It’s been all go since I arrived in New Mexico on the 6th June. Paintings to finish, article to prepare for, (more on that when it’s published), tending to our somewhat overgrown garden and the very occasional foray into DIY! In addition to which I have been catching up with dear friends and family and my lovely husband (Barry McCuan) of course. It’s been eighteen months since I was here last and it’s lovely to be back, but it is also quite strange and takes a little getting used to, a little like a parallel universe! Driving on the wrong side of the road certainly concentrates the mind for sure!
Spending the odd half hour in the hammock under our Black Locust trees has certainly helped me slide back into New Mexico life. The warmth of the air, (the heat of the midday sun), the cool evenings and mornings feel so good to me.
Here are a few photos to start with… The dust devil photo was taken on our drive back from Albuquerque on the day of my arrival. Amazing to watch, as it slowly made its way across the arid landscape. I have been enjoying taking photos around our house. The strong shadows created by our coyote fence have particularly intrigued me and one of our Agave plants flowered in my absence, leaving a most beautiful ‘living’ sculpture. The wildlife has been making their presence known and I love the way the moth matches our adobe walls! However, I am rather glad that the fierce looking Assasin or Robber Fly stays outside. (Thanks to Russell Stebbings at the Zoology Museum, Cambridge for identifying this creature). It’s the first time I have ever seen one in New Mexico.
I have been to the Santa Fe Etching studio only once so far (yes, Eric, we will be back this week!), where I created a tiny soft ground. I will leave you with the view from my hammock!
Obviously I have not posted for a while.. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New year to all. The end of last semester came and went so fast, which included my husband, Barry arriving from the US at the end of November. Then we both got sick! I am still dealing with the residue of painful pulled muscles from coughing too much! It was the worst bug I have had in years. I think a lot of people have had it, so sympathies for all those who did!
The dates for our workshop are now set. These are 27th May to 31st May. If I can get enough people to sign up and pay a deposit now, I can book Sparkford Hall for a very good price. My daughter has a connection with this beautiful house and because of that I am being given a good deal. Please let me know if you are interested. May is such a glorious time of the year in the UK. Photos to follow. I hope you will join Barry and I for our first major workshop in UK together. You can also stay over the weekend for a little extra. They will also organise meals so that you can concentrate completely on your work.
Since I last wrote I did a three day refresher course with Jason Hicklin, which was great! These workshops are so intense and since the ink, paper etc., is all prepared for you, all one has to do is create! The image below is a combination of soft ground and sugar lift, stopped out by using Litho crayon. Lots of possibilities here and rather excited about using this method when I get back to University at the end of January.
Fenland – 9.50 x 9.50 cm – Etching (soft ground, sugar lift)
Botanics – this is an etching which has gone through many lives.
Barry and I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park yesterday on our way back down from Scotland. It’s such a beautiful place. A great setting for incredible sculpture.
Oval with Points – Henry Moore
Me between Three piece reclining figure no. 1 – Henry Moore
Barry with Reclining Figure, Arch leg – Henry Moore
Things really got busy this last few weeks, with our R.K. Burt exhibition in London. We hung the work on 5th November, had our PV on the 7th. I looked after the gallery on the following Monday and then we took it all down last Friday. It was quite an exhausting and educational experience to say the least. Sadly, not much was sold, but I did manage to sell five unframed prints from the browser. Obviously, I was very pleased about that. What was absolutely wonderful about having our exhibition in London, was that many friends dropped in to say hello! One old school friend visited whom I hadn’t seen since I was 16, one not seen for 19 years and one who actually lived abroad… it was really really fabulous! Ahh, the power of the internet! Thank you all who came by. We so appreciated your support.
Here are a few photos from our private view. That’s me in the first photo inside the gallery, refilling my glass I think!! (Thanks Karin for the only photo of me at the exhibition!) Plus some photos of my fellow students and tutors being silly!
Below are also a few paintings that I have also been working on.. (apologies for the sheen on the last photo). This last Friday evening was the opening night for the Small Works, Great Wonders exhibition at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma. Barry and I sold all four of our paintings! We are so happy! Thank you Oklahoma!
In addition to all this running around I managed to get to Tate Modern last Sunday, with my son, to listen to a talk by William Kentridge, followed by a visit to the Tanks to see his installation… absolutely brilliant. Very powerful. Do go and see if you are in London.
Barry and I were very happy to learn that we had been included in an article on ‘Family Ties: Related Artists Across the West’ in the November’s issue of Southwest Art magazine. I was even happier to be told that my painting of Wicken Fen Autumn was going to be on the front cover.
I continue to walk my mile and a half to university two or three days a week. It has been just gorgeous weather and walking across Jesus Green and Midsummer Common or along the River Cam is such a treat. The photos below epitomise Cambridge!
So far we have had demonstrations of Intaglio, Relief Printing, Screen Printing, Photo Etching and Viscosity Printing! To ensure that my head doesn’t spin off my shoulders I have focused in on a little of what I know and am experimenting with dry point, drawing, scraping and burnishing to see what happens. There is such a temptation to try everything and get nowhere, so I am sticking with Intaglio at the moment on the advice of my tutor.
Last week we had a Relief Printing demonstration given to us by our teacher/technician, John Williams, who is an accomplished printmaker. It is so exciting to witness all the possibilities. I learn something new each week. Below are a few photos, one of John’s woodcut and some books he had laid out for us to peruse. I have also included some sketches of Wicken Fen.
Barry’s show was on Friday and on Saturday he sold 5 paintings, so that’s a good start!
Barry has a show at Ventana Fine Art this coming Friday, 14th October, 5 – 7 pm. Please go if you can! When he came over to visit me in the summer, he nipped over to France to stay with our friend Michael in Avignon and they went out painting together. He also went to visit one of his favourite painters….
At last, I have some time to think about my MA. Last week I attended my first Contextual Studies tutorial. I really liked it. Going over my notes, I am amazed at how many new avenues of enquiry this has opened up. I find myself searching for information on W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn, leading me onto Grant Gee’s film, entitled Patience (after Sebald), which I am now trying to source.
William Carlos Williams poem, A Sort of a Song was mentioned, as was Geothe’s Colour Wheel, (did I know that Goethe wrote about this?). Death of the Author by Roland Barthes, which I think may require me to undergo a brain transplant and one of Barry’s favourite books by Joseph Campbell, Hero with a Thousand Faces was also discussed briefly, including reference to a ‘Nekiya’ and how Post Graduates ‘must endure the journey’ which I suppose is all to do with dismantling oneself! I can’t wait! A book I am interested in reading but have never heard of it before is Mr. Weston’s Good Wine by T.F. Powys … and that isn’t all…. but my head is spinning and I must go out, battle the gale force winds and buy a cauliflower.
On a more practical level, the hot plates in the print room are very high and the rollers are heavier than I am used to, so in addition to the fact that I have to walk over a mile to get to University in the morning and back again in the evening, and have been dragged off to circuit training by my friend Jo at the rowing club, I shall also get a little exercise climbing onto the provided step to attend to my plates and hopefully strengthen at least one of my arms in the process! I have prepared two plates.. but for what?
Before I go, since I am now back in Wicken Fen country, below is a new image.. now, for that cauliflower…