Art capturing what we don’t see with our eyes

Marc Franz for Cloud Play (2)Art is useful in capturing that ‘inner world’ – what you can’t see with your eyes. Last night, on C4, I watched Grayson Perry: Who are you?

In the programme, he set out to capture three families, looking at Identity and using pottery as the medium. Firstly, he spent time with each very family. The first, the Jesus Army Warehouse, a family of individuals who come together to create a family. People have lived in the community for over thirty years. People know that others will be there for them for a long time. One woman said, with no TV, in a place where you have to create your own entertainment, where you’re not surrounded by sound and other visuals, you have no hiding place from yourself. There is no alcohol. You have to be you. Grayson Perry observed that the place was less about religion, and more about community. He captured the group looking after the newest resident who was lying down. Interestingly, one said that has been all of them at some point. Perry called the piece he created ‘Money Box,’ a take on the church’s money box.

The second family were two gay men and a mixed race child and they adopted a second child near the end of the filming. They are a modern family trying very, very hard to get it right. They have the money to do so and the intellectual means. They were sensitive about what identity means and making sure their child knew theirs. It felt that if they tried less, it would feel less pressured, but at the same time, how important it was to them. Their piece was called ‘Not an Island.’ It seemed joyful.

The third family were a couple, the husband having Alzheihmer’s. disease. Identity being lost for him, but also for his wife. A support group of people living with partners with Alzheimer’s spoke of how they lost their identities too. They were ‘carers.’ They are watchers, witnesses, nurses; their lives are changed too and their identity altered. They shadow the one with Alzheimer’s and in time become shadows. Perry photographed them under a wintry tree with a blanket over them, acting as protection. He was the most worried about this couple liking their piece when they came to see it, as they all came to see their pieces, in the National Portrait Gallery. They thought Perry had captured them and their lives perfectly, with decoupage cut up photographs of them, like disjointed memory. And the quietness of them sheltering under the blanket. Their piece was called ‘Memory Jar.’

The pottery had a use as well as being a piece of art. The programme was an interesting glimpse of how Perry creates his work. And when Perry turns his gaze to the camera, we know he’s questioning us. An honest, humane artist, capturing perfectly in each of the portraits, what is going on in these people’s lives.


First Flight

detail_15353461 Cold Hands Meets Warm Heart is on its way to an Agency today. They sound great, so let’s hope they fall in love with what I’m trying to do. I’ll let you know what they say.

Sourcing out of copyright Art Work

Bit of a frustrating day yesterday. Painting didn’t come easily and I couldn’t find a piece of Art that went with the verse in Noise of Snow that captures children playing in the snow. There are many lovely paintings, so many used on Christmas cards, illustrations in books, but the ones I found were all in copyright and right now, I want to avoid trying to get Artists’ permissions. And then, at the end of the day, Hashimoto Chikanobu’s ‘A Group of Children Playing Under the Plum Blossoms in Snow.’ Painted in 1887. Tick.

Dreaming of Sun, Frost & Co

Strange dreams last night, dreaming of the characters in my books. Not in the way they’d do this or that, or how they’d speak. It was purely about the way they looked. They didn’t speak, they just stood around, posturing. I felt I was smiling even though I was asleep. Lovely little people. SUN


Cold Hands Meet Warm Heart is almost there and that means holding my nerve. Excited to see the finish line, but aware I mustn’t stumble. Mustn’t let ANY self-doubt creep in. The early stages are exciting, you’re gathering information, being inspired, buzzing with ideas, it’s like Rainbow Champagne, but now, I know the book well, too well, the process is about tweaking, questions, am I really sure that’s good enough, checked enough, edited and saying EXACTLY what I want it to say. Is it clear? Again, is it good enough? Is it good enough for me? Self-doubt must not get a look in. Yesterday, it did. Today, I am a woman on a mission. Check, check and check. So much easier when you get out of your head and just get on with the task in hand. claude-monet-for-chmwh-2.jpeg

Proof copy has arrived!

Hurray!!! Very exciting, the proof copy of Cold Hands Meet Warm Heart arrived this morning. I’m very happy with all the art work, but need to look again at two of the verses. With changing the text to match the new pictures that I altered due to copyright issues with earlier pictures, I haven’t quite got them right. And I’m going to jazz up slightly some of the suggestions to the reader for having a go at their own art from the pictures. These suggestions are in colour to match the illustrations, which really works, then the artist and title of the piece in black underneath. Happy with all that. And the new cover with deeper colours and Moser instead of O’Keeffe, is a much stronger image. And it’s arrived in time to get comments from English Experts Tina and Sally in London at the weekend. Almost there!  detail_15353461

Noise of Snow

While waiting for the proof copy of Cold Hands Meet Warm Heart, I’ve started the artwork for Noise of Snow. (All six books are written.) This time, I’m not going to look at artists who are still in copyright and it’s surprising the connections that go down the line, who influenced who…who actually painted the first ‘Square.’ Names cropping up again and again, listening to the radio and hearing Casper David Friedrich’s name, Mondrian is at Tate Liverpool.. and I’d never heard about them until I’d started this project. Wonderful. Lots of black and white pictures in tNoise of Snow and children’s ones and of course, Sun has to stick a beam or two in.