Friday, 11 May 2018

The Frigate Dom Fernando II E Gloria - Stamp collage inspired by a visit to Lisbon Maritime Museum

I went through a rather unproductive phase, in terms of actually making new work over the latter part 2017. But Spring has brought with it new energy, and ideas stored up over some years are now emerging in the form of new collages, including this one of the Frigate Dom Fernando II e Gloria. 

In November 2014, we made our first visit to Lisbon, and my love of ships as a subject for pictures  took us to the Maritime Museum in the Belem area, home also to the Monument of the Discoveries mentioned in a previous blog of  October 2016.The  museum houses a vast collection of  paintings and models of ships including this one of the Dom Fernando II e Gloria.
The museum also owns several paintings  including one by Roger Chapelet showing her in full sail, which has been useful in the making of my own stamp collage picture, featured here.
Stamps and  envelopes have been incorporated in this collage with the sky painted in watercolour and the rigging ink and pencil. As always, finding a crew was an interesting  challenge!This fully rigged  ship  built of teak in India in 1843 was the last frigate of the navy.  On her maiden voyage from Goa to Lisbon in 1845 she was armed with 18 guns.  She was used for transporting cargo, troops, passengers and "deportees to Angola and Mozambique". She was also used as a Naval artillery school and school of seamanship from 1865 until 1937.  She was partially destroyed by a fire in 1963 when she was the HQ of a children's home. In 1990 rebuilding commenced, to be  completed in 1998, and she can now be visited near Aveiro.  I hope to be able to do this one day!

 I discovered that the Dom Fernando II e Gloria  also features on Portuguese stamps issued in 1997.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

John Piper - Liverpool Metropolitan cathedral, art and stamps - Inspiring!

A few years ago I  enjoyed the exhibition "John Piper in the 1930s - Abstraction on the Beach" at Dulwich Picture Gallery, so I  was pleased to find another exhibition of his work this year at Tate Liverpool, featuring collages, and other mixed media artworks. This was one of the highlights of our recent stay in this wonderful city, and a film about Piper's and  Rutyens' designs  for  stained glass for the Catholic cathedral, prompted us to revisit this awe inspiring  building!

In my own work using stamps in collages I have become familiar with subjects of stamps and noted that one of John Piper's paintings from 1940 also appeared  on a British stamp issued in 1968,
the church of St Mary Le  Port, Bristol  badly bombed in WW2.

The Metropolitan Cathedral was also the subject of a stamp as part of the British Cathedrals series of 1969, with a value of 1/6d.  Pre-Decimal Currency. 

John Piper used all sorts of materials in his work, including matchbox labels, paper doilies, string, wallpaper, but as far as I know, never postage stamps.  Visiting Liverpool and having seen this latest exhibition, some of the small craft moored in the Albert Dock also seemed  reminiscent of vessels featured in some of his work.  My own ship themed collages completed since seeing this exhibition, now also incorporate a few new materials, such as cotton and scrim for the rigging and additional painted elements.Matchbox labels? Not yet, but see my Ships page of for latest collages. Thank you John Piper for the inspiration!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Monet and Architecture - Inspirational exhibition at the National Gallery in London until end July

The current exhibition was a wonderful reminder  of past experiences of seeing Monet's paintings and the locations which feature in his work, as well as discovering work I had never  seen before. Most of all, I enjoyed  comparing five versions of Rouen cathedral.   From  the upstairs room in a clothes shop opposite the cathedral, Monet painted more than 30 canvases over a period of two years, 1892-3,.setting  up his easel, screened off from the daily business of the shop. Although photography was, surprisingly, permitted at the NG, I did not take any photos while there, but include some of the images taken from a catalogue of a previous exhibition.   On a family holiday in 2010 we visited the cathedral in Rouen and also an exhibition of impressionist paintings at the Musee des Beaux Art.

Stamp issued in 1957 
Other memories  re-emerged on seeing Monet's paintings of the Normandy
coast in the NG.  Shown below right,  is  a fisherman's cottage on the clifftop near Varengeville, whose church we also visited in 2006.   In the churchyard is a wonderful mosaic dove on the grave of Georges Braque, whose friend Raoul Ubac  designed some of the stained glass windows in the church,  The area has associations with many artists.

Rouen Cathedral and one of the many paintings by Monet 
Monet's atmospheric paintings of Venice and London in  the mist and fog  also feature in the exhibition., together with  exotic gardens of  Italy and the South of France, but all in relation to architectural elements.  Most enjoyable!

Monday, 23 April 2018

How long does it take?

How long does it take you to make a picture? That's a question artists are often asked.  A good answer is, "A lifetime of experimenting", or in the case of this particular piece, almost a year!
Not that I've been physically working on it for all that time, but I went with a good friend to the wonderful Tall Ships festival last May, and La Malouine was moored by the Warehouses in Gloucester docks.d We climbed aboard and were given a tour by one of the crew.
We asked what the name meant and were told that the ship came from St Malo in France.  Using photos taken at the time, and having sorted out suitable stamps I got started a few months later, but have only recently completed the picture .. the brickwork of the warehouses and the windows were a challenge but very absorbing.
For the first time, I've used cotton dipped in acrylic paint to sew in the rigging and am quite pleased with the effect!   And I saw several  beautiful ships that day ... so watch this space! 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Union Jacks of all sorts make a great Christmas Gift

Union Jack - Big LOVE version

The Union Jack is such a wonderful flag and I've enjoyed making several different versions with stamps for several years now.  They are very popular to give as a gift at any time of year, but if you are looking for a special Christmas gift look no further!   I'm happy to say that they have travelled the world too and been purchased by people in USA, Canada, Denmark and Australia either as canvas prints or giclee prints and in sizes from A3 to larger than A1! I've also been asked to customise them by including  particular stamps which have a special meaning for the recipient.  You can see other versions of the Union Jack as well as flags from many other nations, made with the stamps of those countries on - see the  FLAGS  page.

Union Jack - Beatles Version

Union Jack with Queen Elizabeth II
This one has a smaller LOVE stamp in the centre 
LOVE - England Winners

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Article in local papers to promote the Longfield Big Heart Charity auction

Thanks to Sally Bailey, on behalf of Longfield for getting in touch and interviewing me , and producing this lovely article which features in the colour magazines of this week end's  Gloucester Citizen, Gloucester Echo and Western Daily Press,  covering several counties.
I donated this original Heart stamp collage, now framed,  as I felt it was appropriate for the Big Heart Charity auction which is now live on Ebay and will finish on Thursday evening 30th November . More than 250 pieces of work have been donated by  professional and amateur artists and celebrities and will help to raise money for art therapy  at Longfield's Minchinhampton centre.  Visit
www, and click on Big Heart 2017.
The article in full is below:

Friday, 24 November 2017

Brighten up your post! A little slower than e mail but it's lovely to receive a real letter or postcard.

Having joined in the wonderful activity of a few years ago, which anyone can join for free,  instead of just boring brown envelopes,  I now frequently  receive  mail like this from all parts of the world and have gained some lovely regular penfriends :

I decided to get started with writing some letters to many of my overseas friends before the Christmas rush starts, and chose some pretty stamps and decorations to add to the envelopes, so my pile of post looked like this:

You don't have to stick (excuse the pun!) to the small definitive stamps to put on your letters, ask at the post office for Commemoratives (the ones with a picture of an event or historical reference.  which will always make your post look far more interesting! Zoom in on this image to see the latest stamps issued including the toys and children's story books, windmills etc.  And you can pick up interesting cards anywhere you go, and can often also find them very cheaply in Charity shops.