22 October 2017

Underfoot, N8 and N19

Showing signs of wear & tear

'Tis the season...

Sudden showers; there's a storm on the loose

...the aftermath makes the pavements into silver

21 October 2017

Art I like - jewellery by Jane Sedgwick

Jane Sedgwick makes bold, playful wooden jewellery which she hand turns and hand paints in her studio near the North Norfolk Coast. Working with geometric forms, repetition, and colour, her inspiration comes from a variety of sources especially wooden toys and nautical imagery. Jane uses traditional woodworking techniques and manages a small woodland which supplies the timber for her work.

Jane is part of the "Made London" design and craft fair this weekend. See other exhibitors here.

Photos round the 'hood

Children from the Reception class of Stroud Green Primary School have been out with cameras, photographing their neighbourhood. Their photos appeared at appropriate spots along Stroud Green Road, many with captions taken from their own words. 

Great project - well done, teachers and kids.
"Bus Seven W"


"A house and clouds"

"A half truck"

"That's the truck, that's the road we was crossing"

"That's my house"

"This is a sparkly dress"

(my favourite) "Where something broke off"

20 October 2017

Three arty experiences

A Friday-ful of art, today. First to Sway, a Japanese gallery near Old Street. The bull in the window was made of strips of newspaper - headlines - and some gilded, with what looked like asemic writing, but turned out to be a Japanese script known as Kana, which has all but disappeared in the modern world.

 The work is by Kaoru Akagawa; title: Capitalism - 2015 - Information Bull. The written text is the names of about 450 companies listed on the total market capitalization. "Bull markets [markets on the rise] can be suppoorted by speculations and also partly by manipulated information." All that glitters is not gold... The yellowing of the newspaper with age is also part of the concept: "all information will someday become old and outdated".

Some of the small pictures on the back wall show how the script is used for tonal effects -

Use of burning

Cut areas "inspired by Lucio Fontana"

"Moonlight Sonata" - the text is the notes of Beethoven's music,
interpreted into Japanese syllables

 Moonlight Sonata again -

 Then to the British Museum to see "Living Histories: Works on paper from the Arab world" in room 34, the Islamic gallery. The works can be seen here - prints, photography, book art... I was fascinated by Issam Kourbaj's "little boats" made from mudguards of old bicycles and burnt matches; they encapsulate the pain of the journey out of Syria, of leaving the homeland.
"Dark Water, Burning World"
On starting to write this blog post I discovered that the artist, and poet Ruth Padel, were talking about refugees' stories - exploring, through poetry and art, the visible and invisible scars of loss scorched into escaping Syrians by the separation from their homeland - this very evening; too late, though, to get to the talk...
Third on our agenda was Cafe Sketchers, meeting this week at St Pancras station, right beside the Eurostar platform. We had a bite to eat before starting our drawings - lots of riveted, decorative girders and brick and stone...

 I quickly discovered that I couldn't actually see the rosette that caught my eye, but the camera came to the rescue, allowing a good closeup view on the big screen of my phone -
The drawing, straight to biro, is an example of a learning curve, including experimentation with various (chaotic) ways of shading ... but first you must notice the different tones in relation to each other.

18 October 2017

Ghosts of cats

Here's cat I often see sitting in the window, on top of the convenient shutters, catching a bit of sun, as cats are wont to do - 
This next is NOT an actual cat, lying on the pavement, though the enigmatic object startled me into wondering just what it might be (a bit of cloth, fallen on hard times...). It was evening, I was taking the long way home to make up my 10,000 step quota; in any case,  a photo was needed -
And the next day, this ghostly creature (definitely not a cat), climbing among the shrubbery at Colindale tube station -
They fit in well with the "monsters" woodcuts I'm currently doing. It's probably not a coincidence that I'm seeing strange creatures in unlikely places; what's that saying about "fortune favours the prepared mind" ?

17 October 2017

Drawing Tuesday - Wallace Collection

On the way to the venue I resolved to look for "strong pattern". Maybe this?
But no, I started with the patterning on these bits of armour -
 The aim was to collect patterns from here&there, and to make a colourful page. I could have glued on the tissue paper thoughtfullly at home but did it hurriedly on site -
 and then spent an hour and a half adding bits of this&that, starting with the armour patterns in white on dark -
 Others had more sensible agendas ...
Janet B returned to "her" horse

Judith's dogs from paintings

Sue's horse armour (protection for eyes, ears, neck)
Janet K's dragon drawer-handle, approached in two ways
 Extracurricular activities
The Matisse in the Studio exhibition inspired Janet K ...

... and she also tried some "dendritic" monoprinting
 And finally....
How to keep your earphones from getting their knickers in a knot

16 October 2017


It was so lovely yesterday to have the Whole Day to sew - and to finish the project - that I was ready to do it all over again. Mid-morning found me sat at the kitchen table [studio still in unspeakable turmoil] with a new podcast to listen to - Art for your Ear, low-key, ie relaxed, interviews with artists. One episode followed another as the bits of wood moved from block to table to floor, falling much like xmas tree needles do...

The bit of wood I'm using is an offcut from some plywood that Tom used on a job, and my subject is, well, "squiggles". I think of them as monsters -
This could be in three colours, or maybe more, or maybe just two. Part is on the back of my block, than that's completely cut, and the squiggles on the front of the block are "in progress" - my elbows started to complain -
One side ready to print - only the dots get inked
(hope there's enough space around them) - the uncut
areas support the paper

The other side just started - it's about halfway now

Once the stressed elbows have a rest, I'll get back to the multicoloured monsters. At centre, that took two class sessions to cut, and I'll print it on Wedsnesday, and then think about adding another couple of layers to print in different colours, just to see what happens...
While finding my tools I also found the block cut in the summer for texture, and did a couple of quick rubbings to get some "grids". When you see a lattice in a japanese print, it's usually been done in two separate blocks, one for each set of parallel lines. That's not cheating - it's very sensible!

 As I write, the sky is incredible, very yellow due to sand from the Sahara and further dust from Iberian forest fires, brought this way by ex-hurricane Ophelia. The particles cause scattering of blue light, apparently, causing reddish light - hence the "red sun" seen earlier [missed it!] ... but yellow light? and what about the way that everything goes so green before some thunderstorms? Obviously a topic that needs investigating... where are the tame physicists when you actually need them?

I tried to get photos of the yellow light, which is amazing behind the gloriously red ash tree across the road, but the camera kindly adjusted the lighting conditions to what it thought should be "normal" -

But hey, that's the downside of digital photos.