Pastimes

It’s been a week of trying to catch up on nearly 20 years of NZ stamps – I just can’t throw them out without sorting them all first – so I’ve done 10 years and 10 to go, and then the English ones. I fear there isn’t a rarity there – but I’ve got quite fascinated with them and their peculiarities.

I don’t know if X showed her ‘heirloom’ cot quilt to you? We all thought it lovely but Y had another which passed down to all the kids so it never got used. However I think it won a 1st place in the WI competition for which it was first produced.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll go on the Morris w/e to dance the sun up at the equinox in 2 weeks!

I’ve joined Toast Masters! Lots of fun but a terrible time of day – 7.00 a.m. I did 2 table topics – which are 1.5 minutes totally impromptu speeches. I did my first proper speech on Thursday – it went fairly well I think. I had to talk about me – the standard first topic as people don’t have trouble with that topic for 5-6 mins!

Well – I’ve had to videotape this b. show three times! The first time the microphone was turned off. I looked at the switch under the lighting room desk light and it looked as though it had a green + red square so I set it to green. In fact it was black with miniscule word OFF and red is on.

They had wonderful demonstrations outside including a chap with a pole-lathe. I’d never seen one before and it’s truly wonderful. There was also a chap doing potting and giving free lessons so I had a go and made a passable pot and he said I had a natural aptitude which was nice!

I did ask for a drawing of your bedroom and where your bed is – after my friend moved her bed and moved the TV she’s a new woman – and I’ve moved mine into the only corner that doesn’t have water under it, only to find the magnetic rays of the TV went through 2 walls into my bed – even when off – until we switched it off at the wall – the result is super – and X is better I’m sure. I hope his voice is getting stronger – so he suffered having his bed up against the wardrobe so he has to climb on the bed if he wants to get anything out!

I’ve taken up beading at the church’s craft classes – I do crochet wire necklaces so the beads are a bit higgledy-piggledy, and I expect I shall take up painting again soon.

He’s had to give up riding his bike, hiking, rock climbing, any sports he was doing etc. etc. … so now he is taking up canoeing and has had a try of archery – he shot an arrow down the ventilation shaft! oops. I’m not sure how far it was from the target!

I visit a lady for hospice, and go to Bridge at the 1820 Settlers Club on Monday morning. I am on the list to join the art there too. I felt I needed some non-church contacts – after all the people in Church are already born again! I quite enjoy it 10-16 people moving around, not set partners. I still hope God is going to use me in some kind of counselling ministry so I am tying to prepare for that.

I’ve got some canvas, brushes and paint but find it diffcult somehow to start. Oh well, maybe later. Work can get pretty tiring, so I’m not really in painting mode when I get home, and weekends can be quite busy sometimes, but they’re more likely.

The beetroots and the lettuces are growing fine in my vegetable plot of 2 x 2 metres. It is fun at present to chase the snails… I know all their hiding places.

chasing snails

 

Still taking some drawing lessons. Yesterday, we worked on hands. I must sometime find the ‘guts’ to take a canvas and let my right side of the brain work miracles! Is it possible at my age?!!!

 

Encouragement

[Thanks to the people who sent these letters! All were lovely folk and sadly missed.]

[Quote from Unknown: A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.]

Thanks for the pictures – I am fascinated by them and wish I could do anything as interesting. Please, if it’s not too much trouble, could I have a photo of ‘Tribute to Mr. Campbell’ – I long to see it. I have a feeling that you are developing into quite an impressive artist and that you will soon get wider recognition.

This is to thank you again for the very great pleasure it was to me to meet you… It is a very long time since I have had such a happy afternoon, of so much interest and intense enjoyment… My interest and appreciation were so great that I actually felt a lifting of the weight of years – one of the hazards of extreme old age is a kind of creeping inertia and withdrawal from the present, and you have certainly thrust that aside for me. To see you again is something to look forward to.

creeping inertia

Do not NOT let other artists or critics disturb you – let them rabbit on – pick and choose that which you find of help and do your own thing… I don’t know what you are trying to achieve – be yourself !!!

I saw this gorgeous painting of irises of yours in the window. It really is lovely… When I went past the shop on my return there was a different picture in the window – lovely too of poppies! It seems to me your painting has developed enormously with fabulous colour. Why on earth do you have some people anti, I wonder. It is so refreshing to have flower paintings so full of life and colour which after all is the characteristic of flowers not the neat ladylike little bunches with most colour drained out of them.

Art

My friend the R.C. Bishop called me to see if I had any paintings for the art show last Saturday. Having done absolutely no painting all year due to this and that, I was able to dredge up three old ones – two had to be framed in a hurry. But I was pleased they all sold in the first hour – I said I’d give their charity half the proceeds. I must say, a more undistinguished bunch of paintings in the show I have never seen. It was in much too large a venue – last year it was in the house next door and there was a smaller much more distinguished collection shown to better advantage.

My day with X began in Piccadilly, ended in St. James’ and was very ‘full’ and ‘successful’ i.e. I finally got to the gallery only 16 months after the exhibition that I’d wanted to see had opened!… I thought you might be interested in this Samuel Palmer. It’s possible they still have the picture there – I enquired re one from the 4-months-old similar exhibition to the original one which was unsold in the basement… Yes, I’m thinking I might make a further (small!) purchase…? [small purchase: a Samuel Palmer???]

 

There is so much bad painting here – what I call ‘brown paintings’ – peasants and palm trees and mud-coloured mountains – boring.

a dull day with heavy rain coming in the Caribbean
a brown painting

 

There is also an unfinished cross I started some years ago – a construction of copper mosaic that I have enamelled. My kiln is a small one so have to think in terms of linking large work together. The cross depicts Alpha & Omega – plenty of colour – slimy mud and things at the base and volcanoes and night & day with a sun at the top. Am intending to mount it on a super piece of oak that I found in a builder’s yard – weathered and worn to a gorgeous silver patina – it was at one time a tail board from a small farm cart – I guess 100 years or more past.

…Some splendid Monets – I bought a poster of the Floating Studio – now I know why he did so many waterlilies! The gallery had done the walls the same colour as Barnes had used, which was a rather nasty sort of yellow ochre which I did not think was a very good background for the pictures – but who am I?? They did a big photomontage of one of his hanging arrangements, which was very interesting, as he mixed such different things and made such balanced sort of compositions.

Looking through some of my earlier efforts I came on some things that I did before my pot-boiling flowers and was quite impressed. I must do some more buildings and portraits – I have got into such a rut, but the flowers sell like hot bread and it tempts me.

I think she is such a good artist. Her family are quite unimpressed with her work, and it all seems to be done on odd bits of paper and the backs of envelopes and I am sure will disappear when she dies. There were a couple of portrait heads, Indian?, that I would give my eyeteeth to own, also a landscape in mixed media.

I have been painting quite a lot. X, my grand-daughter, was over with her aunt who also paints flowers, not nearly as well as I do (!) and is peddling them to tourists on the coast, and I was so incensed it gave me the prod I needed. X has contacts with galleries over there and will help me place mine.

I was interested to hear of the Byam Shaw man – I was taught there by a marvellous teacher, Ernest Jackson, only drawing. The painting end was too heavy for me – Prix de Rome stuff a way over my head.

 

 

Art and makers

“We went on to see the current exhibition in the gallery, which was called ‘Townscape’ although they were interpreting the title pretty widely since there were normal portraits, abstract squares of paint, three pigeons on a lawn and a variety of other subjects not easily identified as urban. The usual mixture, so far as I was concerned, of about half and half admirable, and ‘why-on-earth-did-they-accept-that?’ pictures.”

townscape

[Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe] The balustrades were added years later as the nuns were afraid to slip and fall. The beauty of the original wooden free-standing structure is breathtaking when you see it from behind. It is a strange story, the unknown carpenter who left without his pay as soon as he had finished the staircase. In the cathedral some of the stained glass windows are impressive – we noticed some had been made in Chartres.”

“X may have a commission – may! She called me at 2 a.m. I could have throttled her.”

“X [grandchild] gave me a pomander which smells very strongly – and for [grandfather] so he wouldn’t feel left out he gave him an old brown envelope stuck down – right down at the bottom was a flattened toffee paper, with 2 scrumpled toffee papers stuck on and a red ribbon bow and he explained it was for him to hang in his wardrobe!”