Friday, 23 September 2011

Barbara Hepworth

Another of my favourite artists is Barbara Hepworth. She was an amazing sculptor and when she moved to St Ives with her husband, Ben Nicholson, in 1939, she led a movement of St Ives artists which included her husband, Naum Garbo, Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon, all of which were heavily influenced by the cornish landscapes and light in their various works. Hepworth later lived and worked at her Trewyn Studio which is now owned by the Tate and is preserved as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. It was here that Hepworth died in May 1975 and which has been preserved largely as it was then. A lot of her sculptures are in the beautiful tropical walled garden and her studio is still full of her tools and partly finished works.

I have visited the gardens many times over the past decade; first with my grandparents (my grandfather is an artist and his work and passion have inspired me over and over again to pick up a pencil, or experiment with different kinds of media) and then with subsequent boyfriends and now my husband. I can't visit the garden without my sketch book and have spent many an hour battling with perspective, shading and texture trying to bring her sculptures to the page. I love looking at art but I find it very soothing and that I get far more out of viewing art by trying to render it on my sketchbook.

This work has always been one of my favourites. The work is called something like figure for landscape and I find the shaping and texture of the bronze to be very appealing. There is also something about the colour which draws me back time and time again, to this and many other of her bronze works. I feel that she really manages to capture both the physical and the landscape to which this works belongs through the curves around the space between them. A similar work to this stands outside the university building in which husband and I attended lectures and alongside which we had a wedding portrait taken.

This time though, I concentrated on two different works. The first is entitled something like four square walk through and is an enormous bronze work comprised of 4 block pieces with holes in, balanced on top of each other. It literally is big enough to walk through but the fascinating thing I find about it is that whilst it *is* roughly symmetrical, it is (to me) nigh on impossible to get the perspective right, especially as you are always underneath part of it when drawing.

This is the piece from the angle that I was drawing today. Those top parts are actually an approximate equi-distance apart at each side but from this particular angle appear unbalanced. I also particularly like the way that the colour is from this view.

This is a photo from my sketchbook of today's effort. The colours haven't come out very well and in 'person' so to speak this sketch looks less black and white and more tonal. I used conte chalk pastel pencils and charcoal. I'm not overly happy with it but as a quick sketch goes, it could be worse.

This is a watercolour taken from earlier in my sketchbook from a previous visit and is from a slightly different perspective. Same side but from the front right corner rather than almost straight on. I think the water colour almost captures the bronze better. It certainly looks less ominous and more sympathetic to the landscape in which it sits which the charcoal doesn't really capture.  

The second piece that I had a bash at today is called sphere with inner form and is a smaller bronze piece which is dark on the outside and greenish on the inside and is basically exactly what the title says it is. Here it is in photo form, from roughly the angle that I sat at when I was drawing. The light reflecting in the photo is much greater than it was when I was drawing.

Again, the method in which I have transcribed the drawing from my sketch book to the screen makes the work look a bit darker than it does on the page and some of the detail, particularly on the middle darker patch has been lost but essentially it is what I drew. Here I used oil pastels and again this was a quick sketch, maybe 20 or 30 minutes. I found that studying the form to gauge particularly the way the light reflected off the various surfaces really enhanced my appreciation of the work. 

 I think that particularly these spherical sculptures are very influenced by the landscape in which Hepworth was working. The light in Cornwall, particularly St Ives and the bays around it seem very reminiscent of these colours and the way the shapes within shapes seem to echo the beach and cliffs, with the cliffs hugging and protecting, surrounding the beaches within themselves.

Photos by me [Sculptures by Barbara Hepworth - drawings by me]

Sunday, 18 September 2011

My sister's wordless wedding

Just in case you don't read A Practical Wedding (and if you don't, and you're interested in intelligent discussion of women in the context of marriage, you should) you might be interested to hear (read?) that my sister and her husband's July wedding was the subject of a wordless wedding feature this week.

One day, I am going to write about this wedding, and what it meant to me, and some of the things I helped with. But, perhaps because it's even harder with someone else that you are so very close to, I can't find the words. Like with my own wedding, but at least I had (co)ownership of that. This is someone else's and I think that's why I was so surprised to be so moved by the whole occasion and why it is so hard to articulate those thoughts.

(above, me and Anne dancing with the baby bridesmaids)

The Info—Ceremony VenueSt. Mary’s Church, Shaw-cum-Donnington, Berkshire, England / Reception Venue: The Black Barn / Dress: Oxfam Bridal Southampton / Suit: Moss Bros / Photography: Lauren McGlynn Photography, UK (APW Sponsor)

(photo and info taken from the post - click over to read some of Anne's words about the day)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Kurt Jackson

Have I mentioned my love of Kurt Jackson's work? We popped in to see his latest exhibition at the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro on our way down to Sennen Cove last week. It was amazing. I highly recommend.

This piece, "above a tamarisk, Towan, Roseland", was one of my favourites. Jackson works with mixed media, predominately outside, in Cornwall, amongst other places. Cornwall is where my heart lives; I am obsessed with Cornwall and those who capture it through art, photography and poetry. The way the light changes, minute to minute, the land fascinating and ancient, the sea and sky, formidable, wild, high. I am constantly trying to get just a little bit of the way Jackson manages to get that light reflecting off the sea into my own work.

More on this to come.


Kurt Jackson

The Trees Of Cornwall
Lemon Street Gallery
13 Lemon Street, 
Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2LS 
01872 275757

9 Sept – 8 Oct 2011


Image - painting by Kurt Jackson via Lemon Street Gallery website

Monday, 12 September 2011

The weekly

We ate supper last night at Hix's Oyster and Fish House, overlooking the cobb and harbour at Lime Regis.  We had the most delicious meal - smoked salmon and soda bread to start, also with deep fried sand eels and deep fried scrumpy oysters, served in their shells. Fish pie and herb salad to follow for me; M had beautifully cooked gunard with cockles, with chips on the side. To finish, a scoop of frozen yoghurt ice cream with a wafer tuile and coffees. We watched the sky turn from grey and blustery to a beautiful shade of deep blue, a cardinal buoy bravely flashing six flashes and a longer flash at the entrance to the harbour in the increasing winds as the waves crashed over the breaker wall.

Yesterday, we spent the morning at Brighton Pier, for a few minutes playing the 2 penny slot machines before driving the coast road west.

Today, we head to the River Cottage Canteen for lunch and then onwards, south-west, through Devon to Cornwall.

Hix's Oyster and Fish House
Cobb Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3JP

(photo from their website)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Just a minute in August

Reading... Surprisingly little. It seems to have been a busy month. Actually, I did read The Egg Race by Polly Williams last week. What can I say? It was £1.50 in a charity shop. And as far as chick lit goes, Polly Williams is better than most. Still. Must try harder.

Watching... Sex and the City season 1. I'd forgotten how good early SATC was. And how 90s. Also, The Hour, which I have thoroughly enjoyed (just don't tell me the ending as I've yet to watch the final episode). A proper film noir style crime thriller with the added bonus of a historical setting. (although, they could have done that better. too many modern references and words).

Listening... To dance music in a field at a rave in Devon. Sorry, a shoestring boutique festival.

Buying... Very little. On a buying hiatus. :(

Loving... Visits from friends. Delilah and her strange little habits (see above).

Wanting... To go on holiday


iphone snap by me 
Just a minute - an occasional series of posts inspired by Talking to Unicorns (who was inspired by Daydream Lily). Just a Minute was started by August Street back in 2007.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Peonies has it about right I think. So does Nathanial.

here from via here

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Weekly

It seems to be autumn, here on exmoor. We have been busy picking blackberries in the last of the August sunshine, to freeze for our Christmas jam. The annual making of jam, chutney and other food presents, which I keep mentioning but never manage to write about. We've had a succession of amazing guests this past month. We started with Cate and her family ( formerly of Project Subrosa) where we enjoyed a lovely weekend eating nice food and entertaining Talia with a trip to our local acquarium which I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps almost as much as Talia did. We then spent bank holiday weekend with some friends in a field at a rave followed by a day with my youngest sister and her boyfriend. This weekend, M's brother and his wife and their two month old baby are here. I have been thoroughly enjoying helping look after him and spending the remainder of the time curled up in front of the fire with my sister in law, catching up on several months worth of gossip and conversation.