22 January 2019

Drawing Tuesday - Maritime Museum

The Polar Regions galleries have much about the search for the north-west passage and many objects related to the ill-fated Franklin expedition, or rather, attempts to find out what happened to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and the men who sailed on them.

The crew was officially labelled lost in 1854, but in 1857 the steam yacht Fox went out in search, funded by public subscription -
 Arctic clothing of the time couldn't have been all that warm -
The coat worn by Captain McClintock of the Fox looks to be made of linen, not even very thick cloth -
The Fox's bell is also displayed in that case. Before finding those items, my warm-up was a miscellany, the contents of a case convenient to somewhere to sit. From a distance they can be indecipherable - those boxes, for instance, turned out on closer inspection to contain compasses  -

Carol found not just Arctic clothing, but also an Antarctic wedding dress, made with fabric that happened to be available ... a tent -
 Janet K examined a toy yacht -
 ... and draughtsman's curves -
 Janet B too found a model boat
 ... and also a fine penguin -
 Sue's model of a boat prow was an innovative design, and made in 1783 -
 Jo's view of Greenwich Observatory (up the hill) was drawn with her "other" hand, and the people and dog appeared just as she'd finished, so into the picture they went -
 ... and indoors, she was drawn to an impressionist painting -
 Judith's snow scene captures the cold and isolation of polar regions -
 ... after which she turned to breadfruit --
 Najlaa found shapes, pattern, and interest in various instruments and tools -

Extra-curricular activities

Janet K found many shades of green at Kew Gardens...

... and also a bare oak tree

Judith brought along "free weaving" made in a City Lit course

Mags (who had a very, very long journey and arrived rather late)
has been drawing small objects as part of "a drawing a day"

Najlaa has been given two christening gowns to do with as
she will, and wonders what to do with them
And to finish - the view across the road to the spacious, elegant Royal Hospital, and across the river to ever-more-crowded Canary Wharf -

21 January 2019

The teapots are not for sale!



The teapots once sold in the Gill Wing gift shop have come together to make quite a collection - 1500 or so. The shop was opened on Upper Street in 1980 to sell designer products and contemporary ceramics, including the teapots made in Stoke-on-Trent. It was the first shop of its kind in an Islington that was rapidly gentrifying.

I stopped in to make an impulse purchase, attracted by the sale price ... as often happens....



Back home, a hopeful glance out the skylight and beyond the chimneys at the supermoon, still some hours away from its eclipse-moment -
But when it came to it, the clouds had moved in  over Stroud Green Road. Better luck next time?

20 January 2019

Golden light and silver moon

Late afternoon at Tate Modern -

 and dusk in Islington -

It's been a lovely blue-sky clear day ...but clouds are expected to roll in, just in time for the eclipse!

19 January 2019

Studio Saturday

The plan was to fire up the little kiln for the first time on Thursday, but this has been postponed to Monday. Eventually it will be done!

Meanwhile I made some more small pots to be fired asap -
The tall one is gathered polyester organza, steamed, around a sinamay core. The others are very simple structures, with narrow strips of  metallic fabric sewn on by machine - quick and easy, but how will those bands look after firing?

At the studio, the first task was to inspect how those already dipped had dried. There seem to be some gaps and infelicities, inside and out, but very little cracking -



I'll leave some of them as is, to see what happens to the half-dipped areas. And will pay closer attention next time.

The "new" pots were ready for dipping -
and were set out for drying - they are chimneypots (to fit over tealights or other candles) rather than little vases with bottoms -

18 January 2019

Painted faces, close up

After looking long and hard at the Vuillard exhibition (a few of the 500 paintings he made of his mother), we turned to the permanent display at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which has a little of everything, not overwhelming in size but a good survey of the history of painting. 

The light on the paint texture got me looking closely at how faces were painted ... here are a few from the 18th, 17th, 16th centuries. 







And here's the 19th century painting that got me looking, and paying attention to the informative text on the labels:

"the portrait is unfinished, especially its rapidly-improvised landscape"

ah yes, those brush marks
 The "boldly painted figure is resolved enough to demonstrate the impact Manet made as a provocative painter of modern life subjects" -
but "the boldly painted figure" is resolved
Comparing his use of provocative paint with that of Renoir's impressionist palette and techniques was what promoted the series of close-ups -