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No I’m not just back from Greece and now Venice! This is work I’ve been meaning to try since going to Venice a couple of years ago to celebrate my 40th birthday.
I had high hopes but was not prepared for just how magical it really is. Like a far away land hidden in the middle of the world, made of plaster icing buildings, bathed in a golden light, painted in chalky pastel tones all crumbling artfully.
It was my intention to paint something upon my return but…
Well a few years on I have, largely inspired by the Jenny Wheatley book I reviewed previously.
I wanted to loosen up and approach these paintings with a more technically driven, experimental approach.
So I have been throwing salt and bleach onto wet paint, painting wet in wet to bleed colours and then hair drying them off quickly.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed kicking up the dust and following the painting rather than guiding it.
Now for a big tidy up as it’s back to school and work tomorrow which for me means both.
This fresh faced beautiful/handsome pair are my Mum and Dad who married in August 1961.
So today we celebrated their 50th Golden Wedding anniversary with them. Quite a feat is 50 years and something to be truly celebrated. I got my hands on their wedding album and scanned some prints to make doily decorations with.
And spent some time happily learning how to make tissue paper pompoms (here, if you want to have a go.)
Congratulations Mum and Dad and here’s to many more years.
I have saved the best for last – all the crafty holiday photo’s.
In the North of the island we found by chance a sleepy little village called Volimes which was lined each side of its one main road with crochet stall, after crockery stall, after crochet stall.
My favourite one was run by this lovely lady who was crocheting as we browsed and in broken English she explained how she had made all the pieces, pulling them out to show (sell to) me. I in turn used my broken Greek (sign language and smiling) to show that I too could crochet and so we crossed the language divide and settled happily on common craft ground.
I bought this table runner because I fell in love with The Lovely Crochet Lady and because it is supporting a handmade livelihood and because at 15 Euro’s it was cheap for all the work that had gone into it and because the pattern seemed quite modern and reminded me of red and white swirly sweets.
Oh and because I fell in love with The Lovely Crochet Lady!
She was making an edging whilst we were there. She could crochet one meter in two hours and sell it for 10 Euro’s. Thought provoking… it reminded me of this little film found here which is worth a watch.
And it seems only fitting while I’m musing on the necessity of passing down craft skills to the younger generation, to tell you that Lu had her most successful knitting lesson while we were away. She is a natural at increasing stitches!
And to finish up, a little water-colour sketch of the view from our veranda. Hope you enjoyed our holiday too and it wasn’t like having to sit through some boring relative’s slide show! Happy Bank Holiday.
I have this holiday thing to do with old doors and windows. I have so many photo’s of windows, shutters, pretty window sill’s and gorgeous painted exteriors from all our holiday destinations, that you’d think I was going to wallpaper the house with them all.
There are many reasons why I love my family but one of them has got to be the way they tolerate me walking 5 minutes behind snapping at odd angles or calling a halt on a car journey so I can leap out and capture something I’ve just seen.
I guess houses capture something of real domestic life in some way. Hard to imagine a Greek visitor to the UK would snap a picture of our road but that’s culture for you.
I like the colours, the paint, the aging, the superficial look of a place, but most of all I think I take these pictures as I am asking myself “Would I live here?’, ‘Could I live here?’ and that’s what travel is all about, that stretch of the imagination for the possibilities of new horizon’s.
Last up tomorrow is a bit of the island’s crochet.
Zykynthos was full of amazing fruit to eat. Where else can you play Crazy Golf amongst trees growing pomegranates? In the UK a fig is about 50 pence;in Zante you can pick it up off the floor.
Anything sun ripened above ground was super delicious to eat. I could wax lyrical about peaches…
As for flowers… red, pink and candy striped geraniums potted up rustically and mountains of frothy pink bourganvillia lolling over walls and fences are what Greece does best.
We are back from two glorious sun-filled weeks in Zakynthos, Greece.
This was the daily grind! I would lie here and collect my emails – thank you for all your lovely comments on my recent posts – it was lovely to lie in the sun and read them.
The colour’s of the water were amazing.
I thought today I’d show you some of my beachy, boaty, watery snaps to warm your toes on this rainy day.
Back soon with some fruit and flowers…
The artist Harold Harvey first came to my attention when I got a blog post into my inbox from Persephone Books. It was one of their featured pictures (above) and it was love at first sight! I was immediately interested to know more about an artist I’d never heard of, or never seen before, and lucky for me my birthday was earlier this month and I got this book.
Harvey was part of the Newyln school of painters and he trained a little in France and painted the typical Cornish scenes that were popular. However in 1915 restrictions were put on painting the coastlines, everyone was a suspected spy so outdoor sketching was prohibited and the coastline was protected from being recorded and used by enemies. The artists wouldn’t want to be seen too often on the cliffs or they might face a jail sentence.
So this gave rise to changes in the subject matter available and Harvey in particular began painting interior scenes and left his early style behind. He developed a strong use of pattern and colour, which became his trademark, and he often achieved this through coloured and patterned clothing and furnishings.
Harvey experimented with using strong design and composition using clear verticals and horizontals. The geometry and graphic nature of his work lends them a very modern air. The scene above could very well be one of our own homes today.
Harold’s wife Gertrude often posed for him and his paintings show her love of fashion (she was a keen knitter and dressmaker) and their shared love of craft pottery.
His paintings capture the clear Cornish light and he uses clean colour’s. And apart from the rise in domestic scenes, his work also documents some of the changing times showing the new cut flower business now possible due to train links (above) to the changing women’s fashions of his day (below).
I like his work because it depicts the domestic side of female life, which I find endlessly fascinating, and because his work makes me what to ask questions of the sitters – I’d like to climb into the scenes and join in with them. And that surly is the mark of a good picture. I hope he’s a new discovery for you too and that you enjoy his work.
The hand-made paper used for the background in this still life was crying out to be represented by a little old school sponge painting. So I cut a petal shape and got happy printing.
There were a lot of flowers to paint in this set up and I got a little tense trying to record them in their prime before they died.
Some lasted longer than others so I flitted about doing those who didn’t look like they’d last until day two.
The title came about really easily because to me this painting is a record of just that.
Actually it amazes me what a nice bunch of delights can be found from the few things that are growing (previous occupants to be thanked here.)
Plus a bit of rootling through the nettles ( I do pull them up – they just grow again!)
I will take credit for the anemones though, which are my pride and joy this year.
Like most people, every year the whole swimsuit/beach/40 plus issue comes around.
Resolutions are made (well re-made since New Year) but too little too late usually.
Then I think who cares really anyway – I’m all grown up now!
But as I was merrily enjoying some Tooty Fruities I suddenly saw a link between my craft and my consumptions.
Can anyone guess my weakness?