Sunday, August 30, 2009

Short Break

Just got a few minutes before we go out for a meal.
Getting my stuff together. Not taking a magic sword but I do have the pencils.
Yes I'm in a silly mood.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Before the Quest

Getting ready for this Cyprus trip is not unlike preparing for the quests we read about in epic stories; - Lord of the rings, King Arthur and the Holy Grail, Eric Brighteyes, Siegfried.... the list goes on. Seeing its a trip to Cyprus, Perseus and the rescue of Andromeda came to mind.

All these quest stories (and the computer games they engender) have the same thing; namely collecting a number of vital items before setting off. They always have a magic sword and some other things like special mirrors, a goddess' blessing which usually involves armour or some level of invincibility oh, and of course, the magic sword. Mustn't forget that.

Well Perseus had to get the All Seeing Eye, a Mirror, the Head of Medusa, a Helmet to make himself invisible, a goddess' Blessing, I think it was Aphrodite, a pair of Special Flying Sandals borrowed from Hermes no less and of course he could not go without a MAGIC SWORD.
And off he went To a far off land to find Andromeda. Mind you, three thousand or so years ago when he did this, all he had to put up with was gorgons, dragons, harpies, the occasional man-eating sphinx, a big time god who didn't like him, not to mention sirens, Scylla and Charybdis. But he managed.
Imagine trying to go to a far off land today. Well, there's airport security for a start.
"Now Sir, you can carry your goddess' blessing and helmet and that mirror with your cabin luggage but not that eyeball thing, its' classified as a liquid container. And I'm afraid that big shiny knife (the magic sword?) must travel in the hold.
"Now if you would be so kind as to remove those sandals and put them through the scanner and while your waiting I want to see what you have in that box."
Well, Perseus being a law abiding chap did as the security guard asked and opened the box.
Security looked on, - stonily.

Now where's my Magic Sword gone?
Oh here it is, a mallet and set of chisels.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clear the decks...

Clear the decks, not so much for action, but to make room for the artist who is going to use my space while I'm away in Cyprus. He'll have use of half my space once I've got the stuff shown here stashed on the other side . The space is a room 9 feet square so it'll have to be stacked in a pretty neat and compact way.
That's what I've spent a large part of today doing. The carving tools you can see on the table are coming to Cyprus with me along with a stock of paper and paints. Its all packed into a suitcase now so that's a big-ish job out the way.
The new incumbent is a glass ceramicist who tells me he doesn't need a particularly large space to work in and my half space will be perfect. His paying rent on half a space cuts down the amount I have to pay for it while I'm away.
I leave for Larnaka on Monday and won't be back in Blighty until mid-November.
I may get chance to post a little using the Larnaka studio computer but my slots will be a bit limited.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ongoing project

This project, started from "A Germ of an Idea" has developed quite a few little side avenues. I was thinking initially in terms of two semi-circular set ups; in one, the centre figure would be a leader and in the other, a rejected person. Both are the centre of the attention of the peripheral figures. A series of drawings has ensued thus far plus a couple of sculptures.
Here is one idea. I have set out some drawings in this diagrammatic form to give some idea of what I'm getting at. The central figure is at the receiving end of a judicial decision. The red figures are the judges or prosecutors, the yellow are intercessors on the subjects behalf and the one in blue, the indifferent bystanders. I haven't really arrived at the final form but it is the "germ of an idea".


This is one of the "side avenue" figures. Here she is looking up at the overhead light.
An overhead artificial light?
The Sun?
Divine inspiration?
I love presenting puzzles. You can decide for yourself. I haven't arrived at any conclusions yet.
One thing I can tell you, - I've got plenty to work on while in Cyprus. The whole thing has, after all, something a Hellenic feel about it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Starting Countdown...

Ten days to Cyprus. And counting. Got a phone call from Larnaka today confirming I am expected at the time I said I would arrive. It has been a busy few days making final arrangements.
Its not like pacage holidays. As this is a three month stay I have to make my own arrangements and set up my own contacts. Its cheaper that way anyway. It does help having been there several times before; I now have a reasonable network of contacts.
Now its all coming together at last. must admit I'm starting to get excited.
But its not a holiday. I am there to help out at the college. My main job is to take students on field trips. Open air painting/drawing sessions, mostly on the beach. Well, someone's gotta do it!!! Oh yes, and one lecture a week, mainly about my own work and to provide practical backup to the syllabus.
To be honest though, its a galaxy away from the British (art school) scene. Take a peek at the website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting a new Roof

We have the roofing men working overhead replacing the worn out slates. The roof was built when Queen Victoria was little more than a teenager. Our house is easy to spot right no, its the one with all the scaffolding.
I've got to give it to those roofing guys, they really get on with the job. We had a couple of really fine days and they took advantage of the dry weather and worked with hardly a break. Yesterday the gods were grossly incontinent, it rained all day, but undismayed the men turned up and did what they could between raindrops. Then a lorryload of new slates arrived and the lorry needed unloading and slates stacked up top. They worked through atrocious weather to complete that particular task. By lunchtime they were soaked through and once the stuff was stacked safely they called it a day.
But this morning, wall-to-wall blue skies and they were up aloft before I got out of bed, and I was up at 7-30!
These guys don't waste time.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

In Sculptor's Heaven

Yesterday I took a train ride 40 -odd miles to the north, to Penrith for the Cumbrian Potfest, an international gathering of ceramics artists. Not only were there many displays from all over the UK and Europe plus one from Australia, there were trade stands selling a wide variety of ceramic tools all reasonably priced. Some were just amazingly cheap.

This torso is an entry from Japan. I love that metallic glaze and the almost gossamer thickness of the actual ceramic. The exhibitor invited me to pick it up. After all, sculpture is a tactile medium. In my hands it felt so delicate and exquisite.

Figures from myth and legend, very much on my wavelength, faeries, goblins, wizards/witches, dragons etcetera ad infinitum.


..... and horses. This one made up of fragments held together with slip and glaze. This particular one is about 18 inches (45 cm) long.
There was plenty of opportunity to chat with other art-makers and learn from each other. I even had a go at throwing a pot, i.e., making a pot on a potter's wheel. Its the first time I've done it. I made three pots in all, and thereby hangs a tale...
For the first one I was guided stage by stage and made a reasonable though not perfect bowl. The second one I was left on my own to get on with it. To say it was total disaster would be an understatement. But I had ten minutes of my one hour slot left so was given another ball of clay. Time was not on my side so I just had to get on with it without thinking about it too much. Actually, it turned out to be my best effort. I threw the pot in three minutes flat. Not quite up to exhibition standard but better than I dared hope.
Mustn't forget the jazz quartet that provided music at lunch time. It consisted of saxophone, banjo, trombone and sousaphone. A bit of an eclectic mix but they were good.
The sun shone too. It has been a good day.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Despite the wind and rain

Our "yarden" isn't looking too bad. A bit saturated but its managed to make a show none-the-less. Mind you, its my other half who looks after it these days. She's much more green fingered.

One corner of the yarden

Some free standing plant pots

The kitchen window box from outside. The hanging basket on the left has tomato plants that don't like our Northern Climate one little bit.

Opposite wall.

From the kitchen window, a an abundance in the window-box.
Today the sun has shone all day. A rare event. But at least we don't have a water shortage.