Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Rewind 4 - The art I have been making

Fields in winter, study
Fields in Winter, Sketch
Pencil in Moleskine, 24x21cm

Something which started with severely cold fingers developed into my biggest series so far. It started as Winter Drawings and became Belongings. The fields around my parents’ house proved important (well, I always knew they were) and a rich source for explorations into
  • sketching trees and bare fields,
  • exploring light and limited palette in oil paint
  • exploring the tension Nicholas de Stael built into his fantastic landscapes of the Mediterranean
The road to the blue trees
The Road to the Blue Trees,
Mixed media collage on board, 64x45cm

When I finally arrived at the Road to the Blue Trees, I thought that that was it.*
But going back there this summer and just last week, I am now thinking of investing into an easel permanently installed at my parents and of venturing further afield (ouch): The Bull’s Hollow, the Night Skies, the moors and pine forests, and and and…
So, you can keep watching for more Belongings here.

At the end of 2007 I at various points complained (e.g., here) that I could neither draw trees nor people. Well, I did plenty of those in the interim. After having finished some of last week’s the December sketches, I only after realised that it was those trees that I in the past regarded as complicated. So: trees are ok now; people, too. It’s not that they look great, but I am happy enough to sketch in many locations now. In fact, I was just thinking about football matches and swimming pools as sketching locations. I think that’s not too bad.

As for life drawing, I ended up not doing any over the past year. I would have liked too, researched a couple of options but didn’t sign up for anything because of the time commitment. But, I found Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School – a Club Noir where once a month you can go and sketch from life in a cabaret setting (at the Arches, see write-up here). Still working on persuading my friend H. to come along…

Well, I am clearly not lacking ideas and plans. More problematic is the seeing them to an end. Most notably that is the case for the collage, bookmaking, involving people I know project that I started pretty much a year ago with Found Papers from Somewhere. Almost thirty people sent me some found papers for this, a few books are finished and I’ve got plans for an exhibition and a couple of other things, but still it requires more time to make the 8-10 small books I am making from these found papers. And, probably not helpful: I do feel guilty about it. I don’t suffer from too much guilt, generally, I think. But this one keeps lingering in part because it has already lingered for so long. I had initially hoped to finish it in June. Now it’s January. Oops. But, since guilt thrives in silence, this is step one of my exorcism. Here’s a glimpse of one of the books:

FPP#3 Detail 2
Found Papers Project Book 3, Detail
Mixed media collage on board, approx 20x9cm

Collage and mixed media were THE discovery of the last year. They allow me to be more focussed on process beyond a single brush. And, through these, I am getting back to use pastels more frequently again. Part of this interest in process was me signing up for a course on Printmaking with the OCA (see the write-up of the first assignment here).

It’s experimental, without a press and on my kitchen counter. It’s great. It’s structured but allows plenty of development of my own ideas. Not just allows, it is actually required. I tend to think of printmaking as one element in a mixed media setting, with a preference on monotyping. Yet, as the course proceeds, and I am keeping an eye on other printmakers, I am more and more intrigued by it as a medium in its own right. I think this will stay with me as medium.

Can you see the common thread through all these: let’s have plenty of projects, plenty of ideas, plenty of different subjects, plenty of media. It’s not that that surprises me in the slightest. Yet, it means there is little time for each of them. But, looking at it over the course of a year, that’s not a problem. I think I need a range of things to choose from as I feel like and it takes on a path in the process that isn’t straightforward but mine.

Some more highlights along the way?
  • The invitation to join Watermarks – despite (or maybe actually because of) my keen interest in Fields and Woods
  • Some 30 odd plein air pastel sketches of fields and the sea
  • Four sketchbooks filled with people, ideas, more fields, more waves

I am fairly tempted by a Rewind 5 – Things I’ve learned. But a couple of other things need to come before that. And: a (very) limited list of plans for the next year wants some publicity.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting!!!

* Of all the paintings I've done, this is my absolute favourite. I love it. It makes my heart sing, every time I look at it. It's the conclusion of something rather long and at times painful - both in terms of actual memories of the place, but also in terms of experimenting with abstraction. It is also one that the RGI rejected for its show. And I'm sure that my love of it impairs my judgment of the quality of it; but so be it :)


Anonymous said...

Your Isle sketches would make a wonderfull little book!
There is another project for you!

annie said...

I agree, it's so colorful and full of the water and wind. I love it as a slide show.

Gesa said...

Thanks, Chris and Annie... It's fascinating how the colours change so much between the seasons. I was again struck by the brilliance of these in comp to the recent winter sketches.
Hm... book project... I'm not too sure that I'm too keen on the quality/style the self-publish books offer. But: I think I'll figure something out to file the actual sketches in a bookformat... rather than shoving them into a drawer. :)