Dulwich Picture Gallery | Paul Nash competition entry

Public voting for Dulwich Picture Gallery‘s Paul Nash competition opened today – and I would love some support for my entry in the people’s vote.
The competition has two categories – over and under 18 years.  In each category, gallery director Ian Dejardin will choose a winner and there is also a people’s vote.  You can take part in the people’s vote by going to the gallery’s voting page between today and the end of the month. I’ve entered a reworked view of the gallery’s external walls when Antoni Malinowski’s Polish Connection major work was on display there, using Paul Nash inspired iconography. Entries are to relate to the gallery’s interior or exterior and grounds.

My entry looks like this – and would love your vote. And yes, I’m most definitely in the over 18 category.

Dulwich Picture Gallery: The Polish Connection

In several sessions over the last few months, I’ve been detailing works in progress by artist Antoni Malinowski in readiness for an exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery open until September 27.

It’s been brilliant to capture an artist who is so concerned with capturing light and how it changes. For these works, he mixes his own paint with pigments and a synthetic binder that allows the pigments to reflect light easily. The works really do change colour as you move and as different light strikes them. This is amazing to see … and a complete nightmare to capture in a photograph. I had to accept that because the work changes as you and the light move, I could not capture everything about it.

The photographs of Antoni at work, his portraits and the works themselves have been on the cover of the galllery’s magazine InView as well as being part of a four-page spread on the exhibition inside. Some are also on the inside of the exhibition catalogue.

And yesterday, the gallery’s wonderful Ingrid Beazley sent me a link to where the exhibition is listed, again, with one of my photographs.

We started our first session with a pot of tea and cakes from the nearby Cupboard. Antoni is a wonderful host – sorting out drinks for film-maker Ed Saunders, Ingrid, InView writer Peter Belchamber and myself.

Then while Peter interviewed Antoni in his studio, Ed filmed and I watched and then photographed him at work and some portraits. He is so keen to share his enthusiasm for light – he talks with his hands and his eyes.

Everything about Antoni’s home is carefully placed, so visiting is like being in a quirky gallery.

You can see Antoni talking about his exhibition and its complexities in Ed’s video.

In the second session, the works were finished and I was capturing them in the studio after they were varnished and before they were assembled and moved to Dulwich Picture Gallery.

A painting’s detail for the catalogue endpapers.

Getting the works ready to be photographed.

Southwark Reading Festival

It’s been a busy week – Andrew and Gill’s wedding on Tuesday, a maternity and family shoot on Tuesday afternoon, Southwark Reading Festival on Wednesday and a guardsman shoot (complete with bearskin) and meeting with a potential wedding client yesterday. First, though, is the reading festival, which took place at Dulwich Picture Gallery all week. On Wednesday, the festival featured the comic Etherington Brothers running a workshop in creating your own monster with school children.
Etherington-Brothers-1wTheir suggested method is to think of three unconnected things and mash them together in one scary, unlikely character. Their example involved a donut, a hedgehog and a windmill.
They then went on to create other creatures from student suggestions and how to create friends for their monsters and homes. It was a little like a cartoon version of improvised comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway? From comments left in the book outside the talk, it seemed to be a success.

After this workshop was author Marcus Sedgwick, who used the vampire background of one of his books to discuss everything and anything you could want to know about them. Marcus-Sedgwick-2wBefore his talk, along with his coffee, he snuck an opportunity to add an appropriate drawing to the comments book …
The festival finishes today after a year of planning between organisers Lillie McCotter and Tamara Linke. Tamara owns bookshops Tales On Moon Lane, which sponsored the festival.

Dulwich Picture Gallery: What are you like?

Dulwich Picture Gallery last night launched a fascinating exhibition called “What Are You Like?” In a collaboration with The House of Illustration, 45 public figures have contributed a kind of self-portrait based on illustrating eight of their favourite things from a list of 12: animal, book, clothes, comfort, food, pastime, place, possession, music, shoes, weather and pet aversion (the thing they dislike rather than something furry or feathered.)

Contributors include Quentin Blake, Andrew Marr, Brian Eno and Eric Clapton. Here are some photographs from the night, starting with Jan Pienkowski, who illustrated the Meg & Mog books.

Fashion designer Margaret Howell

Illustrator Bruce Ingman

The second photograph details Bruce’s late addition to the illustration – a glass of champagne for having completed it, which apparently missed going into the catalogue. Bruce and I share a liking for Brian Sewell’s art critiques, TV show Grand Designs and big sofas.

Charlie & Lola creator Lauren Child

Illustrator Joe Berger with his work. Bristol-based Joe’s favourite ‘posessions’ are his wife and three children, who he asked to draw themselves. His daughter Matilda drew herself very much in the style of Lauren Child – so Joe was very keen that Lauren knew he hadn’t plagarised her work.

Joe’s book in the DPG shop.

Brian Eno in the bookshop.

I loved the collection & want to return so I can have a much better look. Also, I very much liked the web sites of some of the illustrators.

Little princesses

Dulwich Picture Gallery this weekend hosted the Village Books Children’s Book Festival, including a Tiara Club party this morning for “aspiring princesses”. At the allotted time of 10.30am, there was a huge queue of little girls and their parents, many in wonderful costumes.

“I’m here for the hanging”

These are not words I’ve ever uttered before, but found myself saying them at lunchtime today at Dulwich Picture Gallery where the final St Sebastian painting by Guido Reni was being moved into the gallery and hung alongside five others including the gallery’s own. The only other St Sebastian painting by Reni is in the Louvre and too fragile to travel.

What was absolutely fascinating was the process of uncrating the painting, watching its pale blue wooden case being unscrewed, then an inner packing layer being unscrewed as well and the painting finally being carefully lifted out of its box (with white gloves) and leaned against the wall. It was then carefully examined by gallery staff with several lights to check its condition (a report is written) and several of the staff immediately started comparing brush strokes and techniques between the newly unpacked painting and those already on display.

The pale blue of the custom-built packing crate is apparently not random – it’s part of a system being introduced where each gallery has its own trademark colour – to help find the crate when it is packed with others en route. About four art handlers worked on moving yesterday’s painting, which had arrived from New Zealand. Their work can be varied: today it might be a fragile painting, but recently one of them was involved in putting together a contemporary work involving a quantity of petroleum jelly.

The St Sebastian exhibition runs at the gallery between February 5 and May 11. Other paintings are from Genoa’s Palazzo Rosso, Rome’s Pinacoteca Capitolina, Madrid’s Museo del Prado, Puerto Rico’s Museo de Arte de Ponce and Auckland’s Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.