I have just ordered some more business cards and postcards from my favourite on line printer, MOO.com. I’ve got a couple of exhibitions coming up and if other people are like me, I like to have a record of what I enjoyed viewing, so I can follow blogs, websites, and dream of owning a piece of work… By handing out cards, I can share my work with more people and look forward to keeping in contact with those who like what I do. There’s nothing better than looking at cards that are up on the wall, while I work, and recollect the different places I’ve been and the people I’ve met.
I found my way to my first mindfulness session today. Studying a raisin wasn’t too challenging as to me it was as if I was exploring a map, the landing of Philae on Comet 67P (as a wanabe astronomer at the age of seven, I am still overwhelmed and fascinated by what’s going on out there… next life perhaps..?) or had created a very lumpy texture in acrylic medium that then was filled with drippings of slightly iridescent paint. I could easily take myself for a walk in this weird landscape. Then proceeded to snore to myself (even though I was awake- how does that work?) in the exercise we did at the end… I think it’s going to be a good course, will help me focus on the things that matter and will make every day life more bearable.
Dropping in on Music Dynamics, the music shop in Stroud, hunting for music for my piano students, and wanting to order some music for the community choir, I had a lovely chat with Gabriel about the joys of opera (he’s a Handel man) and he recommended I check out Rene Pape, the German Bass, from Dresden.
Just listened to him on You-tube and he is good. Really good. In fact he has taken over from Fischer-Dieskau as my all time hero. (I saw F-D sing when I was a teenager and had my mind blown by the ravishing voice and expressive qualities. Don’t think I had recovered till now!) It’s interesting how men go for women’s voices -Gabriel reckoned that Pape was the only man he really liked listening to- whereas I adore male voices and am really picky about women’s voices. I find it hard to find women’s voices that I adore, that I would aspire to,that truly move me, whereas men’s somehow I find that much more attractive, desirable, interesting, musically subtle, all engrossing. Is it a sex and gender issue? Bottom line is I’m going to have to find some recordings to listen to.
And I’m going to have to find some more opera to book up to see- I need to have it to look forward to. Gareth Malone, however much I love what he does, is just not the same. Sorry, Gareth, I’m really looking forward to seeing you (yes, tickets booked for December 2015- crazy, and exhorbitant !) but I need more. I’m going to need to set up an opera savings scheme to fund the habit….
I went into college today, I thought, to have a tutorial on my dissertation. However, things, as often happens, didn’t quite turn out as expected. But being a lover of serendipity, it wasn’t going to stop me getting something good out of the experience.
The 1st year MA students were busy planning their end of first semester exhibition in the Hardwicke Gallery at University of Gloucestershire today, with our course tutor, Katie Pratt. I asked them if they wanted a bit of help from me and they said yes- must have been wondering afterwards if that was such a good idea… I do get driven mad by people saying they don’t mind. If it’s your work and you’re showing it, you need to have commitment, passion, a desire to show it in its best light. So I hope I managed to help the process by perhaps pushing a few buttons, saying some challenging things, and generally stirring, and being really annoying about 1/3 , 2/3 golden sections and breaking rules… (you can imagine!)
The space has its issues- a dividing fold back wall that cannot have fixings mounted on it (blue tack is ok!),- why was such a surface chosen for a gallery in an art school?- not enough space, poor lighting and some very visable lines where the boarded walls have not been joined properly. All set to challenge, but all able to be overcome. Excellent practice for the real world of unsatisfactory exhibition spaces. The show is going to be excellent though- a wide variety of styles, techniques, dimensions and materials make for an exciting show.
I was very relieved though that the 2nd years weren’t showing at the same time- the issues of space have not been resolved by the extension built in the summer. Fortunately there are only four people in the first year, but if the intake is increased next year, things will have to change in terms of finding space to exhibit.
I am a bit fan of total art. You know, the kind of experiences that blow your mind… whether it’s a contemporary installation, walking through an incredible stately home or mansion (Newark Park, near Wooton under Edge does it for me, as I always can see myself moving straight in, but it takes me somewhere so different to my own life) or listening to music. Eating some sublime food that takes you somewhere else (I had that the other day, my first cup of lapang souchong tea since leaving university. I was transported emotionally to a different time, a different place, my heart turned somersaults as I remembered that first encounter.) It’s that catharsis, and at the same time, the call to go through it all again, to repeat, and re-experience, to feel it even more intensely; it is an addiction.
But what really does it for me is opera. I’ve been into it since I was a teenager and had the good fortune to get a free ticket to see Gotterdammerung by Wagner- stalls seat at the Royal Opera House. I didn’t know that fat ladies could make me cry. I didn’t know that silly costumes could set me blubbing. But at the end, as the curtain came down, tears ran down my face, I felt both emotionally exhausted and yet elated. I was addicted to total art work.
The same thing happened yesterday. I went to see one of the final performances by Opera Up Close, of La Boheme, at the King’s Head Theatre in the Angel, London. The theatre is tucked in the back of the pub, it can only hold, I guess, about one hudnred people, and both times I’ve been lucky enough to see an opera there, I was right at the front- row A for Marriage of Figaro, in November, and row B for yesterday’s performance. Opera up Close is a touring company, mainly young singers beginning their careers, with great stage presence, excellent acting as well as luminous singing abilities. Unfortunately, they won’t be at the King’s Head anymore, which is a shame, as it is such an intimate environment, you are totally drawn into the action on the stage which is (if in the front row) centimetres from your big toe. You can’t get much closer than that.
Previously I have seen performances in Stroud. Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, in the Stroud Sub Rooms, worked really well as the cast used the whole space, so there was a closeness, an interactivity with the audience, but when the group returned to the Cotswold Playhouse, the much more formal setting was not nearly as successful (although the performance was sublime- Verdi’s Elixir of Love)
La Boheme, set in contemporary times, with the Ukraine illegal immigrant Mimi, Rudolpho trying to make it as a blogger/writer and Marcello faling as a painter, with the second act taking us all into the main pub, for the bar scene, was gritty. The updated translation/adaption made it more so, and the seediness, the raw edginess of the sublime performances, including physically tiring piano accompaniment, was outstanding.
As the lights dimmed on a dead Mimi and distraught friends, there was silence, other than the sniffles of the emotionally transformed audience, who lived every moment with the singers, whose eyes were distinctly moist as they took their bows.
When can I have my next fix, please?
Act 2 ” A bar in Soho”
The desolation of the final scene
Held, my glass and plaster piece of my hand, has been accepted by the Atkinson Gallery, in Street, Somerset, for a postgraduate exhibition being held in February/March this year. It’s exciting to have this experimental piece recognised in such an exhibition, with work from post-grad art students from all over the UK.
My glass kiln has arrived- been set up but need to do final tinkering before actually firing anything. I have lots of ideas for projects to work on and experiments to make so will be uploading soon! I did have fun at the landscapes and seascapes course at Warm Glass in December as well. Lots of new ways of creating with glass…. next workshop is in January.
In the meantime, been busy making bread with my freegled old bread tins. Love the way Prewetts shows through the lining paper (the tins are just too old to bake straight into them…) Upload in due course….And my not New Year’s Eve chocolade roulade went down a storm too…. we celebrated with friends a day early followed by celebrating with our neighbours last night. I wonder what Whistler would have thought of the fireworks? I adore them and would love to do them justice in some kind of art form one day….