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Vidya Wolton

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Variety is the Spice of Life
Written by Vidya Wolton   
Monday, 02 July 2012 09:13

It’s quite a discipline to reflect on the month past and I’m aware of a mixture of intense activity followed by easing off in a bout of uncertainty with the prospect of an exhibition deadline looming. Entitled ‘Lollipop People’, the exhibition is to be held at the end of this month in Ryde on the theme of ‘childhood’. With a relatively short deadline, I had to get my skates on and was able to focus in bringing together a number of small textile pieces (some from last month’s blog) into a more cohesive work. I had spent the past week wondering and worrying about the choice of work made for the submission and was anxiously waiting for a response.

Toy Story tools of the trade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STOP PRESS # STOP PRESS: Wish the news was good but actually a rejection! It would be good to have feedback, although this may be self-evident at the show, where a certain ‘house-style’ may emerge.

With variety being the so-called spice of life, I thought it might be worth giving a snapshot of my past week. Not totally typical I have to say.....but are any two weeks the same?

THE WEEK:

Monday: Therapy (am).

Relatively ‘unstructured’ activity during afternoon but quite productive as I recall, which is not always the case after therapy. Two lovely sightings in nearby historical church garden: demented Red Squirrel appearing to chase itself round in circles and there was a Green Woodpecker on the lawn. All in afternoon sun with a cuppa and time to reflect on session before heading home to photograph work for exhibition submission.

Tennis (Evening).

Tuesday: Final decision on images for submission to ‘Lollipop People’.

Wednesday: Off to Eastbourne extremely early with the tennis club for Ladies Play and World class men’s tennis. First time at this event as last minute stand-in.

Thursday: More tennis, with mini-tournament at club and much needed recovery from day before.

Friday: Continue an on-going theme of what I call ‘mini-felts’ which involves reproducing other people’s dogs in miniature using wools etc. These are mainly dogs of friends and comes from an inner compulsion to try to capture a likeness and character, mainly from memory. This growing collection will hopefully form part of a single artwork.

All the while it is extremely gusty outside and I think of the Isle of Wight festival goers in these extremes and wonder how they are coping. There are new reports of people returning to their tents to find them blown 50metres away. This is not good!

Saturday: Get the rejection email for ‘Lollipop People’. Apparently failure is an inevitable part of success but that doesn’t make it any easier. Judging and selecting artwork is hugely subjective and everything hinges on the selection panel.

sow detail

Afternoon trip to river bank to ‘freeload’ on festival. Incorporated a walk with Sandy before settling to listen to the set by Madness. Just as they were reaching the culmination of their performance Sandy slips her lead and starts chasing other dogs..... all to the words of ‘you’re an embarassment’....Vintage Madness!

 

Images: Toy Story (top left), Tools of the Trade (top right), Sow detail (above left) all by Vidya Wolton.

 
Joining the conversation
Written by Vidya Wolton   
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 19:33

...a bit of a buzz phrase at the moment, both on TV and at the Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth where the ethos is to be both a gallery and a ‘conversation’. Last week I took myself off there to have that ‘conversation’ with Jonathan Parsons, the Artist Advisor. I went armed with a handful of my small textile pieces and having arrived considerably earlier than planned, attempted to sit outside in the sunshine to gather some thoughts around my work.

puppy play

In any event there was a sharp gust of wind and everything went flying off across the concourse – textile pieces, doggy mini-felts and bits of paper. I made frantic attempts to gather everything up and hoped all was accounted for. Interestingly, having re-settled, a rather tall, dark Arabian-looking stranger appeared with a couple of my sheets. I wonder what he made of them or were they just pieces of paper. Makes you think about audience and whether everything blowing away was a ‘little happening’ to do with the work. The animal themes continue with avengence. Hens are balanced alongside sketch book drawings which I am working closely from with some interesting results.

princess puss

Sometimes as artists our past comes back to haunt us, this time for me it is in a good way as I re-connect with the type of graphic design and nature illustration I did whilst teaching as an Ecologist prior to training in Fine Art. Low budget publications were done ‘in-house’ routinely in preparation of school groups. At the time of entry to Art College I’d been very dismissive of this part of my background but am now able to see what a significant part it has played in my view of the world. I’m finding the use of colour copying to be a useful tool together with touch up or drawing onto copies creating yet more animal themes.

Doggie days are well and truly here to stay.

sketch book to stitch

Images: Puppy Play (above right) Princess Puss (above left), and Sketch book to Stitch (above centre) all by Vidya Wolton

 

 
Crow Quest
Written by Vidya Wolton   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 14:06

Wasn’t sure whether to go for ‘Crowfest’ as a title for this month as somehow wanted to sing the praises of the humble Crow. I always seem to be ‘in search’ of something, although it’s more of a case of being arrested by nature in unexpected encounters. Crow watching is great fun and relatively easy as they are at large both within the urban fringe as well as more rural haunts.

I have uploaded a bit of video footage from my mobile to share this month of one of my walking routes along the River Medina, just outside the County town of Newport. The Crow under study was in the tree above having a good stretch and meticulous preen. I was having a quiet moment just observing which led onto a couple of sketches. The site is on the west bank of the river which may be regarded to some as an obscure location except to say it just happens to be a good spot for freeloading on the Isle of Wight Festival during June.

Vidya's video footage of a crow

So, what else? I have also been in search of a heronry locally and this in turn spawned a series of nature notes and poems which I hope to use to best advantage alongside my painting and drawing. I have probably mentioned my use of sketchbooks in previous blogs and have come to the realisation of how important my commitment to drawing is.Front and Back Series

Keeping with the bird theme I have been exploring and exploiting the idea of front and back with some textile pieces which are intended for sale.

I am essentially drawing  in stitch and the back of the work intrigued me to such an extent that I decided to go with that to further develop a series of images that for me work on a personal level in relation to currently being in therapy.

Chickens are not regarded as our most courageous or indeed intelligent of birds, but they have humour and for some reason I choose to depict them as a basis for exploring relationships.

In therapyI hope you enjoy the images I’m sharing here which include use of sari material and embellishment with stitch. The drawings are digital copies that have been worked onto. 

Images: Front and Back series, Vidya Wolton (above left). In therapy, Vidya Wolton (right).

 
In search of the March Hare!
Written by Vidya Wolton   
Monday, 26 March 2012 12:52

As the weather has set fair for much of the week, I have had a good few walks with Sandy. I thought it was high time to catch up on the Brown Hare and had been privy to some information that there had been good sightings on one particular farm in the West Wight.

It has actually been a good number of years since I’d seen a Hare and it is well documented that numbers have been in sharp decline. I was told specifically which field to head for and did a good scout around but to no avail. The field was relatively large and flat, giving good views but definitely no hares.

I extended the walk and after about a mile was just ambling and thinking this wasn’t meant to be, then on the edge of a field near woodland I saw what I believe to be a hare. It had the black tips to the ears and seemed to fit the description I had in mind. I’m taking that as a sighting if reluctantly ‘unconfirmed’.

As I walked back to the car, which was some considerable distance away, but interrupted by some rather fine sightings of waterfowl and wading birds in nearby marshes, I had a clear picture in mind of a famous drawing by Albrecht Durer of the young Hare. This had been copied meticulously by an island artist exhibiting at Quarr Abbey, the monastery I frequent. I had seen the exhibition just two days before and the image was fresh in mind. It was light years away from my own drawing style but I could admire the draughtsmanship.

Sandy blog image

I’m continuing with drawing as a way of expressing my inner world. I’m posting yet another drawing of Sandy. She saves me from ‘myself’ in many ways, both as a companion and source of distraction when we are out and about and as an ever present subject for my drawings. It’s not just Sandy who fascinates me as there is of course a whole ‘doggy’ world out there to be explored as a visual artist. We live in what can only be described as prime dog-walking territory and I feel there is a lot of mileage in this particular obsession. If not too indulgent, I would like to leave you with a piece of poetry inspired by Sandy along a nearby cycleway.  

Plaintive cry

Sandy the artist

Paints her canvas in grey and blue

The hues of the day

Interrupted by a sap green

And an oozing wound of orange from the bark, scratched and etched

Silver above but peeling back the orange mark

I stand and stare not quite believing

Should I touch to understand more?

I chose to walk away


Image: Sandy, Vidya Wolton (above left)

 
Taking Stock
Written by Vidya Wolton   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 10:22

I’ve  had to take stock of the last year in more ways than one.  That sounds a bit ominous but I’m mainly alluding to a corrupted hard drive on my computer with the loss of a year’s worth of images and writing. As I hadn’t backed up I can only put it down to experience and am now scanning my memory for what was stored on disk. In a way it encompasses my passions and practice to date including food art (very much into cooking and yes, documenting a few successes). Then there is the writing side of my work which has become increasingly important to me. I have been blogging on and off for several years via my personal website and enjoy writing prose and poetry when the mood takes me. Sandy  mini-meAlongside this has been the appearance of Sandy, the Jack Russell on the scene some 6 months ago. She is a huge influence on my life and art with her quirky ways and keen instinct for snuffling, digging, scratching and general naughtiness. I have been able to draw her when out and about but also at rest of an evening. Here are pages from my sketchbook of Sandy and her ‘mini-me’ as I call it. My work tends to be quite psychologically charged whether drawing dogs or people. I’m sure there is some deep significance to the mini-me, perhaps her puppy state. Who knows, as she is a rescue dog and we are unclear about her past.

Hot off the press are photos of work from last year which I am now madly documenting in a bid to build up my image bank again. This is the textile art I made reference to in last month’s blog and although starting off as a conventional 2D surface there is a tendency on my part to wrap pieces round objects. In this case it is one of my handmade boxes which were a particular feature of my last Solo show at Quay Arts, the island’s main Arts venue. BoxWrapping

It is through the ‘Quay’ that I do a lot of my networking and was able to meet a prominent painter Day Bowman who was touring her work regionally. We had the opportunity for a short motivational chat which has really helped me get my ideas straight. It’s good to be taken seriously by someone as talented as Day, who does large expressive canvases alongside smaller more intimate works. It seems ok to work small and produce something quite precious and even jewel-like in terms of colour and layering of media. So I am armed with my fabric, paints, sketchbooks, all as a reservoir to hopefully draw upon in future ventures.

For more images of my Fine Art practice and blogging archive please visit www.vidyaworks.co.uk

Images: Box Wrapping, Vidya Wolton (above right), Sandy and Mini-me (above left), Vidya Wolton

 

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