Friday, 27 July 2018


Ever wondered what a Wayzgoose is? Originally it was some form of entertainment in the printing trade. A master printer would provide it for his workers to mark the beginning of autumn and working by candle light. Later it became an annual dinner or outing for workers in the printing trade usually held at the end of August around St Bartholemew's Day, he being the patron saint of bookbinders (and leather workers, tanners, plasterers...).

The British Printing Society's Wayzgoose won't be quite like that but there will be lots of interesting print related stuff to see and buy, so come along on 22 September and join in the fun. Cowprint will be there with a stall.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

George Shaw: My Back to Nature

George Shaw, 'The Living and the Dead', 2015–16
© The Artist and Wilkinson Gallery, London

Managed to steal an hour out of the data mines on Friday to visit the art gallery for an exhibition of paintings by artist George Shaw.

There are a number of different elements to this exhibition: paintings and drawings by Shaw, a couple of paintings from the National Gallery’s collection from which he took inspiration (see below), a collection of works from Southampton City Art Gallery’s collection curated by Shaw, and a film about his ideas and processes.

Hendrick Van Balen the Elder, Pan pursuing Syrinx,
after 1615, oil on copper. National Gallery, London

The main exhibition was made up of a series of paintings of trees and woodland settings which he had made whilst on a two-year residency at the National Gallery. Inspired by works in the gallery's collection, Shaw created paintings that 

'offer a contemporary response to the mythological landscapes painted by masters such as Titian, Poussin and Constable.
Shaw is interested in how the stories in these paintings – often featuring violence, illicit sex and drunkenness – have parallels in the way that people might behave in the woods today, when they think they are unobserved. This is complemented by Shaw’s interest in Christian imagery, especially how landscape artists of the past often alluded to the Crucifixion in their depiction of trees.'

Sebastiano Ricci, Bacchus and Ariadne, 1700-1710, oil on canvas
National Gallery, London
Interesting idea which enriched my experience of the paintings (links to Greek myth grabbed my attention immediately of course) and encouraged me to watch the 15 minute film (below) in which Shaw talks about his ideas and processes. Also, he visits a Humbrol enamel paint factory! Worth a watch.


Shaw also selected various works from Southampton City Art Gallery's collection displayed under he title ‘A good day for looking out’, a phrase used by his mother for bad weather days. I didn't find this group of paintings terribly interesting  though I liked what Shaw said about it, particularly this:

Looking back at my selection I can see that it has an air of sadness about it. It is one of the few national characteristics I’m content to inherit so I make no apologies for the gentle beauty of the show. Perhaps it is evidence of Edward Thomas’s ‘melancholy wrought magic’. Or perhaps it just comes from the weather and not getting out much. In the end it is the transformative influence that painting has to take the mortal facts of the world and concoct a heady, strange and enduring potion.

The exhibition continues until 1 September 2018.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Flying south

Finally got the box sets for the Falkland Island Printmakers all packed up and in the post this week. Hope they get there safely. I have no idea how long the journey takes. Having left the UK in a record heatwave, they will arrive in the depths of winter, possibly to snow. How weird is that. Anyway, I hope the recipients will enjoy them as much as we northerly printmakers have.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Open Studios

,,It’s that time of year again. Local artists are preparing to throw open the doors of their studios to welcome visitors to view their work. The one I’m taking part in isn’t until August but I thought I’d get my prep done early as things are pretty intense down in the data mines at the moment. Spent the last couple of days packing unframed prints and ordering frames so I’m all ready to go. Fingers crossed for a sale or two.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Mes Ecrits - James Ensor

I did a brief thing about the Belgian painter James Ensor recently at our monthly artists’ group meeting. I can’t really call it a talk; it was more of a muddled ramble about what I like about his work with a few biographical details thrown in. This is a new thing we’re doing - bringing artists to the group that members may not have come across or not paid much attention to.

In doing some research for the session, I found that the more I discover about Ensor, the more intriguing I find him - his work, his life and he himself. So, I got hold of a copy of his selected writings. Just one snag - it’s in French... Having scraped an O level in the language (that dates me!), reading it and understanding it is going to be something of a challenge. It could be my life’s work...