You may have seen this post featuring Salisbury Cathedral's beautiful font; now here is the font illuminated by Bruce Munro to stunning effect. As you'll learn from the video, the pulses of light are Morse code for the story of the journey of the Magi as told in Matthew 2:1-12.
Autumn (or Profile of Lydia Cassatt), Mary Cassatt, 1880.
There are still a couple of weeks left to see the American Impressionism exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (which I mentioned here) - above is one of the highlights, and look at the fabulous autumnal colours of Lydia Cassatt's shawl.
Yesterday I went to one of the events connected to the exhibition: American Impressionists in the Garden, an illustrated talk by garden historian Caroline Holmes which covered plants, garden design, social history, symbolism in paintings, and more; fascinating in itself and a great exercise in looking.
"The next time I pass the huts down on the river, Mac himself is sitting outside with a board across his knees. He has a jug before him stuck with a few sticks and he is using a tin paintbox like a child's. I stand and watch him. He's drawn the outlines first in pencil and now he's using the tip of his brush, spreading colour, filling the dry wood of the twigs from inside. I squat down beside him. He has a stem of larkspur, must have picked it from the Millside garden, and he squashes the brush into the powder, stirs and flattens it until the pink is mixed, and then he lets it spread out inside the pencilled lines so that the edges catch it like a dam. He uses blue, the crushed blue of canvas, and yellow and red for spots and creases that I don't see are there, overlapping each other and ballooning into buds, so that they seem to be growing right there before us, the stalks silvery, the leaves grey."
A visit to the American Impressionism exhibition currently on at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is recommended if you are drawn to Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, for example, and Monet, Degas, Berthe Morisot and others whose work influenced them.
Lady Agnew is there (and do listen to the curator, Frances Fowle's brief podcast - no. 12 - or watch her video on that work), and alongside her is the painting shown here: Sita and Sarita by Cecilia Beaux, "a stunning exercise in flamboyant technique," of which you can read more here.
Sarah Simblet was commissioned to produce 200 drawings for the book, and the selection on display shows something of their range, accuracy and great beauty. "Nearly 50 species have been meticulously depicted, from mature trees [see the Cedar of Lebanon above] to small seedlings, with detailed studies of botanical parts. Associated animals, insects and woodland flowers of the surrounding ecosystem have also been included, as well as insights into the forestry process and the future of our forests."
Watch the short film to see Sarah Simblet at the RBGE discussing her work, while below is an extract from her notes on the drawings which explain her working methods:
"Live plants were always held in my left hand while I drew them with my right, so that I could directly translate my experience of their texture, weight, and balance, closely analyse their structure, watch their movement and perceive their scent. Drawn lines were made in response to all sensory experience, and touch is as important as sight.
Tree and landscape drawings were begun on site in pencil, usually in freezing temperatures, which slow muscle control in the hand, so lines are only gestural and pushed from the shoulder to establish a composition. Ink was applied later in the warmth of the studio, where the pencil drawing was gradually erased. ...
Every drawing was created with dilute Japanese ink on especially thick drawing cartridge paper, so that the surface could take the pressure of reworking and remain flat. Each one was built up in numerous layers. All lines, including the appearance of brushwork, were achieved with a single, steel-dip pen using both sides of the nib..."
Angela's "40 Days" (first two pictures) utilises 152 kilos of woollen yarn falling from the top of the Great Screen of the High Altar and pooling on the sanctuary floor. It's a piece which invites contemplation and personal interpretation.
Edmund's "another day, 2014" comprises twelve freestanding vitrines, each containing a single vessel, which stand in the retrochoir at the east end of the Cathedral, and also offer a subject for reflection.
Both artists will be giving talks on their work, Angela on Sunday, 16th. March at 12.45pm, and Edmund the following Sunday, the 23rd., at the same time. Anyone wishing to attend is also welcome at the 11am Service which precedes the talks.
Once again, my thanks to Rose and Martin for letting us see the installations. You'll find more pictures on the artists' websites, and further information on the Cathedral site, so please follow the links above.
"... I knew I wanted to display [the jewellery] in a living setting, silver and gold appearing magically among real growing plants, arranged on moss and twigs and grass. Back in my workshop at home I built a series of oversized seed trays out of old timber, salvaged long ago for just this sort of eventuality. I headed out to the countryside to forage. Tiny nettles and holly seedlings from Suffolk; mossy rocks and ferns from Wales. Hazel branches from the woods down near Pin Mill to cut into minute logs. I planted up my seed trays and scattered grass seed over the bare patches. Now they just needed to grow, and for the plants to spread and intertwine. This was going to take a great deal of care and patience.
Meanwhile, Kathy and I put the finishing touches to the book, and by that time the jewellery was almost designing itself. I drew sketches for a bunch of keys, plant labels, some rough garden string and a smooth apple. There was a bee buzzing by and a pea ready to pick. A tiny watering can with a drip just hanging from its spout."
Following her trip to Amsterdam, Rose has very kindly sent me Van Gogh's Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies (1887) for us all to enjoy, so my thanks to her for brightening this dreary day with some summer colour.
Related to this, do read Rose's comment (here) about Van Gogh and his wool, and click here and scroll down to see the box and contents.
Dates for your diary: from 19th. July to 19th. October, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will be staging an exhibition of American Impressionism, including works by Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler.
The lovely picture above is Eleanor by Frank Weston Benson, the subject being the artist's daughter.
There are two 'prizes'; one is a book containing 30 postcards of works by the four Scottish Colourist artists, i.e. Cadell, Peploe, Fergusson and Hunter, (some are shown below),
and the other is a group of six postcards of works by Fergusson, all of which are in the exhibition:-
To enter, please leave a comment on this post giving the name of a favourite artist or painting, or simply a favourite colour, and if you have a preference for one set of cards over the other, just say "Colourists" or "Fergusson", otherwise I'll put your name in the hat for both. The draw is open to everyone, regardless of location, so please do have a go.
Mary asked the other day whether the J.D. Fergusson exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art was worth the price of a plane ticket north.
I've seen it now and I can say "Yes!", emphatically, "yes!"
This is the third in the Gallery's Scottish Colourist series after Cadell and Peploe over the last two years. It looks as though we are not to get a Hunter show, so take this chance to see Fergusson - it's on until mid-June - and prepare to be impressed.
I say that because I was less familiar with his work than with that of Cadell and Peploe, so perhaps was more susceptible to being bowled over by his range and the sheer energy of his pieces, but bowled over I was. There are around 100 works on show, sculptures as well as paintings, and they include still lifes, landscapes, portraits, nudes, and even pictures from his brief time as a war artist*. With virtually no formal training, Fergusson absorbed Impressionism, Fauvism and even Vorticism to startling effect, and in the course of a long life spent mostly in France or his native Scotland, produced work which " ... is a deep and pure expression of his immense love of life. Endowed with a rare plastic feeling, almost sculptural in its quality. He joined with it an exceptional sense of colour, outspoken, ringing colours, rich and splendid in their very substance."
Click here to see some of the exhibition highlights (though those tiny images do not do justice to the real things), and here to see a short related film, then please come back tomorrow when I'll have a little something to give away.
*When reporting for duty he admitted that he really did not like khaki, and the interviewing colonel said - in all seriousness - "we can't do anything about that, but what about the Navy?" As blue was Fergusson's favourite colour (good man!), a succesful posting ensued.