Coming up

Coming Up:
Mon. 18th March: Social Evening at The Blue Boar from 8pm
Thu. 4th April: Susan McLeod: Observing Wildlife - Using Media to Depict Nature
Fri. 26th April: Spring Exhibition Set-up and Preview Evening


Sunday, 17 March 2019

Exhibition Space at Burford House & Garden Cafe

The cafe at Burford House & Garden Centre has a sizeable display of art, which is rotated on a two-monthly basis. There is space for about 15 medium sized paintings, which could be provided by a single artist or by two or three artists jointly. They are looking to fill the period of May and June. There is no charge for exhibiting and commission of 25% on sales is taken by the cafe.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Spotlight: Watercolour World

Does it look like that?
Recently at home we found a box of old photographs, dating back to the 1990s. There are also some photos inherited from previous generations, going back to the 1960s. Compared with today’s digital photography, old prints have a different colour quality, and look smoother.  Blurry as memories and dreams. 
Partly this is because prints are seen through bounced light. We see the light that is reflected off of the glossy paper and its pigments that were once laid down in red-lit darkrooms, then printed in factories. They look old now. Today we are accustomed to the digital sharpness of mobile phone’s swagger, and the Supersize-me photo-laptop screen, far bigger than printed photos of even our ancestors’ most cherished wedding moments. The difference in how photographs look then and now is not simply due to scale and pixels. Or that older photos required more preparation time – rather than indulged in it, in the style of hour-long wedding shoots, and posed selfies. Or even that we no longer have mantelpieces to limit the size and angle of frame-displayed cherished pictures. Much of the change in how we see pictures now is due to light.
Screens emit light. Paintings and prints reflect it. We see photos and paintings based on whatever wavelengths land on them and bounce into our eyes. 
In a screen, the technology creates the emitted light that we see. Not even nature does that, except glow-worms and stars. 
If we go back to the times before photography, what would we see? And how would we see it?
There is a charity that does this. “Watercolour World” is a UK charity whose people collect and catalogue watercolours from before 1901, and make them publicly available online. It gives you a view of what the world looked like – or how it was seen – or how it was portrayed, before the last century.
You can look for particular regions of the world, or cities and towns. And you can search by topic. It shows you the historical and focusing perspectives of old watercolours. If you type in a topic you can find what remains now, of how it was portrayed a couple of lifetimes ago. 
Of course, viewing these images of watercolours involves a mixture of screen-based light emission, based upon reflective old paint and paper. It is not the light of what today’s digital cameras see. It is the light that artists wanted to convey. 

In future, the next level of imaging could be anything. We don’t know. Holograms? 3-D printed models with accurate perspective? Or projecting into someone’s mind exactly what a view looks like, or an experience? 
All of these are possible with existing technology.
These are all tools for showing how something appears. That is not quite the same as showing what something is. Its essence and meaning, for example. An object or situation’s intrinsic nature. Its emotion. Existence.
  These considerations are still the realm of art and religion and philosophy. It hasn’t changed. With science as the new participant in the discussion.

      “Art, Philosophy, Religion, and Science walk into a bar. In that order.” 
  Art buys a round for Philosophy, cos Philosophy never has any money. Science talks loudly and expects everyone else to pay. Religion used to be the richest, but it also had the most internal battles and issues, and can’t quite keep up with the conversation. Philosophy has become a good listener. 
   Welcome, science. Let’s all explore existence and truths. 
        Screens. World. 
Watercolour World includes paintings that people cherished, and handed down, valued, and shared with galleries and the charity. They are the painted visions that survived the test of time. 
I searched for “reed beds” in Watercolour World, and found beauty. 

For comparison, I searched Google for “reed beds”. 
See how flat and rectangular everything has become. The difference between paintings then, and images now, is the difference between life and life’s paperwork.
It is as if, in the early 20th century, plants and fields were taken from their home and put in the workhouse. Landscapes which were once the realm of watercolour’s floods and brushstrokes, became increasingly designed by Vorticists and Piet Mondrian. Fields become angular. Form follows function.  
This trend of artistic angularity seems to be reversing now. In today’s human world of rectangles and box tessellation, art is resurrecting natural forms. A reversal.  
Much of street art aims to reduce urban angularity.  This is the work or artist Odeith, who sprays realistic images of nature or walls and old infrastructure features to beautify it, typically with detailed paintings which, viewed from the right angle, appear highly realistic, and enlarged, as if reclaiming the land, and reclaiming natural form.

We know that trends move back and forth in time. Music and clothes fashions seem to come and go and return in cycles, like waves and tides, the same as economic booms and troughs, and political divisions and cohesions. Art and technology are similarly taking alternating views, in the sine wave of time. A constant, however, is that beauty still seems to be becoming increasingly synthetic, both in science and art's approach to appearance and essence.  

'OctoElephant' in Shoreditch, by Alexis Diaz
The 19th century watercolour world is from a time that we have mostly assimilated and understood. Like today, it is loaded with beauty and progress and wonder.
Writer: Matt Smart
Watercolour World:

Thursday, 28 February 2019

7th March: Pete Davis: "Observations - Collections -Recollections" – A lifetime in Photography

After ten years in advertising and fashion photography, Pete moved to Wales embarking on field trips around the British Isles, Europe and the USA with his large format camera. He has received numerous Arts Council, British Council and European awards and is a past winner of the Wakelin Purchase Prize for Welsh artists. A major retrospective exhibition of his life’s work was held in 2017.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Monthly Social Meetings

We hold informal monthly social meetings on the 18th of each month, 8.00pm at the Blue Boar, Mill Street, Ludlow. These are open to anyone, so feel free to come along and meet members of our society and find out about all the things we do. Call in any time you like from 8.00pm onwards.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Spotlight: Shall we get garlic bread?

This month, Spotlight is the headlamp of a scooter.   
It is driving through town streets with a stack of pizzas in the back.  Those flat square boxes often look plain.  Yet sometimes they are as unexpected as anchovies and ground beef, as gripping as artichoke and gorgonzola.
What art do people put on pizza boxes?
I can be as creative as what people put on pizzas.  And as inspired, or as much of a belly flop.
Art is disposable.  Face it, if it’s still on the wall at home after 5 years, unless it is unavoidable view, it gets looked at for 3 hours or 20 minutes per year.  Which may be gratifying when we consider that the garlic bread gets as much attention as the pizza box.  Including if you didn’t get any garlic bread.
Something I love about pizza box art is that it nails home these truths about what we produce with any sense of viewership.  If your art is done for the love of painting or sketching then you are free from this spicy curse.  Enjoy the fun.
Another beauty of this format is its restriction.  8 inches or Twelve-and-a-half, or some other diameter-based inchy square.  In one ink tone, or two, or maybe 5 if the boxey guys have some budget and a lot of love.

In a couple of years a 360,442 colour palette will no doubt be available to every printing optimist.. But in the recent past, and the present, a restrictive food-safe hair-colour-range palette is what can be slapped onto cardboard.  It focuses the mind.  Like the painting scene being ‘oil on canvas’ or watercolour, or…  or something that doesn’t fit into those boxes.  Like public sculpture being bronze or stone.  Stuck in the Bronze Age or the Stone Age.  Haiku is not the only poetry.  It focuses the mind superbly.  “Fruit” is not the only way to treat an orange.
Money is funny.  In art, the frame is the bit that yields to production costs and the market.  The cost of the frame is pretty much the same.
The painting can be a gift to a friend, or sell for a thousand Euros. That same frame still cost the same. With a pizza, the box can be the art, while the art oil-n-cheese on canvas dough, and the price doesn’t range from zero to insane.
Art is food too, and the money is up to you.
Next time you get a pizza, don’t throw the box.  Grab some pens.  Get your paints out.  Have a laugh.  An edge-you-cational arts experiment.  
Then savour the garlic bread and sleep with a twelve inch smile.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Opportunity for a Watercolour Painter

As part of a local fundraising programme, Ludlow lending library are looking for an artist to give a lunchtime talk about watercolour painting. This will be at the library, some time in the summer. Although no fee is available, the artist will benefit from the associated publicity as well as being able to promote their own work on the day. If you feel up to the challenge, please email and I will forward your email to the organisers.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Spotlight: New Year's colours

There is a previous Spotlight called “I needed colour”. Such a wish for colour could be a widespread feeling, in mild midwinter, among grey skies in which all hues are jumbled and somewhat lethargic. Pillow clouds for sleepy colours, hibernating before they burst forth again.
  So if we want more colour now, how do we get it? How do we make more colour around us and our loved ones and a world which may be in need? Through art? And how do we choose which colours to add to the palette, the canvas, the eye and the spirit?
  This Spotlight is about colour palettes – not just a single colour being all-important, but the way we use them, and want them, and how these processes and times might relate to the spread and breadth of brushstrokes, and which tubes we pick up and squeeze out and mix together in in the studio light of bulbs, or candles, or the daylight of sun.
  Happy New Year everyone.  And if you get this post by way of email, then you are on the LAS mailing list, as John mentioned in the Christmas and end-of-year message to us.

  If you have colour thoughts, why not share them in the comments, as well as in your art.
'Winter Scene' - Remegio Onia
How do we make colour choices? Is it about visual aesthetics? Complementarity, as described in colour wheel theory? Emotional associations?
We tend to think of yellow as friendship, red as passion, black as death, white as peaceful innocence, green as nature, and blue as calm. These are classic western views of colour, at a generic level. We also sometimes say that blues and greens are “cold”, and yellows and reds are “warm”, which matches the temperatures of sun and sea and clouds and fire. However most artists say that there are cold reds, and warm blues, and the whole thing is very contextual.
  So how do we arrive at the colours we use and twist into art? And what do colours evoke in us when we experience them?
If we seek significations beyond those we already hold, cultural history could be a robust place to begin: religious and philosophical scripts. We might then wonder whether those notions are borne out by science. In art theory we have the colour wheel that suggests complementarity and aesthetics. In psychology, there is a widely used diagram of colours which is illustrated with familiar logos, and this diagram is a standard part of the teaching and consultancy of emotional marketing and brand effectiveness. 
Or we could show friends and family and strangers some paintings, and ask how they feel about the colours as they swirl in form and mind.
At the beginning of the year we could consider that the 12 colours in the colour wheel might reflect months of the year. If so, what colour are we in now? Green? Blue? Magenta? Yellow-orange?
There are also the four “humours” based on ancient notions of bile, which could be our four seasons:
Instinctively the yellow may be Spring, blood red Summer, phlegmatic Autumn, leaving black for Winter, the bile humour of melancholia. This may not be the most life-affirming or energising of seasonal associations unless we choose which colour we are in – or wish to be in – and what it means.
  Is it an act of superstition or magic to use colours in this way, or is there something genuine behind attaching colours to emotions?
   “As far as colours are concerned, opposites refine eachother. They balance eachother, they soothe eachother, they play off eachother’s intensities. We aren’t really like that in our relationships with other humans. We don’t find people that are opposite us and create that balance, create that harmony.” - Kolby Harrell

Recently I have had visions with a bright yellow colour, slightly like turmeric: slightly orange and ochre. ...Images of this yellow hovering over a sparkling sea, and in towns, glinting on walls and through lamplight, and glowing in the roads and windows and people.
What could it mean?
In flowers, red often refers to passionate love. Yellow flowers are for friendship.
  I am taking the colour visions to mean, for 2019, a call to friendship - with a touch of red and earth.
Yellow with a hint of red and ochre, to recognise that friendship is love too. In changing times we may need more than one kind of love. We need friendship and compassion, and acceptance. And we are still united as one, through the earth and ether.

Colours embrace us. Colour wheels, flower colours, humours and meanings…. My colour of this moment is Yellow-orange.
  I am not using it in any art works, but it informs how I use colours when pouring resins, and when black-sketching the hard lines and soft volumes of a contoured head, and rending thick silver wires into a reflective frame of a buffalo skull. The colours I am using now are almost the oppoite: blues, whites, black, greys and silver – monochromatics which, now that I think of it, fit winter's clouds, that steely sky, chill expanses of air or water with hints of crystals, and the glint in an eye anticipating the rise of smiles.
   The colour in my mind is more about the prospect of Friendship and warmth. Chrome yellow.

If you have colour thoughts, why not share them in the comments, as well as in your art.
Happy New Year everyone.

Top image: ‘Cosmic Artist’ by Alex Grey
Kolby Harrell’s TED talk including colours in relationships, and as socially evolutionary commitment:
LAS Spotlight “I needed colour” about Jim Carey’s artisms:
Chrome yellow, the pigment, or ‘Crome Yellow’, the first novel of Aldous Huxley
Humours, the four colours (and Olympic swimming psychology training):

Saturday, 5 January 2019

2019 Programme

Ludlow Art Society is pleased to present our 2019 programme of talks and demonstrations. This is available on our website here.
As you'll see, we have some spectacular speakers this year so if you've never been to one of our talks before, why not make this the year when you start? Our talks are informal and friendly and everyone is welcome, subject to venue capacity!