Monday, 28 May 2012

Iris & transience

I wait all year for these irises to appear. I brought them from my late parents' garden. Their joint enterprise; my father grew them & then, my mother would paint them.
Each May, I take many photos, but it's never the same as drawing or painting from real life. Yesterday, I grasped the moment, sat in the sunshine & recorded their beauty as best I could.

This morning they were gone, their remains like shrivelled, wilted paper left on the stem.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Leonardo at Bristol

There are not many displays of under a dozen exhibits that I would drive over 40 miles to see, but I made an exception for the latest exhibition at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
On show until 10th June, 'Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci' is the main attraction & for good reason.

This exhibition, although light on exhibits, contains examples of all of Leonardo's major areas of work. He thought of himself as a scientist first & an artist second. Two of the examples are meticulous anatomical drawings, one of arms & the other of bones of the foot. Others include designs for clothing & sculpture.

I loved this drawing of Leda (below) & was fascinated by the techniques used. Leonardo had made an under drawing of black chalk & then a fine drawing of ink was made on top of this. It was amazing to see the marks made by his hand over 500 years ago.

This was my personal favourite, Scenes from the End of the World. Click on the photo to see clouds raining fire & skeletons rising up from the ground- an interesting subject for the leading scientist of the age!

I came away inspired to find out more about Leonardo & become more prolific as an artist!

 The drawings are part of the Royal Collection & are being exhibited as a Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Light & the Great British Seaside

Summer is getting off to a slow start here in the UK. However, yesterday & today have been full of sharp, bright light & searing blue skies that, whilst there's still a nip in the air, whisper the promise of hot summer days to come.

I'm currently teaching an online drawing class & as part of the preparation, wanted to take some photographs of pebbles. I already have pebbles in my garden collected on previous excursions to the coast, but what I didn't have was the right type of light.

I decided that I owed it to my students to give them photographs of pebbles taken in situ on a beach in coastal light.  The nearest place, I could get to easily, was Clevedon on the south west coast. Technically speaking, Clevedon is at that point where river & ocean meet. The water contains silt washed down the river by recent heavy rain, & yet, it's tidal, has small pebbled beaches & a beautiful Victorian pier.

On the drive there, I was thinking about the fact that artists seem to be drawn to the light of the western coast & why this should be. For example, the St Ives artists in Cornwall & St David's in Wales is also a congregating point for artists. Is this just true in Britain or does this happen in other places too, artists creating communities to take advantage of the western light. Do you know of any others?