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At the Guggenheim today, I saw kids lying on the floor on their stomachs, squinting up at Marc Chagall's , Paris Through the Window, their brows furrowed with concentration, their tongues flucking over their lips as they tried to make copies. A little girl held up a blue colored pencil for her parents' scrutiny. "Do you think this color is right for that dark blue in the sky?" she asked in a voice squeaky from worry. Kids were craning their necks to check out other kids' drawings. "Do you think mine is better than Will's?" I heard a boy ask his dad. To think of how hard Chagall must have worked to get at this playful child's vicion and now these kids have to leave their own creativity to copy his painting. I say, "Kids, fling your Tupperware containers of colored pencils that your parents' paid the museum who knows what to loan you? and hop on the spiral railing, swirl down to the lobby and out that door. Run, run!"

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Snow business

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After last weekend’s trip out, I was back at the art group this week, where I produced a picture for this year’s Christmas card. Here’s a black and white version. I used pale blue pencil crayon lightly for the clear sky, then black-brown pastel pencil for the tree outlines. I might experiment with different coloured backgrounds on the computer before I print it out. The subject is Peveril Castle, Castleton. The English Heritage website explains that it is one of England’s oldest Norman fortresses, the keep being built by Henry II in 1176. The Peak District Information website gives more information about it, although the weather is keeping it closed at the moment. http://www.peakdistrictinformation.com/visits/peveril.php

One or two members seemed to have stayed away, perhaps because of the snow or Christmas shopping. Kevin was working on a picture of the viaduct at Chatsworth House, which feeds the cascade waterfall below. Sue was working on a blue tinted lake scene, Maggie on a painting of a sculpture of a figure, with lily pads in the pond below it, and Karen on a back view of some elephants walking away. Her mum, Madge, was making progress with a rocky landscape.
The Art Group's Easter Exhibition this year
I have been asked to give a mention to our annual exhibition, which doesn’t take place until Easter, but after Christmas, the group start to work towards this, and it is our main event of the year.
Front cover of Beth's Reflections
This week I would like to introduce the work of local author Beth Winchcombe (she actually writes under the name Beth Richards). Beth was born in Buckinghamshire in 1937, and came from a family with Derbyshire roots. She was a talented pianist but didn’t get the opportunity to study music after school. Instead, she worked in offices, married and had a daughter, before beginning to write poetry in her 30s. Later in life, she began to paint, illustrating the covers of her books (such as "Reflections" above) with her paintings. She and husband Geoff moved to Clowne in about 1999. Food For Thought is her 8th book, and consists of two thirds poetry, the rest being short stories. One of these stories is about her life, but the rest are fiction. She says that inspiration can come to her at any time, and that her friends and family give her ideas. I have reviewed her work in my Librarything widget (below right). Click on the widget to read this review, and also of Reflections.  Her books are available on Amazon, here's a link to the page for "Food for Thought". http://www.amazon.co.uk/Food-Thought-Savouring-Delights-Poetry/dp/1907294449/ref=sr_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290980626&sr=1-19
Front cover of Beth's recent book "Food for Thought", a collection of poetry and prose

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR0OrgKtgsM&feature=related

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Email the poems to Katerina Klemer:

katerina.klemer@gmail.com

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Going Potty

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Firstly, a warm welcome to any new readers who have arrived via the Derbyshire Times website, where my blog is now listed after winning (amongst others) a blogging competition. Do have a look at my earlier posts and my book reviews on the “Librarything” widget.
Jewel (Julie Baugh) blog author
I have a website selling paintings (link above), a non-profit hobby business.
Snow Tree, one of my paintings
I also have one or two links to other blogs at the bottom of the page. I am an arty bod, and a member of Clowne Art Group, so I give regular updates on them. 
The Art Group meeting

As well as my own artwork, I like to feature other artists and craftsmen, and indeed anyone doing anything creative in the UK, but particularly in Derbyshire.
Persistence Works, Sheffield


 This week I took a break from art group, and visited the Persistence Works open studios event in Sheffield, on a mission to find an original Christmas present for myself. I visited most of the open studios there and in the adjoining building, and managed to buy a couple of items. I’ll be featuring some of the artists I visited there in the coming weeks. For this week, here’s a mention for Brian Holland and his ceramic (pottery) studio. He likes to produce sculptures, or sometimes pots. I like his landscape sculptures, inspired by rocky landscapes.

Now retired from Further Education, he lives in Derbyshire and runs pottery classes from his workshop. He had some of his students’ work on display as well as his own. 

Under his guidance many years ago, I remember learning how to “throw” a pot on a potter’s wheel. Readers who are old enough may remember contestants trying to do this on The Generation Game, and how often created a crooked looking ashtray or dog bowl! And who can forget the potter’s wheel scene in the film “Ghost”? I wonder if Demi Moore actually took pot throwing lessons before hand, or whether they used a stand in for her hands. At any rate, when I had a go myself, I was able to produce a small pot about 4” high. I found it as difficult as it looks, but fun to watch, and, thankfully, there are also other easier ways to produce a pot or indeed sculpture. Anyway, here’s a link to Brian’s website: http://www.brianhollandceramics.com/About-The-Artist
At studio 14, Persistence Works, I visited another ceramic artist, Sarah Villenau. Her work is inspired by natural subjects, and very easy on the eye. She also runs workshops. http://www.studiopottery.co.uk/profile/Sarah/Villeneau

More next week.

Jewel


HALLOWEEN GRAVEYARD ACTIVITY

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I cannot tell you how often I've tried to post this. My friend, Fran, and I went to an upstate graveyard just before Halloween. Let me tell you, neither of us know a thing about photoshop or any way to do trick effects. But just let me loose in a graveyard and anything can happen....

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This is the scene from the graveyard in Upstate New York a couple of weeks before Halloween. As I said, my friend, Fran, and I have no idea how to photoshop, etc. I can't do one fancy thing on the computer, but just let me loose in a graveyard and...

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Stormy weather

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The gales and rain have died down now, but early last week found me battling through wind and rain to Persistence Works, Sheffield, purpose built artists and craftsmen’s studios, where a course for artists “starting out” was being held. Run by Yorkshire Artspace, there were four lots of speakers. These included Paul Morrison on artists exhibiting in galleries – his view was that most of the galleries were London based, and so this was the best place to be. Perhaps it is just as well my husband won’t let me set up a gallery in our garage in Clowne (he needs it for the car). I did, however, pick up a tip from this artist, which was to invite a VIP if you are organising an exhibition. I might try this when our art group have their next show, and see what happens. Robin Close took us through planning and running an event, and Rowena Hamilton from the Sheffield Museum on having work commissioned by the museum. Brett Payne, a silversmith, spoke about exhibiting at a craft fair and was very down to earth and full of sensible advice: “craft fairs are very expensive, so make the most of the time you have, and think of it as putting on a sort of show”. Finally, a group of people from AXIS in Leeds talked us through having a website, and making the most of social networking on the web – this really needed much longer to do it justice. Overall, though, I found it quite useful.



At art group, Elizabeth continued with the background on her picture of a jaguar. Meanwhile, Gill had several projects on the go including a squirrel and a Welsh seascape – she’d been on holiday at the same time as me but in a different part of Wales. John was searching for inspiration after finally completing his lion and Karen had an orang utan on the go.

Grannies Candles
This week I am featuring the work of a craftsman I visited recently at Sherwood Forest. “Grannies Candles” are unique in the UK and very unusual looking. http://www.tourismleafletsonline.com/pdfs/Sherwood_Forest_Art_and_Craft_Centre_Leaflet.pdf
 I also have a new link (below) to Juliana Matthews’ personal development blog. This part-time lecturer and examiner from the Stour Valley has an engaging and perceptive style of writing and tackles some difficult and varied subjects. She also has an “English Country Kitchen” blog featuring various recipes.


CELEBRITY SIGHTING

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In Viande, an downscale eatery barely wide enough for my hips, I heard a familiar, rough voice call out, "Sunday the food is free here." It was Joan Rivers. Since I'd recently seen the documentary about her, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, I felt as if I knew her. Without thinking, I called out, "Hi, Joan." I braced myself, half-expecting her to say, "You idiot!" Instead, she flashed me a charming veneered smile.

What a tribute to Jona Rivers and to the film makers who could get so comically and tragically present her history and the quirks of her dailiness.

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FAIR GAME

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I am too worked up to go to bed. I knew all the facts. Valerie Plane was outed because her husband, Joe Wilson, wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times saying that Iraq didn't buy uranium from Niger. As a result, his wife was outed from the CIA right in the middle of a number of crucial missions, one of which was to rescue some Iraqi scientists. But to this movie is to feel the facts, have them hammered into your psyche. Aside from being a great film, think of the implications for us as writers. We can take a story everyone knows, whether a biography or a fairy tale, a news story, a historical incident, and breathe life into it, make it our own and the readers' own as well.

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Gregory Robson shows up at a film with a legal pad and a pen and takes notes as he watches a film. (I notice he can do it without taking his eyes off the screen.) Then he goes to his blog and writes everything you, the reader, would want to know about the film, and writes it with the kind of depth that is missing in most blogs. As a result, he gets 7,000 hits a week and has gotten some advertisers on board. Advertising on a blog is where the money comes from. Sure, he's just beginning, a great beginning, but when his readership grows, so will the advertising opportunities. But think of it. He's getting an audience for doing just what he loves and isn't this a hope that all of you have when you sign up for a class at UCLA Extension?

Check out his blog for intelligent film discussion and inspiration.
http://residentmediapundit.com/

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Fame at last # 4

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The recession is meant to be over now, but in the UK everyone still seems to talk as if it is still here. These are still difficult economic times, particularly for artists, and any help is gratefully received. So this week I was pleased to have arranged an interview for a part time job. The great day dawned and I arrived five minutes early at an unassuming white building up a muddy lane on the other side of town. The hours would fit in with my son’s school, except the holidays, when he would go to a holiday club. The place was empty and locked up. I waited …. And waited … for about 20 minutes before giving up and giving home. I sent him an e-mail asking if I was still needed, but hopes gradually faded when I heard nothing. I’ve never had that happen at an interview before, but that's life.


Fortunately, I realised I would be able to go to an evening event I’d been invited to, but hadn’t accepted because I thought I would be at work the next day. It was the “Creative Greenhouse’s fourth birthday”, including a question and answer session with a panel of four experts.  The CG is a local organisation that tries to help artists and other creative people to sell their work and get better known.  http://www.creativegreenhouse.org.uk/  At my table were a fashion photographer, an art gallery owner and two retired art teachers, husband and wife, who had begun to exhibit their ceramics around the country, apparently with some success. I was able to exchange details with them, and have linked my website to theirs, and my blog, via the link at the bottom of the page. Here's a link to their main website: http://www.polliegarryceramics.com/The photographer’s blog is a personal one, but beautifully photographed.


Work of Pollie and Garry Uttley
I also met a sculptor who produced dinosaurs from metal. His work was featured on the front of the publicity leaflet for an exhibition he’d done, resulting in people going along to see it just to see it. In spite of this, however, he hadn’t sold anything. My own experience is that that people will often hesitate over buying large paintings but go for smaller paintings or prints, I wonder if the same is true of dinosaurs. I am waiting to hear from him to exchange website links and hope to feature his very unusual work soon. Artists from each table were allowed to ask questions, and mine was on how best to publicise a website and blog. I was advised to get it into as many directories as possible (which I’ve already done), make it interesting (I hope so) and put something topical at the beginning, so that any journalists who were searching for an angle on a current topic would stand a chance of picking it up. This I’ve tried to do in my first paragraph above.


Finally, we all had our photograph taken as a group for a press release. I somehow managed to get myself onto the front row, and am stood near Paul Hough, the founder of the Greenhouse. He rather anxiously held the fourth birthday cake at an angle, hoping it wouldn’t fall off its base. This is the fourth press release I’ve been involved in this year, and perhaps this one will prove interesting enough for someone to feature it.

This year's Christmas Card
At art group, I’ve completed my painting of the local church (above) - this year’s Christmas card, for some of my friends.



Charity with A Little Night Music

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Went to see A Little Night Music last night and grinned my way through it. Ah, Sondheim! The play had all the magic of A Midsummer's Night Dream, alas without Puck. (Ever see the old movie version of M.N.D where Mickey Rooney plays Puck?) Anyway, at the end of the play, Bernadette Peterson offered to sell her earrings straight from her lobes on behalf of Actors Equity's charity. I didn't see any takers. Elaine Stritch offered to sell her hankie. Didn't see any takers either. How much courage actors have to face donation-rejection. It's probably nearly as hard as waiting for the reviews.

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