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This week I hung an exhibition of my work at the Coach House Gallery which is at Winterbourne Botanical Gardens, Birmingham.
Winterbourne is part of the Birmingham University campus.
It’s an Edwardian Arts and Crafts house built for the family of John Nettlefold in 1903.
It’s last owner bequeathed it to the University where it became the Botanical Gardens in 1944.
It’s one of those magical places that has held onto the history of the past and simultaneously successfully embraced the future.
And my colourful work has ushered Spring in a little earlier than Mother Nature (it’s trying to snow today)
Exhibition hanging takes patience and stamina (good step-ladder muscles!)
I have laid out sketchbooks, pattern design swatches, an old paint palette, some tubes of paint, brushes, pencils and design work that shows how I use my original paintings digitally.
It was fun to set the scene.
And now I’m happily heading off to a restful weekend – there’s a G & T with my name on it!
Exhibition is up until 12th March
I got the biggest surprise for Christmas when I opened a big box and found this, my own design, printed up on gorgeous heavy weight linen. My HB had made up a pretty believable story in order to get hold of the files to this design and I didn’t suspect for a moment that he was in cahoots with my S-I-L whose idea it was to get it printed.
It has got my thinking hard about future possibilities…
Everything has a season so they say and this year has not been my season for the garden (poor neglected thing).
I snipped a few things I could find the other day – all pleasingly lime green, green and yellow (thank you garden for self-theming the colours) and popped them into my 25 pence bargain jug for an afternoons play with the paints.
I knew when I snapped this shot that a) I’d got lucky and b) it was perfect to paint.
It needed something better in the front left foreground so I ‘imported’ some of these lovely cushions and lanterns.
I began with some block collage laid down to paint over – a piece of Arabic writing I picked up whilst in Marrakesh and a chocolate wrapper in the style of some of the tiles I’d seen there.
After washing in some colours I drew in the structure.
And continued to layer it up with paint – making textures, scratching into paint and printing too.
I love how their body language translates this couples kind of nonchalance and conversation as they strolled along.
It’s a challenge to paint so differently to normal but I love all the layers of print and texture showing through and it seems the perfect way to capture Marrakesh.
Back to normality after my exciting day out…
I am still immersed in painting Marrakesh despite painting in Birmingham (UK). I have focussed some work on the beautiful building we stayed in when we visited two years ago.
Years ago I had kept a cutting from a magazine showing where the chef Yotam Ottolenghi was filming his latest TV programme because it looked so beautiful and so Moroccan.
That wonderful place is Riad Kaiss.
Literally every corner is a picture, every piece of furniture is a work of art.
Every door, tile or piece of stoneware an exquisite sculpture.
Every meal, every flower display and every furnishing, was inspiring the visual senses in some way.
We booked a half day with the chef to learn how to make Moroccan pastries (we haven’t since!) and I was delighted to just get a look at the gorgeous quirky colours of the kitchen and the tiles.
Another cook-book called Colours of Maroc has since been published, also photographed in Riad Kaiss. Check that link for an almost identical (but better photographed) image of Cornes des Gazelles on those tiles. Great minds…
It was a cool, quiet haven to retreat to after a few hours bustling in the souks.
And if you ever go to Marrakesh then I highly recommend you do stay there.
This morning I woke up feeling fragile after some sad news yesterday – the type of news that makes you feel grateful for your loved-ones, anxious about the fragility of life, the kind of news that makes you appreciate the smallest things…
I logged into my email account and was greeted unusually by loads of emails telling me my Facebook page was being ‘liked’. Jenny ,unprompted and not knowing of our sad state, had encouraged her followers to come on over to my page just because… It was a small ray of light today watching my ‘likes’ rise. It never ceases to amaze me how much community and encouragement can be found through like-minded spirits on the internet. Jenny – thank you for throwing out the invitation, thank you to all those who took up the call. It may have been a simple gesture from your end but your timing was exceptional and lifted my day. Thank you.x.
I’ve added a link to the left-hand side-bar if anyone else wants to connect. I will feel more accountable to keep it up to date and interesting now 😉