St Abb's National Reserve

St Abb's National Reserve
View from my office

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Well, it's open studio time, again; Friday 28th, Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th November then Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th December.

21 West St Belford NE70 7QB 11 till 5

This year I'm sharing a studio with Linda Scott-Robinson, a painter who wishes to escape the bonds of full-time, regularly paid work to enjoy the freedom of economic insecurity and irregular employment, of managing your own time (working weekends and evenings) and taking responsibility for yourself (it's all your fault when it goes wrong.)

Still, the painting is good fun.

Come along on the 6th and then stay for Belford's Victorian Christmas Market, follwed by our community PLAY and then the choice of either a showing of 'Mama Mia!' or a 'Mama Mia' disco- all in various venues in the village.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Ive had to do a bit of driving recently- it seems to be 'the thing' after a settled, focused period of work I have to spend a similar period roaming around; delivering pictures, picking up materials, wandering aimlessly...

The driving is a treat, though, when the weather is good and the trees on the turn. No avoiding, though, I have 2 commissions, 1 of which demands more trips to the seaside, and a writing project to complete-

I did finish a screenplay earlier this year, and have edited it several times. A local independant film company are keen to make the film. The process is slow. I need fairly regular portions of reassurance and general artist maintainance to keep me productive and there have been no developments for a while- all technical stuff, far too complicated for my creative brain.

Thank goodness.

The sun has ignited the leaves on the apricot tree outside the kitchen window- 'flitter-flutter' my butterfly brain alights on a different bloom.

Someone give me back my regular sleep patterns, and maybe a regular job, with regular pay, where someone comes and whips my ass if I'm not at work-

No gratitude, these artists.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Thank you

I just wanted to say 'Thank you!' to everyone who attended the private view for the exhibition 'Natasha's Garden' on Friday evening.
Despite the filthy weather, over 100 guests crammed into the room, some even braving the soggy night to look at the lovely garden.
The place was really buzzing and no one seemed to mind my social ineptitude (I have been in a shed for 6 weeks!). The exhibtion was a great success, too and buyers patiently await the varnishing, drying, or, ahem, signing of their works before delivery.
I am so happy, I kept telling people over the weekend, what a positive experience the whole thing has been, right from meeting Natasha and her family and sitting in last summer's sunshine, drawing, up to the rainy days this year, which I spent in the studio playing with cheery, vibrant magenta, crimson, madder rose oil paint.
The dam has broken now and the jobs I held back and pretended were not there have pushed into my forebrain. I will spend a few days putting my house in order and doing some lesson planning for the dance classes. I have transcripts of stories and business books to do; there are letters from school and art workshops to organise...
2 paintings to begin and finish.
I cleaned the kitchen floor this morning.
Simple tasks, completed quickly. I feel I have achieved so much. Hey! I may hang some washing out!

I will post more pictures soon.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

I wonder, 'has it stopped raining, yet?'
Poor Natasha- her garden is sopping wet
Poor me, I am not in it, painting, as I should be.
Thank heavens for digital photography!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I feel I'm finding a style that is particular to the garden paintings and drawings; I like the kitchy-50's edge that keeps appearing in some of my larger paintings (will post soon). I feel it deals with the overwhelming amount of information there is, amongst the flowers and shrubbery.

Areas I have agonised over; 'Shall I include that? Must I be slavishly realistic?

Natasha has erected a Cath Kidson -ooh, I was going to call it a tent, there- tent, it is not- anyway, such a magnificent display of roses, red and pink, on a blue background have settled my questions for me!

I remember, as a child, I stayed at my maternal grandmothers house during the (then, achingly long) summer break. I'd be indulged outrageously for three or four days and have the run of a lovely house in a local market town; each room decorated tastefully, if of a time.

Downstairs, the front room was most certainly Victorian; Gran had an eye for furniture- dark furniture, and rich fabrics; (one steered one's attention from the plastic sewn on the edges of rugs, and the covers to hide the wear-and-tear), upstairs, though , some of the bedrooms had been furnished with sinks, to accommodate fee-paying guests, on a bed and breakfast basis ( young doctors, mostly- my gran kept up with families for years afterwards) ANYWAY the pictures in these rooms were fascinating- awful, I remember no one wanted them, when it came to finally clearing out her home. The whole picture, frame, backing, was one piece of cardboard, folded and cut and depicted scenes of open squares thronging with people, houses with red geraniumes, or cosmos-like flowers dashed over painterly backgrounds. I visited each of these pictures in turn again and again, on rainy afternoons, or pausing on an errand ('Your legs are younger than mine').

Such little, incidental pictures are coming back to me- not the whole image, you understand, but the brushstrokes, the colours, the way some forms are picked out, some discarded and dealt with using whimsical colours and I shall indulge my urge for whimsy, for fun, and a trowel-load of sentimentality and leave the botanical drawings to the botanists!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

That's the art tour over with- no 'phew' moment this year, strangely enough; I'm usually lying in a darkened room with a towel over my head, but so much to do, I'm straight back up to Natasha's to sketch and finishing other projects.
The little drama company I'm involved with is performing in Bamburgh Castle on Saturday morning at 11.30. come along if you don't mind paying the entrance fee to come in!
A little incident I wanted to share- at Natasha's- lovely day, had this enormous canvas propped up to paint a particularly beautiful bed of roses (Geoff Hamilton, apparently), foxgloves and huge aliums. I stopped, hearing a scuffing noise accompanied by a high-pitched chatter.
Looking up ,I spied a hacked-off looking squirrel in the lower branches of the box tree that towers over the garden. I tried to get on with my work after (I thought) exchanging pleasantries with the squirrel but it really wouldn't let it lie. It continued stamping its little feet and chattering at me; 'ah, I thought, it objects to my presence.' I moved under the tree. I peeped around the enormous trunk to see a squirrel-shaped silhouette, peering the other way around the trunk.
The chattering began again.
'Alright, alright.' I thought and abandoned my canvas, feeling the creature was cross enough to launch an assault (don't laugh, I could picture me at the vet's having the squirrel removed from my hair!). i went indoors, feeling eyes follow me across the gravel.
I took the opportunity to have a drink of water, waited a moment and returned to the door. Who do I see, glaring furiously (I swear it was!)? It was bent, peering right into the hall to where I was standing! I retreated and watched the squirrels progress from a tiny window.
It made its way to an apple tree and skirted the garden, SAS-style and disappeared from sight.
I returned to the canvas, safe in the knowledge I wasn't disturbing the locals anymore.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I went to the beach this morning. My partner has been in the water 3 or 4 times over the last few days- the surf appearing after months of flat sea.

I have been busy, or asleep, and in no mood to haul my carcass to the shore to paint before now; 9.15am is hardly the dawn patrol, either.

I need to get down the coast on a sunny morning while there is swell; I have been commissioned and await a window of opportunity- like catching a wave, really; waiting for the right kind of wave, at the right point of maturity, to lift me up and carry me along.

In the meanwhile I warmed up; battering a few bits of oil paper, the tide retreating, mocking my efforts to keep up with its progress.

I looked down at the dazzling, purple geraniums on the dune and considered tackling a subject that doesn't move around so much.

I have to use the medium- oil gets away from me, has a will of its own, or at least a character that is not so personable as acrylic; which says, 'okay, you want me to be watercolour? I'll try my best.' or 'Impasto? You got it!'

Oil has been around the block. It doesn't need to prove itself. It says 'Look at these babies-' pigments glossy with oil, smells evokative of age-old tradition, secret recipies; of alchemy.

Oil does not bend to my will. I have made a deal and must respect its qualities, notice the glutinous sprawls of air-pocked white that want to be the lacy trails behind the breakers. I must measure my thinners and potions, or lose connection with the paint.

It wants to be involved in my process; suggests; points out; demands.

It mocks my yearning to pin down precise little lines of neat waves, shouting 'Look!' As a monster slaps its black hand on the shore and a comb of almost tropical-tinged water arcs momentarily, before disappearing forever.

I've come home to lick my wounds; to have it out, in the studio, with a docile, obedient photograph- one of my concerns, at least, biddable to my will.

I must get back, also ,to my garden project.

Natasha's garden having sprouted away alarmingly since my last visit.

Maybe it's me, who is standing still too long.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Art Tour Invitation

The Open Studios Event organised by 'Network' has already begun for alot of artists.
My own event doesn't start till the 22nd of June.
I realised, this morning, I hadn't actually sent leaflets to my mailing list.
Details, details.
At least I've new work to show.
Follow the distinctive yellow-and-black signage through the village to studio 54.
Belford is between Berwick-Upon-Tweed and Alnwick, on the A1.
follow the signs to 21 West St.
Opening hour 11am till 5pm

Saturday, 7 June 2008

As 'Art Tour' draws ever closer, my ability to concentrate diminishes; I flit form one job to another, hovering briefly before going to another more pressing task.

Whether it is clearing the ground floor, or ordering prints or getting work framed, or FINISHING PAINTINGS I can't seem to shake off the ominous sense of a deadline.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not worried, just taking one day at a time, pulling my shoulders down from round my ears when I remember.

Getting ready for a hafla tonight- that's Arabic/Egyptian for dance party; there will be attendance from the three different groups I teach, plus other teachers and their students; there will be live drummers (nothing worse than a dead drummer to bring the atmosphere down;) and food, oh, and a chance for ladies to get up and have a good old boogie.

I'm actually quite looking forward to it, just the timing of it is a little ill-planned.

It does take a bit of putting together, and I am in a bit of a flap, but it will all be over by midnight and I can get back to panicking about the art tour.

Enjoyed the garden this week, which is coming into it's own; the oriental poppies are blooming, as is the rosemerry, and a lovely pale yellow rose, which gives out the most amazing scent.

I spent a few days sketching two honesty plants- the heads are beginning to mature and colour from purple-green to pale blue and yellow- well, in my sketchbook they are!

Roll on June 22nd, that's what I say, when the house is tidy and clean, the paintings are framed and hung and I'm scrubbed and sociable- ready to meet art tour visitors.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

All in the name of publicity, I say:
A nice person from BBC 'Look North' came to visit today. He filmed a bit, photographed some pictures; asked some questions, then we had a nice run out to my mate, Natasha's to film her garden, hoping to wedge in a mention of her open garden (15th June).
Well it was fine; bearable- as fine as having a ruddy great camera pointed at you, can be.
It was the preparation that made me really laugh at myself, feminist, that I am, I wondered whether I should wash my hair, use some serum, you know?
I found a tube of something- a freebie from a pitying cosmetics counter goddess- that claimed 'instant lift'. I put some on my face.
The smile in the photo is a symptom of the fluid. Beware.
I used foundation and mascara (steady, girl.)
Put my hair up in an arty-looking knot.
Vanity, vanity.
(I haven't even mentioned the zip-around I did, to make the house look presentable- Germaine, close your ears.)
If only the whole minute of filming I was allocated could be directed towards the paintings, only.
We did some 'dabbing' of the paint on the canvas.
I do take my hat off to proffessionals who can paint, speak and be watched at the same time- there are folk who tour the art supply fairs doing that, all year!)
Who said women were the multi-taskers?
My left hand was scrutinised, close-up, scrubbing a pastel on some paper. Apparently I sketch in Natasha's garden.
One might guess from the film I asked a six-year-old to do some colouring in, for me. I simply cannot work under these conditions!
But insist on doing so-
Tomorrow, I'm off to humiliate myself on Radio Newcastle; again, to promote 'art tour'.
They want me to bring along my drum, make a bit on noise in a 'what-artists-do-other-than-paint feature.
I flipping paint. That's the bit I'm trying to sell. That's the main point, isn't it?
But, still I go.
I resolve to take my coin-fringed hip belt and finger cymbals, too.
I'm going to make a right effing racket.
Next week, I'm balancing a seal on my nose, whistling 'She'll be coming round the mountain', naked, in Grey Street, and passers by are invited to throw tomatoes for the seal to catch.
If you look closely, the art tour dates are tatooed on my...

Monday, 19 May 2008

I should know better; old enough, as I am.

It was my birthday, yesterday, you see and I drank a few (ahem) glasses of cava-and-orange juice last night...

Hectic at the moment; between art tour deadline, writing, and the classes, I'm finding that weekends are often spent working at the computer. We (all members of the family involved) are also rehearsing for a performance of 'The Laidley Worm' which is to be premiered at Seahouses Festival on 21st June.

Now, some may say it was inadisable to take on another responsiblity, but when I agreed to be involved (and it is my Mother-Out-Law who writes these plays,) I had no idea I'd be writing, and that would mean another deadline!

So, we'd had quite a nice day; on the beach, my partner had participated in a 5 and a 1/2 mile run, in aid of 'Chin-Up', a local charity that runs a respite house for families with children who have special needs, (please watch out for their 14th December run, same place, Seahouses Beach, where all participants will get to wear a Santa Suit, if wished- can you imagine?) Anyway, the weather was nice, so I had a trundle out on my bike, before settling down to work.

At 5pm we rehearsed, for an hour, or so, and were, naturally, full of beans by teatime. I opened a bottle while my daughter cooked.

The rest is history.

So, this morning, I'm drinking buckets of jasmine green tea while my lucozade awaits.

I should be dashing around, being efficient or/and creative.

Silly, silly artist.

So ends my confession.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Oh, the ups and downs of the artist: I get a good day's painting in, today, then burn my son's fish fingers in the process of updating the blog.

(I've binned them- okay am eating them- and have begun a fresh batch, before his stern eye catches sight of a charred corner and flips the things over, saying, 'Mu-um, you've burned them AGAIN!')

Nope, not in any of the Great Artists' bio-pics or books:

Thursday: Light breeze, nimbus clouds hooking the cobalt roof. Sought the company of seagulls on the clifftops; dolphins jumping at the head.

Studies of waves breaking over rocks.

Came home; burnt the fish fingers.

Perhaps they just left those little details out of the picture?

Not that I'm trying to compare myself, you understand, it's just, perhaps a sense of single-mindedness in one life can attract nothing but admiration. In another life can lead only to gettnig told off by a ten-year-old.

What am I doing?

Apart from burning more fish fingers?

Get me off this machine!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

I've been away-hey-hey!

Just wanted to post a little celebratory blog:
I've been away, all weekend, on a residential course, in Ford Castle, North Northumberland.
Dancing, not painting; taught my first workshop, attended classes with fabulously giving, talented and knowlegeable dancers, watched some breath-taking performances and danced from my heart.
A strange thing to say about belly-dancing (a term which serve the purpose of describing a dance that encompasses hundreds of styles and traditions) you might think- I suppose many who have witnessed some kind of Middle Eastern dance would imagine it is little to do with the heart, more with the chest, as so to speak.
If everything is allowed and no one's going to tell anyone else whether or not they're qualified to dance or not, then, yes, a bit of boob wobbling will come into it, (for some dancers) but believe me, it's all about communication, love and trust; about opening the heart and giving everything, and as a viewer, about allowing yourself to accept that love.
Western audiences are geared up to be passive, critical viewers. No wonder so few people are willing to entertain the idea of going to see such a dance; the conversation opened by a dancer can leave you thrilled, heart broken, filled with love, geared up to face the world!
It is an incredibly risky thing to take someone's gaze and keep it- who knows what someone might think of you, or what you might expose yourself to, in engaging in that wild behaviour!
I'm sure people could meet, have conversation, share food, have sex, all without looking into each others' eyes, but I think I may have done all these things just looking into someone's eyes.
And i don't mean cow eyed eyelash fluttering, I feel i mean, windows-of-the-soul, truthful, unconditional-trust-type looking.
We danced to drummers, played zils, spun in the sunshine with silk veils, clashed sticks in Saudi folkloric dancing...
Happy, too happy.
happy enough to cry.
I do hope no one think s I'm a nutter, now, and doesn't visit the blog, any more!
I'll paint tomorrow!

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

I've made a few visits to Natasha's garden, in the past week; the weather's that bit warmer and brighter, the sea that much flatter...

Anyway, it has been a case of driving over, hoping the weather holds long enough to produce a bit of work.

Natasha walked me round, despairing at the lack of growth, the cold, and the unusually icy North wind, which has done some damage.

I can empathise with Natasha, now she is committed to opening her garden, to the public, on the 15th of June- she has become an artist with an exhibition pending:

In her mind, the critics arrive, clipboards in hands, casting hostile glances at any perceived imperfection, all the elements out of the control of the gardener, having done their worst.

I would fret about having enough new work to satisfy returning visitors, worry a new style or theme wouldn't be well-received, or just pain worry no one would turn up.

Natasha has a picture already in her mind; she paints with plants, imagining species complimenting and contrasting, ruthlessly pruning back the out-of-place or the ailing specimen.

She chooses her palette, composes, plays with form, colour and light.

Her canvas is enormous, 3 dimensional and apt to get horrendously soggy, or dry as a bone.

My materials, at least, will go in the back of my car.

I'm glad to say I haven't lost the pleasure of sitting sketching in this garden because an exhibition is planned around the work; I spent lovely summer days, last year, away from the self-imposed pressures working to exhibition, being free of thinking a work must be completed to hang on a wall.

I had a little holiday, and that feeling is still with me, surrounded, as I am, up in that garden, by the plants, the sights and sounds of wild birds, and an occasional visit, by a red squirrel.

Natasha is committed to her garden vision, probably alot more focussed, on the one project, than I- I'm sure visitors will delight in her creation, and I delight in my privileged visits, behind the scenes!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Well, I gather the storms, this weekend, put pay to alot of holiday plans, but I get a real buzz seeing the sea so wild and messy.

The kids were prised from the sofa, and we all went to sit in the car, at Bamburgh, to watch the sea. The car rocked with the wind, and foam blew onto the dashboard, each time I opened the window to take a picture.

My partner and I ventured out, to lean into the wind. I wasn't as intrpid as some: I watched a figure, tripod and camera at the ready, heading down to the stag rock.

I've never seen the water at Budle Bay so close to the road, and so choppy; small waves carved their way along the bank, which is usually grassy and exposed.

Unfortunately, I lost all of the photos I took, that day, due to a misunderstanding between myself, and my newly repaired laptop. I did visit twice more, though; On Saturday we drove up the coast, looking at Embleton, Beadnell, Annstead and Bamburgh. The wind had dropped, it was sunny and the waves were more defined. I began painting on Saturday afternoon.

I like elements of the sketch: I like the immediacy of the brushstrokes, and oil suits the subject matter, for me. It slicks onto the surface, and I feel I echoe some of the movement of the water.

I want to work more en plein air- these are from a photo, and feel I can get alot of information, about the shapes the water makes, and the texture, which satisfies my need to own these beautiful patterns, but I enjoy the energy and unselfconscious mark-making of the en plein air work. I think the studio studies help me build an understanding of the patterns and shapes made by the sea's energy, but the process of working outside, and even just spending time watching the water, adds the energy to the paintings. I don't want to lose the movement and power, which I witnessed first hand, this weekend.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

I've been a bit under the weather. Trying not to bump into too many folk, and have to go into an explanation about my shoulder-in-spasm, (Sounds like an unpopular relation.) as it inevitably forges a pattern for the rest of the conversation...Still, (and I have been, very still.) I'm on the mend, able to put on and remove my own clothes (could have been quite sexy, but for the shrieks of pain- mine, not his, and my insistence on a little attention to detail- 'No, the other way round...)

March, I find, is a funny month, anyway; Nature stirring: lambs, daffs, birds, yet my own sap seems reticent to rise at the same rate. 'Perhaps when it's warmer/less windy/not raining- Oh, is it April, already?

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't done a stroke, this year, but I do feel something has got away from me in the past week; Outside the window, stuff happens- bursts, buds, blossoms, squawks, shags, while I have to content my drug-addled brain with Series 1 of Green Wing and a hot water bottle. with eagerness I anticipate another round of acupuncture; and with less enthusiasm, a round of muscle prodding and shoulder manipulation.

Friends call. (Call yourself a friend? Ringing me up, in my misery to tell me how many exhibitions you're booked to do, how well the painting's going?) I execute a range of moves, set to increase my range of movement, guaranteed to make me look like a duck defending its nest.


Never mind, My dear old Ma would say, never mind. How about a nice cup of tea? That'll do nicely, for now.

Wish me speedy recovery, folks.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

I went to my friend's this morning. We drank tea and planned a weekend in September for an exhibition:

Natasha will open her garden ,and I will exhibit work, painting in the garden. The weekend is the 13th and 14th of September. We discussed the idea of a private view, on the Friday, but, rightly, Natasha fears for her more delicate flora, the risk of a drunken body tumbling over in the fading light (probably mine).

We have a building, in which the work will be exhibited.It does need a window and electricity, but we are high on the adrenaline of a new project, and optimistic.

It was sketching in Natasha's garden, last summer, that drew me from my studio, and back outdoors, to work again.

Her garden is freshly cut back and weeded, awaiting the new flush of growth that will overtake the narcissi and snowdrops.

Her garden, Fowberry Mains is in the yellow book, and is open this summer, for the first time.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Half term is nearly at an end. I fear I'm about to go into a period of mourning; I spend too long, at the beginning of the holiday, attempting to bravely soldier on- with paperwork, with tasks that come under the title of 'pottering'. It has taken me till this morning, to embrace the spirit and have a jolly good loaf about. I know I've missed my opportunity to recharge my batteries properly

Commissions are varnished; too windy to rouse a family route march, in the name of 'fresh air', I was still in my dressing gown at 10, reading Terry Jones' book on the middle ages, a foot dangling in front of the halogen heater; a pile of dirty dishes in the washing up bowl; a pile of clean dishes precariously stacked on the draining board.

Guilt made me dress, at 10.30am- In my mind, braver souls stay in pyjamas till lunch, perhaps even not stepping over the threshold; Children sprawled on furniture, or gluing the cat onto a collage.

Secretly (till now) I have dreaded the arrival of my Mother-Out-Law, who, with a menacingly cheerful cry, would knock-and-come-in, on her way back from a dawn hike, or after tilling a stony acre before 9am, or having marked a 'solid 'A' sample', from her exam board allocation, before morning coffee.

It is not that she openly criticises my pace of life, but she represents, to me, a way of thinking, set in some women I know.

It has taken me too long, I think, to resist the urge to demure to this workhorse approach to life. I admire my M.O.L. She is an academic, a talented writer, a gardener and all round good egg. She throws herself into her work with enthusiasm, never giving anything less than her best.

I can, at last, (at least, most of the time!) shrug off the feeling that I should be ploughing the same furrow:

No longer will I take pride in having dug the whole vegetable patch. I feel no loss of face that my partner does the lion's share of the hefting, lugging and general heaving of heavy objects. My back gave in long before I stopped feeling like a lesser human, for not being able to carry a sack of coal on my back, or wrestle an ox.

I resist the compulsion to batch bake for charity, which has seen me icing cakes before breakfast, or panic buying bun cases.

I say 'no' to charities that ring and ask me to sell raffle tickets, and feel no guilt.

I step down from the bar, it's simply not my bag; I spent too long, trying to do everything, trying to be everything, an achieving relatively little.I can divide myself into artist, dance teacher, writer & mother, but fit little else into this life. I only spare a little time, occasionally, to regret the time I wasted trying to be.

I meet women very like my M.O.L. who do so much, work so hard, so selflessly, and sometimes detect the whiff of bitterness, or remember my own, wondering why everyone wasn't working as damn hard as me...

Anyway, I think I've said what I wanted to say, this morning, in a round about way, but I really must go and do something, (I think I hear my M.O.L. calling...)

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

I added pictures to the blog, this morning, after entertaining the possibility that some readers may like to know about THE WORK.

I'm currently working on a couple of commissions, with a couple pending.

I have, of late, made trips to the coast, to paint en plein air. I was really very self-conscious, about the act of painting, but am finding it much easier now, not to rush the process of making work when I feel I may be under scrutiny- (By seagulls?!)

I especially enjoyed a foray to Bamburgh, in the wild winds in December. The experience, in the end, was all process, as the pictures were adorned with cat paw prints before drying out, unfortunately!

I began sketching outdoors again, last year, in a friend's garden:

My kids are now of an age where they are able to feed themselves, argue effectively against going places with Mother, etc. So, I was able to pack pastels and drive over the hill and sit in the sunshine, surrounded by a horticultural vision.I want exhibit the finished work and sketches sometime, perhaps in a building near the garden (It will be open for The National Gardens Scheme).

I will have some work from the garden to show on the art tour, ( details to follow) in the meantime.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

I said what..?

So, lovely little party; drinks on Friday, just a few of 'the girls'. Boy, was I looking forward to a bit of social...
It has been a hectic few weeks, starting classes means rehearsing dances and planning- plus a couple of commissions I'd rashly promised for the end of the month.
Yessir, get me out of the old painting smock-and-beret, and into something a little more sophisticated- something a grown-up might consider. something that doesn't sport a dollop of oil paint, pasta sauce, or mud.
Well. I woke somewhat painfully this morning, the memory of me drunkenly announcing- completely out of the blue- to a group of well-to-do and well educted women 'And I got a pasta machine for £3.50 from Boots!'
Ye gods.
Climbing the dizzy intellectual heights once more- someone just lever that wineglass out of my hand and show me the way to the kettle.
Or just keep me in my studio, where I can't hurt myself, or other people.
Crowds can watch from a safe distance, at feeding time.
ho hum.

Friday, 4 January 2008

New Year

Happy New Year! One and all (or, more likely, one and another one.)
'It's all over bar the shouting.' My old dad used to say. Not exclusively about the christmas period, you understand- about lots of different, mostly farm-related stuff. The harvest, for instance, or the sheep dipping rituals.
The saying puzzled me briefly, at each count, for with my dad's particular method of farming, shouting seeming de rigeur at all points before and during whichever task dad had employed himself to complete...
Not strictly true, actually. The shouting usually depended on the attendance, or, indeed, non-attendance of one, or even both (God help us) of my elder brothers.
Such contrasts were not unknown to me, as witnessing my pa, (always a weathered shade of pink, at the best of times), his paternal eye on some grazing stock, enjoying the serenity of the moment, then, in a flash, his head to appear is if to boil from within, the puce of blind rage, fists curled to white-knuckled tension, at, perchance, the sight of a combine harvester dancing across the top of some hedge, issuing it's precious gleening of wheat, alongside the straw; A heedless son attendant to the rhythms of a (New-Fangled) radio. Or sometimes it would take only words; the mere issue of some telephone message; (In the days before mobile phones a farmers wife may have trekked miles to deliver words of wisdom from a vet, or sought out a signature, orworse, a cheque...)
yes, farming out in the open air, the green grass, the blue sky, the blue language...fond memories- dad's little sayings- 'Oi, Buggalugs,' His term of endearment for any family member within earshot (Oh, how my mother suffered.) 'For the want of a nail...' from, of course the famous poem- and Dad's reasoning for keeping every mortal key, nail, screw and old fuse that he ever came across- pick a scrap, go on, any scrap. dad was an expert, a specialist in his firld (and it had to be a big field, because there was alot of scrap- the family, in ill-humoured moments were apt to drop the 's'- possibly in the spirit of throwing away something that was no longer needed.)
...Yes pointto something, anything, (oh, well, maybe not that- the collie killed that, this morning. Dad would proclaim 'That, now that is the longward up-adjuster for a 1936 Massey-Fergusson threshing machine...'
Fabulous, Pa, I bet the rest of it is around here, somewhere.
'And this is the rankle forstwinder for a German FirstWorld War Helmet-Shuffler.'
Somewhere in time and space, some technology would have an application for the kind of brain my Pa enjoyed. Somewhere that didn't really mind where things got put, but, had a need for the identification of randomly placed, unrelated articles. Nevermind Dad.
He landed 'farmer' instead, and a modern farming operation requires more, an eye on modern farming methods, business acumen and a nose for trends...
Oh, you know what? my youngest has turned the telly on, and Simpsons have successfully switched off my mind.
perhaps it's just as well.
I had set out to talk about being ill at christmas, and kids throwing up before opening their stockings, but, maybe there are a million other blogs recounting the same...
Ta, Dad.