Art for arts sake (2)

One of the strangest customs I have learned from my partner is that of always changing something when a room is decorated.

No, not the colour, but the layout of the furniture or the situation for hanging pictures.

It sounds to me like an old wives’ tale, but he carefully makes sure that at least one thing goes back in a different situation.

Pictures are often an easy way to sort that.

Here, after redecorating our dining room (ie washing down the mould and painting the walls white), are our pictures in there.

A motley mix.

A sepia photo of Bridlington Harbour. Brid is a spa town in the East Riding of Yorkshire and popular holiday resort.

Bridlington Harbour

I spent my long summer holidays there as a child so it was a special place for me. I knew the town better than the ones where I lived and went to school. I was, totally illegally I guess, allowed to wander around the place on my own and would meet my parents later at the bookshop – hopefully to get a new Enid Blyton mystery book which I would then read over lunch at Wilson’s Cafe.

Wilson’s was one of those olde fashionede resstaurants rather than a cafe. You would queue up by a thick heavy red rope to wait for a table in the enormous dining room complete with huge chandeliers, and waitresses in black and white uniforms, including a frilly apron and matching silly hat. I loved their steak and kidney pie.

I loved the harbour at Brid. It was fed by a stream called the Gypsey Race which you could find if you poked around the back streets. My dad – his father and grandfather moved to Brid – used to tell me that if the Gypsey Race ran dry there would be problems. Fairly obvious in retrospect, but I always used to look for the stream and hoped water would be flowing. In my childish mind, I used to think ‘problems’ equalled another war, because my parents often talked about The War. (WW2).

The sepia tones of this photo remind me of Frank Sutcliffe, who took many photos of Whitby. At university I had Sutcliffe prints on my walls. No idea what happened to them.

Here are Luk, Fuk, and Sau. They are Chinese gods who represent happiness, wealth and longevity.

Propitious Chinese gods looking over us

Some years ago, we had a French Mauritian neighbour and she had a Chinese student lodging with her. One day he was going out on her bike, so Partner shot out to offer his helmet to him. When he returned from the city, he presented Luk, Fuk and Sau as a thank you to Partner for looking after his health and well-being. We’ve taken great care of them in our houses and they always go up in our dining room to bring us good feng shui.

This is an extremely nice raptor. The good thing about Spanish newspapers and magazines is that they give decent freebies which is where this came from. I think it is some sort of eagle and it probably says it on the bottom so I will look it up next time. I must have had the frame kicking around so I just slotted the print in there as I thought it matched the colours nicely.

Watching raptor

I love this Toucan. Along with the sepia photo of Brid, it was one of the treasures that lurked in my parents’ dining room sideboard that I discovered in there as a kid. I have no idea where either came from or why they lurked in a cupboard rather than put on the wall. I suppose my parents weren’t really into prints/paintings/whatever.

This one was folded in half for many, many, years – but why not put him on the wall? So, at some point, as with the Brid pic, I acquired him and framed him. Not the best of frames to be honest. It’s one of those Ikea plain glass jobs, but I like the black background. If the glass ever smashes, then I’ll get it reframed, otherwise it can stay as it is in the dining room aviary.

Toucan

And finally in the dining room, here is Partner with his Land Rover mate, posing next to our Land Rover Santana. His mate had been working in Antarctica, and flying back to the UK via Madrid, dropped by Málaga to see us for a few days. We don’t like many people but it was wonderful to see him. He’ll always be welcome at our home/s.

Landy Andy

The frame is vastly over the top but it was an ethical one I bought back in the UK from a local Out of this World store.

And for those of you who haven’t seen the kitchen piccies, an original signed watercolour by Walter Horsnell RA, bought by my parents on their honeymoon in Knaresborough, Yorkshire (because back in the 50s people didn’t do exotic honeymoons) and some copper prints from Brazil, given to us by my godmother/older cousin who lived there for many years. Yes, I know you can’t see the copper engravings in detail but I’m giving an idea rather than detail. It’s good enough.

Copebras

To finish off the art theme, we ie he hung our Hockney print this weekend in Gibflat and I received some wonderful prints in the post today so will be spending more money at the picture framer up the street and our Gibflat will look a little less stark.

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58 comments on “Art for arts sake (2)

  1. What a lovely selection of prints, all with memories attached.
    I love the story behind the Luk, Fuk and Sau print, no wonder you take great care of it.
    I recognise Knaresborough, with the rail bridge over the Nidd…………total sidetrack, just look at your shopkeeper scales, WOW, I love them :-)

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    • The Wanderlust Gene (in my second blog page I think) mentioned something about art and personal memories. Not sure if it was on her blog or mine, but I thought it was a good point. You don’t need expensive art on your walls, you need something that you like and sometimes, something that has meaning for you.

      A is a generous person (as in gestures rather than dishing out money, I add quickly) and has always been happy to help people. Sometimes it comes back nicely. I treasure Luk and Fuk – I tend to forget Sau because it doesn’t rhyme :D

      The scales ARE class. I noticed them when I was sorting the pic and wondered if anyone else would see them. They are 2lb scales but there is a lever to increase to 4lb. We normally didn’t use them (on the market) but always took them to the stall for Christmas because people would buy more than 2lb of cheese – to eat with christmas cake. A yorkshire thing ;) I hated cake and cheese together but it sure as hell brought in the money on Christmas Eve,

      I also have a pair of brass scales from my grandmother who sold toffee. I’ll take a piccy of those next time and do a post about them. And Toffee Sunday etc.

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      • Mmmm, I adore christmas cake with Wensleydale :-)

        I agree, painting/prints must be pleasing to the eye, and even better if there is a story attached. Just to have a painting because it is worth thousands, just wouldn’t do it for me either.

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        • I have never got the cheese and cake thing. Ever! Does anyone else do it or is it just a Y thing? We sold Farmhouse Cheshire incidentally.

          Nothing I have is special or valuable. But it is about me/us. I’m looking at the Hockney (an A print) and really enjoying seeing it. It’s vibrant, colourful, was a gift to him, and it looks lovely. So what that it was a print someone was going to throw out but chose to give to him? It doesn’t mean it is any less value to us.

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          • I’m sure what were quite localised customs are now being enjoyed outside where they originated, but I have to be honest, I do get some odd looks when I mention Christmas cake and cheese together.
            Most of my prints are dogs. One, which I’ve had for many years, still give me the WOW factor whenever I look at it.

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          • I’m not surprised you get odd looks! I still think it is bizarre.

            Believe it or not, I have no dog or animal pix. I have however, just wandered out to give the big furry monster on his sofa a very big hug and a kiss. OK, I didn’t really say that :D

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  2. What I like is that you have collected and kept pictures / frames you like over the years – ones that have stories and mean something. Seems odd when people just go out and buy pictures to fill in spots or because the color matches the new couch.
    Of course I always like ones with boats – and I have an assortment of odd frames waiting for the right picture to go in them. Some pulled out of trash and discarded piles. The Land Rover is a fine match for that one.
    Tiles in the kitchen? Very cool. (the tiles in Spain and Portugal are so beautiful)
    More about the copper engravings?
    Painting? Whew you have been working too hard.
    Must catch up on reading….hasta later

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    • Thanks PMOTH. I really couldn’t do ‘this is this seasons’s colour and we need to buy an appropriate print.’ I like the random mix that we have acquired over the years. At no great cost (well no cost at all apart from frames) but to me the mix is the importance. There is no style, no design, no contrivance. They are just nice pix/prints/photos whatever.

      Aren’t boat pix wonderful? I did have an enlarged photo of a harbour (Whitby, again North Yorkshire) that I took but I’m not sure where that ended up after the redec. Not as good as the sepia one. I have some other boat pix though to post about later.

      The tiles. Did it ever take us a long time to find ones I liked. I was a bit gutted that everything these days is computer generated and you can see the pixels on the tiles! well I can because I am short sighted. But I liked the warm colours and they were the nearest I could get to the colour of the floor tiles (old). One day we will put in a sink and finish off the tiling.

      I’ll try and take a better pic of the coppers and make a post about that and Brazil. Got some photos I can scan and other objects so that may come at some – later – point.

      I didn’t paint, he did. And it was back in er sometime last year. I just took the pix of the artwork last month because I wanted to write it up.

      Hasta whenever. La proxima I guess.

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  3. You mean to say Knaresborough isn’t exotic? What have I been thinking all these years!
    My husband’s a Brid lad, too. My family always holidayed near Scarborough or Filey, but his made for Brid. My mum would’ve classed that as “the south”. Funny lot, northerners!

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    • Nooooooo! Just wow. Is this not too strange? You, me, Vicky all with these north east connections and memories.

      I tell you I trudged the streets of Filey when I was working for the Scarborough newspaper. I knew Brid first as a kid, but we also stayed in Filey and Scar on hols, and then I moved there. It makes an impression on you :D

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      • Next you will be saying you went to Skegness!

        But in terms of Yks, and south east riding, I loved Withernsea. Such an other worldliness. It never seemed quite real to me.

        Back on the art theme, I see Hornsea Pottery folded but there is a new firm outside Brid doing the same or similar.

        (How clever am I to link Brid, art, Hornsea altogether? Smug me)

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        • LOL, no, I’ve never been to Skegness.
          I had an aunt and uncle who lived in Withernsea, so that was also on the holiday visiting list, as was Brid with Gerald.
          Hornsea potteries was just at the back of my grans house. My mum collected it, in all shapes and designs. No idea where it all went though.
          I wonder if the Brid company has any links to Hornsea pottery.

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  4. That was a super private viewing…feel privileged now!
    I particularly like Bridlington Harbour as I love boats.
    We buy what we like and stick it on the wall…it gets moved round only when we move house, though.

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    • Private viewing – I like that :) Thank you.

      I like the way the sepia pic worked as featured image on the header. I like boat pics too. I can’t wait to get my new prints framed as there are a few boaty ones.

      I love the idea of personal collections bought randomly according to what you like at the time. The nearest I have ever got to buying anything was persuading my mother to buy three prints of Yorkshire. I’ll add a private viewing for those later ;)

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  5. I’ve got one painting. It’s an original, bought from a local painter. I doubt that it will ever be valuable but I like knowing I supported local talent and I love the painting of trees reflected in water. It has a calming effect on me. The rest of the walls are taken up by family photos. Trouble with that is that people keep giving me more for special occasions and expect me to put them up in my gallery.
    I loved your post, except for one thing. Being a most superstitious person, I did not appreciate your increasing my already top heavy list of superstitions.

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    • That sounds nice. I like the concept of supporting local artists, and especially when they paint local scenery or buildings.

      I admire you for putting up family pix! Not something I could do, although I do have a couple of me and my partner. Not on the wall though.

      And as for superstitions, I think it only applies to decorators;)

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  6. Your writings have done you proud again.. seeing your masks Luk. Fuk and Sau, reminds me of the small collection we had gathered, I have no clue as to what they represent although at time of buying did know. But have got forgotten over the years. They become quite a craze for awhile here in the UK, about 15-20 years or so ago.. Our hall way is like your dining room we have many lining both walls…… good record of your dining room.. ;)

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    • Thanks Gerry. I didn’t even know they were popular in the UK. I can’t even remember whether he had brought Luk and Fuk with him, or whether he specifically went to Chinatown in Newcastle to buy them. Either way, it was still a lovely gesture.

      I do like paintings. I can spend hours in art galleries. It’s odd that I’ve never bought any art, but in a way, I like acquiring prints and paintings as gifts because it brings a different meaning to it.

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      • I haven’t been to a gallery for a long time myself, I enjoy paintings like what you have shown and other styles of scenery and maybe portraits but I cannot get my head around paintings that are blocks of paints and a splatter of paint that a child or chimpanzees could equally do..I like to think art is talent, but is not shown in these,, my view.. just like painting a wall… ;)

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        • I don’t like portraits. Exceptionally if they are by a decent artist (eg van Gogh) I can tolerate them, but still prefer landscape, buildings, or more than one person on them. I’m pretty flexible about what I like, and do enjoy surrealism. Abstract is ok, depends what it is though, a bit like everything else.

          I’m lucky. The local gallery is five mins away and there are often exhibitions at the hall (one/two minutes away) over the road.

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    • I doubt we mix in the same art worlds. In fact, I have never bought anything. Not because I don’t like art, but because nothing has ever screamed (Munchishly?) out to me ‘BUY ME!’

      I don’t buy anything that matches, with the exception of the dining room table and sideboard (I do regret not buying matching oak chairs I have to confess), and some cherrywood bookcases for the sitting room.

      I bought a chrome/silver mirror for the bathroom to match gold coloured taps, and when we bought chrome 30s style bathroom fixtures I bought a gold and black framed mirror. Do not ask why!

      We had an IKEA (blue) clock in the kitchen in the UK and brought it to Spain. Eventually the batteries melted into the clock, so it went. We kept looking at the space on the wall so the Knaresborough pic went there instead. It’s much nicer to look at.

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  7. I’m a sucker for rustic sorts of things like that carved frame in the fifth photo.

    My ex left a framed original drawing on paper (not precious) that I like. It was given to him by a dentist, I think, after he painted the offices. It’s a landscape. But my favorite is a watercolor of me with my daughter as a baby that my daughter had done by a high school friend of hers. She gave it to me for Mother’s Day.

    Mostly, I tend to tape pages from magazines, or postcards and things up on the walls. I guess I’m easy to please.

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    • Thanks P. I like the meaning and the origin too. While I would dearly like to buy some local art paintings of gib or andalucía, it’s got to the point where everything we have has come through a non-bought source and I don’t want to change that now!

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  8. Like melodylowes I went “ooh Enid Blyton” and had to get my thought train back to your artwork. I think your collection is wonderful because there are stories and meaning behind the pictures/frames, and many of them seem to have chosen you or A. I love wandering though interesting peoples’ interesting houses and hearing those kind of stories. Like you we don’t usually opt for matching decor items… and certainly have never acquired a picture along the lines of “it will match the curtains”. Our stuff finds us… I pity whoever gets to sort it our when we die ;)

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    • Note to self: do not mention Enid Blyton again unless I am doing a book review post :D

      I think you are right, for whatever reason, that art has come into our life. And I think that is more meaningful than walking into a shop/gallery and handing over a pile of notes. I’m not creating an elitist gallery or a show home, I’m sticking something on the wall – that I also like.

      It’s a bit like peering inside people’s lives showing an art collection. Sort of like getting inside someone’s house. And although I am pretty private normally, I am actually quite happy sharing these because I think it is interesting, by which I mean I would like to see what other people have and why. Or maybe I just like any type of art, it was a serious consideration as a career after leaving university, I guess I just wanted to write more than I wanted to be an art ‘expert’.

      I have no idea who will sort out our belongings :( Probably a clearance sale to raise a fiver for an animal charity.

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    • I would have done that too until I met my Partner. And as he always does the putting back, he gets to say what goes where. Anyway as he’s spent 40 years in people’s houses, moving furniture, taking down pictures etc etc while he’s been doing the decorating, he’s got far more flair for what works and what doesn’t than I have. I’m not arguing!

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  9. I agree with him 100% In fact, I don’t even wait for a room to be redecorated – any excuse to mix things up – rearrange the furniture, hang a picture in a different place – it’s as good as a holiday for the senses – we grow too accustomed to where things are and so fail to notice them, and thus to appreciate them.

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  10. One of the first things I do when I am invited into someones home is to check out the wall art then ask the owner the stories behind each and everyone of them. I wall art is one of the most personal area of a persons home and invariably each one comes with an interesting story that opens my minds eye to who the owners are. Thank you for sharing your with us and the stories behind them.

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    • To me, bland prints or paintings are just that. Which is why I no longer buy artwork. I like the gifts, the inheritances and, as you say the stories. I’ve got some other posts to add on the same theme. (looking at a Hockney poster right now which looks beautiful with the uplighter on it). if you click on my commenters, EllaDee did a similar post although totally different art.

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