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Category Archives: reality


19th November 2017. I love the way that shafts of sunlight play on this painting of Neptune. Like its very own sunrise.


An early Christmas present.


Sunrise on Neptune

Next up – MACS0647-JD the most red shifted object detected in the Universe, so far.


13th November – A fleeting moment.

Visit to Courtauld Gallery to see Soutine’s Portraits:  Cooks, Waiters and Bell boys.  Nice little exhibition and the paintings didn’t disappoint.  Reproductions of some of the paintings were sometimes better than the actual paintings.  I often find that and I don’t know why.

Most of his pictures were of men in service.  Mostly torso & head and occasionally full length.  There were very few pictures of women and it was noticeable in the ones that were there that the artist’s viewpoint was looking down on the subject whereas the men were looked in the eye.

Jonathan Jones writes a good review of this exhibition for the Guardian newspaper.  I can see the link to Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach & Lucien Freud.  An even more detailed review is given by Alison Cole for The Arts


Young woman in a white blouse. Around 1923. Oil on canvas. 34cm x 45cm. Part of The Courtauld collection. Allocated by HMRC in lieu of IHT.

Visit to Aust Cliff, Gloucestershire to have a look for the Rhaetic Bone Bed, c. 209.6 – 209.1 MA.  Late Triassic be overlain by Jurassics heralding a change from terrestrial to marine conditions.


Aust cliff. Red Triassics overlain by grey tea green marls, towards the top of the cliff. The Westbury Beds overlying the Tea Green Marls are the Rhaetic sediments that contain the bone beds.

Bristol university has posted a good description of Aust Cliff.  Here is a very good paper written about

Microvertebrates from the classic Rhaetian bone beds of  Manor Farm Quarry, near Aust (Bristol, UK). Harry Allard Simon C. Carpenter, Christopher J. Duffin & Michael J. Benton

Checking out fallen blocks on the foreshore proved to be quite productive.  As an SSSI hammering the cliff face is forbidden and probably not advisable from the safety standpoint!


Chondrichthyan teeth in the Rhaetic Bone Bed. Red arrowed teeth are approximately 0.3cm long. Blue arrow shows bony material.


Penny sized poo in the Rhaetic.


Rhaetic ripple marks, in the Westbury sandstone. Probably upside down! There is fossil debris in the embayment above the penny.


Then onwards to the Geological Association’s palaeoclimate conference.

The ‘Anthropocene’.  This term ‘bakes in’ Homo sapiens hegemony with respect to Earth and natural forces.  I don’t think that it should be considered as a valid stratigraphical term.  We don’t have the Stromatoliteocene or the Dinosaurocene.

Had a fantastic day out at Smokejack Brickpit.  In the 1980’s a new species of dinosaur Baryonyx walkerii was discovered here.  The lower Wealden sediments here are quarried for brickmaking.  The pit is designated as an SSSI, from the designation document:

“The site consists of a pit in the lower Weald Clay Group, probably near the Hauterivian-Barremian boundary. Important for depositional environments and faunas, its dark to light grey and brown clays with siderite concretions have yielded insects, ostracods, molluscs, fish, articulated and disarticulated bones of reptiles, and numerous gastroliths.”

The depositional environment was lagoonal so many different facies are represented.   The fossil bones that I collected were from a thin, dark, carbonaceous seam near the top of the pit.



All the pieces of fossilized bone that I collected from Smokejack Brickpit. I’ve been able to join some pieces using superglue. Now awaiting identification from the experts at The Natural History Museum.

Of all the different bits of bone the piece below is likely to be diagnostic.


Smokejack Brickpit, Ewehurst, Surrey.

Ace trip to Smokejack Brickpit, Ewehurst, Surrey yesterday.  Found several pieces of fossilized bone.  Dinosaur or crocodile?  Need to get them ID’d.

Visited an exhibition called Abstract Remix at The New Arts Project, London.  From the press section of The New Arts Project website,

“Emma Hart and Mat Collishaw: this week’s best UK exhibitions”

To me this reads as Emma Hart and Mat Collinshaw are recommending Abstract Remix rather than their exhibitions being recommended by Jonathan Jones of The Guardian.

Most of the artist’s use slick modern materials like epoxy resin.   A big surprise was that Markus Linnenbrink’s artwork Whatevawillbe had indentations rather than projections. Did I like this exhibition?   I was attracted by the colours of Linnenbrink’s art which were very bright and appealing but most of the work had a rather ‘manufactured by machine’ appearance that I didn’t like.   I prefer stuff to look more man made and the process more obvious.

Also went to see Chris Olifili, Weaving Magic at The National Gallery.  Having seen the BBC Imagine programme about Olifili conceiving and realizing this work I was keen to see it for myself.  Here it is:  very reminiscent of a stained glass church window.  Strange references collide.  Christianity – stained glass windows.  Hindu – the drawings on the walls and Tapestry weaving – medieval European.  All made by someone who is of Nigerian heritage, brought up in the UK and lives in Trinidad!  A real cross cultural mix that has been realized into something magical.


I listened to Behind the Scenes on BBC Radio 4 this morning.  Choreographer Crystal Pite makes Flight Pattern her profound dance for the Royal Ballet.  What an interesting and talented person she clearly is!  I would like to have seen this performed but sadly I’m too late.  I was particularly intrigued by her descriptions of finding a language to express the refugee’s story.  It’s no different to any other creative endeavor except that the medium is time based and the materials are people, their clothes and the space that they work in. The tension between creativity and practicality was also fascinating.