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.

Advertisements

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.

Lanterns & Fringes Day 15


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Thursday 21st March

It was a cold day and I forgot my hat & gloves. There were lots of visitors: from Canada, Japan and a couple up from Bedford to see the garden. Went to the lunchtime Magic Lantern Show which was fascinating with Cinderella, volcanoes, earthquakes, and mining all covered in glass slides with background music. Added further layers to my paintings intensifying the blues, greys and black; also added signature spots at the end: the artist fingerprint. Studied old family photos from the archives and drew from one of Nina and Evie sitting on the sands holding a toy sailing boat with a bucket & spade beside them with the dunes in the background. They both have severely cut fringes and are seated wearing near identical sailor dresses; Nina looking very serious and Evie looking wistful. Received positive feedback from visitors about my blue palette. Hurrah!

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. 

New Year New Post


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Monday went well despite the snow. The train was cancelled but I managed to get to Winterbourne to meet the staff trampling through a foot of snow. I met the front of house staff, curator and marketing team plus a number of others and was shown the tradesman entrance in case I want to arrive early before the public. I was shown my studio space which has wonderful first floor views over the seven acre garden and look forward to making myself at home there. You can find me off the hobbies room every Monday plus one other day each week for ten months. Where? Winterbourne House and Gardens opposite the Barber Institute as artist in residence at Winterbourne House & Garden, Birmingham University. Watch this space! With my new camera I took some footage of the snow in the hazel tunnel and the students on campus moving around like ants between lectures. I shall knit snippets together for a short film to be shown next February and March. I was filming on the train but didn’t quite turn it off so there was a long shot of a bloke’s knee; similarly sod’s law I stopped filming and put the camera away just as an iced over canal came into view with Canada geese walking around on it.

120513 tree planting


ImageI love my garden, and at this time of year I have a one to one with each of my plants. Tonight all the acers in the front garden were given their annual Spring cocktail of goodness AKA liquid fertiliser via my watering can to help them on their way and bring oodles of Spring growth to the fore and front garden. As the last drop of goodness dripped into the ground I could be seen gently caressing the leaf of each tree and whispering sweet nothings into its metaphorical ear; very Prince Charles. Whilst all this was going on my other half was valliantly firing up the bbq and cooking the smokiest, most  flavoursome cuisine of the year so far……and, hey, all on a Sunday night, with kids’ exams the next morning. Normally we’d be tucking into a roast, but for parents worried about their kids’ exam results we by contrast relax and lose ourselves in the summer time pursuits of gardening and eating al fresco which ultimately  keeps us sane. Yesterday I planted a tiny oak tree grown from an acorn (ask me where in thirty years time) , and today I planted a pear tree that has been patiently waiting to be planted since last autumn when it was bought.

Goodness; I’ve just looked at this post and noticed that the drawing is larger than normal; but I like it and shall leave it like that. All the marks and incidentals take on a presence that can be examined at a closer scale. Look hard and absorb; take in and enjoy!