Monday 10 March 2014

Turner and the Sea at NMM and Contemporary Textiles Fair

John Sell Cotman A dismasted Brig
 On Saturday, after stocking up at the farmers market, Ian and I headed off to Greenwich to see 'Turner  and the Sea ' at the National Maritime Museum. It was fun to go on the DLR , a bit like a roller coaster at times, adding to the sensation of a having a day out!   It was an interesting exhibition showing the full range of Turners engagement with the sea and all things marine, with paintings by other artists (particularly Dutch)  that influenced  him or were the prevalent style around the same time. I was  struck by the watercolour by John Sell Cotman with its distinctive broad regular washes of colour -  reminding me of the large indigo piece I'm working on at the moment .

I've long admired Turners watercolours - I've misplaced my copy of  'Hockney on Turner Watercolours ' book  but I have a quote to hand which resonates for me:
 "They're fresh because you can see how he has made them. You can sense the trace of his arm, ......painting has to be about this sense of gesture and movement, the sheer physicality of making a picture"
Makes me want to  grab my watercolours and just play with stokes and washes of colour!

JMW Turner  A study of the sea 
JMW Turner Ship at Sea 
JMW Turner Sea Piece with figures in the foreground
Master of invention, once others had started to copy his style, he moved on, always experimenting, carrying a lot of  the energy in his sketches to his larger oils.  It  is this  later work I really admire, with added insight after sketching  at The National Gallery .  So I look forward  to the exhibition 'Painting Set Free'  at Tate Britain later in the year.  We kept thinking of the Turner ,Whistler, Monet exhibition -  sign of a good exhibition that we still remember it 9 years on! (pre-blog days)

JMW Turner Breaking Against The Wind (oil)
On Friday evening, I went after work to the Contemporary Textiles Fair At Landmark Arts Centre, always a diverse  selection of textile pieces.
My purchases were relatively modest - a pair of purple acrylic laser cut earrings from Mandy Nash , although seriously tempted by the silver and hand stitched silk thread jewellery of Liz Willis.  I  spent some time talking to Lucy Ann Harding about her quirky textile illustrations based on life as a milkman's daughter and  to Anna Obese-Acquaah. I loved her complex and vibrant marks on cloth.

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