Thursday, 31 July 2008

Sharron Coffin

Somehow or other I ended up on the New England Monotype Guild's website recently and I really liked this image by an artist called Sharon Coffin.

I think it is for the nature of the image itself as well as the sparcity in the sense that it didn't really have an edge. I had to impose that be adding a visual thin black frame.

The other monotype of Sharron's, that I quite was/is the one here with the darker palette of blues. I found the initial image in the Guild's 20th Anniversary exhibition which is online at their website. The blue image I located at Sharon's own website.

You can check out more of her work at her website

There was one other image which I found to be really calming, relaxing and just very visually appealing was that of a face and a turtle perhaps(?) underwater. Its by an artist called Linda Horvitz Post. More of her work can be seen on her Saatchi website portfolio

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Legs Akimbo...........................

It's been a while since I posted as to how things have been. Well I am still using a crutch to get around. I have of course tried from time to time, to do a stretch of distance without it to see how I am and it's just completely impossible for me to 'walk' without it. I kind of hobble, with my left leg jutting out towards the left and as if one leg is shorter than the other. Its an awful site and it feels painful in a way thats difficult to describe. My left leg is gone numb in the foot area (as if it is dead) and the same goes for the front part of my lower leg, all the way down.

The pain is still there as well but not to the extreme levels as in up to about even three weeks ago. I have fallen twice here in the house whilst on my crutches and although the first one was quite bad, in that I feel it set me back a couple of weeks and brought on my pain in the left side again, the second fall was not so bad because I was able to put my hands out to save myself. There now, you have the full grotty details. Sometimes wonder who I am talking to but at the same time its OK as I am quite comfortable in talking to myself.
Still got the lower back pain but the nerve going up the full length of the left leg seems to be taking a back seat for the time being, thank gawd!! touch wood ( I am afraid I actually have to, admit that I do that when stuff really matters to me!!)

I got the images off to Printmaking online OK, as usual, it took far longer than I imagined and of course I had to do it mega perfectly. Would you believe it though they managed despite my meticulously organized information, to get the details wrong on one of my images. So thats another thing that I need to do.

Friday, 11 July 2008

I can't remember where or how I came across this printmaker artists work but I liked its anatomically grotesque edge which at the same time is extremely beautiful.

Amber Dye (her real name) hails from Seattle, WA, by way of Philadelphia and South

She makes her etchings at the
printmaking studio in the Sevshoon arts centre.

Amber completed her BFA in printmaking and drawing from the University of Central Florida in 1996.
The print featured here is from a series of prints that are inspired by medical and anatomical illustrations, several books on medical oddities, and the idea of constructing body parts/objects that are physically impossible. To see more of her extraordinary work go to her album on flickr

Monday, 7 July 2008

Animals - our relationship to them

Just thought I'd post this on here. Its an image from absolutely ages ago that I still like. It was unusual for me in that I used "tippex" onto a photo I came across in a newspaper and at a much later date stuck it onto a water colour sheet.

It is something to do with our relationship with animals and the fact that we give different status to different species as in e.g., cat (I have two cats whom I am very fond of and who are an everyday part of my life) cow ...I eat minced beef, which is the result of those animals being reared to be killed and eaten. Then theres sheep .... I once was on a printmaking residency in Cumbria. The place was called Lowick Print Workshop.

I had my accommodation in a caravan which was located in a field which had sheep and cattle grazing in it.

That really made me think about the issue of eating animals and the way that us humans are with animals.
That issue was kind of in my mind when I made another piece called "Sticks and Stones"
its a hand coloured collagraph.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

"Sorry" by Gail Jones a novel I read recently

This shows the front cover of the most recent novel that I have read. In itself, it’s somewhat of an event, as I think the last one previous to that, which I read, was “The Lovely Bones” which must have been about two years ago now. I seem to recall that my lovely friend Linda Haslam, gave me that and another book which I " relation to my own) have moved over from England, because of her father's employment at a local university. Part of what I found particularly of interest was the way that she and her chum Billy ( a deaf mute) terminology of that era, related to the "black fellas" (as they referred to themselves i.e., the indigenous Australians).
The so called 'grown ups' just perceived these people as labor for their sheep farms or whatever and then proceeded to exploit them whenever it suited them.
If I thought that my own mother was 'odd' then Perdita's mum was in another category altogether. Going around the place quoting from Shalespeare when it probably would have been more appropriate to say it from the heart or something along those lines.

Their whole house was made up of columns and stacks of books, this being the only thing that they had had shipped over from the UK when they moved to Oz. Perdita loved books and it provided another realm where she could 'virtually' find many of those things that she longed for.
The family employed a home help in the form of an aboriginal girl who was only a few years older than P., and they became very close.

Here are a couple of "proper reviews" which are more succinct than my efforts.

firstly an incredibly short one by Rob Cawston;

"Novelist and academic Gail Jones' latest book, simply entitled "Sorry", is a poetic exploration of childhood, language and retelling, and a critique of the politics of apology in modern-day Australia."

then a fuller and very informative review by Maya Jaggi, from the Guardian Newspaper

Saturday May 26, 2007
The Guardian

Sorry by Gail Jones

Sorry by Gail Jones, published by Harvill Secker.

Gail Jones's fourth novel invokes Australia's "stolen generation" - the many thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children wrested from their families for decades until the 1960s in the name of forcible assimilation. This historical injustice was the subject of a national inquiry in 1997, and the following year an annual National Sorry Day (sometimes called a Day of Healing for All Australians) was instituted - albeit without the blessing of the prime minister, John Howard.

Though the novel is informed by this recent history, Jones' approach to it is oblique. Set in Western Australia in the 1930s and 40s, Sorry is narrated by Perdita Keene, the daughter of English immigrants, looking back to her early childhood before and during the second world war. Her father, Nicholas, carrying shrapnel in his back from the previous war, was an embittered anthropologist stationed on a scrub land cattle station to do field work in aid of "governance of the natives", while her mother, Stella, sought ever more crazed refuge in Shakespeare.

Perdita's preferred family are Billy, a deaf-mute boy with "upstanding ginger hair and stippled greenish skin", and Mary, a literate Aboriginal ("half-caste") teenager drafted in from a convent to care for her during Stella's bouts at a lunatic asylum. When Nicholas is stabbed to death, and Mary confesses and is taken away, Perdita develops a hole in her memory and a stutter whose eventual cure lies in remembering the true circumstances of her father's killing.

While Mary's traumatic history is gradually revealed, the themes of separation and trauma, the haunting of memory and forgetting, language and speechlessness, are explored at one remove, through the parallel history of Perdita. Her narrative shifts from first to third person as she trawls her past, recovering her fluency with the help of the Russian Dr Oblov, and wondering "why it was she actually forgot. And why she must now remember her forgetting."

Her emotionally distant family, sure of its own superiority, is implicitly contrasted with the warmth of the Aboriginal communities from which children are stolen. It is from her Aboriginal wet nurse that Perdita learns "what it is like to lie against a breast, to sense skin as a gift, to feel the throb of a low pulse at the base of the neck, to listen, in intimate and sweet propinquity, to air entering and leaving a resting body". Her stuttering, when words would "roll in my head, like mist, like water, then emerge blurted and plosive, like something unstoppered", is partly about the loss of her wet nurse's language.

The injustice of Mary's imprisonment suggests - perhaps too explicitly - the metaphorical freight that the story is intended to bear. Visiting Mary, Perdita "carried the burden of such vast wrongdoing ... But although it was offered, there was no atonement. There was no reparation ... She should have said 'sorry'." Her guilt contrasts with the complacency of Perdita's mother, who withholds the testimony that would free Mary on the grounds that "What's done cannot be undone."

Jones's writing can be fluid and memorable, though the influence of Toni Morrison is pervasive from the opening page ("This is a story that can only be told in a whisper"). The persistent quotation of chunks of Shakespeare, alongside allusions to Heart of Darkness and Rebecca, proves an irritating device.

More engaging are the grounded descriptions, of Billy with his flapping hands "beating at his confusion", or the locals' scorn for the "pommy" Nicholas, a "fraud and a bloody no-hoper ... with his mad-crazy missus and his gone-feral kiddie". There are welcome, though sparse, depictions of small-town Broome, with its corrugated-iron shacks lining red gravel roads, its Japanese and Malay pearl divers and Aboriginal cattle ranchers. Just as Perdita's story is punctuated by turning points in the war, so her memory loss is counterpointed by gaps in official history, such as the Japanese bombardment of Dutch refugee ships in Broome in 1942 - another atrocity that people elected to forget.

In the acknowledgments, Jones recognizes that "Aboriginal Australians are the traditional custodians of the land about which I write", adding: "This text is written in the hope that further native title grants will be offered in the spirit of reconciliation." Though the sentiment may be laudable, it highlights a palpable design and self-consciousness that mar some of the writing. Jones - whose novels Sixty Lights (2004) and Dreams of Speaking (2006) were long listed for the Booker and Orange prizes respectively - teaches at the University of Western Australia, and the influence of theory is occasionally obtrusive. Yet when characters and events are left to speak for themselves the story proves powerful and poignant.


Big Blue Sky, Losing and Remembering

YIKES!!!.........It's 5th July and I am amazed at how fast the time is going.!! What you have to appreciate is that I am an extremely ancient being and time goes faster faster and speedier as you go through it.

Actually I do remember when I was a child in Ireland how the summer holidays from school went incredibly slow and I just was amazed at how long a stretch of time those 12 weeks or so seemed. I used to gaze up at the sky on the green outside our house and somehow felt that that big blue sky, was in someway, connected to this sense of a grand expanse of time.

Nearly finished writing up a new artists statement for Printmaking online dot co dot UK, (they get stranger and stranger but I find it hard to resist being a little sardonic) who are 'taking me on" as one of their online artist/printmakers. The site particularly appealed to me because of what it's name implies i.e., the creative process of printmaking.

I had to collate images that I have here, in my print studio, available for sale.
I think it's six that they like to have available for sale, by each artist.

Anyway so that's when I realized that many of the lovelier ones, are out on exhibition.
In the process of assessing my current 'stock' as it were, I became aware, that, of the original four jpgs, I sent them to see if they were interested, I had actually sold one of them.
I would like to do another version of it, in any event, as I am very fond of it. This is the one I am referring to.

On another but related note - I also found that I could not locate my most recently updated CV. on my laptop This would have been done I would guess about last November, December. Thus I began to search through my more recent CD's and DVD's and amazingly I wasn't able to locate ANY CV folders which is pretty surprising as its the kind of thing that I usually don't ever have trouble getting hold of . Bah!!.

Anyway so I have been looking myself up on Google to see if I can 'jig' my memory as to projects that I have participated in and even to locate a CV somewhere. Trouble is it won't be that updated. It's something to build on at least.

Thank Goodness for the internet. I really mean that in so many ways and on so many levels.
We are a very fortunate generation, indeed, to have this at our fingertips.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Putting up with Limitations - aint easy !

Gee whizz, did you ever start typing in your blog entry and compose about three sentences only to realize that you had not placed the cursor in the box well - that's what I just did right now argh !!

Its July the first already and not much has been done on my part lately in relation to my art making but then I suppose you could say that I have been ill. And yet it doesn't seem quite like that to me as mainly it's just that my ability to stand and walk to any extent has been taken away from me. Gawd only knows where they put these things?!

I have been in loads of pain thats true and unfortunately it continues. Morning time continues to be a right fiasco as previously noted and that's despite the very good medication that my GP prescribed to help with this. I have to take it the minute I wake up and then wait for about an hour. If I attempt to move before that then it's a case of the argh!!......oouu!!...ouch.... oh my gawd!!!.... etc etc and I have to try to regain a position of least pain while I let the blasted peg (sorry leg) settle its nerves down again.

I just wanted to get some kind of an entry in for today so that theres some account as to my existence. C. has been wonderful to me throughout this wretched business - he really has.
It's just as well that the European Football tournament was on TV of late followed by the present Wimbledon Tennis tournament -- which helps when I am having to have a lye down on the sofa otherwise I would probably listen to the radio. I am a real radio buff - I mainly listen to radio 4 and Radio Scotland. Also the World service.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

New Artists Books Community - Join in !!

Artbooks at ning dot com, is an international online forum for artists, curators, librarians, students and researchers interested in artists' books and the book arts.
Lets create an online social network for creators of artists' books, curators, librarians, researchers, bookbinders, zine-makers and students who want to discover more about artists books and related topics.
Please do come along and participate.