This rather elitist and arty sounding word “juxtapositon” has become a bit more popular in recent times. When I first heard this word out loud it was in the context of some conceptual art TV programme it sounded a bit niche (and way beyond me), somewhat highfalutin and perhaps unnecessary? Since then if ever I have heard it used in every day speak it does sound a bit pretentious. But in reality the word does a good job of what it describes:
“the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect”; in effect “compare and contrast” .
And so here is my Llama Juxtaposition – a photo taken recently in a field on a hill (hence the slant) near my home, not strictly the way to use this word but where I might just about get away with it.
Here is my original painting which is now called The Gatekeeper in a nice chunky black A3 sized frame, it is a painting of a raven holding a key. Ravens are a common feature of ancient religion and mythologies from familiars of witches to the supernatural, from the carriers of souls and associations with good luck, to trickery and foreboding. According to legend, the Kingdom of England will fall if the ravens of the Tower of London are removed; care has been taken to ensure that they continue to inhabit the Tower as they have done now for centuries.
I was invited to have some of my work displayed in Mann Jewellers shop in Stroud. Here are the first few of my paintings and prints which greet you as soon as you walk in through the door! There will be more there next week including 12″x 12″ Owl and Pussy Cat prints and a large hare with gold leaf!
On my way out of the shop I noticed these lovely Da Rosa collection of animal ceramics for sale in the, they look gorgeous don’t they.
Sometimes it is of great relief that a painting is finished. So here finally, after a few months or so is a painting without a title. Usually a title arrives for me almost immediately along with the idea, or the painting itself. This one not so .
So please help me and feel free to suggest a title for this one.
Sedna is mythological figure, a Goddess of the sea for the people of the arctic.
The Myth of Sedna
The young girl Sedna was tricked into marrying Raven, and later when her father tried to rescue her by kayak a raging storm brew and her father threw Sedna in to the sea in order to save himself. Her hands clung to the side of the boat and he beat them until her cold and frozen fingers fell into the sea and became sea mammals. Sedna sank under the sea and was transformed into a sea goddess, able to conjure up storms with her rage whereupon shaman must swim down to calm her by combing her hair.
The Innuits survival is dependant upon the success of their hunting animals. From this is derived a great respect for the animal kingdom. Part of the myth is that Sedna holds onto the animals if she is displeased with the people ( so that they will not be successful in hunting them) and untangling her hair is part of the process of calming her.
From this story I created my image of Sedna with fishes swimming amongst her tresses of red hair, she is looking up to the light of the sky on the surface of the water. The image at the bottom is a painting done some time later showing Sedna sleeping with three seals.
These three paintings on the left seen below featuring Sedna are for sale in Studio 71 in Totnes.
Last week I had an enquiry regarding some artwork which I made at a time here in the UK when there was great petitioning against the culling of badgers in a couple of counties including Gloucestershire. Farmers have a hard time with TB in their cattle, to great distress to the cattle, the farmers and the industry.
Unfortunately the native badger has been implicated in the spread of TB in the UK. Whether this is true or not it is difficult to tell in reality with the different sides providing arguements both for and against. I prefer to fall on the side of the badger, it’s population is displaced by culling leading to other complicated issues for both the animal and with regard to establishing cause and effect of the problem of TB.
I have seen the wild badgers who liked to frequent a friend’s garden, and enjoyed tidbits of peanut butter. Their coats were much shaggier that I imagined and it was so nice to see them ambling about the lawn in their element.
This original artwork Badger Love is now on its way to the USA to its new home.
So a hint of the Summer season is upon us, quite a bit of sunshine and the beginning of holiday bookings. Here is hoping that lots of people will descend upon Totnes in Devon (UK) very soon in the hope that some of my art will find a loving home. Thanks to Tim and Basia Clegg at Studio No 71 here is a collection of my work.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be a cat…. hey I will just take up this cardboard box in the sun, settle down and not worry too much about anything. I mean what else is there to do. Simba loves boxes, the rustle of some cardboard and his ears are pricked. Such simple tastes and happy times.
Gambolling free these ancient stones are set high up in the Lake District and surrounded by a circle of mountains. They have stood here for generations against all weathers looking at the stars and even putting up with the Victorians chipping at them for souvenirs.
Castlerigg Ancient Stone circle in the Lake District UK
Here at this little “beach” at Loch Venachar in Scotland the bank of this tree has been washed away by the loch over time. But look closely what has the tree got suspended in its clutches?
At Loch Vernachar Scotland UK
Poor old Mr Rock ensnared by the trees roots, the rock might be superior in the rock-scissor-paper game but it does not hold true here. One presumes over time the water will erode the roots perhaps, but I think that rock has got a long wait for it to be set free.
I spent most of a week recently on holiday in the Trossachs in Scotland. Lucky enough not to be rained on, nor bitten by midges (timed it just right) and well able to enjoy the lush countryside, the watery brooks, lochs and dam, and also the broad and mighty mountainsides from the steam ship The Walter Scott on Loch Katrine. Loving the natural world here, seeing horned Highland Cows, watching scatty curly horned sheep and a rather domineering greater spotted woodpecker, and desperately trying to spot a golden eagle (like I was ever going to LOL). One highlight for us was a squirrel hide, set up so that visitors to the David Marshall Lodge (a natural park) could witness the antics of the pesky red squirrel, and even four at once at one time!
Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District
Red Squirrels in Scotland
Loch Katrine in the Trossachs
Service Station Crow
Only I could be found taking multiple pictures by the car of a ragged crow at a service station car park for more art reference!
So the perfect location to stay as we did is The Ridings at Brig O Turk, which is in the middle of everything you need whilst in the middle of the lush countryside, with the Ben Venue mountain as a backdrop. Beautiful walks, the local pub (The Byre) and the Brig O Turk Cafe with legendary cream cakes!
Locally cows are an easy subject for drawing as they roam far and wide on natural commons near where I live. The only issue with these cows was unless they were walking on the roads and holding up the traffic you do not get to see their feet!
I took on a walk this morning and came across the….
The Singular Lesser Legged Lama,
and a seemingly one legged Mallard Duck with the sleeping legless female. Note the angle of the supporting leg allowing that rather bulbous body sit centrally on one foot. And what glorious colours in that blue green head.
You hear of artists taking months or even year or years to paint a picture. Obviously they are not painting at it all the time, just as a writer may not be physically writing a novel over that sort of period either. I have just finished the painting below, but alongside this one I have four other paintings on the go at the moment. One of these has taken four months or more since its inception before Christmas. It is now loitering on a table in my studio sometimes becoming buried in paper and sketches, resurfacing to remind me that it still exists and that I need to pursue the finishing touches. Initially the painting had a lot of momentum, and I have recognised that areas that go slow or even grind to a halt are where there are areas where I was not thorough in my pre-planning. It is not the painting but the decision making that can take time. As an artist I might hope that I will find resolve with time almost as if the painting might just fix itself, but ultimately the decision may have to be forced.
The Duck In The Jug below was kind of easy. I had produced an ACEO some time ago along these lines and so I already knew what I was going to do but then I wanted to do a much bigger painting which was a bit more sophisticated and to throw in the tulips as an extra feature.
And so now I need to get back to some decision making…