Portrait session

We had a lovely sitter tonight called Debbie McAndrew. She is an author and play write and also sometimes acts. She wrote a brilliant play called “dirty laundry” that was on last year . It was set in the past and was about the history of the potteries.

We had an entertaining session drawing her and discussing all sorts of things, including how she got into the theatre and acting and how the group got into drawing and painting.

I really enjoyed the session and think that I got some relatively accurate portraits from it.

I used pencil, charcoal pencil and black ink to do the drawings.  The sketches are in a small sketch book with good thickness cartridge paper.

I like drawing in these books. There is enough room to fit the drawings in, and they are small enough to hold so that it is not a struggle to hold the book. Other people were using A1 or A2 sheets to draw or paint on but I prefer the smaller size. About A5.

Anyway I shall just leave you to decide if you like them…

New views of Spode. ..

Things are changing at the old Spode factory site.

Old buildings that don’t have much historical merit are being demolished and older buildings , or more architecturally important ones are being released from their imprisonment in brick, mortar, chip board, steel and concrete.

Like an archaeological dig tipped 90 degrees, new surfaces and entrances are being uncovered. Courtyards with windows newly on view. Stacks of saggars piled on shelves up at those windows, small or large,  flat or square ….the weight of the saggars must be tremendous. I wondered if the shelves are rotting and if they could collapse .

I remember seeing a film called “solarus” or “solaris” once years ago. By Tarcovski? A Russian film maker. The character’s moved through a post industrial nightmare, and I can’t help thinking Spode uncovered would make a brilliant film set.

A recent film called “jawbone” was filmed at Spode. They recreated a boxing gym in the China halls there. So many new views. ….

walking along the new pathway to the studios there, I wonder at the air we are breathing in, dust everywhere…how do we know there is no asbestos or other contaminants?

The feral cats of Spode can be friendly.  A grey and white Tom cat was hanging about next to the Hulton art pottery. We were told that someone is thinking of rehoming him. He had water and food….my partner wanted to take him home. But we already have two of our own cats. I think he will be OK. I have nicknamed him Maurice. ….

Yesterdays Art

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Some paintings I have worked on and a Mini Mona Lisa. ..

The first four are recent paintings that I have worked on because I was not happy with them. Water and Earth are both part of a series (including Air and Fire) I also want to improve them.

Leaves was originally a single leaf but it was very simple and I wanted to add more to it. The leaves are from my imagination. I sometimes use art as a way of helping my memory. If I can remember what something looks like I can use the memory for other paintings and not necessarily use reference photos. I dont have a photographic memory but I sometimes describe an image to myself, like the way a gutter and drainpipe are attached to a house. If I can describe it I can draw or paint it.

Autumn pottery is based on a “pot bank” the kilns that were used for firing pottery in the past. Now they use gas tunnel kilns. The plants are roses and cotoneaster. They are to represent vegetation growing around old, derelict pot banks. The blue background could be sky, or the water from local canals.

The final painting was a quick copy of the Mona Lisa, taken from a very old book on anatomy for student artists. I know it is wrong, the face is too thin, the smile is wrong. But for half an hour’s work its not bad. It’s on a tiny canvas about 1 inch by 2 inches.

So there you are, more paintings, its something I do.

Pottery

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It’s a dry subject is pottery,

The clay, once wetted and shaped, is dryed to leather hard,

Then punished in heat, it burns to biscuit ware.

So called because it takes on the dry biscuit colour,

and Matt, flat, creamy white shaded non-sheen.

Waiting on a shelf, waiting to be gently dipped in liquid,

The glaze or slip is slurped up with thirst.

Then fired again in gas till shiny new and almost molten,

It is released from the volcanic kiln.

How is it not broken with the immolation of its body

No, just shrunken, the moisture burned away.

Ready to be decorated in variously gorgeous ways……

 

Drawing is of a jug, I think by Clarice Cliff. I drew it years ago on sketchfu…

 

 

Cat card ideas

I found some surreal drawings I did a few months ago in an old sketchbook….

 

It was just before Christmas and I was thinking of ideas for cards that would incorporate cats and pottery. I was experimenting with cats keeping warm, or towering over bottle ovens, their poise as they step across and round objects.

I was also playing with scale. Why should the cat be tiny and the bottle oven huge? After all there are no written rules for art.

These are just sketches, and the photos were taken on my phone camera so I don’t think they are very clear. But you get the general idea. I may take them further by colouring them and tidying them up.

Cats rule x