Saturday 30 July 2016

Running away to sea : Minnis Bay

Yesterday I ran away to sea! I haven't been to the  seaside since we moved in  December  despite  being almost on the Kent coast ( we're only 5 miles from Whitstable). I did a bit of research on  where  the train station was nearest the coast   and decided on Birchington -on Sea which turned out to be an excellent choice. The train journey was just over 20 minutes and cost  only £4.30  buying online, bargain!  I'd packed  sketching gear but I spent  most of my time walking. I was lured by 'Beach avenue' which did indeed lead down to the coast in 5 minutes but  taking the long way round on the esplanade beneath  splendid grass-topped cliffs    meant it was   about half an hour before I ended up at  Minnis Bay  , the main sandy beach. There were  families outside their beach huts, small children   building sandcastles and exploring  the rock pools , a lovely feel to the place. I continued walking along the esplanade as I'd spotted the disintegrating sea defences from a distance (  great inspiration for  quilts) .  Having reached the end I had to climb up onto the cliff top path with lovely banks of coastal plants . The sky looked threatening and I was hungry ( I'd been walking nearly 2 hours by this point)  so headed to the Minnis Bay brasserie for a  beer and spot of lunch.  A bit of bad  but enjoyable sketching from a bench and then I headed back to the station by the most direct  route , about 20 minutes . A lovely day out - planning to go back with Ian next week as part of his recuperation.

While walking along the cliff top path there were loads of cyclists and   families who'd hired ' Surrey' bikes which looked like a lot of fun if hard work.   Reculver was visible on the horizon and is a place I've long wanted to visit , for both it's history and wildlife but it was a further 3 miles walk.  I thought about bringing my bike on the train but it's large and unwieldy. So today I visited the bike shop in Faversham looking at folding bikes  and  they're putting comfortable saddles on a  couple of them so I can test ride them on Monday! It opens up all kinds of possibilities for  explorations.  

Thursday 28 July 2016

Summer Exhibition at RA: Prints and Drawings

I rather hanker after the days when  most of the prints at the RA Summer Exhibition were  hung in the  Large Weston Room . They used to be crammed in but I liked to be able to compare techniques and find tiny gems of exquisite mark-making. I thinks there's probably more of them shown  now in the mixed themed galleries ( which is a good thing )  although sometimes their quiet charms  can be overlooked  among the bolder  offerings

205   Hughie O'Donaghue RA

586   Hughie O'Donaghue RA
 I loved the  deceptively simple bold  shapes, colours  and compositions  of these by Hughie O'Donaghue . I'm a big fan of Barbara Rae  and I spent ages  comparing the differing moods of 3 similar compositions  So much to learn from her.
584 Barbara Rae RA

585 Barbara Rae RA

865 Emma Stibbons RA

It was the work of Emma Stibbons that once again blew me away. Having done some intaglio myself I can only admire the technical proficiency working on such a large scale. The piece below has everything : interesting dramatic  composition;  varied  marks;   tonal contrasts.

 607 Emma Stibbons RA

 608 Emma Stibbons RA

611 Emma Stibbons RA

606 Emma Stibbons RA

Hung next to these were a series of quirky bird prints by Cathie Pilkington. They could look a bit twee but the combination of marks and the slight menace in their eyes ( I wouldn't mess with these birds!) lifts them above just design.
613 Cathie Pilkington RA

615 Cathie Pilkington RA

 769 James Fisher

742 Kiki Smith

More birds - James Fisher has done  a series of woodcuts of notable women : Margaret Morse (1883-1974) was one of the world’s leading ornithologists, and author of Studies in the Life of the Song Sparrow (1937).

599 Nadi Attura

744 Jo Gorner
I'm drawn to the repetitive marks within the work by Jo Gorner, thinking how that could be interpreted in stitch
992 Felicity Warbrick
Liking the stark contrasts and sense of space in this work by Felicity Warbrick, I was astounded to read how she achieves it .  A sense of space also characterises this work by Amanda Danicic, the contrast between the figures and the intricate depiction of foliage in the background . It looks a bit like a patchwork quilt!  Which leads me neatly to my next post on textiles and 3D work

594 Amanda Danicic

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Summer Exhibition at RA : Paintings

113 Terry Setch  RA
  An  expedition up to town  yesterday  to drop  off my quilt entries for  the Festival of Quilts to Upper Street Events offices then to the Royal Academy for the Summer Exhibition.  I've recently got  a new Windows phone and   besides taking my usual notes in my sketchbook of what I like and marking the numbers off in the List of Works, I became one of those sad people taking photos with my phone. Only as an aide memoire -  this year the RA have a wonderful app with  a searchable  list (Summer Exhibition Explorer ) of all the works on  display ( a by- product of online entries)  and  the train journey home sped by in an instance ( as did my phone battery....)   These are some of the paintings that caught my eye, starting with Academicians. I've given the  catalogue numbers so you can search for yourselves.
Looking at what I've chosen, it's clear  what influence my recent City Lit course has had - they are  mostly very much about the paint itself ; multiple layered, sometimes with glimpses of  unexpected base colours showing through; a  sense of space. Sometimes it's difficult to work out what's going on , many of them are simplified coastal scenes/landscapes. Most of all,  work  to aspire to , how I'd like to  paint. Enjoy!!   
849 Sonia Lawson RA

 50 Mick Moon  RA

70 Frank Bowling RA

71 Sean Scully RA

89 Jennifer Durrant RA

95 Anthony Whishaw RA

 107 Anthony Whishaw RA

863 Karl Bielik

77 Jannette Kerr

165 Peter Arscott

166 Karolina Gacke

187 Nicholas Blanning

194 Sophie Beddingham Smith

195 Joan Doerr

207 Mark Rochester

215 Dick Hewitson

238 Sandra Beccarrelli

 ( Sandra was  imaginative evening class tutor in Brentford , so pleased to see her work chosen. )
411 Mhairi McGregor

414 Vanessa Gardner

416 Jane Cordery

434 Nicholas Bush

450 Julian Sutherland-Beatson

463 Frances Hatch

482 Georgia Mason

492 Paul Fowler
( Faversham painter of local  area ,  work seen in Beaney in Canterbury)