Welcome to my online Journal where i hope to share my thoughts, feeling, inspirations, processes, problem solving, and completed works as well as works in progress.
I read this book this summer and was amazed, finally someone that wasn't afraid to say "hang on, what is going on" he stuck his head above the parapet and was happy to take the arrows. The great gender debate has been raging for a while now, people trying to as accepting and PC as possible, fearful of losing their jobs and positions whilst admiring the emperors new clothes....i find him refreshing, considered and educated, someone who is not bullied into theories and ideas that contradict his own learning and experiences. Read first....debate later.
John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer and music theorist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage's romantic partner for most of their lives. His most famous pieces are Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48). The effect on the piano was made by placing objects (mostly nails and screws) between the strings of the piano to effect the sounds made. As a pianist myself i find this an interesting idea. Also having made films for my course last year i often struggled to find new and interesting sounds to accompany the images...this will definitely influence my work in the coming year.
Gerhard Richter is a German visual artist. Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings, and also photographs and glass pieces. I have seen his works at the Tate in London on many occasions and have always enjoyed being with them. There scale is large and dominating and i find the apparent subject of each piece changes with each viewing. As with most abstract are beauty as well as meaning in in the eye of the beholder. Having explored abstract painting for my final piece of year one i found his tecniques interesting, there are no small brushes of fussiness when making these works, the final images are a result of the process and accident and purpose seem to meet and come to balance seamlessly. Below is a short video of him at work.
It felt strange to bring something so intimate and natural into an urban space, to drape it across benches, bins and paths. It took on a new form, its context was almost lost. Originally i was going to present it on the floor, as it was made, and see the contrast between the woodland where it was made and the sterile white space of a studio show. It looked interesting on the floor and dominated almost the entire floor space. The tutor suggested i suspend it from the ceiling which worked really well (see pic below) It dominated the space in a different way, on the floor people were shy of treading on it, of getting the dyes on their clothes but hanging from the ceiling it enabled people to get close to it, face-to-face, literally. The smoky scent was also released by hanging it this way which was wonderful, intimate, woody. The crit went well, it was the first time i had never had any negative feedback of some kind, or some suggestion of how to make it more this or more that, it seemed i had done all that was needed to to this piece which was an odd feeling. Some suggestions were made regarding what other pieces could be made in this style, along this train of thought but the consensus was that piece we were viewing was complete. There were a few moments when we all just sat silently looking up at it, it was in those moments i personally felt the piece was a success, to bring silence to a crit show, without the need to say anything, but just look up, and sniff the air, and smile at its marks and secrets. My intention when starting these self-initiated project was to explore whether it was possible to capture the elements in art. I started in a little white triangle, trying to imitate the elements through paintings, this process / method was i see now, futile, but ultimately led me to this. It IS possible to capture the elements on canvas, but it is like catching a butterfly, you dont do a painting of a butterfly and frame it proudly, you get a net and run through the forest until you catch a real one. Ultimately, It is at home in the woods, like me, which makes sense...seeing as that's where were were born, it was like for a small moment bringing some wild shy creature into a class room for students to observe its behavior before taking it back and releasing it into the forest, which is where it hangs now. x
American artist brad Troemel uses ants nest suspended in colored gel to make works of art. The ants live off of the nutrient rich gel and move the colours around over time. His work tries to shine light on conservation groups and projects through art. I love the idea of using animals to make work...though i wouldn't like to capture wild animals and imprison them in a piece but there is something here i can use! His website is www.bradtroemel.com
Above are the pictures from the final stage of making the final canvas. I had been wearing the canvas and dragging it about for a few days before this stage so my partner had seen the canvas, it was smelly and damp, muddy and invasive, a kind of jealousy had formed between it and him, it had taken a lot of my time and attention away from us. I took the canvas to the woods to lay it out and find a perfect space in nature for the ceremony. I found a beautiful patch where the blue bells and wild garlic met, on a small flat area on an otherwise steep woodland bank. I placed the pigments, offerings of flowers and incense in place and waited for my partner to arrive. We undressed, kissed, it was like introducing my mistress to my partner, i had to give them time to get to know one another. We made a blessing together (see video) played a Tibetan bowl, lit some frankincense, shared a glass of wine, and began to rub and paint the different pigments, dyes and flowers over each-others bodies. it was a very intimate, playful and magical moment. This part of the process seemed very significant, a time to acknowledge not just our partnership, but the space we were in, the mark we were about to make on the landscape, our love not just for each-other but the natural world we inhabited. Fast forward half and hour or so and there we were, panting, totally lost in the moment, covered in a mix of dyes and pigments, we stayed in this attitude for a few hours, enjoying the freedom of being naked outside, the sound of the birds, the light, the joyful coloring of our bodies. Finally the canvas was covered in a liner and rolled up to insure the colors stayed as they were before being taken into the studio space. I would like to do this again, perhaps even larger, perhaps over the course of a summer. More ritual, more nature, bigger, much bigger, more expansive.
I decided to bring the woven vines into the studio space and experiment with creating a visual display of the piece alongside the images from the same day. I would like to make a larger woven work to use next time but without the neon dye, it harms everything it touches and is not in keeping with my work or personal ethics. As you can see from the pictures of flowers i sprayed, it is extremely toxic, a chalk paint wouldn't make the petals react in this way, i want to make art without damaging anything.
"After the elements were imbued i sat wrapped in the canvas over several days, using it as a cloak, a napkin, a towel, a blanket, a picnic rug, taking it every where i went, dog walks, swimming, gardening, it was dragged in the mud, dipped in puddles and curled up in for naps like a child carries its favorite blanket everywhere it goes. It felt very important that the work was involved in the forest, that it was embedded with my day to day life in the nature, that it shared my experiences and became not just a visitor in nature, but nature itself, my mistress"
The larger scale of this piece feels appropriate, it is more dominant, more invasive, vast, it has a distinct personality. It felt vital that the same ritualistic process was used on the new canvas that the last one did, baptizing the canvas into the four elements with the same care and attention as before. I did the elements in a different order this time so that the fire could really effect the canvas, this time holes were created in the canvas by the flames and embers. It did lack the incredible moist smoky smell from before so i repeated the fire element after the water, draping the wet canvas over a fire so it could smolder and absorb the scent of wood smoke. (see video below) It also had the added privilege of being left in a huge thunder storm and hung in the air to dry in the woods for three nights.The canvas is now ready for the final stage, where the pigment and dyes are added not with a brush or being flicked and sloshed, but by the ceremonial act of making love in nature, abandonment.
Always had terrible luck with women, but i think this lady might just be the one for me!!! My female counterpart. This amazing artist is experimenting with plants in the Amazon rain forest, trying to find colors and pigments never seen before. I live the way she uses not just canvas but threads and husks to capture the dyes to make beautiful 100% natural art installations....my new idol!! I wonder if her and Warboys would be up for a three-some....in an artistic sense of course!! Will experiment with native English plants over the summer....see what colors and English forest is hiding!
I bought the first elemental landscape into the studio space for the first time yesterday. I experimented with using the photographs of the stages placed over the canvas. I love the way the canvas reeks of smoke and fire, the way it dominates the space....it feels raw and alive. I was going to use this piece into the next stage of the project where colored dyes and natural pigments will be used to document the act of love-making in nature on the canvas, but i have decided to use a new canvas for this piece that is much larger. I feel the scale of this next work will be important, i want it to appear as an entire landscape in its own right. To dominate not just the gallery space but the viewer, to allow enough room for the pigments, dyes and elements to move and be free. A big fish needs a bigger net!!!!
I managed to source some of the more vibrant colors such as the copper based Blue verditer and the pink vermilion from a wonderful natural pigment company www.naturalpigments.com/oil-painting/pigment-powders.html. However i wanted a range of hues and textures so i have experimented with adding chalks and charcoals to create a range of shades and intensities. I have also been experimenting with making dyes from flowers, i found that mixing a small amount of chalk when crushing flower petals and leaves helps to capture the color. This worked particularly well with Nettles, Bluebells and Bog-weed flowers.
Had an interesting afternoon seeing if the flowers i used before on paper can also be used to make dye for a canvas....have picked flowers, added a little water and using a pestle and mortar have ground them up. some of the colors are very vivid....blue bells in particular!
Using bluebells, geraniums, forget-me-nots, wall flowers, bog weed, Cynthia, to drag over paper to see if the pigments stay vivid on the material. Want to make strong natural dyes for the final stage of the elements on canvas. Bluebells work really well as does Cynthias, forget-me-nots are not so good....will forget. x
Originally i was going to divide this large canvas into four pieces and expose each one to a different element. However i decided to keep it as one large canvas and expose it to all the elements, plus the final act of human touch, my partner and i will be taking the natural flower dyes i made and make love on the canvas in nature to leave our own bodily imprint over the elements. All of these stages have been process led, giving the elements a chance to make their mark. First i left the canvas in a pond for a day, then i buried it over-night in the forest, then i built a fire and lay it over that, finally i left it over night to hang in the air in the forest. See videos below of each process.
Experimenting with spraying leaves, noticing the way they react on living and dead matter. Also the imprint left behind is interesting on the ground.
Using neon spray paint on living flowers. At first the flower stands out, bright pink and proud. Returning every hour i see it starting to wilt and curl. Insects crawl from inside it and fly away.
I had seen Helen chadwick and David Notarius piss flowers before. I like the way they were made, how bold and intimate they are. I also like her landscape photo series. They take landscape photography to the next level. Well worth considering these pieces the next time i edit photographs.
One of my gorgeous warrior women Serah who modeled for me for this photographic collection. See photography section for full gallery.
The film was made to document an improvised sound performance / intervention in the forest and see how sound and space interact with eachother. Does the space hold the sound or the sound hold the space. The film doesn't try to prove this one way or the other, but merely document the process of experimentation, taking you with me into the woods to explore and play, finally to whirl into the oblivion of sound meeting space, space meeting sound. I had led many sound baths in the past with lots of people present, i found it very ceremonial to do this on my own, almost prayerful, an offering. , with only the birds and nature to witness the event.
From a practical point of view i found it challenging to get the shots i wanted as i was on my own, i wanted to show the viewer the walk i had to take to get to the woodland clearing and had to reposition the camera many times to show this clearly. With regards to some of the sounds i had to go back later and rerecord some of the sounds of feet in the snow as this wasn't picked up properly the first time and felt these details were vital to document the moment properly. I would love to refilm this idea but with other people to do sound and camera so i could focus on the signing bowls and the ceremony itself.
forest fire painting in stages. The common where i grew up was set on fire a few weeks ago and i decided to paint it to honor the element
I often find i start a landscape with the intention of merely capturing the feeling of a place on a canvas, the merest of impressions with minimal detail but inevitably i find my self getting lost in the painting. I took these pictures at five hour intervals to document my process. I will go back to these and limit myself to how much time, color and detail i can use, i hope these limitations will help me to capture the elements without producing an overly traditional painting.
London Gallery visit, these pieces by jessica Warboys made my hairs stand on end!!! Go to Frith street gallery soho to see them now!!!!
Jessica Warboys’ huge Sea Paintings are made below the high water line at the sea's edge. After immersion, the sodden canvases are pulled from the sea and laid out on the beach. Mineral pigments are thrown directly onto the sea beaten fabric; its folds and creases catching the grains of color. The process is then repeated with the canvas returning to the sea or being left to dry on the beach. The sea, wind, and sand along with the pigment and the artist’s hand create forms through the movement of color. The place and date of making is given in each work’s title, emphasizing the mirroring of location and time. As a landscape painter these works really amazed and inspired me, the fact that the landscape itself made the work and not the other way round was a revelation to me,
Once i had selected the items for the project i experimented with various locations and lay outs for the collection. I liked the different places but decided it needed to be hung from a tree and filmed to document the piece to full effect. The objects were suspended from a mobile which mimicked the branching forks of a family tree, which was then hung on a dormant tree in winter. Held by the same thread, at times touching in the wind, yet also completely alone in their personal cosmic experience. This was indexed via a video, see below or Youtube: https://youtu.be/qkH6v9FpvZM