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Journal Entry Original Art Biography

Return to the Flock

I was sitting and reading a book on modern art.  I don’t always “get” modern art.  I do try.  I was looking at a picture of a lamb in a tank of formaldehyde called “Away from the Flock” by Damien Hirst.  He also placed a 14 foot tiger- shark in a tank of formaldehyde called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.  Now if this sort of thing is up your alley but you don’t have room for a lamb or a shark in your living room, Carolina Biological offers some delightful preserved cats for only $42.95.  All you need then is a tank of formaldehyde to complete the exhibit.  The shark in the tank, on the other hand originally sold for 50,000 pounds and was 14 feet long.  But all that aside, let’s turn back to the picture of that lamb in formaldehyde.

Tila was reading over my shoulder.  “Humph”, he said, as Pyrs often do, having a complex language of huffs and snorts and whines and more types of barks than you can count.

“We must do something about this, free this sheep, return it to the flock.” he stated matter-of-factly.  After all he is a guardian dog.  And that is what they do, guard flock animals from dangerous and sometimes unusual predators.

“That might be a problem.” I told him.   “Someone did try to mess with it at one point, in fact a man called Mark Bridger poured ink into the tank and was convicted of an art crime.   He tried to say he was contributing to the art, and renamed the work ‘black sheep’. ” 

“Snort!” said Tila. “I wouldn’t call this art, supper maybe, but not art.”

“You know, this is funny, ” I said, ” Someone stole pencils out of a Damien Hirst installation and they may be charged 10 million pounds in damage to the artwork.  You think that someone would just buy a few more pencils.  And look at this, some other folks claim that Damien Hirst stole some of his ideas from other artists.  But really can you own a bunch of dots or a skull if you paint or use the image once? But it isn’t nice to speak ill of the dead as he died this year.  Oops, maybe they were wrong, he didn’t die in January 2012.  Maybe that is just the ultimate angry art critic.   The author did seem a bit wound up stating Hirst  “died last Thursday, January 12, in New York following complications from acute diverticulitis brought on by a swinishly speculative, grossly cynical, intellectually constipated effort to pinch out 11 concurrent exhibitions of rehashed expensive crap.”

This July he  offered a statue of a pregnant woman wielding a sword to a town in Devon England.   He appears to be alive and well. 

Tila sighed.

“This is why I find the modern art world so confusing.” I said.

“You know, this would make a great subject for a painting.”, nudged Tila the muse.

 And here without further ado is “Return to the Flock”, with apologies to  Damien Hirst and the modern art world.

 

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Journal Entry

Inspiration from the English Courts

Inspiration can come from many sources.  Lately we have been watching two rather old British shows about the legal profession, Rumpole of the Bailey and Kavanagh Q.C.  The occupation of Barrister dates back to the fifteen century in the Commonwealth Countries of England.  I love the wigs they wear and the language they use. For instance the judge is always addressed formally as “My Lord”.    As I watched them in their floppy white wigs I could not but think they looked a bit Pyr like.  And my muse started nudging.   Here are a couple of pictures so you can tell me what you think.  I found the one for Rumpole of the Bailey on google pictures and the one of Kavanagh is from the website http://presentinenglish.com/what-we-can-learn-from-barristers  and it has an excellent article there as well.  If anyone wants me to acknowledge their pictures or take them down just make a comment and I will comply.  The shows are very old so I am having a problem tracking down whether they have been freely released into the public domain or not.

So without further ado, here is Rumpole.

And here is Kavanagh QC

 

 You can see the accused sitting in the dock with the metal spikes sticking up behind him.

 

 

 

 

The English courtroom is also set up very differently than the American one.  The judge sits at the front and faces across the room toward the back a raised “dock” where the accused sits.  This is in contrast to how the accused sits next to his counsel in an American courtroom.  There are separate benches or boxes with tables to one side where the counsel will sit.   And of course a jury box and a witness box.  Different courtrooms have slightly different set ups.  Some English cases are only argued in front of a judge or judges.  

The other unique thing is that your lawyer or counsel does not directly argue your case in front of the judge.  A specialist called a Barrister does that.  And the best of the best Barristers are known as taking the “silk”, as they wear special silk robes and the title of Queen’s Counsel or Q.C.  Hence the Q.C. in Kavanagh, Q.C.

The judges also look wonderful in a variety of robes and wigs.  Here is Lord Alverstone from a 1913 Vanity Fair in full regala.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a here is Sir James Eyre 1734-1799, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.  The painting is by Lemuel Francis Abbot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Bailey, London’s central criminal court, dates back to 1673 and has been renovated a number of times.  Here is an artistic rendering of one of it’s court rooms in 1809 rendered by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson. The nickname old Bailey was derived from the street it is located on, which was conveniently next to Newgate Street which housed Newgate Central Prison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t believe the English Courts allow photographs during it’s sessions.  That is why I turned to art. 

So you can see how I was inspired.  So coming soon, a picture of Pyrs in an English Courtroom.   Pyrs and Peers, how may plays on those words can you make?  One of them is the title of my painting.

Special thanks to Wikipedia and Creative Commons for aiding the dissemination of information and images.

Factoid:  English Court:  Where the Queen is, English Courts: Where the Lawyers are.

If you are sad this post ended and want to go on reading here are a few fun links.

Charon QC ” He awarded himself the title QC when the Lord Chancellor suspended the award for real lawyers. Now, as no-one can instruct him in any matter, or would wish to, he is free to comment as he wishes on matters which catch his attention. He is, of course, a figment of a febrile imagination ”    He gets into a number of current and interesting topics in English law.

The Magistrate’s Blog Musings and Snippets from an English Magistrate

The Anonymous Assistant A real lawyer writes a fictionalized account of the happenings in a City Law Firm.    

Law Actually “He’s been described, on occasions, as a typically deranged law graduate, with a poor taste in blogging and too much spare time on his hands.”   It’s actually pretty good.

OK people….still here?…..http://www.google.com/.  G’nite.

 

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Journal Entry

Artist without an Adjective

Yesterday I posted another of my paintings on Facebook for my friends to see.   I was actually called “an artist”!  I can embrace that.    I have been reading about art and artists.  Most artists have an adjective associated with their name.  There are “great” painters such as Titian and Rembrandt, there are “pop” painters such as Warhol, there are impressionist, modern, folk, deconstructionist, reconstructionist, and some just bad or crazy painters.  The list obviously goes on and on.

I haven’t earned any adjective yet.   And I think that can be a good thing. 

 

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All Entries Journal Entry

Paintings Need a Reason to Live

Now I haven’t been breathing in too much turpentine, but I recently discovered that paintings need a reason to live. 

Having finished two great works of art, I pulled out some of my 6 x 8 inch canvas and just decided to paint.  Let the muse move me.  And ack..utter failure.  Why? 

Well paintings need some sort of focal point.  Some place for your eye to land.  Another thing I found out in my recent reading is that your eye travels from left to right in a painting.  At least according to one author.  So it’s nice to plan your lightness and dark and negative space to help your eye to travel.  Or at least frame your picture. 

I had this in hand when I just started to paint.  But when I was finished there was no reason for the painting to be there.  It had no reason to “live”.  It did not have a life or a spirt of its own. 

So now I have a couple of 6 x 8 canvas paper weights.   But I think I learned a valuable lesson.  You must paint was inspires you and as part of the process you must breath some light and spirit into the work.

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All Entries Journal Entry

Nothing is White

One day, while sitting around just looking I finally felt like I really “saw” for the first time. After you have a car accident and break your leg you have lots of time to look,  But enough of that.  I looked and saw nothing is white.  Now that may not sound like much, but if you look at a shadow it may be shades of grey.  A tree, shades of brown.  If you put all those little shades next to one another, you have a picture.

I got it!  But could I do it?  I started just drawing with pencil.  After a few false starts I decided that what I was doing, while not great, wasn’t all that bad.  When my husband asked me for what I wanted for my birthday, I asked for oil paints.  I haven’t picked up a brush in over 20 years, but am I having a ball.   I decided to work through a book of oil painting exercises. 

 

Color theory, mixing tints, tones and shades.

Just mixing the colors was lots of fun.  In the past I just jumped in and tried to capture what I could but learning a bit was advancing what I could do as well.  In the first column you have the color out of the tube, the second column is the color mixed with white, the next is the color mixed with black, the next is the color mixed with grey.  The last two colums are the color mixed with it’s opposite on the color wheel (I may have played with this a bit rather than being exact) then the opposite and white.  So this entire large block was made from 7 colors.  The last one I threw in there as the exercise only had 6 as I was in search of shades of Pyr fur.

Of course I posted on Facebook that I recieved my oils.  Not only did I recieve my oil paint set and easel, but my husband, showing great faith in my unproven ability bought me enough canvas to fill an art gallery.  Next my dog’s breeder asked if I would paint a picture of my dog as a charity donation for the Great Pyrenees rescue booth.  I wasn’t sure I was up to it.  But I decided to try my best.  So I jumped from exercises to dog portraits.  

It turned out having a furry muse around really helped.   I had been taking pictures of him for years and looking at Pyrs for a long time.  So it was subject matter I knew well and loved and really wanted to show him off well.

Surprisingly, people actually liked what I did and even wrote to me asking for copies and cards and the like.  And an idea was born. So I’ve skipped from exercise 2 in the painting techniques book, to being a painter of Pyrs and other things my furry muse Tila brings to my attention.