Up the Hill! was the result of 5 hours of non-stop painting and a 4pm dead-line. It was intense! Unfortunately I didn't manage to finish but was close enough. Having painted abstract and conceptual for a few years it was strange to be painting a structured building again.
I was on Tower Hill (red X on map) and positioned myself in shade for most of the day; many other artists boiled in the sun and there were a few of cases sunburn.
A pop-up exhibition followed and presentation of prizes by the Windsor Mayor. All the artists were treated to a delicious buffet and drinks. It was great fun and I look forward to next year!
A startling blue durable pigment called YInMn blue has been licensed for commercial use 7 years since its discovery and it has already found its way into the hands of some artists.
Chemist Mas Subramanian and his team discovered the pigment in 2009 at Oregon State University while they were conducting experiments connected to electronics. It is one of those 'happy accidents', an unexpected discovery like Bluetac! With a unique crystal structure the compound doesn't fade, even when exposed to oil or water, and it is environmentally friendly.
"Ever since the early Egyptians developed some of the first blue pigments, the pigment industry has been struggling to address problems with safety, toxicity and durability,” said Subramanian (existing blue pigments include ultramarine, made from ground lapis lazuli, and toxic alternatives such as cobalt blue and Prussian blue). "Now it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency,” Subramanian adds, referring to the colour’s ability to reflect light and potentially keep buildings cool. The Shepherd Color Company is involved in commercialising this exciting new pigment.
Can you see its vibrant blue hue? Recent evidence suggests that that, until modern times, humans didn't see the colour blue at all! In an interesting article in Business Insider, Kevin Loria breaks down the evidence behind the claim, which dates all the way back to the 1800s when scholar William Gladstone noticed that, in The Odyssey, Homer describes the ocean as 'wine-dark' but he never uses the word 'blue'.
Every language first had a word for black and for white, or dark and light. The next word for a colour to come into existence, in every language studied around the world, was red, the colour of blood. After red, yellow appears and then green. Finally blue appears in every language. The only ancient culture with a word for blue was the Egyptians, they were also the only people that had a way to produce a blue dye. So before blue became a common concept we may have seen it, but not known we were seeing it.
Blue is rare in nature. Even the sky or bodies of water (like a lake) aren't blue often. Philologist Lazarus Geiger’s research shows that even in scriptures describing 'the heavens' still don’t necessarily see the sky as 'blue'.
Jules Davidoff traveled to Namibia to investigate and conducted an experiment with the Himba tribe, who speak a language that has no word for blue or distinction between blue and green. He discovered they couldn't pick out blue from green, but could discern very subtle shades of green that were not visible to most of us. Another study by MIT scientists in 2007 showed that native Russian speakers have a word for light blue (goluboy) and dark blue (siniy), and can discriminate between light and dark shades of blue much faster than English speakers.
INDONESIA - Solo River banks in Java
Excavated in the 1890s, the site in Java revealed bones of what appeared to be an ancient human, surrounded by animal remains and shells dated between 1m - 700,000 years old. Similar fossils have since been found in Africa and elsewhere in Asia. Palm-sized shells found alongside the body's are very interesting as they are decorated with abstract geometric patterns. These are the earliest evidence of abstract art.
AFRICA - Blombos caves ochre
The Java art is very similar to the 70,000 year old ochre etchings found in the Blombos cave Africa. This astonishing cave is home to a veritable stash of art materials. Read more here.
These first examples of abstract art are similar to the triangular Grid of Life, and basis of what it is 'to be', a design that is found in the symbolic systems of every culture and also in nature. 3 creation, 6 fertility and 9 maturation - this is the trinity of numbers linked to the Grid of Life.
Some fun and fascinating examples of the circle and sphere occurring naturally in nature.
In Dec 2016 it will have been 5 years since I went on a truly incredible trip to Egypt. I am posting this now as the organiser, Barbara Meicklejohn-Free, is doing another trip in February 2017.
12/12/12 - at dawn we find transport (thankful I had a horse as the camels misbehaved), 12 of us headed into the desert to view the pyramids. A once in a lifetime experience!
Never boring! Typical sites in Egypt: camel trains, fishermen, wildlife, pet crocodiles in a Nubian's front living room and camels in a truck. There is always plenty to buy - trinkets, jewellery, rugs, high quality oils, spices, cotton products......or just relaxing on deck watching the banks of the Nile drift past.
Exploring the temples and sacred sites of Egypt requires long hours in transportation, walking and lots of climbing! Not for the faint of heart, we even crawled along narrow tunnels of lesser known pyramids (there are over 100 in Egypt alone), usually home to several bats. Frequently we were at temples as dawn broke, which generated some lovely photographs and meant it was quiet. Saw and photographed the infamous 'flower of life' drawing. Sadly it is very faint and in an inaccessible spot - in an archway over water - so it is a long distance shot.
Diamond Grid - wonderful picture of rainbow diamonds in light pouring from behind the Sphinx, mirroring the pyramid behind.
For fun I am sharing a small selection of photographs taken on a fantastic trip to India Nov 2013, organised by Jazaro-Nur. In every image there is an example of sacred geometry, which is a vital feature of the Indian culture and everyday life that goes back many centuries.
GUSTAVE KLIMT was a pioneering symbolist artist of art nouveau whose style was controversial due to its erotic elements. Symbolism, including that of geometric shapes, was used extensively and overtly in his art. Never subtle, he used symbolism imaginatively in a way that generated criticism since he was so far ahead of the time period. Klimt is best known for the style of his later works, which includes the use of gold paint/leaf, abstract space in the art and exotic symbolism of the female figure.
The Tree of Life (above), symbolic of the union of Heaven and Earth, is a well known Klimt masterpiece. This stunning painting is full of geometry in the patterning and in its underlying structure. The figure for 'Anticipation' (left hand side) has triangles directing you to look at her face, which itself is looking at a desired future of 'Fulfilment'. Symbolically triangles are associated with eyes and directed intent. The embracing figures of 'Fulfilment' (right hand side) are united in an oval. Note the yin/yang male/female faces and within the robes. There are interesting geometric patterns within the males robe, such as the square grid. Dynamic spirals of the 'Tree of Life's' branches unwinding enfold the two sides and also, like a labyrinth, tell the story of life as it progresses.
Click here for a more analysis of the painting by Samui Art Gallery.
Golden Adele Bloch Bauer is the most famous portrait by Klimt. You will note how the head, with eyes, is at the top of an underlying implied triangle in the structure. Eyes within vesica piscae, themselves within triangles, are in a pillar and the triangles point towards the top, head. An Eye in a triangle symbolises our mind frozen in a physical body; the eye of the expansive Mind looks out of the triangular window into a reality perceived by the 3-Eyes (two physical ones and the third inner eye). Spirals of manifestation surround her head, much like those of Buddha. In the background squares of the physical realm provide strength and stability.
The jewelled mandalas of Suzan Drummen
The gorgeous mandalas of artist Suzan Drummen are large installations that 'grow' across the floor, walls and over obstacles. Their 3-dimensional surfaces are like the tempting delights of a patisserie or jewellers! Mesmerising on the screen they must be wonderful to behold in reality. Like the works of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian they are made out of pieces of mirrors and glass, but also crystals, chromed metal, precious stones and optical glass.
"A sensory experience, and visually stimulating, the glittering installations play with the architecture of the space — climbing up walls and sweeping across the surfaces — examining the idea of illusion and optical effects. When viewed from a distance or from above, the work looks organized and neat, but with close contact, visitors enjoy seeing the many intricate details resulting from the skilled craftsmanship that goes into each art piece. in much of her work, drummen places each glossy element loosely on the floor, making the artwork vulnerable and ephemeral." Design Boon
Having had the pleasure of having a stand next to Stephen Meakin and after seeing his work at other events I really wanted to share his talent with you. Stephen's mandalas are stunning! Vibrant colours, intricate detail and powerful symbolism. I highly recommend a visit to his website www.themandalacompany.com to see more of his work and how he creates his large masterpieces.