This weekend I had some works hanging in an ‘Art Exhibition’ albeit on pegs and several lengths string. It was a wonderful experience I will not forget it.
Early in the new year I attended two sessions of evening classes at Block Keep; a local art gallery where some of the resident artists run annual tutorials for students of mixed ability.
This year it was planned that the ‘artists’ might show their pieces at the end of term. Nice idea, but for me a bit of a worry as I didn’t actually complete anything; each week I went along to learn a new skill and to practice later, or, not at home. So at the end of the evening although I signed at dated each work they were not ready for public consumption; but it was too late, I was committed; signed up for the duration.
So for 5 weeks we drew, with pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, pastel, even water colour and the next we got into printing, with wood and lino, learning about the paper, inks, rollers, the press; we laughed, cursed, cut our fingers, got messy, learned about clearing away and honed our precious printing skills. Our prints were hung to dry with pegs on a piece of string; to collect the following week. Some were selected for the show.
Here they are, delightful and politely called ‘experimental’ maybe they appear unfinished, raw and even clumsy to the uninitiated … but to me, seeing these gave me hope that one day we will not be hanging on a washing line no matter how wonderful it seems now.
This week has been good if not a little overwhelming and I don’t know where to begin. I have been invited to write two blog posts although is a potential article for a journal. My CV and letter is all but ready to present to an art guild but the 6 works are not yet ready. It is still difficult to believe even after writing the curriculum vitae I am still not convinced I have what it takes to show my work.
A month or so ago I did a couple of short courses on drawing and printmaking. Although I have had ‘lessons’ and been practicing for a couple of years it was good to have the encouragement of two professionals and the candid feedback.
Today is the exhibition of the resultant works; I have been helping to organise the show in our local gallery; it feels likes more like performing art with the frills, drama and butterflies. Not exactly what I was expecting but nonetheless a joy!
With thanks to the joy-ness provider!
As I come nearly to the end of my walking alphabet; I look at the way railway trains and particularly the way that speed took away pleasure of travel. Even in the 19th century when trains were not yet high speed, travelers were saying that they seemed to ‘transcend time and space and become disembodied.’ Writers were saying such things as ‘ the train was experienced as a projectile, travelling as if being shot through the landscape. Losing control of one’s senses; no longer a traveler, he became a parcel.’
Speed, they suggested didn’t make travel more interesting ; people now have the need to read, sleep, to knit or complain of boredom. The use of cars and planes has increased this transformation and we watch movies or listen to music on headphones to relieve the monotony. Paul Virilio, the French cultural theorist and urbanist said that ‘the loss of the thrills of the old journey is now compensated by the showing of an [action] film on the screen over head’.
Emiliano di Cavalcanti (1897–1976) was a Brazilian artist, printmaker and writer, born in Rio de Janeiro and paved the way for modern art in his country. He trained to be a lawyer but turned to art seriously after a successful exhibition in São Paulo in 1917.
In 1922 he help to set up the Semana de Arte Moderna in São Paulo which is regarded as pivotal in Brazilian culture celebrating dance, literature and painting together. From 1923-1925 he worked in Paris for the newspaper Correio de Manha during this time he became acquainted with notable avant- garde artists such as Braque, Matisse and Picasso. He continued to visit Europe regularly for the next 20 years.
His work draws on a wide range of influences such as Cubism, Fauvism and I understand, Picasso’s Neoclassicism of the 1920s which he blended with his own colourful style and suited to the Brazilian subject matter he enjoyed; mulatto women, carnival, poor fishermen and prostitutes. It seems his cheerful, conservative brand of modernism and his delight in local subjects won him great popularity in Brazil. This wood cut is a fine example of this.
I am really looking forward to finding some more examples of his work during my visit and read more about him he was I understand always an advocate for the poor and oppressed and went to great lengths to aid and protect them
I was born afloat in more ways than one. In 1950 with my parents recently moved from Essex; on a houseboat I began life, among a community grown from those who escaped the enemy bombing of nearby towns. My dad, a boat builder built our home from a redundant war ship; later he went on to craft a sailing yacht from an ex-lifeboat. So in a sense we were a family afloat. Also, life was also in flux our existence was a constant adventure not always of the good kind. My dad never married my mum, he was not a man to be ‘moored.’ Looking back, he might be considered an anarchist or a punk but he would not have been comfortable with any label. He was a floating spirit, not suited to the traditional way of life. When my mum and siblings moved to house nearby, my dad didn’t join with us for long. The transition was not as easy as we hoped but we soon all embraced the stable live and enjoyed living in the local community. We went on to have families of our own.
For my part I enjoyed the land and the stability it offered; but now that the children have all flown the nest; I look back to the afloat-ness and the space between the shore and the sea. I remember the sense of adventure, the days we spent afloat without a care or commitment. So while I will not move back to the river I can promise myself to remain afloat and keep the feeling of impending adventure.