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.

How has your Pandemic being going?

Up to now I have been active in a creative sense. With my husband working from home, I don’t like to do housework while he is working other than the basics. That suits me fine as I hate housework. So while the house disintegrates around me from lack of attention, I have been been playing in the art room. Sometimes, I forget about even the basic stuff! Unfortunately, I have now hit a bump in the road. I am struggling to work out what to do. Instead I am writing this blog post, in the hope it might jog my brain back into shape. I am sure I was brimming with ideas in the middle of all this chaos.

Example of a spiral design with a walking foot
drawing design for tumbling blocks on a quilt. Done with a walking foot
Full quilt called Happy Blocks, All quilting done by walking foot.
The finished quilt.

Above are a couple of the quilted blocks and the completed quilt called Happy Blocks. I started the quilt at the HoneyBees Quilt stores in 2019. I decided to quilt it all with a walking foot. Although I had used a walking foot, I hadn’t completely explored this way of quilting before . I got ideas from 2 books.

Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day. Walk: Master machine Quilting with your walking foot by Jacquie Gering. Both are excellent guides but I found the Jacquie Gering, the most useful.

It was definitely a challenge getting a large quilt through my machine throat, a Juki DX7 but I did it!

Finished block from design of tumbling Blocks. Quilting done by walking foot

I have not done life drawing for several years because there isn’t much available in the area. Also, the one place where they have regular sessions has no natural light. Artificial lights flatten out the shadows and forms I find, plus, I like real light. I should add I am very reluctant to go out most days and the older I get, the worse I get. Regardless, I am always up to a challenge!

Through a friend on Instagram, I was able to join a zoom group for life drawing. It was hosted by the Hackney Wick Life drawing group based in London (@hwlifedrawing ). I enjoyed it most of the time. I am not the best student for life drawing. I get very frustrated with my lack of ability. The models were very patient with all the instructions as they posed. Some could keep very still and others couldn’t stop moving! I am not good with moving subjects, so that was a challenge. Also the models were based in their own space which were either cramped or the light was poor. In one instance, the model almost completely disappeared as the sun when down.

The other things have been exploring are videos on Youtube. Many have been how to videos but I have also been enjoying all the art history videos that are available. At the moment, I am watching a series of videos called Perspective. These written and led by British art historian Waldemar Januszczak. He makes me dizzy with all his rushing around from one painting to another. His presentation though is very informative and absorbing.

I have also watched lectures by the National Gallery in London done before the pandemic hit. “Travels with a curator”, led by Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon of the Frick Collection is also very informative and interesting.

By time the pandemic finished, my art history should be pretty well rounded if I can remember any of it!