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Deborah Caulfield's blog - disability arts online
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I'm an inconsistent artist, hugely distracted by life. I create in a variety of media including words, pictures, food and laundry. I do it because I can't seem to not. Sometimes it's fun.

A bigger bummer

30 January 2012

Blog

Drawing of a desk top with laptop computer, mouse, printer, scanner andnotebooks and mug

Once upon a time block-buster art shows were sweaty occasions where we crawled around the galleries in rugby scrums, catching brief glimpses of the exhibits if we were lucky. Most unpleasant. Happily, the modern art of crowd control as practiced by the Royal Academy last week, meant that Hockney’s A Bigger Picture was, for the most part, a cool and comfortable experience. Entrance was staggered and numbers limited. There was space to move, with ease. I could stare and study the pictures...

Comments: 1

Reasons to look forward to watching crips swear and lark about on stage next week.

7 February 2012

Blog

Chailey boys with sticks and crutches for guitars, circa 1960

The critics loved Reasons To Be Cheerful first time around. The Guardian said: 'The stage gives off a million volts.' Time Out opined: 'Rough, ready and bl**dy brilliant.' Even The Daily Mail managed a compliment: 'It's got a heart of gold.' Aah, ain't that nice? So, the Chailey kid came good. Well, nothing unusual in that. I won't mention any names (they might not thank me) but there are quite few of us Chailey kids in and about the (disability) movement....

Comments: 5

I'll probably apply for the Shape Open. Here goes what!

22 February 2012

Blog

Slightly out of focus photograph of an artist's wooden manequin and pot of paint brushes.

No more prevarication! I'm definitely going for it. Maybe. Shape is currently inviting applications for the Shape Open Exhibition to be held at the Portobello Gallery, Notting Hill, London, 23rd April to 5th May 2012. The Shape Open Prize of £500 will be given to the artist with the best works in show as selected by the selection committee. The People’s Choice Award of £250 will go to the artist whose work has been most voted for by visitors to the exhibition. The theme is...

Comments: 0

Looking forwards, looking back.

26 February 2012

Blog

Ian Stanton sings and plays guitar, with a BSL interpretor.

I have an excellent week ahead, gorging on art, including theatre, music and painting. It surely doesn't get better than this. I just hope I find time for meals. On Tuesday 28th February I’m going to see1 Beach Road at South Street Arts Centre, Reading. South Street holds a few memories for me; this one’s the best: In 1996, as a keen and fearless community development worker, I organised a strangely controversial disability arts cabaret here. The line-up was impressive for our...

Comments: 2

Every picture tells a story, but whose, and about what?

26 March 2012

Blog

Picture showing a wardrobe and fish against a yellow and blue background.

About this picture … The background is a sunny beach. The yellow represents the sand; the blue is the sea and sky. The wardrobe represents my mother. She had a concern for physical appearance that bordered on obsession. She spent a lot of time on her hair, clothes and make-up, trying to look glamorous; but only when she went out. The fish represents me. As a child I was criticised a lot by adults, particularly my mother, especially about the way I looked, but also about what I said, how...

Comments: 4

Hot summers, sticky sweets, and not so golden days.

25 March 2012

Blog

Sweet Sunday

This picture is the latest in what I believe will be a long series, the working title of which is ‘Sundays’. Whereas the first one was hand drawn and painted, Sweet Sunday was created digitally, with a camera and scanner to get the images into the computer. I used a combination of  Serif and Adobe software to edit the images and create the picture. As previously described, Sunday visiting in the institution was special, extraordinary and transient. Visitors invariably brought...

Comments: 4

Lost and found: An old school doodle.

29 April 2012

Blog

Doodle from my school days.

I’ve lived in so many places; I’m amazed anything important has survived. Drawings, oil paintings, sketch books - lost, stolen, destroyed (by me) or just gone… A few oil paintings were recently discovered in the form of two and a quarter inch square negatives. I hope to have these digitally rescued soon. The earliest surviving example of my artistic output is this scribble, from my skooldaze. I was about 12 years old. The picture (scanned and edited in Photoshop) shows the...

Comments: 2

Words and pictures

20 January 2012

Blog

Drawing of a church

These days I draw without passion or compulsion. I do it with complete acceptance and absolute commitment. I don’t have to do it. It’s not a problem. Drawing is a conversation between me and the world. Everything I see is a potential picture. When I’m drawing (I sometimes use water colour and coloured pencil) I feel I’m connecting with the subject, and with the space around and between us. These are moments of being. Drawing is handy when not much is happening. There...

Comments: 3