I’ve got loads of energy & I’m jumping for joy

The energy is coming from the sun, operating efficiency and insulation. We recently got a big refund and our energy bills slashed and that is why I was jumping for joy, to say nothing of relief.

It’s a year ago now that we had our solar pv panels installed on our roof. At the same time we also updated our gas central heating and the plumber, Jon Phillips, did a great job – I’d recommend him to anyone.

Loads of energy and bills slashed – We had been paying through the nose for our energy prior to this but were lucky enough to get the solar pv installed by HomeSun before the government subsidy was cut. With the central heating update, it all still cost a few thousand pounds but we will have covered this amount in just three years with the massive savings we are making on our energy bills.

The Solar PV is particularly useful to us because we work from home and are able to make use of the energy as it is produced. If this were not the case, then the panels would be sending all that energy straight to the National Grid at least through the working week.

our solar pv panels

our solar pv panels

It’s a bit of a dull morning today but that does not stop the panels from producing electricity!

flowering cherry

The Flowering Cherry continues to shed its leaves

flowering cherry

 

Gifts for Christmas

It still seems quite early to me for this kind of thing but I know how fast time passes and before you know it, we’ll be running around trying to think of gifts for people at the last minute.

Buy a DVD at the gift fair for just £10. Buy two and get a free gift voucher worth £3.00 – only at the gift fair.

This weekend StillWalks will be at the first of two Christmas Gift Fair weekends. The first is at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in the Great Glass House and runs from Saturday 10th – Sunday 11th November.

We will have DVD Collections 1 and 2, framed and unframed prints from some of the walks plus gift vouchers and greetings cards.

Individual StillWalks, DVD Collections, gift vouchers and prints are always available on the StillWalks website but you’ll only get the gift fair prices and offers at the gift fair.

“My sister bought me one of the StillWalks DVDs and I really enjoy it. I look forward to new collections coming out.” Reg Wadsworth

“Great idea. Have bought 2 DVDs for my sons.” Helen (formerly of Belfast)

Forest Walk

from Forest Walk – Winter

from Forest Walk - Winter

Forest Walk

MIMA just blew me away!

Last week I visited MIMA – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art again. Every time it is a revelation! The main gallery space is fantastic and the exhibition this time was by Julian Stair and it blew me away. I could have stayed all day.

The exhibition is touring and if you get the chance, go see it. Better still, if you’re anywhere near Middlesbrough, go see it at MIMA 🙂 Here’s a taster.

MIMA

Looking out from MIMA

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair - Quietus exhibition

Julian Stair – Quietus exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving it Away

Don’t worry, no plot spoilers here 🙂 Just a great StillWalk at it’s full length (5:32 mins) rather than the short clips you get on the website.

Autumn Lakeside Walk is now up on Vimeo. In fact, you’ll find others there as well including those from the Josef Herman Art Foundation residency project.

OK, it’s not entirely free – i.e. it’s only in standard definition and whilst it looks great, the StillWalks videos look fantastic in Full HD. If you want an HD version you’ll have to go to the website and pay all of £2.99 to download it or any of the growing collection . . . and of course you’ll have the advantage of not having to wait for the online version to buffer. You can even transfer them to your mobile device and watch them any time you like – anytime, anywhere.

Autumn Lakeside Walk

from Autumn Lakeside Walk, Gnoll Park, Neath.

Just one more thing – StillWalks will be at the National Botanic Garden of Wales Christmas Gift Fair on 10th and 11th November with DVD Collections 1 and 2 plus printed images from selected StillWalks, (framed and unframed) as well as gift vouchers and cards.

Photos from StillWalks – Autumn

It’s not always obvious that the images used in my StillWalks are from the named season but all photos, just as with the sound recordings are unique to the time and place of the walk.

abertawe walk

from Abertawe Walk – Autumn

woodland river walk

from Woodland River Walk

Images are available to purchase as prints from Photobox/StillWalks. If you would like to buy high or low resolution jpeg downloads, please visit the Prices page of StillWalks Equestrian for instructions and then return to the Photobox/StillWalks to identify the images you would like.

What is Art? What is an Artist?

Artes Mundi – I recently visited the exhibition Artes Mundi 5 at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and following our tour of the show, left the museum in a state of excitement, confusion, frustration and disappointment!

Despite my mixed emotions about the art works on display, I would still recommend going to see the show so that you can make up your own mind. I cannot show my own photos on line but works by Sheela Gowda, Darius Mikšys and Miriam Bäckström can be seen here.

My excitement was over the work of Teresa Margolles and Sheela Gowda. My confusion was over the so called tapestry of Miriam Bäckström. My frustration was over the “curation” (!) of Darius Mikšys and my disappointment was over the “documentary” (!) by Apolonija Sustersic. So I left with very mixed emotions.

I see curation as curation and documentary as documentary, not art as such. Tapestry I understand to be a weft faced weave made up of a discontinuous weft which covers the warp threads, hence weft faced (and no, I haven’t taken that from a dictionary). I am a tapestry weaver and know what tapestry weaving is and it is not this thing made/woven by a computer!

Time for a rant – Suffice it to say that, when we stood on the steps of the museum on our way out and I was asked what I thought, I was speechless and flabbergasted. The reason being, primarily, this “tapestry”. There was nothing wrong with the imagery – indeed, it was one of the most visually striking pieces in the exhibition and the development of the design for the piece, using mirrors, was fascinating. However, to then have this made into a woven tapestry by sending the design off to Belgium to allow a computer to spend a month interpreting the design and then 24 hours weaving it, suggests, no, shouts out to me, that the artist has no understanding of or sympathy for the medium. The image was interesting but the work of art could have been so much more.

Ending my rant – as a tapestry weaver, I do not want the public being led to believe that this is tapestry weaving. It may be relatively cheap to weave a tapestry in this way, but doing it with understanding is invaluable!

Later that evening my wife read to me a section of the book she is currently reading – House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The passage below (page 420 in the paperback edition from Transworld publishers) is not shown here in the context of the book and is not the full section either but I feel the statement pertinent to the context of our visit to the museum.

“There are seven incarnations (and six correlates) necessary to becoming an artist: 1. Explorer (Courage)  2. Surveyor (Vision)  3. Miner (Strength)  4. Refiner (Patience)  5. Designer (Intelligence)  6. Maker (Experience)  7. Artist.  ¶ First, you must leave the safety of your home and go into the dangers of the world, whether to an actual territory or some unexamined aspect of the psyche. This is what is meant by ‘Explorer’.  ¶ Next, you must have the vision to recognize your destination once you arrive there. Note that a destination may sometimes also be the journey. This is what is meant by ‘Surveyor’.   ¶ Third, you must be strong enough to dig up facts, follow veins of history, unearth telling details. This is what is meant by ‘Miner’.  ¶ Fourth, you must have the patience to winnow and process your material into something rare. This may take months or even years. And this is what is meant by ‘Refiner’.  ¶ Fifth, you must use your intellect to conceive of your material as something meaning more than its origins. This is what is meant by ‘Designer’. ¶  Sixth, you must fashion a work independent of everything that has gone before it including yourself. This is accomplished through experience and is what is meant by ‘Maker’ . . .”

There’s more but I’ll leave it at that. You can always buy the book!

Neptune’s Audience

Last Friday I went down to Blackpill in Swansea Bay to meet a group of people doing Nordic Walking and try it for the first time myself. I wanted to try this for a few months but my prompt to do so was as much to do with the StillWalks project, Sights and Sounds of the Countryside as my personal interest – the project still needs further funding and if anyone is interested in helping out with this, here is the crowd funding link – 7 days to go to the deadline for funding.

The walkers are a group organised through Mentro Allan and I wanted to meet them in order to make first contact with carers in the area. We would like the community group on the Sights and Sounds project to be made up of carers from rural wards in Swansea.

Neptune’s Audience! Arriving early in the bay and having brought my camera, I got a few shots off before others arrived. Here is the reason for the title of this blog post 🙂 Other photos can be seen on Flickr.

oystercatchers

Neptune’s Audience

oystercatchers

Caught on the Hop!

oystercatchers

. . . and on the wing.

 

 

All’s Well in Ludlow

Despite the tension beforehand, all went well with our Meet the Artists event last Friday at Ludlow Assembly Rooms. It was well attended in the evening and it was good to talk with everyone.

Not only that, we also had a very pleasant stay in Ludlow at The Mount guest house and awoke the next morning to another beautiful day.

The exhibition runs until 26th October so there is still time to visit. Exhibition pics  some of Ludlow are below and more will be posted on Facebook over the next couple of weeks.

Finally, on another matter, please check out the StillWalks Crowd Funding pitch and help me help kids and adults enjoy “Sights and Sounds of the Countryside”.

StillWalks exhibition

StillWalks exhibition

StillWalks exhibition

StillWalks exhibition

Jean Duncan Paintings

Jean Duncan Paintings

Evening in Ludlow

Evening in Ludlow

Morning in Ludlow

Morning in Ludlow