Thursday 28 June 2012

RA Summer Exhibition 2012 - Prints

One of the things I most enjoy about the Summer Exhibition is the diversity. With so much to see, I don't go with any preconceptions of what to look out for but go with whatever catches my eye, make a note of it and then frequently make some interesting discoveries when I do some research online. I usally find some rich pickings among the prints and this year was no exception.
The delicate fine lines in the untitled etching by Tooney Phillips( similar to above) reminded me of Gordale Scar so I  was gratified to find she's done a whole series of work based  on limestone quarries. Take a look at the photo-montages which reminds me of Pojagi.

The subtle variations, repetitions (including mirror images) and use of colour were what drew me to a couple of large pieces by Bella Easton. I'm interested in the combination of several units in one piece - each unit capable of standing on its own merits.
I was intrigued by this small print by Katherine Jones, a combination of etching and blockprint. I'm still exploring ideas around   having  an image of a whole structure superimposed on a detail  , started in Elizabeth Barton's Masterclass  and in these Journal Quilts . The mysterious background of the glasshouse in this print evokes all kinds of thing: plant cell, spiders webs, compost.

My next choice also has some mystery about it. This rather poor photo is all I could find on the web of  'Tower of Babel:Fire :Library of Babylon'  a digital print of flames and ladders constructed of miniscule words from printouts/ books. It is listed as being by Jackie Parry - I wondered whether this is a misprint for Jacki Parry? I found some wonderful links about this artist who also makes handmade paper - this is an interview about one of her exhibitions. If it's not the same artist, an intriguing work has led me down some interesting paths and  brought back memories of the Babylon exhibition at the British Museum  

'Mere' by Jason Hicklin also used multiple units to make up a larger work, part of a an ambitious project, the Canal Etchings .
 I don't normally like very realistic drawings or paintings but the composition of 'The Gamble' was so strong and the subject matter so unusual, making the ordinary beautiful. Then I found it was by George Shaw, Turner Prize nominee in 2011.

Finally, I couldn't resist this large woodcut 'The Torrent' by Martin Davidson. So energetic and so much skill.  

Wednesday 27 June 2012

RA Summer Exhibition - Paintings etc

We had our annual expedition to the RA Summer exhibition on Friday (working round there being no buses due to industrial action) . Over the past few days I've been mulling over what has stuck in my mind and doing some research online on artists - mostly new.
There was a lot to enjoy especially among the large selection of smaller pieces on display in Room III  and the prints in Rooms I and II ( subject of another post). I liked a lot of the work in the 'landscape' room V chosen  by Barbara Rae  and her work, along with a couple of Sean Scully pieces in Room V.
Picking out my favourites, I suppose it is inevitable that  I'm drawn to those intepretations of subjects that I'm attempting to depict in my own work.
Trees are a current obsession - I'm not normally a huge fan of Tony Bevan(1)  but I love 'Untitled (tree No5 )', it's so full of character and vigorous marks.  Each year a painting by Anthony Whishaw (2) always seems to  figure in my top choices - this 'Light interior' has a lot of the qualities of crumbly textures I try to capture and with its subtle colour  is so atmospheric.
'The Wave'  by Fred Cuming (3), with its cloud shapes mirroring the wave  warrants further analysis for my seascapes. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who sees purple in everything! 

These 3 are all by Royal Academicians but my  choice out of the whole exhibition was this small painting (4) of boats ( another obsession!) by Peter Beeson for its interesting composition and the unusual  rich green with touches of red and white. Also in Room V ,other painters of note new to me were Mary Canty and Neal Greig

After a few comments on CQ Yahoo Group about the lack of textiles in the Summer Exhibition, I kept a separate note of those works that included thread, fabric, wool etc and there seemed to be far more than  in previous year -18 in total  ( not that I've counted them before! ) .The selection of so many more small artworks probably helped although there were large pieces ,prominently hung: an embroidered drawing by Denise de Cordova  and the "Wearable Paintings"  of Lisa Milroy RA .Besides a piece by Miranda Argyle 'From where I'm  Looking' ( admired her work in previous years)  I wasn't  that struck by most of the textile pieces with  exception of  the painted embroidery 'Exterior'(5) of Nick Sargent ( more interesting work on his website) and the use of tiny stitched letters as marks in 'Holding myself together....' (6)by Effie Jessop

Ian's favourite was  a small piece ' Peg Tapestry'  by Annie Morris - I preferred  her large construction 'Peg Painting' (7)of pegs individually painted with figures.  Quirky but satisfying in its textures, and overall effect with splashes of colour and wonderful details.

Monday 25 June 2012

A Modest Haul

Well I didn't succumb too much to additional temptations at Sandown. Besides the portable daylight lamp ( left) I also bought a 5x magnifier for work (illustrated here but bought for half the price) . Ian bought me more indigo shibori from Changs (I've used up most of what I have already) and some 'mystique' cotton perle in sand colours from Out of Africa . Also in sand colours were some cheap FQ's of Egyptian hand dyed cotton which I will probably overdye with indigo and  a couple of small pieces from Alter Ego  a bit  more expensive, but worth it for the wonderful marks. It was  very nice to meet Jo at last!  Caught up with Susan Briscoe and it was wonderful to see quilts by Reiko Damon and Peaceful Hearts Quilt Group from Yuzamachi, reminding me of my trip there
Only took a few a few minutes to pick up my quilt - it was pretty efficient. As we'd just missed a train from Esher we had a beer at Cafe Rouge and mulled over our day. Nice little show with some interesting  work on display - I took some photos for my own reference but not allowed to put them on the web. It was good to see this isssue highlighted in the showguide and at various points around the show.
It's been off my radar for a while but I'm already thinking of entering  next year, it's good to support a local quilt show.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Procrastinating or Thinking ?

I'm in my studio trying to  make decisions.
Ian and I went to the RA Summer Exhibition yesterday evening and I usually leave it a few days before I blog about it, to research some of the names new to me and to  see which pieces  still hold my interest. Lots I liked, nothing that I really loved.

Then I'm deciding what to take on Summer School untutored session next weekend or rather what I should be concentrating on stitching this week.  I've got 2 pieces for which the above are the sample journal quilts - the  wave quilt is nearly finished, the red flotsam piece not!  Like starting a book before you go on holiday, I'll probably  start  stitching the latter  so I know where I'm going with it. Or Not!Then there's my sketching supplies to sort out.

Meanwhile I'm preparing my shopping list for tomorrow when Ian and I go to Sandown Quilt Show. A travel daylight lamp (essential kit for retreats where not sure of good light) and some threads?

Maybe I'll do the ironing while I cogitate.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Taking Shape

 During a cycle ride  round Kew Gardens in my lunchbreak , I was  drawn to the sound of a chainsaw in the 'wood quarry' - David Nash in action! With some delicate manoevering of the Nifty Lift to get into the right position  it was amazing to see what precise work resulted from such a coarse tool.  
 So far my favourite work in progress is this split branch - no quite mirror images.
I don't think I'll be producing any 'David Nash' quilts in the way I did from the Henry Moore exhibition at Kew but it's certainly making me look at trees in a  different way
There were several dead trees in Syon Park that caught my eye.

Quilt University Virtual Quilt Show

Red Boats - Shades of Red Journal Quilts

I'd forgotten until today  that I'd submitted photos of  work completed  in online workshop on Working in Series with Elizabeth Barton to the Quilt University Virtual Quilt Show!  For some reason it's in the applique section (although mainly  pieced) - you've still got a few days to vote.......

Friday 15 June 2012

The shapes between branches

Seeing  the sparse drawings that David Nash has made of  the bare bones of cork trees  sent me looking through old watercolour sketches. I've always been interested in the shapes between the branches, the negative spaces, from Majorca  to Malham via Nettlecombe.  

Thursday 14 June 2012

After Sea, Sand

After so many indigo  sea pieces recently time to move onto  different kinds of wave.
The colour theme for the next set of Journal Quilts is shades of yellow so I've been exploring sand ripples using scraps from older projects. The design wall  has got various potential bits of cloth marinating including the potassium permanganate arashi shibori from Summer School 2010 ( well I've used most of the indigo  I produced in that workshop!

 Not the first time I've looked at sand ripples - the top Journal Quilt uses left over blocks from 'Silver Threads Among the Gold' (Quilters Guild Challenge for 25th Anniversary) and the sample below was produced in preparation of Strindberg Shore
 The companion piece to that  as part of the 'In the Spotlight' display at FoQ in 2007 was 'Erg Chebbi' based on Moroccan sand dunes. It featured  on the cover of the 2008 Guild Calendar so altered in colour I didn't recognise it - and I know it well as  the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning, hanging opposite our bed.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

David Nash Gallery

After all the excitement of the Jubilee River Pageant, it was lovely to go with Ian and Maggie to the tranquil green surroundings of Kew Gardens. We went in through Lion Gate ( near the Pagoda) which is always the quieter end of the gardens. The David Nash exhibition officially opens next Saturday but all the sculptures are in place now -  both outside and  among the foliage in the Temperate House.
The  exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery is also open with wonderful sculptures, drawings , prints and videos - of the Ash Dome and travels of the Boulder. It's a lovely atmospheric space enhanced by the view of the trees outside

There was a video of cork oak harvesting in Portugal which was used in this amazing scuplture. This was definately our favourite - the contrast between the colour of inside/ outside and that lighter edge . Wonderful! I look forward to further visits and explorations.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Jubilee Pageant

We went with Sue,Peter and Maggie to Battersea Park on Sunday to see the Jubilee Pageant . No chance to get anywhere near the river which was 12 deep with people armed with periscopes  but we placed our picnic chairs very close to one of the big screens. Unfortunately the sound wasn't working but the crowd made up for it with cheers , flag waving and a moving impromptu  singing of the National Anthem. A fantastic atmosphere.

Once the main boats had passed and the rain started in earnest, the crowds thinned out a bit and we were able to wriggle to the front to see the  last sections of the flotilla passing under Albert Bridge.
One of the music boats (above) and the beginning of the barges, where I tried to spot the boat of one of my work colleagues.
Train travel was rather challenging! We'd chosen to go by train as its only (normally!) a 20 minutes ride from Brentford to Clapham Junction. They hadn't laid on any more trains so there was only one an hour! We were lucky enough to be able to squeeze on (I've never seen so many people at Brentford Station) but at all the subsequent stops there were many disappointed people and an increasingly harassed train driver.
On the way back we just managed to get to the station  for the 17.00 train but there was no way we could get on. For an hour we tried and failed  to squeeze on every train heading to Richmond ( a more frequent service) - Maggie managed to get onto one but had to be extracted when Ian and I failed.  In the end we gave up, went for  a nice roast at a local restaurant ( Knights of St John) and  warmed up and fortified after a glass of wine, came back at 20.00 and caught a practically empty train. Good plan!
After such a big adventure we've been pottering around at home, taking it easy , with  a tranquil visit to Kew on Monday

Friday 1 June 2012

In the last 2 weeks I have been....

Working Hard!!
Last weekend  with Ian at his parents, I stitched solidly Friday evening and all of Saturday , taking photographs very early Sunday morning (before coffee even!) and made my online submission to SAQA Horizons. Cross Fingers! With it being so hot , I took my lunches out into the gardens at work, cycling round to see  how the David Nash installations were going , see patterns in the trees everywhere, admiring this lovely sweet chestnut.

A week of contrast of scales. We had a staff photo in the giant olympic rings in front of the orangery - I'm  towards the bottom of the black ring ( actually dark purple violas). I'm the proud 'mum' of some germinating fern spores of the Anogramma ascensionis - Ascension Island Parsley Fern. They may be less than 1mm  in size but I'm thrilled.

Over the Jubilee weekend we've got Australian friend Maggie staying - we've got tickets for Battersea Park to see the River Pageant.  As she's sleeping in my studio,  just need to do a last check for pins....