© Simon Annand
Sleeping Beauty is the third in Matthew Bourne's trilogy of ballets inspired by Tchaikovsky's original scores and this rates up with his masterpiece reworking of Swan Lake.
This year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of choreographer Matthew Bourne's ballet company and he has pulled a blinder out of the bag yet again. His telling of the Brothers Grimm's tale of Princess Aurora's one hundred year sleep, is the culmination of that celebration.
Calling itself a `Gothic Romance', Sleeping Beauty's story begins in 1890 (the original ballet's first outing) and has her waking a century later in the present day.
Everything about this ballet was interesting and original, I was gripped from start to finish.
The story was re-worked to include vampires (very clever Matthew) because vampires have that uncanny knack of rendering anything in which they are present to be sexy, scary as well as deeply seductive. Well I would think that being an old goth.
The show opens with a translucent screen covering the entire stage with the words "Once Upon a Time" and as soon as you hear the opening music from Tchaikovsky's beautiful score - you know instantly that this is going to be an intelligent, witty and very grown-up reworking of this strange tale.
Bourne has become more interesting with his choreography and it works a treat. Some reviews have labelled this piece as being cold and lacking any heart, but what they are failing to see that that is exactly how MB has planned it - the vampires the fairies, all of it is ice cold, even Aurora and gloriously so. There is a scene in the enchanted castle which is difficult to watch as we have a host of red satin clad vampires dancing in a neon purple lit room. Genius! It is cold, sinister and menacing - we are never meant to feel comfortable with these deathly creatures. This was a highlight in the show for me.
There is a wonderful scene-stealing moment early on in the ballet with a puppet of Aurora as a baby, beautifully operated by a semi invisible puppeteer and the scene was enchanting as she interacted with the fairies dancing around her. So tender and subtle were her actions, the expertise of this element reminded me of the talent of the puppeteers in the stage version of Warhorse.
Check this link for info about tickets, venues and even a video clip!
Show continues at Sadlers Wells Theatre until 26th January
Forever and Ever
The glorious and wholesome art of soap making is something I've been eager to try for years.
A few months ago I finally decided to grab the bull by the horns and learned properly how to make `Cold Process' soap - as its called. Within 2 batches I was hooked and now there's no stopping me......
***** Juliet Rose Soaps is born! *****
Hello lovely readers
As most of you will know, the next Open Studios is nearly upon us and I had to pre-warn you that as well as new oil paintings, there will also be something entirely new to the studios - an extensive collection of handmade soaps!
They are all made with beautiful moisturising and nourishing ingredients, essential oils for fragrance, cocoa butter, shea butter, mango butter for luxurious moisture and Vitamin E, Evening Primrose Oil etc for maturing skin and all sorts of wonderful stuff. When you come along you'll see what's what, It is a truly multi-sensory experience walking into my studio with smells, colours and visuals like you've never seen and the studio smells gorgeous!
There will also be a small number of pieces by guest artist Tanya Church. She will be showing an exquisitely hand crafted and painted wooden shelf, a box and a couple of paintings. Her style refers to William Morris and the Art Nouveau period. I feel very lucky that she agreed to be included in this Open and I can't wait for you to see her beautiful work.
Come along and enjoy the feast!
See you there
PS. Being that its coming up to that time of year, I have packaged them to look like presents if anyone wants to buy them as such! Prices will vary between £2.50 and £10.00. There will also be soap fairy cakes!
God I love making these!
Next Open Studios will be 22-25th November 2012
**** Newsflash ****
I got the fantastic news that I am to be included in the 35th Edition of Who's Who in Art - I am overawed and somewhat puzzled to find myself included in such illustrious company!
Morven Press, who publish this book contacted me a few months ago to say that I had been recommended for inclusion, and if interested, could I provide them with my professional and personal history. That is exactly what I did, and they contacted me to let me know I am now a `Who'. Wonderful!
Their website is: www.whoswhoinart.co.uk
The publications date will be in October 2012, ISBN No: 978 0 9536039 1 6
If anyone wants to know more details, cost etc, please let me know.
"I hope it feels charming rather than really annoying." Danny Boyle
I knew from the moment we saw the cute puffy clouds floating around the Olympic Stadium arena, (acknowledging our obsession with the UK's unpredictable weather) that we were in for something entirely British. This was going to be eccentric, genius, possibly bonkers but definitely unique - the character of the best in creativity from our country.
Danny Boyle – the key figure in the Cool Britannia's wave of 1990s cultural reinvigoration, with his first films Shallow Grave and Trainspotting – was never going to settle for standard-issue pomp and pageantry. Zhang Yimou’s dazzling Beijing opening in 2008 was about automaton-like synchronicity and majestic spectacle, Boyle’s epic opera of social and cultural history was a vibrant work of unfettered imagination that celebrated a nation, but even more so, its people..
Before the kickoff, farm animals milled in pens on the grassy fields of a village green, as agricultural workers tended their veggie patches, a waterwheel slowly turned, maypole dancers twirled and cricketers in period uniforms played a gentlemanly match. Dominating the visual field was a replica of Glastonbury Hill. Its grassy slopes – dotted with dandelions and daisies – evoked the British pastoral tradition (as well as Middle Earth and Tellytubby
land) with a simplicity that grew even more beautiful as the show progressed. A lone boy soprano sang William Blake’s “Jerusalem” , which set a serene tone and weight. The by the end became home to the flags of the 204 participating countries.
Chimneys of the Industrial Revolution
Boyle then turned sombre with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, heralded by Kenneth Branagh in top coat and tall hat, playing pioneering British civil and mechanical engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Accompanied by dozens of drummers, Branagh read the “Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises” speech from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which was the inspiration for Boyle’s Isles of Wonder title and the show’s incorporation of dreams as a central element.
As the farmers and villagers rolled up the turf, the scene made way for
towering smokestacks that sprouted from the ground as the arena filled with factory workers, suffragettes, war veterans. Blacksmiths toiled away at their furnaces to forge the Olympic rings, which were then hoisted above the stadium, raining down a shower of golden sparks in one of the show’s most awe-inspiring moments.
The biggest surprise and possibly the most memorable event in the entire ceremony was an actual acting cameo from HRH The Queen herself. She greeted a tuxedo-clad and eternally gorgeous Daniel Craig as he marched up the corridors of Buckingham Palace trailed by the monarch’s pet corgis: “Good evening, Mr. Bond.” she said, convincingly, (no wooden acting for our Queenie). A sly switch with a body double followed as they boarded a chopper, with her majesty dropped into the Stadium dangling from a Union Jack parachute to the 007 theme music. Genius!
The next segment which followed, was dedicated to the NHS and Great Ormond Street children's hospital. The hospital has been largely financed by royalties from J M Barrie's Peter Pan, an exceprt from which was read out by J K Rowling. What followed next was in recognition of the importance of Britain's input into children's literature. We'd seen earlier, characters from Wind in the Willows, Winne the Pooh and Harry Potter. Kids were now being tucked up under their illuminated duvets, their bedtime reading conjured villains from Cruella de Ville to Captain Hook to the Queen of Hearts to Voldemort, all of these nightmarish oversized monsters eventually banished by a gorgeous flock of Mary Poppinses swooping down, holding umbrellas aloft. They then proceeded to `tuck them in' their illuminated beds - one of my favourite moments in an evening full of favourite moments.
In amongst all this was a nod to the British film industry and its depiction of sports. The iconic Vangelis theme from Chariots of Fire was led by Rowan tkinson in Mr. Bean guise, hammering away at a single synthesizer note while dreaming of his own athletic glory. This managed simultaneously to provide a daffy centerpiece while acknowledging the vital role of British humor in the popular culture – fart joke included.
Among the pearls of the evening, galvanizing use was made of The Clash’s “London Calling” and The Jam’s “Going
Underground.” The third element to the evening served as a decade-by-decade salute to the British music
industry. From The Who and The Rolling Stones through The Kinks and The Beatles and then on into the glam-rock years with Mud, David Bowie and Queen, the choices were wonderful. The Specials popped up, as did more Pistols as we moved into the punk era, then came New Order, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Soul To Soul, The Eurythmics, The Prodigy and Amy Winehouse - pure bliss. There were many left out, but then where to start with a country so full of musical talent.
The concluding fireworks backed by Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse”, were truly spectacular. David Beckham was seen belting up the Thames by speedboat (another nod and wink to Bond), delivering the final torch. The Queen then announced formally that the 2012 London Olympics were now open and all heaven was let loose with the most dramatic and spectacular fireworks this country has ever seen. I watched the fireworks from the hill outside my flat which is over 5 miles away. A truly spectacular and inpspiring opening.
With thanks to: David Rooney from `The Hollywood Reporter'
Hello lovely readers
I can't believe the Open Studios have come around again so quickly.
I have created a lot of new work which I'm very excited about, I have been given the studio next door to mine which will be devoted to the earlier `Remembering Memory' paintings and other earlier pieces. There's lots for you to see!
After having nearly 3 months away from the studio because of a broken wrist, I wasn't at all sure how I would be able to pull a show together, but once I got back in the swing, I decided to stick two fingers up at my wrist and got on with it.
Suckled Plump - Oil and Acrylic on Canvas - 16x12ins
My new work sees the welcome return of the thick beautiful brush strokes in oil paint, but also now, combined with the on-going expression of ther stone metaphor .
(For new readers who are not so familiar with my work this is an on-going development that started with the `Remembering Memory' Series, please check out that section of work on my `Art' tab, and for the reasons why I depict it please read my Statement).
This new series combining both elements is going to be known as the `Intrusion Series' and I can see this growing and developing for a good long time as I have tons of ideas. It is a fantastically challenging and thrilling experience to bring together two entirely opposing and different elements into one painting and to make them balance - much like life really!
(For the time being, this series will be under the New Abstracts tab, but after the shows are over, will have its very own web page).
There is also a new 3D element to my new work, including a painted pair of Gamba Pointe ballet shoes!
Come and see.........I look forward to meeting you.
Juliet Rose Studio 228 - 10th - 13th May at Wimbledon Art Studios
please see Contacts Page for more info.
Three Trees Near Thixendale - Summer 2007
David Hockney's massively successful show (A Bigger Picture) at the Royal Academy is devoted entirely to the genre of landscapes. After his fantastically successful Bigger Trees near Warter (an enormous landscape covering 50 canvases and now bought by the Tate, the RA offered Hockney the full complement of main galleries for a show of his new landscapes. The resulting exhibition contains more than 150 works, mostly created within the past decade.
A lot of them were painted outdoors around Bridlington, the small Yorkshire seaside town where Hockney has lived for seven years "on location" as he beautifully put it in The Culture Show with Andrew Marr. There are bright oil paintings of wheat fields and tree-lined country lanes, multi-canvas vistas of woodland seen throughout the seasons. There are watercolours of hedgerows and haystacks, as well as one of my favourites - a suburban landscape and more than 50 painterly “drawings”, created using an iPad and then printed on to what I imagine must be special paper, documenting the onset of spring along an old Roman road that runs out of Bridlington. I wasn't so impressed with these - they were too gimmicky. He is really just painting using another medium, not really offering an alternative vision of iPad world. There is even a fascinating film split into 9 different screens of Woldgate woods captured with a moving camera. Each film running at a slightly different time, which amazingly gives a heightened sense of time and space. Very hard to describe, but wonderful to watch. But then the film switches to a collection of ballet dancers moving around a yellow floored studio, also split into diferent screens. I actually found that more enduring and interesting, but then I am an urban chick.
Hawthorne Blossom, Woldgate No.4, 2009
The strangest and most memorable pictures are more eerie and intense. There are several paintings of hawthorn blossom, which have a bizarre quality of Elizabethan topiary, clumsy applique and psychadelic shadows that are entirely surreal. They leave you feeling a little queasy, maybe that's what nature's bounty looks like through Alice's looking glass, or maybe it's Hockney pushing forwards towards the abstract to remind us that he was once considered an `enfant terrible'. Quite an easy factor to forget when looking around at the other incredibly well behaved green and pleasant lands. These paintings are nightmarish, claustraphonbic, like nature out of control - a cancerous gene. I wonder if he has suffered with it.
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (Twenty-Eleven)
The show-stopping, iconic and much publicized painting `The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorks in 2011 (TwentyEleven)' took my breath away. When masterpieces arrive in the world they have a quality of familiarity about them, like they have already been in existance for decades. This painting does exactly that and its no wonder it was chosen to represent the show on the cover of the catalogue, the cover of the Royal Academy magazine and all the publicity surrounding this amazing show.
I was left feeling an odd combination of ecstatic and sad. This is a show full of wonder and appreciation for the poetry of the British landscape, but I was also left with the overwhelming feeling that this is a last push for our Hockers - a rather panicky depiction of his mortality.
Anselm Kiefer's `Sprache der Vogel'
Anselm Kiefer has filled acres of gallery space with his vast paintings and sculptures over 40 years. This show, in White Cube's Bermondsey gallery, is his largest in the UK. The fact that it fills 7,000 square metres with 20 works gives you a sense of the epic scale of its contents.
The grandeur is not limited to the works' physical size: Kiefer forces portentous imagery and themes from mysticism and history into dramatic collision on the canvas and the plinth. Predominant here is alchemy, and specifically an obscure Twenties text by Fulcanelli, arguing that hidden alchemical codes are found in Gothic cathedrals.
Kiefer is not renowned for humour but his sculpture, Merkaba (2011), is amusingly sardonic, the best of an otherwise underwhelming room of sculptures. Merkaba is the chariot of God in Judaism, particularly potent in Kiefer's beloved Kabbalah. Here, it becomes a rickety tandem bicycle with three weighing scales holding sulphur, mercury and sodium.
The paintings dominating the cavernous central space find Kiefer at his best, bringing his learning to bear on German history in four huge canvases depicting Albert Speer's Tempelhof airport, which would have been the gateway to Hitler's dreamed-of state of Germania.
Now closed, it still stands, a loaded symbol: built on land once belonging to the Knights Templar, evocative of the Nazis' obsession with mysticism, a lasting emblem of Hitler's nightmarish vision.
Foreboding paintings capture the airport's desolate interior space and the exterior theatrical arc and neo-classical columns in a darkened landscape, with the forms etched into cracking paint accompanied by symbolic sculptural elements - dried-up sunflowers, sulphur loaded into a pram and tiny Stuka bombers.
Kiefer uses salt and lead, suggesting that art, like alchemy, alters base materials into valuable and enticing objects. But as Kiefer grapples with Tempelhof, he suggests that the weight of Nazi history resists transformation.
(Ben Luke/20/12/11/E.Standard) - Until February 26 (020 7930 5373, whitecube.com)
How to Make Titanium White Oil Paint - (a step-by-step guide)
You will need: 1 dust mask, 1 medium glass muller, 1 pallet knife, 1 spatula knife, 1 pot of titanium white pigment, poppy oil*, a box of latex gloves, disposable mixing pot + stirrer, 1 thick glass slab, 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 2 foam kitchen cloths, plenty of white spirit or turps + kitchen towel sheets for cleaning, clingfilm for storage, a clean dust free flat area to work in and time.
* If you use Linseed oil it will make your crisp white paint turn yellow in no time at all, so it is important to use another oil like Safflower, Walnut or Poppy oil. I use Poppy because that's what Michael Harding uses in his TW and I love his paint.
Put your mask and gloves on first
1. Put 1 level tablespoon of pigment into your mixing pot with 1 teaspoon of Poppy Oil and mix thoroughly. (I use a large yoghurt put and a wooden spatula). The consistency after mixing should be like putty in a single self contained blob. Add more pigment or oil until the consistency is right.
2. Prepare your glass slab for use, making sure it is spotless by rubbing it down with some white spirit or turps. If using a glass chopping board like I do at present, place your foam cleaning cloths underneath with the textured side up so the glass is gripped. It is very important that the glass is completely stationary.
3.With your spatula knife, slice the paint in half and place one half onto the glass slab.
Now here comes the fun part - it is important to work with small amounts until you get used to the process and how it feels when its fully mulled. Whilst mulling, it is important to keep in mind the objective which is to coat each granule of pigment with oil and to make it uniformly buttery and sticky.
The process of mulling should take around 5 mins per tblsp of pigment once you have become practiced at it. That includes all the scraping. However, if this is your first time, it will probably be longer.
4. If you've never felt a muller slide on glass before, it is quite a sensual experience, and always reminds me a little of ice skating. No need to press hard, just let the two panes of glass glide smoothly together with the paint inbetween. Use a circular motion, or figure of eight, keep the paint in a tight cicrle if you can, no more than an area of 7-8 inches diameter. You will need to stop and scrape the paint off the sides of the muller fairly regularly with your pallet knife.
Keep smoothing/mulling the paint until its ready. Only experience will tell you when this is the case, but clues that the paint has been mulled sufficiently is when the paint starts to get sticky, can form peaks and is uniformly smooth and shiney. In the world of paint making, it is referred to as `buttery', but to be honest, I think its consistency is closer to extra thick clotted cream. If you can see little bits in it, it isn't ready and your paint will be patchy.
The right consistency
5. When it is ready, transfer your fresh new paint onto a couple of layers of
clingfilm and make an air tight parcel. It will be good for at least a week as long as its air tight. If not, it will last around 2-3 days. I mostly make paint on a need to use basis, so its always fresh. If you really want to go the whole hog, you can buy paint tubes to put it in, but I find this process extremely fiddly and messy, as well as expenive and your paint won't last any longer unless you ensure it is completely airtight, very difficult without a tube filling machine. I have heard that some people drop the blob of paint into water, I imagine that works very well, I just haven't been brave enough to try it. Besides, I like the look of my clingfilm parcels, they kind of look like sweeties....
Now its time to clean up. Throw your gloves away and put fresh ones on. Use paper cloths and plenty of white spirit, and get all your tools and the glass completely spotless. I actually have separate tools for black pigment, for obvious reasons. A grain or two of rogue pigment goes a long way! It just makes life easier and I'll probably go further one day and have a set for red pigment too.
So that's all there is to it - have fun!
If you have any questions or suggestions as to how this series might be improved, or you have tips that you would like to see included, or the companies that I use for certain items - please drop me a line.
A Selection of Glass Mullers
Hello dear artists and regular readers
I have been asked by SO many people (in the wake of my `Alchemy - The Pleasures of Making Your Own Oil Paint') blog post about the logistics of making oil paint, I have decided to write a series on the details of making particular colours. Each pigment has its own characteristic and will react quite differently to the making process, so I think it important to focus on one at a time.
My first post will be about making that glorious staple of nearly every artist's pallete - Titanium White.
One of the major benefits of making your own paint is that it is so much cheaper than buying ready made. I was using uber-good, high-pigmented paint before, and hand-made more than matches it. It works out at maybe a tenth of the price and has a very superior `couture' quality to it. It is actually a very delicious experience working with paint made by your own fair hand and I can't recommend it highly enough. You just need time, space, the initial outlay of a muller, pigments etc.
My paintings often have large areas of a predominant colour, so I'm used to mixing up sizable quantities at a time, but because my method involves making individual tablespoon size portions at a time, it can be tailored to your own quantity requirements.
Before I start I want to add that there are numerous methods for making oil paint, each one as valid as the other, but this technique is what I have learned from my own experience and one I have been very happy with. There is very little measuring involved, it is done on a sight and feel basis and is very easy, as long as you have the right equipment, a decent amount of time and a relaxed + clean environment. Rushing this process will not produce good quality paint - it will end up patchy and crumbly or too runny and useless for working with.
Watch this space.......it will be posted up here within the next 48 hours
Bye for now
I've been invited to join ArtBridge
I have been selected and invited to join the very chic, Cork Street based architect's portal, ArtBridge.
Artbridge connects art directly to designers and architects for large commercial, corporate and residential projects. http://www.artbridge.biz:88/
Some of their clients include:
CANDY & CANDY,
Paul+O Architects Ltd.
Shelley Safari Interior Design
Their sister company the respected Hayhill Gallery at 5a Cork Street, shows work by WARHOL, ANSELM KIEFER, JOAN MIRO, JOHN SPEIRS, ESCHER, TADEI, PICASSO, VALOTA, PLUTENKO, DALI, RAVEN and DORZHIEV amongst many other exceptionally noteworthy artists.
I feel very lucky to be associated with this group