“A Study of Modern Japanese Sculpture” – Henry Moore Institute , Leeds


'About the Stone' - wood 1928 Heihachi Hashimoto

‘About the Stone’ – wood 1928 Heihachi Hashimoto

Original model for 'About the Stone'

Original model for ‘About the Stone’

Unfortunately this exhibition’s last day is tomorrow . It hasn’t been widely advertised and is almost invisible within the Institute being in the tiny Gallery 4  . Also the leaflets outside refer to the major exhibition ! However if you can get to it it is lovely . Historically ‘modern’ refers to the time after the Meiji restoration (1868) when Japan was opened up to the West by force . This had interesting effects on European painting and the blurb for this exhibition suggests a reciprocal effect on Japanese sculpture . I don’t know – to my eye the work looks very much like netsuke (I hope I have remembered correctly)  but a bit bigger . 8 out of the 9 pieces are carved in wood and 7 of the 8 are painted . I would have thought that was all pretty traditional , particularly with the skill and resulting beauty . The piece shown above ( one of two which are obviously modern/Western influenced )  is both clever in its idea and brilliant in execution – the stone and it’s carved wooden copy are displayed together . More favourites –

"A Couple of White Paddy Birds" 1931- Kotaro Takamura

“A Couple of White Paddy – birds” 1931 – Kotaro Takamura

Detail of 'A Couple of White Paddy-birds

Detail of ‘A Couple of White Paddy-birds

The stand is also so beautifully made !

"Hibernation" 1928 - Chozan Sato

“Hibernation” 1928 – Chozan Sato

This is of a toad hibernating . The bottom of the case reflects the base of the piece .

"Spiny Lobster" 1926 - Tetsuya Mizunoya

“Spiny Lobster” 1926 – Tetsuya Mizunoya

Good enough to eat ! (Supposing you like and are permitted to eat seafood , of course .)

Posted in non-figurative scupture, other artists, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Calligraphy exhibition

This was in Leeds Central Library’s Artspace where the exhibitors are usually local artists or groups . This time it was –


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I love calligraphy , in any language and once took a course in it – thinking I might do some later…. So I could have been in this group . A good piece must be readable within the rules of the script , look good and be well placed in terms of anything else on the page/the meaning of the words . By ‘looking good’ I mean on general principles of colour , line and composition e.g.

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These 2 are my favourites ; however the left hand one is quite a bit harder to read in fact – the right hand one was partly behind a pillar but still clearer .


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Here is another ‘pillared’ one – a pity since the map drawing and old prints incorporated made it an unusual example .




There was even a calligram – not so usual in the Latin script as the Arabic .



I would have liked it better if it hadn’t said black cats were unlucky – you have to consider the words as well as the skill in the execution of them .


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This was a really fun piece about calligraphy itself and the problems even the most skilled have – jogged elbows , cats walking on wet ink , inattention leading to misspelling and repeated words . Apparently we calligraphers have no patron saint but a specialised devil called Titivus . ( I had thought there was a photograph of the right hand side as well but ) .

All the illustrations done by one of my new shiny toys – the smartphone . I will improve I hope , so far I must thank Habib for his patient explanations .

As to categories labelling the post – do you think calligraphy is closer to drawing or painting ?






Posted in Drawings, other artists, paintings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Last pottery class before Easter

Well , I couldn’t glaze anything because one piece was still in the kiln and the other was yet to go in . Instead I worked on the 2nd coiled pot I had started while waiting for the wheel last week .dblespout

This is a sketch – the top is an idealized version , the bottom shows the lines of scraping with a hacksaw blade . It’s another irregular pot inspired by pre-Columbian work which I used to do so much of about 20 years ago . Like this –


stgrdrgn86– or this stirrup pot . Actually it was going to be another stirrup pot but the proportions were wrong particularly once I had started the necks . So it will be another multiple necker like

whseacr050                or         stbrsea86

Since the clay is like the left hand one I was trying to get the shape as refined – hence the hacksaw blade . It is still a bit heavy but I will be decorating it differently , probably sgraffito through slip . Anyway I will see at the next class after Easter .

Posted in ceramics, Drawings, Vessels | 2 Comments


Condor & the Mole

Condor & the Mole

Leeds City Art Gallery currently has a touring exhibition until May 24 from the Arts Council collection , “One Day , Something Happens : Paintings of People” . That is a quote by Sickert some of whose work was on display alongside other 20c painters , more recent acquisitions and non-paintings . Some of these were also selected from Leeds’ collections . The point was , I think , the curator . I won’t give the name because I wasn’t impressed . Painters I usually like ( eg Hockney ) were represented with boring to awful stuff . I had never realised Sickert could do such muddy portraits – relieved only by reddish bits or lumpiness on the faces .

The painting above was by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (born London 1977) . It’s the one I remember best from my quick look round and I will definitely go back to spend more time in front of it . It is big with the 2 girls being life size or almost . What I liked about it was how English the beach and sky looked . That kind of uninteresting grey is common the year round and doesn’t have much to do with temperature or even time of day . The girls are black because the painter is of Ghanaian ancestry .

As to my pottery class I have no pictures because my new shiny mobile ‘phone had not yet been delivered (not that I can operate the camera on it yet) . I was not able to try and throw more bowls because both wheels were occupied at first so I started yet another coil pot before being able to turn last week’s bowl . I then lost one of my tools while slip decorating it in a great hurry at the end . Next week is the last week of this term . I have signed up for the next set of classes after Easter since we will not be moving until the summer . I hope I can become more consistent on the wheel and get to grips with my new shiny things (I also have a new computer) beforehand to document same .

Posted in ceramics, other artists, paintings, Uncategorized, Vessels | 1 Comment

More clay – both techniques

Last night my coil pot became so dry while doing the last bits of fiddling on it that I had to stop and acknowledge that it needed final drying and firing before I could do any more . Thank goodness because I am an inveterate fiddler ! Here are some more sketches , unfortunately in biro , of the piece .

pota,bpotcThe last sketch is a view from above .

Having finished this and done prayers I didn’t have much time left but thought I could practise some centreing with the white stoneware clay . To my surprise I found it easier to the hand than the red earthenware we were taught on originally . Having centred it it seemed a waste not to try something so I made a bowl AND successfully cut it off the wheel head etc . I do like the way the white stoneware doesn’t slump all over the place when pulling out and up . I kept thinking I must have pulled it off-centre but if so it went back easily enough . Perhaps because I am so much more used to a grogged clay I had more confidence or maybe there is less complete and utter difference between hand building and wheel throwing than I had been led to believe ? In which case using a preferred clay will have a noticeable advantage .

I may try and make more bowls next week after turning this one . Everything I want to make is bowl-shaped eg teacups (with saucers) . I know Daniel Rhodes says all shapes are based on cylinders but suppose you don’t like mugs or most tall things with handles ? Yes ! – Donald found some of my textbooks as well as my modelling tools . As usual , in a safe place which I didn’t remember later……

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Another exhibition ; sculpture mostly

Last Wednesday I went to visit a friend in Grimsby and there was a retrospective exhibition of Harold Gosney’s drawings , paintings and sculpture ‘My Life as an Artist : The last 60 Years’ on in part of the Grimsby Heritage Fishing Centre .


The metal version on the right was in the tiny foyer and very striking . The wooden one on the left was actually the former he made for the metal pieces to be beaten on for the shape . The exhibition upstairs had mostly much smaller pieces and a lot of his preliminary drawings and studies .


He describes himself as a figurative sculptor – usually this means the human figure only but he really does have a thing about horses . ‘The Four horsemen of the Apocalypse’ may have been a full scale commission – I am not sure – but there were several small versions on show including one in wood which looked to me as if it should have had a handle to make the galloping horses go up and down . I preferred his preparatory drawings and paintings to the 3d pieces in this case .


His connection with Grimsby is that he studied at Grimsby School of Art 1954-56 before going to the Slade in London and returned to teach there 1960-92 . He now lives and works in York – I realised I recognized his name from York City Art Gallery where he has work . He became a sculptor because he had to teach it and so researched materials and techniques – actually trying them out ! I do like someone who takes processes seriously .

This last week I have also had to write an essay on contemporary Art ( you know the sort of thing – is it Art ? & other tedious questions ) for my Spanish class which I wrote from the artist’s point of view . I had some fun translating a quotation of his which I love , “…..since all my work is ‘hand-made’ , I have always tried to incorporate good craftsmanship” .

In case you hadn’t noticed I admire his work tremendously and definitely recommend the exhibition if you can get to it . It is on until 2 August 2015 at the Muriel Barker Gallery , Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre , Alexandra Dock , Grimsby .


Posted in Drawings, Figurative sculpture images, other artists, paintings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

More clay at LCA eventually

handbuilt white stoneware pot with curls-sketches

handbuilt white stoneware pot with curls-sketches

I still don’t have a mobile ‘phone so cannot do work-in-progress ‘photos as others do in the studio – although I do find it a bit odd , frankly . These are some pencil sketches I did a few minutes ago .

I didn’t do any work on the wheel last night because my handbuilt pot was leather hard and needed to be worked on . (I was off for 2 weeks with ‘flu and then last week was half term so there were no classes .) I find I am out of practice ; I should have been able to make the whole thing larger and more like the 1st shape sketched . The applied coils have also not been fine enough and then I have set up problems for myself with the placement . Still , re-discovering how I solved problems before has been fun and I am still faster than the other students , even with wedging 1st and rolling my own coils ! What is maddening is not being able to find my own tools – they must be somewhere in the house – the ones available to the class are just not quite right . I can’t find my textbooks either……..

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