Monday 13 May 2019
For some reason, our garden seems very low on slugs and snails this year. I popped out tonight and only found five, all on a small dish that sometimes has water in. Those are all now dearly departed because, as a rule, I’m not a fan of these gastropods in the garden context. I’ve had plenty of crops damaged, decimated or destroyed by the little blighters. However, I am a bit concerned that the numbers seem so reduced.
By this time in the year, I would typically expect a slugging expedition to reach the point where I’d lose count of how many I’d encountered. It has been a hot day and is still dry outside but I feel we’ve had a fair amount of rain so far this year and we’ve been watering the garden too. Perhaps the couple of bursts of unseasonably hot weather we had earlier in the year, followed by returns to cold, tempted them out and then killed a lot of them off?
And, if slugs and snails are down, hurrah for the plants but what about the things that feed on them or might have been affected directly by the same causes? I will watch with interest – and a measure of concern – to see how this story develops later in the year.
Sunday 12 May 2019
It’s too late to give recommendations as the Oxford City part of Artweeks is over but I think the highlight of my tour round Crescent Road, Junction Road, Don Bosco Close and Temple Road this afternoon was Biddy Hudson (#124) who had a great display of printmaking work.
Now to figure out where to go next weekend. Stick with South Oxfordshire or start exploring to the north?
Saturday 11 May 2019
Although exhibitions continue across Oxford this weekend, Jane and I decided to travel to South Oxfordshire, where the second of the three weeks is kicking off.
We drove towards Wantage, although didn’t get quite that far, and visited a range of exhibitions, particularly from ceramicists. We saw a number of people who were new to us but ended up getting a couple of bowls for our collection from Mags Cuttle (#215) in Kennington, who we first visited last year. Not only were her prices a bit below the average but her work was nearest our platonic ideal (at least to fit with our idea of a decent sized bowl to harmonise with our existing collection).
If I had to pick a highlight from multiple exhibitions we enjoyed though, I’d probably go for Carolyn Hawkes (#213) at Drayton. Lots of mathematics, cartography and labyrinths worked out in various media, mainly based around painted acrylics.
Friday 10 May 2019
Pick of today’s Artweeks visits would be one of the two tutors I’ve sat under in my previous two years at the Oxford Summer School – Ella Clocksin (#85) and Jane Strother (#86). I can’t easily choose between them but both are worth a visit (and it reminded me that I should get both my watercolour and acrylic set ups out and working again).
Thursday 9 May 2019
Oxfordshire Artweeks, the county’s annual celebration of visual creativity, began last weekend but, between gigging and a brief holiday, today has been my first chance to explore what is on offer.
I took in a few things on my lunch break as I wandered back to the office from the library but my favourite exhibition today was Elaine Kazimierczuk (#159, on Osney Island). I landed at it almost by chance, having selected the most appealing thumbnail in the brochure near where I had dropped Jane off. It was definitely worth the time.
The paintings were generally large and abstracted from natural scenes in a way that isn’t dissimilar to my own style. They also appeared to be painted mainly on brightly coloured grounds. With a mixture of bold marks and palette choices along with finer detail, I found them very satisfying and an inspiration to make more time to commit things to paint myself.
Wednesday 8 May 2019
Safely back from a short holiday, I can tick a few more things off my list of things I’d like to do, including:
- Walk the Wrekin again (see yesterday’s post)
- Visit Liverpool
- Visit Simon in his Yorkshire retreat
More, (illustrated) posts due soon!
Tuesday 7 May 2019
Popular walks in the UK have a problem – they are too popular. On Sunday, Jane and I decided to take a stroll up the Wrekin, a significant hill in Shropshire. We arrived at about 9:45am, anticipating that we’d beat the rush. However, we were lucky to get a space in the official car park and, by the time we got back down, the double yellow-lined lanes in the vicinity were heaving with parked cars.
It’s good that such basic, uncommercialised activities, such as walking up a hill, are popular. However, it does mean that you get hardly a moment to yourself. Is it selfish to want more peace and quiet? Or maybe the trick is to see out places of beauty that haven’t yet made the national charts?