Monday, 22 August 2011

Summer Days Out and Winter Snow Scenes

Despite it being summer, an artist is always working ahead, and the next big lot of exhibitions are in October. Foremost in my mind is Visions of Sudbury, which is run every two years in St Peters in the centre of Sudbury. It is open to amateurs and professionals, 2 works can be entered, any medium, but it must depict, well, Sudbury. Wanting to make an impact this year I set about getting bigger boards cut, and for the first work decided on a picture of a frozen stream from a photo I took in last year's snow falls. It's a classic view of the coloured cottages near the Mill Hotel, and normally I avoid painting them as they tend to look too twee for my tastes. But I liked the look of them in the snow, so here it is, 50cm square, and I am about to start another, similar size, but in landscape format of a slightly different view of the meadows, with the cattle on. Big is beautiful they say, so we shall see...

It was somewhat surreal painting snow in the sun, but at least Gimlet knew what to do. He found the perfect sun protector in the form of the huge Rhubarb leaves by the studio...

The teen is enjoying her hols, and after 10 days with the grandparents stopped off home to pick up her passport for a trip to Holland with her father. She was home less than 24 hours and didn't even unpack. "you might as well have just driven past slowly and waved!" I said... It is gsce results time this week, and I have instructions to collect them and text my daughter. I am dreading this chore; if the tv news is to be believed I will be surrounded by alternately screeching and sobbing teenagers. I aim to get in and out fast, before the endemic hysteria gets to me. 

The trips out with Saturday class members continued with our visit to the Tate Britain Watercolour Exhibition. Myself and 5 others traveled to London, organised by one of my students (also a policeman!) He did a fine job of keeping 5 chattering women under control as we made our way into London. Even before we got to the Tate there was art all around us. Even seemingly boring buildings were dripping with interesting details when you looked closely:

Photos were forbidden in the actual exhibition, but I can recommend it, the works were stunning and spanned several centuries and many styles. My only disappointment was with the 'modern' works; a plastic teaspoon dipped in paint and mounted on the wall, a couple of twigs smeared with Gouache... as usual the many and varied modern works in this medium were ignored in favour of the infamous like Tracy Emin, who had four small watercolours. Each looked like the marks left if I don't wipe up after making coffee, but then what do I know?

Next after our jaunt into London, and closer to home was Polstead Church. A fabulous place to paint, I regretted that I only had time for a sketch and some photos before I had to return to teach a private student in the studio. But I hope to return to the subject. Here was the view:

The gravestones were fascinating, and someone immediately spotted a small stone and poem dedicated to ornithologist and bird mimic Percy Edwards.

Meanwhile at home it is all change, and whilst waiting for his next set of training courses to start, boyfriend has been preparing for our extension build. Part of this is our plan to knock down the kitchen wall to change to poky kitchen into a large kitchen/diner. The wall came down fine, and the only problem is the old gas pipe it left behind, which a plumber will need to deal with:

So now we have a trench in the middle of the floor, and a pipe sticking up. But I really don't care, the kitchen simply can't get any worse, and the bigger space is exciting after the tiny kitchen. Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Farm yard fun!

No it's not an Emu, an Ostrich or a Dodo... it's a Rhea!

On Saturday my weekly class had their first informal meet up for untutored painting, face stuffing and general silliness. We were invited by the lovely people at Assington Farm Shop/Artisans Tea Rooms. There were noisy geese, a sweet pigmy goat, some cows and best of all the Rhea's who were very amusing. They did not keep still for a second, and pecked curiously at anything that got too close, including my camera and drawing board. I could only stay for a couple of hours due to having some private students to teach in the afternoon. But after walking up and down, imploring the big birds to "stand still" or "move that back foot" I managed a sketch, and after an hour had a passable watercolour sketch (unfinished.)

Back in the studio I have been making mosaics and now have three small ones to add to my exhibition tally:

A blue heart:

A butterfly with grey grout:

And a panel with sea shells and cream grout:

Finally time to share some other people's art; and here is a fabulous collage from one of my Saturday Students:

 Started in pastels, but L always gets carried away into the world of mixed media and can never resist trying something a little different, this time using some pictures of local allotments to add to her painting and the result was really successful.

L is a teacher at the Ryes School for troubled and vulnerable children and teens, and here is a painting by Rody, who has much difficulty focusing and concentrating. Apparently it took about a month of working in little 5 minute slots until it was done. He can be very proud of the results.