Tenby Project begins

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I have nearly finished my Canadian picture now.  I just need to add some grass, trees and bushes to the left hand corner, and the water and reflections need more work.
Several of the group have given me paintings to show at the forthcoming open day at St John’s church this Saturday, 1st October.  I will also take some leaflets along for anyone interested in joining or finding out more about the group, and publicise the website and this blog and the cat one too.  If any readers want to meet me in person, I will be on the cake stall that day.  I wonder if anyone will approach me after reading this.  I have made some carrot and orange muffins, which were very popular at the art group’s Easter exhibition, and frozen them (they freeze well).

Carew Castle - Sue and Maggie's chosen subject
At art group, Maggie and Sue had begun the Tenby project, both painting Carew Castle from the road side looking towards the tidal mill.  Maggie has given the sky her classic "dark and moody" treatment, reminiscent of her Cley Windmill style.  I have also sent the photos to Jim and Hayden, our newest members, and will be interested to see which of the group try painting Tenby  – it’s a very photogenic place.  I suspect Sue or Maggie might even try more than one painting on a Tenby theme, as they both work very quickly.


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MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD, now playing at Primary Stages after 59 E. 59th St, makes you feel as if someone has read your mind or your mother’s or your grandmother’s because no one would dare to say outright what actors are saying on stage The twenty scenes, united by themes of mothering that span birth to death, were written by a collection of playwrights that includes Beth Henley, a Pulitzer Prize winner. Some of the stories are true, some are composites of the playwrights’ friends’ stories, and others are invented. But they all feel true, intimate, and necessary.
There is magic unfolding as you watch Saidah Arrika Ekulona (Obie award winner for Ruined) morph into a Muslim mother of a teenager who just got her period to a divorced mother whose son is sent to Afghanistan, to a teenager interviewing her grandmother . James Lecense (winner of Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award) is as believable whether he is playing the male character or the character’s mother, Elizabeth. Randy Graff (Fiddler on the Roof (2004) and winner of the Drama Desk and Tony winner) can have loud, pull-your-hear-out desperation as a sleep-deprived mother as well as quiet desperation in Queen Est4her when her plays a woman whose son wants to go to a Purim Festival as Queen Esther. Mary Bacon (The Good Wife, Law & Order) can go from the panic and joy of a new mother to a mother-in-law who needs wising up.
My prediction is that Motherhood Out Loud will be a hit wherever it goes. It’s already been warmly received in L.A. and Greenwich Connecticut. I see this show as a hit in New York and lighting up stages all over the country: Florida, Texas, Washington, and more, then on to London.
From Motherhood Out Loud, whether you’re a mother or not, you’ll get an appreciation for just how thorny the role is. You might even end up forgiving yourself for the inevitable messes you’ve made with your children or your mother has made with you. And all the while, you’ll laugh hysterically and become tear-glazed, knot-throated, what my Russian bubby used to call “farklempt.”

DISCOUNT TICKETS AVAILABLE if you call Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or visit Primarystages.org and use the promotion code MOM9161

Rockies and Roses

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I am continuing to progress with my Canadian Rockies picture.  I’ve added definition to the trees in front of the mountain, but it needs more so I will add some other shades of green to them too.  The reflection in the river looks a bit challenging but, luckily, I like a challenge. 
At art group, Kevin was working on the third meerkat in a meerkat triptych.  John continued with his latest dog chalk pastel picture (with velvety looking fur), and Maggie had completed her gold leaf tipped geraniums by adding a shallow stream of water in the foreground.   Some of our group are putting a few paintings on display at the St John’s church open day in Clowne  on 1st October.  The paintings will mostly be sold in aid of the church, and it is also an opportunity to publicise the group to new members.

This week, I am featuring a local business, “Celtic Rose”, which is based in Chesterfield and sells needlework materials including complete kits and charts (which can be bought as downloads or e-mailed to the recipient).  I happened to be on a course at the same time as the owner, who then tracked me down and asked to put some of my designs on her website to sell as charts.  Two of my pictures have been made into kits, hence the mention.  I was very pleased to see my designs on the website, and it made me feel proud that someone liked them enough to make use of them.   Here’s hoping people will buy them, and here’s the link anyway: http://celticroseneedlecraft.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=817&Itemid=27

Also worthy of a mention is Chloe Adlington (elder sister of Olympic gold medallist, Rebecca).  Chloe is from Mansfield, Notts, and her blog is about weddings and is called “Adore by Chloe”.   She is a former business development manager turned wedding stylist.  This gives her the opportunity to use her creative side, which she enjoys so much.  According to the Chad (the local Mansfield newspaper), she has worked very hard to build up a following of 14,000 readers per month to her blog, spending 10 hours a day at the computer.   For any readers getting married, or even if you aren’t, it is a beautiful looking and informative blog, and she updates it at least once a week.  At the moment, she has been shortlisted in a competition run by Cosmo magazine and needs votes, so I am off to vote for her.  http://www.adorebychloe.co.uk/adoreblog/

Do you see the figures through the scrim of fabric? That is just how a psychic sees. And check out the UTube of a visitor to Sum of Days. You will hear just as a psychic hears: an overlay of sounds over time. That's why when a psychic says, "I hear a name that begins with H," instead of thinking he's guessing, try to pick out specific names when you enter the exhibit. You'll see. You'll hear.


A bit "Woolworthsy"

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Back at art group this week, Barbara, who is married to Kevin, was back from her travels and voluntary work, and it was good to see her again after quite a long absence.  She was working on a painting of the Lake District, while Kevin himself was painting another meerkat, to complete the triptych he’d started some time ago.  Maggie was putting the finishing touches to her geranium with gold leaf.
I have continued to work on my Canadian Rockies painting, this time, adding more detail to the mountains and some background colour for the trees in front.  The photo I am using is rather bright, and the painting itself was beginning to remind me of the sort of thing you used to see in Woolworths years ago.  Readers of a certain age will remember the “child with teardrops”, but sometimes there were also landscapes too, in Woolworths (or that type of shop).   I have therefore had to tone the colours down.

The interior of Fairytale Bridals - the proprietor is organising a charity wedding fair on 2nd October
Note the artistic window dressing, especially the windowsills
This week, I would also like to give a mention to a forthcoming charity event at Clowne.  It is a wedding fair, and I am told by the organiser that it would also be of interest to anyone organising a party or other event.  It is in aid of “Elastic FM” a new community radio station for the area, being set up jointly by Clowne Enterprise and the Heritage school.  It is on 2nd October at 11.00-4.00 at Clowne Community Centre.  There will be free face painting, and a prom dress is being raffled.  Also Elastic have a page on Face Book, for which they would like some “likes” at   and at the moment you can win a Dell tablet just by doing that (UK readers only).  Their page is at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Elastic-FM/283236495023764
More news next week.

Vera Famiglia's Higher Ground

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Vera Famiglia stars in the original and quirky film out now. She delves into a woman's challenge to be part of a community of faith, all the while admiring their ability to keep their faith. Amazing to see such emotional honestly!


VOCA PEOPLE, The White Blue Man's Group

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Actually, Blue Man Group doesn't sing, and Voca People, they rock. They not only sing, but they dance and become their own instruments. (If you sit on the aisle, you might find your forearm becoming a sax.) I didn't think kids would like it, but there was a three year old behind me, enraptured. http://vocapeoplenyc.com/index.php?aid=ADV000000800

Focus on Tenby

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Tenby Harbour
For any readers who might have been wondering where I have been for the past week or so, I have been on holiday in Tenby, Wales. Much of Wales consists of rugged landscape, with quaint coves and harbours along the coastline, and attracts many artists and craftsmen.

Tenby itself has a pretty harbour as well as several privately owned galleries, and the public museum, which has a small gallery attached. 
The art group may be interested in a Tenby group project, so I am taking along copies of some of the photos I took while I was there.
St Catherine's Island
Sand art by unknown artist, Tenby beach
Once I’ve completed my Canadian Rockies canvas, I might try doing a painting of St Catherine’s Island, a small islet at the end of Tenby beach.The building on it was originally a 19th century fort.During the building of this, artefacts uncovered included Roman coins and an Egyptian figure from a tomb at Luxor. After the fort closed, it then became a privately owned house, before being occupied by the writer Norman Lewis, and finally a zoo in the 1970s, which closed and fell into disrepair.Nobody has occupied the island since, which seems a shame. With so much history, it could be an interesting place to visit.

Carving of a face on St Catherine's Island by Steve Vallene
The neighbouring Caldey Island is home to an order of Cistercian monks, and there are shops on the island selling goods they and others have produced, including gift tags, shortbread, chocolate etc.

We also visited Manor House Wildlife Park, owned by Anna Ryder-Richardson, interior designer, of Changing Rooms fame.  As might be expected, this Zoo had more than a bit of her artistic influence, as can be seen in these oversized benches.
This is comfier than Richard makes it look
The magnificent sculpted wooden dragon (top) has tunnels on the platform below for the little ones to crawl through, and they can sit on the dragon itself.  All the animals had plenty of space and seemed very contented, and human visitors were well catered for as it is very family-friendly.

Finally, here's a mention for the Tenby Arts Festival, running from 17th-24th September, featuring drama, music, a writing competition, and a sand sculpting competition, amongst other things.  www.tenbyartsfest.co.uk for details.

My grandchildren loved the new Smurf movie so much that they wouldn't leave until the last credit rolled and the screen went dark. And it has enough double entendres to keep the adults chuckling.

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