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Working in the studio towards Art London
Visit from Great Roberto and Toyah bearing three magnificent Kew Garden pots in turquoise each with a luxuriant money tree, offspring of theirs and a beautifully coloured package that R and I feel to try and guess the contents. I think it might be a pair of tongs - they tell me I’m not too for out. I open it to discover a spoon and fork which on examination I find extend and become very long just like those in the fable of heaven and hell where the utensils on the table are much too long for each diner to feed themselves; so those who are generous and imaginative enough to realise they can feed each other eat,whereas those who didn’t have altruism starved! We sit and exchange news over tea and mince pies such a joy to see them both.
Richard drives up Acton to collect the boys from Kev who is bringing them half way. They are still full of energy when they get back even though it is after 10pm.. So lovely to see them.
Day full of activities being creative building ships out of large cardboard etc. I’ve suggested they might like to put on a performance in the evening which is hilarious and goes on for act after act incorporating, I think, some ideas from Tweedy and the pantomime as is very much in that spirit.
Morning Richard continues to help Isaac with the book of fraction he’d been given to do over the holiday whist Samuel and I draw. R takes them back to London in the afternoon.
Large commission occupies most of my time.
Though yesterday I had two e mails , one from Candia asking if I would donate a small work for the Sue Ryder hospices ‘Art Affirming Life’ exhibition to be held at Thirlestaon House gallery in October as part of their fund raising drive. Cotswold Life is very good at supporting local charities as I’d last seen Candia at the Linc carol service in December. Sue Ryder is a wonderful hopsice which has helped several people I have known, including lovely Rita Peters who we visited there as she drifted from this life to the next. It has a very quiet and serene atmosphere.
By coincidence the very next e mail was from Marianne Sweet (who runs the PR Damsel Fly Productions) asking if I will front a similar art event for the longfied Hospice’s ‘Big Heart Auction, formerly known as Cotswold Care Hospice.
Also a lovely e mail from Dr Margus wishing us Happy New Year form Helsinki and telling us that the angels he bought from my Open Studio are on the wall of the study keeping watch over them.
Nice e mail from Ali saying that her husband John, the eye consultant was delighted with the latest addition to his miniature collection that she gave him for Christmas.
E mail from Louise about ‘Putting culture at the heart of Gloucester for the good of all’ meeting to see which of the two i will be able to attend.
Busy on all fronts.
Richard goes to London to collect paintings from L’Ecargot
E mail from Nathan saying he’s arrived safely in Hong Kong; managed to sleep on the flight then a good night sleep in the hotel so ‘writing this whilst looking over the harbour’ eating his breakfast
working on commission in studio in the house
E mail from Yukari re the forthcoming exhibition Japan, clarifying details of the works that will be going.
Up to London for Samuel’s birthday. We’ve bought he and Isaac an electric keyboard which they both excitedly play in a very avant garde way! He’d had a beautiful mountain bike from his Mum and Dad.
Yukri in Japan is asking for the photographs for the press releases
Over to Gloucester to look at St Michaels Tower which I book for the ‘Tea & Tableaux in the tower’ event I am organising for Linc on May 1 and 2.
Then over to the Museum where David Rice kindly shows us the works on paper they have in their archives. There are some fascinating things including works by Therese Lessore, Sylvia Gosse and Sickert. Looking f particularly or works to link up with mine. David tells us they have a very interesting backdrop for a circus puppet show made by the famous Gloucestershire puppeteer and artist William Simmonds who used to travel the county giving performances with his exquisitely carved and painted puppets. Its a privilege to go behind the scenes in the Museum where its so quiet. Fascinating to go into the picture store which David also takes me in to see.
Then on to a meeting at North Warehouse where interested parties are discussing the cultural redevelopment that Gloucester is planning, starting with the festival of Culture, Music and Arts in the Summer. When I get there - rather late - they are making animals in play dough to represent what sort of animal they think Gloucester is. I’m on a table with Donna Rennay who said they could have done with my help for the drawing but then I spot Russell Haines and know that he wouldn’t have needed any help from me, having created the splendid huge charcoal portraits of the Gloucester Rugby team etc. I feel a little out of place being from near Cheltenham rather that Gloucester where most of the other attendees are from but think they are taking very positive steps forward and guess that this is a good way of engaging with all those living and working in the city to know what they would like to evolve and develop.
Then home to the studio to do some work.
Pop over to Hester’s Way to chat to Sgt Nicky about painting some sort of mural in the meeting room.
Home briefly for tea before going over to Prestbury to the Royal Oak for a reception for sponsors and jumpers of their Summer Fun Day when there will be bungee jumping. Chat to Peter the new chair of the trustees
Working on the commission for Helen who runs the wonderful Cheltenham Tea Party Company.
Nathan rings to say he’s home safely from Hong Kong and the project went really well. He’ll be working with the RSC next week.
Working on the commission.
Off to Owlpen for lovely Karin’s birthday drinks party. Its very mild for the time of year and is a nice drive. Things are already in full swing - a nice greeting in the hall from some of the younger Mander family. On entering the main room we spot the playwright Stephen Davies who we had heard on the radio a week or two ago when is dear friend the actor Alan Rickman died. Stephen and Jane moved from Gloucestershire two years ago and are now happily settled in Suffolk where as well as prolifically writing stage and screen plays recently, he’s also taken up woodwork, cabinet making and painting. Its a delight to see Karin looking so happy, this is a surprise extra party for her and friends had come from as far away as Germany on Friday to help her celebrate. In this lovely warm atmosphere. Karin introduces us to Anthony Gormley’s wife and we all admire a beautiful gingerbread house designed by an architect friend to be a model of Owlpen. Delicious finger food and each bottle of bubbly bore Karin’s photograph. Nicky later introduces us to his other dear friend from Cambridge who he shared a cottage with, Anthony Gormley, who seemed to be a very amiable man who had presented Karin with one of his more abstract sculptures. After Nicky’s description of my work he wondered if I was known as the Leonora Carrington of the West. Just catch Rory before leaves for a brief chat. As we drive out we notice how many of the daffodils that line the wooded drive are in bloom.
Back home to work on Helen’s commission.
Mariusz and Hubert arrive to commence work on some alteration, today beginning to knock a wall down! Like me, Mariusz thinks its good to get the worst part (dusty, messy and noisy) done first.
E mail from Peter White, vice Principal of Gloucestershire College asking if I would write a piece supporting the foundation course that they are going to bring over to Cheltenham.
The skip that arrived late yesterday is now being methodically filled with the debris . I’m so pleased that Richard had hung large clear plastic dust sheets over the doors and the furniture he couldn’t move.
The good thing about my studio in the house is it is right at the opposite end to where Mariusz and Hubert are working. Methodical and diligent, everything is carefully planned and co-ordinated.
This is the piece I wrote for Gloucestershire College’s Foundation in Art & Design course which Peter seems pleased with, especially the reference to Henrietta and Nathan as he says it personalises it; parents are often the most important influence on their children’s choice of course and this speaks directly to them”
I’m so excited to hear that Gloucestershire College are going to offer a Foundation Course in Art & Design in Cheltenham, where it has been much missed by schools and would-be foundation students in the region.
I studied here at the Gloucestershire College of Art & Design ﾠand both my children did their Foundation courses in Cheltenham before going onto degrees at University of Surrey and UWE, Henrietta then did an MA at Central St Martins and now teaches art whilst Nathan did an MFA at the Slade and is now a production designer and art director for films, commercials and music videos (such as Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep for which he won an MTV Award).
ﾠGC’s Foundation course is excellent and I have often bumped into ex Foundation students studying for art degrees at the University, who say how grateful they were for the encouragement and support they gained from GC. The great advantage of the Foundation Course is that it gives you both time to experience different aspects of the visual arts helping you to decide into which area of study e.g. painting, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, fashion, graphic or interior design etc. you want to progress to. Plus having time and help in selecting a good portfolio of work for your application to give you the best chance.
The Regency town of Cheltenham also offers beautiful architecture with its historic Pump Rooms etc. plus ﾠeducational archives, cutting edge and international exhibitions at The Wilson, it’s recent programmes have ﾠincluded ﾠRodin’s 'The Kiss' borrowed from the Tate, the American video artist Bill Viola and the 'Audrey Hepburn, portraits of an icon' exhibition on tour from the National Portrait Gallery.It also boasts Festivals in Science, Jazz, Music, Literature and Design not to mention the the buzz of it's night life.
Oh dear, Richard’s just about to set off to London and the car won’t start
The same thing happens when we are about to set off to Martin’s party in Bristol. By the time its sorted out, its too late to go and we were so looking forward to doing so as it is particularly to celebrate him bing awarded an honorary Doctorate by Bristol University.
Working on Helen’s commission whilst Richard is finishing the accounts to submit to the HMRC. It always comes as rather a shock having to pay what Richard says feels like the entire National Debt but then probably everyone else feels like this too.