The dragonfly and an  incomplete metamorphosis 

It sounds like a contradiction in terms but an ‘incomplete metamorphosis’ is when an insect, such as a dragonfly, has a three stage life cycle instead of four and goes from egg to larva to adult.


Dragonflies were around over 300 million years ago and were amongst the first winged insects to evolve.  They have almost 360 degree vision and are a marvel of aerodynamic engineering being able to fly backwards and up to 20 mph.  They have four wings that they can operate separately and they are voracious predators.  There are over 6,000 species worldwide with the Globe Skimmer known to fly 18,000 Kms backwards and forwards across the Indian Ocean.  A great deal of information about British species is available at:  www.british-dragonflies.org.uk

This next piece of original art is by Annabel J Harris (I think) and about whom I can find no information on the internet.  However I think it is  rather unusual piece although difficult to tell the medium.

When is a masterpiece not a masterpiece?

At first glance, and for a brief moment, I imagined myself the finder of a lost painting by a Dutch Master and that endless rummaging through boxes of framed pictures in charity shops might have paid off!  No not really, that was never the point although….

On closer inspection I decided that this was a copy but I cannot find anything similar when I search for it on the internet.  Here it is:

It certainly isn’t a Monet (Windmill at Zaandam):


Or a Boudin (Windmills and Canal neat Dordrecht 1884):


And there are many, many hundreds more but nothing quite like mine.  Any suggestions?

Just out of interest, the most expensive paintings sold have been for $300 million and are Willem de Kooning’s Interchange and Paul Gaugin’s When will you Marry?

Two sons of Remscheld in Germany

The city Of Remscheld is situated in North Rhine-Westphalia.  It was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War but some of its ancient buildings seemed to escape the firestorm that came with the bombing.

The city has many famous sons, including scientists, writers, athletes, actors and musicians but none more famous than Wilhelm Rontgen (1845-1923) who was a Nobel Prize winner because of his development of the X-ray.  Here is an image of the very fist X-ray taken of his wife’s hand.


Surprisingly, in the list of famous people from that town, the name Lutz Munzfeld does not appear.   Lutz was (or might well still be) an artist born in Remscheld in 1947, living there until 1967 when he left to study art, completing his studies in 1981. He travelled abroad for a while and began to concentrate on the subjects of light and Impressionism.  He has had several successful exhibitions and now lives (I hope) permanently in Cologne.  I know all this because Lutz kindly typed it up and placed it on the back of this next signed print.

Not only an artist but….

an author, an Honorary Curator, a Mayor, a Speaker, a County Councillor, a JP and Freeman of the Borough of Rye. Phew!

This is Geoffrey Spink Bagley (1901-1992).  He was born in Yorkshire and went To Nottingham School of Art .  He moved to Canada in the early 1930s and during the war period became Staff Artist to the Canadian government.  He returned to England in 1948 and settled in Rye, East Sussex where he appears to have become a pillar of the local community and re-established the Rye Museum and is the last person to have been made a Freeman of that Borough.

Above is Rye; very picturesque and only 2 miles from the sea.

This print by G.S. Bagley is signed and titled ‘An Old Medway Bridge’.  It made its way from a charity shop via my old friend Tony who saw it and thought of me.  Thanks Tony but did you know that Bagley’s signed prints sell for around the £100 mark?  I can see why, it is beautiful and it is easy to see that despite all his other titles he was, perhaps, first and foremost a painter.

Blue would have thought?

Sometimes it is quite hard to find a charity shop artwork that inspires you to write about it.  I picked out this next one because of the colour: blue.  I thought that there might be some interesting research to be done on that colour and I wasn’t wrong.  There must be billions of words written about blue from its history to its meaning to its use so I shall attempt to reduce that down to a few interesting facts.


In colour psychology blue represents trust, honesty and loyalty.  It is most people’s favourite colour including when it comes to choosing their toothbrushes! It reduces stress (for example looking up at the sky or at the sea although neither of these are actually blue but that is a whole other story).  It is the least common colour in the food we eat.  It is used for uniforms around the world and for signage on for example motorways.  It relates to baby boys and to sad music, coolness and depression.


Blue is one of the three primary colours but historically was difficult to make.  For example there is no blue in cave paintings.  The earliest known blue dye came from woad.  The ancient Egyptians used lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and in about 2500 BC began to make their own.  The Greeks imported blue dye from India but the Romans considered it the colour of barbarians.  In the 12th century blue began to be used for the clothing of the Virgin Mary and it was considered a colour of holiness and virtue.  It then became the colour of power (hence blue blood for royalty) and the wealthy.

Finally an artist, who has just signed his name as Ivan, has used blue in his oil painting which looks to me like a wild sea on a stormy night.  I wonder if Ivan was aware of all the above?

The Sunflower – from Russia with love

The sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) was originally a native of North America and was turned into a single headed plant by the native Americans in about 3000BC.  They used the seeds to grind for flour, mix with other foods, to squeeze for oil and as a snack.  They also used the seeds as dye, medicine and shampoo and the stalks were used as building material.

It was the Spanish explorers, never having seen such a plant, who sent the seeds back to Europe in about 1500 and by the beginning of the 18th century the seeds were being squeezed for oil within different countries in Europe.  By the early 19th century Russian farmers were growing over 2 million acres of sunflowers for oil and human consumption.

Somehow (probably through Russian immigration to North America) the sunflower made its way back to the US and by the 1970s about 5 million acres were being grown there in order to supply an increasing world demand.

Just out of interest, it is only during their growth period that sunflowers tilt to face the sun.  Once they are mature plants they face East.

This next charity shop find is entitled ‘Sunflower’ and signed by Mary K? Macfarlane 00.  There is a New Zealand artist of the same name but her work is quite different.  I am not sure what medium the artist has used for this or indeed whether it is a print but I think it is very attractive and I have learnt a lot about sunflowers!

Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal art is communication through pattern.  All designs have a story behind them and this form of storytelling/communication started some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.  In Aboriginal dot paintings the different colours represent different things.  For example yellow is the sun, brown the soil and white the clouds, etc.

There is a place in the central desert lands called the Maruku Arts and Crafts centre.  It was established in 1984 so that local, indigenous people had somewhere to sell their art and crafts.  Here is a photo of someone doing dot painting:

  

This next charity shop find was sold as “original Australian art” but only cost £1.99 which all things considered seems rather on the cheap side.  It was in an ugly, wooden frame so I opened it up and I was so pleased that I did as this is what was on the back of the painting:

  
All the information I needed was there although I cannot find the artist, Dora Taylor.  Anyway this is the painting:

  

I found one other thing when I opened up the back.  The painting had been put on top of a photo of this lovely looking little chap.