Monday, 28 March 2016

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Venice Chronicles

I've just been on another 'graphic novel' adventure. With the library closing, I thought I'd max out my card on this expensive and risky literary form ... and I hit jackpot!  I chose The Venice Chronicles by Enrico Casarosa because I liked the illustration style on the cover.  And for pages 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 ... I wasn't sure.  It was a rambling without narrative, directionless internal monologue with out a strong sense of place or character.
And then, before I knew it, I'd slipped into it.  Into this fabulous form of drawing a personal diary - not just a diary of what he did from day to day, but a diary of past, present (and future?!), and a diary, like any interesting diary, of personal reflections, self-analysis, existentialism and wondering.  The power and skill of creating this visually blew my mind.  And, as an artist, it was of course a sketchbook too - random tangents into an obsession with small Italian cars, for example.

And then ... just to keep me on my toes, he went virtual.  He sent me to sketchcrawl.com and now I just have to insist on my family all doing a sketchcrawl one day.  And he showed me a video, and opened up the whole of his creative world.

So now I want to go to Venice.  And keep a visual journal.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Carnegie Library Sketches

Library 1 I realised that if I spend my time fighting the library closure, one day it will be closed and I'll have no idea what it looked like! So I've decided to draw it. Limited opportunity, since I'm usually there with Feets, but here are a couple of quick sketches to start me off, nevertheless.

Meanwhile, you can find my latest letter to Lambeth Councillors on Brixton Blog.Library

Friday, 11 March 2016

Library Closures

As we creep ever nearer to the closure of my local library, I'm determined not to stop fighting. Admittedly, I'm not full of hope that writing letters, attending demonstrations, using the library and all the rest will change the council's mind but if I don't try, then who can I blame when I turn up at the library to find the barriers up? And if we don't fight now, are we not making it easy for the remaining libraries to quietly close in a few years' time?

Last week, Claire, T, Feets and I made a banner for the demonstration ... and were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the result!
Meanwhile, I was moved to send my article to local press, and have enjoyed the consequences of that this week - on Tuesday it appeared on Brixton Blog, and today it's in the printed edition of South London Press.

Tomorrow, we're aiming to fill the library to the brim with people. Let's just love it while it lasts ... see you there!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

I Love You Anyway

Love Letter

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Whitworth Art Gallery

Work and play have recently brought me into contact with the gorgeously refurbished Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.  Not only a zone of paradise for littluns and an inspiration to us all for how art and the environment need not be kept apart, it has an art collection that is right up my street.  Watch as thousands of unfinishable ideas unfold!

Highlights for me ...

Richard Forster:  Not my usual bag, but all the better for it!  This guy has devoted his life to making studied copies in pencil of black and white photographs - so accurately that it's hard to tell the difference.  It blew my mind to see enormous, simple, beautiful photographs of waves lapping gently onto a sandy shore ... and later to realise that they were not photographs at all, but pencil drawings.

One inspiration I will never have the patience to follow up!

Green:  As part of it's environmental association, the Gallery has a lovely display on the theme of 'green' - I think the Whitworth is overflowing with glorious patterns in the forms of fabrics and wallpapers, so the display took a few of the most organic of these as a part of their exhibition.  But then they also looked at upcycling (and gave me a host of ideas of what to do with the bits and pieces I have), and, a lady after my own heart, Michelle Walker has created a quilt from recycled plastic bags, all green.  A new way for me to explore my love of plastic bags, perhaps ...

Portraits: Finally, the Whitworth displays a lovely range of portraits - and in fact this is what drew me back to the gallery in the first place, as I glimpsed it from the corner of my eye as I was on a sustainability tour, and didn't have chance to return to it that day.  Interestingly, amidst portraits by and of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Chris Ofili and Stanley Spencer, I found myself repeatedly drawn to works from an Outsider Art collection, including one by Scottie (unfortunately not this one, but very similar).  The patterns, perhaps, the originality and personal nature of drawings created directly from the heart and mind.  It made me want to doodle more.

Whitworth Art Gallery has an awe-inspiring programme for Under 5s.  One day I'll return when Feets is awake ... and report back!