Wednesday, 27 March 2013

dead or alive

My three Graces have decayed into their Dance of Death.  One is painted with walnut ink, one with the ink and wax and the third with plaster and ink. Wondering whether to stitch them a bit or add danglies, but fear they will become too zombie like.

The phrase on the shroud is taken from Elizabeth Parker's "sampler" [at the V&A.  This is her last  line.  Mostly tea and walnut ink.  Sadly have run out of the ink.
Am trying to do this figure from wire and plaster. Tutor kindly welded 3 struts of scrap metal together, as it is the holidays, I am attempting to plaster it at home.  Very messy. Him Indoors kindly screwed the feet to the base so it would stand up [I do know the true worth and purpose of men = to do the things I can't or won't do] and I slaved away all day,.
Dog was very perplexed, couldn't see the sense in it at all, can you eat it, does it go walkies, so what on earth do you think you are achieving!?
It needs a lot of work, or the doggie may be right.  It also has a dramatic wobble which won't please Him Indoors.It is called Please don't Stare at the Sun......

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Kettle's Yard Cambridge

Very intriguing place.  used to owned by a couple in the 1950-70s who turned their home into a Gallery, and when they left bequeathed it to Cambridge under strict instructions not to change anything, tho they do have the occasional extra exhibition.
The ambiance [only word applicable in this case, so tasteful but homely - so I didn't get antsy about wealthy peeps being enabled to enjoy a lifestyle I would love to be able to join, and look down on the plebs] is calm but stimulating. 
Loved the paintings and sculpture, mostly by their friends whom they championed ruthlessly, which also made their collection worth more,  it is such accessible art, and eclectic so I never lost interest, but also because of the thoughtful way it had been arranged, in sympathetic groupings.
 Oh those middle classes, so much time to think, but it is free on entry so they spread it around.  Word has it that Mrs. wasn't so keen on the plebs trudging through her house and eventually they returned to Edinburgh.

Chat by Curator Rosie was interesting, about the history of the place, I'm not as bored as I look.
The top textile piece in this entry was unknown even to Rosie, sadly the situation for so many textile artists.  Mutter.
Loved the simplicity of this portrait, another plus of the place was that there were no labels, quite relaxing not to have a pre-informed opinion, all art was equal [unless one is a connoisseur of  early 20th century art ]   The bird swallowing a fish is so full of energy, yet cool as chips.  Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, killed in 1915, WWI, lots of lively sketches by him too.
Spent a couple of hours there, and loved it!!
next door was the Contemporary Art Annexe - in and out in five minutes.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

nine lives plus one

This ghostly figure, I constructed from wire and plaster, is probably how I feel sometimes, trying to drag myself to school and produce something I like.
Our assessments were OK, if somewhat inflammatory by the end of a long morning when the tutor was getting tired of us snapping at his ankles. 
When we whine we can't make head or tail of what he is intoning, he snaps "well do you want me to bring you up to my level, or should I come down to yours". 
What we want is to meet in the middle, but like most tutors he has no teacher training, so all he can do is tell us what he knows, and so far we haven't go that far up the ladder.But he did say lots that was useful as well, as he went one by one thru our sorry offerings and maybe one day we will reach the peaks of his experience.
It is quite invigorating having him around, instead of the incessant - oh that's awesome, when I am fully aware it isn't.
Did a portrait tutorial too this week, actual handouts and organisation, tutor is an ex-graduate doing her year teaching experience.

Also had a little trip out [sorely needed to escape the treadmill [which in the main i am enjoying, honest] my textile group went to Colchester to see Nine Lives exhibition by a colleague at Slack Space.
This is a movable exhibition space the council enable to take over empty premises for a while.
Nine artists created a "collection" that would explore the life of a person.  It was very interesting and creative.  Also there was an exhibition of degree? artists exploring ......narrative, text? books in inventive ways, very stimulating.  Good to see other minds at work.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

still life

Another day another brush stroke, some improve, some don't.  Taking pics of progress is helpful, as until now I am usually convinced my first try was better, and that I have fiddled too much and ruined it, blaming City and Guilds Creative Embroidery and the incessant "layering".  Now trying to cut back, or in recent work no stitches at all!  
Shroud ........may have to bury it!.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

mouldy day

Some big wig came round yesterday, asked me how I was finding college, I said brightly "challenging" as i know bigwigs like to hear that kimd of thing. As she passed gracefully on her way extolling the virtues of the cold dreary ill resourced sculpture room to her visitor I was glad she didn't have a follow up question, as I might have added...........challenging to my patience as I have been waiting most of the day for our over worked technician to have the time to introduce me to the rubber melting machine.  Not a thing I wanted to approach without company.
After spending all day Friday, 7 solid hours of chipping plaster from the mould round the clay head, I was hoping to have a go at the easier melted rubber system.  It entails chopping up wodges of rubbery stuff, chucking into a heated metal thingy and waiting for the ooze to run out the bottom, don't get it on your fingers.  Very hot green and sticky.
Outside one of the 3rd years had constructed a small furnace from a large vegetable oil can, lined with concrete and powered by a hair dryer and tube which raised the temperature to the 600+degrees necessay to melt aluminium  [mostly what looked like televison aerials] to then pour into moulds to make ingots. 
All the male staff gathered at various times to give him advice and encouragement and extra bits of stuff to melt.  [Later he had a BBQ with much references to Queenies gastro enteritus.]
It did feel very art schooly.
Finally our techie got round to my moulding and performed the trick in a matter of minutes.  I was exhausted just from holding my tongue and not storming out while I was waiting.  Nothing is timetable/organised in this place but somehow in the end, if you persevere, things will get made.
The painting is a self portraitish started at w/e, too cold for a nude.  It got considerably worse as I fiddled so have to have another go today, would like to set fire to it but have an Assessment on Monday and must put something in.