'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The clocks go forward,

the sun comes out, and I get productive. Today, I've actually finished two pieces - 'Untitled' and what was called 'Great Art?', then 'Elements' - and is now 'Earth to Earth' - at least for the present.

'Earth to Earth' has changed in more than name since it was called 'Great Art?'  I came across the work of Lauren Scanlon, who carries out what she calls ‘ritual transformations’ on old romance novels,  involving earth, air, fire and water. I decided to do something similar, using the Great Art dipyramids, and ending with their ashes - earth to ashes as it were.

Images here. Air and Earth were relatively straightforward, but Water got a bit exciting. We went down to Highcliffe, I carefully set up the camera on the tripod, threw the dipyramids into the sea - and had to refocus the camera sharpish as the waves carried them down the beach. Then I had to rush through the surf trying to retrieve them for the final stages, while Wensleydale sat on a rock and laughed. Fortunately it was so warm I dried out fairly rapidly. I counted 25 out,  but only 19 back - the others have probably made it to Bournemouth by now, if they haven't disintegrated.

Today was Fire - and although I'd dried what were left out, they were still reluctant to burn. My original intention had been to burn them on the drive, but we ended up using an old barbecue and some BBQ lighter fluid, for a brief but satisfactory session of arson. If the neighbours didn't already think I was mad they will now.

After all that it was quite peaceful to finish 'Untitled' and take it out for some rather more sedate photography. It isn't going to live in the wild, but somehow they always look better outside.

However, over the holiday my creative streak is going to come up against Module 13 - the business related module. We got a slight concession on the business plan - we now don't have to write a full one, just 'This is what I would do if I was going to do it' - which is a relief, but as I have very little idea about the process it is still going to be  a challenge.

Friday, 23 March 2012

I'm still around...

but this week became unexpectedly busy - and I'm still learning Mac, which has taken up blogging time.

We were unexpectedly called in to babysit on Monday and Tuesday, which was fun, but exhausting. Babybel is easy to look after, of course, but we are still learning about the Very Hungry Caterpillar. He has mastered crawling, commando style, so I thought I would be chasing him around - but no, he's mastered crawling, so now he's working on standing up, banging things and shouting. Once I'd realised that was all he wanted to do, plus take suitable food and sleep breaks - it was easy. However I suspect when he moves on to walking things will get a little more complicated.

Mac-mastering has consisted mostly of transferring my thousands of photos from the PC, and then culling them - which, with hindsight, is the wrong way round. With a little help from Cheese Major [who doesn't do Macs] I've got them all from one to t'other, and entirely off my own bat worked out how 'events' and 'albums' work. I think.

And I've even managed to do a bit of work.

This is 'Great Art?' - yet to be released into the wild. When I said I could make 50 of these out of the Great Art catalogue, of course I misspoke - 2 pages = 1 sheet of paper, so I overestimated slightly,  there are 25 of these bipyramids - or possibly dipyramids, I can't remember which it is.
As we've had some reasonable telly I've managed to get on with 'Untitled' as well. Each row of raised chain band takes an hour and 5 metres of thread, so it is slow going, and not very exciting, which is why it needs telly, or the cheerful chat of my fellow students, as an accompaniment. This one is definitely not going outside - apart from a brief trip for a photo. I can't think of a name for it - my usual naming policy has let me down, because 'Brown Paper' doesn't seem right - and for once Wensleydale has failed to come up with anything. A fellow student suggested 'Jubilee' but that suggests some enthusiasm for something I am agog with indifference about. So 'Untitled' it is, unless I have a flash of inspiration.

Friday, 16 March 2012


 Thanks to Sandy for her tips on defeating Blogger - but before I  attempt html I'm  trying something called Scribefire. Livewriter  it ain't - and it seems to lack a spellcheck, which could lead to  some interesting posts - but at least it allows me to write  alongside my pictures...

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Every silver lining has a cloud.

I had a birthday earlier on in the week - not saying which one - and lovely Wensleydale decided that I needed a new computer. A bigger, sleeker and prettier one than my elderly Acer laptop. So I am typing this on my new Mac. As I have never used one before, it has been a bit of  a learning curve, but once W. had found where they've hidden the @ sign, I was away - and  I've realised that I can still use a lot of the things I'm used to, like Chrome and Picasa. 

But not Livewriter - and as the free Mac alternatives I've tried don't seem to work, and I'm not prepared to pay £££ for a blogging platform - I'm stuck with writing this in Blogger. Past experience suggests that writing will not be the problem, it will be adding pictures. I know Blogger has had some changes since I last used it to write my posts - so we shall see.

 I Cat

I take it back about the writing, Blogger seems to want to change font in mid-stream. And I do not like Times New Roman, even if Blogger does.

Another little animal - the only visitor to our bird squirrel feeder. Plastic window frames are clearly no deterrent - though the glass was.

Well - my return to Blogger for posting has been a frustrating experience. I am about to try posting on my website and college blog - if Wordpress proves more amenable on a Mac, this blog may be moving soon...

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Off with the old

i.e. Prayer Flags – and on with the new – which will be lots of one of these. image Probably the multicoloured one in the foreground, which was made of pages from an old ‘Great Art’ catalogue. Which suggests an interesting title if I follow my usual naming practice. Modesty suggests that I add a question mark…

Mmm – 312 pages in the catalogue, 6 pages per shape [anyone out there who remembers their maths better than I do and knows what this shape is called?] = 50+ of them. Wonder if I'll run out of patience or pages first – and is there a tree big enough? Though as I'm not good on ladders, I could break the habit of a lifetime and just pile them on the grass.





Of course, if I do decide to use the catalogue pages, I won’t need to colour them with these rather nice looking naturally coloured paints, which arrived today – but I’m sure I'll find something to do with them. The palette is just a little bit bigger than a Koh-i-noor palette, better quality – and three times the price.image




I seem to have been a bit quiet about my weekly photographs, but I have been carrying on with them, even last week when it was about all I could do. I wasn’t due to take any today, but it was so lovely I decided to take POT out for an airing, and photograph him in the only place where there's enough room to spread him out in all his glory. He is now about 3 metres long and 1.8 kilos in weight – two thirds of the way towards completion, so I don’t think he’ll make 7 metres as I’d hoped– but still quite impressive.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Slowly getting back to normal…

thank goodness – by tomorrow I might even have some energy.

The college session on Wednesday was helpful – the advice was to keep on doing what I’m doing, scrap Prayer Flags which I’ve been increasingly unhappy with, and get some natural dyes/paints/inks to colour the pieces I want to colour.

So I have – except that the natural watercolours and oak gall/ genuine walnut inks haven't arrived yet. In the interim I have started an indoor piece for which I  can’t think of a name – brown paper, bleach, non-natural gold paint and hand-dyed thread bought from one of my fellow students. I’ll post a photo later when I’ve worked up the energy to take one.

This afternoon Wensleydale dragged me out to Mottisfont, for the exhibition ‘A Slice of Life’ – interesting works from Mottisfont’s own collection, and from that of Southampton Art Gallery. I may have mentioned before that Southampton has a brilliant collection of 20th century art – they reckon it’s the best outside London - and Mottisfont’s isn't bad either. Degas, Hockney, Hepworth, Sickert, Lanyon, Spencer, Goldsworthy, Long, Piper, Sutherland, both the Johns, – and lots more. Mostly small, apart from a great George Shaw drawing, mostly British, mostly drawings and prints. And of course there’s a good coffee shop – and daffodils in the grounds. If you do visit you should look out for the bird feeders behind the entrance kiosk for another brilliant show…

Monday, 5 March 2012

This was going to be the week…

that I got motivated. I thought the first week back at college was going to be a ‘self-directed activity’ session, so I planned to roll a lot of tubes and play around with some ideas.

Turned out it was a workshop session, working with paper – which was quite useful, but not the kick up the backside I really needed.image

On Thursday I did manage to get these two samples made – both from an old phone book, one with added Quink and Brusho. I prefer the coloured one but  I’m not sure  that I can justify added colour artistically [Pretentious? Moi?]– but does that matter? Dunno.

I was going to do more on Friday, but we were called in for a spot of emergency babysitting, when norovirus hit the Cheese Minor household – and a some more on Saturday. Then, as I expected, norovirus hit Cheese Acres, and that was the weekend gone. I’ll spare you the details…




I have managed to do a bit more today, – dipping the ends of brown paper tubes in gold paint – but the smell of the paint hasn’t improved the after-effects of the virus. These are destined to be fastened together with some rather nice hand-dyed thread – for no very good reason except that I fancy doing it. Just hope it works…

I wanted to get several samples finished, because we have ‘peer review’ on Wednesday, and i thought it was a good opportunity to get some feedback on the things I feel a bit iffy about – like this. 

I hope they’ll be gentle with me!