Paths, footsteps in the landscape, journeys, process, presence, wandering and wondering…
Collaborative process painting – sharing a canvas with my daughter.
Playing with images in photo editing software.
Process paintings in progress.
Last week I got caught up in making Christmas cards; OK for a while, but I began to feel a bit disconnected from my personal practice. So I’ve been using up my stocks of cardboard and making some new process paintings. What I like about working in this way is that there’s little pressure to decide if it’s finished; I can just play, and stop when I like it. I’ve been working with oil pastel on a gesso base, and rubbing back with baby oil. Assert; obliterate; start again.
This month I am featured on the Sketchbook Circle blog as the Featured Artist. You can view the blog and the post here:
It’s been a patchy week in terms of making time for my own work; business appointments and writing applications to register our company, parenting and the day job. I feel unsettled and uneasy; I need the mental downtime that writing and making give me.
I have managed to make some drawings using soluble graphite on wet paper. I have snatched half-an-hour here and there to relax with some jazz music and sit on my living room floor drawing and spraying, letting my mind unravel, watching the graphite bleed and run.
I’m intending to use some of these drawings to make more tubes with; I like the written thoughts on them, the combination of fragments of drawings, and the inner lighting; lanterns shedding a light onto my thoughts.
I’ve been experimenting with hanging the tubes on a string of fairy lights (a safer alternative to using candles inside paper structures, I felt!), and although I wasn’t overwhelmed by the overall effect, I liked each individual ‘lantern’ and I managed to achieve some quite painterly effects by increasing the contrast in the photos.
This idea is still rattling around in my brain amidst the rest of the clutter, and I know that I want to continue to explore it through a combination of making and writing. My thoughts now are directed towards how to present it. I’m pleased to be moving my ideas out of a sketchbook and making them occupy a physical space, drawing in 3D, shedding some light on what it means to be me.
On Saturday I visited the Eva Rothschild exhibition at New Art Gallery Walsall with the Artist Teacher crew. We then visited the gallery studio for a workshop with the current artist in residence, Chloe Ashley, whose work you can see here. Chloe is an analogue photographer who presents her work in sculptural ways rather than in a traditional framed format.
Chloe’s work also reminded me of a body of work called The Last Silence by Sandra Meech, and represents the artist’s experience of the silence, the cracks in the ice and sound ‘marks’ whilst walking on Baker Lake in Canada. You can visit her website here.
I felt drawn to both of these artists’ work; Chloe’s because I am interested in photography, and altering, overlaying and colouring images of my own work and ideas; Sandra’s because of her representation of sound and physicality, and her limited use of colour – something I have been exploring in my own search for my own practice. Both artists interest me because of their 3D, sculptural presentation of 2D pieces.
So today I have spent the afternoon sitting on my living room floor surrounded by strips and pieces of my torn up intuitive mark-making pieces, making them into tubes of varying sizes. (Don’t ask me why tubes; I followed my intuition). Some of them are made from two seperate pieces of work; some of them are tubes within tubes; one of them doesn’t stand up very well by itself. I tried different ways of securing them into tube shapes, but after a couple of setbacks I settled for stapling them or pinning them using dressmaker’s pins. I’ve written in them, cut holes in them, lit them from inside with candles.
And that’s where I am now. Another twist to the tale. I’m still not sure where this journey is headed; I’m trying things out, following my impulses and seeing where it takes me.
Wow… this week has been a busy one, out training and attending meetings in preparation for launching Your Turn, our little Community Interest Company. Our company registration will be complete and ready to roll by the new year… new year, new start, as my mum said.
I have been so busy that I haven’t had much time to make art work, in fact the last piece was featured in my last post on the pleasures of scribbling; although I have managed some doodling and writing. I have been uneasy for the second half of the week; daily making has become such a part of my practice that it has felt uncomfortable not making an image of some description each day, and although I have put pencil to paper to make entries in my notebook, it has felt forced, scratchy, disconnected; a final effort at the end of an exhausting day. On Friday I felt more relaxed; before my daughter woke up I was able to get in some quality quiet writing time, and I felt my brain shift down a gear; I felt as though I was tuning back into my artistic mojo, and I began to appreciate and understand how and why maintaining my own regular artistic practice informs the other work that I do.
So this weekend I have holed it up at home with some good quality paper and some water-soluble mark-making tools, and made drawings. These drawings are muted, ephemeral, blurred, quiet; my brain unwinding on paper. I layered and sprayed, and the pencil marks dissipated and blurred; I relinquished control and let the drawings take on their own life. The movements I made became slower, calmer, reflecting the slowing of my breathing and heart rate after an adrenaline-filled week.