27 June 2017

Drawing Tuesday - RAF Museum Hendon

 The museum is a 10-minute walk from Colindale tube station.

When I sat down and looked around, this is the view that made it onto the page -

The "sandy" plane is a Hawker Siddley Buccaneer S2B which saw action in the Gulf War before being put into storage. While I was having a closer look at the rivet patterns, a jolly member of the museum's "ground crew" told me about the in-flight braking mechanism, which I'd been drawing without knowing what it was. This is a e area under the tail springs open, and the engine continues to run at full revs, so that once the plane has fired on the plane it was chasing it can close up again and the plane can dart away.

One problem with these big objects, we agreed, was fitting them onto the page.
Janet B's Mustang

Janet K's collection: Hawker Tempest, Percival Mew Gull, Hawker Hart

 Sue was round the other side of the Buccaneer, and also included a De Havilland Mosquito

Extracurricular activities:
 Janet B's felt pots ...
...and her very useful bag (which happens to match her top)

And finally, these jolly models on display in the gift shop -

26 June 2017

The second bookshelf

... is ready!
Filling it took all day and involved much sorting and dusting; whereas
building it took weeks and much skill and perseverance
For quite a while the room was reduced by the necessity of having a "painting section" curtained off so that spray-painting could take place, several undercoats and finally the topcoat. Only the sprayer suddenly stopped working and had to be sent back for repair - so the top coat was done with a brush after all.
Furniture tooooo close for comfort

Work in progress

All this is going ... where?

That final coat ... perfection

Meanwhile the drawers need attention

... and tools spill into the room ...

... while other projects take over the studio space

Tools on the landings...

... and what's this?

Careful on the stairs!
Then on Sunday - yesterday - I came home to this: the shelves have all been painted and just need to cure overnight. Oh, the anticipation! -
Ready for action
These are deep shelves and the smaller volumes can be double-booked. Lest they get forgotten, I've photographed the hidden layer and will print out those pix and put the photos in a "library book" for reference, as a reminder of what's there -
Some little-used cookbooks...

... are now being kept in the dark on the third cookbook shelf
(in the first bookcase).
It's great to have the cookbooks all together again.
 After three hours (and three cups of coffee, and no computer time) -
(The plants are back on the window sill)

Tom's childhood books, which sat in a corner of the landing for months, have been stashed behind the top rows of the new shelves -
 ... and some of the less-used poetry books have been put behind a solid wall of Persephones, above the poetry shelf, which already has its extra layer in place. And wouldn't you know, I've already forgotten what's behind there -
The small shelf is handy for the desk and is useful for library books
 or paperwork that needs dealing with

I look at it and smile

And in the lowest corner, spilling out of the shelf, a temporary
sewing-supplies storage area.
(Note the change in colour of the drawers on the right; others need doing immediately)

25 June 2017

Paint marks and stitch marks

As we get nearer to finishing the renovations, more painting is going on - and has left "impressions" on the material used to protect the floor -

The CQ Summer School retreat has got me enthusiastic about stitching again, and the production of "chimney pots" continues -
Stitiching in the park - using what's to hand -
till receipts for my lunch

Stitching while watching art on youtube
Finished - solidly stitched

Today on the way to a lovely course about Veteran Trees in Greenwich I started the stitching on a new one -
It's about the inside as well as the outside

Coming along...

24 June 2017

Water into wool, or vice versa

Chris Ofili's tapestry, commissioned for the Clothworkers Company and woven at Dovecote Studios in Edinburgh, was submitted as watercolour drawings. The qualities of the watercolour - especially when it represents water - is captured in wool, many colours of wool, thanks to the skills of the weavers, blending up to three nearly similar colours to get many variations. 

The tapestry will grace the guild's dining hall, but first it's being shown in the Sunley Room of the National Gallery (till 28 August), and makes an impressive display. 
The background, designed by Ofili for the installation, shows gods or perhaps merely demigods (one of his fascinations, both classical and contemporary) - they look like frescoes and are said to have been made with "a traditional fresco technique" (by the scene painters of the Royal Opera House).

The tapestry was woven in three panels on an 18-foot loom and took 6,500 hours of work over 2-1/2 years. The main lines of the drawing were traced onto acetate, then blown up to 877-times the size, and placed behind the loom for weavers to keep referring to. The main lines were transferred to the warp - each one inked all the way around each thread - and then the work started, finishing three years later. 

It's a collaboration - and both Ofili and the weavers speak of what's involved in the film that's shown in the exhibition. There are also some of the preliminary drawings - and there's a book.
The film explained the imagery - Ofili his been fascinated by a black italian footballer, Mario Balotelli - one of those demigods! - and he became the source of the unseen cocktail waiter who is filling the glass in the centre that the tipsy woman is holding, serenaded by the man with the guitar. The figures at the side are pulling back the curtains for us to see this scene, as if it was a stage; the caged birds are held by the figure on the right, and the figure on the left holds the  food that is given to them to make them sing. There are three kinds of water: the rock pool, the waterfall, the calm ocean behind. As well as the tropicality and luxuriance, there's a sense of threat - trouble in paradise....

When Ofili was doing the final art work, he says in the film, the turquoise in the jar held by the figure on the right ran a bit much, and he thought "oh no, I've ruined it" (but hadn't) - and the weavers, with their long slow process, captured that instant in the making of the work.

The tiny video clip on the gallery website (https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/chris-ofili-weaving-magic) talks about "the quality of human time embeded in the tapestry".

There's an excellent 10-minute video on the Art Channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3mDWHAIr6I - with closeups of the weaving and lots of information about the background of the work - and without arty jargon.

23 June 2017

Art along the way

With time to squander yesterday (escaping the ever-ongoing renovations!) I took myself into town and sat in the park and stitched. Very pleasant in the intermittent sunshine, with the distant view of deckchairs, but after a while my long list of exhibitions to see started nagging at me - as did the daily 10,000 steps target - so the bag was repacked and the Art Stroll began.
Robert Perkins - Basil Bunting, Fragment, 1980(via)
In Mason's Yard, the target was an exhibition of poems-into-pictures - sometimes you get pictures in printed books of poems, but these prints were based on handwritten poems (many by Seamus Heaney). "Handwritten and handmade." Part 2 of this show is scheduled for the autumn; the printmaker is Robert Perkins.

Thiebaud painted people to0
Nearby, Wayne Thiebaud at White Cube. Upbeat paintings of ordinary objects, sometimes in pairs, and of scenes resembling aerial landscapes. What's striking is the lines of colour throughout - seems like every painting uses every colour of the rainbow. Makes for interesting looking - and it works because of the blank spaces that give the colours room. A glance at the website finds that the work spans 1962-2017. He started painting cakes, pastries, and pies in 1953.

Shadows in gallery windows along the way towards the National Gallery -

I meant to write about Chris Ofili's tapestry! Later...

22 June 2017

Poetry Thursday - "I loved my friend" by Langston Hughes

I loved my friend
He went away from me.
There is nothing more to say.
The poem ends,
Soft as it began -
I loved my friend.

       - Langston Hughes, Poem or To F.S. (1926)

Seen on the wall at Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, as part of the Isaac Julien "I Dream a World": Looking for Langston exhibition (till 29 July).

21 June 2017

Midsummer garden


My garden is tiny, so it looks best in closeup and from different angles.

It's also been a bit neglected lately, but manages to bloom profusely. This year's stars were the self-seeded foxgloves, which are all but over now, and the pink cranesbill geranium is getting bigger and bigger. The rosemary needs yet more trimming, but the big box hedge has been clipped. The remaining bit of privet has become a skeleton - until the plants either side grow a bit, it's functioning as a climbing frame for the survivors of the rampant periwinkle that covered what had been trying to be a lawn, before we redid everything.

Looking towards the road
The tree peony in the pot, and the window boxes on the ledge, as well as several plants hidden in the undergrowth and the enthusiastic "friendly daisy", came from Tony's and need special attention. And in this heat wave everything needs watering ... no rain in sight.

Ah, the lavender ... it's a good year for the lavender too!