Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Dr Who and the Two Donkeys

Abstract Landscape; watercolour; 2017.
The 70th annual exhibition of the Deeside Art Group took place earlier in July, and so I headed off to Westbourne Hall in West Kirby to see this.  My personal favourite piece in the show was Tony Jalland's The Lost Brooch, which was a beautifully observed gouache painting of shells with, as the title suggests, a brooch tucked in amongst them.

Having left Westbourne Hall, I then saw a small exhibition of print art at the library, then headed off into the sand dunes on the beach to do some sketching.  There was hardly anyone around, but the minute I was sprinkled with flaky pastry crumbs and escaping custard from the cake I'd treated myself to, about  a million ramblers promptly trudged past. 

Liverpool Waterfront 2; oil on canvas; 2017.
Here's the next in my series of paintings themed on the River Mersey, which I completed recently.  This is not a good photo but you can get the general idea, at least.  A problem with my little Kodak EasyShare C340 is that the flash won't switch off, and so it tends to bleach out colour and texture when photographing close-ups.

The mood of this painting is more sombre than the first study of the same subject, yet this time the buildings have more details - more buildings, in fact - and the river is dark, swirling and ominous which is how the Mersey usually looks, being tidal and prone to riptides and dangerous currents. 

Starry, Starry Moon; watercolour; 2017.
On Saturday 15th July, I attended an intermediate watercolour class run by New Brighton-based poet and artist Janine Pinion. I really enjoyed Janine's class and I learned a lot.  I have admired her wonderfully loose, semi-abstract seascapes and studies of waves since I first saw them two or three years ago.

The class was also attended by two other ladies and one of Janine's cats, which snored under a table in the art studio.  The other cat, a gorgeous dove-grey fluff-ball, sunbathed in the front garden until feeding time, which he reminded Janine about with a heartrending series of throaty, lugubrious wails.  These ceased the second he saw food.  My old tom, Mutley, - half cat, half teddy bear - used to do the same thing.

The watercolour shown here, Starry, Starry Moon, uses some techniques picked up at Janine's class.

Saturday  22nd was a busy day, it being our annual summer fayre at work.  There was a singer in the lounge.  In the dining room there were pie stalls, a tom bola, a wine and beer stall, a vintage collectibles stall, a raffle stall, a BBQ selling hot dogs and burgers, plus a tea and cake stall.  In the garden were two marquees and two donkeys, who had been rescued from a life of brutal hardship in Spain. Now they live in on a small farm in Upton, with a little herd of buddies.  Guinness and Brandy stoically gave small kids rides around the shrubbery island in the lawn, and of course just about everyone walked over to give their funny big ears a rub.  My name isn't Jill but I happily fetched them a pail of water.

I finally plucked up the courage to climb up the stepladder and take down the old and rather sorry-for-itself kitchen blind.  That's now in the bin.  I've patched up the kitchen walls with filler.  The next job is to buy some white kitchen paint.  There's already plenty of colour from the tiles and the cupboards, so white is the obvious choice.  Too much colour looks messy and makes a small space look smaller.

We watched a wonderful animated film this week, called BoxTrolls, a fantasy story about a boy raised by weird little creatures who dress in cardboard boxes.  Some big names cover the narration: Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning and Simon Pegg, for example.  There's a hint of HG Wells' morlock and eloi theme in the relationship between the humans and the boxtrolls, and there's plenty of humour worked into the story.  Fun to watch!

The current fuss over the choice of a woman to play the next Dr Who is sadly telling of the misogyny which still weaves its ugly thread through our times.  In reply to the claim that casting a woman as the Doctor is "pandering to women", I will point out that just over half of this planet's human population is female, whereas only one-thirteenth of the casting for the Dr Who lead role has been female.  Unfortunately, some people are so used to inequality that such discrepancies remain invisible to them.

I'm not a Dr Who fan.  If this Time Lord has lived for hundreds, if not thousands, of years why do the scripts have the Doctor behaving like an excitable teenager?  I'd write the character darker, more science-orientated, wiser and more sceptical. 

My husband, on the other hand, loves everything Dr Who - the TV shows dating from the 1960s; the books; the Big Finish audio plays; the lot.  It's an interest we'll never share but that's totally ok.

Anyway, I hope Jodie Whittaker has a blast playing the Doctor.

No comments: