The Art of Remembrance

Since 2015 I’ve devoted some time each year to painting a few poppy designs around remembrance time. In previous years the designs have evolved a little, while still following the same basic look, as in these examples.

Poppies : 2017
Poppies: 2016

This year – I decided to take some different approaches. My first attempt is a very traditional design, reminiscent of a Victorian era botanical drawing.

Victorian Poppy: Pencil and Watercolour

I followed this up with a vinyl junkie project design.

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And finally, I gave the poppy a Japanese feel.

Oriental Poppy

Even though the poppy motif in these designs is very similar, each piece is distinctly different, and I’ve really enjoyed shaking things up a little this year. The poppy vinyl will be hidden as part of the free art project.

The Free Art Project : European Adventures

The Mayor of Sutton recently hosted a reception to bring together local artists and representatives from Sutton’s twin towns. The four towns that Sutton is twinned with are: Gagny, a suburb of Paris in France; Gladsaxe, a suburb of Copenhagen in Denmark; Minden in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany; and Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in Berlin. Sutton town centre has a permanent artistic celebration of these twin town relationships, in the form of a mural.

Sutton Twin Towns Mural
Sutton Twin Towns Mural

I was fortunate to be invited to the reception, it was a lovely evening full of friendship and cooperation. As a way of strengthening the important cultural bonds between our towns, I offered to share some art prints with our guests, which they have kindly agreed to take back home and hide in their towns. Two copies of ‘Moon Over Telegraph Track’, and two copies of ‘Good Fortune’ will soon be making their way overseas. Both of the designs are connected to our local area, the first represents the river Wandle, and the second is a track which goes over some local smallholdings.

IMG_8552
Good Fortune
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Moon Over Telegraph Track

I’m very grateful to everyone for agreeing to take part in this European extension of the free art project, and if I receive any photographs and/or notes about the art works from their new locations, I’ll be sure to update this post.

Art is community : Community is art.

 

Things Used To Be So Much Better…

I’ve just listened to an interview on the radio with Paul Lambert, a former Scottish international football player and manager. The Scotland team are on a particularly poor run of form just now, having lost six of the eight games they’ve played so far this year, and the mood of the interviewer was very downbeat.

The interviewer positioned things as ‘not good’, ‘terrible’. Lambert suggested a big part of the problem is expectation levels. ‘People go by what happened in the past, we’re not there anymore. We need to accept what we have now and support the team’. I think Lambert’s right, yet to me, this inability to shake the past feels like our need for certainty, holding us back.

Things used to be so much better then…therefore they should be just as good (if not better) now?

While there clearly are things we can learn from what’s gone before – it feels pretty pointless to me to base our performance expectations on previous versions of ourselves and others. By doing this we risk setting ourselves up for additional stress and a reluctance to deal with failure. I come across this harking back to bygone days when working with teams and organisations, and I wonder, how can we acknowledge the past, remember the good stuff, and break free from the unrealistic expectations these associations often cause?

Maybe we need some sort of ceremony, a way of putting the past to rest? Not so much a funeral, but a celebration, a recognition, and a moving on.

Our Working With Uncertainty workshop takes place tomorrow afternoon and I’m curious, tempted to ask people if they want to play with this quandary of respecting the past without hanging on to it, as part of our work.

More to follow…maybe?