Monday, January 09, 2012

Portraits and poverty

Frans Hals Gypsy woman
Research into portraits for my ongoing collaboration with Jane Fordham resonated strongly this morning when I was reading 'The Art of the Portrait' by Norbert Schneider. In a section on the 17th century painter Frans Hals' and his work, The Governors of the Old Men's Almshouse at Haarlem, Schneider notes:

'...the ruling strata began to view persons who were suffering hardship, or who were socially marginalised, as lazy and unwilling to work. The upper classes, whose economic interests, based on the principle of wealth accumulation, had led to the widening of the gulf between rich and poor in the first place, thus tended to see the resultant misery as deriving from a congenital ignobility of character in members of the lower classes....'

As I am reading, Radio 4 is reporting record sales of Rolls Royce cars, Aston Martins and Jaguars in the UK while another news item is suggesting the poor are having larger families in order to obtain more benefits.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The workshop book for writers

The workshop book for writers begins on my new blog
After more than 20 years of running workshops I'm digging out exercise books, files and rooting around on the top of the wardrobe to write a workshop book for writers. I'm going to share the best and worst experiences in schools, the community, business, reflect on what works and why, share exercises. Look at the sidebar for a link.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The crow, seal pup and Russian doll

In my bag on New Year's Day, these treats, tokens, talismans came home with me.
Quiz prize seal pup

Crow eating holly by Jane Fordham

Russian gingerbread doll, handpainted
with food colouring by Jane Fordham