Words about pictures, and other things, too.

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  • naivasha roses

    The terrible price of Kenyan flowers

    Not so long ago, roses were expensive. Now you can get six blooms for £4 at my local Tescos. The real cost of cheap flowers was revealed to me in all its horror in March 2010when we visited Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, a large freshwater lake in the Rift Valley, formerly home to a thriving eco-system, teeming with fish and birds,

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Guitarist jeff beck

    Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton: Together and Apart

    Last night Moth, Rupert and I trekked down to east London to the O2 arena (the former milliennium dome) to see Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton on stage ‘Together and Apart’. Despite defying the rules of both alphabetical order and talent, Clapton was top of the bill on the hoardings and on the souvenir T shirts. It was clear even

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Vincent’s DNA exposed in a letter – the artist was prolific letter writer

    Note: The F and JH numbers in this blog are standard references used by van Gogh scholars to refer to specific works, rather like scientists use Latin names to refer to species. The Real Van Gogh: the Artist and his Letters Today, 29 January 2010, I went to see The Real Van Gogh: the Artist and his Letters exhibition at

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Van Gogh’s Letters: the books

    After 15 years of work, the Van Gogh Museum has published an astonishing six volume set of the complete letters of Vincent van Gogh.  Building on the groundbreaking work done by the late Jan Hulsker, the authors have set a standard in art publishing that it’s hard to see will be bettered. A more thorough piece of work is hard

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • With Gauguin in Brittany

    This year has been a bit of a Paul Gauguin year for me really. Here he is. ...

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Condoms, education and partial vegetarianism

    According to new stats from the ONS, the UK's population is now more than 61million. This makes me sad. ...

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Making a drypoint

    Making a drypoint: Still life in Eynsham

    I’ve just finished making a picture, called Still life in Eynsham, a portrait of the village where I live. I’m calling it Still life in Eynsham because that’s what it is: a series of elements fitted together to produce a pleasing arrangement in exactly the same way you would a still life of fruit, flowers or similar. I like the

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd

    God bless Lynyrd Skynyrd

    On Thursday night we went to see Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd perform at Birmingham’s NIA.  Their heyday was the mid 1970s, during which they produced two of their best-loved songs, Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird. I confess I find all that long, flowing hair, cowboy boots and twangy, jangly insistent and riffy guitar absolutely irresistible. If you’re thinking “hang

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • New Zealand landscape

    New Zealand landscape

    New Zealand has two outstanding advantages. Firstly, it has a tiny population, only four million, a quarter of which live in Auckland, leaving huge swathes of land to farming and best of all, to wilderness. And that brings me to its second feature, its tear-jerkingly, breathtakingly, largely-unspoiled, gobsmackingly gorgeous landscape. Formed by volcanoes and carved by glaciers, the landscape leaves

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  • Swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura

    Moth and I fell in love with the little town of Kaikoura on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Until very recently it was just another sleepy coastal settlement, with a bit of a crayfishing going on, but mainly it was a hub on the main road south for the livestock farmers in the nearby hill country. Its

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  • I love keas

    The one place you don’t expect to see parrots is in cold mountains… …but such is the evolutionary weirdness of New Zealand’s fauna, this is exactly where the kea (Nestor notabilis) makes its home. They are long-lived, intelligent, playful and highly inquisitive opportunists, not shy of human company. Far from it; they have learned that wasteful humans provide easy meals

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • California wildlife: elephant seals

    A week before we went to California, my Californian friend Karen tipped me off about a rookery of elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) at Point Piedras Blancas seven miles north of San...

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • California wildlife: ground squirrels and sea otters

    We found a motel at Morro Bay and as we checked in, the bloke running the place noticed me pick up a postcard of a sea otter (Enhydra lutris). “Would you like to see some?” he asked. We replied enthusiastically! He said if we hurried, that before sunset we might see some in the bay. “Just park by the big

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Paul Gauguin’s grave

    On the Marquesan island of Hiva Oa artist Paul Gauguin is buried. I’ve had a strange relationship with Gauguin over the years; I’ve admired his single-minded vision, his bold compositions loaded with meaning and his dazzling use of colour. But I’ve always been uncomfortable with his abandoning his family and taking teenage Tahitian brides, and blamed him for the sharp

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Jacques Brel’s grave

    Jacques who? I knew nothing of Jacques Brel until I kept bumping into him during my research into the Marquesan island of Hiva Oa. In the French-speaking world singer-songwriter Brel is as famous, as legendary and revered as perhaps Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen is in the anglophone world. Such is his popularity he has sold 12 million albums in

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson