Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
To continue the snake theme............Ok I admit it! I'm obsessed with googling.
Snakes, woodcut by MC Escher
Viper made from recycled keyboard keys by Korean artist Choi Jung Hyun. I think it's been eating mice.
Ken Neiderer created this snake from forged steel. For some reason Cleopatra's asp comes to mind.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"Removing the snake from Eden" a painting I did in 2003
I managed to get in a few hours carving this morning before the heat became too intense. Look at the beautiful creature that came to visit me in the courtyard where I was working.
Fortunately my foxy wasn't lying at my feet as per usual because she surely would have pounced at the first movement. After I took a few photos my hubby guided it down the step with a broom and it whipped away through a crack in the garden wall towards the river.
Every time I see a snake I think of the poem "Snake" by DH Lawrence. At school we had to learn it off by heart and and then each pupil had to recite it, one by one. It had to be perfect or we would have to start over again. Oh the shame of it! Every eye focused on my face and the teacher becoming so incensed that anyone should forget the lines that her face turned purple. It's surprising that I even liked poetry after that and I'm convinced it was the beginning of my fear of public speaking. The good thing that did come out of this particular poem is that I learned to respect snakes and will think twice before harming even a venomous one.
SNAKE by D H Lawrence
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before
He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.
He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.
And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.
But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?
Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him?
Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him?
Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.
And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!
And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid,
But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.
He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.
And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.
I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.
I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.
And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.
And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.
For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld
Now due to be crowned again.
And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
And I have something to expiate:
Monday, December 15, 2008
I thought I would share some of my favourite pages with you. The pages that stop me in my tracks even though I've seen them many times before.
The first one, from Africa Interior Design is a beautiful room in a farm house in Cape Town. The carved door from Mali caught my attention but the rest of the room is just as gorgeous. This house is featured in many books and magazines here in South Africa.
The Basket Room, Hotel Le Saxon, in Johannesburg --from At Home With Art by Tiddy Rowan.
An old favourite which I picked up on a sale for next to nothing, many years ago. Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist by Henry Moore and John Hedgecoe. Seeing artists working in their studios is a big thrill for me.
This page from Art Making, Collections and Obsessions by Lynne Perrella is so my cup of tea!
In Amulets by Sheila Paine there are hundreds (431 to be exact) of intriguing illustrations. This cabinet is an 18th-century apothecary's cabinet filled with amulets dating from antiquity to 19th-century, France.
South African artist, Norman Catherine sitting amongst his giant fibreglass sculptures. They all have humerous names and are far more impressive in life than they are here in the book, Norman Catherine by Hazel Friedman.
There are so many pages that I gravitate to in The Artful Dodger by Nick Bantock but I'll share just the one of a collage which is included in Bantock's book The Venetian's Wife.
Last but not least are a few pages from Peter Beard's African journals. Many of the pages in Taschen's double volume, PETER BEARD, leave me feeling quite gobsmacked.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This piece was commissioned by Anglian Water to highlight river pollution. Elrington created 10 river creatures out of discarded shopping trolleys. Read more about it here.
There are more amazing photographs and an excellent interview with Polemy over at Layers upon Layers.
Monday, December 8, 2008
.....and that's as far as I got with my studio tidy-up. Maybe tomorrow I will take another baby step.
Before I end off I would love to mention a new blog, DJ'S STUDIO, started by a dear friend. DJ is a wonderful art teacher with a heart of gold. Pop on over and see what she's up to.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Downsizing to Susan Wraight's carved wooden Netsuke.
Netsuke is a small, thumb size sculpture that is figurative and highly detailed. The carving can be of animals, figures, mythical creatures or almost everything to do with everyday life. Traditionally, ivory and wood as well as other organic materials such as bone, shell and coral were used. Half the appeal was that they were using a non precious material and giving it a highly decorative, precious treatment." - http://ourhouse.ninemsn.com.au/ourhouse/factsheets/db/artanddesign/01/191.asp
Carved Egg by Wang Jinyi
The Rothschild Faberge Egg (estimated at $18,000,000 by Christie's)
The Rothschild Egg contains an automaton diamond-set cockerel which pops out of the top on the hour. It flaps it's wings four times and then nods his head three times while opening and closing his beak, crowing at the same time. Each performance lasts about 15 seconds, before the clock strikes the hour bell.
"The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities." - James Allen
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Giselle Hicks writes in her artist statement...