Remembrance of Things Passed


A collaboration between Indian filmmaker, Parul Punjabi and British artist, Sara Hayward, the film recreates the life of an Edwardian English family and the several secrets they held- relying heavily on the dreams and memories of the various characters, instead of a linear, narrative description of their lives. Set in the idyllic, quintessentially English Winterbourne House and Gardens and structured loosely as a meditative, mood-poem, the film seeks to capture both the exterior visible reality and the inner subtle reality of its characters.

Building on Proust’s famous quote, ‘Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were’, the filmmakers pay homage to the very idea of memory as they collectively remember the everyday life in the early 20th century. With no dialogue, the natural sounds and dreamlike imagery become crucial in evoking this memory of a bygone era.

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winterbourne snow


Image

when i began my residency at winterbourne last january the snow had fallen and shaped winterbourne into a visually softened silent spectacle different to all that was to follow in the ensuing months of growth. this painting sought to capture the quiet beauty of the changed landscape and was the view form my studio window.

Remembrance of Things Passed


Upon the bridge at Winterbourne

Upon the bridge at Winterbourne

On a rare sunny day in mid June 2013 a short film was shot  with Parul Punjabi, a scholarship student in film studies at Birmingham University, at Winterbourne House & Garden, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The film, Remembrance of Things Passed will be shown at Winterbourne from February 2014. Much planning and days of preparation paid off as on the day as we were able to film  4 hours of footage which Parul expertly edited down to  22 minutes.  As Winterbourne is open daily it was difficult fielding visitors so that they were out of shot; I lost count of the number of times I said, “Excuse me, could you possibly…” The film features my daughter Sylvie Powis and Winterbourne gardener Phil Smith. Each were amenable and a joy to work with.

High winds & blades Day 18


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Wednesday 17th April.

My how the year is skidding past. High winds meant that on arrival one of the volunteers who had been helping the staff put up a large marquee was very nearly badly hurt when a sudden gust meant the whole thing buckled; needless to say it was taken down immediately. Working on the process today cutting stencils and trying not to cut my fingers off. I was taking a section form a painting and putting it into another – like a transplant – or inlay. Popping out the stencils reminded me of those found at the bottom of the cereal packet. The plastic I am using is very strong consequently very difficult to cut. Forgot the plasters but didn’t need them. Realise I was working with stencils at the Museum of Royal Worcester. Forgot my camera. Went for a walk after lunch and saw these enormous yellow “crocae” which are called swamp lanterns (or skunk cabbage). Chatted to volunteer Hugh who was digging the anthemis border which was decimated by last year’s wet summer; also Berry who was tidying up the sunken garden and asked me if her eye looked sore; fortunately not.Yesterday I wrote a review of the Lucy Tomlins sound installation at Worcester Cathedral which I will upload plus my review of Dan Roach’s exhibition. Chatted to folk from Canada and southern India. Of course today was the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral so Winterbourne was very quiet. Arrived home at six thirty and slept for over an hour.

Sunshine & Burgh Island Day 8


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

February 27th 2013

The sun came out! Hurray! I covered over more or less all I had done on the oil painting last week and softened it with an overlay of the palest creamiest blue I could make and added washes to sketch book studies which examine arts and crafts motif in and around Winterbourne. I created a larger acrylic study of the garden in black and white on a red ground working from a charcoal sketch. Went to lunchtime lecture at Barber Institute on art deco where they mentioned John Nettlefold’s cousin Archie Nettlefold who built Burgh Island Hotel, Bigbury-on-sea, Devon, c. 1929. Began two abstract oils to which I will keep adding. Worked in the garden later in the afternoon, looking, sketching, and thinking. The bird song was noticeably loud and lovely but the chickens had been put to bed by the time I got to them. Primroses, crocae, hellebore are all out and I saw a daffodil and azalea in bud. There are signs of growth everywhere. Drew some of the gardeners working in the garden from the window; they were busy clearing winter debris off the ground.

Structure & Ideals Day 4


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

February 6th 2013

It’s colder in Birmingham than Worcester and the train was delayed by half an hour so shivered as I alighted at the University. I learnt more today about John Nettlefold’s ideals and emphasis on tradition and craft via town planning aka Moor Pool Estate.Went to a lecture at the Barber Institute about the Venice Carnival and decided my picture book might be about “Clara the eighteenth century rhinoceros” in and around Venice with puncinello masked figures in tow. Primed four canvases and chatted to people and braved the cold to do four drawings in and around the garden using black aquarelle strick which is really hard and performs like Conte crayon. At the bottom of Winterbourne gardens I sat on a bench dedicated to Hilde Hunt (1913-2004) who coincidentally taught me German at school next door at KEHS from 1975-82. She looked ancient then; and I can remember her telling us about the horrors of Buchenwald. The inscription about her said simply, “who loved gardens.” At home I googled her and read an obituary and hadn’t realised she was actiually Austrian, not German.The drawings I did today focused on winter structures and edited out 90% of what was there;  working solely in black and white I find it easy to think monchromatically. The colour will come.

Chickens & Cactae Day 3


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

February 4th 2013

Cold February day; started raining as I approached Winterbourne. Spent the morning putting on a base layer of oil onto eleven primed boards, each one a different tertiary colour, scratching through to reveal the first colour; a useful starting point. May try to use the tertiary colours found in arts and crafts design, for example, the mint and jade and raw umber colours of the vase downstairs. After a Ryvita lunch in the office I went outside sketching with coloured pencils from 3-4pm. Studied the chickens in their coop, a cactae in the cactus house, plus a pencil study of the house with its enormous arts and crafts gables. The walled garden brick work is the colour of blackcurrant and red clay. Heard the thwack of hockey ball on sticks and the call of crows trying to outdo one another. Managed to find myself locked in the garden but located a kind gardener who showed me the secret way back to the front door. Chatted to folk from Coleshill and Coventry. Heard, “Our Mum,” which took me back, and “innit,” which didn’t.