Friday, 27 August 2010

Getting the buzz

I always love the start of an exhibition. There's always a buzz aboout it, that sets me buzzing too.

The mellee of people waiting to see where to store their paintings, ready for hanging. Questions from first time exhibitors, the quiet assurance of the ones who've done it before, many times (that's me!). The smile to other artists, as we acknowledge that we are part of a creative group participating in the same activity. The interest to see who else is hanging their work this year. A hug and kiss to the various organisers who are familiar as old friends.

And the wide eyed acknowledgement when one of them told me that two members of the RA are coming tomorrow night to the preview night. I agreed with her, that that was indeed an accolade! She confided "I wonder if they can pass on some tips to us regarding the exhibition?" And I agreed, that it would be a good opportunity to ask. Then she said "Mind you, it takes them four weeks to hang a thousand paintings, and it takes us a night and half a day to hang one thousand, one hundred paintings!" I looked at her, and smiled and retorted "It looks like its YOU who can teach THEM how it should be done!" and she laughed in agreement!!!!!

So, it'll be set up this weekend, and if you're in the area, and would like to attend, its the Dame Catherine Harpur art show at Ticknall Village Hall in South Derbyshire, and is open to the public on Sunday and Monday. And if you think its just a local village exhibition, you're mistaken - there are some excellent paintings there, by talented artists from all over the East Midlands, as much as there are some cheaper paintings by amateurs. Infact, there will be something for everyone, even if you're only looking. Of course, if you're buying...........then this is the place to go.... and the school will benefit from it as it is their best fund raiser!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bluer than blue

You don't realise how murky it is, inland, until you go to the coast.

Where the light is clearer. The colours are more vibrant, more vivid, more.....lucidly beautiful.

I love the blues the most. They have depths of pure cobalt blue in them that I've not seen for a long time. Added to which the French ultramarine creates a complexity to the deep shadows of the still water.

And it makes me want to paint them. Just as they are. Just to capture that fabulous depth of pure colour. The form of the black rocks, and the way the water swirls around them. The softness of the white fluffy clouds, the hazy distance and cerelean blues of the warm summer skies. The luminosity of the day is captured there, within the photos. And if a photo makes me feel like that - what would a painting do?

Friday, 20 August 2010

When your legal advice says....

Because of this legal soap opera that I currently find myself in, it's been decided to change to a better solicitor than the current one. Not that there's anything wrong with the current one, its just that the new one specialises in conveyancing problems. They are used to dealing with the sort of problem that I currently have - where the Land Registry says that various parcels of land within the boundary of my garden, don't belong in my name. But it did when I bought it, twenty years ago, so why doesn't it NOWWWWW???!!!

This is what we're trying to sort out. This is what is holding up me buying the house I want. The house, where I can be an artist, properly.

So, today I went to see the new solicitor in his offices up in South Yorkshire.
They're noted for being blunt in Yorkshire.

I don't mind blunt.

But, I must admit to being greatly amused by his comments that included the phrases "cock up" "balls up" and "The Land Registry are being anal" - because that is exactly how I think of it! A fucking mess!!!!

The meeting started at 3pm and went on til almost 5. It was a good meeting, a long one, but we got a lot done. We looked at maps. aerial photos, and discussed boundaries of the land and how established they were. We all felt that we were on the same wave length and talked of how long it would take to sort it out. A few weeks, hopefully.

Then I can buy the house I want. All being well.

But, just to add to the legal soap opera ..... I was informed this evening, that all the solicitors were in place this afternoon to exchange contracts on the properties in the chain.

All of them. Except one.

He was in a meeting.

In his offices, in South Yorkshire. Between 3 and 5. And he couldn't be contacted.

So the contracts weren't exchanged.........

And guess who he was with............................................


Monday, 16 August 2010

In neither place

I should have been in my new house by now. I should be busy unpacking boxes and setting up my new studio. I should be planning the next painting, and advertising my services from my new address.

But I'm not.

I'm stuck in limbo land.

Neither fully packing, nor knowing whether I am even moving on the date I'm hoping for. But still aware that I might be able to move on that date, so I need to get stuff packed up into boxes, just in case.

Neither here, nor there.
Neither one place, or the other.

And the decisions aren't down to me. I have found the house I want, I have made an offer on it, it has been accepted, but the sale of my house has had to be delayed by a couple of weeks whilst we sort out the problems further down the chain. They should, all being well, be finalised next week. But in the mean time, there are legal problems, not of my making, that mean that the purchase of my current house may get delayed for a few weeks, maybe, whilst the solicitors sort it out. That means, that I can't buy the house I want, until they are sorted.

 But, I know there are various ways of getting the result we're all after, its just that I'm not sure which one it will be, as yet. Until then, I'm neither here fully or anywhere else fully. I'm stuck in a legal soap opera, and someone else is directing it.

But I want to be in an art documentary, of my making,  instead.

So, I'll just have to do whatever I can do, in the meantime.
And try not to be frustrated with the legal delays that seem to be punctuating each day..... at the moment.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Old lines brought forward

I met a man in Ludlow on Sunday. He was selling witches, giants and fairies. He thrust one under my nose along with a magnifying glass so that I could see it clearer. I looked. And looked again. I couldn't see the fairy he was pointing out to me. He pointed again to it, and I saw her then. "Ah, yes, I see. You're doing camouflage art" I said with a smile. He looked non-plussed at me. "Am I?" he queried. "Yep, I do that too, but I'm an artist, not a photographer like you". He wrote the phrase down, as he'd not heard it before. And we chatted for a bit as I looked at more of his photographs and asked how he'd created them - I knew it was done in Photoshop, I could tell by the effect, but they had a slight unnaturalness to them, I felt. He'd taken a lot of photos and "stitched" them together to make a panarama, but had also used a lot of layers within the photos to create the slightly weird effects that the photos were depicting. Having said that, the old castles needed that strange eerie effect to depict the Gothic feel he was aiming at, and he'd added witches and giants and fairies to give more creedence to the old features of the landscape. I liked them, but still felt that if I'd done it as a painting, it would have looked a lot more cohesive as the whole picture would have been started and finished as a whole design, rather than photos that were stitched together that didn't quite work fully as a whole image somehow.

Ludlow is a lovely town, really pretty, with lots of interesting old architecture, a castle and oodles of history creating a nice atmospheric feel to the place as it rises up from the banks of the pretty River Teme. But it was whilst I was having lunch, that I should have felt insulted. The middle aged couple next to us were sitting eating their lunch as we sat, they smiled, we smiled, and we chit-chatted about the town, the food we were eating, and other pleasantries. She said that they'd moved there recently from Nottingham, and were pleased to note as they  themselves were tall, every time they saw a tall person the people were obviously intelligent. OK. I felt that was rather a sweeping statement, but didn't comment on it. But I smiled secretly to myself. Because no one would EVER describe me as tall (Well, except in Japan, where I did actually tower over some of the little Japanese women there). So, if I was easily insulted, that would have done it. But, I had to smile to myself, as the couple got up and left the table to continue on their walk, that she left her umbrella behind on her chair.......................... and had to be reminded of it as she walked off, oblivious to the fact......................

It still amazes me where things from my past are suddenly brought into the present. Last night I was chatting to the landlady of the Bulls Head pub in Repton, and she mentioned in passing that she had only recently started having the parish magazine delivered there, bearing in mind that she has lived there for three years near enough. So, as she knows me,  she was interested to note that it was my name on the image of the picture on the front cover. Yes, I nodded, I did a set of them, but it was in the mid 1980's that I did them, and it was great to know that they were still being used, and was a great advert for me even now. But people tend to think I've done them recently and are astounded at how long they've been used for. So I'll show you a picture here that I did around the same time - its of the Church and Cross in Repton and is done with pen on cartridge paper. I used a rapidograph pen to make the fine lines and have always liked this drawing for its clear and simple lines - they always work well for architecture.

And before you start looking, there's nothing hidden within the picture, no witches or faires or goblins. Well, not that I know of!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Mixing reality with fabulous effect

I watched "The return of the king" last night - the third and last (well it would be wouldn't it!!!) in the trilogy of "Lord of the Rings". Its a film I've seen before, when it first came out, a few years ago. I saw it at the cinema, and loved it. Seeing it again, after a few years break I was reminded again of the superb effects that were used. New Zealand is a stunning country - I've been and seen it, and found it astounding how diverse the geography of the land is - which is why it was perfect as the back-drop for the fantasy fairytale of Lord of the Rings. And as I sat and watched it again last night, albeit on a tv screen this time, I gasped out loud at how stupendous the computer graphic images were. The attention to detail was tremendous. Sometimes the action was so detailed, that I made a point of watching one of the small insignificant creatures in the background, and they behaved with the most perfect detail - so that if you had been watching them solely, on the screen, and all the other myriad of creatures were removed from the picture, you would have been perfectly happy that they were doing what you would expect within that vast landscape. Of course, the minute you add a thousand other creatures all doing the same thing, it made it mind-blowing for the attention for detail.

Except for one scene.

The last scene, actually.

There was a mistake in it. One that to me, as an artist, was obvious. And yet it had been left there, with the screamingly obvious mistake in it. Why would that be?

So, the film has fired me up, to want to create images of such detail that even the tiniest figure within the image is correct. But, its made me wonder how much we disregard  mistakes within artwork, because the rest of the image "works" for us, so we just accept it without question................

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

How do you see colour

I should have been moving house today. But, due to problems further down the chain, it's had to be delayed for a couple of weeks or so. But fingers crossed that it can all go through soon. Until that momentous day, I continue packing......

But the days of waiting are sometimes punctuated with pleasant surprises, and today was one of them. My good friend K turned up unexpectedly as he was in the area and wondered if I was at home. And I know he likes drinking tea as much as I do, so I'm sure that had part of the pull !

We've not seen each other for a while, and it was good to catch up with him and have a chat. He's very easy company and we share a lot of interests - he talked about his new job, his wife, and kids and we got onto the usual subject of art.

And one of the things he said got me thinking. He made a comment about people being colour-blind and said he wondered what colours they saw instead? For instance, is the red that he sees, the same as the red that they see? Or blues? Or greens? Infact, are any of the colours he sees the same as the ones I see, for instance. I thought for a while, and we discussed the fact that some people have a hatred for some colours - either through something within them, or through a learnt reaction (for instance it was years after I left school before I was happy being seen in a pale blue blouse and light grey skirt, as it was my school uniform, and I obviously still had some negative reactions to it, and I enjoyed my school-days!).

I had a friend years ago who hated the colour red. She adored pink. But not red. Now, why would that be? What was in her that had created that irrational reaction? Or maybe she'd had a bad experiece with the colour in her formative years (perhaps a nasty episode with a tomato in the spin drier? Or an aversion to blood maybe?). She wouldn't have the colour in the house and certainly wouldn't buy any red clothes or lipsticks. And I know of other people who hate particular colours - K said he hated to see women in dark purple, and yet he liked dark blue, which isn't far off in tone and colour. He said he hated brown too, and I agreed, I find it a dead colour. I love it as a colour though as in natural woods, and brunette hair colouring, but not particularly for home decor colour schemes, and clothes for me.  
So, all this leaves me, as an artist, with a problem. If I like colours, I'll use them in a picture. But, if someone doesn't like them, they won't buy the picture. And what if they see a particular colour in a different way to the way I see it? How can I paint a picture for them? Or do people who are colour blind just "read" it differently? If I painted a landscape all in greens, do they see the greens? Or do their eyes just "read" it as "landscape" and the colours are immaterial?

But then, I've had people go a real "Wow" over some of the pictures I've painted, because of the really bright colours. So, it obvioulsy "works" for some people.

And all in all, probably leaves me a little confused! But then, that's the joy of art. No one really knows..........
It's just finding that bit of magic that works within the picture - whether its through colour, or not.