Vintage media

To celebrate the addition Nicky’s interesting and amusing Knit for Victory to my blogroll, here’s an image from my own, much smaller, collection of vintage knitting patterns.

As well as my knitting patterns I have …um… quite a few vintage magazines, mostly from the 1940s, 50s and 60s and a collection of early to mid 20th century household management, gardening, cookery, craft, DIY and self-improvement books.

I find old print media utterly fascinating and although I’m not an obsessive collector by any means, I do love picking through a pile of dusty musty paper in pursuit of treasure.

OK, so a picture of a bloke wearing a fancy-knit pullover and lighting a fag might not be everyone’s idea of treasure, but to me it’s 20 pence worth of interesting social history.


Pallant Gallery visit

I had my first Artist’s Date of the month yesterday when I visited the Pallant Gallery in Chichester to see the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition. Although their work isn’t really my cup of tea I wanted to take the opportunity to see it anyway and I’m glad I did. Reproductions don’t convey the detail you can see when you are inches away from the actual work.

I was particularly struck by the lilies in Rivera’s Arum Lily Sellers* which shone like fine silk in the gallery lights. Frida Kahlo’s portrait of Diego Rivera also captured my attention – the delicate blood vessels in his eyeballs, individual hairs, skin flaws and folds all rendered with absolute precision and, I think, affection.

That said, I still don’t warm particularly to either artist’s style and I found the Radev Collection exhibition at the gallery much more to my taste. The best part of the visit for me was the unexpected excitement of seeing the Alfred Wallis paintings on display. I never imagined I’d see any of Alfred Wallis’s work except in reproductions, but now I have, and purely by chance!

I intend go back to have another look at the Radev exhibition before it ends in January. I only had time for a quick skim yesterday and I find that if I look at too many things in one session none of it sinks in properly. Little and often is better.

After the gallery I met a friend I haven’t seen for ages for tea and chat. Catching up with R’s news at the busy, but relaxed Carluccio’s restaurant was a lovely way to round off a very pleasant morning. I’m not sure where my next Artist’s Date will be, but here’s hoping it’s as successful and enjoyable as this one.

*I can’t find an image of this particular painting on the net.


Reviewing September plans

This was the plan:

Post an image on my photoblog every day during September (and maybe update the theme…)
Do 20 minutes drawing every day – choose a subject, set the timer and do it
Do at least 20 minutes writing every day – using exercises from The Five Minute Writer by Margret Geraghty. Plus blogging and writing notes for blogposts, drafts of possible articles etc.
Go on at least two “Artist’s Dates”* per month

So how did it go? And what next?

Photoblogging every day: 100% success! I’m dead chuffed with myself! Daily posting definitely brings more traffic and feedback. It’s great to know that people are enjoying and sometimes being inspired by my images, as I am by other blogs. It’s interesting and sometimes surprising which images get attention and which don’t. All comments and “likes” are lovely, but I must admit it is a special thrill when they come from total strangers. I’ve played around with some alternative themes and background images, but nothing particularly inspired me, so no change there for now.
Next: Aim to post an image every day during October – maybe play around with effects if I don’t do enough actual taking of photographs.

Daily drawing and writing. After the first week I reduced my goal to five times per week. I have done 19 writing exercises and have accumulated 17 drawings, which is a bit short of perfection, but pretty good considering how many days I’ve been ill over the last couple of weeks. I’ve also written masses of notes for this and that which may or may not see the light of day eventually, so I’ve clocked up quite a few writing-hours during the month. And there are the tweets, well over 400 of them since 27th August. No wonder I haven’t been writing much on here!
Next: Aim for 20 drawings and 20 writing exercises in October. Continue to have fun with Twitter. Trial Scrivener for organising notes for blog posts, articles and creative writing stuff. Work up one set of notes into a finished short story or article.

Artist’s Dates. 100% failure in terms of specific plans to visit particular exhibitions. But in the spirit of doing something non-routine and purely for pleasure I got a book of Gwen Raverat’s wood engravings from the library and enjoyed immersing myself in her work one evening. I spent an hour moseying about on the pier, and a morning out of town looking at views from the Downs and visiting an old church.
Next: Go to two specific exhibitions during October. Squeeze more time for doing things purely for pleasure and relaxation from what’s left over from all the other stuff that consumes my days.

Thanks to all who read and comment and thanks to all who write lovely inspiring blogs for me to visit. How did your September go, and what are your plans for October?


Making plans

Planning is difficult for people with ME/CFS, but following Michael Nobbs invaluable advice about achieving things a little bit at a time I made some plans at the end of my summer break:

Post an image on my photoblog every day during September (and maybe update the theme…)
Do 20 minutes drawing every day – choose a subject, set the timer and do it
Do at least 20 minutes writing every day – using exercises from The Five Minute Writer by Margret Geraghty. Plus blogging and writing notes for blogposts, drafts of possible articles etc.
Go on at least two “Artist’s Dates”* per month

So far, so good as far with photoblogging and writing. Not quite on target with the drawing. After being ill yesterday and feeling very stressed this morning, I’ve revised the writing and drawing goals to five times a week which is probably more realistic. Plenty of time yet for the Artist’s dates…

Interestingly since I started practising some of these “good” habits, my “bad” habit of spending far too much time aimlessly surfing the net has diminished, presumably because I have more constructive things to fill my time. Perhaps it’s easier to improve time-management skills by stealth rather than direct action?

* See The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron


Catching up

I’ve been very busy by my standards lately. In addition to keeping on top of everyday life, getting the car-exhaust replaced, having a filling drop out necessitating an urgent dental appointment, I have been:

Trying to get the garden tidy and productive. And keeping it watered! I don’t think it’s rained once yet in May and April wasn’t much wetter. Thankfully I can water as much as I like at present, but it does take time. More about the garden soon.

Getting to know my new computer. It’s my first laptop (I love being able to use it in bed!) and SO much faster than it’s 10 year old predecessor. In the process of moving things over from the old computer to this one I have sorted through several thousand photographs (discard most of them and re-organising the remainder) for my latest project which is:

Setting up a new blog called pocketcameraphotoblogger. I’ve decided to concentrate on photography as my main creative pursuit for now and the blog is to chart my progress and share some of my images with the wider world. Hope you’ll pay a visit and enjoy it.


Evening sun

I’ve been playing with some of the features on my new(ish) camera. This picture is evidence that the camera lies through it’s teeth, but I enjoyed making it.


Non-budget spends

I’ve been promising myself a new camera for a long time and having seen and played with a friend’s Panasonic Lumix TZ8, I took the plunge and ordered one for myself.

My old Kodak only had 3x optical zoom, which meant it was all but impossible to photograph the birds in my garden from the kitchen window. With 12x zoom on the Panny I stand more chance of getting pictures where you can at least identify the species, even if I’m not going to win any prizes with my images!

I’m not aiming to win prizes though – just to enjoy myself and create a record of my feathery visitors and other lovely things that catch my eye as I go about my daily activities. If the weather ever cheers up a bit I’ll be able to go out and get the practice I badly need with my new toy…