First Sight of Spring in Northamptonshire!
March 10 2016
“I found the poems in the fields, And only wrote
Its March, the daffodils are coming out, snowdrops are in
abundance, the birds are singing and things are starting to happen
out there! Hooray!
The Northampton Town and County Spring Show ' One Size Fits
This week on Saturday 12th March the latest Town and County
Spring Art show is opening. The exhibition, 'One Size Fits all' in
the Long Gallery at Kettering Alfred East Art Gallery features the
artwork of the Northampton Societies talented artists. They are
showing artworks in the same sized frame and at the same
price! A great idea!
A New Approach to Poetry and the Word in Pictures
Recently I have been exploring how I can use my text painting
technique to produce new and decorative artworks that could be used
to give as gifts.
I began making illustrated crosses with different themes that
inspire me, such as nature, landscapes and animals! I took Bible
passages, prayers and poems, then added colour to them and created
some neat looking little designs. Right now, these are being
printed onto different gorgeous wood so I can sell them to
people for special occasions like Weddings, Christenings or
Foxes, Hares, Birds and Red Squirrel!
These little crosses got me wandering if I could turn this
style of work into landscapes that have an element of fun in them.
So, I made a series of four landscapes showing bounding animals
like foxes, and hares and the occasional bird. Then I used
photographs of gorgeous places to set the scene. I really loved
Now for the next challenge!
Could I make one of these based on a poem? On the suggestion
of a friend, I decided to try working from a poem by John Clare
called 'First Sight of Spring'.
Yes! A chance to paint a squirrel!
John Clare (13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864) was
known as "The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" and was
from the village of Helpston which is now part of Peterborough.
What I really liked about his poems is how he used local
Northamptonshire dialect such as "pooty" (snail),
"lady-cow" (ladybird), "crizzle" (to crisp) and "throstle" (song
thrush). But the inspired and spontaneous poetry really illustrates
the change of the seasons and the beauty of the natural
I have used the words from the poem below to create the
First Sight of Spring
The hazel blooms in threads of crimson hue
Peep through the swelling buds and look for spring
Ere yet a whitethorn leaf appears in view
Or March finds throstles pleased enough to sing;
On the old touchwood tree woodpeckers cling
A moment, and their harsh-toned notes renew,
In happier mood the stock-dove claps his wing,
The squirrel sputters up the powdered oak
With tail cocked o’er his head and ears
Startled to hear the woodman’s understroke,
And with the courage which his fears collect
He hisses fierce half malice and half glee,
Leaping from branch to branch about the tree,
In winters foliage, moss and lichens, dressed.
The plan then, is to make twelve of these illustrations
and turn them into a calender and a set of cards, prints as well as
other smashing gifts! I will keep posting them as I go, so
look out for new additions to the family!
You can find out what I make next by signing up for my
Here are a few more quotes from John Clare that I like...
“Crowded places, I shunned them as noises too
And fled to the silence of sweet
“Language has not the power to speak what love
The soul lies buried in the Ink that
Saatchi Gallery and Champagne Life
February 29 2016
A Constellation of Female Artists
On a chilly wet day in London this February, I went to visit
the Parallax Art Fair in London! However on the way down Kings Road
in Chelsea we came across the huge and grand pillars of the Saatchi
gallery which holds free exhibitions of the latest talent from the
We couldn't resist it, and were pleased to discover lots of
inspiration. Including a stuffed donkey on a space hopper...... yep
that's right! No joke.
“Cultural Collage Between East and Western
The donkey was quite a strange sight or I could say
challenging , which is part of its purpose. Made by
Soheilia Sokhanvari her work uses fantastical metaphor
to help create open ended discussion about the totalitarian
political system in Iran where she is from.
Another out of the ordinary artwork included a giant bobbin
with copper thread by artist Alice Anderson. This was made for the
Saatchi Gallery, its based on a game Sigmund Freud would play with
his daughter to calm her down.
The scale of the artwork was of course the particular draw but
the detail in the thread itself also added to a sense of being
childlike and small. The cable sized thread reminded me of the
highly focussed, absorbed play that a child engages in when looking
closely at objects.
Ancient Cultures and Autocartography
One of the most inspirational artists in the show on this
visit was Mequitta Ahuja. Mainly because I really enjoyed looking
closely at her large collage artworks that have painstakingly
layered, printed textiles made using Indian print blocks as well as
painted vellum and animal skins and paper.
Using mixed media is something I really enjoy especially with
paper so it was exciting to see the patterns and images in detail.
Also, print making has such a tactile and immediate feel to it, so
that combined collage is magical in this work! It draws you in and
makes you think about how the artist made it and why they made it.
But what it also gives me is sense of the time it took to
Expanses of Messy Limbs
Seung Ah Paik fleshy expanses hang on skin-like canvas which
has been reformed, dried.and draped Looking closely at
finger prints, skin markings or bending and contorting to
explore your own body is suggested to us in these huge
Whilst moving around them I found myself trying to figure out
how many people where there and what they were doing. It looked
kind of grotesque and made me a little self concious to look at,
but curiosity made me forget about that. Again I thought the detail
was amazing when you got close up and once more I was reminded of
how a person might investigate the details and shape of their
Paik says, “I want my skin to be present in
the painting, rather than be an image of my skin in the painting. I
want the viewers to experience the
So, this exhibition seems to be all about drawing attention to
the things we miss. It seems to be about questioning by showing
things in a different light or from a new
The confused looking donkey on an inflatable grabs our
attention and asks why? But clearly the international nature of the
works and the cultural themes demand contemplation when we consider
the artworks scale and painstaking detail.
To me this exhibition is a kind of dialogue on the world, its
cultures and women today - now. Its about the difficulties of a
changing 'globalist' world and the commonality we still share as
A Solar System of Pots
This last artwork Food for Thought “Almuallaqat
4” by Maha Malluh, really struck me as a universally human
piece. Each cooking pot has been used to make food but each one is
different. They look like the surface of planets or moons and all
are similar in shape but all are individual.
We saw some new and refreshing art at the Saatchi
. Its was fun because you discover something new,
unexpected and different from the mainstream Tate Gallery
type shows. I recommend a visit!