Thursday, 27 December 2012


Xmas day = new toys. Parents don't really believe what they see, I suppose when we are in our 80/90s we will be a bit bemused too.
I received inks for the printer [very welcome] book tokens [even more welcome] and an excellent book The Naked Nude which contrasts the traditional painted perfection with contemporary contradictions, wonderful pics.
Also 2 CDs for the car, belatedly Blunderbuss and the newer Alabama Shakes, which should cheer my chug into college on cold and misty mornings. 
Plus the jumper from The Killing/Faroe Islands [blue with grey snowflakes].  I know!! however it is wearable and warm and a possible family heirloom?
Skyped daughter and g'son in Nevada and spoke to son [horrible cold, stuck in SanFrancisco, Donner Pass snowed in, could be worse ] so all's well.
I am still working on the sketch book for my Drawing assignment [due Jan 7th - too far away to panic yet] but have discovered a recipe for crocheting Beanies; daughter and I now have a purple one each, and g'son a stripey one. 
Now onto black one for g'sons's dad, he won't wear anything but black. 
It is very satisfying as I can crochet them in an evening or so, while catching up on all the Xmas TV.  Disappointed with most of it, but Outnumbered was good I thought, [as close as I want to get to Noro-virus] and Eastenders was it's usual headbanging self. 
Downton tried to get a dozen story lines in a pint pot, Miranda was daffily amusing and reruns of Modern Family were very acceptable, as I missed them first time.  Saw bits of the Hitchcock drama, but found it too disturbing, in several ways.
Rain is still raining, as everywhere.  The puddles in the road are quite deep now and beginning to join up, but not as terrible as the floods in the West country. I have lit the fire and shall go and read one of my new books now [with pages].  xx

Friday, 21 December 2012

photo shopped


You will remember that the sculpture mission was to design something to go on the empty plinth.  Here are some of my cohort's offerings. 

various I think you will agree. I got a lot of stick from making quite a lot, but it is my fave, and I want to continue, have to make some impact as I am only part time.  Tutor seemed quite pleased with us, however on my feed back tutorial he quoth to me, well you have been in education, so you know how to play the game.  Not quite the enthusiastic rave response I was hoping for.

 This was my "Lens Based" exhibit, next day, plus some projections on a white wall. 
D did the most startling 3 wall projection, exploration of domestic violence titled Home Front - photos of plastic soldiers placed in combat positions all round her home, played with martial music and appropriate quotes flashing up. Really impressive. Makes you proud.
Wednesday was the final Drawing session, Mike the Model with balloons. Afterwards we went into the park where M was to walk towards us throwing balloons in the air......sadly few of us realised that only helium balloons float upwards, so it was a bit of a disappointment, but a laugh too.
Holidays now till February, these undergrads get long hols it seems.  Have homework however.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Last Few Days

A busy week as we have final assessments for Sculpture and Photography next week. 
The Drawing assignment is a "Journey" of course, but we have the option of an extension till after New Year.  This may or may not be a good thing.  I have taken rusty bits and marked papers, and now have to make a sketch book to accompany.  This is a bit daunting, starting any new note/sketch book is such a leap, I will need to give myself a good kick to get started.
I finally got going on the photography section when my tutor advised concentrating on something I was really interested in, rather than just an exercise; plus I started to look at other artists with similar preoccupations to me...........
so I went for pics of old ladies, probably older than me as I am still in the phase of  "no, don't take my picture I look too old" There seems to be a line where you maybe get too old to worry.  Or is that an extension of the theory I had when I was young .....when I am 23 I will be really grown up.......or when I am 35 i will be so old I should probably shoot myself.
So a couple of ladies of my acquaintance agreed to help, and with a little photo shopping of text I am attempting to examine the required "Journey" - to Oblivion...........that waits for us all
All Art is about Death or Sex, it seems, and I seem to have chosen to concentrate on the former.  Which suggests Sex is still the final taboo?
These 3 are the result of a farm fire a year or so back.  The hedge was consumed with the assistance rather than the protection of the plastic shields.
Along with my Strange Fruit shtick I have spread into Burnt at the Stake, -  then to self immolation and suicide bombers - Happy Xmas everyone.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Ups & Downs

One day I am like this figure, crawling through the depths of despair and the next I am the cardboard lady, quite cheerful and determined.
Monday was fine, the technician bashed an upright onto a wood base and nailed two struts across the top for me. I know I can do it myself, but I am female and don't have construction patterned deep in the genes. I don't know all the rules of snooker either, tho I am getting the hang of cricket.
He later welded a metal strut onto a metal base for me, now that I would have liked to do, but the nervous energy and necessity to muck it up the first five times led me to accept his offer.
So now I have two potentials, and while he was doing his thing I could take some pics of previous attempts to be sculptural on my "plinth" - fortunately it cannot be easily the discerned that the back of the plinth has fallen off.  That's a good example of one I made earlier by myself.
As scale is an important concept to mess with in contemporary art it is an added advantage if my figure is too big for the plinth [otherwise I would have to make more plinths]. 
However we also have to photo shop some of our sculptures onto virtual plinths to prove we know how.  I don't.
Somehow by Monday week i have to prove myself wrong.
Tuesday I continued to make figures for my upright which I have painted black, and which evolved into "Strange Fruit" [see B Holiday].  The figures emerged when I was fiddling with the hot wire and polystyrene off cuts, and are now also black.
Then I had my photography tutorial where I was found wanting.  Tutor was not enthralled with my Car Park theme and wondered why I wasn't photoing that is my obvious interest.  I thought I had to be more cerebral and abstract. 
Also what with the Sculpture I didn't have much to show. Especially depressing was the projection afternoon where our pics were projected onto a black and or white wall.  College technology is very temperamental, noise levels of excitement were high, and I felt a failure.  Evening followed of much muttering.
Wednesday we drew snow [because it had] a tree from a photo and Mike the Model in a cloth cap [and coat] great fun, Good humour returned.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


We have discovered a lovely artist   -Alice Fox -she has had a 6 month residency at Spurn Head, and one of the ways she found to express her surrounding was with rust work. 
Do look her up.
Full of excitement and impatience I sallied forth and rust dyed some fabric, the secret is tea!  It is so fabulous the only thing I can do is goggle in delight at its wonders.  One day i will settle down and stitch it.
I also used her technique to print iron flotsam and jetsam on paperand my tutor has approved them as a record of the "journey" project, so double obeisance to the Blessed Alice.
Most peeps are amused by my giant copralite,thus to educate the masses, always my aim; I have inscribed it with archaeological data.
Adding to the Ladies of my Town sculptures I made a Mrs. Giacometti, coming home from the shops.
We have to produce a lens based project "journey".  Again.  I reckon the tutors all watch X factor. 
I had the idea that when I arrive at college car park each morning I take a pic of the view thru the windshield with the dated car park ticket.  That should be post modern enough I hope.  Also if I remember.

Had a terrible morning watching a screen above my eye line, while technician showed us how many tricks he can play with photo shop.  I learnt very little [sequences are NOT my forte] in the pm we looked at a video of a BBC programme on sculpture that I think I have seen before. Went home with a headache.
Wednesday was fun as we went into the dance studio and sketched the dancers during their yoga session.  Very very quick sketches.  Perhaps this is my forte as later I started a drawing of the model [40 mins] to great acclaim, and then proceeded to completely ruin in by over working.  have to learn to STOP.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

light and shade

 Have been having fun working on the Sculpture and Lens based modules. We have to design a sculpture for a plinth near college.  When I researched I found there was only one female form in the whole town, the rest were men or boats plus one Madonna who in this context doesn't count.......
 I knocked up the plaster and clay models of a woman and her whining g'child trying to get the shopping done.
 Then I threw caution out of the window and took my inspiration from the nearby Coprolite St. [fossilised dinosaur dung] and made this giant turd.  Tutor liked it more.

 We have had a couple of sessions on F numbers and shutter speeds with the aim of producing photos that are blurry or otherwise usually rejectable. I used my own camera, which the tutor couldn't sort out either, so the results were mixed.  The Performance Arts students were very patient and good tempered.
This was someone skipping with a rope of green Xmas lights, a huge success? Next week we are to have a go at photo shop, so my troubles have only just begun.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

new plinth

Started next two projects that will last until Xmas -  Sculpture and Photography.
Allegedly the University gave the local council a patch of land in exchange for re-tarmacking the student car park.  Some where in the negotiations a large granite plinth appeared and was placed by the council on the edge of the car park.
Can't say I have ever noticed it, but as I have neither driven nor walked into it, I must have registered it's presence in some way.
The object has been adopted by the Fine Arts dept, with some misgivings, but much glee [mixed feelings depending what kind of tutor you are] and now all us poor students have to design suitable, or more likely unsuitable, objects to go on top. 
Presumably someone from real life and  with more clout will eventually get the gig.
So first morning we had to make a small model of the granite block.........accurately. 
I find measurements an arcane art that is not included in my skill set.  Specially where saws and nails  are involved.  I quickly tried to get round the problem by choosing some kind of plastic wood that I could stick together.  Admittedly things did go wrong in that my measurements did not make allowance for the thickness of the wood when constructing, but the tutor is a kind man and whipped them thru the Big machines again till they looked more agreeable to each other. 
Lots of glue filled gaps I found.
We watched a welding workshop, always wanted to do this, but now not so sure, it does seem to need a steady hand and eye and metal toed boots and a big Darth Vador mask, worrying.
Have been looking at the town history for research ideas, but have already decided public sculpture is not for me, altho the presence of Coprolite St nearby has led me to design a giant turd to sit on top of the plinth as one suggestion .
The camera session was very long and equally demanding, originality is demanded but it's all been done feels exciting but at the same time I doubt I will prove equal to it,  F numbers come in the same black hole as measurements to my brain.
We were guided by the little camera technician - it all made some sense till he stopped talking. 
He said at one point he was 5'7", same as me; I am a tall woman, but he is a small man. Strange.
Be Ambitious is the tutors cry.  
Help is mine.
I was so challenged by Wednesday that I woke up with a migraine and was unable to go to the Wendy Cope public reading in the afternoon which annoyed me intensely, she would have been stimulating and made me laugh!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

End of the beginning

Well that's the end of the first six weeks of my Fine Arts experience. Callie and I are quite relaxed.
Passed Painting and Printing fortunately, so now we can press on next week to Sculpture and Lens Based work…………..cameras I presume.
I think I am settling down a bit, getting to know a few people and skulking the corridors less.  It is quite a culture change from Head Teacher to Anxious Student, specially when I am tempted to organise the class or worse still the tutor. Once a bossy woman, always a BW.
This and below is part of my piece about WWI
Sketch books play quite a large part of the on-going work and assessment.  I have always been too impatient to waste time of them before, just want to get my hands on the fabric and scissors, but I have found that being forced to think more laterally and explore ideas/evidence is helpful.
I still don't want to produce a sketch book as another "piece" - too often I have found in exhibitions the liveliest work has gone into the sketch book and by the time the final piece is produced the idea had curled up and died.
I will put some pics on my blog if you want to see more.
But right now I am going to Felixstowe to walk the dog………..unfortunately I can't quite relax as we had a lecture yesterday on a new Drawing project entitles {Sacred Places"  This bloke had been to Mount Athos, Bhutan, Canyons of America and produced books of sketches.  We have to make a concertina sketch book of 20 x A4 sketches of an actual journey of our own……….drawn in situ………maybe to my garden ladyshed………..who knows. Probably not Felixstowe I am rubbish at water colours
Collage re WWI influenced by Rauschenberg

1903 School class influenced by Marlene Dumas

Life drawing, poor Mike on a cold concrete floor.

Jen being Very Brave,  Young people know no fear.
Rabab and Tricia likewise