Art fairs, galleries, preparations, workshop renovation….busy times

I’m managing a March post by the skin of my teeth.  It’s been a busy month. Weather hasn’t been good enough yet for papermaking when I’ve had a day free for it.

the sky in winter

Night Sky, Late Winter

March 8th-12th saw the Battersea Affordable Art Fair.  Three of my paintings went there with the Nicholas Bowlby Gallery,  This one, by far the largest, was sold: Night Sky, Late Winter, mixed media on canvas.  I wonder where this is hanging now?  To my mind  galleries earn every bit of their commission when you know what a lot of work, expense and planning is involved in doing a big London art fair.  The downside, though, is that you don’t know who has bought your work.

art fair stand

Jill’s work at TAF

The following weekend, 17th-19th March,  saw another art fair, the brand-new Talented Art Fair for established artists wanting to sell directly to the public – which addresses my last point.  It takes a lot of effort to prepare, make, frame, string and label your work. And then…pack it, transport it, hang it, label it…and try to sell it.  It was very enjoyable, though: beautifully organised and well publicised, with a really friendly and helpful team.  I chose work with a rather muted palette to hang – my new tree quartet in the middle there.

Near Tower Bridge

Towpath near Tower Bridge

 

Night view from our air b’n b  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was buzzing in Spitalfields with markets in full swing and people out enjoying themselves. Then a bus across Tower Bridge and a walk along the towpath to our air b’n’b, near where Dickens placed Fagin’s hideout, and Bill Sykes supposedly met his end in the Thames ooze.

 

swirly patterns

Blue squiggles

small paintings on board

Offcuts series: little paintings

 

blue on white

blue squares

 

small painting

green shape on blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I don’t have time to do much else in the studio I nowadays try at least to paint a small something.  At the moment I am using offcuts of thin MDF boards, cut to 15x20cm, to use odd bits of mixed-up paint, try out patterns, make some instinctive marks or do pretty well whatever comes to mind. Or, rather, fingers: I try not to think too much and just enjoy myself.  Overthinking is the devil!

Coming up soon: three major events in May.  Artists’ Open House, for the duration of the Brighton Festival.  The Hampstead Affordable Art Fair (with the Nicholas Bowlby Gallery); and the opening of the Nigel Rose Gallery on the Brighton seafront, under th Arches, where I will be having work on regular display.  Lots and lots to prepare and to share – but more of that in my next bulletin. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a progress picture of our workshop refurbishment:  real progress.  It’s so light!  Come and see us,  and it, in May!

workshop refurbishment

The Workshop – light and bright!

Exhibitions, events, Fairs and art

Stormy light on trees

Over our garden wall: just before sunset.

I imagined myself going into an enjoyable hibernation during January and February, emerging at intervals to paint a picture here and there.  Instead life has been a hurly-burly since well before Christmas. Not all stressful; I’ve been to some very interesting exhibitions and  other good things. The Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion exhibition (picture below) is on for some time yet, in an extraordinary house near Temple Station on the London Embankment,  built  in grandiose style by Lord Astor.  I went to school just round the corner so a lot of memories (best expurgated).

The Sussex Modernism show

Sussex Modernism , 2 Temple Place

We stayed overnight opposite my long-ago university  Hall of Residence (more memories), after an amazing concert by the pianist Mitsouko Uchida.  We also enjoyed a meal overlooking the Thames.  The illuminations always lift my spirits. You might have noticed I’m keen on blues….

Illuminations by the Thames at night

South Bank at night

In the usual feast-or-famine way, art events are bunching up and approaching fast.  Some of my new work is going to the Affordable Art Fair on 9th-12th March, and some more the very next weekend to the Talented Art Fair in the Old Truman Brewery, East London.  This is rather exciting as it’s the inaugural event, intended for established artists,  by the dynamic team who have organised the very successful New Artists’ Fair.

 trees in the mist

Tree Quartet, Hove trees in the mist

On the downside, it means getting into Central London by car and doing all the donkey work (bar the main publicity).  Hanging, labelling, being there…of course that’s why we normally pay galleries such hefty fees to do it for us, and I do believe it’s  worth every penny!

However this is a chance to meet the public – a new public – and, should I sell any paintings, actually know where they’ve gone. If you sell via a gallery you rarely know.  And I love it when a buyer sends me a photo of my painting in its new home. Where will this painting of trees in a misty Hove Park end up, I wonder?

2017-02-22 12.14.37There’s lots more in the pipeline – a new gallery and Artists’ Open House just to name two –  but I’ll report more on future plans when this particular  challenge is over.

New year, new horizons, new art.

view across the water

Winter reflections, Sheffield Park

A very happy New Year to all friends, family, followers, readers, and also the much-appreciated owners of my work. (Many people have kindly sent me  photos of my work in its new home, and I cherish these.) New art is made and  in the pipeline – see above.

Owing  to various crises in the Wolf household I’m behindhand with the greetings, but here’s a belated link to the Christmas Wolf at the Door/Jill Tattersall newsletter. However, now the bogeyman has led off all the naughty children to heaven knows where,  it’s time to think ahead and plan.

procession of children with the bogeymen

Bogeyman leading naughty children off to their fate (thanks to the Public Domain review and RA Littlewood)

Brian Eno has written a thoughtful and positive  article  suggesting that 2016 marked the bottom of a (post-Thatcher) trough. This makes sense to me; the decline has accompanied my working life.  So,  just maybe, 2017 will mark the beginnings of beneficial change.  As an operating philosophy, I’m going along with that.  We need to  be constructive, collaborative and optimistic for the future’s sake.

Ok, we’re enslaved by our screens and phones, but we’re also revolting against our Kindles.  We long for something tactile, something we can feel and touch and smell and feast our eyes on. Art and craft in all their forms.  Look how beatiful and innovative book design has recently become.  What a pleasure to pick up one of these supposedly endangered species!

Books with beautiful covers

Some Christmas presents – lucky me

On a personal note, just befor Christmas I showed work for the first time at the exquisite Amanda Aldous Gallery near Basingstoke.  We delivered paintings travelling through a mysterious, misty landscape to a beautiful light-filled barn in Tunworth.

AAF art gallery near Basingstole

Amanda Aldous Fine Art Gallery

It felt like an allegory!  We also ate the delicious local Camembert-like cheese, baked, and visited the restored George and Mary Watts Artist Village nearby –  fascinating and strongly recommended.  If you ever wonder how much volunteers can achieve, here’s your answer.

I have just done  the basic entry for 2017 May Artists’ Open House – i.e. paid the dosh – so now I’m committed. (I always think, never again….)  But then, I meet so many wonderful visitors, exchange all sorts of unlikely and useful information, work alongside lovely colleagues –  and usually shift a fair number of paintings. Which has to be good, or we’d have no room to sit down in the house.

night sky, moon and cloud

What’s ahead for us?

More about concrete plans in newsletters to come. Meantime, warmest greetings to all.

 

1066, Night Skies and the Battle of Hastings.

detail from large Night Sky 1066 painting

Night Sky (detail)

1066 and all that

The last few weeks have been dominated by preparations  for my  exhibition in the Sussex town of Battle which opened yesterday.  It’s not called Battle for nothing. If you don’t already know you soon will: Friday marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 – the one date every English person knows. (Or do they, still?)

The centrepiece is the largest painting  and has borders inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry.  You can see Halley’s Comet in the top left-hand corner.

Night Sky, Oct 14th 1066

Night Sky, Oct 14th 1066

The exhibition

…is called ‘Reading the Heavens: Night Sky, October 14th 1066’.  It’s composed entirely of night skies.  The centrepiece, above, shows what William and Harold and everyone else would have seen if they’d gazed up into the sky around then.  I’d better avoid tasteless jokes  on the lines that Harold must have looked up or he wouldn’t have got an arrow in his eye -it’s a long time ago  and it isn’t even certain he did.

 

detail from 1066 painting

Halley’s Comet (detail)

Stargazing

From earliest times people have gazed up into the stars  What does it all mean? Where do we belong in that immensity?  Around Easter in 1066 Halley’s Comet appeared in the sky.  It’s even shown in the Bayeux Tapestry.  People marvelled at it and what it might portend. What did both sides feel on the eve of the struggle? What were the omens? How much were they like us?

Why this subject?

Before I was an artist I taught medieval French language and literature.  After the Conquest, William ravaged the North and gave  the English nobility a rough time. French became the language of the wealthy, educated and powerful in England.   Many  early ‘French’ poems and stories were actually written in England.  And the Bayeux tapestry – which tells the story of the Conquest from William’s point of view of course – was probably made in England. My interest in the events of 1066 and the Bayeux Tapestry goes back a long way.

Night sky in late winter

detail from large painting

Night Sky (detail)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Sky, Aquarius

 

Astronomy and astrology only parted company recently. 

Newton took an intense interest in astrology and alchemy. Early Arabic and western astronomers gave poetic names to the constellations.  Dragon, lynx, scorpion, bear, lion, bull…Quite a few of my paintings take particular dates or events and show  the constellations and stars at that moment.  Roughly.  (It’s art, not science!)  Some of them use more artistic licence than others.

the paintings

Exhibition pictures

visitors at the show

The Town Crier at the exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a lovely piece about the painting and my work  in the current edition of Sussex Life:

1066 Sussex Life article

Here are some tiny night sky paintings on reclaimed cedar blocks made specially for the exhibition.

2016-10-06-16-51-14 2016-10-06-16-49-50

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Moon, Flight of Birds                                           Black Moon

small night sky painting

 Eclipse

small night sky painting

Ring Around the Moon

Vote for Murmurations: my painting is in a national art Public Vote

Starlings in flight near Brighton Pier

Murmuration, Before the Storm

An unusually quick update.  I realise I hadn’t even uploaded this new painting to my website gallery although it’s visible hanging in the sitting-room on the header picture showing our Open House in May

This painting is actually in Lincoln at the lovely Harding House Gallery on Steep Hill.  (Which is indeed very very steep.)  However it’s shortly coming south because it’s been shortlisted for the National Open Art Competition.   Friends and readers of my blog and Facebook postings know I have mixed feelings about entering these competitions. It costs in time and money and it ties up work, sometimes for months. Especially as you want to show your newest and best, But this is one I really rate, and I haven’t succeeded before.


2016-05-09 10.56.55

Two Murmuration paintings at Wolf at the Door

Two Murmurations

 

 

 

 

 

Detail, Murmuration, Before the Storm

 

 

I love watching the endless sweeping and swirling of the starlings as they move in and out of complex geometrical  formations.  Brighton Pier, near where I live, is one place to see them. I have just sold an earlier ‘Murmuration’ (which you can see on the right-hand picture above) which used some decriptive jottings from Coleridge’s diary.  There’s even a wonderful Facebook page where people post their own photos and videos of the birds.

The painting is of a particular moment when there was a storm brewing and it felt as if the air was charged and something was going to happen.  There was a sulphurous tinge to the sea – I used a yellow underpainting among the many washes.

 

work in progress

Washes drying

painting detail

Close up of washes in early stages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you do like the painting I’d be very pleased if you’d vote for it here on the NOA website:

Murmurations Vote

in the  unlikely event it wins it’ll save it going through the next stage of selections.  Here it is  as it looks on the wall.

Paintings by jill at Artists' Open House 2016

Wolf at the door 2016

Art and Gardens, travel and catch-up.

 

flower and plant paintings by Jill Tattersall

Jill’s botanical paintings at ‘Art and Gardens’ July 2016

Where has the time gone?

More than a month has gone since the last post.  Such a busy month.  Taking down and returning art and sculpture after five weeks of Artists’ Open House (five weeks is TOO long).  A brief week in, reputedly, the hottest spot in Europe – which was itself experiencing a heatwave. Andalucia, so beautiful,  so so cripplingly hot for early  June. Then straight into organising our weekend event, Art and Gardens, here at the Wolf at the Door.

Art and Gardens

This happened on 16th/17th July.  Art indoors and out.  Above you can see my ‘Botanica’ series and on the left the beautiful plant-and-garden-based scrolls by Rea Stavropoulos. (Rea’s own exhibition, based on the art of Helen Allingham, is currently on at Burgh House, Hampstead.)

We wondered if we’d get many visitors as it was an unofficial happening, but it was well attended, the weather was beautiful and everyone really enjoyed themselves, including the participants.  Idyllic, really – which is what makes it all worth doing.  Though each time I think, never again…such a lot of work to organise.

 

Wolf at the Door garden

summer garden colour

Copper Seedheads

Si Uwins sculptures: Seedheads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To do or not to do?

It’s the eternal dilemma. How much time to spend actually making work:  painting and looking and thinking and planning?  How much time for publicity, that ever-proliferating demand on our efforts ? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogging…let alone press-releases, approaching galleries, seeking out exhibitions and opportunities, a never-ending list? Workshops and talks?…not to mention updating the website…

white bird cane-toppers

White birds by Terri floating above nasturtiums

garden path with blue door

Down the garden path

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extra events

How much time to give to purely voluntary events like ‘Art and Gardens’ – collaborative and community-orientated,  intended to bring pleasure to all and opportunities for the artists? Very time-and energy-consuming, though.   Is it a luxury?  Should I do any more,  I ask?  Do I spread myself too thinly?  Writers have agents (though some fear they’re a dying breed); few artists have the benefit of a firm but kindly (we hope) external eye to comment and guide.

Jestergrass by Si Uwins

Sculptures  by Si Uwins and Andrew Jones

Seascapes in Lincoln

I omitted to say that straight after Art and Gardens I promptly set off with eight paintings for an exhibition in  Lincoln, where I had my first sizeable solo show way back in 2003.  Just in case you live or are going anywhere near there, the exhibition is at Harding House Gallery in Steep Hill, thus named for a purpose! – let’s not detail the difficulties of delivering large pictures up a near-precipice in another heat-wave!  On till 27th August, called I must go down to the Sea Again, curated by Soo Durham. No pics as yet.

There’s quite a lot in the pipeline, including some more far-flung locations for shows so I’ll try my best to post again soon. If you’d like to see our tallest kinetic art exhibit, click on Andrew Jones’s weather-vane video below!

Andrew’s weather-vane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling art: stories, discoveries and coincidences.

Open Studio 2016

The Wolf at the Door

The five weeks of Artists’ Open House have come and gone.  Warm thanks to everyone who visited us.   Some people came several times! Being realists, we do put this down not just to the exquisite art but also to Siobhan’s marvellous cakes and delicacies.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by all that terrific art for a month.

Wood carvings by Si Uwins

Wood carvings by Si Uwins

Much of it has gone to new,  appreciative homes.  A wonderful stone carving, Big Fish by Penny May, has been sold (by appointment) to the the Queen’s Own Fishmonger.

'Big Fish' by Penny May

‘Big Fish’ by Penny May

Thirteen of my own paintings are off to new homes.  It’s really not just about the money, though we all have to live.  Selling paintings is an essential part of liberating your mind to make new work.  And of course it’s a massive vote of confidence.  Almost all of us have to work hard for our money and I really appreciate someone being willing and keen to buy my work.

labels with red dots

Red dots for Jill

The other main pleasure is the fascinating conversations.  The most extraordinary coincidences,  discoveries,  exchanges of information, offers of help  and even generous gifts …truly inspiring and heart-warming.

Visitors returning for their third visit this year brought me some amazing vintage Japanese papers, and also a beautiful jacket dyed with indigo. By coincidence the visitor’s  mother taught music at the girls’ school in London where I was sent after we returned from Africa  – and hated it as much as I did. And she herself had worked at Cornelissens, the wonderful old-fashioned art shop I used to haunt at that time – and where I’d just bought some lapis lazuli which you can see here in a pot on the paper.

Vintage blue Japanese paper - and lapis lazuli.

Vintage blue Japanese paper – and lapis lazuli.

Then there was the gallerist from Lincoln who came looking for seascapes, not realising our paths had crossed long ago  She was also the person appointed to rescue the Magna Carta art display in Lincoln after the steering group I’d been invited to join collapsed for reasons I was never told.  (Alas  we were never put in touch.)  I made the painting anyway, and now at last she’s seen it here: Night Sky June 19th 1215.

Magna Carta: Night Sky June 15th, 1215

Magna Carta: Night Sky June 19th, 1215

Three years ago I sold a painting (called ‘Tremor’)  to a man who planned to take it back to Peru. Naturally he was interested in earthquakes.  This lovely and very determined guy has just visited again and told me what happened next….

The painting was scanned. It was swabbed. A hole was drilled in the back as it went from airport to airport. At every stage it was first refused.  Finally it got to S. America but was too big to go through the luggage gauge and had to travel with the stewardesses. On the last lap it practically impounded when… the buyer revealed he was British. And he was waved through. Here’s  the piece he went through all that for – and now it’s  lived through an earthquake.

'Tremor', by Jill

‘Tremor’, by Jill

What looked like a quiet year is turning eventful.  Various interesting prospects have arisen.  Events here at the Wolf at the Door in Hove.  Exhibitions  in Lincoln, in Dorset, in Battle and (I hope), Hastings.  Next year Dieppe, Ely, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Umbria – and who knows where else?

Visitors

Visitors to the Wolf at the Door

 

Night Skies, bright days and art galore

Jill's work in the sitting-room

Jill’s work in the sitting-room

The Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open House is in full swing and The Wolf at the Door has been welcoming visitors.   There’s far more of my own work on display than usual – not an attack of megalomania but the result of last-minute changes.

Through extremes of weather, scorching and stormy, Andrew Jones’s mesmerising kinetic sculpures have continues to twirl, quiver, rotate and drift, to universal delight.

sculptures moving in the wind

Andrew’s kinetic sculpture

New glass by Joe Campoli

New glass by Joe Campoli

Joe Campoli’s glass has sparkled and Linda Calvert’s translucent lamps have glowed alluringly, whether in the sunshine or the gloom.

Bone china lamps by Linda Calvert

Bone china lamps by Linda Calvert

Penny May has sold a very Big Fish carved in Zimbabwean stone to Her Majesty’s official Fishmonger.  (Not to mention Prince Charles.)  We can be sure it’ll be appreciated.

Big Fish and the Queen's Fishmonger

Big Fish and the Queen’s Fishmonger

Lisa Cirenza, while preparing for a solo exhibition in Covent Garden which begins next week, has managed to print and finish and frame some of her experimental, meticulously-prepared digital work.  Just watch out if you’re travelling on the Underground and see the woman opposite making covert sketches on her i-pad!

digital print of hand-finished i-pad sketch

‘Taint Easy Bein’ Green’ by Lisa Cirenza

I also have my new mega-canvas made to commemorate the Battle of Hastings, with borders inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry.  One of my Night Sky series – there are five or six on show here and they’ve been attracting a lot of comment. (Favourable, I add hastily!)  You can see the image below in Philippa Hammond’s lovely and informative blog on the Open Houses:

http://www.artistsopenhouses.co.uk/brighton-and-hove-2016/aoh-2016-first-weekend/

Tattersallq-156x300 Philippa blog

 

We’ve tried to create light and space and I’m pleased with how all the art looks hung in this way.  Colour rules!  Upstairs we have natural materials, stone, earth pigments – slap up against cutting-edge digital technology.  And it works!

Work by Penny and Jill in the upstairs gallery

Work by Penny and Jill in the upstairs gallery

Elsewhere we have hot-coloured paintings,  vivid digital portraits and luminous glass creating splashes of colour set against quiet sea and sky tones  and glowing lamps.

Quite a few red dots appeared on the first weekend and have continued, though last Sunday was quiet owing to the blazing sunshine and the attractions of the beach which was packed.  We have three more weekends to go and some wonderful work to show, so do please come and also tell others about it.  Best show yet.  In my view.

Artists’ Open House looms: painting, tidying, organising….

Trees at Speed (pair)

Trees at Speed (pair)

A artist’s life is nothing if not varied. Since I last posted here  I’ve painted a surfboard for charity; I’ve submitted a design for a Raymond-Briggs-inspired Snowdog for Martlets (Snowdogs by the Sea).

I’ve been doing a commission: a Night Sky painting for a very special person and date.  I’ve also finished Night Sky October 14th 1066, so there’s been a lot of silver leaf about (and even a touch of gold for Halley’s Comet in the latter).

Preparing to use silver leaf

Preparing to use silver leaf

Unfortunately I often have unwanted help with this very tricky job.

The cat gets in on the act

The cat gets in on the act

I’ve entered a couple of  Open Art competitions. I do hesitate about these; they cost time and money and are a total lottery.  A painting that doesn’t get selected for one might get a prize in another.   However in the south-east where I now live  there are thousands of artists and not so many galleries so it’s probably a gamble worth taking. Here’s a spring-like piece painted, for once, on board.

A field in Slovenia seen from a distance

Field Far Away

I’ve been painting; a few entirely new pieces, but mainly I’ve been trying to resolve and finish started work that has been put on one side through interruptions or lack of inspiration.  The thing just won’t work!  Or it’s somehow not ready to progress.   I shy away from getting to grips with these ‘preloved’ pieces but it’s a must.  It’s so easy just to chuck stuff out.  Sometimes you have to.  But experience shows that if you give up too easily, some of your best work would never see the light of day.  There has to be some benefit to growing older!

At the top of this post are a pair of pieces that I’ve finally finished and put on Artfinder.  (Currently it’s the only way to buy my work online though I intend to change this .)

Here are the links:

<iframe src=“http://www.artfinder.com/marketing/artwork/trees-at-speed-1/?scheme=dark&user_id=386705&size=large” width=”450px” height=”565px”></iframe>
<iframe src=“http://www.artfinder.com/marketing/artwork/trees-at-speed-2/?scheme=dark&user_id=386705&size=large” width=”450px” height=”549px”></iframe>

This pair of  mixed media paintings are all about speed – what do you see when you look at trees from a car as they flash past?  So it’s ironic that through interruptions I lost momentum (and  confidence) while painting them.  I had to put them on one side for a couple of months.  Then suddenly one day I could see that they were ‘right’ after all and managed to finish them quite fast.  I often think it’s a matter of how much sleep I’ve had!

I’ve  been to the Affordable Art Fair, though as usual feedback re sales is slow.  I’ve put out a Wolf at the Door newsletter – and, help. it’s nearly time for the next one,  Here’s the link if you’d like to know more about what’s been going on in the Jill/Wolf studio: Wolf newsletter

What has taken up lots of time behind the scenes is the slow build-up to Brighton and Hove  Artists’ Open House which, this year, runs for five weekends from the end of April.   Getting the artists together (major last-minute changes this year), briefing them,  preparing and proofing entries for the printed brochure and also  Hove Arts. The house has had a lick of paint. The garden has been given a spring-time tidy.

Putting up the exhibition panels.

Putting up the exhibition panels.

And now the real work starts.  Finishing, framing and labelling my own work.  Tidying the house.  Particularly my studio! Putting up the exhibition panels (above).  Preparing publicity and  sorting dates.  Organising, organising…not my favourite.  More soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So where am I at? Projects, plans and night skies.

2016-02-12 13.39.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, my studio is still a shambles.  So what’s new?  Nothing, but I sort of feel I can’t work in there till I’ve tidied it up.  (Though as soon as it’s tidy I’ll create another mess.)  So I keep removing work and doing it elsewhere.  The kitchen, for the light and space.  The garden, where I can spatter the paving-stones without major drama.  Anywhere, really.  It’s not just painting; it’s finishing, maybe spraying with fixative, framing….

I’ve been on two courses about the business/practical side of art since my last post.  Mind you, I haven’t done much of the homework yet, but at least I know what it  ought to be.  I’ll write about these in a themed blog soon.

I have also been painting.  Two strands.  One is the frustrating one of trying to make some unfinished pieces work, ones which have been abandoned for a while.  Mostly they were on one side because I wasn’t sure how to resolve them; sometimes it’s just because I’ve been interrupted for too long and lost the thread.  Just life, in fact.  They lose momentum, I lose confidence.

But I have finished some work.  Here are one or two pieces, rather blue; some hot colours in my next post:

I Am the Shaper

I Am the Shaper

 

Cold colours (Gale Warning, Murmuration)

Cold colours (Gale Warning, Murmuration)

 

 

 

 

The other strand, much more exciting, is tackling a trio of large canvases.   All night skies on different dates.   One is a commission, one is a dry run, and one is destined for the 1066 anniversary celebrations later this year.  950 years since the Battle of Hastings!  As I was a medievalist before I was an artist this is really fascinating to me. So, to follow last year’s  painting of the night sky when Magna Carta was sealed, 800 years ago, I thought I’d have a go at October 14th, 1066.

Night Skies

Night Skies

People must always have looked up into the night sky, wondered what portents it held for them, and felt their own insignificance.   I  was also inspiredby the wondrous Bayeux Tapestry (woven soon after the Conquest), with its seamless narrative of ships and horses and archers and knights and dragons and banquets and buildings and mutilated limbs,  It has a running visual and written commentary.  In the border one section shows Halley’s Comet as it appeared in April of that year.  People wondered at it – what it could portend for the country and for them?  They feared the worst.  As people do.

first sketches for border

First sketches for the border

2016-02-28 15.11.21

Putting gold leaf on Halley’s Comet

All this in a canvas nearly as tall as me – and (thankfull) much wider. The sky, with the correct(-ish) alignment of planets and stars, and  sumptuous cobalt and ultramarine and Prussian blues – plus touches of silver leaf –  and cartoon-like borders inspired by the Tapestry. I’ve never done anything like this before.

 

During my exhibition in Battle last year I secured support for the project from the director of the Battle Festival, which takes place in October and is always good,  but this year will be fantastic (Battle Festival).  My painting will be part of an astronomy exhibition.

Hastings has its own festival in September and that too is going to be a very special event : I’m still looking for the right display place(s) there for my painting . Root 1066 International Festival of Contemporary Arts.

Battle Abbey

                                   Battle Abbey

 

Sunset over Hastings

                              Sunset over Hastings

People have been very helpful and I hope it will  be on show during both events.  More in due course.  It’s been a good excuse to visit those two towns, each lovely in a different way.  Battle has its wonderful Abbey, and Hastings the most spectacular views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also chanced on Vanessa Marr’s latest duster show, in the window of the enticing Made in Hastings shop.  Her Women and Domesticity project is off next to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill – well done, Vanessa!: duster project.  You might recognise my  own Ironing is Pants and Judith Berrill’s It’s So Much Fun with a Feather Duster!  I have also decorated a surfboard for a charity auction….

Dusters in Hastings

Dusters in Hastings

Finally, here’s the link to my latest Wolf at the Door newsletter:  More here: The Wolf sniffs some spring air.