Throwing paint on to canvas is great fun but does it produce satisfying and exciting results for me? Two of my favourite artists, Helen Frankenthaler and Emily Mason use colour washes and veils of colour in their work. Frankenthaler made huge paintings with this method and having a go in my studio this week I realised how difficult this process is and how she had totally mastered the technique, with a deep understanding and knowledge of paint and process. So acrylic paint at the ready I cut some unprimed canvas into manageable pieces, diluted several colours with water and began to pour... The unpredictability of this process is what i am interested in but I quickly noticed I was trying to control where the paint flowed and subconsciously making 'landscape' references with shape. The collision of colours is thrilling and the ability to build up layers is a learning process, I experimented with wetting some areas for a softer feel and leaving dry areas for a more intense colour. Here are some of my experiments so far.
Along side my watery and colourful experiments this week I have been researching an idea forming around memory, revealing the hidden, archaeology, above and below and the history of landscape local to me. Quarrying and mining for lead and metal ore are evident in my local area, I have been looking at old images of people working in these mines and reading about Dylife lead mines and its history, long abandoned but 1000 inhabitants worked this mine in the 19th century and there is a history of mining activity in this location going back to the Roman times. My thoughts are to use this area as a starting point, a place to root my work in, using some of the imagery of humans and nature then and now. Making multiple small paintings based on geology has begun a process of exploration in texture, colour and layering using the seams of ore in rock, rock formation, time passing, digging into the earth. Reflections on hard labour for wealth of other people, pollution, human impact on the landscape.
Beginnings of collage experiments based around the idea of the hidden and revealed, the thought process includes archaeology, the passing of time, above and below, what we do and do not see. I have ideas about archaeological techniques and tools, earth pigments, layering paint and revealing through layers. Reading about making paint from earth pigments will lead me to further experiments in process.
This lovely book has just arrived in my postbox! Louise discusses her process, challenges and her disasters and the successful. She lets us in on her studio practice and talks about her life long passion for the poetry of Ted Hughes, her inspiration for this book. It is very encouraging to read about her struggles to pull a body of work together that felt real and exciting to her and inevitably pushed her work to a new level, forcing her to evaluate what she cherished in her work and what she could discard.