My snapshots from the library as usual are just a bit of beauty. I am lucky to work in lovely surroundings with of course a wonderful product. However, I don’t always take the time to look about me; but as the late winter sun came over the surrounding buildings and peeped through the stained glass windows … I could not resist the urge to gaze a while …
While we look back to the 16th century and the practice of walking, the castles were beginning to turn palaces and mansions. Some with long narrow passages going nowhere in particular, built into the design. Doctors even then were advocating the need for a daily walk. So when inclement weather prevented a walk taken outside these galleries were used for the constitutional stroll. Soon the gallery became the place to exhibit paintings and to preserve health was no longer the point of the exercise. Queen Elizabeth I had a raised terrace built at Windsor Castle and walked there daily before dinner as long it was not too windy.
Although, it seemed walking then was more for health than pleasure, some joy must have been experienced. Still, some walkers did not enjoy the landscape so much, Samuel Pepys for instance, while walking in St James’s Park after dinner, notes in his diary the way in which the water pumps work there. A couple of years later while walking with his wife in White Hall Garden he was most interested in the lingerie of the king’s mistress as it hung to dry in the privy garden.
It was society that interested him, not nature, and landscape was not yet a significant subject for British painting and literature, as it was to become. Until the surroundings became important, the walk was just movement, not experience.
I have mentioned Mary E. Groom (1900-1968) before in a previous blog post and while she also exhibited in the Oxford Museum in 1979 I know little of her. Except that she studied at the Leon Underwood School of Painting and Sculpture. She was also a founder member of the English Wood Engraving Society. Shortly after completing her training she returned to her family home and little is known of her until in 1936 when she produced 30 wood engravings for Paradise Lost and 12 for Roses of Sharon for the Cockerel Press.
I like her style and would like to find more works.
This is a difficult challenge, first it is difficult to measure reward, either that we give or that we or receive and, second illustrating it. I, for instance practice and enjoy good manners, but do not expect reward in return. I work hard but do not expect more than a fair salary, the reward is personal satisfaction in a job well. Being a parent is a pit of reward, unrequited and full blown reward that cannot be measured or recorded.
Also, reward is for over and above the call of duty and I don’t think this is celebrated in the way is should be. We live in a culture of horror, abuse and blame those who address it are often overly celebrated and frequently overpaid. While, those who care for the poor and vulnerable daily, deserved of reward and reasonable income are ignored.
On a personal level, reward is rarely acknowledged, we are far more likely to reprimand ourselves for a small job undone or badly than reward ourselves for a wonderful achievement. I come from a generation who did not encourage a self- congratulatory spirit, boasting was unseemly, and big head was degraded.
So, some of us have become overly self-effacing and self -harming. It was only recently when I wanted to address my place in this world of blame and low self worth, to celebrate small and pleasing events not just self praise but real rewards … cake, tea, new frock, a day(s) of learning etc. So, reward, reward, we cannot get enough. Lets do it for ourselves and each other.
However, I still have a dilemma; how do I illustrate reward? This hellebore in my garden this morning is reward enough …. Thank You
Rio is still a child …
Originally posted on Elieser E. Borba:
The little black boy is probably from Rio, it is 2015, a historic moment, the city faces an uncertain future, imagined in our fruitless fantasy of “what will be?” Little black boys don’t have certain futures: the police could kill him or the state abuse him. If he keeps mum he is an outcast, if he speaks out there will be someone who wants to shut him up. The black man, once himself this black boy, imagining his son’s future, weeps in the silence of a Friday night because Saturday is no day of leisure.
This is a text that was written by Elieser E. Borba and translated by AJW.
Last week I had a one to one session with a ‘real’ printmaker. Although I have had a few lessons over the last couple of years I am pretty much self taught with a mish mash of methods, tools and ideas.
I have worked hard and accomplished much and my work does have a pleasing look.
However, my worked lacked a good finish in fact my work remained consistently unfinished.
I felt that if I want to show my work and sell it then I must learn, develop and maintain good practices.
So after making my way to Margate and the Hello Printing Studio, Nick, well primed with the idea that I work better with tea the day began.
Learning about paper, about how to prepare it ; cutting, tearing, and their values for the press whether by hand or not; also right or wrong side.
Which are valuable lessons already!
The fog began to lift!
The use of an etching press like the one I have, making the press work for me, be its master, rather than the other way around.
We also made some comparative observations and the value of using a mat, different ink rollers, wet or dry paper, etc; personal choices that only I can make.
Then, the use of a barren with Japanese mulberry paper remembering, for a fine finish this is a long methodical task … it cannot be rushed.
Registration; a simple technique that for me thwarted the need to rush the printing, thus making irretrievable mistakes.
The use of inks, mixing colours, along with housekeeping tips that bring order to an area that can become contaminated when not looked over carefully.
All good lessons for one who is inclined to rush or too arty to be careful.
I learned to clear away in a gentle but military fashion without the use of harsh chemicals and loud expletives.
I learned how to sharpen my tools a very technical but pleasant job to be done more frequently than I thought.
So my 5 hours were a mix of joy and painful home truths ; but I had plenty of tea to alleviate the hurt … I wish I had done it sooner, but at least now I know the right, wrong and (in)different methods and how to make calculated decisions in my printmaking with pleasing results.
I don’t want to loose my style or undermine my artistic spontaneity, rather use them with good habits and more reflective actions to work professionally.
Of course, this will not happen overnight and there is still a need for play and experimentation. So the next few months will be spent galvanising these new found skills and learning patience.
Yesterday, I began working again while is is easy to see the failings or horrible results of rushing, poor or no registration, blunt tools, sloppy inking, working in a mess, no planning etc etc., there is a long road ahead. I will practice my new found skills regularly and find a printing community in Reading where I can maintain good practice in a conducive atmosphere.
So meanwhile on my cake stand the result of yesterdays printing not perfect but I know how I did it and what needs to be done!