Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Watts Gallery at Compton

I had never heard of George and Mary Watts but, as they were an artistic couple who had lived nearby (during Victorian times) and established a craft village, I thought I ought to find out a little about them and what they did.

Image result for george and mary watts

Anyway, husband and I became 'friends of the gallery' for a year to check out the exhibitions and have paid a couple of visits there now. This is a taster of what we found...

A building which, on the outside looks quite colourless and unprepossessing and low but on the inside...

is a riot of colour and archway, quality and grandeur

It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions and these are part of the permanent ones. As he was an eminent Victorian painter, many of his works are heavy and full of symbolism and death...

but some are have such a detail and lightness that its fascinating to think paint can be made to do that!

It was certainly an unexpected place (quality gift shop and VERY enthusiastic and kind staff - all volunteers too!) .

The sculpture gallery contains some absolutely HUGE pieces...

and the people they knew sounds like a who's who of the Victorian era.

For a sense of scale on this one, the picture on the wall beside the sculpture is eye height (Tennyson contemplating a flower in his hand as his dog waits).

So far that's mostly his work, next time some of hers.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Henry Moore's Elephant Skull!

I had no idea Henry Moore owned an Elephant skull and had never thought about how truly massive one would have to be... but it was in the exhibition at the Lightbox in Woking, along with Moore's own drawings of it.

So here it is, front, back, sides and close up

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Henry Moore- I didn't know that's how he did it!

All I really knew about Henry Moore is that his sculptures are huge, flowing, made of various materials and often have holes.

Woking's Lightbox has a Henry Moore exhibition on at the moment so I went with my husband, who was very keen to see it.

I discovered that some of his statues are tiny - like this one at only about 6 inches long,

That some are based on found objects like this bird's skull that reminded him of the torso of a figure

and that sometimes he collected interesting bits of stone and combined them together, like these, to make the inspiration for his flowing figures.

He also drew a lot to study form and proportion

So, although I wasn't particularly interested before I went, I found it fascinating when I was there.

And have you seen the elephant skull he owned? It'll be in the next blog.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Job Advice

Here's a little snippet of advice if you are looking for a job, gleaned from a year 4 child...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Visiting an Ice Bar

We'd seen them on TV, but didn't know they did an ice bar in London! 

This was another feature of the Chinese Lantern Festival in Chiswick (see the last weeks' blogs on the lanterns). If you book tickets online, you can book a visit to the ice bar at the same time.

It was in a refrigerated unit, with metal floor and walls lined with ice bricks...

There was a throne with a furry seat cover, so that warm bottoms didn't cement themselves on or melt a dent...

And ice sculptures of a bear looking up at the sky and a New Year Cockerel

There was also a bar made from ice and strong warming drinks served in hollow ice cubes

A very welcoming place (once you have donned a thermal coat and gloves from the rack outside and been sealed in).

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Lantern Sculptures

Of course they were all lantern sculptures really- wire and fabric twisted and stretched into fabulous shapes and then lit from within- but these are less easily classified into particular themes, so I have posted them as sculptures and added any pics I have left to show you.

Heads in profile (that made me feel they should be part of a board game or maybe an illustration in a psychology magazine).

A plant of some kind

And several fantastical, Alice-in Wonderland-type toadstools... boy I want to make those (though obviously no to that scale)!

Next blog is definitely the last of the lanterns... but I can't leave them without showing you the lantern children in a giant bowl of noodles.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Cute Little Girl Doll Lanterns

I think these may be nearly the last of the Lantern pics.
Here, as promised a few days ago, are the Cute little Girl doll lanterns (although some have attitude and one may be a man/ demon??).

In the tent where you could buy souvenirs, they sold a plastic doll figure with a hood, dressed in similar outfit to these and, when you lowered the hood and raised it again, it had changed its face to one of these, like the many mask changes the performer does in the Chinese State Circus.

That reminds me, I must show you what I bought as souvenirs sometime... one of which I intend to cut up and craft with but I'm not quite sure how yet.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Religious Lanterns

Some of the lanterns in the Chiswick Festival depicted scenes that were religious or spiritual in nature and these are some of those

And there was the magnificent gateway into the Chinese New Year -

Each archway richly lit so that together they formed a kind of stage as you approached them, but a tunnel as you passed through them.

And in their midst, the Year of the Cockerel! 

At the end of the archway there was a big heavy brick building (totally British-institution-like) and the whole of the gateway was reflected in its ancient glass windows, distorted and timey-wimey...

Next time... the totally cutesie little girl dolls.