An English artist indulging my passion for landscape and pattern and attempting to capture a sense of a particular place.
Currently immersed in this huge writers' houses project that has taken hold of me and which happily combines my love of collage (recycling magazines) with literature, architecture, gardens and history.
Main website: www.amandawhite-contemporarynaiveart.com
The Dove and Olive was the name of William Wordsworth's seventeenth century cottage during its time as an inn. Some also refer to it as The Dove and Olive Bough. By the time the Wordsworths (brother and sister) moved in on December 20 1799, it had been empty for several years and was known as Dove Cottage.
Here, on the edge of Grasmere lake, William and Dorothy - and eventually William's wife Mary - spent eight idyllic years of "plain living and high thinking".
It was the beginning of English Romanticism and here was written Wordsworth's greatest poetry.
Here endeth the lesson.
And here starteth the collage.
I made the mistake of laying down papers and playing around with them on the hideously bright Mediterranean blue cartridge paper currently covering my drawing board.
THAT IS NOT THE BACKGROUND!!!
I always start off with the windows.
The windows are the eyes to a building's soul.
To badly misquote somebody or other.
The left hand window was finished. Or so I thought. It is now binned. For being too neat.
The windows (and everything else) will be pretty much as you see the rest here: rough hewn and sort of geological. To echo the rugged Lake District. No good giving this home a delicate refined look. It is an honest seventeeth century cottage set in a landscape fashioned by glaciers rather than man.
I lived in a primitive, thick-walled seventeenth century cottage in the north once. Massive thick walls and little in the way of refinement - and that was the twentieth century. So I feel a kinship and am keeping the feel of the thing primitive and "plain living". Earthy. No mod cons. Part of the landscape.
Finished this on Wednesday, an image which I shall use for local cards.
And am now busy sorting out possibilities cutting-wise for Dove Cottage and trying to decide on a season. Summer or winter? When I visited as a child I remember it was raining cats and dogs in the height of summer. Wet slate and the smell of earth and damp and the sound of windscreen wipers.
On the whole, and going on my dim and distant memories I think I might go for watery muted colours so these are the pieces I have found so far. One more box and a pile of fresh magazines to go through.
I will try very hard to be good and not get side-tracked by the November 2007 edition of Good Housekeeping.
Here is my preliminary swatch (with cat's tail accidentally included).
As you see, continuing my sheep roll, I am thinking of including a passing herd. Not settled about that yet though.
We shall see.
Off to read a spot of Wordsworth to get me into the mood.
This is a small collage of a Tenerife farmhouse I am trying to finish off at the moment. It has been a bit of therapy and has served to get my hand and eye in after a couple of fairly sterile weeks.
So I did a therapeutic studio clean up and started this and now hope to return to my writers' houses, especially after discovering this ancient little yellowing booklet which had fallen down and was languishing behind the bookshelf:
It contains some very evocative small reproductions of contemporary engravings and watercolours. I was especially interested in one by the poet's daughter, Dora. It shows Dove Cottage walled by what looks for all the world like a row of headstones and not the drystone wall we see today.
But however much I peer at it, I can't for the life of me make out what they are. Perhaps just huge slates lined up... a mystery.
I am grumpy, stressed out and fed up. Now there's a rivetting way to start a post. (That's not me above, I hasten to add, just a little picture that chimes with my general mood). I am in need of getting down to some serious image-making but all I seem to be doing is shuffling pieces of official paper from one end of town to another or even worse, one town to another. And I daren't even think about the hours of waiting in air-conditioned, miserably-lit depressing offices adorned with hideous paintings where windows should be.
THEN, in the same fortnight, being the glutton for punishment I already know myself to be, I embark on my Etsy adventure. (Etsy is an online shop community). Stand up anyone who believed the blurb about it being easy-peasy. On second thoughts, don't if you value your life. I was struggling at it all day again yesterday. THEN this morning I woke up to cat sick in the living room and a massive orange spider in the bath.
THEN I switched on the televison and saw the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph and all my selfish troubles and whinges were kicked into insignificant perspective...
Sooooo ..... back to this Etsy emporium of mine (opening Monday or Tuesday) - it requires photography so I have been stabbing away at every damned setting on the camera hoping that something sharp and appealing and hopefully legible would emerge. That is my usual coping method with any technology whatsoever, be it camera, computer, washing machine or telephone - stab away until it works.
Anyway, here's a sampler of some more acceptable (ie less blurry) images.
I found some nice frames for my Keatsian mini prints:
And here's my Mad Cat Lady in her frame:
And that's enough for now otherwise there'll be no surprise. It'll be a relief to think that maybe next week I will be able to emerge from this horrible chrysalis and start making things that have been buzzing around in my head again in peace and I hope this grumpy whining post will explain to those people with whom I have not been communicating over the past fortnight how things have been.