A day in Dartmoor - Jane Foster

We've had a hectic few weeks here so it seemed like a good idea to get away from our home / work / DIY etc..  and escape to Dartmoor for the day. We took our daughter and her friend and parked near some of the wild ponies who although aren't fed by the public, are very friendly. We walked for a while before getting a hot chocolate and cream tea from the cafe at Powdermills Pottery. A great little place that serves hand made ginger cake and drinks from pottery mugs made from local potters. In fact, the little gift shop sells handmade items from 20 or so local makers.

We took a long walk up a steep hill to reach some granite torrs. It was a bit cold and windy so we hiked at quite a pace to keep warm. (I wasn't wearing the right gear at all - I'm such a city girl at heart and always forget to pack walking boots and a suitable coat!).The view from the top was breathtakingly beautiful.We hid a few chocolate eggs for my daughter and her friend to find, sat down for a while before stomping back to the car. We drove back home with a sense of peace. I find it hard to find peace in my life as I'm always chasing my tail and working on various things. Even if I'm on the sofa I'm checking social media or surfing the net etc.. Taking time out like this is exactly what I need more of as I loved being out in nature, loved the scenery, the calmness and the sheer contrast to my busy life. I will make sure I definitely get back to Dartmoor more often. Feel so lucky to live within reach of it.

My new colouring book published by Pavilion.

The cover of my new colouring book.

The cover of my new colouring book.

It's always a happy day for me when one of my books is published. Today's the publication of my new 'Jane Foster's Colouring Book', published by Pavilion books.I started work on this book last summer and it was a fun book to work on as I was able to choose exactly what went inside. I was able to illustrate everything I love drawing so I chose plants, cacti, flowers, patterns, birds and fish. It's been illustrated in my own simple fine line Scandinavian / Mid Century Modern retro style using a variety of fine black line pens. Everything in the book has been drawn free hand in my studio at home in Devon.The book contains 45 pages to colour in.I have copies on sale direct from my website and each copy bought direct from me comes with an A4 size signed Scandi Birds screen print. The book will also be available later this year in the US. Here are a few images from the book - each page is blank on the reverse which will allow you to take pages out to frame if you choose.Please email me snapshots of your colouring as I'd love to see how you use this book!

New Alexander Rodchenko Book published by Skira

I've recently been fortunate to have been given a new book to review dedicated to the work by the Russian avant-garde photographer Alexander Rodchenko, published by Skira. It's a beautifully present large hardback book containing over 250 of his photographs and magazine covers. The book includes photos of urban landscapes, architecture and portraits. You will probably recognise many of the photos in this book including the famous photo titled Girl with a Leica in 1943 (shown below). The girl in the photo was called Yevgeni Lemberg and he taught her photography.

I'm particularly fond of this photo as it appeared in a Sunday colour supplement years ago and I cut the page out of the magazine and covered a wooden box with it and then varnished it. I still have it and still love it.

I love his use of lines, grids and perspective in his photographs. Shown here below is his Shukhov Tower from 1929. This is also featured on the front cover of the book.

Rodchenko was meticulous about labelling and storing his negatives and manuscripts and in the 1930s, he took photos every day. He made his own photo laboratory, painting the walls and ceiling black. He wrote in a diary entry in 1934  "I want to take some quite incredible photos that have never bee taken before, of life itself, absolutely real, photographs which are simple and complex at the same time, which will amaze and overwhelm people.I really must do that. Then it will be worthwhile working and fighting for Photography as an art".

I particularly enjoyed reading parts of this book that were written by his daughter. She gives a wonderful impression of a very kind, funny, compassionate, thoughtful and creative man. I think this shows in his photographs. 

Not only is this an incredibly book visually, it's a really interesting read and I would recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by 20th Century Design.