A Challenge/Commission :-)

Framed picture for conference room at work for blog

Hello friends,

This framed image, which is A1 size, is hanging on the wall in the conference room at work.  My manager recently challenged me to produce some art which included this quote from the World Health Organisation.  We work in the water industry so the quote is appropriate to me and my colleagues.

The blue background is my attempt to portray clean water, the leaves in the corners are because some vaccines are derived from plants and in the black border are my interpretation of what some of the killer diseases look like under the microscope.

All of these diseases can be mitigated or controlled by the vaccine programme and one, smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, the last known case was in Somalia in 1977.

I find it fascinating that that some of the most deadly cells can look so beautiful.  Starting in the top left hand corner and working clockwise I’ve depicted Polio, Influenza, Mumps, Smallpox, Cholera, Chickenpox, Typhoid, Dengue Fever, Tetanus and Diphtheria.

It was a good challenge, I enjoyed making this piece of art.  It’s also the first time I’ve seen any of my art framed.

On November 11 I went up to London to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition Boom for Real a the Barbican and also to meet up with some friends.  I only found out the day before that it was also the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show, a big carnival type of affair, and most of the roads in central London were closed to traffic.  It’s was so strange walking around London with no traffic, there were lots of people on bicycles and also lots of policemen making sure cars did not enter the closed roads.  Unfortunately I got a bit lost and didn’t arrive at the Barbican on time to meet my friends.  I assumed that they had already gone into the exhibition and hoped to meet up with them inside, which is exactly what happened.

I’ve been to the Barbican once before to see a concert but this time I realised just how much I dislike the place, for me it’s just too big and noisey and confusing.

I was really moved by Basquiat’s art, there were over 100 pieces which is amazing as they were produced in just a few years, between 1981 and 1988 when he tragically died of a drug overdose.  The paintings look like they were done with a great sense of urgency, fast and furious, like he had important information to impart to us through his art.  There is no sense of perfection, things are crossed out and rewritten, there is lots of repetition and symbolism and a fantastic use of colour.  I just loved being in the presence of such great art.  It’s such a shame we were not allowed to take any photos as I would have liked to have at least one photo of his work.  There was also some really interesting reference material but I didn’t even have a note book or smart phone to record notes.  However it did mean I just had to be in the moment with each piece of art and that’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s probably better than having photos.  I think I could live with any one of those pieces of art, because in each piece there is so much to see and learn.  In reality though I couldn’t afford it.

Normally it’s always colour that draws me into a picture, but in Boom for Real there is one piece called Tuxedo. It’s just white screen printing on a black canvas, it’s big – 151.8 x 260.8 cm you can see it here.  I went back to it several times to soak it up.  As I stood in front of this piece I had the feeling that it probably contained answers to … something? … but I’d have to spend a lifetime trying to decode it. I love art that reveals something new to you everytime you look at it and I got that sense from much of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art.  There is a depth to is that you can’t get from just one look.

I couldn’t afford the hard back book that was produced for the exhibition, it was about £40! but I bought a smaller soft back one which I’m half way through reading.    What a fascinating man he was and what he shame he died so young.

It was so lovely to meet up with Lisa, Kelly and Cairrai who I first met at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat and also meeting Michelle for the first time.  We had a great day. I was shattered by the time I got home 13 hours after leaving 🙂

And you can take a 360 tour of Boom for Real at the Barbican here:

You still have time to see it 🙂

That’s all for now

See you soon

Big Love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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From a sacred place

Leaf from the Bhodi tree 1

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you we are doing well.

The other day I got home from work and I saw this leaf in a nice wooden frame, I couldn’t remember seeing it before so I asked T where it came from.  He told me that it’s a leaf from the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya in India and it has been pressed between the pages of a small buddhist book we bought when we were there in spring of 1976 over 41 years ago!

You probably know that Bodh Gaya is a very sacred place.  Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment meditating beneath the Bodhi tree and became Buddha in the 4th century BC. Of course the tree that this leaf came from is not that original tree but one planted on the same spot in 1881.

There are many buddhist temples in Bodh Gaya the main one which marks the spot where Buddha gained enlightenment under the tree is the Mahabodhi Temple.  There was a big religious festival while we were there.   T told me the festival was to celebrate the solar eclipse which took place on 29th April.  I don’t remember that bit but I do remember the masses of Tibetan monks assembled at the temple, the thousands of butter lamps, the music and the chanting.  It was a spectacular and moving event, we even recorded some of it on a cassette which I’m sure we still have somewhere, but we have no way of playing it now.

Anyway I am so pleased this beautiful leaf decided to show itself again after all these years and bring back some magical memories.

I’ve been wondering what new art I could share with you now that I’ve completed the Radiant Warrior Women project.  This page is from an altered book I started back in 2012 and still haven’t finished.  The book was a children’s book called Bringing Down the Moon, but it won’t be recognisable when I’ve finished altering it.

Spread 1a with copyright

This page isn’t actually new but I haven’t shared it before.  It’s the first page in the book and it was created when I attended the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat run by Erin Faith Allen at a place called Croydon Hall in Somerset in September 2012.  The workshop was run by Orli Aveneri.  The page was a collaboration between myself and (I’m not sure about this but I think it was) Pat Beaumont from Liverpool we both worked on each others pages under Orli’s guidance. I really like how my page turned out.

Attending the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat was a huge, scary adventure for me.  As an introvert I was out of my comfort zone and incredibly nervous (actually “freaked out” would be a more apt description of my state of mind), but it was a fantastic experience.

The other workshops I attended on the retreat were run by Teesha Moore, wife of my friend Tracey Moore who I had met in 2007, and they have both had a massive and positive impact on my life and my art. I love them both.

The truly wonderful Flora Bowley also ran a workshop and she got us dancing and painting intuitively.

I met some fantastic people at Croydon Hall and many of them have remained friends. (I met up with some of them recently when I went to London to see the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican called Boom for Real, I’ll tell you about that in another post). The whole Art Retreat event was good for my soul and my creativity.

That’s all for now.  Take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love from me

AJ xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Tiny Spark

You Got this for blog

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you and you are keeping well

I’ve been busy again so not posted recently.  So here’s an update:

On July 20 I went for what is hopefully my last visit to Southampton Hospital.  Almost 3 years since diagnosis from now on apart from annual blood tests, it’s down to me to keep monitoring myself and to let them know if I have any concerns.  I’ve been well and, apart from the tiredness which I think I just have to live with now, all is good.  🙂  My main priority now is to get on and enjoy my life as much as I can.

I’ve also been working hard to complete my garden project.  I’ve dug up another two big (HUGE) clumps of bamboo.  Who’s bright idea was it to plant bloody bamboo?!?!  One clump was along the edge of the pond and there was another, slightly smaller clump on the higher level of the garden in the flower border.  I don’t think I’ve managed to eliminate it all and I will just have to keep an eye on it and try and stop it every time is see new sprouts appearing.

Unfortunately it was also growing up through the gravel path so I had to take up all the gravel, dig out as much of the root as I could manage, lay cardboard on top, then two layers of weed proof membrane and finally put the gravel (and about 10 more bags of gravel) on top.  It was hard work but the garden looks so much better now.  As far as I can tell there is just one more (massive) clump of bamboo to get rid of, but I’ll leave that until the autumn as I need a break from the hard physical work for a few weeks.

I have a feeling I may also have to empty the pond remove some more bamboo that is growing through the pond liner, then reline the pond and refill it, but that might have to wait until next year.  Or possibly until I retire!

I’ve started a new art project which is about learning and hopefully growing, it’s early days yet and I’m not sure where it’s going so I’ll have to see later if I want to share any of it or not.

The image above, that measures 30″ by 22″, is another reproduction of a page from my Warrior Women art journal.  Here is the original:

You got this, Keep going

I was not too happy with this page so I changed it a bit when I painted it big. The original is mainly collage and penwork the reproduction is mainly acrylic paint and penwork.  I’m really happy with the painting, I think it’s a great improvement on the original.

Here is another Radiant Warrior mask:

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I painted the mask with gold metallic paint and used up loads of bits and bobs as embellishments, there is even a little male warrior standing on top of her head.  🙂

And finally here is a little video about an exhibition that is currently on in London until September 10, unfortunately I’m not able to get to see it, but I love the extraordinary and talented Grayson Perry so I thought I’d share it with you here. If you are in London before the end of the exhibition go along and have a look, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

That’s all for now folks.  Take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon(ish)

Big love

AJ xxxxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

She laughs without fear of the future.

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Hello friends

I’ve been missing again for a couple of weeks because the first weekend we had no internet and last weekend we were away from home, but I’m back again now.

The image at the top of the page is another big painting reproducing a page from my Warrior Women art journal.  The painting measures approx 30″ by 22″ and here is the original page from the journal that measures 15″ by 9″:

Strength-and-Dignity

And here is another of the Radiant Warrior masks:

Radiant Warrior Mask

After my previous post T and I went to London to see The Howard Hodgkin exhibition Absent Friends at the National Portrait Gallery.  It was amazing and I really enjoyed it. Here is one of the portraits we saw in the exhibition it’s a portrait of his friend Patrick Caulfield and was painted 1991-93.  It’s called Patrick in Italy measures about 26″ by 29″ and is oil on wood.

Patric in Italy

Now, you may think this is just an abstract painting, but Mr Hodgkin (if he were still alive) would tell you he never painted anything abstract in his life and this is a true portrait of his friend Patrick.  Although it may not look like him the painting accurately captures the feeling and memory of that time.  Personally I love it and it was a privilege to see so many (I think there were 52) portraits in the exhibition.

Last weekend we had a proper heat wave in the UK and we were lucky to be invited to go and stay with T’s brother and family in Gloucestershire.  On Saturday we went to a small festival in the village where they live, it was organised to raise funds for the local school. It was a great day with some good bands and a lovely atmosphere, the headline act were called Mr Tea and the Minions  from Bristol.  They play ‘Cheeky gypsy party music’ that’s a cross between – Balkan/Ska/Swing/Dub/Funk – happy smiley people who got us on our feet and jiggling about 🙂

On Monday before we came home we drove into Bristol to see an exhibition by one of my favourite artists – David Shillinglaw – the show is entitled Tales of Ordinary Madness –  at That Art Gallery I was very lucky because the gallery is normally closed on Mondays but they opened it especially so I could see the exhibition before I came home.

Here is a little video the gallery made to promote the show.

I bought a unique colourful print made up of faces like these.

 

That’s all for now folks, take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Art from Malaga and me

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Hello Friends

Continuing with the theme of Radiant Warriors here is another ‘mask’ I made using the radiotherapy mask I had to wear during treatment.

This week I had my 62nd Birthday and although it’s not a very attractive number it was still a cause to celebrate being alive and well.  It was a glorious sunny day and I had taken the day off work so we went out for a drive.  We stopped off at a couple of beaches for walks, lunch and ice-cream.  In the evening T took me out for a meal at a local restaurant.  It was a good day 🙂

We thought about going camping for the rest of the weekend but the weather changed, got cooler and rained, and I’m only a fairweather camper, so we stayed at home.

I’ve really been missing all that art and culture we saw when we were on holiday in Malaga at the beginning of May.

One day we went to the Centre for Contemporary Art, Malaga It’s an amazing space.  The temporary exhibitions we saw there were:

Jia Aili A Chinese artist who paints huge, futuristic and somewhat desolate paintings.  T really appreciated this art but for me, although I could appreciate the skill involved, they were too depressing and bleak.

Image source https://www.chinesenewart.com/chinese-artists11/jiaaili.htm

There was an exhibition of Studio Film Club posters byScottish artist Peter Doig, which I absolutely loved, so bright and colourful and fun.  And it seems that Peter has very similar taste in films as T and me.

Image source https://biblioklept.org/2013/08/11/peter-doigs-studio-film-club-posters/ where you can see more of the posters.

You can find out more about Peter here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Doig

There was a moving exhibition by the American artist Travis Somerville

You can find out more about Travis Someville’s art here: http://www.travissomerville.com/

As well as the temporary exhibitions there is a lot of excellent art in the permanent collection.  We had a great time inside this fantastic building.

Here is the bendy man sculpture at the entrance to CAC Malaga.  I took this photograph, I didn’t realise it was OK to take photos inside the Centre so the those images are not mine (I have mentioned the sources where I was not the photographer):

014 Bendy man sculpture outside the Centre for Contempoary Art

The area of Malaga where the Centre for Contemporary Art is located is called Soho, it’s an up and coming area and there is just load and loads of fantastic street art there.

Here is another of my large paintings (30″ x 22″) reproducing pages from my Warrior Women art journal:

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And here is the original page it measures 15″ by 9″:

Healing-takes-courage-1

I don’t normally like listening to ‘experts’ explaining about art, mainly because I rarely understand what they are talking about it all sounds like gobbledegook to me, but I saw this video yesterday about an exhibition by Howard Hodgkin at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Howard Hodgkin died in March of this year. I first discovered him when I bought a book of his paintings in a local charity shop and a bit later I saw one of his original paintings at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.  I love his use of colour, but now I’ve found out a little bit more about him I realise what a fascinating and talented man he was.  I love the way that Paul Moorhouse takes us through this exhibition of portraits and I understand completely what he talks about.  We are planning on visiting this exhibition before it closes on 18 June:

That’s all for now folks, see you soon

Big love

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Where have I been?

Hello friends, it’s been a while again!  I hope your year is going well.  I am doing well health wise.  I’ve been working on two big projects this year and both are now nearing completion so maybe now I’ll be able to get back into blogging again.  We’ll see, my track record so far has not been too good has it?

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When I finished my cancer treatment back in 2015 I was given the mask I had to wear when I was having radiotherapy:

The face maskI wanted to do something creative with it, but I had lots of ideas  and I didn’t want to do just one thing, so in the end I used the mask as a form to create a series of papier mache ‘warrior masks’. Each one fixed onto a canvas.

All the time in my head I had the title ‘Radiant Warriors’.  I felt it complimented the journal of Warrior Women I made when I was having chemotherapy.

Definition of Radiant: adjective 1. happy, glowing, ecstatic, joyfulgay, delighted, beaming, joyous, blissful, rapturous

2. bright, brilliant, shining, glorious, beaming, glowing, sparkling, sunny, glittering, gleaming, luminous, resplendent, incandescent, lustrous, effulgent

The image at the top of the page is the first mask I made.  I can’t begin to tell you just how disappointed I was with how it turned out, which is nothing like I imagined it would.  I’ve made 11 masks so far and none of them have turned out how I planned.  It stressed me out a fair bit that I couldn’t reproduce the images I had  in my head, but in the end I realised the masks turn out exactly as they are meant to be – full of imperfections and faults, just like me.  To be a warrior means you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep trying.

As well as mask making I also wanted to see what my journal pages would look like if I reproduced them big.  Ideally I would like to see them massive like on a wall on the side of a building, but as I don’t have a wall 30″ x 22″size paper was the biggest I could go:

This is the first page I did in my Warrior Women Journal when I was first diagnosed with cancer. It’s made of collage, painting and penwork, it measures 15″ by 9″.

All is Good

And here is the large size painting it measures 30″ by 22″:

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Now that I’ve finished the Radiant Warrior project I feel like I can move on from the Cancer thing. It’s such a relief.  Not everyone makes it though do they?  Earlier this month a very brave young woman who put up a couragous, positive and inspiring fight lost her battle with cancer.  It really hurts when this happens.

Rest in Peace beautiful Sam xxx

The other project I’ve been working on is the garden project I started back in November, to build some raised beds for T’s vegetable garden.  This is what it looked like before I started. Just look at all those weeds on the paths!!!

And here is a video of the finished raised beds.

In other news we had a holiday in Malaga city in Spain at the beginning of May, it’s a lovely place and we soaked up loads of art and culture.  I might blog about that later.

That’s all for now, I hope you are all doing well and are happy and I hope to see you again soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Merry Christmas!

sock-reindeer-greeting

Hello Friends!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

I’ve been caught up with preparations for the Festivities and (as usual) had little time for anything else!  But I made it and here we are on Christmas morning and everything is ready so let the fun begin!

T has just woken up so shortly we will be opening presents and then starting preparations for lunch.  Mum and Dad are coming here for lunch today so that will be fun!

The image above is a sock reindeer I made last week, it’s a strange looking creature but I just couldn’t resist it when I saw the kit in a shop.

Anyway I’m still trying (not very successfully) to get back into regular  blogging and will continue with that attempt in the New Year, we’ll just have to see how it goes 🙂

Have a lovely Christmas and I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

BIG LOVE

AJ xxx