Tuesday, 29 November 2011

 My New Skin for Jess-Pod

I got a fabulous birthday present from my mum and step-dad Andrew... yep, an i-pod! It is officially amazing. I have wanted an MP3 player for a long, long time. I am slowly going through my CD collection and loading everything up onto i-tunes. Last night Henry understood why I had wanted an MP3 player for so long, becuase I think he thought I was getting to the end of loading up all my CD's after 3 boxes of them, but alas, another box from on top of my wardrobe came down for entry... It's a never ending task!

So here is my gelaskin... I have loaded it up here becuase you may recognise the pattern - Yep, it has been made using one of my paintings (number 2)... I am so pleased with it. Sadly, it isn't a great photograph, but it's really green and lush. I almost loaded the grapes, which looked very cool, but the Ginkgo is far more me. 

Anyone who has artwork, and a device, be it a kindle or a touch or a pod, I highly recommend 'making your own' - there is an option to do this.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Beautiful gift cards and prints from 
Flat Flower Cards

I really like these. I used to make a lot of pressed flower cards, but wish I came up with the idea of scanning them in first!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Another Day in London

If I was a good girl, I would have stayed at home painting. Alas, I can't just sit there like some sort of ancient form of scholar with no inspiration - no way of putting what I am doing into context - so today was my day in London. There were several exhibitions I wanted to see: Leonardo da Vinci at the National Gallery, Grayson Perry at the British Museum, the New English Art Club at the Mall Galleries and Miracles and Charms at the Wellcome Trust.

Rather a lot of pack in for one day. I also wanted to get to St. Paul's to see the protesters...

So, the day began with a quick trip to the Mall Galleries. As I walked to them from Embankment, I noticed a very long queue of people. "Ah!" I thought, "must be for Leonardo"... that it was. I have never seen such a large queue... I have to say everyone was very polite. I was hoping to go into Leonardo later on. I knew it would be busy, but my staff card lets me in straight away so I get to bypass the queues. This can be great - a perk of the job, but this morning I just couldn't bring myself to jump the queue when so many others were waiting patiently. In the end I decided to go to Leonardo on a day when I felt more rebellious and bolshy.

The Leonardo Queue

It's the first time I have been to the Mall Galleires and I was a bit disappointed if I am honest. Still it is good for me to have seen it. I was expecting something larger and I didn't see why someone had to pay the admission fee if they just wanted to use the café. Personally it seems to me like they need to re-arrange the galleries so that this can be done.

Then I popped into St. Martin in the Fields whilst waiting for a friend, and in front of Shirazeh Houshiary's east window Zoya Shuhatovich was playing Chopin. "Brilliant" I thought. I had been meaning to go to St. Martin's for ages, and I finally made it by accident, and even managed to time it with a lunchtime concert. Bingo! It was truly beautiful and I recommend these little lunchtime concerts whole heartedly. They ask for a small donation, which is really rather nice of them not to charge. I hope to go to their candle lit evening concerts this winter. I am currently thinking of Handel's Messiah...

Inside St. Martin in the Fields by candle light

After a cup of tea and an apple strudel with my friend Richard, I trekked onwards to the British Museum for Grayson Perry's 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman'. Again, my staff pass lets me in... sadly though, the booking system at the British Museum meant that they would not let me in at that current time. Maybe another day Grayson...? I do hope so, as even though I wasn't impressed with the difficulty in getting to the exhibition, I have heard that it is a great show. From what I understand, it's just my sort of thing... an exploration into relationships between the objects in the British Museum collection and those of his own. An exhibition that travels time and space, from culture to culture. Sounds amazing.

The Rosetta Vase, 2011 by Grayson Perry

When it comes to booking for exhibitions, there are some great articles from the Guardian here and 'Are Blockbuster Art Shows Worth Queuing For?'.

A little disappointed, I then walked onwards to the Wellcome Trust, who had an interesting exhibition on show about curiosities and charms, which had been recommended to me by a friend of mine, Morag MacInnes. I was really impressed. I thought the 'Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings' were beautiful. I liked the way that there were lots of them, which gave you that impression of a shrine. These small paintings are usually executed on small plaques and depict the moment of personal humility when an individual asks a saint for help and is delivered from disaster (usually death). Room upon room, there they all were. I have to admit, I could imagine that some people would find it a bit repetitive after seeing twenty, but as a collection I thought they worked really well together. The exhibition explored the reaction of individuals during a time of crisis in which their strength of faith came into play, reminding me of how delicate life is. This, for me, seriously put our own 'environmental-financial crisis' into perspective, but at the same time it seemed rather apt. This exhibition left me with a feeling of hope and I noticed that there was a collective healing experience going on the spaces. An empathetic presence.

I thank our Lord Saint Francis of Assisi for saving us from drowning on 27 October 1962. (Monterrey, Nuevo León).
Oil on tin, 1962. Propiedad del Santuario de San Francisco de Asís de la Diócesis de Matehuala, SLP, México/INAH

The other exhibition at the Wellcome Trust was 'Charmed Life'. This exhibition was curated by Felicity Powell and featured some 400 amulets from Henry Wellcome's vast collection. The amulets, ranging from simple coins to meticulously carved shells, dead animals to elaborately fashioned notes, were amassed by the banker Edward Lovett, who scoured London by night, buying curious objects.

Hazelnut with copper mount and wire link at the top for attaching to a chain or similar.
Courtesy Pitt Rivers Museum [1985.51.195]

"I do not know of any object which for its size enjoys such a reputation as the acorn. I do not allude so much to the natural object, which when ripe falls from the cup and thus loses its character. I refer to the acorn design, which is so widely met with and made in so many different materials." Edward Lovett, 'Magic in Modern London', p. 63
Carved horn acorn in two pieces, containing a bell. Used as an amulet against lightning.
Courtesy Pitt Rivers Museum [1985.51.269]

I thought this exhibition was thoughtfully presented - sympathetic to the objects themselves. Such a marvellous array of odd things, which were screaming at me to be held, touched, and kept close, as they were many years ago. What I loved was that although each amulet on display had long been separated from its wearer, collectively they still formed a repository for anxieties, reassurances and superstitions. Alongside Lovett's amulets was a series Powell's intricate wax miniatures. I thought these were wonderfully delicate - they had that ethereal quality like the charms close by. The wax had been touched and moulded lovingly with Powell's digits (link to video). This quote sums up the wax work very well: 'Like Lovett's amulets, they seem to be more than themselves, hinting at a hidden magic at work, as they dip between real and imagined worlds'.

Detail from one of Felicity Powells wax artworks

Feeling rather uplifted from that exhibition, I decided to call it a day. I went to Intaglio's to get some printing ink, and then homeward bound. I am really gutted that I didn't get to St. Paul's. I have already been to the camp site and there is such a great collective vibe there (now they have a new library). I guess the Wellcome Collection filled the void that needed filling for me that day.

 The Alleyway were you can find 'Intaglio's': 
9 Playhouse Court off Southwark Bridge Road

Inside Intaglio Printmaker's, my favourite printing shop

Work tomorrow... and some sketchbook work.

Many thanks London for a great day!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

'Somehere Place' by Ryan McGinely 
at the Galerie Gabriel Rolt

Wish I could see this exhibition, or at least have this as a postcard on my wall! There is just so much optimism represented in this image.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I was burning the midnight oil last night

SBA Assignment 12 (Climbing Plants): 9.00/10

So I went to bed at 1am this morning... still not finished! I will be working on this little beast of a project tonight, so it will have to be sent by recorded delivery tomorrow morning. I have been working on getting the two bottom passion flowers - trying to get them to leap off the page (REALLY DIFFICULT!). With them being so pale, they naturally recede into the paper. I am really happy with the shadow on the left flower around the right below the stigmas. It seems to work well.

This bit above needs more work - the last touches

I can't even begin to describe to you how tired from working. Keeping a full time job on the go as well is now becoming very tricky indeed. It was not bad to begin with, but I am beginning to become concerned with regard to my portfolio pieces ... I have to do one a month on average.

It's been really lovely seeing more comments on my blog recently. It's always good to hear what people have to say - good or bad. Thank you!

I hope my next post will be about this beauty being put in the post!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A nice little piece I saw in the Stylist Magazine today

I love the detail, the relief work and of course the fact that it is in pen and ink - my favourite!

Monday, 14 November 2011

A bit more work - almost complete!

Another day in my bedroom studio and a few more layter sof paint have been added. I have no idea why this painting is taking so long.. I am guessing it is beucase of all the different shapes and colours which are slowing me down. I am desperate to get my tonal variation right this time around, so am trying to get the layers really deep as well. Just got Thursday night left on this and then I'll post it on Friday morning... Missed yoga tonight, and am feeling pretty ill with a nasty bug, so I hope I get a good mark!

Friday, 11 November 2011

And another 12 hours, although you wouldn't think it... 

... you have to look carefully for the changes. It is like 'spot the difference'!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Phaseolus and Lonicera being painted in...

On Thursday, my last day in Spain, I managed to squeeze in a few more hours of painting and put down the first layers of paint for my runner bean and honeysuckle flowers. I have a lot of work to do though and only 2 days off to do them in, so I will be working in the evenings to get this completed in time. I am enjoying it though.

Back in London this weekend, and straight into work in the gallery. They have just finished putting all the Joseph Hooker paintings on the walls, so we are now only waiting for the lighting to be done and the vinyl text and labels. The exhibition opens on the 12th - can't wait. It's an interesting exhibtion because it is biographical, and we haven't had one like that yet. Lots of photographs and examples of Walter Hood Fitch's work.

Off to Hattie's tonight in Manor House, London. She is designing a set stage for her party next week and the theme is 'The Botanical Garden and the Mad Scientist'. I think I will be painting some more plants - but in a rather different way - I am thinking BIG here. She lives in a type of communal warehouse - very cool. It's a big open space with hand crafted furniture and circular doors made by her house mate, Aidy.

Will post some images when it's all done!

I hope these images look ok. I am currently getting to grips with a new camera which I have called Io, and in using photoshop...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Not sure how many hours into this I am now...!

Another day in and I feel like I am making good progress. I am very pleased now that I have chosen to compose this differently, and stayed away from doing a portrait view with all the stems meeting at the bottom. With the climbing plants coming from the side I feel a little more 'free'. I have completed the unfurling bud on the far right which was pretty tricky! Being in Spain has really helped me relax and get into the zone! I am a little anxious about how I may be when back in London this weekend... It's time to start getting a bit more real and serious until March, when I complete the course, and I am concerned how well it is going to go with my full time job.

Eyes down look in...!