Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Austen Rectory taking shape

But more slowly than I would wish given distractions, various. Which is to say watching too much Wimbledon and hacking back ivy and an African creeper (I really don't know its proper name, African creeper is what a friend from South Africa used to call it so I bow to her superior knowledge) in the arbour I'm trying to get tidied up for use as an outdoors painting den. Yes, painting. Certainly not collaging - the bits would scatter to the four breezes.

And I will have to share with the cats as they think it's theirs. Although they seem to have gone off it at the moment. But cats are like that. As soon as they see someone else muscling in on their former territory I daresay the arbour will become all the rage with them.

I will post a picture at some point once it is respectable.

In the meantime I post the above work-in-slow-progress shot. To make me feel I am getting somewhere. The colours are much brighter but I can't move the piece to better light without much of it going awol.

It has acquired Pollock's Toy Museum-style drapes. And Jane and sister Cassandra with lady-like trugs doing some lady-like gardening. (I don't think hacking back alien creepers would have registered on their horizon). So you see life does sometimes reflect art. Or should that be the other way around?

Steventon Rectory

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Steaming ahead with Jane Austen

Sort of.......

It went from this earlier start

But still a long way to go.

Steventon Rectory was the home of Jane Austen for the first 25 years of her life. The place was torn down many years ago and there is now nothing left of it except a water pump in the middle of a field, so I am treating it as a bit of a fairy tale with more than a sideways (or backwards) glance at the simply stunning quilt exhibition at the V&A last year and to childrens' samplers of the time. 

Jane's letters are full of references to fabrics and sewing projects so the idea of a patchwork effect feels right.
Let us see how it goes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Defeated by technology

The computer man came to give my computer some much-needed oomph the other day and install a new second-hand printer. And enable some things and disable others. Among which last appears to be my facility to upload photos from my camera and bung them into a file. Or even to upload anything from existing files onto here. I am sure it is still there somewhere. Unfortunately I haven't a clue where. Or how. Or what.
So the photo I took of my latest work-in-progress (the now demolished Steventon Rectory) languishes in my camera.
Just thought I'd pop in to say that and explain my continuing silence.
An artist's blog without a picture isn't worth the cyber paper it's printed on.

Okay..... I have managed to get to upload stuff, namely this Brontë drawing, from my existing files.
New photos are still a mystery though.
I'm working on it...

I hope to resume normal communication soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Who's afraid of the Long Man of Wilmington?

Night and Day, Monk's House, Rodmell.

Nobody, now he's been restored to his original form after that massive aberration (is this the word I am searching for I wonder?) given him by some pranksters a couple of years back. So here he is, not in need of any modesty foliage, guardian of the South Downs and Virginia Woolf's countryside retreat.

It is many years since I visited it but I remember it as a place of wonderful tranquility and dense greenery. Some of that greenery I had to sacrifice in this picture in order to allow for the sight of the house itself. Inside it was almost like being underwater, what with the shrubs and trees pressing up against the small windows and the walls being painted in a lovely antiquey pale green shade.
Given Woolf's untimely end that is perhaps unfortunate. 
Or maybe fitting.

Anyway, I'm fairly happy with this one.

Now onto someone else's house......
Who will it be I wonder?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tweaking away at Monk's House ...

.....Described as "a modest brick and flint dwelling, weather-boarded on the street side", it was bought by the Woolfs in 1919, the year of the publication of Night and Day (hence the moon and the sun) for all of 700 quid. It had no bath, hot water or even a toilet.

As Quentin Bell puts it:
"On September 1st they loaded two waggons with their possessions, crossed the Ouse and moved into Monk's House ... Virginia was obliged to admit to herself she was depressed. Whether the melancholy arose from the comparative imperfections of her new house or from the fact that Duckworth was about to publish Night and Day is not easily determined."

I am no Virginia Woolf but I have to say, in a flippant aside, that the possession of hot and cold running water and a toilet does contribute greatly to my happy-ometer. The personal hygiene arrangements - or rather the lack of them - of past generations has always been a deeply interesting subject for me.

Anyway, to get back to the picture in hand, I am now seeing my way with it and plan to include the Long Man of Wilmington which I am quite sure cannot be seen from Monk's House but is in the vicinity, well about 10 miles off. He is a figure, originally carved from the chalk uplands, regarded as a guardian of the South Downs. So in he goes. Tomorrow
For now, it's back to the drawing board ...

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Woolfs' Retreat

Virginia and Leonard, that is, in the East Sussex countryside.
Near Lewes.

This is still at the planning and moving around and humming and ha-ing stage, as you see. But I needed to take a photo just in case the lot went flying and I was left with bits on the studio floor and a paper puzzle to solve.

Next to Keats and his circle come the Bloomsberries in my affections. I caught both early - in my teens - and they persist all these years later. In fact now I come to think of it the first two things I bought myself with the first wages I earned in my first job was a smelly Afghan jacket and the two volume biography of Virginia Woolf by her nephew Quentin Bell.
Many years and thousands of kilometres later I still have the books. 

God knows what happened to that absolutely frightful jacket.