You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Self Portrait’ tag.

Gruffalo Wood & Art History Timeline Mural at Meadowside Primary

May – July 19

It was six years ago when I first worked with Josie Garnham. Back then she was Head of Titchmarsh Primary School and had a different name. She then became Executive Head of both Titchmarsh and Warmington Primary Schools and over the next couple of years she invited me to lead several art workshops with children as well as to paint murals. In fact there were seven ‘Bigger Picture’ projects in total. It’s been three years since our last collaboration and a lot has changed in both our worlds in that time. I was so pleased when she made contact to work with her again.

It’s a school that’s new to me, Meadowside Primary in Burton Latimer, a place I’ve always referred to as Weetabix Town, and Josie was appointed Head last year. Having spent much of the last couple of years working with Fulbridge Academy and Rowlatts Hill the first thing that hit me as soon as I walked in the door was the empty magnolia painted corridor. During a tour of the school she outlined her vision to significantly improve the appearance of several areas, but top of that list was that first seen corridor as one enters the school.

A ‘Gruffalo Wood’ reading/retreat area next to the admin office was beginning to be established, and Josie asked if the corridor leading towards it could bring the subject of landscape within the walls of the building, with ‘meadow’ being the predominant theme for the painting. Rather than invent an imaginary pastureland scene I suggested that we could transform the area into a space that presented a potted history of landscape painting.

I’d made a couple of visits to the school and taken measurements of the walls in order to make a plan, however as I developed my design ideas they became more than a little ambitious. Me being me, and to make my job even harder, because that’s what I do, I decided it would make a much more interesting painting if I divided the composition into three sections, which reflected the shape of the corridor.

The first section was already established, being agreed that there would be a Gruffalo Wood with a landscape theme leading to/from it.

The final section would naturally be at the opposite end of the corridor, where there was another entrance/exit door, and in this portion I thought a short art history lesson could be incorporated as a timeline.

The area between these two sections was an opportunity to identify and celebrate local artistic achievement. As the school is less than 5 miles to the centre of Kettering, I felt this section could give prominence to the work of a trio of Kettering artists (Alfred East, Thomas Cooper Gotch & Walter Bonner Gash) who had quite a reputation in their day. The Alfred East Gallery is located in the centre of the town and so included in the design are interpretations of some paintings from the permanent collection which are sympathetic with the corridor theme.

The project began with a request to paint a landscape themed painting, the composition I delivered is an edited illustration of the development of image-making through the ages stretching back 40,000 years. All the images I selected have a back story that can be explored further, so the inclusion of QR codes are also an additional feature for personal investigation.

Featured on the walls are Cave, Neolithic, Egyptian, Mycenaean, Byzantine, Classical Greek, Gothic, Romantic, Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Expressionist, Cubist, Surrealist, Modernist and even Spiritual examples, before contemporary Children’s Book Illustration gets a mention. Oh, I forgot the Middle Ages, there’s the arrow in the eye of King Harold section of the Bayeux Tapestry thrown in for good measure too.

Out of a molehill I made a mountain. Do I make things difficult for myself or what!!!!!!!!

Meadowside Primary, Park Road, Burton Latimer, Northants NN15 5QY

 

References:

Cave

Neolithic

Egyptian

Mycenaean

Byzantine

Classical Greek

Middle Ages (Romanesque)

Gothic

Kettering Artists

Romanticism

Impressionism

Post-Impressionism

Expressionism

Cubism

Surrealism

Modernism

The Gruffalo 1999

ME

Self Portrait a Day #200

I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself,
And Then Make A Change………………….

Visiting Vienna, a change of routine and a change of temperature. Saturday morning, and a meeting with Frida Kahlo.

My first encounter was in 1977 and it was accidental. At that time I was actively involved with mural painting and researching the work of the Mexican Mural Renaissance, my immediate interest being the work of Siqueiros, Orozco and Rivera, the name Kahlo appearing in the text only because of her involvement with the latter. Black and white photographs of the large framed Diego often included the figure of a short, ethnically dressed woman with one eyebrow standing in his shadow. Her name and work at that time was largely unknown but it’s a very different story now, everybody wants to know her, their roles have reversed. Kahlo’s star has risen, and her fragile crippled frame and reputation now casts its shadow over him.

The queue of visitors waiting patiently to enter the Bank Austria Kunstforum was evidence of this, it stretched 200 metres along the Freyung. Thankfully Maria and Benni had the foresight to pre-book our tickets, however the sight of this conga line forewarned us of what to expect once we entered the building. The hustle and bustle was not the ideal conditions to view the exhibition, in my head the voice of an ’80’s Sting summed it up – ‘Don’t stand/Don’t stand/Don’t stand so close to me’. A large degree of patience was needed in this rugby scrum, blockbuster exhibitions can attract the most inconsiderate people. The experience of close contact with the work on the walls however was reward enough for our perseverance.

Kahlo battled continuously against adversity throughout her life, and for that alone she is an inspiration. The series of self portraits by Rembrandt reveal a life from confident aspiring young man to reflective old age and the Kahlo portraits illustrate a similar narrative, that of a determined survivor, and when the opportunity arises to view a collection gathered together, it must be grasped. Exhibited in these rooms were the influences and incidents of a colourful and eventful life, which ignited and bore fruit; naive votive images, psychological scribbles, the traditions of ancient civilisations, political upheaval; sieved, shaken, stirred and blended to create her unique Kahlo character cocktail.

Amongst this retrospective of powerful and remarkable images, one piece leapt from the wall and hit me. A simple drawing, which amongst such attention demanding neighbours was quiet and unassuming, but to me it spoke volumes – and it probably took no longer than 5 very intense minutes to create. Lines quickly, roughly and freely drawn, erased, corrected and drawn again. Again, and again. Her final self portrait (‘with Dove and Lemniscate’ 1954). Her life was soon to end and this image was filled with a lifetime of frustration. The searching lines sang a song of despair. Despite familiarity with the subject the process of recording her own image was as big a struggle as it had always been. Alongside she had included a poem, La Paloma by Rafael Alberti.

LA PALOMA / THE DOVE

Se equivocó la paloma. / The dove was mistaken.
Se equivocaba. / She was mistaken.

Por ir al norte fue al sur. / Instead of north, she headed south.
Creyó que el trigo era agua. / She mistook wheat for water.
Se equivocaba. / She was mistaken.

Creyó que el mar era el cielo; / She mistook the sea for the sky;
Que la noche, la mañana. / the night for the morning.
Se equivocaba. / She was mistaken.

Que las estrellas, rocío; / That stars were dew,
Que la calor, la nevada / that warmth was snow.
Se equivocaba. / She was mistaken.

Que tu falda era tu blusa; / That your skirt was your blouse;
Que tu corazón, su casa. / that your heart was her home.
Se equivocaba. / She was mistaken.

(Ella se durmió en la orilla. / (She fell asleep on the shore.
Tú, en la cumbre de una rama.) / And you, on top of a bough.)

Rafael Alberti.

Although she had drawn the reflection in the mirror innumerable times, she never resorted to a formula. Each one was a challenge, success never guaranteed. Photographs suggest she was confident and assured but for me this drawing revealed that she was as human and fallible as the rest of us, and that image making was still a struggle regardless of the years of experience. I felt a connection with her as though she had reached out and poked me in the eye. At that moment………….I knew exactly how she felt.

Categories

3 Parts Dirt! 10cc Abba AC/DC Achille-Etna Michallon Ajaz Akhtar Alberto Giacometti Albrecht Durer Alice in Wonderland Amsterdam Andrew Wyeth Andy Warhol Antonio Vivaldi Arctic Monkeys Art History Athletics Atomic Rooster Banksy Beatles Benjamin Marshall Bernard Cribbins Black Black Sunday Blondie Bob & Marcia Bob Marley Boxing Brian Brinkley Brushes app. Bucks Fizz Caesar Cambridge Camille Corot Cancer Canned Heat Castle Caverstede Early Years Centre 'Bigger Picture' Chalk Pastel Charcoal Charles R. Knight Charlie Small Children's Books Christo Claude Monet Coldplay Corinne Bailey Rae Coventry Creative Partnerships Crete Cricket Daniel Lambert Darren Fraser David Bomberg Deacon's School Dennis Creffield Diego Velάzquez Discovery Primary School Django Reinhardt Dogsthorpe Academy Drawing Edgar Degas Edvard Munch Egypt Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun Elton John Elvis Costello en plein air Epping Forest Europe Eurythmics Evolve magazine Exhibition Fitzwilliam Museum Floella Benjamin Foo Fighters Football Forest Schools Francesco Guardi Frank Auerbach Fred Astaire Frida Kahlo Fulbridge School Garage Door Gary Moore Gene Wilder Gentle Giant George Bellows Georges Braque Georgio de Chirico Gerry Rafferty Gian Lorenzo Bernini Gingerbread Man Giovanni Bellini Gladiator Glasgow Boys Glenn Frey Gnarls Barkley Greece Gruffalo Gustav Klimt Haiku Hands Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Hercules Brabazon Brabazon Iain Erskine Ian Anderson Ice Hockey Impressionism iPad Iron Curtain Jacob van Ruisdael Jacques Brel James Abbott McNeill Whistler James Ferrara Jamiroquai Jazz Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Jean-Francois Millet Jethro Tull JMW Turner Joe Cocker Johannes Vermeer John Constable John Lennon Johnny Kidd & the Pirates Juan Sánchez Cotán Jurassic Way Killer Shrimp King's Cliffe Endowed Primary School King's Cliffe Primary Kit Downes Quintet KT Tunstall Lanchester Polytechnic Landscape Landscape painting Lascaux Laurel Barbieri Leningrad Lenny Kravitz Len Tabner Leonardo da Vinci Lewis Carroll Little Red Riding Hood Loch Craignish Lonnie Donegan Luke Steele Lynyrd Skynyrd Mad Hatter Madness Manfred Mann's Earth Band March Hare Marvin Gaye Media Media Archive for Central England Michael Jackson MichelAngelo Modest Mussorgsky Mosaic Moscow Mural Muse Music National Gallery Newark Hill Primary Nickel Creek Nick Ward Nina Simone Oasis Obsidian Art Gallery Owl Painting Panda Panorama Paul Cezanne Paul Gauguin Peterborough Peter Paul Rubens Picasso Pirates Pleurisy Pneumonia Portrait Procul Harem Queen Radio 3 Essential Classics Rafael Alberti Rainforest Ray Charles Red Hot Chili Peppers Rembrandt van Rijn Rene Magritte Right Angle Gallery River Nene Roald Dahl Rock Music Rod Campbell Rodrigo y Gabriela Rod Stewart Rogier van der Weyden Rolling Stones Romans Rome Rowlatts Hill Primary School Royal Academy Roy Clark Russia Salvator Rosa Sarah Walker Scotland Seascape Self Portrait Sistine Chapel Small Faces Sport St. Brendan's Primary School Steppenwolf Stereophonics Swimming Talking Heads Terry Jacks The Automatic The BFG The Crooked House Himley The Editors The Jam The Killers The Moody Blues The Red Deltas The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Thin Lizzy Thomas Faed Tina Turner Titchmarsh School Titian Tom Jones Totem Pole Trompe l'oeil Tuscany USSR Venice Vienna Vincent Van Gogh Volcanic Voyager Academy Warmington School We Are Scientists William Hogarth William Law Primary School Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club YouTube

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.