Monday, December 26, 2011

Dove Cottage finished

Done, dusted and stuck down:

Though this image loses about a half inch on either side.

Now on with Gad's Hill Place, which is already straying from my original intention, colour-wise, in the sky at least. 

While browsing through my scrap boxes I came across bits that reminded me of something else that was current in the 1850s and 60s: Paisley shawls, an example of which I have and a photo of which I will upload in my next post. 

Anyway, into the mix they go ...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The inescapable Charles Dickens

Well, he's everywhere isn't he? Wall-to-wall 200th anniversary celebrations all over the media, so how could I resist? Not that I am a big fan or anything, his heroines are a bit too insipid, his stories a tad too sentimental for my taste and as for his treatment of his poor wife - abominable. I think being force-fed David Copperfield at school has a lot to do with it too.

But having embarked on this Writers' Houses project I could hardly ignore him and I have to say I am rather taken by the story of his Kentish home, Gad's Hill Place, which he had first seen as a young boy, and after which he had always dreamt of owning. In 1856 his wealth enabled him to realize that dream. He enjoyed it for the fourteen years remaining to him until his untimely death from a stroke on June 9 1870.

"It was," said one quote I came across while researching the house, "one of those comfortable old-fashioned mansions which seem to have taken root nowhere but in the most picturesque parts of rural England, and are the brick-and-mortar embodiment of the idea of Home."

There is going to be plenty of garden in this picure and plenty of colour (as a contrast to the wintery tones of Dove Cottage). My first thought was Dickens's purchase of the property coincides with that astonishing burst of colour brought about in Europe by the discovery (or do I mean the invention?) in London of aniline dyes. There are Berlin woolwork samplers of the period that still retain the depth and intense vividness of those mauves, purples, lime greens, carmines and fucshias.

My swatch of clippings for Gad's Hill Place
What a contrast to the old faded sepia photographs of Gad's Hill Place.
And an excellent lead-in to concentrate my mind's eye  ....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sheepish indecision

Sheep in?


Sheep out?

And why am I dithering and stressing about a blimming sheep?
Get a grip Amanda.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dove Cottage, Grasmere and a lot of weather

Finished at last.

After a lot of putting in taking out of sheep and a whole lot of weather. As I said in another post, heavy weather and the cozy clicking of windscreen wipers are what I remember most about my childhood day trips to the Lakes. 

Consequently it is a bit of a wet and blustery vision I have snipped of the cottage with Mr W himself watching that flock go by, though they look lively rather than leisurely, I'm afraid.

So here it is again, that inspirational fragment from To Sleep:

A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees 
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky ...

Far too cold and wet for bees , murmuring or otherwise I think.

As usual the picture above has lost some details, it not being the same proportion as my camera shots and me being a non-cropper (still).

So here is the unadulterated version, adulterated by bits of masking paper round the edges.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In the bleak midwinter

This is taking longer than I would like because of all the other things going on right now, not least of them being Christmas, which all of a sudden is upon us. And not a single card written! 

Just as well I have decided on placing Dove Cottage bang in the middle of winter with none of that foliage I was talking about. Far too fiddly for the feel of the picture, anyway. 
 Must be the effect of hearing carols on the radio seeping into my scissors. In the Bleak Midwinter has always been one of my favourites, mixing my poets here I know. 

I have taken a bit (a bit? you must be joking) of a liberty with the positioning of the cottage too - in Wordsworth's day he did have a clear view over Lake Grasmere but I doubt whether even then it was lapping almost up to the front garden! But needs (and spatial limitations) must.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Working on Wordsworth

It's coming together at last.
I was still faffing around in a fairly directionless manner, abandoning the board and going back to my doodle book.

 Then I found these four tranquil lines from a longer poem by Wordsworth called To Sleep:

A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky ...

Then I found a couple of full page Dolce & Gabanna ads in some magazines I bought at the car boot sale on Saturday .... allowing me some big pieces for smooth fields in just the right Lake Districty shade ...

 Another day or two and plenty of foliage should do it.
I want to keep it looking rough-hewn.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas cards and more for Keats House

I am thrilled to think of my artwork being available on holy ground!

Keats House, Hampstead
 My cards and prints and bookplates will soon be on sale in the Keats House shop which occupies part of the room that was once the Dilke then the Brawne parlour. 
Where the great Keats walked ... 
I am, as you see, cockahoop at the mere idea.
So my studio has been converted into a packing station:

As well as the Christmas cards they will be stocking Sailing to Italy and Hampstead Landscape cards and prints:

Sailing to Italy

Hampstead Landscape - Letter from Naples
 And bookplates - providing I can source very small cellophane bags.

Right, no time to blather on, must get back to my cardboard boxes and bubble wrap and weighing scales and packages which will this week be winging their way to the house formerly known as Wentworth Place...