Tag Archives: exhibition

Pussy cat, pussy cat

Pussy cat,
Pussy cat,
Where have you been?
I’ve been up to London to visit the Queen.

Pussy cat,
Pussy cat,
What did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under a chair.

None of this is true of course, except I have been up to London and I have visited the Gallery at Buckingham Palace and the old nursery rhyme is going around in my head.

I visited the exhibition of the drawings done by Maria Sibylla Meriam that are in the possession of the Queen.  What an amazing woman Maria was, travelling to Surinam in 1699 with her daughter and drawing the plants and insects she found there.

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The lady at the entrance desk whispered conspiritorially that David Attenbough was viewing the exhibition, but sadly I did not see him.

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I guess the copyright belongs to the Queen and I hope I am not treading on her toes by posting this image.

We were allowed to photograph the images (no flash) which surprised me as the rule nowadays seems to be to prohibit photography, I am posting this amazing drawing, what fun she had observing these creatures, the audio commentary commented that these not entirely accurate but mostly she drew from life.

I also visited the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition (no photography allowed) which is on until 23rd April, and I must say, nothing grabbed me as much as Maria’s work.  Maybe it was the lack of creepy crawlies!

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Getting to be an exhibition junky………..The Society of Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition 2014


P1010470I went by myself to a Botanical Art exhibition, ‘how sad’ you say, but no it was great, it was just what was needed.  I had no one to talk to, no distractions, no worrying about if someone else was bored, tired or hungry, needed the loo or just wanted to go home.  I just had myself to please and somehow that does not happen very often.

I was able to go around the show which ran to nearly 700 pieces and look at each one individually.  I treated my visit as a learning experience and decided to analyse the pictures I liked and to decide what it was in that image that ‘spoke’ to me, and then I took notes (nerdy or what?)  Still I was there by myself so I could please myself!

At the end of three and a half hours, these are my findings about the things that I liked:

  • images that were larger than life size
  • compositions that overflowed their own boundaries
  • images that were ‘arrangements’ of separate items
  • gouache compared to straight water colour
  • images that were a single item (e.g. leaf)
  • interesting cropping that filled the picture plane
  • the combo of graphite and colour

I also noticed that some subjects are just ‘done to death’ and however beautiful and clever the work there is really nothing much new to say about strawberries, peppers, conkers, aubergines, tulips, daffodils, onions, garlic, carrots, cherries, orchids, iris, violas………….. I could go on.  That said, I’m sure I’m going to have a go at all of these over the coming months.

Artists I liked:

Some amazing work in the exhibition and so many talented artists.

Back at my own drawing board, things are not so amazing………. This week I followed instructions from a book called ‘ Creating Radiant Flowers in Colored Pencil’, this had instructions about using solvents to dissolve and blend coloured pencil.

With and without solvent

With and without solvent

First petal is just blended/burnished pencil and second one has had solvent applied to blend the colours, not only is it bigger (not caused by solvent but by operator error) but it is brighter, so I guess that is one way of getting really intense colour.

Then I went onto my plant of the week, which this week is my flowering ‘Easter’ cactus, this flowers for me every year and survives on neglect.  Have not put much time into it but I did try to have a go at the flower, pale pink almost white in places, how do you draw white petals on white paper?  Another skill to learn – to be added to the list.

Easter Cactus drawing by Sue Hagley

Easter Cactus

Another week, another exhibition!

This week’s experiences were a contrast to last week’s as I visited an art exhibition put together by local people, mostly amateurs and hung in a local community centre.  Eight hundred plus works created in a variety of media and curated mainly into groupings by subject.  I went around quickly scanning the works and when I got to the end I paused; I noticed how I had been  subconsciosly grading them into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, or worth my consideration or not.  Wow! harsh!

So I went around again, much slower this time and trying to give each work its due notice and consideration and this time I was aware of my judgements as they arose.  Looking with kindness on these artworks brought a different appreciation.  I noticed that each artist has the same problems, the struggle with colour and establishing a palette, the struggle with composition, the struggle with light, the struggle mastering the media and on and on, each problem needing a resolution.

I noticed the things that people felt were important, so important they spent hours of their time and much effort to try and express their experience of these things.  I noticed how simple these things are; their pets, their homes, their villages, their food, their gardens, other people, plants, birds, trees, the ocean, machines, the landscape.  Things that we all engage with every day and that have a profound impact on us.  I noticed the differences in approach from those with colour straight  from the tube laid on boldly with a flourish to those tentative and shy with the brush.  I thought I noticed those with some formal training as opposed to those who were self taught.

Later, I thought again of my judgements from the first time around and remembered that I am a product of my own culture and experiences and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that notions of what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ change.  Not quite sure where I am going with my ramblings, but I am glad I went to this show and took the time to try and see.

Back in the studio………..I have had my own personal struggle with colour, composition, light and use of media, but I have finished my first ‘composed’ picture and it is posted here for the record.  Onto the next one………………the garden is bursting with material and today (Thursday) is my ‘art’ day so I shall take a little wander around outside to see what demands my attention.

How to decide what to paint? I would be interested to hear how others make their choices.

 

Clematis Montana - pencil drawing - Sue Hagley

Finished clematis