoming de rigeur for smart weddings and other celebrations and I must admit they do look lovely en masse but farmers are worried about them being ingested by livestock. This has happened apparently. Coastguards are complaining that they are being mistaken for distress flares at sea. There is no doubt that the end result of them is rubbish in the countryside. Not as bad as the epidemic of plastic bags in trees but definitely on the increase. There are calls to ban them. I am not sure what sort of hazard they represent regarding fires during hot, dry summers. Can't we go back to setting free white doves? A much greener option.

This is a pen and ink and watercolour drawing called "When The Sun Rises". He looks cosy in his den doesn't he?

My brother discovered a lovely bird's nest when we were out and about recently. I love birds nests and this was a beauty because it was low enough to photograph. The majority that I find are too high up to see properly. Below is my pen and ink drawing which is very loosely based on the nest but in actual fact doesn't really look anything like it. I think I need to darken some areas a bit more. I don't like to fiddle too much though as it can be counterproductive and pen and ink is very unforgiving of mistakes.

Tony Angell is an author, sculptor and artist of huge talent. His work is peppered with black birds amongst other animals and birds. His sculpted ravens below are magnificient. Tony is an American artist and craftsman who lives with his family in Seattle. He has a website here and is represented by Foster/White Gallery here and Gerald Peters Gallery here (3 pages). Well worth visiting.


Tony Angell - In The Company Of Crows And Ravens

This is something you don't see everyday in England. It is one of the residents of a local ostrich farm, presumably being bred for meat. Sorry the neck is a bit truncated but they were behind a fence and with so much head turning and bobbing about (it not me) it was difficult to get a focused shot without wire in it. The beaks look quite vicious so we were glad to be on our side of the fence.

Not really a seedhead as such. More of a dried up collection of leaves but this one is a bit of a mystery to us. I was attracted to the symmetry.

A couple of shots of some mallard we saw on the pond on the Harefield village green. The light was really nice here. Sometimes the light on a seemingly grey day is better than a sunny one. That doesn't sound logical I know.

My local gallery had a new exhibition of mythic art starting a few days ago and I made a point of visiting as I love the participating artists. There were hares and goddesses and badgers aplenty.

Wendy Andrew is a painter of wonderful mystical art, myths and legends. She has the ability to blend brilliant colours together seamlessley to produce her very popular art. Her work is full of detail and interest. Seeing the artwork in the flesh so to speak, the colours are so vivid and vibrant. I love her depiction of the badger below. You can find masses of Wendy's work on her website here.

Wendy Andrew - Calling Badger

Wendy Andrew - Autumn Equinox

Julie Eaton is a St. Ives based illustrator who weaves a beautiful story with her work. You can find her website here with lots more lovely art.

Julie Eaton - Persephone

Julie Eaton - Autumn Night

Hannah Willow makes wonderful, folklore and myth inspired jewellery in Wiltshire. I really loved browsing her beautiful hares and trees and I wanted to take everything in the gallery home with me. She is also a wonderful artist and you can see some of her paintings here on her website as well as her jewellery.

We made a visit to Harefield the other day and I had to take some photos of the hare sculpture on the village green. It is quite an imposing structure which shows a running hare in a globe and has map depictions of the UK and Australia to celebrate the links between the two countries cemented during the war when an Australian military hospital was set up to treat wounded soldiers.

The beautiful illustrations below are the work of illustrator Robin Bell Corfield. They are illustrating A Shropshire Lad book of poetry by AE Housman. I have another copy of A Shropshire Lad which has been illustrated in a completely different way by Agnes Miller Parker. You can see the post here. Robin Bell Corfield's artwork is beautifully spontaneous and fresh and shows the English countryside as it was and as we all hope it would be again. I love Housman's poetry although it is of a completely different era. Many find it too full of doom and despondency but I love the lyrical nature of it.