Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Why Mildred Lathbury?

As this is a new blog, I wanted to explain why I've called it the Musings of Mildred Lathbury.  In the last year, as so many things in my life have changed, I have rediscovered the wonderful writings of Barbara Pym.  I even wrote about my love for her work in an old blog post. which you can read here:-

http://taleshazelcottage.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/the-small-things-of-life.html

Barbara Pym's writings are often about spinsters and subtle longings, but the timeless way she describes the inner monologue of her characters has really struck a chord.  The main character of Excellent Women was one Mildred Lathbury, a wonderfully real character,  who made me laugh and cry in equal measure.

“My thoughts went round and round and it occurred to me that if I ever wrote a novel it would be of the 'stream of consciousness' type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman at the sink.”  ― Barbara Pym, Excellent Women

I often wonder about painting a portrait of how I think Mildred should look and post it on the blog.  If I get around to it, and it doesn't look too awful, I will put it on a later post.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Losing oneself

It is often said that one can lose something of oneself in a long term relationship.  It is easy to almost merge your interests and lose a sense of your own individuality.  This blog is my attempt to write about things that excite and interest me and perhaps also a need to claim something of my own back at a time of confusion and change.

Today at Southampton City Art Gallery, there were several very interesting works, including Mark Gertler, Gilbert Spencer, Graham Sutherland and Lucien Pissarro.  I was most struck however by two specific paintings which made a difference to how I felt about the day as a whole.

I was drawn to  Frederick Gore - Olive Trees, Les Baux, (1948) from across the familiar airy space of the gallery.  The zest and power of the oranges and greens seemed more alive and vital to me that anything else.  My battered old soul was lifted up and felt reconnected with life.  So much of life has recently seemed so bruised and sore and sad, and this painting, one with which I was not familiar, filled me with enthusiasm.  I find a wonderful sense of discovery when looking at a 'new' painting, and I have to spend a good amount of time standing in front of it.  There is something about 20th century figurative painting that just chimes in with my soul.  I've added the link to see the picture below, although it barely does it justice.

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/olive-trees-les-baux-17513/

Going from a painting and artist I know little about to an unexpected viewing of a Duncan Grant painting.  I've been reading about the Bloomsbury Group for the last couple of years, finding them quite fascinating and having visited Charleston and Monks House several times now.  I particularly love the works of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and it seems that Southampton City Art Gallery has quite a number of Duncan Grant's paintings.  The one I found was Parrot Tulips (1911).  As soon as I saw it, I just smiled.  The composition was quite strange however I was excited that as I stood and stared for some time, the painting of the tulips felt more real and solid to me than my own muddled thoughts recently.  I almost felt as if I could grasp the petals out of the frame.