Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Children's Open Exhibition - Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Just over a week ago I managed to get to the last day of the above exhibition, the annual Children's Open at the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. I had particular interest in it this year as our grand-daughter had managed to secure a painting in it! Apparently, all the children were asked to paint a scene depicting poppies in some way - the teacher didn't let on that the children were perhaps being judged to take part in the exhibition, so when Matheea found out that her painting would be on display it was a lovely surprise for us all!

I managed to take some photos of several that I was really impressed with, or that appealed to me for one reason or another - including Matheea's painting, of course.

The 7 to 11 year old section - Matheea's is 2nd in on the top row.

"Poppy Fields" by Matheea Ellerby.

"The Blue Eyed Fox" by William McCulloch, aged 6.
This painting of the blue eyed fox was Highly Commended by the Friends of the Ferens, and I can understand why - such an appealing painting, and very well executed for a six year old!

"Jewels Under The Sea" by Megan Gore, age 14.
I was particularly drawn to this textile piece of art - I think she has got the balance just right and it is a very striking image.

Self Portrait by Chloe Hewson, age 11.
Of all the portraits on display, this was the one that I liked the most. I thought it was an excellent piece of work for someone of this age.

"It's Not All Black and White" by Francesca Wilkinson, age 11.

"The Lighthouse" by Fergus Croston, age 10.

The above two images are of a very high standard, in my opinion. I loved the image of the soldier in pencil drawing, as a stark contrast to the vibrantly painted poppy fields he's crouched down in - and to have been painted by an 11 year old, too! I love it. As for the lighthouse- I'm sure there are many adults who couldn't master watercolours in the same way as this young man obviously has! I shall be looking out for more from him in the future.

"Ballerina" by Andreea Voinea, age 11
I was also drawn (excuse the pun) to this portrayal of a ballerina, perfectly proportioned and rendered masterfully by 11 year old Andreea Voinea. Incredible!

I think my favourite was the pen drawing of a thistle, which had a First Place sticker next to it, so I was obviously not alone in my thinking:

"Thistle" by Adam Toomes, age 15.
It's the detail and texture that he has captured which enthral me - it is just a beautiful reproduction of the plant.

Whilst we were there, we also had a look at the Colin Gray exhibition, which was amazing. His photographs are of his parents and their life - right up to the death of his mother, which he has also photographed. It sounds macabre, but it is done with such style that you are admiring the skill of the photographer and not shying away from the subject matter.

One of the photographs I was most impressed with can be seen on the preview of the exhibition if you click on this link. The link will open in a new window for you. His exhibition runs until February 26th and I'm sure we will be back to see it again before then!

The Ferens Art Gallery is situated on Queen Victoria Square, in the centre of the town. Opened in 1927, the award winning Ferens Art Gallery combines internationally renowned permanent collections with a thriving programme of temporary exhibitions. There is also a lively education and events programme that includes talks and art workshops.

The gallery's first-class permanent collection of paintings and sculpture spans the medieval period to the present day. These include European Old Masters, particularly Dutch and Flemish, portraiture, marine paintings, modern and contemporary British art, including video. Highlights include masterpieces by Frans Hals, Antonio Canaletto, Stanley Spencer, David Hockney, Helen Chadwick and Gillian Wearing.

Part of the Designated Collections of national importance relating to the city and region of Kingston upon Hull are on display here.

Hours of opening are Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm, Sunday 1.30pm - 4.30pm.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The pleasure of hand-made

I've been sorting through photographs that I've loaded onto my PC today, and amongst the many since before Christmas, I remembered one I took of a felt brooch that I treated myself to from fellow artist and craft-maker, Andrea Farmer.

This particular little gem called to me first of all in April last year, when I received a box full of goodies from Andrea to sell at a craft fair I organised. It didn't sell at the craft fair, but I took it and other items with me to the craft fairs I've taken part in since, sometimes having the space and/or permission to sell the items on my table, at other times they have just come along for the ride! It wasn't until all my fairs were over that I finally picked out a couple of other items to give as stocking fillers for my two grand-daughters - for Matheea I bought a red, black and cerise coloured button badge (her current favourite colours are red and black, so she thought this was "Cool" when she opened it). For her sister, Evie, I bought a white and pink button badge, with little pink owl buttons along all the petals - she was also chuffed, and as she was wearing a pink outfit the day I saw them, she put it on straight away. Both girls have developed a love of "Make and do", so they have learnt to appreciate hand-made gifts from a young age, which I encourage as much as possible. I also made them a wardrobe styled trinket box each for my sister to give to them as gifts for Christmas - and as a place for them to keep all their badges and other small trinkets.

The brooch I bought for myself was a perfect match for a cerise coloured cardigan that I'd recently bought, and it is a firm favourite of mine at the moment.

I've taken photos of the three items I bought from Andrea, apologies for the poor quality, I had to take the photos in a rush before I wrapped the badges up for Christmas and in between other jobs!

Andrea sells a large proportion of her craft based items in her Etsy shop online, but if you live in the Chelmsford area you can visit "Make, Do and Mend" at 94 Byron Road, Chelmsford CM2 6HJ. They stock many hand-made gifts by local people and also run various workshops - more details on their web-site here.

The beautiful felt brooch made by Andrea, which is now MINE!!!!!
Matheea's button badge

Evie's pink and white owl badge
For the gifts my sister commissioned to give to Matheea and Evie, I opted for their favourite colours again and as I like to name my creations, I used their names also, and personalised them a little further by painting their initial on the top of the box.

Evie's mini wardrobe trinket box.

Matheea's mini wardrobe trinket box.
I think hand-made items are so much more than just a gift - you are giving a part of your personality away as well, and I only hope that whenever someone is given a gift made by me, they feel the same as I do whenever I receive something hand-made.  I smile at my felt brooch when I wear it, and always imagine the work that's gone into making it, and somehow that makes me take more care over it.

My mini wardrobes have mainly been created for commissions, although I am hoping to build up enough stock to sell them at local venues as well as in my Etsy shop online.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Audience feedback

Just thought I'd quickly share some of the amusing snippets of conversation overheard from our audience members during this week. More often than not, our typical audience members seem to think that when we are acting on stage, we can't hear them - or perhaps they think they are watching telly - whichever it is, it certainly makes for some entertaining dialogue.

Since the play is set in a garden, we've obviously had to decorate the set to look at least something like one - but that still doesn't stop the astonishment from some of them when the curtains open to reveal "Ooooh, there's grass! It's grass on stage. Grass!". 

The character I play is not at all pleasant, which makes it a real joy to play as I can get as vile as I like without worrying about what people may think of me. Thankfully, I must be doing the job properly, as one woman in the audience commented on the first night with "She's the Mother-in-law from Hell"

The funniest so far is one from last night. In one scene, Amy (who plays the part of my daughter-in-law in the play) starts the scene sitting on the garden bench. It is the first time the audience have seen her. When she stood up, however, one lady was obviously shocked at how deceptive the stage can be as she blurted out "Ooooh, she's a lot taller than I thought she'd be".

Over the years we've had many comments either spoken in a loud voice or even shouted from the audience as they work out the plot or whenever a new actor joins the society - they never cease to amaze and amuse us all. The one I will never forget is when we were doing a play set in  the 1940s and I had my hair styled accordingly. When I walked on, someone at the back of the auditorium "whispered" to her companion "I don't like her hair in this one". Priceless!

If there are any more gems tonight I will report back!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Ferens Open Exhibition

I managed to enter the Ferens Open Exhibition today - on the last day of entry submissions! This is partly because I did not receive notification as usual (in previous years I'm sure I've had email notifications to tell me about this) and therefore only found out on Sunday when I popped in to see the last day of the Children's Exhibition! Also, I've not been at all well since Sunday - both Keith and I have suffered with a sickness/gastric bug that seems to be doing the rounds. For the first time ever, we had to miss the final dress rehearsal for our play, which opened last night. Fortunately, we managed to perform and hope to stay well enough for the rest of the week.

Anyhow, this year I've opted for hand-bag sized paintings and took along 3 of my smaller paintings which I did actually transport in my handbag. I'm hoping for success this year, but you never know what the curators will like so it's pot luck really.

I've entered the following paintings:
"Grand Canyon Impression"

"Life's Little Ups & Downs"

"Undersea Adventure"
If any of my paintings get selected, you can view or purchase them from the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, between 11th February and 15th April. The Preview evening is Friday 10th February.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Night On The Tiles

One week to go for the opening night of our next production at the Bilton Theatre. This is part of the reason I've not blogged since before Christmas! I have several ideas for blog posts to come, but for now, I just wanted to share the countdown to our production week!