Thursday, 21 August 2014

A gentle return with soft English garden flowers

I seem to have been away from my blog for an inordinately long time - mostly holidaying where it's difficult to get a reliable internet connection and then looking after our 4 year old granddaughter who had come to stay with us on her own for the first time. This latter was a joy but with her craze for what she calls 'crafting' there was little or no time left for any sort of creative activity of my own ... but we did have fun!

I will try to post a couple of times over the next few days - and then, we're off again for a trip to the USA to visit friends and then on to the canyon country out west, ending up in the Grand Canyon.

Meanwhile for this first post, I'm including some photos taken yesterday, in the Rococo Garden, in Painswick, Gloucestershire. This is a lovely landscaped garden with hints of a life from the past - from the 1740s or thereabouts - a life of privilege and excess in a beautiful gentle English setting.

These photos also fit into the search for pink over on Julie's blog. I'm delighted to be able to take part ... it was a close run thing! I've therefore included 3 photos from our visit - all pink.

Since the 1980s, there has been a huge restoration of the garden following decades and decades of neglect. Much research recently has gone into the replanting which has been based on a painting done of the house and garden completed by Thomas Robins not long after the garden was first established in the 1750s.

Almost all the flowers and smaller plants have had to be replaced. To help authenticity, the modern gardeners have as far as possible used only species of plants that are known to have been in use in gardens before the 1750s. The result is a display of lovely gentle colour - far more subtle than much modern planting - and plants with a free-growing, natural habit.

The first photo above is of a delicious pink lacecap hydrangea at the start of our walk round the garden. The second is of a hollyhock in a gentle rosy pink. I have very fond memories of hollyhocks. My grandmother loved them and always had many growing in her garden when we used to visit.

The last is of an everlasting pea which was growing all over rabbit fencing round the small area of more formal herbaceous borders. The concession to a modern approach to gardening was very necessary and was cleverly masked throughout by rambling roses with a lovely rich scent, low growing espalier fruit trees and the everlasting peas that I've included here.

I was going to include some further (very, very pink) photos of my visit in July to Kaffe Fassett's exhibition in Aberdeen but the colours, though rich and wonderful, seemed somehow too brilliant and modern and to argue with the sense of peace I felt as I wandered around the garden.

... Perhaps in my next post.

... And now to see what all the wonderful bloggers I follow have been up to in my long absence ...

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Aberdeen Art Gallery

This week, I had another visit to Aberdeen Art Gallery, this time to see the exhibition of Kaffe Fassett's extraordinary textiles ... but, sorry to disappoint, only a brief taster of what was on show till I've had time to refind myself after so much time away.

At the top of the stairs to tantalise was his wonderful Leaf Coat (dark), a fantastic contrast in the light from the glass dome,

and a lovely, colourful version of Tumbling Blocks, made from his own fabrics,

and a fantastic needlepoint covered chair with fruit motifs all over it.

Everywhere was a riot of colour - and it made me want to go also to his current exhibition at the American Museum in Bath (running I believe, until the beginning of November ... there's something textile to look forward to ...

Friday, 18 July 2014

A holiday and back to front and violet

Stitching and blogging have been eclipsed recently for me by family and holidays and other pleasures and I doubt it will change much till the middle of September. Still that means lots to look forward to ... and it's a good life!

Meanwhile then, as my contribution to the latest Roy G Biv rainbow challenge, I'm posting a different take on some recent stitch work and a small holiday offering . 

First of all, comes that stitching. I often think that the back of work is as interesting as the front. For me, it's something about the record of the journey, its evolution, the start and the finish and all the effort and thought in between. 

This back view, fortunately for now, has violet (or purple, its more intense cousin) along with the black and the white. You may remember that I posted a photo of the front here.
Then, there is a quite different offering coming from all that holidaying, a photo of Quimperlé in western France taken recently with my daughter and her lovely family and with lucky hints of violet in the flower planting.

I'm not sure when I'll next post ... it's not easy in Scotland, my next port of call ... but I'll be looking out for pink, ready for the August challenge!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Gaugin and grandchildren

We've returned now after a lovely week in Brittany with the family - weather slightly dodgy but we played and talked lots with the grandchildren and spent time on the beach building the promised sand castles and seeking out shells and sea creatures - time with a very special quality.

We stayed in the pretty little village of Le Pouldu in South Finistère, popular at the end of the 19th century with Gaugin and his circle of artists. He stayed in the village intermittently for about 18 months from the autumn of 1889, having come there from Pont Aven in search of a simpler life and cheaper lodgings.

There is now an excellent little museum that's been set up in the house where he stayed in the village. It has been cleverly assembled on a small budget with simple furniture of the period and reproductions of his work on the walls. There was also a tape playing throughout the house (at times slightly spookily) to capture the atmosphere of the times.

The museum details Gaugin's life there - including the room where he painted looking out over the garden with its northern light. He worked in that room before he left for Tahiti in 1891 and the work he completed in Le Pouldu was intensely colourful and increasingly influenced by the folk and primitive art that was to inspire his later work.

He and the other members of the group pioneered the new Synthetism. This style emphasized two dimensional flat patterns where the purity of line, colour and form were paramount. Perspective was distorted and images were simplified.

More details and commentary on Gaugin's work can be found on The National Gallery and The Tate websites and, of course, by entering his name into Google.

This was a fascinating visit - Synthetism was a new concept for me. Somehow it hadn't figured in my brief study of art history. In the simplification of images and the emphasis of pattern, I felt a definite affinity. I will pursue the idea further.