Monday, 15 March 2010
Here are some old pictures while I was living and travelling around Italy in 2004-2005
This is just a small selection of over 60 paintings from the Alps in the very north of Italy all the way down to Palermo and Puglia in the deep south!
My guru in Firenze Italy
I have just come back from a very satisfying weekend in Devon. It was so beautiful... the wonderful countryside reminded me a bit of japan but much more mellow. I left on Thursday and hung out with my good friend Ollie in Bristol with late night chess games and the next morning we woke up early and shot down hill into town where I busked a little near the library where he works and then listened to Oli reading the GRUFFALLO and other stories to the kids! After that I hung out with Martin jamming a little in the sun and met some wild sleep deprived kids who were throwing umbrellas on College green and gave us a box of chocolates for helping them throw the umbrella until it was totally broken. Then i took an afternoon train to Totnes where i met Tom and Dad in the village market. It was so beautiful... i found a 55 pound clarinet in the market which i decided to buy as a spare london clarinet. The sun was shining all weekend and we cycled around 100 km over 3 days ... small rides from the station of Totnes (the ultimate hippy town) to our friends house in Ashburton on the edge of the moor and from there to the Embecombe community centre where we stayed in an old gypsy caravan and helped out with the festival on sunday. We were playing music and I played a lot of games with the kids and did my first proper round off somersault on the grass! it was very satisfying!!!!
Then on sunday afternoon we cycled over the hills to where a tall castle stood with a view to the moors behind us and the ancient city of Exeter by the blue estery before us lying in the valley and a long long down hill at top speeds under huge oak trees speeding past giant roots of old trees all stretching out in the spring sunshine. We arrived in Exeter and then caught the train to London and my friend was sitting next to us so we stayed awake a bit longer ... i was tired enough to sleep straight away but i wanted to chat with her!
then in london in the dark and i cycled over to my 82 year old hero's party where he was teaching party games! lots of wonderful people but i was late. It was strange cycling through london after 3 days of being in the country. When i live in london i look at all the houses and buildings like they were always there when i arrived back and cycled through the sunday evening streets I somehow felt the old trees and fields that had been there before and all the buildings seemed to be just made... not just made but i felt the sensation of seeing a new building in somewhere familiar where it had not been before.
The countryside, houses and weather were all totally fantastic and I feel full of life and energy.
lots of love
this was the website for the place i went.. it was great...
Thursday, 4 March 2010
THE ESTONIAN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
In January and Febuary 2010 I worked in the ceramics studio in Meestre Hoov (the masters court) in Tallinn. I spent most of my time working on an epic sculpture of an Estonian dinner. I took the original sketches at Triin's grandfathers 50th wedding anniversary dinner in the summer 2009. There were a few neighbours with some singing and musical instruments and lots of drinks and a solid feast. I did not enclude all the characters... in all there were about 15 people at the party but I tried to get the general atmosphere of festivities a la Estonie!
The lady and the fella standing up are Triin's grandparents. Her grandad was firing on all cylinders and after we left the party they both went for a lie down in the early afternoon from all the excitement. Her grandma is a lovely soft stoic lady who is going a bit blind.
This is my original sketch of Vuints (moustache). He played hot
accordian and was named after his sharp tash. Below is the result in clay.
There was a fair bit of Vodka as there must be at any serious party in Eastern Europe it seems. This neighbour was merrilly toasting. Generally the atmosphere was quite reserved despite the roudy behaviour of Triin's grandfather.
Behind this gentleman I had a bit of wall space so I put two paintings up. The one on the right is a country scene similar to something you may find in an Estonian flat, but which I took from the 10 Kroon note.
The other smaller portrait is Paul Keres. I dont think you would find this in any Estonian flat appart from his relatives. They are not very into hero worship it seems. Keres was one of the Soviet Unions top chess players. A grand master who narrowly missed being world champion. He is perhaps one of Estonia's most famous international figures and the only chess player in the world to appear on the national currency!
This is Triins dad enjoying his cup of tea. He is a big guy who works for a security firm but very friendly underneith. Behind him you can see the street and trees and the flat skyline with a few more Communist blocks scattered around. The party took place in a typical Soviet suburb called Mustamae which translates as black hill. That is probably not a natural feature of the landscape, estonia has very few hills, probably some industrial slag heap! But I am only guessing!
This is another neighbour enjoying her meal! The food was very simple and tasty - I could not eat the sausages and eggs and many creamy cakes but settled for tomatoes, black bread, pickled gerkins and boiled potatoes.
This is the left half of the scene. It had to be cut into two parts to fit into the kiln.
I have been working a few days a week at a ceramic studio in the old town of tallinn, estonia. I have to greet customers and open the shop and be around to sell the artwork of a collective of around 15 ceramicists and for that i get free use of the atelier. actually, i get to work quite a lot because febuary is not a very busy month for tourists or visitors to the shop. I have been working on a few projects. This first big scene is about 40 centimeters long and made in white clay. It is inspired by a carving of some sweedish law court i saw in the stockholm art museum in july 2009. It is based on some sketched i did during Triins grandparents 50th wedding anniversary in their soviet style flat in tallinn in summer 2009. I tried to carve the scene but it is much easier to make out of clay... mistakes can be corrected with clay. I have not yet glazed it but if you have any suggestions for glaze please tell me soon!
Initial shaping of the figures