Tuesday, 8 October 2019

An alternative to Stamp collage

I  only  work from my studio at home on stamp collages,  as storage and use of materials isn't great outdoors (they blow away!), and transporting supplies is difficult.  I  always  enjoy doing some form of  artwork though, and find sitting for a while and really looking closely at the subject is far more memorable than merely taking a photo! While away I try to do odd sketches or collages using leaflets etc which I can't resist picking up at every opportunity, so only need to take glue stick, notebook  and some pens or pencils and small scissors. This time, I also bought a
Children's paint box for 3 Euros!
In the hilly  Alfama area of Lisbon, I could have spent the whole time sitting on the third floor  balcony trying to draw, paint and collage this panoramic view, if it wasn't for the endless sightseeing opportunities. 
 Due to a  lack of Portuguese stamps, chances are I won't be making any collages of the various places of interest we visited in Lisbon, as  I like to use the nation's stamps when creating landmarks:  Italian stamps for the Colosseum, French for the Eiffel Tower and for my latest picture of Ayers Rock, Australian stamps.  See Landmark pages for all these collages, available as originals in some cases, and prints in various sizes.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Primary research methods - visit a pub!

I must admit to being extremely disappointed when I arrived at the Mauretania pub in Bristol recently on a mission to get in the mood for embarking on my new project of making a stamp collage version of the Mauretania, originally launched in 1907.  I had located this source of great interest after discovering the story of this beautiful ocean liner, after visiting Amble, Northumberland , "the Friendliest port in England".  See blog post dated for the story so far 6th September.

I had read that the Mauretania building in Bristol's Park Street contains fixtures and fittings salvaged when the liner was broken up in 1936, and had hoped we could go to the pub, have a drink and possibly lunch, and admire the beauty of the mirror veneer panelling, and chandeliers , but instead I was confronted with locked doors, pulled down shutters, and a general feeling of neglect, and no clue as to the demise of the business.Only the illuminated sign "MAURETANIA" which is still lit up at night  remains as an indication of the story of what lies within.
 We spent the rest of the morning visiting a couple of exhibitions before heading back down the hill for lunch but determination lead me to ring one of the bells for other businesses which now inhabit the upstairs .. my call was answered and I asked if  I could possibly speak to someone.  Door catch released, and I proceeded up a dark stairway, emerging to find two helpful ladies, who said they dealt with the Mauretania building, now empty and in need of a new occupant to bring it back to life.
I was introduced to a gentleman who was very knowledgeable about the ship and who proudly showed me the clock from the vessel, and pointed out some of the mirrors and other fittings in his office space, as well as an old framed photo of the Mauretania.

 I was then invited to go downstairs to the former nightclub, Java, which also contains some of the once beautiful polished wood panelling and decoration from the ship as well as a ceiling dome minus its glass, and currently sporting a garish glitter ball! 

It's a large space, and times are hard. The nightclub closed after a few years. It would be lovely to see it back in use, and hopefully retaining the historic features. I felt very privileged to have seen just a glimpse of what the Mauretania would have been like in her heyday. The book Mauretaina, Triumph and Resurrection by Peter Newall gives even more information about other buildings and museums which hold more relics from the liner, including Pinewood Studios!

Friday, 6 September 2019

Mauretania Day in Amble, the Friendliest port in England

Celebrated in Amble, Northumberland every year around 3rd July is Mauritania Day. It gets its name from the famous Cunard liner the RMS Mauritania.   The ship passed Amble on that day in 1935  heading to Rosyth to be broken up,and  received the message from the Amble "Amble to Mauretania, Greetings from Amble last port in England, to still the finest ship on the seas."  The reply came back. Mauretania to Urban Council, Amble, to the last and kindliest port in England, greetings and thanks, Mauretania".  Kindliest has over the years become "friendliest", and having visited recently I totally agree!
Built in Newcastle's Swan Hunter shipyard in 1907 for Cunard, she carried wealthy passengers on ocean cruises, and gained the Blue Ribband for being the fastest vessel to cross the Atlantic, maintaining this record for 22 years until it was superceded by the Bremmen. She had 9 decks, carrying passengers in  1st, 2nd and 3rd class.  The first class areas were very sumptious and lined with shiny mahogony and decked out with chandeliers.
On Mauritania Day, which this year took place on the 7th July,  we were able to witness the pride of the town in being named, "the kindliest (now friendliest) port in England" with a programme of entertainment throughout the day including Brass bands, choirs, Belly dancers, the weekly  market, and a very welcoming  street Cafe Church service with tea and cake.

Inspired by the ship's story, on return home I began my research, with a view to making a collage of this beautiful old vessel. Unsure at the moment quite how or where  to portray her, as photos of old postcards and ancient photographs show her with varying paint colours including a very jazzy paint effect during the war.

Always  after a ship to collage, the Mauritania certainly fits the bill, and to my delight I find  I have two stamps  depicting her.  Back in pre-decimal 1969, and in my own collection is   a set of Ships designed by renowned stamp designer, David Gentleman., including the 1/- Mauritania.

  In 2004 a series of  stamps depicting ocean liners was issued  including a 47p  RMS Mauritania stamp from a painting by Thomas Henry

Researching  online, I dicover  that not far from home. is a pub in Bristol  called The Mauritania which is fitted out with some of the original wood panelling and other decorative items  from the ship, so that was my next destination ...   More to follow ...

Friday, 30 August 2019

Ayres Rock - Uluru - Stamp collage using Australian stamps

Ayres Rock - stamp collage by Rachel Markwick

Earlier this month I posted about making this collage, inspired by finding an aboriginal artwork in a charity shop. It's now finished, and  I'm getting  some high quality giclee prints made actual size of the original, which is A3.                                                                                                                             

I've used mainly Australian stamps to create this collage of Ayres Rock, also know as Uluru, the world's largest Monolith.  The very last stamp to be included was one depicting kangaroos. There are in fact several different kangaroo stamps in the collage, along with wombats, lizards and Australian flora.  Aboriginal artworks on stamps also feature on the rock itself.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Enjoying a good rummage ..

 Stamps for new projects are sometimes  easy to find, having already been sorted  into countries, subjects, colours or just "may be useful for a certain idea not yet started ".  But more often than not, I find myself rummaging around in boxes and bags for likely materials for new projects, or in the latest case to find ordinary definitives in pastel shades to complete a large picture of the Shard abandoned last year  due other projects of  more immediate interest to me, and I might add, the fiddly nature of the task I'd set myself!

  There's something quite therapeutic about sorting through heaps of stamps, and I often find little treasures which make me smile, such as this delightful Isle of Man stamp showing Postman Pat and his Black and White cat.  And I have  a black and white cat of my own, who  also appreciates a good box of stamps.


Sunday, 11 August 2019

I went walkabout (in Charity shops) and got inspiration from Aboriginal art ...

I recently picked up an original Aboriginal painting on canvas for a few pounds in a Charity shop.
The artist is Minnie Ngwarray Morton one of the artists of Ampilatwatja in the Northern Territory of Australia.  Interesting to read that artists from this area  mainly depict medicinal plants and herbs arranged in attractive patterns. This piece  has a  terracotta coloured background, and  limited palette of blues, yellows and greens.  I've never been to Australia, but have "explored" by means of stamps, and loved creating an  Australian flag collage some years ago using stamps showing the wonderful and  varied landscapes of this vast country.  When I think of a famous Australian landmark, Ayers rock, or Uluru,  springs immediately to  mind. It's the largest monolith in the world, and appears on a stamp issued in 1993, shown below with a few others I'm hoping to incorporate in a stamp collage version of Ayers Rock I'm now working on.

 I'm  gathering together mainly Australian stamps in appropriate colour tones, as well as also searching and researching  Australian plants on stamps  to include in the picture's foreground, along with a few trees and maybe some wildlife. I also found a series of stamps showing Aboriginal rock paintings art, issued in 1984, some of which may also find there way onto the rock. 
I must keep at it and not be tempted to go walkabout again for a while!                                           

Saturday, 10 August 2019

The Grayhound - new arrival in Gloucester Waterways Museum exhibition on Floor 2 - and new cards

The Grayhound - Stamp collage by Rachel Markwick
 I have added a framed limited edition  stamp collage print of the Grayhound  to the other pictures of ships currently in my exhibition in the Waterways Museum,  Llanthony Warehouse in Gloucester docks. Also available in the museum is a selection of my cards mainly featuring ships and flags.
Cards are priced at £2.50 each or £10 for  5 . These are also on Floor 2 but need to be purchased  in the shop on the Ground floor .  The exhibition continues on until October, but will update on  closing date, as it may be extended.

Here are some of the latest additions to my range of cards:
The Atyla, The Grayhound, The White Heather and La Malouine  in Gloucester Docks