Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chawton Cottage - again

Drawn back to doing a view of Jane Austen's Hampshire cottage from the front, overlooking the busy road to Winchester. Okay, so I am capturing it at a not so busy time of day. Or not so busy day. 
Sunday then.
And it looks a bit churned up.
And there's a visitor calling.
Darn! Right in the middle of a beautifully turned sentence ...

Apparently Miss Austen, who didn't have A Room of Her Own (in the Virginia Woolf sense of a study - her father had one of those), would hide her work (i.e. whatever one of the series of classic works of English literature she was engaged on) under a blotter whenever visitors interrupted her flow of written words. A squeaky door she didn't allow to be oiled would give her sufficient warning to compose herself.

I hope the visitor in the picture is a welcome one.
With lots of the sort of gossip Miss Austen thrived on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A bit of a ragbag ...

...  quite literally:

I've been trying to declutter some more but only succeed in shifting one pile of papers and scraps to a different drawer. Or even onto another pile. 

Anyway, one of my finds was an old scrapbook from my misspent youth. In fact I think it dates from when I was still at school. And in pride of place was a somewhat worse for wear page from the Sunday Times magazine, evidence of my early interest in all things primitive and naive as far as art goes. I feel it deserves an airing on the world wide web rather than languishing in my desk drawer.

So let me introduce you to the Royal Family, as never seen before and as depicted in life-size figures by an old man in Northumberland.

The caption reads:
"When Joe Bulmer was 80 he started a new hobby. Inspired by memories of a childhood visit to Madame Tussaud's, he began to build life-size figures of famous people from wood and clay - dressing them with a selection of clothes that he bought from local jumble sales. Thirteen years later he is still adding new personalities to his gallery of scarecrow art ..."

From left to right in the photo: Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, the Queen Mother, the Queen, Prince Philip, the Duchess and Duke of Kent.

I love them and hope they still survive somewhere.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Simply black and white

I really DO love black ink and white paper!
And I also love the beautifully ever so subtly mottled shades of Canson paper. I get crazes on certain Canson colours. At one time it was the dusty blue one. Right now it's the greys and fawns.

These two collages were made from chopped up monoprints. The effect is a bit like a linoprint but with none of that medium's restrictions. Or (let's face it) time consumption. I like playing around with the pieces and moving them around. Which is one thing you can't do with a linocut.

I had Flora and the arrival of spring in the back of my mind as I assembled this image. Somehow it didn't seem finished until I put her in this paper mount with a primitive sort of frame. Gives it the folksy feel I was after.

Previously I made this other collaged monoprint inspired by my finishing off the Haworth paper cut - I obviously wasn't ready to leave the Brontës behind. I took a line from Emily as a point of departure: 
Lone, among the mountains cold ...
which is now the title.

I will be putting them in my Etsy shop when I next feel in an uploading kinda mood!
In the meantime I am going to clean up the ink trails left by one of the cats after he nonchalantly sauntered across the inked up glass sheet. Here are Freddo's paw marks on my desk. Nice monoprint! Don't even start me on the ones on my beige leather sofa .... 
Lucky I'm not a houseproud maruja!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Little Brontë foxes

Finished at last!

It's been a long time coming, mainly because of other stuff, as I mentioned before. Can't be doing with distracting background noise, literal or metaphorical, brings out the worst kind of procrastination in me.
Anyway, here it is, Haworth Parsonage in the snow (despite the fact that we have been experiencing summertime temperatures over here for the last few days).

The snowmen, which started out more prominent, have been relegated to watchers - watching the three sisters watching them from inside. So they retain their sinister, gothicky aspect even if somewhat watered down. The foxes were introduced as a splash of colour (I just knew that National Geographic portrait of an orange-haired kabuki actor would come in useful one day!) and movement. Three sisters ... three foxes ... mmmmm. Three snowmen if it comes to that. Obviously highly significant.
Or maybe not.

As is often the case with these house portraits it was a piece of the occupants' writings that settled me on the final image.
In this case a poem by Emily which starts:

The moon is full this winter night;
The stars are clear though few;
And every window glistens bright
With leaves of frozen dew ...

Well okay, lots of snowflakes rather than a few stars and lamplight rather than leaves of frozen dew.
Big full moon though.
Anyway, it is ready in time for my Christmas 2012 greeting card collection.
Method in my madness.