Friday, July 29, 2016

Broadbeans and Sky, walking Lyra

Suffolk Light, Broadbeans and Road - monotype on zinc - Akua Ink on Fabriano 8 x 6"
Maybe I'm more aware of the landscape here in Suffolk because I am looking for inspiration.  They are harvesting the rape between showers and the barley and wheat are starting to rustle.  The broad beans are still green and this view along my walk with Lyra stopped me in my tracks.  I don't understand how the broadbeans stand tall.  The sky speaks of weather and the road pulls me forward .

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Value and colour, a struggle to convey a place

Committed to printmaking for the moment, I rolled the sky and sketched with ink onto the plate.  Next I made a provisional print, to remove some of the ink.  I did this by placing a rougher paper than I usually print onto on top of the plate and rubbed lightly with my hand.  The result was a print, but it was not in the least resolved, I didn't intend it to be. These quick sketches can be the start of a pastel drawing. After print two, I painted with pastels on top of print one (above). I was interested in marks and wanted to create some sort of cohesion with marks. I omitted the animals and house from the scene because this version didn't seem to need either motif.
 The next print (above) took the better part of the day. I wanted to keep it painterly and to use colour in a satisfying way.  There are passages that I like but there are many small pieces so the space didn't feel confident and I wasn't satisfied with the values.
When I began this series, a few weeks ago, I wanted to use value to capture the light and mood and imagined using light pastel over prints to tint the image.  I thought I might be able to convey the moodiness of the landscape that way. So, to salvage the idea and to reuse the drawing I'd already done,  I painted back onto the plate with a blackish ink to approximate the feeling of the light. Once printed (onto wet paper this time) I tinted the values.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Suffolk Light on Barley

I am itching to paint.  When I make monotypes it's more like making a sustained drawing.  I use old socks to remove ink, I use small brushes, the handle; I am working small.  I don't go through the expansive period like I do in a painting, that would feel good right now… I looked at Becker and the planes of colour that are the fields of Suffolk on my doorstep for inspiration.

I began this monotype by rolling the sky colour over the whole plate - I didn't even take the previous image off the plate...  Then I removed ink where the darkest places of what I was looking at were.  I mixed a purple black and described the trees and the far horizon line.  I used a lot of Akua Transparent base which probably wasn't what I wanted, I think of it as burnt plate reducing oil but it isn't really.  It isn't as viscous and it wipes differently. The tree on the right looked dark on the plate but later when I went to print it it was not as dark as I needed.

The finished print was reworked with quite a bit of pastel over it which gives it a more painterly feel, I think.  The colours are surpringly bright, much like the light as it went in and out of the clouds but I miss the feeling that the landscape emerged.  It feels more as if the landscape was pieced together like a puzzle.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nothing like a bit of pressure

We have had a rather exciting time recently and all the celebrating, visiting, driving and moving stuff has thrown my work routine off kilter. I have found a little time here and there, but yesterday when I finally had most of a day to be in the studio, I felt flabby and not in the least match fit.  I couldn't remember where I'd left off and what I was thinking. I began, but it was uncomfortable.

Ruth Philo told me about Rebecca Solnit's book A Field Guide to Getting Lost and I am reading that, slowly, alongside other things.  I have been looking too, noticing the bands of colour that compose the fields. I can't believe I have never noticed how the ragged robin sprouts above the wheat and barley, to edge the fields in pink, and the washed out lavender of the thistles.  The colours of high summer make a beautiful palette.  The landscape is dry, the skies are moody and what wonderful shapes growing makes.

I have a rather tight deadline to get my work for the Inspired By Becker exhibition made.  I did get the frames and matts made to fit my plate appropriately, so at least I don't need to finish in time for framing…. but I haven't succeeded in making a monotype yet that captures something about the light of Suffolk and evokes Harry Becker on some level.  For the past two days I worked in colour (Akua Intaglio) and value and then used soft pastel on top.  I am hoping for something looser, moodier and more surprising.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What happens with an idea

During Open Studios I had the pleasure of welcoming lots of people with different interests and tastes.  My work is varied, but in my mind it is all related, and open studios gives people the chance to see how each piece relates to another piece and to see what inspires me.

Talking about my work in this context helps people who may not relate to one aspect of it to understand things differently. The above 'tinned view' is an idea I am working on for a mail art project I have begun. I am a mail artist and send mail art out widely, internationally.  Mail art means that I get lots of wacky and often beautiful ideas all the time in the form of post. I am always pushing myself to find a different voice to send in the mail. The tinned view is the result of my Inspired by Becker project which you can learn more about here:  My previous post shows some of the first experiments in monotype  I'm working on for their annual exhibit.

I love making colour notes as I walk and these tinned views are acrylic on paper, something new for me.

I explained to the person who bought the fused plastic collage above about my process, how all those views informed this fused plastic collage.  I talked about how the gesture and the symbols meant something to me as I made them, moved them, composed them committed to them.  The title: Seaglass of Fields helped her to understand the piece and how I came to make it.

I often work across media, using an idea in a different way, or as inspiration for the next thing.  In my mail art I call these versions.  The Fused plastic collage with stitching and paint below is called Moated View, relating to my house and the shapes I see daily.

There are two new exhibitons coming up where I'll be showing some of this work.  Maybe you'll want to come along?