18 June 2018

Monday miscellany

Vintage fairground rides -



 Colour, on the streets -


 A simple but effective book cover -
 Bits of metal I saved for some reason -

17 June 2018

Sunday in the park (and gallery)

On the way to Tate Britain this morning I walked through Green Park and St James Park, enjoying the birds and flowers and becoming aware of "military" bands playing across the lake and then down the mall - of course! it's the lead-up to Changing of the Guard!
Approaching Buckingham Palace

Meadow beside the lake

Bold and "tame" geese ....
... learning from MamaGoose

And such shenanigans among the people...!

More shenanigans!
 Everybody loves a parade, and the music sent us hurrying to the Mall to see ...
After the band passed, and as the stirring music faded, these guys
with their machine guns at their sides were a (chilling)
reminder of modern times
 At Tate Britain (after tea and cake of course) I sat myself down on the first convenient bench and got on with Tuesday-drawing "homework": to copy something -
That's part of Stanley Spencer's "The Resurrection, Cookham" (1924-7), and this mere smudge is 45 minutes of intense work - looking at the relations between parts of it, and the tones -
It's faint and timid on the page, but I felt that all the "noticing" that went on was very enlightening - dark and light, how to get movement and how to get stillness, the types of lines vs masses. I found myself checking and rechecking the relation of one figure to another, the tombstones to the figures (that grid of eye-movements could make "a map of looking").

Back through time, through various rooms, to the 1740s and another convenient bench. More looking and checking, and here's my deepened understanding of a family group by Scottish painter Allan Ramsay -
 ... from this distance ...
Up close, of course, there are all sorts of subtleties, not least in the colours (and the sudden appearance of the dog!) -
 and the expressions, especially of Mary, who was partially sighted -

My quick sketch completely misses capturing the personality of the sitters. Nor did I even attempt that! One step at a time ... first let's get them in the right places, at the right relative size.

I firmly believe that so-called copying is a good thing to do: you're doing it as a means of educating yourself, and of getting practice at both looking/seeing and capturing the shapes/tones. It's a private pursuit, and it's not easy: perseverance is definintely required.

On the way out of the building this memorial to Malcolm Morley, the first winner of the Turner Prize (1984) -


16 June 2018

Into the studio...

... the ceramics studio! It's close to home - a 20-minute walk, door to door, and there are five or perhaps six of us in the (downstairs) space. 
Being in a studio may have hidden dangers, and there's a sign at the entrance to the yard warning of this -
Never mind, I want to give it a go, so this morning I took along a few things, paid my rent, and picked up the keys. My space is right near the door -
The all-important kiln -
 Storage space at the back of the room - and a little library! -
To settle in, I sat for a few minutes and read a magazine ...
Of course settling in and getting down to some work will take a little longer than that. Materials must be brought from home, and I also need to get clear on my plan and purpose.

It's there, waiting... looking forward ...

15 June 2018

A rose by any other name...

They're saying it's a good year for roses, and indeed they are out in abundance. My camera is snapping them up, especially "Kiftsgate", the vigorous climber that rampaged along back fence in Wrentham Avenue. When I see it I get a bit nostalgic, and out comes the camera, "for old time's sake" -

At "the pretty cottages" just off Hornsey Road

Against a clear blue sky

Along the wall at Hampton Court rose garden

14 June 2018

Poetry Thursday - Pear Tree by H.D.

Pear Tree

Silver dust   
lifted from the earth,   
higher than my arms reach,   
you have mounted.   
O silver,
higher than my arms reach   
you front us with great mass;   
   
no flower ever opened   
so staunch a white leaf,   
no flower ever parted silver
from such rare silver;   
   
O white pear,   
your flower-tufts,   
thick on the branch,   
bring summer and ripe fruits
in their purple hearts.

Hilda Doolittle was one of the leaders of the Imagist movement in the United States. "Her work is characterized by the intense strength of her images, economy of language, and use of classical mythology. Her poems did not receive widespread appreciation and acclaim during her lifetime, in part because her name was associated with the Imagist movement even as her voice had outgrown the movement’s boundaries.... Neglect of H. D. can also be attributed to her times, as many of her poems spoke to an audience which was unready to respond to the strong feminist principles articulated in her work." (via)

These photos, taken at Hampton Court this week, sent me hunting for a "golden pear tree" but  HD's silvery poem won out over the little-nutmeg nursery rhyme!



Jill Watson, the sculptor, writes on her website: "This commission was to create an eye catching entrance to direct school children coming to the new Clore Learning Centre. Built by Feildon Clegg Bradley Studio at the end of the historic soldiers barracks at Hampton Court Palace, the design has the formality of soldiers and honours the centuries of fabulous gardens of the palace.
The golden archway leads the children to the Learning Centre where they have to touch the bronze doorhandles to enter the building. The handles are made up of 26 historical figures connected to life at the palace."

13 June 2018

Carters Steam Fair

 Setting up -


The fair was founded in 1977 and consists entirely of vintage equipment (1870s to 1960s), and the family and crew travel and live in the old wagons. When not travelling (April to November), the equipment is serviced and restored - read about the paintshop here. Joby Carter offers courses in fairground painting and in signwriting (see video here - "my hobby happens to be my business, and vice versa").


12 June 2018

Drawing Tuesday - Museum of London

A simple pot - and its shadows - first caught my eye -
followed by pots in a case nearby -
Away from the "prehistoric" gallery and into more modern times - this was part of a banner used on a processional barge in the mid-19th century -
Yet again, my good intention to work on these pages at home came to naught. The coloured pencils are all water soluble, but water makes the pages wrinkle and heavy working into wet areas can soak through the page - is "perfect neatness" getting in the way? is a little risk-taking needed??

Judith found a view into the gardens through a railing -
 Jo found four mother-goddesses (usually they come in groups of three) -
 Carol had been in the prehistoric gallery too -
 as had Mags -

Tools and techniques - Jo demonstrated the subtle colours of Graphtint soluble pencils -
 Mags showed how to make those white lines - first score them with the retractable pencil, then cover with graphite; some erasure is optional -
Carol's wide and narrow tipped felt pens, water soluble -
 Extracurricular activities -  Carol's machine stitching from her photo of a favorite view -