Monday, December 11, 2017

Planting, Snow And Cars

Last week I put in pots some Broad Beans, Peas and Garlic and on Saturday some Narcissus  and  Anemone bulbs in the front garden for some Spring colour.

Selection of bulbs for planting

The border planted

Garlic (from the shops not the garden Centre)

Then 10th December the snow (and debate on why England can't cope with it).

I popped out with my Camera and here are some pictures from round West Ealing
My allotment shed in the snow (plot 202)

St John's West Ealing
A Christmas Card in the making?


On Friday I was chatting with a somewhat 'Senior' woman and cars cropped up as a topic of conversation - she said that she couldn't really see driver-less cars catching on, well I'd earlier taken my own car in for a service, it's about 20 years old and while I was in that 'car' frame of mind I looked at a modern car (I'm going to replace mine soon) - it'd got all sorts of tech, camera for parking - Bluetooth and the like so I can see it happening, if my next car lasts as long as this one has I expect it'll be driver-less and electric too.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

CityLit's looking at Paintings course -Getting to the end

Tate Britain - it's beginning to look a lot
like Christmas  

This Wednesday we were back at Tate Britain for the penultimate group (City Lit Looking at Paintings  course) - Tate Britain has got a great Kitsch-y Christmas look and it was nice to there (less Crowded than National Gallery).

Generally the course has run along the theme of Genres but there's also been a less defined underlying chronological undercurrent and with these last two sessions (next one is at Tate Modern) we're coming (almost) up to date.
Julia shows us a 'near' abstract

So first of all don't get me wrong I do like Tate Britain but there are times when I'm struck by the fact that certainly after the Pre-Raphaelites and before the British Pop Art there was a period where most of what came along did not do it for me - much of it looked downbeat and  was concerned solely with the artist - so it was that what we looked at on Wednesday might have been of significance but was (I'm sorry to say) for was not exciting.

A story of Lizzie

[By the way interested to see that there's a book about the somewhat tragic Lizzie Siddal a muse and model to many of 'The Brotherhood and lover of Rossetti].

We did look at an example of British 'Quasi Surrealism' by Meredith Frampton called 'Trial and Error' which can also be read as a Still life Momento Mori. Meredith was the son of celebrated sculptor George Meredith.

Trial and Error (1939)

We did look at some Walter Sickert works and I do like his paintings but he is almost an honorary European, spending much of his time in France and being the son of a German-Danish Artist.

Sickert was a somewhat restless artist associated with Camden Town Group latterly much of his work was derived from Media images (often The Press) like the picture below of Miss Gwen..., who was a famous actress.

This use by Sickert was long before it became the 'vogue' to use Mass Media in works of Art as Sir Peter Black and Andy Warhol did in the 60's.

I am looking forward to (I hope) seeing more examples of Sickert when I visit the National Portrait Gallery with a City Lit  course in 2018.

[There were stories that Sickert was in fact Jack the Ripper - not sure how much salt is needed with that!]

Late Period Sickert - Miss Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Isabella of France (1932)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Taylor Wessing Prize at NPG

An answer to painting?

As I started to write this must say I was rather surprised to find that it's about 3 years since I went to see the winners of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait competition at London's National Portrait Gallery.

The good news is that I think the quality this year  is even higher than before and the subjects yet more engaging.

Goodness how the judges choose - technically they all brilliant to me - but the ones I especially liked were:

1) Fleeing Mosul by Abbie Trayler-Smith (it got second prize) despite the sad subject the work is beautiful and so painterly, the colours are out of this world.

2) Minecrafting by Hania Farrell is another photograph that really did it for me, what was great about this one was the way it referenced works like the recently viewed (by me)  Velasquez's Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (also seen last year).

And the third picture (and a big part of the reason I made the journey into town) was the really exciting...

3) 'One of them is a Human..' by Maija Tammi - what's so exceptional about this is that it's a portrait of Erica (an android) - Tammi is a Finnish artist who has worked and studied in America as well as Finland.

The idea of taking pictures of an Android seems almost a visual 'Turing test' and alerts us to issues that will become more and more applicable as technology progresses.

To be honest the visit to this exhibition really livened me up and made me enthusiastic to make more photographic  experiments myself.

[I was also intrigued by how many of the Portraits' had the subject so centrally]

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Christmas Spirit & Dysfunctional Gov't and Misleading Ministers

We need you Santa

Nice to see some genuinely tacky Christmas lights (thanks Alan Kane) at Tate Britain today - it might be tongue in cheek but it was making people smile..

Be great with a dusting of snow

Nice with a bit of snow

And not making people smile ...

Get a Grip

OK I'm of the view that we'd be better off in EU but my 'beef' at the moment is the mess Theresa and the Tory Ministers are making - any CEO doing as much damage as our PM would be marched off the premises with her belongings in a black bin bag - we keep thinking it can't get worse and then it does

I'm wondering what on Earth happens in the Tory cabinet meetings - obviously no holding David Davis to account or discussions on Brexit (or so Philip Hammond has indicated) - - I guess it's important things like what biscuits they should have and EU decisions are left to Rees-Mogg and failed Tory leader/Loon I D-S?

In a past life I was for a while a union rep and did some negotiating - it was necessary to communicate with colleagues present a united front and have a plan - we've none of these and got people like Crispin Blunt blaming EU negotiators for us not knowing what we want.

Please Please (as they used to say on BBCTV's Points of View) get your act (and team) together Mrs May.