120420 new blog launch

I am finding inks a very fast and immediate way of working; handy if you’re short of time and need quick results. I like the combination of line and wash and in the drawing on the left I worked over an old drawing hence the added richness; a good way to recycle old works. If you double click on the drawing you can just about make out the scalloped edge of an Earl of Coventry Royal Worcester Porcelain piece. As always I started slightly out of control with my left hand then continue adding in finer detail with my right hand.

I have also started a new blog; weareworcester.wordpress.com about the people of Worcester.  It involves an interview where the same set of questions are asked of people; eg what do you most like about Worcester, which living person do you most admire and why. The answers are really interesting and I hope the participants and online readers will find it revealing also. It helps us understand one another. The questions are inspired by a similar interview I read each week in Saturday’s Guardian magazine and are normally answered by celebrities; in the case of my blog the common denominator is that all the interviewees are from the Worcester area, and hopefully eventually from Worcesters further afield. Long term I’d like to open it up o the people of Worcester, Masachusetts, USA, and Worcester, South Africa (where incidentally the author J.M.Coetzee hailed  from). I hope to interview people from all walks of life, young and old, male and female. If you’re interested in participating and are from Worcester(shire) please get in touch via the blog or email. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Birthday Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg is eighty one today. Fantastic. I wish him a giant museum sized birthday candle to stand beneath.

I have fond memories of looking up at his giant shuttlecock in the grassy grounds of the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas, USA. It took me a while to “get it”. The aerial view of the museum is H shaped ( because it was paid for by the city’s Hallmark greetings company)  like a huge badminton court. Ah ha. Very funny. Years earlier I had stood below his giant peg, in Chicago (or was it Boston or Philadelphia?) I think it was Chicago but I’d have to check. I felt like an urban ant in its shadow, insignificant like a single blade of grass. It got my laundry sorted though.

To my students I have always cited him as a good example; someone to look at for fun and bare faced cheek; a hamburger, a peg, a shuttlecock? Everyday objects we all recognise. I love his work and the drawings in particular;  informal scribbled sketches on the back of  fag packets and envelopes? He  takes an ordinary object and alters the scale so completely that the object takes on  new meaning, makes the mundane monumental. Bigger than any of us.

So, Happy Birthday, Claes, you cheer us up with the stunning immediacy of your work; drawing us in with an immediate recognition, then spitting us out with renewed focus on our  complete insignificance.

We salute you.