Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Solihull Artists Forum Art Trail 2011

Spent Saturday on the Solihull Artists' Forum Artists' Trail. An opportunity to see local artists working in their own studios.  Didn't do as many as last year but always happy to see Kathryn Pettitt's textile work and jewellery.  I just love her studio which is an oasis at the bottom of her garden - an Aladdin's Cave where she can hibernate, listening to Radio 4 and just getting on with all her stuff and things she loves to do.  Bliss!  Great to See Paula Hamilton's landscapes.  I don't do many landscapes myself - in fact none at all but got the urge to put paint to canvas and try some myself and made a mental note to look out some of my photographs from holidays past (photos I have taken with a view anyway of painting that particular scene - lots from Cornwall and France- I simply must have a go.
Great to see Jackie's work too - loved her floating canvases and her textile work.
Dropped in as well to see Maureen and Avril at Hilary Poole's house.  Hilary is another person who has converted her garage to a studio.  Would love to do that with our garage but its only bare breeze block and will get mighty cold in the winter.  Could put a heater in I suppose but might prove expensive. Need to  maybe seriously think about this as I want to experiment with Procion dyes and don't want to do that in the house.  Also fancied having a dabble at reupholstering seeing as I have now accumulated 2 chairs, a foot stool and an ottomon last week in Lyme.  Bargain at £10.
More PHDs I fear.   
Have a look at last year's art trail .  Myself and Maureen have been papped on it.

MA Show at the Herbert

Visited The Herbert Museum & Art Gallery in Coventry yesterday to have a look at the MA Contemporary art show there - entitled Happy Ever After (what a great place to have your show - pity we haven't got somewhere like that in Solihull for our degree show).  Went primarily to see Katie Watkins work (2010 BA graduate from Solihull College).  Her work was based on the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood which she called Little Red Womanhood and centred on the symbolic representation of menstruation and womanhood.  Loved the stitching on the dress which she had embroidered to look like a patch of menstrual blood which had leaked through.  Very strong imagery and quite shocking.  Not sure I could have done that as I would have worried about being embarassed in front of my male friends and relatives at the private view but I suppose I need to get over that if I am to be a successful artist.  Tracey Emin doesn't worry about that kind of thing after all.
Rest of the show was very film based.  Call me old fashioned but I really am not inspired by film work and I know I should be but just can't get excited about it.  I prefer something more tangible.

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Weekend in Lyme Regis

A fabulous weekend with the girls down in Lyme Regis. It was also the Lyme Regis Arts Fest so got to visit lots of artists' open studios in and around Lyme, lots of walking and quite a bit of eating too. Thanks Sue for letting us stay at Nettlebank and for being such a great friend and host. 

One of the best places we visited in Lyme was The Town Mill Bakery - a great vegetarian cafe which bakes its own bread and serves the most amazing food - and its all home made. The set up there is quite an unusual concept - cut yourself a slice of bread from one of the many tasty loaves available, help yourself to a main dish which may be a slice of home made pizza,  a rosemary and garlic focaccia or a warming bowl of  country vegetable stew or whatever takes your fancy, then grab an empty place at one of the long tables where everyone sits together hugger mugger, having ordered a drink at the massive Gaggia on the way. For dessert go back up for a slice of one of their tempting home made cakes and another one if you want because they're all delicious, then on your way out pay at the till. Nobody keeps a tally of what you've eaten, its all on trust but to be honest nobody who comes here would want to diddle them out of a few pence anyway because the food is so good and such good value. Because it was Arts Fest Week over by the breads were some amazing pastel drawings on the wall of the bakers making their bread here at some unearthly hour in the morning.

Breakfast is even more interesting - grab a wooden board and cutlery, cut yourself a slice of bread then toast it in one of the toasting machines, help yourself to a huge bowl of homemade muesli or a boiled egg, then sit down and slather on the butter and raspberry jam from one of the bowls on the long tables.

Fed and watered we are back onto the art trail though for me I'm always thinking about where my next meal is coming from.   Back to the Town Mill Bakery then for a spot of lunch!

Then a brisk walk along the prom where I find a bargain ottoman for £10 in a vintage shop. Intention is to re-cover it but that may end up as a PHD.  Trouble is we then had to carry it around Lyme for the rest of the afternoon.   Thanks Jayne and Sue for carting it round Lyme for me.
Lino-Print Man

Hot Cocolate at Rinky Tinks
Jazz in the Afternoon
No more photos please! 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Suffolk Puffs at the Herbert

Great day at the Herbert yesterday on a workshop with Jane Cobbett learning how to make Suffolk Puffs - a very versatile form of patchwork.  Made a beautiful brooch.

Jane and Peterson Cobbett have an exhibition there of beautiful vintage quilts called A Stitch in Time: A History of Patchwork. 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A busy day at The New Walsall Art Gallery

Cameron Galt WatercolourWorkshop

Early start yesterday to be at Ther New Walsall Art Gallery to attend the workshop at 11.00 given by resident artist Cameron Galt who is a member of the Royal Watercolour Society.  About 10 of us were in the artist's studio painting watercolour studies of pomegranates and pears.  Cameron is just such a nice, funny, friendly man. He gave us some good advice on watercolours and the use of masking fluid which I have only briefly used before.   He gave a talk later in the afternoon about the paths he took (some good, some bad)  and how he became an artist. At one point rubbing shoulders with Lucien Freud who had attended one of his exhibitions (although it turned out that he was only there to see his fellow artist who was also exhibiting in the same show) he thumbs his nose at the art establishment and the likes of Charles Saatchi who actually did buy a few of his pieces at one time but then ended up selling them on.  We really could have gone on listening to him for ages if it hadn't been for the gallery assistant telling him that they were due to shut in about 20 minutes so he needed to wind his talk up - a truly remarkable, modest and entertaining man who has hit highs and lows in his 21 year career but has lived to tell the tale.   



Went along to the Mark Titchner talk at Walsall Art Gallery which I had been looking forward to for a while.  Booked it ages ago.  Felt we knew him more because Laura had studied him during the first year of her degree.  Very agreeable, modest man - only in mid thirties (and good looking to boot). He spoke of his work as part of Home of Metal.   He uses text a lot in his work - slogans and lyrics and particularly liked his metal construction of words.  He didn't seem at all pretentious like some artists we have seen.

Mark Titchner works in a wide variety of media, often combining new technologies with more traditional craft techniques.  An overarching interest is the ways in which communication engenders belief.  Text commonly features within his work and he draws from a wide range of sources including song lyrics, advertising slogans, corporate mission statements and political manifestos. 

Newly commissioned works will be shown alongside key works from the artist’s past practice.  Amongst the brand new works will be a video portrait of Nicholas Bullen, a founding member of Napalm Death, and an enormous banner that combines digital image manipulation with the raw structure of a breeze-block wall.

The exhibition is presented as part of Home of Metal, a celebration of the music that was born in the Black Country and Birmingham.  Created and produced by Capsule, the project brings people together to share their passion and to explore themes of Heavy Metal through exhibitions, film screenings, live events, a conference and family friendly activities.  Four decades since Heavy Metal was unleashed onto an unsuspecting world, Home of Metal honours a truly global musical phenomenon.