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Bob Wilvers… Up to Date

September 26, 2022

Morning Everyone and I hope this finds you well.

I’ve recently added to my old post on the artist Bob Wilvers from the 1960’s, so for those of you who didn’t follow me back in 2011, here’s a complete update. Enjoy !

Bob Wilvers was the art director for the Carl Ally agency in the early 1960’s when he developed a campaign for Salada Tea. The commercial featured little old ladies on large Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the tag line ….. ”Who says that Salada Tea is for little old ladies?”  There’s a link to a poor copy of the original ad here and another 3 amusing Salada Tea ads here.

In 1964, he became a founding partner and co-creative director at Jack Tinker & Partners, with a client roster that included Coca-Cola, Gillette and Alka-Seltzer Plus. He was an accomplished watercolor painter and illustrator whose work was featured in several galleries and museums. Apparently Milwaukee based Wilvers was just 24 when he painted these.

I received an email from Terry who had read my blog about the illustrator Bob Wilvers and for those of you who missed it (tut tut) you can catch up here. At the end of the article I asked if anyone knew of any more of Bob’s work could they let me know. Terry not only knew of his work, but had an illustration of his own and even sent a copy so that I could show you all.

Terry explains ” I found this WC in a very rural part of Indiana and it reminds me of an area in West Allis, Milwaukee which was a district of homes which were bars/pubs on the first floor, and homes/apartments above on second/third floors. The signature looks a little like “williams” but on the back printed in pencil was Bob Wilvers on an entry form to an art exhibit in Milwaukee, so I assume this was painted well before he moved to NYC. Bob thumb-tacked the paper to a board, you can see 6 white holes around the edges where the water flowed around.” Such wonderful work, again with such spirit and so well observed. I’m so grateful to Terry for sharing this beautiful piece of Wilmers’ art with us, thanks again Terry.

For those of you who are still following me, regarding  the story of Bob Wilvers, there is yet a further addition and a surprising happy ending.

After a reader of my blog sent me an image he had of Bobs’ work, I was suddenly gripped with an urge to see if there was indeed more images to be discovered. I was lucky to be able to track down Bobs’ daughters Roberta and Tracy, and they very kindly sent me some images of the pieces of their fathers’ work, that they had in their homes. Such beautiful work should be shared with many and I hope that by blogging here, we can all appreciate what an amazingly skilled artist he was.

Roberta informed me that ” The images that you have on your blog came from the Ford Times October 1956. It was an article that was written by my mom and illustrated by my dad. One of the attached images is also from that piece. The other images are from the August 1957 issue. The Ford Times had quite a few piecesof my dad’s work. They donated one of the them, ‘ Trinity Church ‘ to the Smithsonian in Washington DC. ” (Featured further down).

I love the summery feel to his watercolours above and perhaps later images below where Bobs’ style has developed and flourished into new areas.

My favourites however are still his beautiful landscapes, with their rich colours and textures.

Sincere thanks again to both Roberta and Tracy for kindly allowing us access to the images above. Amazingly, I’ve just managed to find an online copy of the Ford Times magazine October 1956 for sale, which features some of Bobs’ work. So a little piece of Mr Wilvers will live in my home too.

Also many thanks to Marilyn for sending this image of two paintings of Bob’s that she saw an antique show approx 10-12 years ago in the booth of W M Schwind Jr Antiques of Yarmouth, ME. They were marked $3500 each.

Another update (April 2017), just in from Tracy, who’s really enjoying seeing images of her dad’s work appear here. She sent me a link to the painting of Trinity Church at the Smithsonian (but not hanging at present). Another beauty, thanks Tracy.

Finally, a reader called Richard contacted me with these two wonderful pieces. Apparently, Richard’s father told him that Bob painted these in his eighth grade, they have been hanging on his living room wall since he was a child. How lucky ! Thanks Richard for getting in touch and sharing those with us, much appreciated.

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1959 Cover for Fortune Magazine

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If anyone has any links to more of Bob’s beautiful illustrations could they please let me know. There’s an interesting article about his work in advertising here and a great feature about his life history here.

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Roland Collins A forgotten Artist

September 20, 2022

A couple of years ago I discovered the work of Roland Collins, I’d like to resahre it with you today.

He was born in Kensal Rise, NW London and showed artistic aptitude from an early age, winning at the age of eight a poster-colouring competition organised by the Evening News. He attended Kilburn grammar school, helped with scenery painting for the school’s annual Shakespeare play, and was encouraged by the art teacher to go to art school. This he did with the help of a London county council grant, spending two years at St Martin’s School of Art (now Central Saint Martins), where his teachers included Leon Underwood and Vivian Pitchforth. After college he worked as a studio assistant in an advertising agency, preparing layouts and designs.

In 1937 Collins first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of just 18, submitting a pen-and-ink drawing entitled Riverside, Chiswick, of two houseboats on the mud at low tide on the Thames (see above). The pen-work was masterly in its taut linearity and rhythmic arrangements of shape, balancing dark and light with satisfying authority. But black and white was not enough for the full expression of his essentially Romantic vision; he needed colour, and gouache (an opaque form of watercolour) became his preferred medium. He painted on paper, usually on sheets measuring about 15in x 21in, which he attached to a drawing board and worked on in front of the chosen subject.

Ever since those pre-second -World-War days, Roland Collins became an acute observer of the London and later the Dieppe scene. The Old London as we used to know it has disappeared, and it is with more than nostalgia one is taken back thirty, forty or fifty years. Roland Collins has managed to record the landscape of the time in a way the camera never has. it is not just a case of buildings destroyed by the war and the property developer, but the disappearance of items-all clues to what was a more leisured way of life-like the hand-pushed cardboard box delivery cart-massive but presumably light in weight. the old carriages and stable in Knightsbridge Mews; the Watney’s Lion and Shot Tower that became the South Bank Site for the Festival of Britain.

When the second world war broke out Collins registered as a conscientious objector, although a lung problem meant that he could have only undertaken light agricultural work in any case. He continued painting, discovered Fitzrovia in the West End of London (where he was to live for 40 years) and undertook the first of several mural commissions for a Greek restaurant. Artistically versatile, he relished turning his hand to other projects, working as a designer, photographer and even travel writer.

In 1945 he designed the sleeve for the first British LP issued by Decca: Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka, also a self portrait below and a couple of commissions from over the years.

In 1951 he wrote the text for The Flying Poodle, a book for children with photographs by Wolfgang Suschitzky, and in 1956 illustrated another poodle book, the novel Fifi and Antoine by Charlotte Haldane. Meanwhile, in 1954, a series of lithographs, to illustrate Noel Carrington’s book Colour and Pattern in the Home, seemed to anticipate in their crisp design some of the 1960s pop-inflected interiors of the English painter and printmaker Patrick Caulfield.

Since his Royal Academy debut in 1937, Roland has continued to exhibit regularly since, though an innate modesty has kept him from the limelight. As a consequence, his delightful and unaffected paintings are less well known than they might be, and a talent which has been continuously in use for more than 70 years has gone largely uncelebrated.

“Eventually, my love of architecture led me to a studio at 29 Percy Studio where I painted for the next forty years, after work and at weekends. I freelanced for a while until I got a job at the Scientific Publicity Agency in Fleet St and that was the beginnings of my career in advertising, I obviously didn’t make much money and it was difficult work to like.”

Yet Roland never let go of his personal work and, once he retired, he devoted himself full-time to his painting, submitting regularly to group shows but reluctant to launch out into solo exhibitions – until reaching the age of ninety.

For me his work shows elements of Nash, Ravilious, Bawden and occasionally Degas and Dufy too.

Whether using gouache, watercolour, pastel or inks, Roland had a wonderful control of his media.

Hopefully the skies weren’t as grey as he depicted here as he often painted outdoors !

Beautiful observational work.

I love the simplified windows in the building below, they’re almost arrows pointing to the Lion above lol

Welcome back to part 2 of my posts about artist / painter Roland Collins. I’d like to show you Roland’s coastal work and some of his paintings created during his yearly trips to France.

Working predominately in gouache on a format of 15 x 21 inches, his work records landscapes and cityscapes that have since disappeared. In 1964, Collins, and his wife Connie, purchased Ocean Cottage in Whitstable on the Kent coast. This was to provide an endless source of inspiration for him and arguably resulted in some of his finest work.

I feel there are definite strains of Ravilious in this painting above. Roland’s work sits comfortably among his other contemporaries Paul Nash and Edward Bawden but it’s only really been truly ‘discovered’ in the last ten years.

His forty years spent living and working in Fitzrovia, five years in the Cornish fishing town of Padstow  in the 1990’s and his and Connie’s many visits to Dieppe all feature predominately throughout his body of work.

Such beautiful colours and textures here.

Some stronger colours here.

Again, his depiction of the beach here just works so well.

He spent hours and hours just painting and sketching outdoors.

Obviously (as he owned a boat himself for a while), he had a real love for the shape and line of them. For the sea and coast, where he also chose to live for a few years.

Although the coast, London and its environs were a constant inspiration (he illustrated the Picturesque Guide to the Thames, 1949) he also began making painting trips to France. “You could say I first went to Dieppe in the early-1950s in search of Sickert,” Collins said. His palette seems much fresher and lighter, not so many grey English skies perhaps !

Some links back to his life in the advertising industry here spotting these French billboards and iconic businesses.

A couple of lovely soaring bridges.

Perhaps a touch of Raoul Dufy’s colour palette here.

Sadly Roland passed away in 2015 at the grand age of 97.

Many thanks to The Guardian, Spitalfields Life, James Russell and the sites above for my introduction to another outstanding British artist, which I hope you’ve also enjoyed ?

More images looking through the catalogue over at, The Portland GalleryBrowse and Derby or the Michael Parkin Fine Art Gallery.

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Arthur & Jean Ames Mosaic Artists

September 12, 2022

Jean Goodwin Ames (November 5, 1903 – February 13, 1986) (née Jean Goodwin) was an American artist, muralist, painter, ceramicist, and sculptor. Born in Santa Ana, California, Ames studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1931.

After graduating she taught art at Citrus High School and Junior College from 1933 until 1936. She earned an MFA from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1937. During her time at USC, she became interested in murals and mural decoration.

She also met her future husband, Arthur Ames, in a night ceramics class at USC. The creation of a majolica tile mural in the lobby of the Science building at USC served as her master’s thesis. Jean and Arthur often collaborated over the course of their careers, including on several murals for the Works Progress Administration.

It was during their time working for the W.P.A. that Jean and Arthur became some of the first artists in California to use mosaics. Over the course of her career, Jean created tapestries and mosaics that decorate buildings throughout Southern California.

Jean became a faculty member at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School in 1940 and remained there until she retired in 1969. Jean served as Chair of the Art Department at the Claremont Graduate School from 1962 until 1969, when she was made a Professor Emerita.

Arthur Ames was born in Tamaroa, Illinois in 1906, and moved during his childhood to Ontario, California where he attended both elementary and secondary school. He received his undergraduate training at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and taught design at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles for seventeen years.

Trained in a wide variety of artistic disciplines, Ames, along with his wife Jean, produced paintings, sculpture, prints, ceramics, tapestries, murals, mosaics, and tile decorations throughout his long and richly productive career. Enameling was, however, their preferred medium.

The Ames’s fascination with enameling began in 1941 when they saw an exhibition of the work of Karl Drerup at Scripps College where Jean Ames taught. Largely self-taught – through trial and error and by reading the few technical books available at the time — they began enameling in earnest in 1948 after attending a brief workshop offered at Scripps by the ceramist Rick Petterson.

Inspired in part by the Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso and the stained-glass-like compositions of Georges Rouault, Arthur Ames’s earliest enamels of the late 1940s and early 1950s were figurative. However, over time, he became interested in abstraction and his enamel panels became increasingly formal and geometric.

Rich, vibrant colour typifies his work of the 1950s and early 1960s. During the last seven years of his life – 1968 to 1975 – Arthur Ames created relatively large abstractions by assembling separate enamel panels and sculptural forms into large cohesive compositions. These were among the most innovative works the artist ever produced.

Arthur Ames’s enamels were featured in several important early exhibitions including the watershed Enamel: A Historic Survey to the Present Day, held in 1954 at the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, the precursor to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Objects USA, which toured this country and Europe after its initial presentation at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Collection of Fine Arts in 1969. Below is work by Arthur Ames, “Three Fisherman,” Federal Art Project mosaic for Newport Harbor Union High School, 1937.

I hadn’t come across the name Millard Sheets until I delved further into the work of Arthur and Jean Ames, I hope to feature his collaborations soon on my blog, watch this space !!

James McIntosh Patrick.

September 5, 2022

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Wandering around the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool a while ago, I had forgotten this painting (below) ‘Springtime in Eskdale’ by James McIntosh Patrick, but soon got a sense of how comforting it was to come across it again. For me his work has strains of Lucian Freud, Stanley Spencer and Pieter Bruegel all rolled into one. I love the perspective, use of colour and how James paints a tapestry of walls and fields that encourages our eyes to linger, explore and visually wander down those same lanes, that he painted back in 1935.

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James is regarded as one of the greatest Scottish painters of the 20th Century. Born in Dundee in February 1907, his work has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. His father and brother were both architects and it was no real surprise when he enrolled in the Glasgow School of Art in 1924.

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By 1927 he was selling etchings in London, and he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy whilst still studying.  He left the Glasgow School of Art in 1928 and had won many prizes for portraiture and landscapes, and the prestigious James McBey Prize for Etching.  The success of his paintings during the 1930s established his reputation, with many acquisitions made by public galleries and institutions.  Since then his work has been displayed regularly at major exhibitions. I love his use of light here depicting Dundee High School.

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In 1940, James McIntosh Patrick was called up into service with the Camouflage Corps, and was stationed in Africa during the Second World War.  Upon his return to civilian life, he concentrated on exhibiting in Scotland, especially at the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 1957 became a full Academician. He started painting outdoors and loved it, which changed his working methods from then on. His work is full of detail and rich textures.

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He captures the landscape around his hometown of Dundee so well. The light and shape of the hills and understands the movement of the land, it’s undulations and grassy patch-work fields.

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The light and colours here are beautiful. We can sense that mid afternoon sunshine and the feeling of the summer months approaching.

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Summer at last, but soon comes more wintery climes.

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Patrick loved to paint out of doors, believing that his landscapes could encourage people to appreciate nature: “I don’t suppose there is much sentimentality about my paintings, but I have a deep feeling that Nature is immensely dignified when you are out of doors. I am struck by the dignity of everything.”

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By the 1950’s he had perfected his style and technique in outdoor landscape painting and began recording his beloved Angus countryside on canvas, working in all seasons and all weather conditions.

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In the same way that Bruegel’s ‘Hunters in the Snow’ captures my attention in its use of space and the aspect of the landscape. The same happens for me in this last piece ‘Winter In Angus’ acquired by The Tate Gallery in the same year that it was painted, 1935, when James was just 28 years old. Stunning !

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The Courier newspaper announced that some of James early drawings had been rediscovered.

Long may his work be rediscovered, I’ve certainly enjoyed doing just that.

Birger Kaipiainen Finland’s Prince of Ceramics

August 15, 2022

Birger Kaipiainen (1915-1988) was one of Finland’s best-known ceramic artists.

After graduating from the Central School of Arts and Crafts he was offered a position at the art department of Arabia where he worked over fifty years, alongside Rut Bryk (more here).

The talented artist was referred to as the “king of decorators” and the “prince of ceramics”.

He received international fame at the Milano triennial in 1960 and Montreal Expo 67, where he won the Grand Prix.

For the triennial, he had designed a series of birds made of ceramic beads. Montreal’s massive relief Orvokkimeri (Sea of Violets) was nine meters wide and almost five meters high, and depicted swans on a sea of violets, (see below).

The artist also worked for Rörstrand in Sweden from 1954 to 1958.

In 1957 Birger Kaipiainen created the wallpapers Kiurujen yö and Ken Kiuruista Kaunein for Pihlgren & Ritola.

I see similarities here to some ceramic ideas by Tibor Reich.

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Perhaps one saw the others’ work and was subconsciously inspired ? Who knows.

Arabia’s tableware classic Paratiisi (paradise) was designed twelve years later. The series’ second quality ware was adorned by the verdant pattern Apila (cloverleaf) in the seventies.

Kaipiainen was granted the honorary title of Professor in 1977 and state pension four years later. Nevertheless, he continued working on new ideas at Arabia’s factory until passing away in 1988.

If you wish to purchase some beautiful products for your home created by Birger himself and redesigned by his family then please visit Kuovi.

David Stone Martin Illustrating the 1950’s

July 11, 2022

Hi Everyone, I hope this finds you well and that you are enjoying a little of these lovely summery rays. I have a small sale on my stories over on Instagram so please head over and have a look here @fishinkblog Also I will be taking a short break from the blog of a couple of weeks off to concentrate on my artwork and have some time to read and enjoy the summer. If you are planning some time away, have a lovely break too.

David Stone Martin was born June 13, 1913, in Chicago and attended evening classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

It’s been said that he was greatly influenced by the line art of Ben Shahn. During World War II, David was an art director for the United States Office of War Information and produced a series of posters for them like these below.

By 1950, he was already well known for his record covers and had produced more than 100 for Mercury, Asch, Disc and Dial record albums. Many assignments came from his longtime friend, record producer Norman Granz.

Such a simplistic yet stylish feel to these, no wonder his work was in demand.

For various companies, David eventually created illustrations more than 400 record covers !

Many of these were simply line art combined with a single colour. His favorite tool was a crowquill pen which enabled him to do delicate line work. David said “Searching out a line is like bending wire… volume, modeling, shape and motion can all be said in line and wash…”

CBS-TV art director William Golden gave him many print ad assignments during the 1950s, and he soon expanded into illustration for Seventeen, The Saturday Evening Post and other slick magazines of the 1950s and 1960s.

His studio was located in Roosevelt, New Jersey, near his home there.

He is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution.

David was the husband of muralist Thelma Martin, who painted the post office mural for the facility in Sweetwater, Tennessee. He also created a few book and front covers for the likes of Time magazine.

He was the father of graphic artist Stefan Martin (born 1936) and painter Tony Martin.

He died March 1, 1992, in New London, Connecticut, where he had lived in his old age.

Thank you to Wikipedia and Leif Peng over at Today’s Inspiration for the info and initial introduction.

More of David’s record sleeves can be found at Birka Jazz Archive.

Althea McNish Textile Design from Trinidad

July 4, 2022

Althea McNish, was raised in Port of Spain and went to Bishop Anstey High School. She reported in an interview, “I started painting and drawing very young.”

Her parents were very supportive, and she joined the Trinidad Art Society at an early age and soon found an equally supportive group of artists, including Carlisle Chang, Geoffrey and Boscoe Holder and MP Alladin, among others. Sybil Atteck was her mentor, who would pick her up and take her to painting sessions. She was participating in an Art Society exhibition by 16.

Indeed, it was through that exhibition that she got her first job, as a cartographer and entomological illustrator for a government office, after she left school. Even at a young age, she was asked by the local priest to teach art to students at the Boissiere Village school.

Her father was working in London and brought her there to further her studies in November 1950. McNish had a scholarship to study architecture, but decided this was not for her, and her focus changed. She started at the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts, then went to the Central School of Arts and Crafts, and finally did a postgraduate course at the Royal College of Art, where she focused on textiles, graduating in 1957.

Her work in the final student show led to her meeting with Arthur-Stewart Liberty. He brought her to the famous store the day after she graduated and had the heads of departments meet with her. Liberty bought almost her entire collection of work at the time, and this meeting would start her career as a freelance textile designer.

She was featured in Time Present, an exhibition of the latest designs, at Hamptons of Kensington only a year after graduating.

She would later produce key designs for many other great textile companies in London, producing both for fashion and furnishings. She was commissioned by Zika Ascher, where her fabric was used in dresses by Christian Dior.

In 1959, McNish’s design for Hull Traders would also become her most famous fabric, Golden Harvest, based on a trip to wheat fields in Essex that reminded her of walking through cane fields at home in Trinidad. It became a bestseller for Hull Traders for well over a decade, until the company closed in the late 1970s.

By 1960, Design magazine noted she had also designed book jackets, murals, panels and wallpaper. She designed murals for the British luxury ocean liner the SS Oriana, and later for Nordic Express cruise lines.

When the Port of Spain General Hospital was modernised in 1960, she designed murals for it. In 1966, for the Ideal Home show in London, she created a “Bachelor Girls” room and was featured on BBC television talking about it. The William Morris Gallery exhibition has created an updated equivalent.

McNish had her first solo art show in London in late 1958 and was part of a landmark exhibition, Paintings by Trinidad and Tobago Artists, in 1961 at the Commonwealth Institute. Her textile designs were featured in magazines like Vogue, which has just published a piece on the new show. In 1963, the Cotton Board gave her a scholarship to study in France.

Design magazine in 1968 ran a special issue on design for export that noted McNish “regularly visits Italy, Switzerland, France and Scandinavia and is regularly visited every year in her London studio by buyers from overseas manufacturers.”

She loved skiing, and was able to combine that interest as well. But a distinct part of her appeal was colour and floral patterns: as she said, “Everything I did, I saw through a tropical eye.”

Throughout her career, McNish was also noted for her focus on technical aspects of textile and print design. When a new polyester fabric, Terylene, was developed, she was commissioned in 1964 to work with the manufacturers for designs for it.

Over the years, her work was featured in many exhibitions, even one in the waiting halls of the House of Commons, and discussed in several academic books. She taught design in colleges in the UK, gave lecture tours in the US and was featured in the recent documentary film, Whoever Heard of a Black Artist? Britain’s Hidden Art History.

McNish was active in London’s Caribbean community. She was one of the judges for the beauty queen contest at the 1962 Claudia Jones Carnival and was later involved with the Notting Hill Carnival as a judge. She was also an active participant in the Caribbean Arts Movement led by John La Rose, appearing in three exhibitions and a symposium of visual artists, and in 1973 designed the set and appeared on an episode on artists for the BBC TV series Full House as part of this work.

She returned regularly to Trinidad and had a love for Carnival. She was given a special three-month “return home” scholarship in the summer of 1962, when she had a large show of her work at the Government Training College and taught courses.

In 1976 she received the Chaconia Gold medal. The University of Trinidad and Tobago awarded her an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 2006.

In 2016 McNish and her husband John Weiss came to Trinidad and gave a presentation at the UTT Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design on her work. They also participated at the bicentennial celebration of the Merikin community of South Trinidad, of which McNish’s family was a part.

When she met co-curator of this exhibit Rose Sinclair in 2017, McNish told her, “I opened the doors for others to follow.

The ‘Colour is Mine‘ exhibition opened on April 2 at the William Morris Gallery in London and will run until September 11 2022. The exhibition features hundreds of items, including dozens of her classic textile designs, as well as paintings, photos, magazine illustrations, murals and more. Many items from her personal archives are on public display for the first time.

The exhibition is sponsored by Liberty Fabrics, which has recently made 41 of her classic fabric designs available for sale, and they are glorious in their joyful celebration of McNish’s use of flowers and nature.

Althea McNish was an activist – but in her own shy way. When asked the key to her success in an interview, she laughed and said it was her charm. Indeed, she is widely remembered for calmly always moving forward and not being concerned that she was doing something new.

Now this expansive new exhibition finally does justice to her long career and helps celebrate an amazing Trinidadian artist and designer, whom Architectural Digest declared one of “Five Female Designers Who Changed History.”

Thanks to the William Morris Gallery for the information used in this post and to Nicola Tree for her fab photos of the exhibition.

Catching up with the Manchester Open, MMU Special Collections

June 27, 2022

Where does the time go ? I finally got around to downloading all the photos from my phone onto my mac to not only free up some space in my phone’s gallery but also to see all the images I have taken on there since 2019 and subsequently forgotten about.. all 5400 of them Eek !!

Needless to say I had an ‘interesting’ few hours plucking out the images to dispose of, those I wanted to keep and those I wanted to share with you. I have photos from a couple of events that I have seen fairly recently that I can now share, these include a trip to the Manchester Open, a few images from Manchester Art Gallery and also a selection from the Special Collections Library at MMU. I apologise in advance for the lack of information regarding artists names etc but I gathered their art initially for myself, not intending to document it here online. I then decided to share the work with you as much of it made me smile, so why wouldn’t I wish to share that : )

Let’s start off at Manchester Art Gallery.

Then onto the Manchester Open exhibition 2022.

Finally some beautiful mid century delights at the MMU Special Collections Library.

I hope you enjoyed my three different exhibition trip here. Which is your fav ?

The Sun

June 23, 2022

I thought it might be appropriate to reshow this post, alongside the summer solstice and also learn a few facts about the Sun. For instance, did you know…

The Sun accounts for 99.86% of the mass in the solar system.

It has a mass of around 330,000 times that of Earth. It is three quarters hydrogen and most of its remaining mass is helium.

One day the Sun will consume the Earth.

The Sun will continue to burn for about 130 million years after it burns through all of its hydrogen, instead burning helium. During this time it will expand to such a size that it will engulf Mercury, Venus, and Earth. When it reaches this point, it will have become a red giant star.

The Sun is almost a perfect sphere.

Considering the sheer size of the Sun, there is only a 10 km difference in its polar and equatorial diameters – this makes it the closest thing to a perfect sphere observed in nature.

The Sun is travelling at 220 km per second.

It is around 24,000-26,000 light-years from the galactic centre and it takes the Sun approximately 225-250 million years to complete one orbit of the centre of the Milky Way.

The Sun will eventually be about the size of Earth.

Once the Sun has completed its red giant phase, it will collapse. It’s huge mass will be retained, but it will have a volume similar to that of Earth. When that happens, it will be known as a white dwarf.

It takes eight minutes for light reach Earth from the Sun.

The average distance from the Sun to the Earth is about 150 million km. Light travels at 300,000 km per second so dividing one by the other gives you 500 seconds – eight minutes and twenty seconds. This energy can reach Earth in mere minutes, but it takes millions of years to travel from the Sun’s core to its surface.

The Sun is halfway through its life.

At 4.5 billion years old, the Sun has burned off around half of its hydrogen stores and has enough left to continue burning hydrogen for another 5 billion years. Currently the Sun is a yellow dwarf star.

The distance between Earth and Sun changes.

This is because the Earth travels on a elliptical orbit path around the Sun. The distance between the two ranges from 147 to 152 million km. This distance between them is one Astronomical Unit (AU). Deep in the sun’s core, nuclear fusion converts hydrogen to helium, which generates energy. Particles of light called photons carry this energy through a spherical shell called the radiative zone to the top layer of the solar interior, the convection zone. There, hot plasmas rise and fall like the ooze in a lava lamp, which transfers energy to the sun’s surface, called the photosphere.

It can take 170,000 years for a photon to complete its journey out of the sun, but once it exits, it zips through space at more than 186,000 miles a second. Solar photons reach Earth about eight minutes after they’re freed from the sun’s interior, crossing an average of 93 million miles to get here.

The Sun rotates in the opposite direction to Earth

with the Sun rotating from west to east instead of east to west like Earth.

The Sun rotates more quickly at its equator

than it does close to its poles. This is known as differential rotation.

The Sun has a powerful magnetic field.

When magnetic energy is released by the Sun during magnetic storms, solar flares occur which we see on Earth as sunspots. Sunspots are dark areas on the Sun’s surface caused by magnetic variations. The reason they appear dark is due to their temperature being much lower than surrounding areas.

Temperatures inside the Sun can reach 15 million degrees Celsius.

Energy is generated through nuclear fusion in the Sun’s core – this is when hydrogen converts to helium – and because objects generally expand, the Sun would explode like an enormous bomb if it wasn’t for it’s tremendous gravitational pull.

The Sun generates solar winds.

These are ejections of plasma (extremely hot charged particles) that originate in the layer of the Sun know as the corona and they can travel through the solar system at up to 450 km per second. In addition to light, the sun radiates heat and a steady stream of charged particles known as the solar wind. The wind blows about 280 miles (450 kilometers) a second throughout the solar system, extending the sun’s magnetic field out more than 10 billion miles. Every so often, a patch of particles will burst from the sun in a solar flare, which can disrupt satellite communications and knock out power on Earth.

The atmosphere of the Sun is composed of three layers:

the photosphere, the chromosphere, and the corona.

The Sun is classified as a yellow dwarf star.

It is a main sequence star with surface temperatures between 5,000 and 5,700 degrees celsius (9,000 and 10,300 degrees fahrenheit).  The label “yellow” is misleading, though, since our sun burns a bright white. On Earth, the sun can take on warmer hues, especially at sunrise or sunset, because our planet’s atmosphere scatters blue and green light the most.

Here’s a few I made earlier.

And one more retro sun to keep this little chap warm. The Sun… we simply wouldn’t be here without it !

Many thanks to the many illustrative contributors today and the fabulous sun facts from The Planets.org and National Georgraphic.com.

Did you learn anything here today that surprised you ?

MMU Degree Show 2022

June 18, 2022

It has been a few years (for obvious reasons) since I’ve been to a local degree show. So I made the effort to go and see the Manchester School of Art Degree show which is on until the 22nd June 2022.

I was thinking as I walked around the show how difficult it must have been in trying to organise yourself and work during all that has been going on in the last three years. I see it as a testament to the students pure determination, that they created the work and pulled a show off at this time. One of my favourite places to start at is always the Textiles in Practise area.

Nasaybah Arshad has formed some wonderful repeat patterns and tessellations on ceramic tiles and using laser cutting techniques with wood. Great nature paintings and serene studies from Bethan Faulks.

Jessica Wise says ‘My practice throughout my final year of university has focused on blending the worlds of fine art and textiles and showing the connection we, as artists, have to our work. Inspired by traditional artists and painters, I use introspective thinking to create artwork that has a voice of its own and which mirrors a person or story with meaning. ‘ I thought her repeat patterns and colourisations worked very harmoniously.

Finally in this area, Bette Pryor-Hadley and Rebecca Bullas both created some beautiful woven fabrics. Rebecca’s weaves echo the feel and nature of her watercolours very well.

Moving into Product Design and Craft, a couple of people’s work spoke to me. This wire horse by Millicent Patten, expressive marks concerning the landscape from Fergus Byron and nature and surrealism combined from sculptor Anab Mohamed.

Being very truthful, I can’t say that I really understand the concepts behind the creation of these spaces below, (nor did I grasp the names of the students that created the art works either, sorry !) but I feel that Tracey Emin somehow got there first with her ‘My Bed’ exhibit back in ’98 ?

Some fabulous paintings from 22 year old Fine Artist Rachel Clancy. Her work is described where “She creates illusionary surfaces of two dimensional imagery that are compromised by trickery in the glazes of transparent oil paint that infer depth and luminosity. Her exhibition series explore sleight of hand, and play with lighting to emphasise details within the compositions. I thought her paintings showed real undertsanding of her media and a sense of patience and observation that was refreshing to see.

Her depiction of light and sheen on these fabrics was also quite beautiful.

Finally I saved my favourite area for last, Illustration with Animation. Two students work really caught my eye this year. Firstly Georgina Reynolds who has a freshness to her illustrations with a hint of optimism which makes them a pleasure to look at.

And Chloe Watts who blew me away with the amount of strong and fabulously illustrated work she had. The fact that she already has a very well constructed website of all her achievements to date speaks volumes.

Well done Chloe, I love your strong style and the way you considered so many different topics and aspects of life in today’s society. You get my top student award for your stunning work : )

Thank you to everyone who has their work featured here today and I wish you all well going forward with your careers. The degree show is on until wednesday this week.