Saturday, 10 October 2015

Beyond Small Treasures

My  1/2 hour drawing sessions recording 'small treasures' has  worked well getting me back into  good habits  (  along with  the kickstart of City Lit  drawing class and sketching Tuesdays in Museums).  As with when I started making Journal Quilts in 2003, the appeal is   fitting something creative in  when  life is very hectic and larger projects are impossible. They provide opportunities to explore new materials and techniques and if they don't work, well you've learnt from it.  I like that they don't need to be for anything, just themselves,  and my observational skills ,  have improved no end.  I'm also currently in love  with the 5 1/2 inch square  Seawhite sketchbook I'm using.
So while away for the weekend on Portland, besides studies of some of the wonderful  pebbles on Chesil Beach ( which I carefully rehomed after I drew them - you're not allowed, quite rightly, to take them away ) , I moved on to recording larger views, while still sticking to the half hour rule.   


 The views from 'The Heights' over Chesil  were wonderful, especially in late afternoon, drawing from the  restaurant after a cream tea (me) and a beer(Ian)  

Drawing the West  Weares at Chiswell , first from a bench and then at Cove House Inn with a beer ( always have to be careful not to dip the brush in!) in hot sun   was  blissful. My kind of break

Thursday, 24 September 2015

York Museums: Quilts,Ceramics and Hoards

 Recovering from a long  yet stimulating day in York visiting  various museums. The object of my  excursion was seeing the exhibitions at the Quilt museum before it closes  at the end of October. I spent some time looking round  'Quilt Art - Dialogues' - I was loaned a copy of the catalogue  so it was interesting to read more about the work and artists at the time ( and good advertising, I bought one  later).  I'd seen 'Small Talk' at FoQ  but with so many galleries there competing for your attention, it was good to have a longer look ( although the light was rather dim).
After tea and a chat  in the members room , I  headed over to York Art Gallery and after buying  a YMT card  had  delicious lunch ( with discount!) in the café there with the view above.  It's  run by the team at Café no 8 ( of rhubarb  and custard pavlova  fame!)

Suitably refreshed,  I headed up to the 1st floor to reacquaint myself with  some of my favourite paintings  including Paul Nash 'Winter Sea'.  The refurbishment of the gallery included comfy, quirky sofas, books and catalogues to look through, drawing materials  and  mini guides to looking at art incorporating a view finder.  I ordered the books on Paul Nash and Wilhelmina Barnes- Graham  this morning!  

I spent most time however in the fantastic  newly opened Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). The first thing that caught my eye was this installation  by Sara Moorhouse, the interpretation of landscape reminding me of the piece 'Around Here' by Elizabeth Brimelow that I'd  been absorbed by in the morning.    
 Another installation   by Clare Twomey represents the 10,000 hours it is said to take to become a master craftsman ( each bowl takes an hour to make). In the same, light, space there were cabinets devoted to individual artists: Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, Ewan Henderson etc
 The gallery next to it on one side had a whole wall of 4 shelves organised by colour ( following, appropriately enough , the 'Richard of York.... mnemonic spectrum) , I could have spent days looking at these wonderful objects! They have dedicated touch screen computers   in front of them so you can identify what you're looking at ( and computers to search for particular artists)
On the other side of the room the collection donated by Anthony Shaw was displayed in domestic style space with furniture and other artwork and artifacts, inviting the viewer to share the experience of living with a collection 
In the shop I added to my own  collection   with a small bowl by Barbara Wood, saggar- fired after burnishing, it's so tactile,  and sits very well alongside my sphere by Elspeth Owen and my recent  'Upwey' purchases. 
In the hour before I caught my train back,  I wandered around the Yorkshire Museum,  so many hoards of silver and gold , with other galleries devoted to Richard III and to the  Romans. There were plenty of  screens around with video clips of  experts  talking  with passion about the archaeology and the conservation behind some of these treasures.   

Being  still in 'pottery mode', it was the prehistoric vessels which as ever drew my attention- the hand of the maker is so evident, a connection through millennia
And a hoard just as precious in my eyes as the silver and gold - a  huge quantity of partially made flint knives and scrapers.  I have a few myself among the 'small treasures' I'm recording through drawing.  

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Drawing Tuesday: Islamic Glass at British Museum

 I made good use of my watercolour pencils today  attempting to capture the colours and quirky shapes of the glass in the Islamic Gallery at the British Museum

  These  photos I took in April when I last visited - the light was rather better than today
  I chose this collection to sketch first  with a blind drawing  in watercolour pen , then in  pencil  before concentrating on the yellow-green bottle with the odd-angled twisted neck (a rose water sprinkler apparently!)


Having had enough of sitting down , I stood up to draw the even more bizarre shapes on the top shelf 

 It's always a dilemma whether to use waterbrush on the watercolour pencil drawing - decided not to risk  losing the fine lines  but did another little study of the  bottle top  where I did use a brush.
Loving colour as  I do, I'm inspired  be  use them  more and  maybe hunt out  my Inktense pencils.

Off to York very early tomorrow  for the ' Quilt Art -Dialogues'  exhibition - last chance to visit the Quilt Museum before it closes  for good at the end of October.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Drawing Small Treasures update

 In preparation  for tomorrow's return visit to the Islamic Gallery at the British Museum  for 'Drawing Tuesday' I've been practising sketching old glass using different materials  - this fragment  with patches of iridescense  came from Syria .

  Today's other subject was  a shell with  lots of worm-eaten holes ( worth drawing on a much bigger scale to analyse the different shape holes.
  More shells - this time  a couple of mussels from the '100 objects' exercise in Puglia

 An exquisite  piece of lacy coral.

  A stripy shell
A stripy stone 

 A white flint nodule

 A partially worked green flint
A piece of wood with a beady 'eye' 
Meanwhile overnight  a large inkcap popped up in the  gravel - I did consider  sketching it but it was already oozing with black 'ink' and our buyers architect was visiting so  it was tidied up into the compost. 

Meet 'Ms Incy'. This splendid garden spider has been building her web against the outside glass of the conservatory  so we've had an excellent view of the process. Late one night we were also witness to the courtship  advances of 'Mr Wincy' as he very cautiously  vibrated the web and inched forward with one leg tentatively reaching out to touch her leg. They both  recoiled several times - he seemed to be making some progress but then she lowered herself on a long line out of the  way - 'not in the mood'. At least he wasn't eaten.