Sunday, 24 February 2013


I'm not sure that changing templates was a thought out move but I wanted a broader page and sort of got changed before I knew it.  It does mean that the layout on past posts is b. awful, but never mind.
I've also decided to revamp my pages. 
So, my home page is just news. It was one of those weeks - by Monday I had 5 things to do and three of them were on Wednesday evening and 2 on Saturday morning! 
I spent some time on Monday painting planters in the park. They're going to go on Town Street, I think without the rubbish and with compost and plants.  Parks Department will move them for us (Beeston in Bloom)
You can't see all the paint I got on my jacket, but it washed off lovely.

For Lent, I'm going to let people know I believe in God and learn about Julian of Norwich and what she said. As a result so far I have had one snort of derision, two interesting conversations and one I could have done without but it passed the time.
Because of overbooking I missed printmaking on Wednesday and so decided to try and put the group pic onto a piece of boardish paper that I got to paint with acrylics on.  Painting is hard.  Not the doing it, that's fun.  It's getting it to look like I want it to look that doesn't seem to happen. 
Instead of facing up to the possibility that I might be just as crap at printing, I went to Linda's and then my last PCC meeting instead.  It turned out that Sandra knew of Julian of Norwich and is going to lend me a book, so that's a + for the evening.
I've been helping design a website - if you click on it, it will push it up the search engine ratings for them!
Yesterday, singing clashed with Beeston in Bloom weeding - so I went singing instead of gardening in the snowy rain.  We did, 'with one look' but not as if we were stark-staring, just as if we were under the delusion that we could do what we sang we could.  And added choreography to a couple of numbers which was a chance to forget words and tunes and have hysterics.
I don't know if this works as a blog. 
Julian of Norwich - all that is, is 'a little thing, the quantity of a hazel-nut... as round as a ball... methought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness and I was answered in my understanding: It lasteth, and ever shall for that God loveth it.'

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Just another week

OK, I'm sentimental - what's news? If I needed it, here is one reason for being on Blipfoto.
This is Maud who does a daily blip courtesy of aprecious, who is always a joy to read. Today was a giggle.

It has been an indoors sort of week
 - I worked at getting hands onto paper ready for Wednesday and was quite pleased with these two sets and had cut my etching ready for the hardground dip.

I'd even worked out what I was going to say to Jonathan if he tried to persuade me to do anything other than get this blessed offset printing sorted out!
And then it snowed and it kept on snowing until I got the 'cancelled' phone call and then it kept on snowing.

This is what it was like by 5 o'clock - See, it was light enough to take photos at teatime!
You can tell how deep it is by the blanket round the little girl under the arch.

But by Thursday it was gone.

The Veg theme is because:
(1)this is nearly ready/ready to cut - it could be tomorrow's dinner,

(2) on Friday my seed potatoes arrived and are already starting to sprout.
(3) who wants to think about meat when they could be eating horse medication instead.
And I've been practicing singing.  Every morning.
I'm really getting into this one:

Scarey, or what, the thought of 300+ of us 'living' that at you.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Never mind the weather

In between the weather Diz took me and Angel to Ilkely on Monday and we walked by the river so we wouldn't get blown off the moor.
And the river was full

This is the first 'you expect me to fly in this wind' picture of the week as we were walking up stream

and then as we were going down on the other side, we spotted what seemed like a rehearsal of 'mad dogs and englishmen' that turned into potential duke of ed awardees and then finally resolved into firemen on rescue practice.

On Thursday we went to Whitby.  First stop was Sausage and Blackpudding pie at Humble Pie, where Angel got complemented on her manners,

then we had a look at the sea (we could see the white horses from the top of the moor it was that rough!)

It blew the cobwebs off with a vengence. We got in the shelter of west cliff and climbed up to see where we are going to stay in June but due to streets in Whitby having different names on either side of the road, we didn't find West Terrace.
But we did make it to Beckett's (the cake shop) - the next part of the plan - and it was CLOSED till the 15th!
So, we had coffee outside and no cake but out of the wind as far as we were concerned but maybe not this herring gull's opinion
Bird not flying no.2

And somewhere in there I finally delivered Diz's noren.  It seems a bit on the short side to me.

My history of art (1)

I didn't write much last week cos I'd spent most of it thinking.
It didn't get me anywhere so now I'm going to write it down in the hope that the writing will lead to some conclusion or at least closure.
It was all about line and surface.  I'm trying to do an etching of the printmaking group and they boil down to hands and faces and how to try and capture those.  I want to do solid people and it seems that after a term of working on David in lino that maybe etching will help me capture the surface of skin.  And skin has no edges so I didn't ought to use line, but it seems that it is lines that I see  (which is why my dresser has the newspaper hanging off it - to try and see what it is that I see.
And that led onto what do I see - lines or surfaces - and how much of that is 'real' and how much is my 'art education'.  They are in ' ' because none of it is real, really, it is what my brain makes of it.  Not being able to remember back before 5, I don't know how I saw the world before I started seeing pictures of it.
Which is why this is my history of art.
Grandad and Dad both drew. Grandad drew in the margins of newspapers with whatever was to hand, Dad drew in pencil.  I have a memory of getting a paint by numbers one Christmas and trying to persuade Grandad to let me have a go with it. That's the only memory I have of using colour but the things that I remember - scarlet pimpernel, the wing feather of a jay that I found in Eckington wood, (Mum and Dad bought me the bird book), the way the light turned pink in Sitwell Street some evenings, were all about colour.
And somehow line v surface is linked with drawing v colour in my head.
I think that the eye sees line or at least the edges of things with rods and colour or surface with cones, so maybe there is some sense in the split.
 The first book I can remember for its illustrations is either Rudyard Kipling 'Just so stories' or A A Milne 'The Christopher Robin Verses', which I still have and got for my birthday in 1956, from Grandad. 

And then there was 'Wind in the Willows' a couple of years later, from Mummy and Daddy.
Then John Lennon, and I'm not sure where that went.

I remember being introduced to Bruegel in the Lower Sixth when we did Elliot, 'The Journey of the Maggi'.  That was Mr Brook. 

By then I'd long since given up on art at school, having had a report that said, 'Judith has the ideas but is incapable of putting them onto paper' - at least that is how I remember it.  My other memories of art lessons are of trying to mix powder paint so that it stood up on the paper in ridges and painting my eye - we were given a mirror - and it actually getting put up on the wall, upside down!
One of the books I got for my School prize was an illustrated 'Rubaiyat of Omar Kayam'.  I took it to Reading with me and made a picture out of poster paper, orange and pink that went up on my room wall. I used to lay on my bed staring at it and then at the ceiling and seeing the after image on the white. I had such an active life at University.

I got a book of Aubrey Beardsley pictures while I was there and one of Klee and they were my favourites for years.

When I lived in St Matthew's Court we had a huge Guernica print on the living room wall - Jude's, not mine, and I used to look at it and wonder what it was meant to be and why it was supposed to be so good.
And, of course, living in London meant the galleries, the Tate in particular, I didn't discover the National till much later. And wandering round the Tate showed me the pre-Raphaelites and what I remember of them now is the colour and detail and how getting all that onto a flat space seemed like magic to me.
I don't remember drawing again except for worksheets and they were pathetic, run off on a banda machine, until I started teaching in middle school and had to teach Art then I drew Sammy in pastels. And when we went to France with Susan and Pete I drew Abigail and a picture of the garden. 
At Beeston Primary, I did Mum in water colour pencils as well as whatever I was trying to do with the kids cos it seemed the only way to prepare for practical lessons for me was to try and do it myself - which is probably why lesson planning always took me so long.  And that was when I got the John Muafangejo book and got into printmaking. 

 'Health and safety' disallowed lino cutting after a couple of my years there (and batik) but I remember doing a huge monoprint (spreading the paint mixed with washing up liquid on the top of a trestle table) of the sea and sea creatures with the kids that covered my blackboard wall for a year, and a hot wax batik of the sea too.  We had to use polystyrene 'cut' with pencil for lino.
Linocutting is all about edges around planes.  I went on an in-service day on art when I was at Beeston and I remember being told not to look at a whole thing but to pick some part to concentrate on - I suppose that is a way of getting past looking at edges.
This is a bit of a tangent but it has taken me till this year to learn that abstract is a verb. I knew abstract nouns before I knew abstract art is the only excuse I've got for this. It's not so much of a tangent because I suppose the tutor on the course was talking about abstracting.
So, what do I want to abstract from the people I want to etch? - eyes and mouths, because the eyes show the focus and concentration and the mouths show their response to what they are doing; hands show the grip and pressure and tension of the making. I asked them what symbols they would choose (like in 18th century or so portraits when they had house and skull and globe) to represent their values and interests and I want them to go in too.
Back to eyes and mouths - they have to be set in something and that is where trying to make faces solid comes in.  But then I start thinking - do they have to be set in something?  Can I practise making solids at the same time as doing the rest or am I taking too much on?
KNOW YOUR OWN LIMITATIONS - not something I'm good at.  The thing is that I run out of steam too and that is why printmaking is important.  If I was just sat at home drawing then I would just draw it and when it didn't work I would give up, but the process of printmaking means that getting ready to make the print gives me an end, and then making the print gives me thinking time and producing it always has a surprise element - lino cutting was getting to the point where I knew what the paper image would look like, etching is still a long way from that and that surprise is important because it gives me, I don't know, 'insight' seems a bit pretentious but it does make me notice what I've done and rethink it and with etchings, apparently, you can rework the plate.  I say apparently because I didn't know that when I last did one.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Being braver

I discovered Paula Rego's prints in the library on Tuesday and have spent a lot of this week trying to see how she does it.
I've been looking at how she does hands and faces in particular
I'm still trying to draw people and have decided to move on to etchings this term to work on how to show solidity with shading.  Betty's 'thoughts on failing' stayed with me and I'm going to try and be a little (lot) less precious about what I do and then try and improve it rather than being all fiddly and fidgetty and throwing away when it isn't what I was trying to do.
This term's suggestion tied in with wanting to work on people. Instead of basing it on Holbeck Christmas Fare though, this is going to be the printing group, so it will be mostly hands and faces. Not as feeling full as Paula Rego, but I hope to make them as strong.  Maybe there'll be something other than doodles to show for it next week.
I could show doodles I guess, talking about being less precious, but Angel is sat on me a bit like this
and the settee is warm and the air is cold and my sketch book and camera are on the kitchen table.