First Sight of Spring in Northamptonshire!

March 10 2016

“I found the poems in the fields, And only wrote them down.”  

John Clare
A Fox bounding across the meadow!
Its March, the daffodils are coming out, snowdrops are in abundance, the birds are singing and things are starting to happen out there! Hooray!

The Northampton Town and County Spring Show ' One Size Fits All'

This week on Saturday 12th March the latest Town and County Spring Art show is opening. The exhibition, 'One Size Fits all' in the Long Gallery at Kettering Alfred East Art Gallery features the artwork of the Northampton Societies talented artists. They are showing artworks in the same sized frame and at the same price!  A great idea!
A New Approach to Poetry and the Word in Pictures

Recently I have been exploring how I can use my text painting technique to produce new and decorative artworks that could be used to give as gifts.  

I began making illustrated crosses with different themes that inspire me, such as nature, landscapes and animals! I took Bible passages, prayers and poems, then added colour to them and created some neat looking little designs.  Right now, these are being printed onto different gorgeous wood so I can sell them  to  people for special occasions like Weddings, Christenings or Confirmation gifts!
Fish Prayer Cross By Jamie Poole

Foxes, Hares, Birds and Red Squirrel!

These little crosses got me wandering if I could turn this style of work into landscapes that have an element of fun in them. So, I made a series of four landscapes showing bounding animals like foxes, and hares and the occasional bird. Then  I used photographs of gorgeous places to set the scene. I really loved making them!

Now for the next challenge! 

Could I make one of these based on a poem? On the suggestion of a friend, I decided to try working from a poem by John Clare called 'First Sight of Spring'.

Yes! A chance to paint a squirrel! 

A Peasant Poet in Old Northamptonshire.

John Clare (13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864) was known as "The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet"  and was from the village of Helpston which is now part of Peterborough. What I really liked about his poems is how he used local Northamptonshire dialect such as  "pooty" (snail), "lady-cow" (ladybird), "crizzle" (to crisp) and "throstle" (song thrush). But the inspired and spontaneous poetry really illustrates the change of the seasons and the beauty of the natural world.

I have used the words from the poem below to create the illustration.

First Sight of Spring

The hazel blooms in threads of crimson hue

Peep through the swelling buds and look for spring

Ere yet a whitethorn leaf appears in view

Or March finds throstles pleased enough to sing;

On the old touchwood tree woodpeckers cling

A moment, and their harsh-toned notes renew,

In happier mood the stock-dove claps his wing,

The squirrel sputters up the powdered oak

With tail cocked o’er his head and ears erect 

Startled to hear the woodman’s understroke,

And with the courage which his fears collect 

He hisses fierce half malice and half glee,

Leaping from branch to branch about the tree, 

In winters foliage, moss and lichens, dressed. 

First Sight of Spring by John Clare, Illustrated by Jamie Poole
The plan then, is to  make twelve of these illustrations and turn them into a calender and a set of cards, prints as well as other smashing gifts! I will keep posting  them as I go, so look out for new additions to the family!

You can find out what I make next by signing up for my newsletter right here!

Here are a few more quotes from John Clare that I like...

“Crowded places, I shunned them as noises too rude
And fled to the silence of sweet solitude.” 

“Language has not the power to speak what love indites
The soul lies buried in the Ink that writes” 

John Clare

You can also visit John Clare Cottage in the village of Helpston which opens 12th March.

Saatchi Gallery and Champagne Life

February 29 2016

A Constellation of Female Artists

On a chilly wet day in London this February, I went to visit the Parallax Art Fair in London! However on the way down Kings Road in Chelsea we came across the huge and grand pillars of the Saatchi gallery which holds free exhibitions of the latest talent from the art world! 

We couldn't resist it, and were pleased to discover lots of inspiration. Including a stuffed donkey on a space hopper...... yep that's right! No joke.

“Cultural Collage Between East and Western Philosophy”

Soheilia Sokhanvari

The donkey was quite a strange sight or I could say challenging , which is part of its purpose. Made by 
Soheilia Sokhanvari  her work uses fantastical metaphor to help create open ended discussion about the totalitarian political system in Iran where she is from. 

Another out of the ordinary artwork included a giant bobbin with copper thread by artist Alice Anderson. This was made for the Saatchi Gallery, its based on a game Sigmund Freud would play with his daughter to calm her down. 

The scale of the artwork was of course the particular draw but the detail in the thread itself also added to a sense of being childlike and small. The cable sized thread reminded me of the highly focussed, absorbed play that a child engages in when looking closely at objects.

Ancient Cultures and Autocartography

One of the most inspirational artists in the show on this visit was Mequitta Ahuja. Mainly because I really enjoyed looking closely at her large collage artworks that have painstakingly layered, printed textiles made using Indian print blocks as well as painted vellum and animal skins and paper. 

Using mixed media is something I really enjoy especially with paper so it was exciting to see the patterns and images in detail. Also, print making has such a tactile and immediate feel to it, so that combined collage is magical in this work! It draws you in and makes you think about how the artist made it and why they made it. But what it also gives me is  sense of the time it took to make.

 Expanses of Messy Limbs

Seung Ah Paik fleshy expanses hang on skin-like canvas which has been reformed,  dried.and draped Looking closely at  finger prints, skin markings or bending and contorting to explore your own body is suggested to us in these huge drawings. 

Whilst moving around them I found myself trying to figure out how many people where there and what they were doing. It looked kind of grotesque and made me a little self concious to look at, but curiosity made me forget about that. Again I thought the detail was amazing when you got close up and once more I was reminded of how a person might investigate the details and shape of their body. 

Paik says, “I want my skin to be present in the painting, rather than be an image of my skin in the painting. I want the viewers to experience the self-meditative 
Autolandscape, by Seung Ah Paik
So, this exhibition seems to be all about drawing attention to the things we miss. It seems to be about questioning by showing things in a different light or from a new viewpoint.  

The confused looking donkey on an inflatable grabs our attention and asks why? But clearly the international nature of the works and the cultural themes demand contemplation when we consider the artworks scale and painstaking detail. 

To me this exhibition is a kind of dialogue on the world, its cultures and women today - now. Its about the difficulties of a changing 'globalist' world and the commonality we still share as human beings. 

A Solar System of Pots

This last artwork  Food for Thought “Almuallaqat 4” by Maha Malluh, really struck me as a universally human piece. Each cooking pot has been used to make food but each one is different. They look like the surface of planets or moons and all are similar in shape but all are individual.

We saw some new and refreshing art at the Saatchi gallery. Its was fun because you discover something new, unexpected  and different from the mainstream Tate Gallery type shows. I recommend a visit!


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