In early July, the bloke & I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days for my (very) belated birthday celebrations. His parents kindly looked after the children so we could have our first holiday alone together since they were born.

One of the things we did was go to an art museum and wander around for a couple of hours. This is not a thing you can do with small children, unless you have imprisoned them in a pram, and then there would (not unreasonably) be screaming.

I’d previously been to both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The bloke had never been to the latter, but as it was the height of summer, it was not a good time to go. The place cannot cope with the number of visitors it receives, and unless you book days in advance, you can’t get in. When you do, you still have to queue, and you end up shuffling in a slow-moving crush of people past all of the artwork. It’s not a great experience. We opted, therefore, to go to one we’d never been in: the Stedelijk Museum, which is dedicated to modern art.

I really enjoyed the collection. It was well curated and I now have a little list of new (to me) artists to keep my eyes peeled for in the London exhibitions.

Photographer Zanele Muholi takes photos of LGBTQ+ community members in Africa. I definitely want a book of her work. It was a little irritating to find, at the end of our visit, that of all the special exhibitions on display, hers was the only one without a corresponding product available in the shop. No books, no postcards, nothing. Hmph.

20170711_123055
From her “Brave Beauties” series.

+++ )
Birmingham Open Media art exhibit

This wasn’t the post I was intending to make today, but having discovered the above on my phone whilst searching for something else from about a month ago, I felt I must share this with my Circle immediately. It is a series of three delightful photographs on display in the toilets (no really) of BOM, the Birmingham Open Media gallery. BOM is a little odd corner space a few tens of metres from one of the exits of New Street Station, over the road from an Adult Entertainment Shop (™?). It features tiny exhibitions celebrating “the intersection of art, technology and science”.

The caption for the photographs reads as follows.

Gemma Marmalade
The Seed Series, 2015

The Seed Series is a series of photographic prints by artist Gemma Marmalade, which explores the possibility that those of homosexual persuasion may be more likely to have a visceral impact on the cultivation of plants.

During studies of communal lesbian gardeners in the 1970s, German botanist Dr Gerda Haeckel observed accelerated growth, crop abundance and increased vegetational health. The Seed Series depicts some of Haeckel’s original subjects and their finest vegetable specimens.


Pardon the awkward angle of the photograph - it was not easy to take whilst holding a toddler who was frustrated at the thought that I was about to steal his dirty nappy and replace it with a clean one.
Here are two things that have provided pinpoints of light in these dark times.

The first is the release of roya’s EP, “trax”. Roya & I went to high school together. She now lives in Sweden. We see each other every few years when she passes through London, usually on her way to someplace more exciting. Roya introduced me to the internet (back in the days of dialup and BBSs) and the Simpsons (you know, when it started). She was the first programmer I ever knew. She was, in short, much cooler than I am, and she continues to be in these haunting electro tracks.

Roya - trax
[The cover of the trax CD EP, two stickers, and Roya’s note to me. Click here to access her Bandcamp site, where you can listen to tracks and/or purchase her work.]

The second is a Dutch artist who was having a small exhibition at ESTEC the last time I was in the Netherlands. I was immediately attracted to her abstract, heavily textured paintings. I noted an area of one piece that had been done with a palette knife and we then had a long chat about her intricate, labour-intensive construction process. I was secretly delighted at some similarities to my own, and inspired to try some of her more sophisticated elements. It is my ambition to own one of her Lyrical Incandescent or Geological Series pieces.


[“Through the Heavens,” Nicole Cijs, from the Geological Series. Click the image to view her web site.]
As mentioned recently, I've acquired a new phone. I have been browsing for a case, and on Redbubble, I believe I have hit on a blend of high art and fandom that speaks deeply to me. Behold.

"Noir" by Missy Pena


"The Great Wave" by Missy Pena


Help me to decide, friends. Which shall it be?

Poll #17636 Phone case
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 60


Which shall it be?

View Answers

Noir
24 (40.0%)

The Great Wave
36 (60.0%)


This will end well.

Fortunately, it did )


Halloween decorations, painted by Humuhumu and me.

The toddler and I passed our time in a slightly more productive way this weekend. Whilst Keiki napped, exhausted from his assaults on the cat, we made decorations for her birthday party, which will be on Halloween. We did a lot of gluing and also some drawing and painting. I was quite proud of her efforts. I laid a bit of the base paint on these ceramic skulls for her, but the final effect is all down to her and - I know I'm biased - I think they're pretty fantastic.

+2 )
nanila: (me: art)
( Mar. 26th, 2015 02:34 pm)
Mia has made one of her recent pieces available on Redbubble to purchase on a number of items. “Aswang, at Night” is an incredibly powerful image wrought from many hours of work with ink and watercolour.



I've ordered a set of 16 postcards. If you would like me to send one to you, please provide an address that will reach you, either by leaving it in the poll below or in a DM. Please note the following. First, I’m happy to send outside the UK as I have a stockpile of international postage. Second, if you provided your address in one of the previous postcard polls, you don’t need to leave it again. Just say, “Yes, please” or equivalent. If you need to check whether or not you've left me your address before, links to my previous postcard posts for "When Dragons Speak" and "Princesa" can be found by looking at the free stuff tag: DW and LJ.

It usually takes several days for a Redbubble order to reach me, so these will be going out over the next two to three weeks.

Poll #16560 Aswang, at Night
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 4

I would like an aswang postcard by Likhain. Please send it to this address:

This weekend, we had confirmation that Humuhumu now has medium-term memory capacity.

We make regular visits to our local National Trust property. It has lovely gardens, including a vegetable garden where you can buy interesting produce, lots of walking trails, a pretty tea room and a cute playground.

It also has a motorised buggy to take people who are disabled (and/or burdened with small children and their accoutrements) between the entrance to the grounds and the stately home.

Humuhumu thinks this is a “bus”. She loves buses more than any other form of transport. We have several toy buses at home, including a big wooden double-decker with wooden peg “peoples”.

On her last visit to the NT property with her daddy five or six weeks ago, she got to ride on the “bus” on their way back to the car park. We didn’t think anything of this until we were about to leave after the visit this weekend, when she stopped bibbling along the path in front of the stately home, tilted her head at us, and politely enquired, “Bus?”

The bus wasn’t there. We told her that the bus was probably taking other people who needed it somewhere else. Disappointed, she carried on toward the car park. We were three quarters of the way there when suddenly the “bus” appeared, traveling in the opposite direction. Humuhumu greeted it with such happy cries of, “BUS! Oh, BUS!” that, er, we had to walk all the way back so we could catch the bus.

The nice chap driving the “bus” didn’t just take us from the house to the car park. He gave us a turn around the grounds. Humuhumu had a huge smile on her face the whole time. “Ridin’ da bus,” she informed us proudly at intervals.

And now, a picspam from an assortment of recent weekends.


Humuhumu doing her best “....Please?” face.

Lots more )
nanila: (me: art)
( Jan. 16th, 2015 04:59 pm)
Once again, the talented Mia has made one of her latest works available on Redbubble to purchase on a number of items. “When Dragons Speak” manages to be both beautifully detailed and adorably cute.



I have in my possession a set of 16 glorious dragon postcards. If you would like me to send one to you, please provide an address that will reach you, either by leaving it in the poll below or in a DM. Please note the following. First, I’m happy to send outside the UK as I have a stockpile of international postage. Second, if you provided your address in the last poll, you don’t need to leave it again. Just say, “Yes, please” or equivalent. Links to my previous Prinsesa post are: DW and LJ.

I still have a couple of Prinsesa postcards left, by the way, so if you’d like one of those and didn’t request one in the previous round, please say so. (All earlier Prinsesa requests should have been fulfilled - let me know if you didn’t get yours.)

Poll #16358 When Dragons Speak
Open to: Access List, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 13

I would like a dragon postcard by Likhain. Please send it to this address:

The talented Mia has made one of her latest works available on Redbubble to purchase on a number of items. “Prinsesa” is gloriously intricate, detailed and colourful - a testament to Mia’s vision and technical skill.



I have just received a set of 16 stunning Prinsesa postcards. If you would like me to send one to you, please provide an address that will reach you, either by leaving it in the poll below or in a DM. Please note the following. First, I’m happy to send outside the UK as I have a stockpile of international postage. Second, even if you think I probably have your address from previous correspondence, please provide it again as I’m not presently in a state to go digging around for it in other places, sorry!

Poll #16266 Prinsesa postcards
Open to: Access List, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 8

I would like a Prinsesa postcard by Likhain. Please send it to this address:

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Oct. 20th, 2014 12:14 pm)
After returning from Germany reasonably early on Friday, it wasn’t too difficult to muster the energy to journey to Oxfordshire for a visit to the Ai Weiwei sculpture exhibition at (Unesco World Heritage Site) Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim isn’t a National Trust or English Heritage property, so we don’t have memberships that cover it. It’s also an eye-watering £22.50 per adult for a day admission. However, once you’ve paid it, you can convert this to an annual membership and come back any time you like for the subsequent year. Since Humuhumu had a lot of energy to run off by the time we got there (it’s over an hour’s drive from home) and we didn’t get to spend any time indoors, we’re determined to go again in a couple of weeks to at least attempt to see the sculptures that are housed inside the Palace.

It was a blowy, blustery day and Humuhumu loved dashing around the majestic grounds, helping us to hunt down the sculptures. The symmetrical shiny blue-purple stones were the hands-down favourites.


[Image of Humuhumu running through one of Ai Weiwei's sculptures at Blenheim Palace.]

More words and pictures )

Hours of fresh air and exercise tired everyone out, so I’m afraid poor Bloke had to drive home with only the dulcet tones of Radio 4 playing “Under Milk Wood” by Dylan Thomas* to drown out the snorkeling of his passengers.

* NB: I do not recommend listening to this whilst dozing unless you enjoy having very strange dreams.

The next day everyone had a lie-in, even Humuhumu, who slept until almost 8 AM. (Note to Daughter: More Sundays like this please.) Once we were up, we went to the garden centre to get wallflowers and pansies to plant in our front pots, as the geraniums were beginning to flag in the cooler weather. We are once again keeping up appearances in our village, to the relief of the neighbours, I'm sure.

In the afternoon, we headed to the Avoncroft Museum nearby for Trebuchet and Cannon Reenactment Day. We texted some other parents on the off-chance that they were at loose ends for Sunday activities, and to our immense surprise, everyone turned up. Humuhumu was delighted at the company. The four-year-old girl pretty much adopted Humuhumu, and cried when her Daddy tried to take her away before she could give her a goodbye cuddle and kiss.

The other children didn’t much care for the noisy cannon demonstrations, but Humuhumu’s response to every firing was a passionate demand for “MORE BANG!” and “Nani do it!” Oh dear.

Also filed under Oh Dear: Humuhumu has got quite a strong Brummie accent at the moment. Here is an attempt to record her pronunciation of a few words/phrases. I need to get some video of this for posterity before she loses it, which she very probably will when she’s older. She doesn’t hear any Brummie at home or from our friends and relations.

Bye Bye = “Buh Boy”
Like a diamond in the sky = “Loik a doymund in da skoy”
Bus = “Booss”
Daddy = “Dah-doy”


[Humuhumu and Dada at the trebuchet & cannon-firing display at the Avoncroft Museum. She’s in the middle of a request for “MORE BANG” here.]
.