Monday, 30 September 2013

A Day Out in Oxford to see the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore Exhibition, Flesh and Bone, at the Ashmolean

At last an exhibition you didn't have to book in advance, where you could look without being barged out of the way.
From Swindon, it's bus ride away on the number 66 bus, and with it running half hourly during the day, and the last bus at 23.23, it couldn't be more convenient.
The Ashmolean is about 5 minutes away from the bus station, with the added benefit last Thursday of the open air market, although this will be different in some way from now on that I failed to grasp.
Here is the Ashmolean with it's Bacon/Moore banners and posters outside:

 There was no photography allowed inside the exhibition because most of the works are on loan.
Looking around the rest of the Ashmolean afterwards, I took photos of some of my favourite Iznik pottery patterns:
 Above a plate, and below some large tiles:
 Below more tiles
 And a plate, which although it has reflections from the glass cabinet spoiling the colours, you can see the familiar carnation flowers so often used on the pottery.
For more information on the Ashmolean:www.ashmolean.org
From the Ashmolean, it's only a short stroll to the Pitt Rivers Museum, well worth visiting to see the marvellous collections of animals and fossils,and in the basement, the collection made by Pitt Rivers himself on his many forays.
 I like both of these photos of the outside of the magnificent building, the light is better on the one above, and obviously below, the whole building has been included.
And inside:
 Above a sperm whale's tooth necklace, and below a case containing a collection of ropes, string and netting:
 And below a fabulous totem pole
The Pitt Rivers website gives much more information on this not to be missed experience.

A Visit to Kerry McKenna and Prospect Artists

In the week after Open Studios, I visited Kerry McKenna in Studley Grange Craft Village in Hay Lane, it's behind Blooms Garden Centre, and a revelation, there is so much to see there. If like me you hadn't been, it's certainly worth a trip out there. I also met Nigel Ferris who took part in SOS several years ago, I bought a T shirt depicting one of his smoke designs on the front in black and blue, it looked better on him than mine does on me.
But back to Kerry. Kerry paints on slate and other things like violins, and anything customers request, she is prolific; her unit is packed with examples of her work:
 Here's a painted violin:
 A waterfall surrounded by painted slates and giving a relaxing atmosphere in the shop:
 Close up of a painting:
 And below, Kerry at work:
Kerry's website gives more information.
From there I went to meet up with Susie Carr, art therapist at Prospect Hospice who gives such confidence and inspiration to her clients.
Here are examples of work on the walls:
 In a room adjoining the studio.

 'Watching the Surf' by Colin Moss
 Above and below work in corridors
For more on Prospect Hospice, www.prospect-hospice.net , they are inspirational.

Visiting Venues 12, 13 and 14 - Ken White and Andrew Tucker in the Mall, and Nicky and Lucy Foakes in Goddard Avenue

Early on Sunday morning I went round to photograph this Old Town studios cluster, it was a bit of a rush, but all three venues gave an impressive show.
Firstly Andrew Tucker's woodworking and intruiging garden, there's something to look at wherever you look. Firstly the table display of useful and unusual wooden things:
 Next in the room overlooking the patio, a range of stools and a log basket, I couldn't resist the stool in the centre of the picture, it is a very useful addition to the table and log basket I already own.
 Down the garden, there's a pole lathe
 and further on down the end of the garden, a beautifully trained grape vine and more wood stores.
From there, diagonally across the road int he direction of Okus Road, Ken White was already deep in conversation with a visitor, so I took a few photos, of Ken talking:
 The latest piece of work:
 And some other paintings:
 More on Ken and his work at:www.kenwhitemurals.co.uk
From there, I went on to Nicky and Lucy Foakes, exhibiting together for the first time in Goddard Avenue. Lucy has a studio in a building in the garden, and a large kiln in the garage.
I didn't know much about Lucy Foakes' work, but have recently found out more by coincidentally coming across her in 'The New Ceramics Sculpting and Hand Building' by Claire Loder.
Her canopic jars start with an intensive research period focusing on her subject, who often are famous and deceased, for example Amy Winehouse and Elvis Presley, she then sketches relevant parts of their lives for use on the jars. The result is 'an irreverent mix of death, ancient Egypt and present-day celebrity culture'.
Here are some of the canopic jars:
 And more here:
 Lucy sitting in her studio beside more canopic jars:
 And a close up of the jars:
Also Lucy in the house with quite a few visitors around:
 Nicky Foakes in the centre ready to talk about her work:
 The Foakes' refreshments were of the highest standard seen anywhere, in their variety and decorativeness, here's one of the cakes:
 And last but not least, one of Nicky's mosaic mirrors:
More on Lucy's work at: www.lucyfoakes.com where you can also find out about her coke cans which I haven't mentioned.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Last Visit of the Day to Rachel Pryor in Wichelstowe

I arrived at Rachel's house about 7pm, and was warmly welcomed in to take photos.
Rachel has recently moved to Wichelstowe from Plymouth and took part in SOS for the first time this year, concerned that people would not visit Wichelstowe and not be able to find her house, her signage from the road was excellent, and there was no doubt when you reached the house:
Brilliant signage, we could learn a lot from Rachel's approach
And at the front of the house:
Once inside, the living room was taken over with display boards:
And a painting on the 'go' in the studio:

The studio is a cleverly converted garage:

And back inside again:
 Above a painting which I liked and below more paintings in the kitchen including the landscape used in the brochure:
Rachel was exhibiting with friend Jo Clavier.


Onto John Masckalaniec's studio and then Longcot via Watchfield

Was this a race? Attempting to see all the people taking part in SOS in one day felt like a bit of a mission, but when  I realised that it's all about stopping to talk and enjoying the surroundings, I relaxed and decided to try and get round as many people as I could, but I might not see everyone. I needed everyone's phone number so I could ring ahead and ask if it would be OK to turn up after the advertised closing time; the brochure fell down in this respect, although when busy, no one would stop to answer the phone during 'opening hours', but it would have been good to ask about out of hours visiting.
So John's studios was first of this group, he made us very welcome with a cup of tea and a seat in his studio while he talked about his working methods and preferred style of painting which is quite intense:
But he also wanted to show he could paint intricate and delicate subjects:
And this is half way between maybe?
From there, we visited and thoroughly enjoyed Derek Gale's studio in Watchfield, and afterwards sampled the cakes suggested in the brochure, and they were good. Derek was keen that I didn't take photographs, I remember now that he's sent me a 360 degree photograph of his studio which I'll upload soon.
From Watchfield we arrived in Longcot after hours, by this time Pat Elmore was no where to be seen, so we hoped it would be alright to take photographs. If you haven't been to visit Pat yet, I would thoroughly recommend you do so when the opportunity arises, the gardens, workshops and sculptures are amazing.
 Sculptures above and vegetables below:

We also went and photographed inside her studio:

Above 2 of Pat's gorgeous torsos, and also work by Franc Murphy was on display:
 A sea painting above and below a bronze resin sculpture 'Jaded Fool'

There was also a beautiful  mirror made  by Franc's wife:
 And so on to Sharon Rich's garden where we bought all of her eggs and looked at the view of the Uffington White horse before looking at her sculptures at the same time as her cat:
 Swans above, a rabbit below
 And a bleached out dolphin, much better in real life.
There might be time for one more visit before going home, but with no phone number in the brochure, I had to turn up and see if I was welcome.