The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Exercising creativity in other areas, and visiting the Tate Britain...

Firstly, my apologies for neglecting my blog for the last couple of weeks!

I have been working all hours to cover my colleague whilst she is on holiday, and aside from this, my hubby Paul, my son Charlie and I have all been busy creating something else together and our little project has meant devoting every minute of every evening and weekend to our new creation!

Anyway, it is finally finished!

The chicken run...

We have been toying with the idea of keeping chickens for the last couple of years. There was an unused area of garden that seemed like the perfect spot, and work began soon after my last post!

And these are the three girls who now live in this luxury chicken palace...

We collected them on Sunday and they are all 15 weeks old.

The red one is called Frankie. She is the most confident and she is the first to do everything, including laying her first egg just 24 hours after we brought them home...

And here it is again, the freshest egg I have ever cooked, straight from butt to pan - though my son wasn't overjoyed to be reminded of this when he was eating it, lol!


The black one is called Babs. She is the one with the most attitude!
The white one is called Marjorie and she is the most docile and the most lazy too.
Babs and Marjorie haven't started laying yet but hopefully they will soon :0)

Anyway, it may not be art, but there was some painting involved and I have no doubt that it will lead to some chicken and egg sketches too ;0)

Anyway, during this time, there was one thing that I couldn't resist making some time for.
The Tate Britain in London were holding a two week watercolour exhibition and I just had to go! You can't keep me away from local galleries, but I had never been to a gallery in London before.

I invited Mum along and was surprised at how much she enjoyed the day too.

The exhibition was far bigger than I had expected and there was so much to see! There were some of Turners sketchbooks and paintings on view. The two of us felt quite privileged to see them for real.
The one I was most surprised about was the famous 'Scarlett Sunset' painting which has always been a favourite of mine...

...Though I had seen the painting so many times in books and in print, it was so small in reality! Much smaller than I had ever imagined it to be - about A5, I would say.

There were also items which belonged to Turner on display such as his wallet, his paintbox and palette.
Of course there were other inspiring ideas on show too used by some of the other great masters! There were some oyster and mussel shells which had been used as portable palettes - what a neat idea! And lots of experimental works dotted about - Most inspiring!

We were also delighted to see some of  John Singer-Sargents paintings which were also on display. It's so different to look at the paintings for real because you just can't see those all important brush-strokes when you see them in print.

When we had finished looking around the watercolour exhibition we didn't have a lot of time left, but we were determined to see some of the paintings in the rest of the gallery too.
It was just unfortunate that I had assumed that cameras were not allowed, because I realised late in the day that actually they were. If  I'd have known, I would have taken lots of photographs.

This painting is made up of the fewest brush-strokes and colours and yet it was so beautiful, proving that less really is more. The photograph I'm afraid doesn't do it justice at all...

And this is a beautiful painting of Claude Monet, painting by a river, by John Singer-Sargent...

And this Singer-Sergent was absolutely huge!

The day filled me with new ideas but I the main thing I learned is that, the greatest paintings are made with the least fuss!!!

I found the whole day to be so inspiring and the both of us had a lovely day.

My colleague is back to work on Tuesday and so I will be getting my usual day off to paint, so normal activities will resume on my blog from then onwards! And following our visit to The Tate, I am determined to come up with some sketches and paintings created with the minimum fuss!


  1. The chicken run looks fabulous - it's more like a penthouse! Well done to all the Busbys and a big hello to Frankie, Babs and Marjorie!
    Booh, I missed the watercolour exhibition at the Tate Modern and now I've missed this one too, and I only live an hour and a half away by train/tube. Hope to see some minimalist masterpieces from you now Sandra ;)

  2. Michael - Oh no! That's a real shame! You MUST go next year because it's well worth it. I also live exactly an hour and a half away by train, just from the other direction. So Mum and I want to go again soon but this time to the National Gallery. We might even go to the Tate Modern just for a giggle :0)

  3. Love the chicken run!! Those are some lucky chicks:) Hopefully you'll have to give your eggs away soon you have so many! Can't wait to see some chicken and egg paintings. Thanks for sharing the pictures from the museum, I would love to see the Singer-Sergent in person.

  4. We're all an hour and a half away! :)
    I missed the exhibition too! Perhaps we should all arrange a day next year - would be fab to meet you all :)

    The chicken run is the Ritz of chicken runs! I bet the girls love it :)
    Looking forward to your chicken and egg paintings :)

  5. Sorry Sandra, I'm getting confused. It was the Tate Britain one that I wanted to go to - lucky I didn't try to go to the Tate Modern then lol. The Tate Modern is great too though, especially the big exhibits they have in the turbine hall. See Sue Pownall's post a week or so ago about her visit. But, like the National Gallery, you'll either love it or hate it, perhaps they should call it the Tate Marmite!

  6. Lovely chicken run! I wish you many eggs from those gorgeous girls!
    Thanks for sharing some of the museum paintings, beautiful! Wish I could see the in real.

  7. Sandra, I was wondering what had happened to you - so glad you are here, back in the Internet ether. Your three "young chicks" :) are delightful. I'm sure you will be doing many chicken-or-egg studies. And you husband and son DID create a palace for them; it is magnificent. As for the watercolor at the Tate, I can only say I wish I was there! Thank you, Sandra, it's been great seeing what you've been up to for the past month!

  8. I am really jealous of you. I loved the descriptions of the three girls and of the first egg. 'From butt to pan'.. LOL. And I was surprise to know that scarlet sunset is just so small. I really would have liked to visit the gallery with you. :)

  9. Great post Sandra. Your chicken run episode was very amusing to read. Love the names and they must feel comfortable to be laying already. It looks fantastic. I am slightly envious of your gallery visit... I really need to take the straw out of my hat and head up to the big city soon. I look forward to seeing some master copies ;)

  10. Oh what a wonderful post Sandra!! I LOVE seeing the pics of your chickens and their home (which is mighty fine if I do say so myself, you guys built them a mansion!). :)

    And gosh how cool would it have been to see that exhibition! I'm SO glad you shared it with us because it felt a little bit like I was there with you. And I am such a Sargent fangirl that I probably would have swooned away to the floor had I seen a real LIVE painting done by him. Isn't he masterful at the less is more? I just got a huge book from the library that featured all his paintings of children and stared at it for hours and hours. The photos of the paintings looked very good, but I'm sure they can't compare to the real deal.

    Huzzah for your colleagues return and more painting time! I'll be waiting for your next post!

  11. Carrie - We're still waiting for Babs and Marjerie to start laying, but Frankie seems to be firing on all cylindars, lol! The Tate Britain is well worth a visit if you ever visit England - but you need a whole day and you'll need to let me know so I can come too :0)

    Pat - So which direction do you live? What a great idea for us to all meet one day! I should have posted about it first and asked if anyone was able to join me - how lovely that would have been :0)

    Michael - Yes it was the Tate Britain I went to. I haven't been to The Tate Modern before but I'd like to go, if only for a giggle - I've heard alot about it! I've heard that someone once mistook an ordinary fire-extiguisher in a glass case on the wall for a piece of art and was staring at it with a look of wonderment for some time before somebody finally told them, lol! Let hope no one ever mistakes the upside down urinals (what is THAT about?) for the real thing! ;0)

    Judy - It was well worth the trip and I really want to go again! And I am about to go and find out if we have another egg! :0D

    Studio - Thank you! How lovely that I was missed! You made my day! I definitely intend to have a go at sketching our girls soon! :0)

    Prabal - Well any time you are in England, you just let me know and perhaps like Pat says, we could all go to London together! I'm glad it wasn't just me that thought the Scarlet Sunset was bigger :0)

    James - I'm a country girl through and through too and a visit to the smog is rare for me for any other reason than if I have to. I was very glad to be back home amongst the chicken poop again, lol! That said, the Gallery was fantastic and will definitely pull me back there soon! :0)

    Crystal - If only I had realised earlier that cameras were aloud I would have shared so many photographs with you all! Even the building its self was amazing! Never mind, I will know next time. I have been admiring paintings by Turner and Sargent for a long time now and was surprised at just how different it is to look at the real thing. You can really see how the Artists worked. Now I would LOVE to see a real Monet - He's another favourite of mine :0)

  12. I'm east in Essex, Sandra.
    Next time there's something going on, I will do the same (post) - because you and Michael missed the All about Art too :(

  13. Thats only a couple of hours from me! We must meet up next time :0)

  14. what a wonderful post this is sandra! your little project came out beautifully! the girls must love their new digs, so smart and beautifully built! how much fun to just go out and get REALLY fresh eggs for breakfast!!!

    and your trip to the galleries was just amazing! thank you so much for sharing. i could spend a week studying JSS brush strokes up close! wonderful!

  15. Hello Sandra,
    I think an artist needs to create. anyway, through any medium, anytime.
    The Tate is fantastic, I have books about it.
    Your photos reveal their choices and you knew how to choose!
    A big hug

  16. Your chicken hotel looks 5 star lucky girls!
    Your day at the Tate must have been lovely, paintings look so different in real life, so much better.

  17. Hi Sandra, lovely coop, i see chicken and rooster paintings in your future!!!

  18. Suzanne - Thank you! Oddly, it took me a while to bring myself to eat one! I think collecting it from a nest is a little like being served a fish complete with a head and a tail, where you can't detatch from what it actually is! :0)

    Antonio - Thank you! It really was a wonderful day. Next time, we will visit the National Gallery :0)

    Diana - Thank you! Yes, they really do son't they. It's not possible to see how an artist worked by looking at a print - It just doesn't capture the detail of the brush-strokes. I was so surprised when I saw the real things :0)

    Cathy - Thank you! Yes, I think you are right! A chicken sketch will be on the cards! :0)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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