Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Howard Hodgkin and some new scarves

I don't have a particularly long wish list as I tend to go with the flow when it comes to topping up my wardrobe. However I have lusted after and searched for a long time a spotty scarf, I have even tried the fabric shops on Broadwick street in the search. Having given up I then find not one but two lovely ones. The first is from Zara, in the sale a bargain £10, it's my favourite colour and I particularly love the irregularity of the spots. Its nice and big in a soft cotton so perfect for the summer. I then realised that it bore a resemblance to Howard Hodgkin's paintings, which I am a fan of too. He has an astonishingly comprehensive website if you want to see more here.

Then whilst lurking in TKMaxx I saw this gorgeous number, another bargain it is silk and wool and was only £20, but better than all of that it is by...Clements Ribeiro, my favourite pattern makers ever. How lucky am I?

And just how close to this painting is it? So I have two works of art to wear this spring!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Girl Crush

Bloguettes let me introduce you to the delicious Dan Pearson, I have had a bit of a crush on him for years, he once graced our screens at a time when make over shows were just that, a chance to create something worth having, not with the focus on the eccentricities and cartoon facade of the presenter rather than the subject which was then a garden programme. Pearson soon left our screens and has made a career out of journalism and landscape gardening ever since and he is brilliant at both.
I caught him exhibiting a garden at Chelsea Flower show many years ago, he is hugely talented and my crush has remained, solely on his plantsmanship of course!
But this picture scanned from this weeks observer magazine is lovely for many reasons, the green coat is gorgeous, as is the scarf.

Talking of scarves , I have had some real luck with scarves recently and when I get around to photographing them I will post some pictures of my bargain acquisitions.

Second up again from this weekends Observer


Plaid plus nautical stripes is a new one on me, but doesn't it look good? There is a big exhibition coming to Tate Britain about the influence a huge show held there in the sixties had on British painting. I have booked a ticket for the curators talk, which I think will be more interesting than my college talk. So looking forward to that this coming March.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Eileen Agar

More interior design lust, imagine have this for a living space? The hat is pretty special too.
Image from NPG

I found these two wonderful photographs in an old Interiors Magazine, they were taken by Richard Dudley-Smith, she was clearly an amazing woman, sadly her autobiography was more about her love life and celebrity status than her work processes. However I think is wholly understandable and I may still have a read, I think it's very difficult to discuss processes, the subject matter probably to many appears dull, and I think most artists prefer to keep an element of mystery surrounding the way they work.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


I had thought the days of tagging were at an end, and then this flies through the blogsphere and lands at my feet. So now I am not only an outstanding teacher, but someone out there loves my blog.



Lin's blog is everything I love about blogland, we are separated by thousands of miles and very , many years and yet we have metaphorically met and nodded our heads at some common ground. This is why blogging is great that feeling of being alone at a keyboard but not alone I love that.
I have often said, and it remains true that I would write this blog with or without any readers. Writing is astonishingly cathartic for me. I noticed this on holiday, I got really quite irritable about everything until I started to write it all down. Writing clears my head, something that irks is written down and I am able to put it in a metaphorical box and then move on. My head clears ready for another conundrum. It appears to be the same for my painting, I am finding that by writing down my rationale I am able to really make progress with my painting, as where once I was uncertain, now I have a clear focus as to the space my painting occupies. That in itself allows me up to paint more freely.
I don't check my stats because that would terrify me, I would start to write for someone else rather than just myself, and then instead of self indulgent cod therapy for me, it would become a commercial enterprise.

In fact I am very conscious of the lack of any commercially driven focus or rationale this blog has, it flits from incoherent rant, to featuring sartorial icons of style (tomorrows is just gorgeous) . I am also aware I have followers, sadly I will never know who, because accessories like that are blocked where I work, and I make a point of not using the computer at weekends since I am on it all bloody week. Many of the blogs I like are also blocked, so I rarely get a chance to read them either.

So when I was tagged last week I noticed a couple of extra followers had joined, I got quite excited really, and then the next day they had gone.. I don't blame them, but yet I still smarted!

I am wimping out of the tagging part, instead I pass on this award to all of you who diligently comment with little in the way of response, I am hopeless I know, entertaining, but hopeless. And to those who wandered over looking for cool elegance, It's here somewhere, just buried very, very deep!

Friday, 27 January 2012

London Art Fair or how I would like to spend my millions

What I love about this art fair is the way the older more stately galleries curate a room. There are some wonderfully thoughtful juxtapositions to see here, and of course I love them even more because the focus is on twentieth century British art, my favourite. If I ever won the lottery this is how I would live. Post war - St Ives, art for me does not get better than this, having really looked this year I have become very conscious at how paint is applied, and yes, people may use the 'G' word with Lucien Freud et al, but this genre of British painting has been woefully overlooked, always skulking around the margins. In the main I think it is because it clings on to a figurative notion of landscape, which has never really punch its way out of the stigma of holiday painter . In the same way that Hans Hoffman was always a teacher who painted, these artists will forever be seaside painters rather than artists.

But I love them, until you see a Peter Lanyon (below) you will never appreciate the sheer energetic forcefulness of his brush strokes, or the stunning spacial awareness of William Scott (above)

But king of painters for me will always be Roger Hilton, this nude below is one of my favourites and it has been perfectly curated next to a lovely Patrick Heron watercolour and a lovely little bronze below.

As always there will be those obvious connections, how can anyone ever resist sticking Hepworth next to Nicholson? Because it really does work, even long after they separated their work always looks made for each other.

I have had a very difficult week planning and marking and teaching at the top of my game in order to jump through the inspection hoops, (and sadly my diary is shockingly empty this weekend.) But good news...I am apparently outstanding! Enough said.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Pringle Genius

My first thought was who has been reading my blog again, but clearly this was taken ages ago, but what a coincidence, If only it was a bit cooler so I could wear my own version!

Image scanned from the Times Style supplement

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I must be getting old

The amount of very dark scribble is a reflection of my very deep seated irritation at the level of discussion at college last night, part of which focused on the Marcel Duchamp instillation below.

So last nights class was unceremoniously moved from the Tate Modern back to Goldsmiths, we had been usurped by people loaded with far more money than we could ever dream of, and so we had to sit and watch the dreaded PowerPoint....

Death by PowerPoint is never good, especially when it should have been the real thing. We were discussing curatorial issues, which itself is like trying to wrestle with a barrel of monkeys, since much of what we discuss is so ephemeral and difficult to present cohesively.

Our tutor has a very specific viewpoint and those that do not quite follow the party line are frequently muffled by a silk blanket of a barely suppressed academic put down.

Our tutor is clearly knowledgeable and also has a very unnerving way of correctly pronouncing every foreign artists name, I don't know about you but I can barely get my own daughters name right sometimes, but some of the more complex Portuguese names we studied are real tongue twisters.

Anyway our tutor gets them spot on, but when she does the whole tone and inflection of her voice changes so that it's like she has been possessed exorcist style. Each time a name comes up I have to check her head isn't spinning.

So back to Duchamp. I spent too long reading The White Cube by Brian O' Doherty on holiday which delves long and deep into the mysteries of curating. This very room above was discussed in the book at length and my own personal reading of it was that yes, Duchamp is very clever, he can out fox the best of them on and off the chess board. Yes, he had genius ideas, very challenging one too. But this? If my work was put up in an exhibition and someone did that my first thought would really have to be what a self centred twat. My second would be get the scissors. Really could he BE more selfish? I put this thought slightly more academically phrased to the group but I was politely smothered by a knowing smile and was told that I was missing the point, who cared about the work when such genius had altered the view point? One student went so far as to tell me that it would not be a problem to just step over the string!! Really like cats cradle with feet? Yes, I am sure it would be simple to do a Celtic line dance across to each painting.

So my scribbles got darker and I decided maybe I was just a little bit too old for this stupidity!

Effing inspectors are in tomorrow, so see you Friday.

Monday, 23 January 2012

London Art Fair Sartorial Style

Once again I was at an art fair on a Saturday (as opposed the the more sartorially oriented weekdays) , My intention was wholly scholarly, I was there to look, and I mean really look at how painters apply paint to the canvas. I did lots of work and garnered copious ideas. Of course there were some well dressed bodies around and I could not resist catching a few, they follow a recurring theme with me, which is wide loose top over narrow trousers. That is just the way I like to dress, having broad shoulders and narrow legs and hips I like the silhouette.

Not too good a photograph, but I was smitten by the art work as well.

I will never tire of that yellow, I have a small collection of cardies, but this one was gorgeous.

As was this stripy top

My favourite of course, you can never have enough grey jumpers can you!

I am currently working hard on a project for college, I learnt so much from the mistakes of the one and two year students last week at their presentation, (I am a doing it over 3 years) Not least the physical presentation of the art work which Is why I found this art fair so rewarding.

I am splitting my rationale, from my statement of intent, this will ensure clarity of purpose. I originally thought the work was all about me, but is fact it is as much about me being an art teacher as well as my painting, I originally failed to see this as a positive, but research as proven me very wrong, even Matisse did some teaching ! And so I am now writing about the impact my teaching has had on my work.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Liliane Tomasko

Images from here,here and here

I was googling the work of Sean Scully, when I came across the name of his wife Lilane Tomasko, as is often the case her work is more beautiful than his, and yet he get the publicity, and she very little.

This is one of the many issues that we can investigate at college, but I think it is so big I would not have the time to do it justice. After my last lesson on Monday I woke in the night with my heady almost pounding with acquired information, and nuggets to explore. The sessions are excellent, but why give us so much now, why not spread the good out a little more?

Still at least it has picked up, and better still I have a much clearer vision for my exhibition next year.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Do we always have to dress to flatter?

It is always nice to look slim, especially if you have remained so through diligently exercising and moderating your eating habits. I have long since given up dieting per se, but I do watch my calorie intake, so that yes, I eat butter on my toast, but no I no longer eat a take-a-way curry. I monitor the quality of what I eat not the calorific value.
That said, yes, I am bigger than I was, not majorly so but after I had Leyla I gained a dress size and it has clung on since, mainly hugging my midriff, so that I shun anything too body con or tucked in. For me comfort trumps style and whilst I would never wear anything to clingy I don't mind if sometimes I am hidden beneath woolly layers, sometimes style should be fun, cosy, cuddly and above all warm. So please ignore the shocking quality of the photographs, I am so blind I can't see the smears, sadly the camera can! Instead I give to you some cuddle and some bargains. Last Friday I had some weird epiphany moment, I suddenly thought I should go to the Uniqlo on Oxford Street, because the sales are almost at an end and last summer I grabbed two wonderful pairs of +J trousers for peanuts right at the end of the sale. Jil Sander has now designed her last collection for Uniqlo, and I missed out online, it pretty much sells out the first hour past midnight.
Amazingly I was able to engineer 2 hours of time up town and so I went, and seriously how weird is this? On one small rail was just a few pairs of trousers, 4 in my size, plus a skirt. The skirt was a no, (I stuck to my rules on that one) 3 of the trousers fitted, (the other pair was a size 10, I misread the label and yet I did pull them on!) 3 pairs! all beautifully cut, all fully lined wool. What I love about +J is that they are cut very generously and are high waisted, which I find so comfortable. 2 pairs were wide legged, but they were so lovely and only £19 each, I had to have them. How is that for luck?
And there is more, I was desperate for a pee, so went over to John Lewis, I tried very hard not to look at the rails of grey cardies, like sirens luring me onto the rocks. Bastards. But they won, kind of, as the fair isle jumper on the left is not grey, and yes, it is a jumper, but the sleeves are woefully impractical and it is less than flattering, but hey, with my new trousers ,I LOVE it.
Next up is my new, not in the sale grey cardie, worn with the other wide legged +J trousers, a lovely deep moss green. In the middle, I spied near Bond Street, a girl wearing this outfit, clearly younger and slimmer, but I do like the idea of cosy wool layered over flimsy silk, so I may give it a go.

Enough about me, two from Bond Street. above a gorgeous outfit as seen in the Hermes window, love the trousers. and below Tory Burch, I have heard a lot about her and now have seen the clothes, Love them, but would need to be twenty years younger I think.

I had a glorious couple of hours wandering around with no agenda, the morning was bitterly cold and crisp, and London was very quiet, just how I like it.

Sunday was all about Leyla, she finished her final exam and so dragged me around the park with her bloody Rollerblades, which she can't use, and then to see War Horse, which I thought would be dreadful, but is in fact fine. It was not the horse that made me cry, it was the battle scene, all I could think of was how on earth did my Grandad survive?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Maison Martin Margiela

I once used to wear black suits, back in the day before I had children when I harboured notions of managerial positions, this was my look. It is the look that seduced Emin, boy did he feel conned when I reverted to type!!

Now this is what I hanker after, in my fantasy world of lottery winnings tumbling past my ears these are the clothes that would envelop me during the cold dark days of winter.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Style Icon Lucinda Chambers

I wish there were more photographs of Vogues fashion editor out there in blog land, she is responsible for some of Vogues best fashion images, how brilliant does she look?
Photo from here

And this one from the excellent Anne Bernecker

Friday, 13 January 2012

The view from here

The field next to his aunts house, as I paint I am surrounded by a moving carpet of red beetles, yet only the ants climb into the paints, I sit on an old chair and paint so can't go too far, their is no need when it all looks this lovely though.

The village sits high up on top of a mountain, the view above is from his aunt's veranda, she spends the weekdays looking after her grandchildren and returns at the weekend, the house is big and was part of a farm, but it is sadly falling into disrepair, her husband died of cancer many years ago and she had 3 girls all of whom have flown the nest. It looks idyllic, but if this painting had sound all you would hear is the constant bickering from a neighbouring house!

This is the view from Emin's house, on the front veranda, I have used considerable artistic license and removed the junk yard that is attached to yet another smallholding lived in by a very deaf old lady, the same old lady that proclaimed she had goats in her garden prettier than me!

This is the view to the right of Emin's house, sadly the mountains have bleached out but on a clear day they rise up majestically.

Down a small lane, 10 minutes walk away is this view, they are all of the sea around here, there are places where the entire horizon is just sea, it gives the landscape a wonderful hazy glow when the sun is out.

This is a heavily reworked painting I sat in the garden of a house that has just been built on the outskirts of the village, it overlooks the valley, across to another village. During the call to prayer there is a small time delay which allows the call to echo across the valley, it is rather beautiful and something I would like to capture on tape. Emin apparently owns a scrubby patch of land down there!

Finally there is a scrubby field 5 minutes away where plants have reclaimed once ploughed land, I love the colours of all the different tress, although I never got to grips with that ethereal silvery beauty of olive trees. I would love to return at Easter one year to see the flowers too.

I painted double this but these I felt were the better ones, they are visual notes for me to paint from, rather than accurate representations, I am also conscious that I use watercolours like oil and often layer them up rather than allow the paper to create light. I half wished I had taken pastels too, but I like the way just using paint forced me to mix colours and focus on how the light changes colour almost every second of the day.

The second week was more rewarding than the first, simply because I finally warmed to the subject and got to know the colours better, I'm going back next year, but perversely will probably approach the project from another point of view using a different media.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Benim guzek Africam

I too love all things African, a fairly trite statement, I know. Not unlike proclaiming a love of all things European, or Asian. Sadly I am not educated enough to specify the origin of sculptures, textiles and jewellery I love, but on retirement when I steal from my school resources it will be the box of African artifacts that will vanish with me.
Situated on a very industrial estate, just outside of Magusa (Cyprus) is a large bakery, it sells all manner of greasy pastry and overly sweet cakes and ice cream, but it does have free wi fi, and so you can sit and watch the locals come and go whilst simultaneously deafened by a music channel, whilst downloading the latest Guardian. There are worse places to spend half and hour, and for me there was a battered dog eared Vogue from Turkey, inside was this lovely page of jewellery, the text I can't translate, the jewellery I love. This too is fabulous, although a little too theatrical for me to wear daily, I do love the concept.

Both from Anita Quansah

Monday, 9 January 2012

Was it a Merry Christmas?

Oh, the tales I have heard about Christmas, they would make last years play Seasons Greetings by Alan Aykbourn seem tame. I have heard 3 different versions of the same story from my mother, my sister and my daughter. The conclusion to my daughter's moody antics is for my mother and my sister electing to spend next Christmas in Australia. Far enough from Daisy to not feel the bitter chill of her frosty glare.

Kitty too at the opposite end of the country with the other family had to suffer, but she did so graciously in silence whilst her new baby brother was spoilt rotten.

And me? well, had the day fallen on a weekday it would be business as usual, Leyla would have gone to school and I would have painted. Instead it fell on a Sunday and so I decided we should have a jolly day out in Bellapais...Sadly rain stopped play.
We drove through torrential rain and it only stopped for a brief moment the entire day.
My uncle is a big fan of misplaced Santa's and so this one was for him.

The oranges were abundant hence scrumping, since the restaurant we planned to eat in was closed.

Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture? Clue, woolly hat + sun glasses!

But I did get to church!

and despite the grey rain soaked skies it was as beautiful as ever

Just a lot greyer.

but we did see our first double rainbow

and some blue sky on the way home.

By now we had fine dined at a Burger King! and I had endured a very expensive tantrum on the phone with Daisy. I decided it would have been cheaper to fly her out to spend Christmas with us next year, which is more likely than she thinks!