Podcasts, Youtube, Spotify have all been there to get me through this Covid era.

The end of the year is looming and it time to list the things that have got me through this year of crisis. To be honest, I would normally be doing these activities anyway but over this past 9 months, they have been more important.

At the beginning of the year, I was listening to a few political podcasts as both this country and my home country, were going through a bit of a crisis (understatement of the year). Then Covid struck and although, politics still remained important, my mental well being needed to escape from it all as it was so overwhelming. I still listened to the nightly news and if I was in the car, I would listen to KUT, the local PBS news channel but I felt powerless to do anything. Taking care of my own mental health was something I could control.

PODCASTS

No particular order as I listen to them when I am walking or either doing things in the art room and depending on my mood. I have discovered if I am trying to do something creative, I cannot listen to a podcast at the same time. Cutting fabric, cleaning up my space is fine.

The Graham Norton Podcast. a chat show with a agony aunt section with Maria McErlane. This is an easy on the ears shows with lots of laughter. I particularly like the agony aunt bit where Graham and Maria give advice on the issue chosen and always ends with remember “we are not professionals ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿคฃ I will miss him when he does his last podcast this week.

Something Rhymes with Purple. Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth discuss the origins of words or phrases. Very light hearted and lots of laughter. I am noticing a theme here.

Desert Island Discs – A celebrity guest get to choose 8 musical track (sometimes vocal) , a book and a luxury. They can take the luxury and book plus one musical track with them when they are stranded on a deserted island. Sometimes I see the guest name, occupation and think, hmm, not that interesting but more often than not, they are.

The Lonely Palette – Tamar Avishai normally picks one painting from her place of work, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She starts by asking visitors to the museum what they think about a particular painting, the one she is about to discuss. Her voice is so soothing and her narrative is very informative. Unfortunately since August 2019, episode 40, due to maternity leave and then Covid, the podcasts have be very infrequent. Now I am about to start listening to all 50 again.

Quilt and Tell. Traci, Lori and Ginger from Quilting daily have an easy conversation about……quilting. They also interview a celebrity quilter each episode and end the show with tips. Good for the experienced and novice quilter. Very easy going conversation between friends and guests. Lots of laughs.

Quilting Arts. Presented by Susan Brubaker Knapp and Vivika Hansen. This is a fairly new podcast and an off shoot of the PBS show of the same name. Its all about art quilts, which are different from the quilts people normally think of and are more akin to fine arts. Now they are on episode 14, they are beginning to relax a bit and enjoy themselves.

Stitchery Stories hosted by Susan Weeks, who describes herself as an embroidery enthusiast and textile art dabbler. She interviews people in the textile world that have sparked her interests via instagram or their blogs. She started off with UK artists but as her show has taken off in the US and Canada, more and more of the artists are international. Its just a friendly conversation about their art/craft and how they came about their practice. Very easy listening and lots of laughs.

I am always on the look out for interesting art podcasts. Most are way too serious and full of ART SPEAK ๐Ÿ˜ด that way of talking about art is just turgid and a put off. I soon get bored with it and the podcast. So I was delighted when I came across

Talk Art. Presented by actor Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament, 2 guys who are great friends and both avid art collectors. Robert has a art history back ground but he doesn’t claim to be an expert at all. He started off in a little know UK rock band before moving into the art world. He is now the director for the Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate UK. Robert is the shy one and I think, sometimes surprises himself with his observations in his conversations with their artist of the week. Russell, on the other hand, is fully into all the psycho babble that surrounds art these days. Its hilarious sometimes, when the artist comes back and says, really? in so many words. Of course, then there are artists that swallow it whole. I love both of them! In their 1st few episodes, they would normally talk for about for an hour but now they can go on an hour and 30 mins or more. That can be a bit wearing, so it probably not my favourite podcast now but I still listen to it regularly. I also find American artists for some reason, irritating even if I like their work. Through this show, I am now more aware of lot more modern living artists than I have been. Even become a fan of Tracey Emin๐Ÿ˜ฎ

My most recent find and delight has been

Waldy and Bendy – hosted by Waldemar Januszczak and Bendor Grosvenor. I could listen to these 2 of hours, I will be honest. Their dynamic is not unlike Tovey and Diament but both of them are professional art historians.

Once of my favourite podcasts use to the Jealous curator but it became a sort of a collective and with that became very insular and cliquey. Also like Art Talk, they became very long. I think its mainly because the presenter is now concentrating on her own work. These podcasts take up a lot of time and energy to make. However, looking at the new episodes that are posted , it looks like back to just Danielle Krysa and the artist. I will give it another try.

I have plenty of others podcasts I listen to but these ones I will listen to a new episode as soon as it appears.

YOUTUBE

As Covid as gone on and on, youtube has been become my refuge from nothing on TV.

My favourite theme is art History or history.

In the past 9 months, I think I have seen most of the Waldemar Januszczak documentaries that are available and that is a lot of video time!

His documentary of Gauguin Gauguin: The Full Story has to be the best so far.

I need to find another entertaining but informative art historian!

Lucy Worsley is another of my favourite historians She has a strange lisp (I think or it might be my hearing) but somehow it makes her more engaging.

Fit to Rule, Tudor to Stuarts from Gods to men

I have watched too many craft and painting videos to list but I have learnt a lot from them. I have long list of subscriptions but I find after a few videos that I get bored with them. Or they post videos that are too short, like the Royal Academy of Art. I don’t want to watch a 5 min video, I need at least 10 mins! I love the National gallery in London’s curator presentations. They can be as short as 10 mins or as long as 30 mins but each packs in a lot information. The National gallery happens to be my favourite museum.

Spotify

According to Spotify

my top decade was 1970’s

My top artist was David Bowie

I listened to 1241 artists

Top Genre was Rock

Top song was Wacht op Mij which I apparently listened to more than a dozen time

During the day I will tend to listen to vibrant music and yes, I do like older music rather than todays but I think that is because I don’t listen to music radio anymore. If I am needing to get up and move, like I do now, I chose a dance option. In the evening when I am trying to wind down I will put on some music for mediation.

Back to Christmas now and the run down to the New Year. Hopefully 2021 will be better but I suspect it will be long hard journey. In the meantime, I will continue with my Youtube watching, Spotify listening and podcast explorations.

Its the annual countdown to Christmas time!

For several years now, I have posted a creative piece on Instagram each day at the beginning of December and ending on 24th December. I begin well but alway end up struggling to post each day as I am too ambitious in my goal. It’s my way of getting into the festive season as I don’t have Christmas parties to attend or any other of the festivities that happen during December. This year, it is even harder to get into the Christmas spirit. Normally at this time of year, my grand-daughter would be singing Christmas carols in anticipation of the Christmas concert at school but no school this year.๐Ÿ˜ข

I lowered my ambitions this year and so far it’s working! My goal this year was to create a very simple drawing of our tree ornaments and use just pens of various types. No pencil, that way I had to commit to the drawing and a time limit. The last hour or less before I sit with my husband to watch TV before going to bed. Last night I broke one of those rules by using some lumiere paint for the background because I had left only 20 mins to do the drawing. Its surprising how long it takes to colour in an image!

I was so immersed in sorting through the photos, December sort of crept up on me which is why the first drawing of December comes from 2010 when I did a similar project but for Christmas cards. This was one of about 4 that I made. Only 12 drawings for this countdown left!

I did actually cut up the sunflower and I quite like it but its not yet quilted as other things came up. Plus it’s very thick so I might have to hand quilt it. I tried on the machine once but it was a disaster.

Then I got a request to make a Christmas stocking from a friend in the UK. We got our first stocking gifted to us. It was for our eldest daughter from a friend in Massachusetts. The following year, she send us another 4 for the rest of the family.

When the family started to expand about 10 yrs, with the kids new partners coming for Christmas dinner, I started to make my own Christmas stockings, following my friends design. For the first ones I bought quilted Christmas fabric as I wasn’t doing quilting at the time. Then came one Christmas when there was no quilted fabric available. So I had to make my own. Now I have it down to fine art but this time I wanted to change the design slightly and use my Brother cut n scan machine. It worked out exactly as I wanted it to.

Now I am making Christmas sacks for everyone who is coming to Christmas Dinner this year. The stocking were proving to be difficult to fill as although we have a price limit, the gifts can often be large. They are meant to be small jokey gifts from each other which we all open in turn, after Christmas dinner. Which is why I am making Christmas sacks in the hope they will hold the no so small gifts. I already know that someone has bought a gift that is too large but I am promised it is funny and relevant to the person receiving the present. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

First Christmas Sack.

After Christmas I will be back to my photo project and making the pet portrait.