Monday, 28 February 2011

Spring Days

It's that time of year again - we know these dark days can't go on for much longer... but we aren't sure yet! So, Sunday, a glorious sunny bright morning full of "that" promise,  saw me leaping around in my garden again, snipping and tweeking and tutting, so I wouldn't miss anything.... and it was great! And no the sun didn't last, so that by tea time it was raining again.... but hey, today I am looking out on it all now, and yes,  it's grey again, but that's OK because really,  we are only on the cusp of February and March, and it WILL  get brighter, and last night's post heavy-weather sky was glorious and dramatic and star filled.  Purses and silver linings or clouds or something?....

Friday too I was in garden design mode, but this time for a client. We spent at least an hour chatting again (I had visited before and Friday's  visit was to survey and measure) and then I paced around measuring and looking and tutting again. It is not a big garden, but it is private and quiet and it is greatly loved by it's owners, who want to create a space of sanctuary and charm which will also provide a safe place in which their grandchildren can play.. so not too much to think about hey!! 

They came to visit my art exhibition at the Arundel Gallery Trail last year, which, by nature of the work on show, also highlighted my garden.... which brings me back to grey days and/or sunshine.... it's not long to go now, and when Spring does spring it will be particularly glorious this year, as all the very early stuff which has been delayed by the harsh weather  will burst at the same time as the later stuff, now ready to leap into action a bit early! Spring will be sprung and the grass will be ris again very soon!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Art Workshop

Had the best day on Monday..... no it wasn't sunny or a holiday or anything like that, I spent the whole day at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. The morning saw me at an  Outsider and Marginalised Artist Workshop. 
We were offered the chance to create mono prints using Paul Klee's art works as our starting point... I haven't done any mono printing since art school, (properly) and with  my daughters when they were at junior school, (playing) so it brought back many memories and also moved me forward to think of other creative outcomes. After a short demonstration, our group got started and,  as a whole , we were enormously creative and absorbed. Process and product flowed together. 
My afternoon also flowed on seamlessly...... On Monday afternoons a group from the Partners in Art scheme, which is part of the Community Programme at Pallant House Gallery, meet  in the studio  there. The Partners in Art scheme pairs up people who need support to follow their art interests with a volunteer who may also be a practising artist. Together they meet to share and grow their art interests at a time and place that suits them. On Mondays, in the studio, everyone has their own creative project on the go, often working with their 'Partner'. I have been a a volunteer and a "Partner" in this scheme for some time now.
'Outside In' is a project for marginalised artists creating opportunities for people to develop and exhibit their art. Many have exhibited in the studio at Pallant House Gallery. Very well worth checking out regularly or indeed getting involved in. See the Outside In website 
So all in all a complete day of creativity and socialising with other artists - a Red Letter Monday for me!

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Power of Music

Last night, not sure what I was expecting, having donned several warm layers, I headed off to Chichester Cathedral, home of the famous Chagal window, (which incidentally I think should be back lit when there are evening events..) and John Piper's and Graham Sutherland's wonderful art work, I was unexpectedly moved to tears and then whoops of joy by the Creole Choir of Cuba - If we ever needed a reminder of how passionate and moving music can be, here it was. 6 women and 4 men, dressed in glorious colour, dancing and swaying, sang of their pain and suffering, about their forebears' near slavery in the sugar and cotton plantations, about the harshness of life in general and, in particular, the disaster which befell Haiti last year. I cried, I felt deep deep sorrow... without even understanding a word of Creole, Cuba's second language

During the interval we strolled round the cathedral, soaking up  the atmosphere, gazing in wonder at not only the grand architectural mass of this building, but enjoying anew its glorious art work.... returning to our seats, a little warmer from our stroll, we were  lifted to an entirely different level - this time a place of laughter and rejoicing... it was rich, it was genuine and deeply felt and it was all a passionate reminder of the power music has to move  and hold us...... Follow this tour if you possibly can......

Friday, 18 February 2011

Dance.. but not watching this time!

Another  quiet night in sleepy old Arundel last night - just a couple of drinks down in the my case only one though as someone knocked mine over straight away... my excuse and I'm stickin' to it!.. listening to Blues courtesy of Will and Stephen and Guitarist - and all hell broke loose! We all just Upped and Bopped - and bopped till we dropped... and hobbled home... great fun, great music, great venue. It happens every 3rd Thursday in the month with comedy and  other stuff thrown in too - always something going on and its like a secret everyone should know about.... Its vaulted and deep under  the Town Hall.... check it out on 
I have just spoken to my Dancing Partner and he's just sheepisly admitted he fell asleep this afternoon, due to excessive dancing ha ha!

Monday, 14 February 2011


"I can't believe it's Friday, again, already, whatever... all of that. Busy week, but what's the outcome  of all of it? I remember when I felt I was only  "achieving" if I was constantly rushing around. Energy out only ever counted if I was totally exhausted by the end of my week. I have been busy this week. I have  moved a lot of things around. And I am not exhausted!

On Wednesday, for example, I had a lunch meeting with my group of artists who exhibit with me in the Arundel Gallery Trail ....  We sorted it all - persuaded one of us, who is going through  a lot of changes  in her life, to stay  with us and  to show her wonderful work again here - agreed on taking on 2 new artists to show here, that makes us a total of 6, exiting - and we also discussed the merits or otherwise of pink diamente Donald Duck pants... did that really happen? And why did she tell us that? Ha!

The day before had been sun filled. Yes,  weird,  I saw a strange orange glow in the sky and headed out to my little patch here which has been crying out for some TLC... and I gardened for two glorious hours, pruning roses, cutting back my collection of grasses, musing, planning. I had my garden studio doors open for the first time this year yay!  I took photos and I plotted and planned some more.

This was all "work" but it didn't  feel like "work", it wasn't draining me, rather it was giving me energy - It's all wrapped up together, its all about "growing"... and last night I went to a fabulous, moving, energising, raw and beautiful dance performance at Chichester university, by a modern young dance company called Lila Dance - check them out on and try and see them on this tour if you possibly can.  Watching them move in and out of deep shadows and bright light not only inspired my own painting, but also provoked a feeling of general creativity. Things aren't/don't need to be in boxes - its all linked and it flows - I know it all sounds a bit  happy clappy, but if we can see things joined together rather than sparring with each other, we  begin to paint the real picture, and we can begin to measure achievement in "real" terms  too.
Here endeth the sermon, which wasn't, of course, supposed to be a sermon in the first place, rather a Friday night chat!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Art and Stuff

It's all too easy to just not make the effort, isn't it? I felt quite ambivalent about a planned trip to London yesterday.... grey day, feeling lazy, the usual stuff. I knew my friend was really keen on this trip... An exhibition at the Barbican - Future Beauty, 30 Years of Japanese Fashion. Two important points (well important to me that is!), were involved here. 1, I HATE going anywhere near the Barbican. I  always get lost, I find the grey concrete depressing, and now of course there are so many empty grey concrete buildings, so I have to be very fond of any person who could possibly drag me anywhere near the place.. and 2, I wasnt too keen on looking at "Fashion". I had left that world behind many years ago, having enjoyed almost 20 years of textile and fashion designing. But wow! Was I wrong on all of the above... It was such a visual treat. Beautfully presented with  long silky shimmering panels of fabric dividing the exhibits. And as for the exhibits - perfectly shaped, draped, coloured, proportioned, textured pieces of  art. Sure they were old frocks, but hey,  what cool old frocks! Each one a feat of engineering and innovative design. Each one a blending of form and function, and really isnt that what design, any design, is all about? Proportion, form , texture, pattern, etc, it all works when its done well.... no matter what area of design we are talking about, it's all linked. This exhibition finishes on 7th Feb, I think, so if you have time, do make the effort this weekend, you won't be disappointed... Oh and I forgot to tell you, we nearly missed half of it! We were just about to leave when I overheard a conversation about "upstairs"! Well, dont miss that bit whatever you do - it shouts colour and shape and look-at me!

Interestingly, this was in sharp contrast to my trip, also yesterday, in the morning, to the RA's new show, 20th Century Sculpture. Now that was a completely opposite experience. I had been looking forward to  this one... I walked round in 15 minutes. I found it tired, unexiting... in fact the only piece I felt moved by was a perfect wood and string ball by Barbara Hepworth... But she shines anywhere, I think.

My motto for the day, (ha ha!) is to be open - surprising how often we arent and that makes me think how much we might be missing.

Anyway, back to the studio. Yes, I managed it,  I sarted a new piece on Monday. I did spend quite a lot of time pottering around my little studio, well, we hadnt spent any time together for quite a while so we had to get to know each other again...  Happy to say, we are still good mates, so...

Bye, for now!...