Research and process is the beginning of a journey, for me this journey is beginning with a specific place that includes a number of elements that interest me, spark my imagination and inspiring picture making. That specific place is Dylife lead mines. I am excited by the ariel views of the mine workings and I have divided up my explorations in to three areas as follows: Hidden/Revealed, Time/Memory and Archaeology/Minerology.
The first photo here shows one of my reference images, part of the mine as it looks today. From this image I have made a painting, from the ariel point of perspective, looking at shape, line and colour. The painting has undergone 5 transformations, I nearly gave up! but continued to work on it and ended up with a painting I liked that expressed something of what I was aiming for, of time passing, the craggy texture of the bleak landscape, this is work exploring themes of the hidden and revealed. I am showing some of the steps the painting went through, including painting over the whole thing with white paint and sanding, scraping and revealing -
I have learned a lot through this process such as taking time to think and look, experimenting, being brave - its ok to paint over, its ok to go in a different direction - I have discovered what works for me through process and exploration, techniques, different tools, taking a risk and being patient.
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.
work in progress... an exercise on form, colour and acurate proportion. Oil on canvas, 10 x 10 inches
2 paintings in oil, part of a group called Field - I have been using the field next to my house to focus my subject matter and inspire. I am looking at the placing of shapes and exploring shadows and colour. layering up, painting over elements and scraping back to reveal small parts of the textures beneath. Both of these are on board, approx A2 size, the group will be a mixture of sizes - some are about A5. Hope you find them interesting.
Experiments, reflections, and painting: art made through the lockdown months and summer vacation, playing and learning. To kick off with here are some of my first printing attempts using tetra pak to print from.
You can find loads of information about this and other printing techniques here https://handprinted.co.uk/ . Its great fun and uses a recyclable material. I used Aqua water based intaglio ink, nice and gloopy, slow drying but easy to clean up!