Saturday, 20 December 2014

Quilting as an outlet for crossness

Being a parent to male teenagers has seemed more straightforward to me than being a parent of  male toddlers, except when it comes to school reports.  Discussions seem to be on an annual loop, with major dips in December, followed by a steady climb through the rest of the year to good results at the end of the summer.  I should be used to this by now, but each December, I allow myself to become cross at seeing the same words again: careless, sloppy, no attention to detail, etc, etc, etc.  With some self discipline, I managed to channel this crossness into some machine quilting, rather than immediately entering the verbal jousting match.

I have bought a straight stitch foot plate as recommended by Philippa Naylor, and this does seem to make these intricate curls much easier to quilt repeatedly, although I did manage to break a needle when forgetting that the plate is not compatible with zig zag stitches.

Inspired by art waves



I was evidently not completely  focussed though, as I managed to stitch the Supreme Slider mat directly to the back of the quilt sandwich.


Thankfully I could cut it free and it still seems to work.  Glass of something Christmassy needed now.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Glad to be outside

Horrendous chest infection recently left me panting for breath at the slightest exertion, ( this was really the week to buy my own set of yoga blocks!)  so I missed some glorious sunrises on frosty mornings.  I did however manage to get to see some of these.






Sunday, 14 December 2014

Art in books, in person, and in stitching

I think I have said before that I am lucky to live in an area where our local libraries are still very good, with extended opening hours, and new books, seemingly every week.  I suspect that the librarian responsible for purchasing is a bit of an art fan, as there always seems to be lots of book on art.  I have borrowed several in the past few weeks, with varying levels of enjoyment.

First, " The Unsophisticated Arts" by Barbara Jones, first published in 1951 and now republished by Little Toller books


I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book, but to me, the text came across as rather patronising and elitist, and I believe the intention at the time was to be completely the opposite.  Perhaps this is changing styles of writing, and I'll need to seek out the opinions of other people.  The drawings are beautiful, particularly a two page spread of quick sketches made at the beach


and a detailed drawing of party food.


Next, 3 wonderful books of the paintings of Laura Knight.  Laura Knight in the open air, Laura Knight at the theatre, and Laura Knight Portraits.  These are beautiful collections, and the quality of the reproductions in each book is very high.  


Lastly, a book I wanted to enjoy, Constable, the making of a master, published alongside the exhibition of the same title at the V and A.  Although the cover image is spectacular, the remainder of images in this book seem to be very dark and details highlighted in the text  are extremely tricky to see.  The text is also frustrating as it constantly refers to images that are not in the book, so seem a little pointless to mention, unless you are a scholar of the influences that Constable was seeing when he was painting.  On a more positive note, the book has made me want to get to the exhibition to see the paintings in real life.

Two exhibitions in person this week.  First Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy which finishes this weekend.  Huge, powerful mixed-media works, many of which include sheets of lead from the roof of Cologne Cathedral.  I found this exhibition rather overwhelming, both in the subject matter and in the number of pieces on display, but am glad I went.  

Then on to see a group of recent paintings by Kurt Jackson at the Redfern Gallery, on display until 23 December.


  I love these paintings, and if I could afford it, I would have bought the huge piece that incorporates his ripped up, checked shirt as part of the surface of the canvas.

And yet more art, as this months' round robin has the theme of the Matisse cut outs.  Luscious colours and shapes to work with.



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Last Morley session, still life composition and drawing with tone

The end of my second term of drawing instruction, and I can now pick up a 2B pencil without hyperventilating.  These classes have only increased my retrospective disappointment at the standard of art teaching at my senior school.  ( At the time, I just sat there, baffled by the whole idea of getting something representative down on paper). 

This session was in two parts, the first on composition, using cut out shapes in two shades of paper to analyse pleasing and discordant placement of these shapes.

We then took some objects from around the studio, placed them in an interesting composition, and  then drew them, using only tone.  The result is below, A4 size.  Apart from  a couple of wonky lines, this is light years away from where I started this course.  Thank you Steve.