Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Daisy elected to stay at home over Easter to revise, the clock is ticking and she is conscious that at least she has the luxury of an offer from her chosen university which is more than many of her far more diligent friends have got.
She has flapped ever since not knowing how she will cope with looking after herself so I put together the above plan.
The reality will be more like;
10am wake up fumble downstairs and let the dog out the back.
10.30am log on and chat to friends via Face Book.
11am start foraging for quick easy gratification snacks.
11.30am back to bed and read book.
11.45am doze off.
1.30pm wake up and go searching for food.
2pm wander dining room aimlessly and create a functioning work space.
3pm take dog to the patch of grass 100m down the road and back.
3.10pm do some revision.
4pm warm up a ready meal eat watching television.
6pm finally sit back down and log back on to Face Book.
8pm go to bed exhausted and watch some more tele. On alternate night run a bath and doze off.
Repeat daily

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

I survived but only just

In the end I took 3 of Leyla's friends plus Daisy and Kitty. The hit my poor wallet took was immense, although I had cunningly opted for a home cooked birthday tea which went into the weekly shop that Emin's pays for.. Ha result. So they had pizza slices, kettle crisps, tiger prawns, olives and cherry tomato's! you may arch your eyebrows but most of it was eaten. This after they had consumed a large box of popcorn, half a box of chocolates and a bag of Dorrito's in the cinema!
The film was shall we say less than the sum of it's parts. Each character stolen from other better productions and I didn't even get to see my Robin Hood trailer.
Friday I met Kitty after work, I rarely collected them from school yet whenever I did always welled up with emotion such is the amazing joy I get when I see small children going home. Now I well up because she looks so grown up. We ended up in a pretty soulless Pizza Express simply because I had a raging headache and had lost the will to live after failing to navigate the labyrinth of Canary Wharf shopping center which is scythed in two by the DLR so the only way to traverse it is to go down and under, or as Kitty worked out wait for a train and run through the carriages to the other side!
We spent an age trying to find Leyla a nice outfit in Zara, rather horrifyingly the kids clothes now cost the same as adults which when you consider how quickly they grow is cruel. Kitty fleeced me royally too.
The exam season is now underway and I am busy preparing stuff to take with me on holiday next week, I am hoping to paint, but may like Barbabra Hepworth did with her first bursary just look and absorb. We shall see.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Happy Birthday Leyla Monster

Tomorrow I will be taking her and 3 other giggling monsters to see Alice in Wonderland, followed by a birthday tea at home.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Mother & I

My entry for the Sartorialist prize, I have scanned this picture taken by my father when I was two and my mother a youthful 22!
I covet her coat A LOT.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The World of Interiors

I have some issues dating back to the eighties, every now and again when I need to top up my inspiration tank I get a few down a have a rummages through the articles. I am defiantly of late drawn to white houses, the first scores a triple whammy as it is the perfect house in the perfect place (St Ives) lived in by an artist who moved in after it was vacated by Breon O'Casey one of my favourite artists. Stella Benjamin's home

This is a random page that illustrates my perfect mix of African artifacts with paintings by St Ives artists.

This house in the south of France is beautiful, you can spot the 'light' a mile off it gives such clarity when you move south. Again the house belongs to an artist, Elizabeth Koetsier

I love those bentwood chairs.

Her early artwork is lovely too.

Finally this stunning house is in fact an apartment on top of one of those amazing tall houses you see in Stockholm, it is stunning.

It would be all too easy to be depressed by such lifestyle porn, but I am not because I try to project that this will come to me too one day, none of the owners are young, and many will have endured hardship whilst raising their families, so I am pragmatic. Plus I once read that an owner knowing her house was featured in the magazine bought a copy and failed to recognise it such is the styling that goes on.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Some people take the biscuit

This recent story in the press really irritated me, why do people on the tele think they are so much more special than those who are not? If Ms Williams can claim tax relief on her clothes then surely so can most people? There are very few professions where we can wear exactly what we want, most of us have to either conform or have restrictions placed on the way we dress for work, myself included.
That someone so well paid sees fit to mark herself out as special irritates me, as does her assumption that she can only wear an outfit twice. Is she really so stupid? How hard is it to mix match and rotate clothes? I rarely wear the same combination together twice yet can fit my clothes into one large wardrobe.
What Ms Williams is really saying is that she is too bone idle to put the effort into getting her clothes to work for her, that she would rather spend her way out of thinking up outfits.

I would like to dress like this, but I can't. One session of washing up would have me looking like a walking Jackson Pollock. We all face restrictions on our work wear, only the rest of us have to suck it up and deal with it on a salary one tenth the size of hers.

I have scanned two images from the excellent Sunday Telegraph fashion supplement, this latter outfit is SOOO lovely, I wish I was able to wear it but honestly paint + kids + cooking + dog = no chance.

Monday, 22 March 2010

"What do you want for breakfast?" "Have we got Cornflakes?" "Yes" "I'll have Shreddies"

So Friday night I collect Kitty and we do a 'dummy run' of her journey to Canary Wharf for work experience, which was just as well as she was actually based at Heron Quays.
Mission accomplished I was going to head over to John Lewis to try ONCE again to get some moisturiser, however Kitty was hungry and so rather than attempt to locate a Pizza place her eyes alighted on Wagamama, and Kitty does rather love her chicken ramen so problem solved. After, I was just too tired to schlepp over to John Lewis and since there was a Boots opposite I decided to just get some No7 stuff instead, quicker and cheaper. I do have some Chanel stuff I bought earlier in the month but it just sits on my skin and has given me spots. What a waste of £40! The No7 is lovely, sinks in and feels great.
Whilst we were in Boots I suggested to Kitty that rather than her usual black mascara she try a plum one. My sister who is also blond thinks it is a softer colour and looks less Gothic. We had to navigated the Benefit's make up artist who sadly looked like she may have applied her make up in a darkened broom cupboard, less is more was not her mantra. Still the mascara was a triumph if a little expensive for a 14 year old, but having drunk 2 glasses of Pino Grigio I felt no pain.

Sunday was considerably more painful as a few odds and sods for Leyla amounted to a whopping £60, How is it that the detritus of life costs so much? Where is the pleasure?
As a birthday treat I allowed Leyla to have packed lunches for the next couple of weeks, this is a source of amusement to colleagues who are tickled that a child could perceive that a packed lunch is a treat, but I hate preparing them so with the exception of Daisy make sure they eat school dinners. I had of course forgotten that Kitty too would need one and so I had to make 4 different lunches this morning on top of four breakfasts, the orders of which I take the night before!
Breakfast, see header. No logic to that conversation.
Lunch, two soft rolls, one with egg mayonnaise, one with coronation chicken.
Breakfast, Weetabix x3, tea with three sugars STIRRED
Lunch, crusty french baguette with tuna & sweetcorn mayo
Breakfast, tea no sugar, porridge with sugar
Lunch, 3 cookies, some hand cooked cheese and onion crisps, grapes and two tuna & sweetcorn rolls, soft.
Breakfast, 2 toasted T cakes wrapped and taken to school.
Lunch, two cheese rolls one for break, one for lunch with some soup.
Breakfast, dog food soaked in hot water mixed up with the rest of Daisy's Shreddies!

I now have 2 bloody weeks of making the above.

Spring has sprung and I walked past a bush on the way to school this morning and realised it was releasing the most heavenly scent. This bush was thriving on one of those gruesome wind swept desolate streets that Medway towns do so well, so lovely was the smell I doubled back to snap off a branch just before side stepping some pigeon entrails. Like I say only in a Medway town. The plant we have identified as Winter Flowering Honeysuckle, a curiously ugly shrub with a divine smell.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Manja Scott

The website is worth a look, but these were my favourites, the three are stunning together.

Friday, 19 March 2010

What's important in life is not the triumph but the struggle

This is a quote from the obituary of Roy Newell and artist I recently discovered trawling the web. I would love to see his work, it is said that some of the paintings are an inch thick!
I love the obvious battle he has had with shape and colour and the quote above so reminds me of me. I am really bad at stopping and calling a piece finished, I will often add layer after layer over a year or two on a postcard sized painting. I rarely change the shape mostly the juxtaposition of some colours.

Images are from here, where you can find a few more

What tickled me the most however was the bit that describes how his wife had to support him! what price love? Not a snowballs chance in hell of Emin doing that for me.
I have worked hard on my painting this week, hence the lack of posts. I was toying with the idea of releasing a few spring clothes from captivity until today, when it started raining again.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

My visual wish list

Relationships are I find very claustrophobic, I suspect that it is probably my relationship that is so, or maybe it is just me. I have but two weeks a year when He Who Must Be Obeyed is away, so I have to cram in as much as possible as well as try to spring clean the house. The recent luxury of spending Monday night alone has gone but it made me realise I must carve more space out in the future.
First up on my MUST visit or else list is Jonathan Clarke & Co

This gallery is miles away from my usual beaten path and yet it houses many of my most favourite artists work including Ivon Hitchens. The more I paint (and yes I was doing just that yesterday) The more I become interested in seeing how other artists apply paint to a surface. You can't see this in books so first hand experience is everything. This gallery is in a very pretty place and if a day is fine this Easter I will go for a walk with my camera.

Second up is the V&A Quilt exhibition. I quilted as a teenager, I still have the quilt in a box somewhere,
I am particularly interested in Tracy Emin's work but also there are some pieces by Natasha Kerr whose work I use a great deal when teaching. The exhibition has had rave reviews too.

The ubiquitous Irving Penn is on at the NPG

This is not an exhibition but something I saw in the Guardian today click here to see and read more, This is not a forum for political comment, I have read a great deal about this war, enough to know that there is no 'solution' that we can impose. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Julian George, who brilliantly describes the almost comical juxtaposition of western military might in a raw biblical landscape.

Last and yet probably top of my list Kingdom of Ife, again this has had good reviews and if I were to choose one Genre of art to collect it would be from in and around here. I love the statues and jewellery, I have a tiny collection which I treasure.
The best place I have seen to collect examples is Brussels, I remember in particular one shop had some stunning examples of necklaces that if I ever can afford to do so will go back and buy.
So in two more weeks time I will be feeling the salt on my face as I sit on the beach at Southwold, and then it will be back to London to cram in as much me time as possible.
In the meantime I am making considerable in roads with my painting, hence the paucity of posting just a shame the teaching keeps getting in the way.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The best spin doctor is the sun

It can make everything seem just a bit better, can't it? Finally, walking the dog becomes a pleasure as clear Sky's finally appear slashed by vapour trails, on a cold crisp spring morning
I have finally rejoined my old gym as a fire in my local gym appears to have closed the leisure center for some considerable time. The down side to the sun finally shining is that it highlights the smut ridden window sill's and the ever increasing Miss Havishamesque cobweb situation.
After a couple of weeks I began to feel less sprightly so realised I needed some exercise. It is less convenient but a necessary evil to stave off that ever thickening waistband.
On Sunday I was serenaded by Leyla's violin, which was more pleasurable than you might think.
I received a range of homemade cards and by a fortuitous series of events Daisy's card actually came true. Having hit the gym in the morning, walked the dog twice and cooked dinner, Leyla was invited out to dinner and Emin went out too and so this was me drooling on the sofa. There is one thing not quite right here, no way would that dog sit on the floor, Prince of Pamper would be asleep on the opposite sofa.

Measure for Measure was excellent, as was the meal at Le Mercury beforehand. Delicious in fact. Sea Bass on a bed of crushed new potatoes and a pesto sauce.
Green Zone was bearable but ultimately depressing.

And this segment helped bring light to the darkness that was Daisy's latest set of exam results.
She has turned over a new leaf, she is now on Volume 2.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

One last sartorial lust

So guess who missed the zeitgeist here then. Yep it's the one on the left. Antonio Marras for Kenzo, usually I love his work but somehow when compared to the Stella McCartney on the right I think maybe he missed the general mood of this year.
At college I was convinced designers communicated, how was it that themes would magically appear? Such a disparate crew and yet often singing from the same song sheet. This year many preempted the success of Hurt Locker by tapping into the whole military coat feel, whilst others have been more than a little influenced by those unbelievable outfits on Mad Men.
But some seemed to have the needles stuck into the same groove.

Which cannot be said of the ubiquitous Dries van Noten, Last season I was not sure, but this show was amazing. You could argue that it just reiterates a look, but the details are very now, like the leggings on the outfit above. What I love too about his clothes are the colours, so much inspiration here.
How beautiful is this skirt?

And although the trousers are a little pale to spill coffee down I am in homage wearing a long khaki skirt charcoal grey jumper and black cardie. It should be blue I know, but the proportions are right.
Talking of military movies, I may have missed The Hurt Locker but will for mothers day be sitting watching Green Zone, oh lucky me.
Consolation prize will be Measure For Measure at the Almedia on Friday though.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

I hear it is cold in Paris, Ha, welcome to my world.

Feel the love at Celine, what a joy this show was, So many coats, so little time, clearly the weather is the driving force behind a number of shows. Not least the amazing coats at Burberry last week. My new mantra is clearly having an effect on others...!

The above two silhouettes are particular favourites as layering is always flattering.

I love tunics too, again flattering for those mid life middle aged spreads. I do appreciate that shorter people find this look hard though.

I want both these coats.

Junya Watanabe is a brilliant show too if you get time to look. Again awesome coats.
I managed to survive a second shopping trip with Kitty, I was this time wise to her ways and it was something of a revelation too in terms of seeing what is available to skinny girls.
Did you know skinny girls have problems too? I didn't. I have spent a lifetime grouchily grabbing the bottom garment from any pile in the vague hope they still had the largest size left, and I'm not even that big. Kitty is tiny yet a lot of what she tried on was either too small. too tight .or the neck line would gape so much it was not decent. Tight straight skirts made her look like a giraffe swallowing an orange and for this reason she would not even try on some jodpur style trousers.
When Kitty was little I caught her wearing 8 pairs of knickers in an effort to create some hips, she now has them (hips that is) she has decided she would rather send them back. She once as a child swore she would NEVER wear jeans, she now loves them. She instead was a huge fan of those hideous velour track suits.
Whereas Daisy, she of the hourglass figure, embraces most styles, creating a king of grunge meets Doris Day.
Kitty has developed a far more pared down approach that involves layering two thin t-shirts under a long cardie over a very short skirt. One particular high fashion style detail looks particularly stunning on her and it is those tops with built up shoulders, they make her look like a woman, which is a bit of a shock for me having treated her like a baby for so long.
I also learnt that she too struggles to find her size, how so? well clearly what suits the petite sells quickly, the scaled up version rarely looks as good and so much of what looks good on her only has the larger sizes left. Likewise this happens to me, but in in reverse.
I guess that maybe manufacturers should be more sensitive to this and we would end up with a lot less waste.
Kitty is now good to go, although that is our secret as she is now going to do the same shopping trip with her step mother, even she now sees the benefit of being able to tap two mugs!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

It is all over now

That was it the last of my classes, my bank balance has heaved a sigh of relief as to get to the class I HAD to walk past COS on Long Acre, the best branch of this shop outside Berlin. The staff are lovely, very helpful, the space is generous and always laid out well with a better range of stock. All much to the detriment of my wallet.
I kept thinking "well it is only this month, just one more..." I am now counting the cost as it has come on top of Kitty's wardrobe revamp and Daisy's continual hand out. Next month, I keep saying that though and somehow it never happens. Plus I have a holiday to pay for, oh once again I feel a financial meltdown coming on...with no one to blame but myself.

So this was the penultimate painting, we had a new teacher whose voice and body language I loathed, she had an almost chimp like way of baring her teeth when she smiled, except it was not a smile but a point made sugar coated in arsenic.
Despite this I learnt a lot from her, I was able to take away and use small nuggets she had suggested and move my work forward. That said I did not enjoy this painting, It is my cup and saucer but I made a fundamental error by placing it on synthetically dyed tissue paper that I could not hope to replicate using pigment oils, still I tried and managed to resolve some of the issues and again experimented with applying paint only with a palette knife which produced another unctuous painting that will take months to dry.

Last night I painted this catastrophe. The tutor kept banging on about getting rid of the white so I created a green wash of colour. Sick of still life I decided to try painting from a photograph. Not a good idea because it was too small.
The first attempt at painting went horribly wrong, so I wiped it all off and started again. This time I used the long floppy brush that a lot of Japanese painters used. I was so irritated that I also dribbled paint and wiped paint with paper towels, all things I hate in the work of others. Strangely the painting became quite cathartic and I wished I could go back and keep trying different techniques like this. Trust me the full extent of this monstrosity is not apparent in the photograph!
I will try to find a class for next year far far away from Covent Garden. I have grown immensely as a painter and really want to keep going, but it is a real effort when the girls want me home. When I told them it was my last class they cheered!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Carla Sozzani, my new style icon

This image below appeared in yesterdays edition of Stella magazine. It struck a chord as I love that silhouette, and even more the necklace she is wearing, even more she is wearing flat shoes. I have noticed Ms Sozzani before in the images of the Sartorialist and liked her style, but the article which I can't find online really sold her to me.

"she wears flat shes 99% of the time"

"now I am older I only wear what I feel comfortable in"

Two perfect mantras for me. She looks to me the perfect gallerina and I envy just a little that she runs one, but I figure I had my chance.

I may have to have a Carla Sozzani week and wear this silhouette everyday, I have enough black trust me.

After 'Googling' her I began to notice the necklaces more and more, they are a beautiful statement

I also love the way she smiles for the camera, none of that moody crap here!

Images from here and here and here

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Victor Schrager

I know I have featured this work before but I like the juxtaposition of his images with the paintings before.
Images from here