Thursday 19 September 2019

The Magic of Mersea

As an artist who often makes prints that are inspired by nature Mersea Island is a gift, whether walking along the sea-wall watching birds and water running over the mud. . .
or seeing boats and the paraphernalia that comes through having boats on the shore, there is much to be motivated by.
I needed to make some prints larger than my usual format, which I initially found a bit of a challenge.

Translating sketchbook and photo ideas into prints usually, for me, involves drawing but in this instance I had to 'go big' and simplify, and the drawn line didn't really lend itself to where I was trying to go. . . it took me a morning messing around before I had the 'bright-idea' of using collage (doh)

I don't know why I don't use collage more often, one can't be 'precious' and it's satisfyingly direct.
I couldn't quite get the boat cradle images out of my minds eye, something so prosaic and usually quite insignificant, prompting me to spend some (overdue) time playing around with viscosity printmaking and making offset images.

It's amazing where a walk along the foreshore can take you!
Hanging the sky up to dry.
In both these pebbly beach prints I have used viscosity printing and of course I've promised myself lots of time in the studio to 'mess about' with this method . . . 

mustn't leave it too long!

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Oxford Artweeks, May 2019

April and there's barely a bud on the wisteria which holds up the pergola over the path to the studio, perfect printmaking days in the studio in the run-up to my first Oxford Artweeks.
I love a bit of lino. . .  or ply. . .  or mdf and happily use any or all to make prints from.

For Oxford Artweeks I concentrated on making books. . .  these images from Setting Off are a mix of lino and wood which gives the different textures. 

Setting Off results from sketches made of stands of trees on long winter walks along the Wiltshire stretch of the Ridgeway, possibly Britain's oldest road. Metaphors of the woods are written deep in our language, going back into our collective folk traditions, often as places of mystery, menace and threat.

. . . Don't go down to the woods alone.
Hinterland, inspired by walks along the sea-wall in Mersea, observing the constant shifts in mood and light over the strood, and watching birds in flight.

I was so pleased to have a reason to use some hand-marbled paper that I have ferreted away in a drawer. The person who gave it to me told me it was made in the 1930's, I can believe that, as it's quite brittle but it does glue and wrap very happily.
Mapping the Edges, inspired by the sound of Red Kites calling over our garden, quite a heart-rending, mournful sound, which summed up ideas of being alone and the singularity of the human experience.
Meresig grew out of the excitement of spotting curlews while walking along the Essex coast. Curlews are in crisis and we don't have as many in the UK as we once did, I felt very lucky to see them. 

It's magical hearing the curlews call late of an evening in Mersea, particularly on a still evening with the sun dipping low on the horizon.
I've taken part in lots of open studio events over the years but never from my studio and rarely on my own. . . it's quite daunting, and of course there is so much to tidy away.

I opened over two weekends plus a day in the week, welcoming many curious and thought-provoking visitors. I don't think I've held an open studio quite like it, topics of conversation ranged far and wide, from process and concept, to literature and learning, to poetry and politics. 

Certainly kept me on my toes. . . and I very much enjoyed the experience.

The studio made ready for visitors.

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