Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Beyond the Surface: David Tress and Jeremy Gardiner

 I've been a fan of the work of David Tress ever since I was introduced to it in 2005  by Katherine Holmes  when I did  courses with her at Malham  Tarn Field Centre . He also has a very good reputation as a  tutor  and I've been trying , without success, to get on one of his  classes for years at various venues, they fill up so quickly. So I'm thrilled to have got the last place on his workshop at Lund Studios in  September  2018.

Yesterday I went to see his exhibition  at Messums Gallery ( and spent so long poring over the surfaces, taking notes, that they offered me  a coffee!) I bought both the book and the catalogue  but you really need to see them in the flesh to appreciate the layers and marks.
They have a huge physical presence, built up of layers  of  torn and cut collaged heavy watercolour paper overlapping the edges, with impasto paint   scratched into. They have such energy and sense of place
I  loved the graphite drawings too, the paper distressed and torn and marks scored into the surface.
After lunch at  Bruton Place Pizza Express , I was intending to go to the Jasper Johns at The RA  and was reading the article about him in the Friends magazine. But then an advert for exhibition of Jeremy Gardiner at the Paisnel Gallery caught my eye and I headed there instead.  

Also involving layers of  heavy watercolour paper but excavated precisely with a knife  and painted with watercolours and Jesmonite. I loved the abstract compositions and colours which reminded me of Wilhelmina Barnes- Graham. The series were based on lighthouses ( including Portland) . Personally ( and it is a matter of taste) I wasn't so keen  on the photographic realism of the lighthouses themselves but the  coastal landscapes they were set in were wonderful. Again I bought the catalogue and also the book of the previous exhibition which was  collage and oils( and includes a film on CD)

So  I'm now delving in my stash for watercolour paper to tear, cut , layer and incise.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Colours of Weymouth and Portland

 Just a few of the many peeling paint surfaces 

Brightly coloured houses on Weymouth Harbour 

Boats at Smallmouth Cove and on Chesil Beach 

West Weares, Portland: chairs , flags and beach huts. 

Our Home-from-Home

We have one more day to go  in our visit to or 'home-from -home' in Weymouth ( our 11th visit) . Today has been very blustery, the para surfers out in the force taking advantage of the winds. We abandoned the idea of  going to the sculpture park on Portland and  walked along to West Weares ( the Portland end of Chesil Beach ) before retreating to the Cove Inn  for a delicious fishy lunch. 

On our first day we also visited  Chesil, meeting up with  local friend Liz Drake at the visitor centre overlooking the Fleet Lagoon . Coffee  lead to lunch as we talked textiles. 

I managed to fit a bit of sketching in at Smallmouth Cove in the late afternoon light. 

We were in Weymouth very early  the next day  to catch a trundly train to Castle Cary  changing there for Taunton, catching up with old friends in Wellington.

 Day 3  was spent walking the Rodwell Trail into Weymouth, birdwatching at RSPB Radipole Lake  then lunch at the Ship overlooking Weymouth Harbour

 Yesterday  we  went to the Octoberfest Beer Festival in the Pavilion  tasting a variety of beers, our favourites having an orange theme. We finished off with a walk along the beach and an ice cream !

Tomorrow it's Sunday lunch at the  New Inn, Easton. Other than eating, we  have been catching up on sleep, reading and in my case stitching. Feeling very relaxed 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Drawing Tuesday at V&A and 2 Talks

 It's 2 weeks since 'Drawing Tuesday' in the ceramics  gallery at the V&A. These translucent vessels based on Korean ceramics unbelievably are made of soap. I couldn't resist adding my matching water bottles to the picture, maybe I should draw those too!

 I attempted to capture their translucency using watercolour pencils - never have quite the right colour. It worked better when I concentrated  on the negative shapes between them .
The time since then was  mainly spent on preparing and then delivering 2 different  talks: 'Stitching into Place' for London Quilters on Monday 18th and 'A Contemporary Perspective'  to Oast Quilters in Canterbury on Saturday 23rd.
It's been over 3 years since I last did one and so I had to start from scratch with my Powerpoint presentations and was  rather nervous. Unfortunately  there was a technical hitch at London Quilters, not able to connect my laptop to the projector ( I really must sort out getting my own )  so   had to  do without  and talk about the quilts I had with me. But I was among friends   and my experiences of having to do impromptu talks and tours at work kicked in, it's good to know I haven't lost the knack  although I'd prepare for that eventuality  another time! 

At Oast (which I'm a member of), I'd already planned to take advantage of being local and having a lift to take a lot of my older and larger quilts to show . I didn't have time to take photos  but it was great to see my 7 year epic Medieval Tile Quilt  hung , I'm still so proud to have  made  it . This photo of 'Tunisian Door' and 'City Girls Dream of the Sea' was posted on the groups Facebook page. the technology worked this time both  projector and microphone  so I was able to show the inspiration behind 'Birchington Breakwaters' ( which of course is of local interest) besides talking about my older quilts 

After 2 successful talks in a week, I feel more confident now. I already have 1 booking for next year. 
This week I'm  writing an article for the Quilter and packing for Weymouth next week. We're so looking forward to a break in our 'home from home.' 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

RA Summer exhibition 2017: focus on marks

296 Leonard McComb

 Is it really 2 months   since I started this blog post?!  Searching for images among the  multitude of files on my computer I came across the 'RA' folder and got side tracked for a while.  It's useful however to see after a time period whether the things that initially attracted me about certain pieces of work   still hold and whether there's  new things to enjoy.
I had 2 visits to the Summer exhibition this year . Looking at the website in between made me realise I'd missed  some pieces  and I went back for  a closer look.   Besides subject matter ( seascapes , coastal features, boats ) it  was often the details that drew me in: the juxtaposition of colours; slight variations in surface; combinations of media ; textures. Most of all the marks, particularly in woodcuts  and drawings; text as marks; brushstrokes  and scraffito.
Well known artists and names new to me - one the joys of the Summer Exhibition    
307 (detail)

307 Suzy Fasht

63 Jeanette Hayes

217 J.F.K Turner

242 John Renshaw

573 Sara Dodd

613 Anna Gardiner

717 Nik Goss
(oil on herringbone fabric)

940 Christine Hardy

849 Neil Bousfield

895 Caroline Isgar

926 Wendy Robin

980 Hughie O'Donaghue RA

54 Terry Setch RA


199 Ashar

1029 Archie Franks

556 Celia Cook

786 Lucy Farley

67 (detil)

67 Deborah Westmancoat

90 (detail)

90Alison Wilding RA

95 (detail)

95 Mick Moon RA

114 Susan Absolon

178 Nik Pollard

187 Nik Pollard

194 Peter Matthews

286 Michelle Dow

518 (detail)

518 Stephen Cox RA


561 Jo Gorner

496 Rebecca Salter RA

593 Rebecca Salter RA

937 (detail)

937 Rebecca Salter RA

958 (detail)

958 Tom Cartmill